Spring Produce Tips



Spring Produce Tips

Apricots
Check for ripeness by fragrance and a deep, uniform golden color.
Store at room temp until ripe, then refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Artichokes
Fresh artichokes feel heavy for its size and squeaks when squeezed.
Brown spots on the outer leaves are okay, they are just a sign of frost.
Refrigerate unwashed artichokes in a plastic bag for up to 5 days.
Use stainless-steel knives or shears to cut artichokes.

Asparagus
Store with the stem ends submerged in water to keep fresher longer.
To revive limp stalks, cut off ¼ inch of the ends and stand in ice water in the fridge for 2 hours.

Broccoli
Broccoli should smell fresh and not cabbagy.
Peel the tough skin off the stems then slice or chop the inner tender pieces for more bang for your buck.

Chives
Store chives wrapped in a paper towel, in a plastic bag, in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Collard and Mustard Greens
Look for crisp, brightly colored leaves with no signs of browning or insect damage.
Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 5 days.

Fennel
Fresh fennel should be clean, crisp bulbs with no signs of browning.
Both the base and stems of fennel can be eaten raw or snip the greens to add to salads and cold dishes.
The bulb can also be grilled, braised, boiled, sautéed, or cooked and pureed.
Use leftover pureed fennel to thicken soups or sauces.

Green Beans
Choose firm, smooth, and brightly colored pods.
To quickly trim ends, tap a loose handful on your cutting board until all the stems line up. Lay the beans on the board and slice off the stems in one cut. Repeat for the other side as well.
To keep beans vibrant, sauté for a few minutes and serve crisp-tender or steam for 5 minutes and plunge into an ice bath.

Honeydew
Ripe melons should feel heavy for their size, smell fragrant, and contain no blemishes, bruises, soft spots, wrinkles, or bumps.

Limes
Always scrub before zesting to remove any insecticides or fungicides.

Mango
Choose firm mangoes that are just beginning to show some yellow or red in the skin with tight skin and a faintly skin sweet aroma.

Morel Mushrooms
Store in a paper bag to keep them from getting slimy.
To remove the compost and other grimy things they grow in, rinse them individually and lay to dry on a dry towel, when finished blot dry.

Oranges
Always scrub before zesting to remove any insecticides or fungicides.
For juicing buy Valencia oranges, for sweetest buy Blood oranges, and for seedless buy Navel.
Halve and hollow-out oranges to make individual bowls for serving fruit salad or ice cream, just cut a small slice off the bottom to make it flat taking care not to slice through the rind.

Pea Pods, English Peas, and Snow Peas
Choose firm, plump, unblemished pods.
Store unwashed in a plastic bag in the fridge for no more than 2 days.
Add the shelled pods to a pot of chicken or vegetable stock and simmer for an hour, remove with a slotted spoon, for extra flavored broth.

Pineapple
Look for a fresh, dark green top and taut, shiny skin for the ripest pineapples.
Use pineapple cores in marinades – along with the juices that accumulate during cutting, chop up the tough core and use to marinate chicken, pork, and beef.

Rhubarb
Thin rhubarb stalks are likely to be more tender than thick ones.
Always discard the leaves before cooking, they’re poisonous.

Spinach
Triple-washed isn’t guaranteed to be free of dirt – this is news to me.
Check spinach stems for thinness and flexibility to choose the most tender spinach – this is best for salads or eating raw.
Thick, fibrous stems are better for cooking.

Spring Baby Lettuce
Add a paper towel to your salad spinner to help remove excess moisture.

Strawberries
Choose brightly colored, plump berries with their green gaps attached.
Wash before hulling.

Sweet Corn
Refrigerate for no more than a day after purchasing.
Choose ears that are bright green with plump, milky kernels.
Don’t buy husked corn – the market most likely removed the husk because it was discolored or showing signs of aging.
Don’t put husks or silks in the garbage disposal.

Vidalia Onions
Sweet and juicy and usually from Georgia.
Store in a cool, dry place with good air circulation for up to 2 months.


 

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