Welcome to Our Produce Glossary
Take a look around and find storage and preparation tips on your favorite produce items ...and some items you may have never heard of. Whether you want to learn more about the UGLI fruit (yeah, it exists, and it is tasty!) or you want to know how to make your apples last longer, you can find that information here. Not to mention that each item has great recipes that show off its natural awesomeness.
The Akane is a cross between a Jonathon and Worcester Pearmin. Because of this heritage, the Akane is an excellent dessert apple, with a tart flavor & distinct aroma. The Akane is best used for baking or desserts due to it's slightly tart flavor and texture that holds up well when baked. The apple will hold it's shape in pies as well.
Select firm, but not hard apricots that are uniformly colored. Store apricots at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate in a plastic bag for three to five days. Fresh apricots make a great snack, or serve dried apricots and fresh goat cheese as an hors d'oeuvre.
Artichokes are available year round and very easy to prepare. Cut off stem at base, then cut off top quarter of the artichoke. Place 1 inch of water in pan with a tight lid. Place artichokes stem side up in the water. Steam uncovered for 30-40 minutes. Drain, allow to cool, and serve with melted butter or hollandaise sauce.
The newest lettuce innovation combines whole mature heads of three different varieties, both red and green, in one package! Make a simple 2-cut salad, and get exceptional value, versatility, flavor and texture. Each 4-count clamshell serves more than eight.
Use asparagus as soon as possible after purchase. To store, trim the ends. Stan stalks upright in 1 inch of water in a tall container. Cover the tops with a plastic bag and refrigerate for no more than a few days.
ATAULFO Mangoes are also known as Honey Mangoes or Manila Mangoes, but they are in a mango class all their own. The reason is fantastic flavor and their string-less flesh. Originating from India, most of our mangoes now come from Mexico. The ATAULFO Mango has one of the thinnest seeds of any mango. Although generally smaller than other mango varieties, the meat portion is quite large for its size and the string-less interior melts in your mouth. Eat out of hand, in salads, as chutney, juiced or blended - the uses go on and on. The flesh of the Ataulfo Mango is bright yellow to orange when ripe, and it roughly has the shape of an S. Choose yellow to orange, not light green, mangoes that give slightly with gentle pressure. Do not refrigerate.
Avocados have a buttery, nutty flavor, but their appearance varies greatly depending on the variety. Avocados ripen best after picking and ripening can be accelerated by placing several in a paper bag. Eat avocados with a sprinkling of sea salt, top with chicken or tuna salad, or toss one in the blender with peaches, yogurt, blueberries, and crushed ice for a power-packed smoothie.
Baby Bananas are usually no more than three inches long - the perfect size for a child's lunch box. Sweeter than other bananas, the Baby is also excellent in fruit salad, baked into bread, or sliced to top pancakes, waffles, or yogurt.
Purple, Red and Yellow Potatoes, are bright, beautiful and delicious. The jewel-like interior glistens and has a rich nutty flavor and creamy texture which creates an unconventional colorful twist to normal potato dishes. Create your own colorful potato chips, add a striking swirl to mashed russets, or enhance a classic potato salad with sparkling cubes in contrast to the creamy colors. Bake, boil, mash, fry, or use in potato salads.
This large, thick-skinned cylindrical squash averages 20 inches long and weighs around 12 pounds. It is so large that it is usually sold in chunks instead of whole. Its creamy textured orange flesh offers a fruity and buttery delight to your palate. Although both baking and steaming are great ways to prepare this tasty squash, steaming produces a slightly sweeter, yet mild flavor.
Storing bananas in the refrigerator will slow the ripening process. This will cause the skin to darken, but the flesh will be fine.
Beefsteak tomatoes are among the most popular tomatoes grown today. They are big, red and juicy, with slightly flattened tops and bottoms. Vine-ripened tomatoes are succulent and flavorful. Beefsteak tomatoes are great whether eaten raw or cooked.
Beets, a root vegetable with edible roots and edible green tops have the highest natural sugar content of any vegetable, as high as 10 percent, but the good news is they are really low in calories. Beet greens are often discarded in favor of the bulbs to which they are attached, which is unfortunate because they contain a wonderful, earthly flavor. Beets should be a relatively smooth, round, firm, small to medium size with a deep red color and a tap root that is slender. Look for bright, dark green fresh looking leaves without withering or slime, no longer than eight inches. To store, cut the leaves from the root, leaving an inch or two of the stems attached, place in a plastic bag, and keep in the refrigerator one to three weeks. You do not need to peel or clean the root because the skin will slip off easily during cooking. The beet greens will keep a few days in a plastic bag put in the crisper section of the refrigerator, but remove any damaged leaves first.
Bell peppers add crunch, flavor and a rainbow of colors to salads, crudits platters, stir-fries, sandwiches, soups and casseroles. They can be grilled, roasted, steamed, sauteed, braised or stuffed with savory fillings.
Bella Bites are grape-sized tomatoes that are great for a quick snack on the go or for a sweet accompaniment to a mealtime salad.? Bella Bites are packed with a sweet and tangy flavor that will have you wanting more without worrying about your waist line.
Blackberries, the largest of the wild berries are purplish-black, sweet, and juicy. Store them unwashed in the refrigerator for one to two days. They're delicious cooked, which intensifies their flavor, or eaten as a snack.
