Category: Featured Produce

English Peas

Garden Peas (aka English Peas)

Garden, or English peas, are your standard “pea in a pod.” They have more nutrients and calories than snow or sugar snap peas and are a bit more work as they need to be shelled. Garden peas are sweet and succulent for three to four days after they are picked, but turn mushy and starchy very quickly after harvesting.  So use them fast! (more…)

Sugar snap peas

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas, unlike last week’s garden peas, have edible pods that are filled with plump sweet peas.  Use them quickly as they lose their flavor and structure when stored.  They can be eaten raw, but are best when cooked, requiring little time:  steam sugar snaps for about 4 minutes. (more…)

Arugula

Arugula

If you ever see a salad green referred to as “rocket,” it’s simply another name for arugula, or roquette in French. Yet another brassicaceae along with kale and cauliflower, its delightfully pungent leaves have been cultivated in the Mediterranean since time was recorded. As such, arugula is a perennial favorite in Italian cooking. (more…)

Spinach

Spinach

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…)

Winter Veggies

Protecting the Stock-Up

Now that you have your stock-up share, how do you keep it edible if you don’t want to refrigerate everything? If you don’t have a root cellar, and my guess is few of us have one, can you leave it all in the garage or is it safer in the basement? (more…)

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

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…)

Endive (aka Frisée)

Curly Endive (aka Frisée)

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.

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Peppers

Bell Peppers

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

Leeks

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

Butternut Squash

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…)