Category: Featured Produce

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is an oblong yellow colored winter squash that is named for the spaghetti like nature of its flesh.  When raw, the flesh is hard and generally orange or yellow in color.  When cooked, it comes apart in ribbons, giving it the appearance of spaghetti. (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…)

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…)

Tomatillos

Tomatillos

Tomatillos are also called “tomate verde” in Mexico (which means green tomato) and are considered a staple in Mexican cooking.  They are a member of the nightshade family, related to tomatoes.  Tomatillos now grow everywhere in the Western Hemisphere and are common in Texas gardens.

Tomatillos can range in size from about an inch in diameter to the size of apricots.  They are covered by a papery husk which may range from the pale green or purple color of the fruit itself to a light grocery-bag brown.  Before using tomatillos, remove the outer inedible husks, and rinse well, as the fruit is covered in a sticky wax.  They are very easy to cook because they don’t need to be peeled or seeded.  Their texture is firm when raw, but soften when cooked.   (more…)

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

The tomato, like the eggplant, is a member of the Solanaceae, or Nightshade family.  Tomatoes are native to western South America, but were cultivated in Mexico by Mexican Indians, who were intrigued by its resemblance to the tomatillo – a staple in their cuisine.  With the discovery of the New World, tomato seeds were brought back to Spain, beginning the introduction of the fruit into Europe.  Tomatoes made their way to North America with the colonists who first settled in Virginia. (more…)

Eggplant

Eggplant

Eggplant is a member of the Solanaceae, or “nightshade,” family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, sweet peppers, and potatoes. As you already noticed, they come in a variety of shapes and colors. While the varieties exhibit slightly different tastes and textures, generally eggplants have a pleasantly bitter taste and spongy texture. (more…)

Green Beans

Green Beans

Green beans, also known as snap beans because they “snap” when broken, are harvested when young, when the beans inside the pod are small and tender and the pods are thin. They are very low in calories (about 44 per cup) and loaded with nutrients such as vitamins K, A, and C, fiber, folate and anti-oxidants. (more…)

Savoy cabbage

Cabbage

Cabbage is a leafy green or purple biennial plant, grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. Closely related to other cole crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.  Smooth-leafed firm-headed green cabbages are the most common, with smooth-leafed red and crinkle-leafed savoy cabbages of both colors seen less frequently.  The cabbage heads are generally picked during the first year of the plants’ life cycles, but those intended for seed are allowed to grow a second year. (more…)

Summer Squash

Summer Squash

Welcome to Summer Squash season!  As you may have noticed already, summer squash appears in a variety of shapes and colors, the most prevalent being the well-known green zucchini, the straight or crooked necked yellow squash, and the round, flat, often scalloped edge, patty pan squash.  All these varieties are tender, warm-season vegetables that differ from their fall and winter cousins in that they are selected to be harvested while still immature.  Thus, the entire vegetable, rind, flesh, and seeds, can be eaten. (more…)

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard, along with kale, mustard greens, and collard greens, is one of several leafy, green vegetables often referred to as “greens.”  It belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and shares a similar taste profile.  Chard is a tall, leafy vegetable with a thick, crunchy stalk (akin to celery but less stringy) that comes in white, red, or yellow, with wide, fan-like, ruffled leaves that are similar to spinach but chewier.  Regardless of the stalks’ color, they have similar flavors and cooking properties, although the white stalks are most tender.  Very tender leaves can be added directly to green salads. (more…)