I would like to welcome my guest blogger Samantha Samonte. She is a writer for Culinary One – http://www.culinaryone.com – and is focusing her article today on how to pick and store the best Fall fruits and vegetables. Can’t wait for Fall and to start eating these nutrient packed foods!
In Season: FALL Fruits and Vegetables
My how time flies… the “ber” months are coming and as another season is fast approaching, one must remember to comprehend that with the changing of the seasons comes the change of fruits and vegetables in season. Most especially if you are keen on sourcing your ingredients fresh and if possible from “farm to table” .
Here are a few pointers on which fruits and vegetables will be faring their best, how to store them and for how long in this lovely season of FALL.
- SPINACH –High in fiber, protein, iron magnesium, vitamin C and A. You’ll never go wrong with Popeye’s much-loved favorite! Pick out the ones with the leaves that are about an inch wide and not too pointed. They are best small and soft, larger leaves can be hard and bitter. Fresh spinach will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. Make sure it is stored in closed container.
- BROCCOLI – the favorite luscious green high in minerals antioxidants and immune boosting vitamin C and A. Pick broccoli that’s a deep green with stems that are taut. Check the spaces between the florettes, as they are a convenient hiding place for aphids and caterpillars. To clean, plunge them in warm water with a little white vinegar added for about 5-10 minutes. Whatever floats should be taken away. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If frozen, it will keep for up to 6 months.
- SWISS CHARD – Another green favorite, highly nutritious enriched with 13 polyphenol phytonutrients. Best to have with your roast turkey or chicken salad. Pick the ones with a lively deep green color and large bright colored stems. Refrigerate and store in a loose plastic bag. Consume within a week.
- CONCORDE GRAPES – The kind of grape used to make jelly, juice or pies. They should have a slight musty fragrance medium sized and smooth with dark blue violet color with a powdery quality They are best refrigerated, kept in an airtight container and lined with a paper towel to absorb moisture.
- APPLES – This fall is best season to apply the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Among other healthy reasons, this fiber rich fruit lines the tummy and protects it from acidity. When choosing your apples, make sure the stems are firm and stiff. The skin a good color and without bruising. You can store them in a cool dry place uncovered, or refrigerate them if you like to eat them cold. Consume within 1-2 weeks.
- POMEGRANATES – Classified as one of the “super fruits” this Mediterranean fruit is great for juicing, smoothies and as add on for salads. Ripe pomegranates develop a distinct orange color and sound metallic when tapped. Skin should be smooth and free from cuts and bruises. Store in cool dark place and they will keep for about a week. When refrigerated, they will keep for about 2 weeks.
- PERSIMMONS – This unique fruit comes in Fuyu or Hachiya varieties. A favorite add on for salads and desserts not only for its color but also for its spice. Pick the ones that are a deep orange with firm and taut skin. Store in a cool dry place, it will keep for up to 3 weeks. When you notice them soften though, that means they should be eaten.
- WINTER SQUASH – A traditional ingredient for soups and casseroles, squash are high in carbohydrates, beta-carotene and antioxidants. Bottoms should be rock hard and without any cuts. Stems should be fat, firm and dry. Store in a cool dry place. Smaller ones will keep for a month while larger ones for several months.
- NUTS – It may not be such a big deal, but when harvested fresh they sure are the best. When picking out nuts, inspect the shells and make sure they are not damaged or discolored. Nuts should seem heavy for their size. Try shelling one or two at first, they should be crisp with a creamy and opaque tone. Store in cool dry and dark place. They should keep for about a month when refrigerated. If frozen, they will keep for a year.
10. MUSHROOMS – Great for soups and pasta, or as an appetizer sautéed with garlic and onions. When picking out fresh mushrooms, they should have a light colored under hat, firm and dry, but not dried out. When refrigerating, store them in brown paper, never plastic. To make sure they don’t dampen, line the brown paper with paper towels. Keeps for 2 days.
Samantha Samonte is a writer for Culinary One, a website about culinary careers, cuisines and healthy cooking . <pls link to www.culinaryone.com > Helping aspiring chefs to find the best cooking schools in America. She spends the rest of her time living life to the fullest in the company of her laptop and creative writing prowess.