Blood oranges have a subtle taste of raspberry, are sweet and less acidic than regular oranges. Store blood oranges in a loosely wrapped plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week. The unexpected color of blood oranges makes them especially attractive as a garnish or in salads
When choosing blueberries look for those that are larger and round with a deep blue-purple or blue-gray color; a reddish hue indicates they're not yet ripe. On the other end of the spectrum, overripe blueberries, like raspberries, will stain or dampen their carton. Perfectly ripe blueberries will have what is called a "waxy bloom" - a frosty look that indicates a fine, tasty berry. Temperatures between 34F and 38F are best. Moisture will hasten decay of your blueberries, so keep them dry in storage. Under ideal conditions, blueberries should keep for 5-7 days in your refrigerator. For best results, consume your blueberries as soon after purchase as possible. If you plan to freeze your blueberries for jams and jellies, remember not to wash your berries before freezing. Washing, prior to freezing, will make the skin tougher. Pack berries into freezable containers, or freeze them on a tray and then pack them into containers as soon as they are frozen. Seal the container and keep frozen until you are ready to use them. Be sure to wash the thawed blueberries prior to use.
Bosc Pears are brown and often russeted. They are highly aromatic and have a firm, yet tender skin, and a sweet spiced flavor. Bosc are ideal for poaching or making tarts. Pears will continue to ripen at room temperature. To speed the ripening process, place pears in a perforated paper bag with an apple or banana. Check daily and refrigerate when ripe.
Broccoflower tastes similar to cauliflower when raw, and is milder and sweeter when cooked. Broccoflower is a good source of vitamin C and folate. Broccoflower can be eaten raw or cooked. Cut florets into similar size for uniform cooking. Layer with cheese and bottled alfredo sauce and bake for a vegetable gratin.
Trim and peel stalks before using. Serve raw broccoli with a dip or grate and substitute for cabbage in coleslaw. Broccoli can also be steamed, stir-fried, or boiled; or, try sauteing in olive oil with garlic or shallots, or ginger and sesame seeds.
Brussels sprouts look like tiny heads of cabbage and have a delicate, nutty flavor. Buy evenly sized Brussels sprouts, the smaller, the better. Refrigerate in a perforated plastic bag for no more than 3 days. Boil, uncovered for 8-10 minutes until crisp-tender.
Choose cabbages that are heavy for their size with crisp, tightly packed leaves. Tightly wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Reduce the aroma of cooking cabbage by placing a piece of bread, a walnut or spring of parsley in the cooking water. Cook until tender only or serve raw in salads.
Cantaloupe is delicious enough on it's own, but can be added to fruit salads and smoothies. For a delicious appetizer, try wrapping cantaloupe balls in paper-thin slices of prosciutto. A good melon is symmetrical and the blossom end gives with slight pressure. Check the stem end for a clean, smooth indentation. It the edge is jagged, the cantaloupe was picked before maturity.
Cara Cara Oranges have a bright orange peel and pink - raspberry colored flesh. Its taste is sweet with undertones of sweet-cherry, with a low acid profile. Very juicy and best when eaten fresh out of hand, Cara Caras are also popular with chefs for use in cooked sauces. Store at cool room temperatures for up to one week or refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Carrots contain the second largest amount of sugar of all vegetables, which gives them their sweet taste and makes them a very popular snack. Bigger is not better when it comes to carrots so select carrots that are less than eight inches long and relatively uniform in shape and size. They should be well shaped, firm, and smooth with no cracks. Carrots should be a bright orange color to an orange red in color with a bright green top unless the carrots are purchased packaged in a plastic bag. The deeper the color, the more beta-carotene contained in the carrot. The bright green tops don't guarantee a fresher carrot; however, it is widely assumed that they are fresher than the carrots sold in plastic bags. Whether loose or in plastic bags, avoid carrots with green shoots sprouting out (not to be confused with their green tops) yellowed tips, soft spots or withering. All are a sign of age. Also avoid carrots with large green areas at or near their tops. This indicates sunburn damage on the vegetable. Before storing carrots, remove their green tops, rinse, drain, and put the carrots in plastic bags and store them in the coldest part of the refrigerator with the highest humidity. They'll last several months this way. To keep the carrots crisp and colorful add a little bit of water in the bottom of the plastic storage bag; this will keep the carrots hydrated. Carrots should be stored away from fruits such as apples and pears, which release the ethylene gas that cause carrots to become bitter. Carrot's nutritional values increase when they are cooked. Raw carrots have a tough cellular wall that our bodies are not able to breakdown very easily. Therefore, cooking carrots until they become slightly tender actually makes their nutrients, including beta-carotene, more accessible to our bodies. Cooking carrots properly will also bring out their natural sweetness. Carrots make great tasting snacks and are excellent travelers. Add slices to salads. To store, keep refrigerated in a plastic bag.
Cauliflower can be steamed or stir-fried with other vegetables. It can be cooked in chicken or beef stock or steamed in water. Cheese or lemon sauces make good complements to cauliflower. It can be served alone as a side dish or mixed with other vegetables in a medley. Do not over cook cauliflower as it can become mushy.
Referred to as "ribs," sleek celery stalks are refreshingly crisp and crunchy. Most of the celery available in the marketplace today is the green celery also known as Pascal. Medium to light green, celery's fresh edible leaves can be used like an herb. To store, trim base; remove any damaged ribs; rinse; put in a plastic bag; refrigerate in crisper drawer. Celery keeps about two weeks. To refresh, trim ends; chill in ice water. Celery can be frozen in plastic bags and used in dishes calling for cooked celery.
