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Escarole is green chicory with just a hint of bitter flavor. It forms a broad, open head that resembles leaf lettuce. Wash well, taking special care to go over the base of the inner leaves with your fingers where soil often clings. Use the tender inner leaves to enliven mixed salads. Prepare its outer leaves with sautéed onion and garlic, adding escarole to the pan once alliums are tender; cooking until leaves are just wilted and turn dark. Salt and pepper to taste.
Sugar Baby are summer. After several trials of personal or “ice-box” watermelons we have concluded that our Sugar Baby Watermelon carries the full flavor that only comes in a seeded melon. Few snacks more irresistible that chilled watermelon. Cut the end from a Sugar Baby Watermelon, set the melon on this flat surface for slicing. Cut off the rind, then cut the fruit into chunks that can be stored in a tightly covered glass dish (set at eye level in the refrigerator).
Another delicious addition to turkey sandwiches is Dill mayonnaise. Dill is a lively complement to roasted vegetables and adds flair to fish. Its flavor diminishes the longer it is cooked, so add at the last minute. Stir chopped dill into egg, pasta or potato salads. Make delicious, fresh dill and lemon mayonnaise by combining 1/4 cup chopped dill, 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, and lemon juice to taste in 1-cup mayonnaise.
Rutabagas belong to the cruciferous mustard family. Experts believe them to be the offspring of the wild cabbage and the turnip. Their dense, sweet, golden, firm flesh is protected by a thick and fibrous covering. Using a large knife, cut off the crown. You will see the thickness of the peel; use a paring knife, not a vegetable peeler, to remove. Loaded with complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and rich in flavor, add them to soups and stews or grated raw into a salad.
I find Rutabaga indispensable in beef or lamb stew or vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie. But after tasting a slice of raw rutabaga, a Delaware North chef was recently heard to say “This is so delicious, I’ll never cook rutabaga again.” Rutabagas have more beta-carotene and vitamin C than turnips, are sweeter and contain less moisture. Try some grated into a salad or cole slaw.
Florence Fennel has a bulbous base, stalks similar to celery, and fine leaves. The entire vegetable is edible and can be eaten either raw or cooked: roasted, grilled, and sautéed. The bulb is crunchy and sweet, the stalks can be used in place of celery in salads and soups while the fronds can be used as an herb or as a pretty garnish.
Say (“me king” choy) is a variety of Baby Bok Choy that enjoys our fall weather. It is a natural to stir-fry and tender enough to add an Asian flair to salads. Separate stems and rinse well, rubbing with your thumb to remove stubborn soil. Tear or cut leaf greens from ribs, and cook separately; stack leaves, roll them up and cut crosswise making delicately thin ribbons. When making Ramen, we cook sliced stalks of Mei Qing with the noodles, stirring in thin ribbons of greens with the seasoning.
In Medieval Europe, where sugar was rare and honey expensive, Parsnips served as a common sweetener. This was before the introduction of the potato, making parsnips’ nourishment especially valued on frequent days of abstinence during the Lenten season. Like all root crops, the parsnip becomes sweeter with each morning frost, which causes the root’s starch to convert to sugar. A good source of potassium, fiber, Vitamin C and folate, parsnips make an excellent addition to soups and stews. Too fibrous to eat raw, peel parsnips with a vegetable peeler, the larger specimens may have a woody core that should be removed before cooking.
Tuscan Kale will take longer to cook than chard or spinach, usually 15- 20 minutes. Slice stems away from leaves by folding the leaf length wise and slicing along the stem. Parboil or sauté before adding to omelets, frittatas or vegetable sautés.
Tuscan Kale is an Italian heirloom with savoy-textured, deep green leaves. This mild, tender, non-heading cabbage may be steamed, served with butter or vinegar; kale leaves can be blanched and used like cabbage leaves to make stuffed rolls.
Of course, this is the perfect spinach for a salad, but it can be stir fried or sautéed. Our spinach is never grassy tasting like some of the flat leaf spinachs you can buy.
Wash with water… but Cook without it! Fill a deep basin with water. Remove Spinach from bag, immerse, and after gentle agitation allow to rest undisturbed for 5-10 minutes. Scoop out leaves and drain. Sauté, Stir-fry, or Microwave until just wilted. Garnish with Pimento or Sweet Red Pepper. Waterless cooking is the secret to sweet, flavorful spinach. And don’t trim the stems; that’s where the sugar is! Enjoy!
This miniature version of European hothouse cucumbers is virtually seedless, features a tender, edible skin, a crisp texture and delicate flavor. Try them in your favorite summer salad recipe!
Since our Mediterranean Cucumbers need not be peeled, they make lovely tea sandwiches for entertaining guests. Layer thinly sliced cucumbers on buttered bread, lightly salted, chill before serving. First cultivated in Asia, cucumbers were brought to America by Columbus, and eventually grown by Native Americans and colonists from Florida to Canada. Edible plants in the family Brassicaceae are termed Cruciferous vegetables because their seeds are marked with a cross that can be seen under magnification. Widely considered to be healthful foods, they are high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties. Native to western Europe, the Mediterranean and temperate regions of Asia, the brassica family boasts more important agricultural and horticultural crops than any other.
The word “Cabbage” is an Anglicized form of the French caboche, meaning “head.” Like all crucifers, Cabbage is nutrient dense, rich in Vitamins A & C, calcium, potassium and antioxidants. The Arkansas Black is thought to have been developed in the mid- 19th Century in that state. Generally dark red on the tree, with a slight green blush where hidden from the sun, these apples turn dark burgundy as they ripen. Their flesh is notably hard and fairly tart when fresh, mellowing in both flavor and texture in storage.
There are more than 30 varieties of Parsley. In ancient times, parsley wreaths were used to ward off drunkenness. Today, this slightly peppery, fresh-flavored herb is more commonly used as a flavoring and garnish. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and an essential ingredient in soup stock. Refrigerate, unwashed, in a microperf bag.
Parsley contains three times as much vitamin C as an orange, boosting our immune systems, protecting against cardiovascular disease, keeping our skin elastic and minimizing wrinkles. Rich in vitamin A, folate, potassium, and calcium, parsley contains a wide array of antioxidants providing protection from arterial blood clotting, and dangerous free radicals. Certain phytochemicals found in parsley have been shown to slow the development of some cancers, prevent others, and help to reduce cholesterol. From bunched Italian Parsley, pinch off whole leaves for use in a green salad.