Category: Featured Produce
Brussels sprouts as they are now known were grown possibly as early as the 13th century in what is now Belgium. During the 16th century, they enjoyed a popularity in the southern Netherlands that eventually spread throughout the cooler parts of Northern Europe. They are a cool weather crop that, rather than being damaged by a frost, actually gets a little sweeter and improves in taste. (more…)
Curly endive, also known as frisée, is a leafy vegetable in the chicory family. (Other chicory types include bitter veggies like escarole, radicchio, and the white-leaved Belgian endive). Curly endive is a crisp bitter green can be used as an addition in salads, or can be cooked as a side dish. The inner pale leaves are somewhat more tender and mild than the bitter outer ones.
Bell peppers belong to the nightshade (Solanaceae) family of plants, along with chili pepper, cayenne pepper, eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes (except sweet potatoes and yams). Their scientific name is Capsicum annuum. This scientific name, however, is used to refer not only to bell peppers, but also to wax peppers, cayenne peppers, chili peppers, and jalapeno peppers. (more…)
Leeks, known scientifically as Allium porrum, are related to garlic, onions, shallots, and scallions. Leeks look like large scallions, having a very small bulb and a long white cylindrical stalk of tightly wrapped, layered leaves. With a more delicate and sweeter flavor than onions, leeks add a subtle touch to recipes without overpowering the other flavors that are present. (more…)
Butternut squash is a winter squash belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family of field pumpkins. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It has tan-yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp with a compartment of seeds in the bottom. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. (more…)
Calorie for calorie, leafy green vegetables like spinach provide more nutrients than any other food. Spinach is thought to have originated in ancient Persia. Spinach made its way to China in the 7th century when the king of Nepal sent it as a gift to this country. Spinach has a much more recent history in Europe than many other vegetables. It was only brought to that continent in the 11th century, when the Moors introduced it into Spain. In fact, for a while, spinach was known as “the Spanish vegetable” in England. (more…)
Sweet potatoes are native to Central and South America and are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. They have been consumed since prehistoric times as evidenced by sweet potato relics dating back 10,000 years that have been discovered in Peruvian caves.
Christopher Columbus brought sweet potatoes to Europe after his first voyage to the New World in 1492. By the 16th century, they were brought to the Philippines by Spanish explorers and to Africa, India, Indonesia, and southern Asia by the Portuguese. Around this same time, sweet potatoes began to be cultivated in the southern United States, where they still remain a staple food in the traditional cuisine. (more…)
Although considered a winter squash, acorn squash actually belongs to the same species as all “summer” squashes (such as zucchini and yellow squash). The most common variety is dark green in color, but newer varieties can be yellow, white, even variegated. As the name suggests, its shape resembles that of an acorn. It is a good candidate for winter storage, keeping several months in a cool dry location. Squash can be refrigerated, but it will deteriorate quickly and should only be refrigerated 1-2 weeks. (more…)
You may have noticed that the potatoes we get have had different hues of flesh. Potatoes actually come in a rainbow of colors, from yellow “Yukon Gold” to “Purple Peruvian”.
Potatoes technically are not roots. They are the swollen stems of rhizomes that we call tubers. The “eyes” of the potato are actually growth points. While potatoes have gotten a bad rap as carbohydrates, they are actually quite good for you. A single medium sized potato contains about 3.6 grams of protein, 3.6 grams of dietary fiber, 36 grams of carbohydrates, and between 33-50% of RDA of Vitamin C. (more…)