Hello, March 2019!

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Even though it is Carnival Season around the world and Mardi Parades are in full swing in New Orleans, it’s time for the seasonal produce guide for March.This year, according to the calendar, Spring will begin on March 20, 2019. And very soon the home gardens and large farms will be sprouting, growing and producing more local produce that will begin to show up in your local farmer’s markets. Peas and lettuce greens will be in abundance as well as asparagus, artichokes, and several varieties of citrus fruits.

It is the perfect time to “Spring Clean”, your diet.

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for March:

Artichokes
Asparagus
Avocado
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Chicory
Chives
Collard Greens
Endive
Garlic
Guava
Grapefruit
Kale
Kiwifruit
Kumquats
Leeks
Lemons
Lettuce Greens
Limes
Mint
Mushrooms
Onions
Oranges
Parsley
Parsnips
Peas
Potatoes
Radishes
Rhubarb
Rutabaga
Spinach
Strawberries
Sweet Potatoes
Swiss Chard
Tangerines
Turnips
Walnuts

 

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Hello, February 2019!

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Hopefully by now, every one who is experiencing winter is embracing the selection of the cold-weather produce. Depending on one’s personal preferences for certain fruits and vegetables that are available, eating can take some adjustment for many. However, it is better for your budget and for the environment, as you are buying what is local and in season. Of course, what is in season in February will vary with your location.

February is a great month for citrus fruits, which are the best source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids that help us strengthen the immune system and prevent seasonal ailments. To better absorb their active ingredients, citrus fruits should be eaten whole (don’t eat the peel unless it’s from certified organic farming, otherwise we’ll most probably eat pesticides).There’s nothing quite like fresh-squeezed orange juice to chase away a chilly winter afternoon and to help keep seasonal maladies at bay. Other allies against cold are dried fruits, which are nutritious and energizing as well as excellent ingredients to prepare savory and light sweets.

As for vegetables, parsnips can be a change of pace. As a root vegetable, they can be used as a substitute for potatoes, carrots and turnips in recipes that you have in your weekly menu rotation.

So at the beginning of each month, we will feature a fruit or vegetable that is season with a few recipes that may spark your interest and please your palate. We just want to help make shopping for seasonal foods a little easier in making your grocery list for the weekly trip to the store, a s well a helping out your wallet!

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for February:

Apples
Avocados
Bananas
Beets
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Clementines
Collard Greens
Endive
Fennel
Garlic
Grapefruit
Kale
Leeks
Lemons
Limes
Mushrooms
Onions
Oranges
Parsnips
Pears
Pomelos
Potatoes
Radicchio
Radishes
Rutabagas
Spinach
Sunchokes
Sweet Potatoes
Swiss Chard
Tangelos
Tangerines
Turnips
Winter Squash

Persimmons

persimmon

Persimmons are a beautiful fall fruit, typically available in North America from October to January. They have an exquisite, delicate texture and flavor which some people compare to peaches or mangos.

This orange-colored fruit resembles tomatoes in shape and size, and features a beautiful floral-shaped leaf and small calyx (stem). Many persimmon purists insist that the only way to enjoy them is to eat them raw, but their tender flesh can be enjoyed in many ways; try them in chutneys, salsas, jams, purées, or even baked!

How to Select Persimmons

Look for vibrantly coloured persimmons that are free from punctures or cuts. They should also be plump and heavy for their size and their skin should be smooth and glossy. Similar to bananas, you may notice some natural sugar freckles. Those little spots are a sign of extra sweetness.

There are two varieties, the Fuyu and Rojo Brillante (more commonly identified by its trademark name, Persimon®) that are ready to eat when firm. The Hachiya variety continues to ripen after it is picked and needs to soften significantly before eating.

How to Store Persimmons

It is best to keep “ready to eat” varieties such as the Fuya and Rojo Brillante (or Persimon®) in a cool place or on the counter, as opposed to the refrigerator.

Hachiya persimmons should be left to ripen on the counter at room temperature until they are very soft. Once ripe, store in the fruit drawer of the fridge, in a plastic bag.

How to Prepare Persimmons

Persimmons are extremely easy to prepare! Wash them under cool water. If you wish you can peel them, remove the stems, then half, quarter, or slice before eating. You can also eat them fresh out of hand, as you would an apple. The skins are edible however, many people choose to peel the skin away (much like cutting away apple skins).

This fruit is seedless, so it’s a perfect choice for a no-fuss, kid-friendly treat. To make them extra special, try slicing them horizontally, much like cutting tomatoes for burgers to reveal a beautiful star pattern inside!

Persimmon Varieties

Rojo Brillante

Persimon® is the trademark name used to identify the Rojo Brillante persimmon variety grown caquis-1-1351863708in Ribera del Xúquer, Spain. Persimon® are bright orange and tend to be larger and longer than other persimmons. They are non-astringent, and are ready to eat when they are firm, and can also be enjoyed when they are soft. The sweet flavor of this variety is mildly reminiscent of peaches and mangos combined.