Cultivated mainly in southern Spain, Madeira, Egypt and Israel and California, the cherimoya, sometimes called a custard apple, tastes like pineapple, papaya and banana combined. It has a think, green, and often scaly skin and can be round, oval or heart shaped. Cherimoyas are a fair source of vitamin C. Select fruit that is firm and heavy for its size and free of brown blotches. Wrap and refrigerate ripe cherimoyas for up to four days. Cut in half and serve fresh (remove the seeds first), or freeze for thirty minutes and eat like sorbet.
Look for plump, bright fruit with the stems attached. Store cherries, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two to three days. Bing cherries are excellent for cooking or snacking. Dried, they can be sprinkled on salads, or substituted for raisins in breads, cookies and muffins.
Cherub tomatoes make the perfect take along snack, great for lunches and quick salads. The easy to use container makes them easy to pour as needed. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins and nutrients. Store at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.
As the beloved Christmas Song reminds us, the chestnut is an endearing holiday treat. Yet in Europe, Asia and Africa, chestnuts are often used as an everyday potato substitute. Although they are wonderful straight from the oven or fireplace, you can make use of the winter chestnut crop in many ways, both sweet and savory. Probably one of the first foods eaten by man, the chestnut dates back to prehistoric times. Chestnuts contain twice as much starch as potatoes. It is no wonder they are still an important food crop in China, Japan, and southern Europe where they are often ground into a meal for bread making, thus giving rise to the nickname of bread tree.
Cilantro is an important ingredient in Asian, Latin American, and Caribbean cooking, and it provides a fresh contrast to spicy foods. Use in salsa, bean dip, chutney, or salads.
Clementine is a variety of mandarin orange with an exterior that is a deep orange color with a smooth, glossy appearance. Clementines separate easily into eight to fourteen juicy segments. They are very easy to peel, like a tangerine, but are almost always seedless. Clementines make a great addition to fruit baskets, fruit salads and as a delicious convenient snack.
Cluster tomatoes are simply tomatoes sold on the vine. They are a great source of vitamins C and A. Select fragrant, blemish-free tomatoes that are heavy for their size and have a bright, even color. Ripe tomatoes will yield slightly to pressure.
Coconuts are hard work, but the sweet flesh is well worth the effort. A coconut is multi-layered. A smooth, thick, hard, tan shell is removed before exporting. The next layer is the hairy, brown husk, then a tough brown membrane and finally the sweet, white coconut. Choose a coconut that is heavy for its size. Shake the coconut to hear liquid movement. The 3 "eyes" should not be wet. Store whole coconuts in the refrigerator for several weeks. Store coconut liquid for only one day. Store cut chunks or grated coconut in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. To crack coconut, first puncture the "eyes" and drain out the juice (this is not coconut milk). Heat the coconut in a 350° F oven for 15 minutes. Let stand until warm, wrap in a towel and crack with a hammer. One medium coconut yields three to four cups of grated coconut for sprinkling over salads or in desserts.
Recent developments have made the corn we buy today keep its sweetness for a few days rather than just a few hours. The secret is pre-cooling, a process that is done moments after the corn is picked that removes the field heat quicker than refrigeration. This slows the sugar-conversion process and prolongs the cob's life. Thus, the corn stays fresher and sweeter longer. Look for healthy green husks, plump kernels and silks that are moist and light golden, not brown and brittle. Remove husk and boil no more than two minutes in high boil in unsalted water. To store, wrap unhusked corn in damp paper towels; place in a plastic bag for an absolute maximum of two days. Just one day is ideal.
Cranberries are excellent in muffins, sauces, chutneys and relishes. You can make an uncooked cranberry sauce by grinding berries in a food processor with apples, oranges, or dried apricots. Sweetened, dried cranberries are great for sprinkling on top of salads, or substitute them for raisins when baking.
Crenshaw melons are considered one of the sweetest muskmelons. The flesh is salmon-orange and has a sweet, yet spicy, flavor. Serve a Crenshaw on its own or with a squeeze of lime to complement its spiciness, or add to salads, smoothies, or sorbet.
Crimini mushrooms are chocolate brown and firmer with meatier flavor than the common white mushroom. Trim off the stem. Slice to desired thickness. Cremini mushrooms should be cooked to bring out their true flavor. Cremini mushrooms are delicious in soups, stews or casseroles.
Most often heavily waxed, cucumbers have a dark rich green skin surrounding a whitish firm flesh that offers a very mellow flavor. Some have small bumps and sometimes light green or whitish spots which do not affect quality. Waxing extends a cucumber's shelf life. Look for firm cucumbers with rich green color and no soft spots.Refrigerate whole cucumbers in a crisper up to a week. Unwaxed cucumbers can easily lose moisture so keep them wrapped tightly in plastic.
A rich deep purple, this attractive oval or elongated eggplant has a characteristic green calyx and a green stem or a leaf shooting out from the base of its stem, wrapping around the top of this very smooth glossy fruit. Its flavor is bland and sometimes has a tendency to be somewhat bitter. The younger the eggplant, the less bitter. Botanically, eggplant is a fruit and not a vegetable even though it is prepared as the latter. Eggplant is a very cooperative fruit that is prepared like a vegetable, enhance eggplant's rather dull presence with peppers, garlic, onions, tomatoes, sesame oil and olive oil. To store, refrigerate in an unsealed plastic bag. Use within five days after purchase to ensure optimum quality.
