Eat This Now for 05/20/13 features:
Dark Sweet Cherries, Apricots, Sweet Corn, Seedless Mini Cucumbers and Idaho Russet Potatoes
Best if Used By 05/27/13 | Visit producegeek.com
Dark Sweet Cherries
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR
BING! You are now free to move about the cabin… er, umm… You are now free to enjoy in-season Dark Sweet Cherries from California! This year’s crop from California orchards is already at its peak, so late May and the first week of June will be an outstanding time to enjoy the rich, classic red Cherry flavor and sweet juiciness of the Bing and other dark-sweet varieties.
Dark Sweet Cherries are an indulgent seasonal snack to just enjoy simply – hand-to-mouth, spit a pit, repeat… and repeat. But you can also get creative on the recipes front too if you invest a few bucks in a hand-held cherry-pitter tool so you can try fun things like making Cherry Sangria. All that Cherry snacking can benefit your body as well since Dark Sweet Cherries are said to aid with Heart Disease and Cancer Prevention, plus help your body with Pain Relief and Bone Health.
Even on sale, Cherries are a little pricey, so shop smart. Carefully inspect all sides of the Cherry packages to avoid wetness or splits. If the Cherries are in a bag, give a couple a gentle squeeze – you’ll want them to feel firm. Keep Cherries cold and rinse just before use. Peak season Cherries can be washed, then frozen with the stems still on in plastic bags with the air removed, then thawed in the refrigerator up to three months later for a convenient snack.
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR
Seasonal treats are fun! And one of the delightful fruits that’s back in season is fresh Apricots. These small stone fruits with velvety skins are prized for their distinctive tasting orange flesh. The fruit can be drier than a plum, though not always, and the flavor intensifies when baked or dehydrated. When Apricots are running sweet, I love ‘em as a satisfying, high fiber snack. Here are some delicious-looking Apricot recipes to explore.
Peak season has begun for Apricots in the San Joaquin Valley of California and will continue through July. Here in May the fruit has been on the small size, but quite tasty, pleasantly sweet and juicier than normal. Store fresh Apricots in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat them. If you want the fruit a little softer, set your Apricots on the counter for a day or two at room temperature.
PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED | BEST FLAVOR
Plan on having Corn on the Cob this weekend at your Memorial Day celebration. Sunshine Sweet Corn (spring-crop Corn grown in Florida) continues in peak season and many stores are featuring it at ridiculously affordable prices to get you to shop at their store for the holiday. White, Yellow and Bi-Color varieties are all eating good – nice flavor, good sweetness and a juicy and tender texture. The sizing is medium in length. Select Sweet Corn that feels full up and down the cob and has green husks. It will last in your fridge for over a week, but will dehydrate and lose flavor every day it sits – so try to use it right away.
RECIPE: Grill-steamed Sweet Corn with Dill-Butter
I’ve been enjoying Sweet Corn cooked on the grill with the husk still on. This has been for the simple reason that the pesky strings of silk are so much easier to remove when it’s been steamed in the husk. The husk will look burnt, but when you let the Corn cool for a couple minutes so it is able to be handled – you’ll find husking it is a breeze. Plus the Corn will be perfectly steamed and have a hint of smoky flavor.
- Allow 4 tbsp of Salted Butter to soften a room temperature
- Finely chop a handful of fresh Dill
- Smash chopped Dill into Butter with a fork
- Pre-heat Grill to high
- Remove loose outer leaves of Sweet Corn
- Rinse the husks with water to add some moisture
- Grill for 8-11 minutes, flipping 1-2 times.
- Remove from heat and husk it just before serving
- Spread Dill-Butter onto husked Corn or serve it as a condiment
SWEET CORN TIPS:
- SELECTING: Choose Sweet Corn that feels full up and down the cob and has green husks.
- STORAGE: It will last in your fridge for over a week, but will dehydrate and lose flavor every day it sits – so try to use it right away.
- BOIL: Over-cooking Sweet Corn can lead to toughness and less flavor. 3-5 minutes in boiling water is really all it takes for perfect Sweet Corn on the Cob.
- MICROWAVE: Microwave on high in the husk for 4-6 minutes. If fresh corn is already husked, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave on high for about 5 minutes.
Get some more mouth-watering Sweet Corn recipes here.
Seedless Mini Cucumbers
BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED
Seedless Mini Cucumbers are becoming more popular with fresh veggie lovers and more prevalent in supermarket produce departments. Why? The skins on these 4-5″ Cukes are thin and less bitter than field Cucumbers. The mild flavor and crunch will be appreciated by the whole family! Plus, they’re a seedless, juicy, healthy and fun snack. Late May and early June will be an excellent time to find Seedless Mini Cucumbers from Canadian and Mexican greenhouses that are in peak season! Typically sold in tray packs or bags, you may find them branded as “Crunchers,” “Persian Pickles,” “One Sweet Mini Cucumbers” or “Mini Cukes.”
RECIPE: Mini Cucumber Parsley-Cream Cheese Stacks
- Slice Seedless Mini Cucumbers into 1″ segments
- Spoon a small dollop of whipped Cream Cheese onto one end
- Lightly season with coarse salt and cracked black pepper
- Chop a few sprigs of Parsley and sprinkle onto the cheese
Idaho Russet Potatoes
Firing up the grill this weekend? Grilled Potatoes are a side dish sure to please a broad audience. Storage crop Idaho-grown Russet Potatoes continue to be in plentiful supply and should be an affordable choice this week. Idaho Russets have low moisture content making them fluffier (think baked, grilled or mashed), less likely to absorb oil (think fried or in casseroles) and easier to get crispy (think roasting and frying).
RECIPE: Cajun Grilled Russets
- Pre-heat grill
- Wash 4 medium to large Idaho Russet Potatoes, pat skin dry with a paper towel
- Slice Potatoes length-wise into thirds, making the longest possible slices
- Toss the football-shaped Potato slabs in a mixing bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil to coat them
- Season with 1 tbsp of your favorite Cajun grill seasoning (or just salt/pepper/paprika)
- Grill over high heat for about 4-6min on the first side, 3-4min on the opposite
- They’re ready when they pierce easily with a fork or knife
Store Russets in a cool, dark place like your pantry closet, but not in the fridge – that’s too cold and will turn the starches into sugar, making them not cook the way they should. It is wise to use Russet Potatoes within a week of purchase this time of year. Scrub Russets before baking or boiling.
Buy Smart. Shop Healthy.
The Produce Geek | Jonathan K. Steffy