Produce News for April 19th, 2010
LEMONS (Monday, April 19): The world’s biggest fish fry is going on all this week in Paris. Well, Paris, Tennessee, and if you’re going to have fish, you better have some lemon with that fish. Unfortunately, we are starting to see some of the highest prices of the year. That’s actually pretty normal. You see, just as summer demand starts to take off this time of year, domestic supplies are at their lowest point. The Lemon, like other Citrus, is a “winter” fruit. Since you’re paying more for your Lemons, you should at least learn to get all the juice out of one. Now, there’s several ways of getting the lemon juice out of the lemon. You get one of those fancy juicers, but if you’re only doing one or two lemons and you just need a little bit of juice - here’s what you can do. You can roll that lemon on a hard surface and what that does, it breaks all of the cells inside before you squeeze it, making it much easier to squeeze the juice. You see, all Citrus is made up of basically hundreds of little tiny “water balloons.” If you break those water balloons, the juice comes out easier. There’s also another way. It’s in the way you cut the Lemon. When you cut it in half, cut it long ways, from the North Pole to the South Pole, because what you’re doing there, you’re cutting through a lot more cell structure, so when you go to squeeze that lemon, it’s a lot easier to get that lemon out of there. So serving fish like at the world’s biggest fish fry, better know how to squeeze your lemons
APPLES (Tuesday, April 20): All right. So which apple are you going to put in your apple pie? I know a lot of people will just put their golden delicious into their apple pie. Nothing but golden delicious. And there are some people that will put granny smith apples into their apple pie. Well, there’s also a third choice. There’s also a Braeburn apple. Oh, my goodness! This is the most popular dessert apple in all of New Zealand right. If they make desserts in New Zealand, this is the apple that they use. So you’ve got great tartness with the granny smith. You’ve got great sweetness with the golden delicious. May I suggest something? If you really want the world’ best apple pie, mix it up a little bit. So have a little bit of golden delicious, a little bit of granny smith, and a little bit of Braeburn apple. If you mix it up, everybody is going to say, “That’s the best apple pie. What’re you using in there?” Just tell them, “I just mixed it up a little.”
FRESH HERBS (Wednesday, April 21): All right. Get out your little mug of water here. Get out your fresh herbs. Tomorrow is Earth Day so I thought it’d be fun to talk about, you know, green energy. That’s the big topic these days – green energy. Well, you know, the original green energy actually began in the produce department - with fresh herbs. One of the very first things that the early colonists did when they arrived here to the New World, they first planted fresh herbs for two reasons. Number one, fresh herbs - there are minerals and antioxidants in fresh herbs that literally boost your energy. They needed energy. Number two, it flavored a lot of their dishes. They didn’t know what kind of food they would find here, but they knew they needed flavor for whatever food they found here. So you have to have flavor in your dishes. Today we unfortunately use a lot more salt. We’ve got to stop using so much salt, and the way to do that? Put more flavor into your dishes by using fresh herbs. Now, I’ve got my little mug of water because this is where I store my fresh herbs. My mug of water goes right into the refrigerator.
BELL PEPPERS (Thursday, April 22): Hey, today is Earth Day. Actually today is the 40th Earth Day. It’s the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and we’re talking about the environment so I thought I’d talk about green packaging. Over the past five to ten years green packaging, how we package produce and how we package products has become really important. Well, I wanted to bring the original green packaging in. That’s right. Bell peppers. Have you ever had stuffed bell peppers? That is a fabulous green package. Now, April actually is one of the worst times of the year for bell peppers. By the way, when I’m picking out bell peppers the first thing I do, I pick up two of them and then I just rub them together. If they squeak, that means they’re fresh. Now one of the things that you need to also do is just pick one up in your hand. Feel it in your hand. It needs to be very heavy for its size. The heavier it is means it’s going to have really thick walls in there. The thinner the walls, the shorter the shelf life. So this time of year, the Bells have thinner walls. Buy your bell peppers – use them quickly.
PEARS (Friday, April 23): You’re walking into the produce aisle and you walk by the pear section – you’ve got all those beautiful winter pears like the Comice pear, and you have the Bosc pear, and the red D’Anjou pear – all these wonderful winter pears. And then you look a little bit to the right or maybe to the left and you say, “Whoa! Those are summerBartlett pears.” That’s right! We normally get our domestic crop of Bartlett pears in July. Well it’s not July yet. So where in the world are these coming from? Well, get out your world atlas. It happens to be summer time in the southern hemisphere, so let’s go to a country called Chile. That’s been in the news recently with the earthquakes about a month ago. And then, of course, Argentina right next door. So Argentina and Chile are now sending us beautiful summer Bartlett pears. Now, one of the things you need to know, these have just been picked. They will take a little bit longer to ripen, so please be patient with your Bartlett pears. Let them ripen in a brown paper bag or a shoebox, and they’ll be so good.