This age-old vegetable actually dates back to the European Iron Age. Fava beans are pale green when fresh, and tan and flat like a lima bean when dried. They're popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking and also make a tasty addition to soups. Serve tender, young fava beans (slip the tough outer skin off first) with an aged pecorino, or puree and add to vegetable dips.
Originally from South America, the feijoa is sometimes called a pineapple guava, but it's not a true guava. It's an egg-shaped fruit with a thin, bitter lime-to-olive-green skin (which should be removed before use). The cream colored flesh is strong tasting, with hints of quince, pineapple and mint. The jelly-like center has edible seeds. Ripe feijoas are fragrant and yield slightly to the touch; refrigerate them for three to five days. Try feijoas in fruit compotes, or make them into a sauce for roasted meat.
Cultivated by the ancient Romans for its fragrant and succulent attributes, fennel is crunchy and sweet, with a delicate vaguely anise-like flavor. The entire plant is edible, from bulb to feathery leaves (snip and use as an herb). Fennel is marketed as fresh anise in some parts of the country. Look for crisp bulbs with fresh, green leaves. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to five days. Roast with veal or other meats, or combine with blood oranges and Parmesan cheese for an Italian-style salad.
Persimmons taste like a sweet combination of pumpkin, plum and honey. Ripe Fuyus should yield to gentle pressure. Ripen in a pierced paper bag with an apple. When ripe, place persimmons in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, but use quickly. The Fuyu is the best choice for salads because of it's firm texture. To peel, cut out the leaf base, then cut persimmon in half lengthwise. Insert a sharp paring knife between the flesh and the skin and peel skin away from the fruit.
The extra-sweet Gala is crisp and juice with a slightly spicy flavor that makes it a wonderful apple for snacking, sauces, and salads. Galas have a mottled skin and vary in color form cream to red- and yellow- striped. Store in plastic bag in the refrigerator. Gala apples are best eaten raw.
Galia melons are similar to Cantaloupe, although they are slightly larger with a yellow green flesh, surrounded by a lightly netted yellow to yellow-green rind. The Galia is primarily known as a dessert melon. Delicious eaten by itself, or for added flavor, try it with a sprinkle of ginger, salt, or a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Galia melons add sweetness to fruit salads and in refreshing drinks, such as fruit punches, margaritas or daiquiris.
When you select a pineapple, choose one that is plump and slightly soft to the touch. The stem should have a sweet aroma. Store whole pineapple in the fridge for three days. Once cut, tightly sealed pineapple can remain in the fridge for three more days.
Grapes are one of the oldest fruits known to man. There are thousands of varieties, shaped either oval or round, with smooth green, red, purple or purple-black skin. Some grapes are seedless, others have several seeds. Table grapes are often covered with natural bloom, which is a delicate white substance common to many soft fruits such as plums. The bloom protects the grape from moisture loss and decay. Bloom is sometimes mistakenly thought of as dust. When harvesting and pacing grapes, great care is taken not to disturb the grapes' bloom. Look for grapes that are plump, full-colored and firmly attached to their stems. Refrigerate, unwashed, in a plastic bag up to 5 days. To freeze, wash and pat dry. Place a single layer of grapes on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid. Once frozen, pack in airtight freezer containers. Grapes make a great snack, particularly for children.
Green beans are larger and flatter than other beans. They can be steamed sauteed, lightly boiled, microwaved, or even roasted. Serve them simply with butter or olive oil: toss them with lemon zest or toasted pine nuts; or add them to potato, pasta, or green salads.
Green onions may be any variety of onion and are simply harvested before they bulb. Also called spring onions, stone leeks and scallions, these popular immature onions have small bulbs and long green stalks. Mild in taste, they offer a definite onion flavor. Scallions are actually considered to be even younger than a green onion having no bulb at all while green onions have a tiny bulb. The bright green tops are edible. Onions are a favored seasoning in a vast range of dishes and either cooked or raw, onions are an appreciated vegetable in their own right. Today, the onion ranks sixth among the world's leading vegetable crops. Refrigerate, unwashed, in a plastic bag up to one week. To prepare, first rinse and pat dry. Trim root ends; strip off and discard wilted outer leaves. Leave whole, slice or cut into strips.
Ripe guavas have a tantalizing scent, shifting from musk when unripe to flowery sweet when ripe. The guava is an egg-shaped fruit that tastes of honey, melon and strawberries. Guavas ripen quickly at room temperature, so look for firm fruit. Avoid fruit with bruises or soft spots. Look for good color and a strong scent. Use as soon as fruit ripens. Refrigerate for one day when fully ripened. Guavas are traditionally used for jellies, preserves and chutney. Guavas deliver a burst of flavor when used with other fruits in salads, sauces or desserts. To prepare, slice off the top, halve lengthwise and cut into chunks. Remove seeds, if any.
A winning all-purpose apple, the Honeycrisp offers a pleasingly crisp sweet-tart bite, but they are not limited to out-of-hand eating. These apples also star in the kitchen- any recipe in which apples are featured will be improved when using the Honeycrisp.
Honeydews are extremely succulent and mix well with other fruits. Honeydew is excellent plain or with a sprinkle of fresh lime juice. Try topping honeydew melon with yogurt and a sprinkle of granola or use it to make a refreshing, cold fruit soup.