Fuyu

The Fuyu Persimmon is a part of the Japanese Persimmon Tree family, and is one of the most fuyu_persimmon_tree-image2popular fresh eating Japanese persimmon varieties in the world.

This non-astringent, short , round, flattened fruit resembles a Roma tomato. They range from being orange to yellow and will have a reddish-orange skin when ripe. The Fuyu Persimmon tree bears at a young age and is a heavy producer. The fruit is seedless and is excellent for fresh eating or cooking. They can be consumed when firm or soft The Fuyu ripens in November and is as sweet and crisp as an apple and can be quite juicy. In the United States, this variety grows in zones 6 – 10.

Hachiya

The Hachiya is a very large, oblong or cone shaped persimmon that has bright orange-red skin hachiya_persimmon_tree-image1when ripe. This astringent variety is considered the largest and best cooking quality persimmon. However, they must be ripened before they are consumed, otherwise they will impart a very bitter taste. Their flesh when ripened is extremely tender, silky and sweet. The Hachiya Persimmon is an upright-spreading, vigorous tree that produces rich, sweet delicious fruits in November. (100-200 Chill Hours). In the United States, it grows in zones: 6 – 10.

How to Freeze Persimmons

Persimmons can be frozen whole and unpeeled or in a puréed format.

To freeze whole: Wash the outside of the persimmon well and dry completely. Store in a re-sealable freezer-safe bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. Place in freezer and use within a year. Like other fruits, they will not maintain their fresh texture once defrosted so it’s best to include them in a recipe or smoothie.

To freeze in puréed form: Peel persimmons, cut into chunks and purée in a blender. Freeze in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Alternately, divide among ice cube trays, freeze then transfer the cubes to an airtight bag to use when smaller portion are required. Be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible from the bags, so the content will not become freezer burnt. Store in freezer for one year. The purée may brown [oxidize] in the freezer, but the slight change in colour will not affect the taste. To discourage this, add the juice from one lemon approximately ¼ cup, per 1.5 pounds of fruit purée.

Persimmon Tips

•Store persimmons on the counter to ripen for up to 3 or 4 days.
•To hasten the ripening process, place persimmons in a paper bag.
•Persimmons are seedless—making them perfect for kids!
•Their buttery flesh is delicious in smoothies.
•An easy way to eat soft, ripe persimmons is to cut off the top and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.

What Goes well with Persimmons?

Produce: arugula, avocado, bananas, coconut, collard greens, cherries, cranberries, daikon, endive, figs, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, lettuce, lemon and lime, leeks, pineapple, parsnip, pears, pomegranates, radicchio, sesame, spinach, sweet potato, turnip, and watercress

Herbs & Spices: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, and vanilla

Dairy: creamy cheeses, halloumi, feta, goat cheese, ice cream, and yogurt

Other: brandy, rum, jams, maple syrup, almonds, hazelnuts, olives, walnuts and chocolate

Persimmon Serving Ideas

Many people prefer to eat persimmons fresh and on their own, but they are a wonderful addition to recipes. Try adding puréed persimmon to chutneys or jams, or chop them up to add to salsas. You can add the salsa to savoury recipes much like you would peach sauce or salsa.

Another tip is to use them for delicious appetizers like these pan-fried Brie cheese canapés with persimmon salsa, grilled Persimon® crostini with manchego and wine reduction or Persimon® wrapped in Serrano ham with Manchego and watercress.

Make your breakfast full of persimmon goodness by adding them to smoothies (like this one from Pineapple and Coconut), topping for your favourite yogurt and cinnamon-spiced granola, or filling light crepes with slices of creamy persimmon.

Persimmons complement many meat dishes. Try them with pork chops or chicken.

Slice persimmons horizontally to add to a salad to show off their unique and wonderful star pattern. Their tender sweetness is wonderful with leafy greens and kale too!

In desserts, use their wonderfully coloured flesh to contrast against dark chocolate. Or impress your guests with these gorgeous persimmon tartlettes.

Persimmons Nutrition

According to the Canadian Nutrient File, 1 persimmon (approx. 170 g) contains a number of your daily-recommended intake of nutrients: 24% of fibre (6 g), 21% of Vitamin C, 21% of Vitamin A, 8% of potassium, 5% of Vitamin K, 3% of phosphorus, and lots of antioxidants! Specifically, 1 persimmon contains 1401 µg of lutein and zeaxanthin, 267 µg of lutein, and 2431 µg of beta cryptozanthin.

Source:

Produce Made Simple: Persimmons. (2018). The Ontario Produce Marketing Association. Date Accessed: December 20, 2018. https://producemadesimple.ca/persimmon/

Willis Orchard Company. (2017). Date Accessed: December 20, 2018. https://www.willisorchards.com/