Hot house cucumbers are grown under artificial light. The thin skin, unless waxed, does not require peeling. Hot House Cucumbers are available year-round and are burp-less cucumbers that are practically seedless. Usually eaten raw, they can be sliced in salads, cut into spears and served with a dip, or used in sandwiches in place of lettuce.
Jicama is a round root vegetable, with crunchy, white flesh that tastes nutty and sweet. It's a good source of vitamin C and can be used raw or cooked. Peel the brown skin before using. Grate jicama and add to salads or for a delicious snack or cut jicama into sticks and sprinkle with fresh lime juice and chile powder.
There are actually two commercial kale varieties, one with curly edged leaves that varies from spruce green to grayish or bluish green and the other is a smooth-leafed kale with only a slightly wavy margin. Choose leaves that are crisp and dark green. Avoid any with limp, damaged or yellow-spotted leaves. Today's trendy restaurants appreciate the stamina of kale, especially on their fresh salad bars. Add to salads to accent the flavor of other greens. Use as garnish. Ideal for lining salad bowls and vegetable trays as hardy kale doesn't wilt easily. Enjoy simply as a steamed side dish with butter and favorite fresh herbs and seasonings. To store, refrigerate in plastic bag. Use within three or four days.
Key limes are a diminutive variety of lime that originated in Florida. Key limes have a tange, tart flavor and are found and yellowish. Their most famous use is Key lime pie.
Covered with a fuzzy, brown skin, the egg-shaped kiwifruit has a dramatic interior. A pale center is surrounded by emerald flesh, freckled with tiny black edible seeds. The taste has been likened to a combination of cantaloupe, strawberry and citrus. Kiwifruit, originally an export of New Zealand, was named for their famous kiwi bird. Choose fruit with unbroken and unbruised skin. A ripe kiwifruit yields to gentle pressure. Most kiwis are sold hard and must be ripened at home. Ripen at room temperature, out of the sun. Refrigerate ripe kiwifruit for up to one week. Peel skin with a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler. Slice crosswise. Kiwifruit will not discolor when exposed to air. Heating is not recommended.
Researchers have tracked this centuries-old fruit to Japan and China, where it has been cultivated for a very long time. The kumquat looks like a miniature orange with a round or slightly oval shape. Although they?re not much bigger than a cherry tomato, kumquats pack a lot of flavor. The rind is sweet and edible, and they are usually eaten unpeeled. The fruit inside is dry and tart with hints of tangerine and oranges flavors. Store them in the refrigerator for up to a month. Slice raw kumquats and serve on salad, or cook them to make marmalade or as a sauce or relish for meat, fish, or poultry.
The Green Lychee is a very sweet, juicy, subtropical fruit native to China. Green Lychees grow on a species of evergreen tree in bunches like mulberries. They are 1 to 2 inches in diameter and covered within a thin, protective skin which is bumpy and greenish-yellow in color, kissed with a pink blush. The pulp is a translucent white, covering a single small seed. Only the pulp is edible, so the skin and seed are discarded. Lychees are delicately sweet, extremely aromatic, and refreshingly juicy. They can be eaten out of hand or added to fruit salads or traditional Asian recipes.
Mangos can be round, oblong or kidney shaped and have a single, large seed. The golden-orange flesh is juicy, sweet-tart and full of vitamins A,C, and D. Mangos make a tasty treat when peeled and served plain, combined with jalapenos and red onions for spicy chutney, or pureed to make a sauce for Fresh Toast, pancakes, or waffles.
Grown in California, Maroon Carrots are rich in flavor and their smooth skin is edible. This carrot variety is a deep wine color on the exterior and a brilliant, vibrant orange on the interior. Maroon Carrots are sweeter, yet have a little more crunch. Use Maroon Carrots in any dish you use other carrot varieties in. These carrots add variety and color to many dishes such as salads, stews, meats, and rice. When cooked in the microwave the maroon color is enhanced, when saut?ing, the color becomes muddy looking. Maroon carrots are also enjoyed cooked and mixed with a little butter, salt and pepper; quick, easy and delicious. Take advantage of these carrots at their peak in fall and winter months. Available Year Round. Maroon Carrots can be stored in the refrigerator until used. Carrots will form soft spots when they age. Choose carrots rich in color with a slightly firm exterior.
Matchstick carrots are low in calories and high in vitamin A making them as healthful as they are versatile. They are delicious in salads or simmered, then dressed with butter, brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Or puree them with a little orange juice and chicken broth. Also great added to stir-fries.
Carrots are high in vitamin A making them as healthful as they are versatile. They make a perfect snack and stay fresh refrigerated in a bowl of cold water. Try them simmered, then dressed with butter, brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Or, puree them with a little orange juice and chicken broth. Enjoy!
Nectarines taste similar to peaches but do not need to be peeled before eating. When ripe, they are fragrant and will yield slightly to pressure. Store underripe nectarines at room temperature or speed the process by putting the nectarines in a paper bag for a day or two. Nectarines are delicious to eat alone or an excellent substitute for strawberries in shortcake recipe.
Okra is available yea-round but is most plentiful in summer. When cooked, okra releases a substance that thickens any liquid. Look for small okra (under 4 inches), that is bright green and firm. Use okra the day of purchase, as it does not store well. If cooking whole, cut off cap, but don?t open seed pouch. For recipes calling for sliced okra, cut off the caps first. Add slices of okra to soups in the last ten minutes of cooking. Okra can be dipped in cornmeal batter and deep-friend to crunchy perfection.
Native to Brazil, passion fruit are egg-shaped and about three inches long. The most common variety has a dimpled, brownish-purple skin and soft, golden flesh with edible seeds. The intense, sweetly tart flavor is described variously as lemon-jasmine- honey or jasmine-banana-lime. Choose deeply colored fruit that?s heavy for its size and store refrigerated for up to five days. Passion fruit puree adds a tropical flavor to drinks, vinaigrettes, sauces, syrups, and sorbets.
Peaches are a delicious on their own, or they can be mixed with pancake batter or cottage cheese. Try grilling them over hot coals and serving with ice cream for a wonderful dessert. Underripe peaches will soften and become juicier and more flavorful when stored at room temperature for one or two days. Refrigerate ripe peaches for up to five days.
Bartlett Pears make a succulent, fresh snack and are good for canning. Pear flesh naturally turns brown when exposed to air. To prevent this, coat cut pears with ingredients that contain acid, like salad dressing, or dip them in acidulated water. To make acidulated water, combine 3 tablespoons of lemon juice with 1 quart of cold water. Poaching, or gently cooking in liquid at just under the boiling point, also preserves pars' fresh color and enhances their delicate flavor.
Persimmons taste like a sweet combination of pumpkin, plum and honey. Ripe persimmons should yield to gentle pressure. Ripen in a pierced paper bag with an apple. When ripe, place persimmons in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, bus use quickly. To peel, cut out the leaf base, then cut persimmon in half lengthwise. Insert a sharp paring knife between the flesh and the skin and peel skin away from the fruit.
Pickling Cucumbers are small, ranging from 3 to 6 inches long. Scrub cucumbers gently with a soft brush or a washcloth. Bitterness accumulates in the ends of cucumbers so trim off an inch at each end. Putting up jars of pickles is a well-rewarded effort. Cucumbers may also be cooked with Japanese seasonings and then chilled or served at room temperature.
Pink Lady apples are a natural cross between the Golden Delicious and Lady Williams and are unique for a number of reasons. It has a beautiful pink blush over a yellow background. The flavor is both tangy & sweet, giving a very refreshing and effervescent crisp crunch when bitten into and has a long storage life when properly refrigerated.
A seedless fruit, the Pixie tangerine is yellow-orange, easily peeled and offers a sweetly mild taste. Big or small, smooth or knobby, this juicy tangerine varies greatly in appearance, size and shape. One trait is for sure: their exceptionally sweet flavor is consistent. Add this tasty little tangerine to wake up mixed green salads. To store, keep at room temperature or refrigerate for longer storage. Do not store in plastic to prevent premature spoiling. Pixie tangerines are good keepers.
There are hundreds of varieties of plums that range form sweet to tart. Choose firms plums that give slightly to palm pressure. Avoid plums with cracks, soft spots or brown spots. Ripen at room temperature, or put in a paper bag. Ripe plums should be placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Pluots are a plum-apricot hybrid that are sometimes marketed as dinosaur eggs. Pluots contain more sugar than plums and have a firmer texture and longer shelf life than apricots. They make a wonderful snack and work well in any recipe calling for plums.
The Pomegranate is a berry with delicious seeds. Cut out the blossom end and some of the white pith. Do not pierce into the red. Score the leathery skin and break apart with your hands, not a knife, following the cut lines. Bend the rind and pull out the seeds. The seeds are most often used by scattering them in a salad or fruit compote.
Portabellini mushrooms are delicious and can be used just as you would white button mushrooms or large portobello mushrooms. Saute them and add them to a sauce or gravy, pile them on bread or stuff them into pita with veggies for a sandwich filling, add them to a stir-fry, stuff and bake them for appetizers, slice them into a spinach salad, make them into mushroom soup.
Portobello mushrooms have a chewy, meaty texture and a hearty flavor that?s intensified by roasting or grilling. Remove stem and cut in thick slices for salads, or substitute them for meat in sandwiches.
Originating from the Malaysia-Indochina region, pummelos are one of the largest citrus fruits, ranging in size from a cantaloupe to a watermelon. Look for pummelos that are heavy for their size and unblemished, with a slightly fragrant aroma. Pummelos can be used in the same manner as grapefruit. Serve with sugar or in fruit salad.
Cauliflower is available in more colors and offer more nutrients than ever. Orange cauliflower is not only vivid in color, but offer 25 times the level of Vitamin A as white varieties. Purple Cauliflower is also bright and delicious. The purple color is cause by the presence of the antioxidant group anthocyanin, which can be found in red cabbage and red wine.
Quinces have a potent, wild, tropical musky aroma. Shaped like a fat pear or golden delicious apple, the skin can be smooth or woolly. Most consider them too tart to be eaten raw. Its flavor improves admirably when cooked, becoming a rich apple-pear flavor. Select large, fragrant, smooth quinces. Store quinces at room temperature if using right away. For longer storage, wrap each quince in plastic and refrigerate for a few weeks. Do not allow them to touch each other. Peel the quince. Carefully core: the center is hard. Poach, bake or braise. Cooked quince can be pureed like applesauce.
Purple-to-burgundy with a hint of white at its base, this plum-shaped pleasantly sharp-tasting radish is topped with dark green full-bodied leaves. The common cherry-red marble-sized radishes have had to move over to make room for distant cousins that are green, black, multicolored, scarlet, round and white, long and white, heavy as a melon or as thin as a finger. Choose radishes that are firm and smooth.
Rainier cherries are considered the most delectable of all sweet cherries. Rainier cherries offer a super sweet-tart flavor. Because of their white flesh, these cherries are also known as white cherries. Large, sweet and juicy, the Rainier has yellow skin with a pink blush and pinkish-white flesh. Buy firm, plump cherries with green stems attached. Enjoy Rainer cherries as soon as possible after purchasing. Keep unwashed cherries in a bowl in the refrigerator. They may be frozen for nearly a year. Stem, rinse and dry cherries, then place in a Ziploc bag. Remove excess air before sealing.
Originating from Italy and Asia, rapini now grows in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Rapini, also called broccoli raab, grows on stalks with small, broccoli-like clusters at the end. This bitter green is favored in Italian cooking, and a classic dish calls for blanching rapini for two minutes, and then sauteing it in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes. Add sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts if desired.
Raspberries, the most fragile of summer fruits, so the main things you'll want to look for are berries that are free from mold and those with a strong, firm shape. Another tip: Look on the bottom of the carton for staining; this may indicate some overripe berries within. Use as soon as possible after purchase. Refrigerate up to one day.
Originating from the southwestern United Sates and northwest Mexico, this beautiful fruit of a desert cactus is actually a berry and grows from lovely flowers produced on the tip of cactus nodules. Wrapped in a very prickly casing, the rich juicy magenta colored pulp has literally hundreds of tiny edible seeds. Its sweet taste and fresh aroma is reminiscent of watermelon. Pleasant and fruity, its attractive reddish pulp gives a distinctive deep pink color to food and beverages. Note: Peeling is definitely required. Marketed fruits have been mechanically depricked but some stinging invisible hairs do remain. Hold the fruit in tongs or wear rubber gloves to prevent penetration of prickly fibers into skin. Slice off ends; cut a lengthwise slit in the fruit end to end. Slip the tip of the knife under the cut; skin the fruit. Once done, peeling a prickly pear is as easy as unwrapping a piece of candy. Always best chilled, its sweetness makes many delicious edibles. As pretty to see as pleasing to the palate, make a delicate tasting marmalade. Serve on bagels, muffins, breakfast breads or toast. Use as a filling for tarts and cakes. Pureed fruit may be frozen for later use in pies, breads and chilled beverages. Serve with crackers and cream cheese or use as a glaze for beef, chicken and pork roasts. To store, refrigerate ripe fruit up to three days for optimum quality.
Red leaf lettuce has red-tinged leaves, but is otherwise similar to green leaf lettuce. Use it to add color to salads or mix it with chopped apples, toasted almonds, and a citrus vinaigrette.
Red, or Italian, onions are mildly sweet, with a reddish-purple skin and white flesh with a red tinge that adds color to salads, pizza, and pasta dishes. Or, grill thick slices until they're smoky sweet, and soft, and then serve with hamburgers or steak.
Red Pears are excellent for eating out of hand; they also add a vibrant color to salads or other dishes. Pears will ripen at room temperature. You'll know they are ready to eat with the next yields slightly to pressure.
Red potatoes are newly harvested small red boiling potatoes. Avoid potatoes with cracks, withering or soft spots. Store red potatoes for up to 2 weeks in a cool, dark place. Rub thin skinned red potatoes gently with a sponge, but peeling is not necessary.
Rhubarb has celery-like stalks and may be pink to cherry red. Select crisp, bright stalks with fresh leaves (don't eat, though- rhubarb's leaves and roots are toxic). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to three days. Rhubarb's sharp tartness makes it best for sauces, jams, or desserts (like rhubarb-strawberry pie) that are made with lots of sugar.
Roma tomatoes are the ideal cooking tomato. Thick-fleshed and meaty, Roma tomatoes are perfect for sauces, stir-fries, stews and casseroles, or pizza. Do not refrigerate; store at room temperature for only a day or 2 after ripening.
Romaine lettuce is the preferred green for the popular Caesar salad. Tall and cylindrical in shape, its taste is sweetly bitter with a good crunch. Romaine is available year round.
Shallots have a sweet and delicate flavor and can be used like other onions. Fresh shallots can be refrigerated for up to a week. Dry shallots will keep for a month in a cool and dry location. Avoid those that are wrinkled, soft or sprouting.
Beautiful, rich green, and sweet, snap peas have a crisp edible pod. Delicious plump peas are produced, fitting tightly in the pod. Resembling miniature versions of common green pea pods, the difference is this grand pea is not only tender and entirely edible, this special variety offers a sweet taste that has no match. Snap Peas are best served at their freshest, if peas must be stored, keep in a perforated plastic bag. Refrigerate no more than a day or two for optimum quality. Do not wash before storing. Rinse just before use. Add to salads, stir-fries, serve over rice, or enjoy alone as a healthy snack.
Spaghetti Squash are watermelon shaped, with a smooth, creamy yellow skin. After cooking, the yellow-gold flesh separates into spaghetti-like strands that can be served with pasta sauce or topped with butter and seasonings.
Spinach can be saut?ed with other vegetables or it can be steamed as a side dish. It is also popular in omelets, soups and pizzas. Spinach is also a favorite in dips. Spinach is a popular replacement for meat in lasagna. It can also be used to add flavor and texture in quiches and other baked dishes.
Starfruit are typically three to five inches long, with five distinct ribs running lengthwise. Cutting the fruit crosswise produce crisp, star=shaped slices. The flavor may be very sweet to slightly tart. Select firm, shiny starfruit that are mostly yellow. Store rips starfruit in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag for up to a week. Starfruit are a good source of vitamin C. Slice them for snacks or salads or juice them to add to fruit drinks; don?t worry about peeling them first. Their distinctive shape makes them a beautiful garnish.
For strawberries, unlike blueberries, size makes no difference - both large and small can be juicy and delicious. If you are buying California strawberries, you'll want to look for bright, red berries. Some Florida varieties can be less intense in color but still have a sweet taste. Temperatures between 34F and 38F are ideal. For best results, store your strawberries in the original clear clamshell container. Gently rinse berries with the green caps (calyx) still on, under cool water. After washing, remove green caps. For best flavor, allow strawberries to reach room temperature before serving. Under ideal conditions, strawberries should keep for 2 - 5 days in your refrigerator. For best results, consume your berries as soon after purchase as possible.
Strawberry papaya is known for its reddish-orange or succulent pink flesh and its distinguishing flavor and sweetness. If you can't find strawberry papaya, choose the best ripe papaya from your supermarket's produce section. Fully ripe papayas are three-quarters to totally yellow or yellow-orange; they will give slightly when pressed gently between your palms, but should not be soft and mushy at the stem end. The skin should be smooth, unbruised, and unshriveled, but light, superficial blemishes may be disregarded. Uncut papayas have no aroma; cut papayas should smell fragrant and sweet, not harsh or fermented. Place your fully ripe papayas into a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to a week, but the delicate flavor fades, so use them within a day or two, if possible.
Sweet onions are great raw, on sandwiches, burgers and salads. They also make delicious onion rings. Roasted and grilled sweet onions lose none of their sweet juiciness.
Sweet potatoes are especially high in vitamin A. Choose small to medium sweet potatoes without cracks, soft spots or blemishes. Do not refrigerate sweet potatoes, but store them in a cool, dark place. Try topping sweet potatoes with cinnamon sugar, hummus or sauteed vegetables.
Tangelos are a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. They are sweetly tart and easy to peel. Choose a heavy fruit and store at room temperature for consumption within 5 days or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. They are best serve raw in segments or added to salads.
Temptation Melon and they are actually a hybrid between cantaloupes and honeydews. It has a smooth, thin yellow skin and a creamy orange interior that is both juicy and sweet - combining the defining traits of both melon types, though it actually tastes more like honeydew than cantaloupe.
The Ugli Fruit is homely with its odd pear shape, thick skin and greenish-yellow color. But inside, what a beauty! It tastes like honeyed tangerine and a tart grapefruit. The Ugli should give with slight pressure. Keep at room temperature for consumption within 5 days. Or store for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Vidalia onions are great raw, on sandwiches, burgers and salads. They also make delicious onion rings. Roast and grilled sweet onions lose none of their sweet juiciness. Buy onions that are dry and shiny-smooth. Vidalia onions are best used as soon as possible. Keep in a cool, dry area.
About 200-300 varieties are grown in the U.S. and Mexico, although there are about 50 varieties that are very popular.
To select a whole watermelon:
- Look the watermelon over. Find a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
- Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for it's size. Watermelon is 92 percent water; most of the weight is water.
- Turn it over. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
Choosing and Handling Pre-Cut Watermelon:
- The flesh of the watermelon should appear dense and firm.
- Refrigerate to preserve maximum freshness.
- Cover the cut surface of a melon with plastic wrap to prevent the flesh from becoming mushy.
- Store chunks of watermelon in covered plastic containers.
- Keep cut watermelon refrigerated until consumed, up to 3-4 days.
White peaches are wonderful on their own, or they can be mixed with pancake batter or cottage cheese. Ripen at room temperature in a paper bag. White peaches ripen faster than the yellow variety. When soft to the touch and fragrant, store peaches, unwashed, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Try grilling them over hot coals and serving with ice cream for a summer dessert.
Grown since ancient China and Korea, Yali Pears are a delicious variety of Asian pear. Yali Pears have a light greenish-yellow skin with a crisp white interior. They are a bit thinner and softer than the familiar Asian pear. Yali Pears are more rounded in shape, compared to a regular pear, and are larger in size. Yali Pears are ripened after picking, which allows the starches to convert to sugars, making a very sweet and juicy fruit. The Yali Pear tastes very comparable to the common Asian pear with a crisp, juicy, sweet flavor. Enjoy Yali Pears for an afternoon snack or in an evening salad for a refreshing taste treat. Yali pears can be substituted for regular pears in recipes. Store pears at room temperature for up to one week. Pears may be refrigerated to stop the ripening process. Handle with care! Melissa's Yali Pears are very susceptible to bruising.
Originally grown in California and tasting almost home-grown, these beautiful hot house grown tomatoes are now available in clusters (on the vine). A delicious tomato flavor, beautiful color, and wonderful texture. These delightfully sweet tomatoes are a great addition to any sandwich or salad. Also, a refreshing low calorie snack between meals, Melissa?s Cluster Tomatoes are great all year. Cluster Tomatoes are wonderful in pastas and sauces due to their sweet flavor.
Look for smooth, unblemished, deep-green skins with faint stripes or specks of gold and no withering at either end. Scrub clean and slice off both ends. Do not peel the edible skin. Zucchinis can be baked, broiled, grilled or stir-fried. Tiny zucchinis are good raw, with just a drizzle of olive oil.