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vegetables

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How to make corn on the cob perfectly every time

Is it even summer yet if you haven’t had corn on the cob? Biting teeth first into a buttery, bright yellow ear of corn is one of those moments of pure summer joy. It’s a rare vegetable that kids enjoy just as much as adults. The fuss-free summer staple is delicious topped with just a pat of butter and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Peak season for sweet corn is May through September, so pick it up at the grocer or farmers market and enjoy it while you can. 1. pick out the best ears Husks should have a green sheen to them and should be tightly wrapped against the cob. The tassels on top should be moist and tacky to the touch. If they’re black or dry, then you’re looking at an old ear of corn. If you have the rare opportunity to peek a bit deeper, peel…

What’s in season in May? A guide to spring produce

The list of in season fruits and vegetables starts to lengthen in May as weather turns warmer for even the northernmost states. Citrus is on its way out, along with cool weather crops, but most of the country can now enjoy spring icons like asparagus and rhubarb. Southern and western states start to welcome summer produce like berries and cherries. Asparagus We really only get good asparagus for about two months of the year, so enjoy it all the time now, while you can. Try this asparagus tart with strawberry salsa for the ultimate spring brunch. Or go back to the basics with 4 ways to cook asparagus. Cabbage Cabbage comes back in season this month. This hearty vegetable can handle frost, but not heat. So even if we get a late-season frost, the cabbage crop still stays strong, but cabbage heads (which are mostly water) will expand and split…

Thick or thin? The skinny on asparagus size

‘Tis the season for asparagus. And whether we get it from the grocer or our garden, it would be hard not to notice the size difference in asparagus stalks. So which is better, thick or thin? For a while “thin was in.” Skinny stalks were thought to be more tender and were even marketed as “gourmet.” Thicker stalks were passed over at the market because they were thought of as woody and tough. (Admit it. You assumed this, too.) But larger doesn’t actually mean tougher, and our association of “young” and “tender,” when it comes to asparagus, is incorrect. In fact, according to Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, young asparagus puts a lot of energy into producing spears that can stand upright, so the younger plant is more likely to have more crude fiber per square inch. Whereas, if thick asparagus got a reputation as woody, it’s because home cooks…

Creamy asparagus, mushroom casserole

This creamy asparagus and mushroom casserole is the picture of spring side dishes. It uses up loads of that delicious, just-from-the-garden asparagus, fresh mushrooms, and leftover hard-boiled eggs. (Confession: My eggs had pretty pastel spots from getting dyed just days before, but this dish is a great way to make sure they don’t go to waste!) I’m a big fan of this casserole because it delivers such a big serving of vegetables, but it’s also so flavorful, I would eat it as a meal. The smoked paprika brings a lot of flavor to the white sauce, so take a few taste samples as you simmer the sauce and add more to your liking. Creamy asparagus, mushroom casserole Ingredients 2 bunches asparagus 8 ounces sliced mushrooms, with dirt brushed off 2 1/2 tbsp butter + 1/2 tbsp butter 1/4 cup onion, finely copped 2 tsp Dijon mustard 2 1/2 ounces shredded…

April produce guide: What’s in season

You’ve given your thick sweaters and snow shovels the boot. It’s time to welcome spring and all the tender, young produce making its way to your dinner table this month. Spring is full of vibrant and delicious produce, so clear build your menu starting with these in-season produce. Not only will using produce in-season save you money, but it tastes better, too. It’s a win/win! Here’s what’s in season in April: Artichokes (Best Mar. – May) Artichokes come into season pre-holidays, around October, but they’re at their best from March until May. They may be time-consuming to prepare, but the tender leaves taste great stuffed or served with any number of dipping sauces. Asparagus (Best April – May) Arguably, the king of spring. Asparagus taste great raw, tossed in a fresh spring salad, but they’re also easy to roast, sauté, or even grill. Chives (May – June) Chives are one…

The 2019 Dirty Dozen reveals fruits and vegetables with most pesticides present

Exactly how safe is that produce in your kitchen? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released its annual “Dirty Dozen” report naming the fruits and vegetables contaminated with the highest number of pesticides — and the list is full of everyday, household favorites. The EWG analyzed data from the United States Department of Agriculture. Overall, the USDA found 225 different pesticides on the common fruits and veggies Americans eat everyday. The tests were conducted before produce was washed or peeled — which shows that simple washing isn’t enough to eliminate pesticides from your produce. As a reminder, researchers have long-warned us that consuming pesticides can lead to a number of health issues including cancer and low fertility. Some fruits and vegetables that appear on the 2019 Dirty Dozen list are regulars (hello again, strawberries), but some are newcomers to the pesticide-laden list of shame. This year, kale seems to be…

4 ways to cook asparagus

No other vegetable symbolizes the start of spring more than long, slender asparagus. The succulent spears begin to appear in home gardens sometime in early April — with the promise of strawberries and longer days of sunshine right on their heels. While asparagus (part of the lily family) is available in grocery stores year-round these days, the best flavor and texture comes from just-harvested local stems. The earliest shoots are called “sprue,” and they’re usually very tender. Asparagus can be enjoyed tossed in a pasta salad, included in a casserole, or suspended in a quiche, but it’s also delicious perfect when cooked and eaten all on its own. If you’ve created a habit of cooking asparagus stalks the same way every time, perhaps it’s time to try this vegetable another way. We get asparagus for as little as two months of the year, so act fast! Try this roasted asparagus…

Save money and buy produce in season in March

March marks the beginning of the end of winter (yay!). It might not feel very warm when you walk outside your door, but spring is coming. March is also an interesting month for produce as many winter fruits and veggies fall out of favor and we see the start of sweet fruits we associate with summer (hello, pineapple!). Come April, you’ll be planting your own seedlings and start to see more local variety, but for now, you’ll have to purchase ripe produce from the southernmost states. Get more bang for your buck by buying fruits and vegetables that are in season. They cost less because they are more plentiful — and they’re tastier, too! A big win, win. Here are 10 fruits and veggies ready for your plate right now: Artichokes Artichoke season runs from March through June (and then again in the fall), and most artichokes in the United States…

The Best Broccoli salad for dinners, potlucks

This creative broccoli salad combines veggies, fruits, nuts and dairy with a crumbling of turkey bacon for a delightful side dish that everyone will enjoy. It’s the perfect make-ahead meal that can store in the fridge for up to three days — and I swear, it gets even tastier with a little bit of time. What really makes this broccoli salad great is the tart and sweet Greek yogurt dressing brightened up with a splash of apple cider vinegar. And, of course, crunchy turkey bacon takes any dish to the next delicious level. If you wanted to make a more decadent version, feel free to use mayonnaise and real bacon instead, or save some time by using pre-cooked bacon bits — the kind usually found in the salad aisle. *Note: If you’re going to make ahead, hold off on adding the bacon, apple chips, and almonds or you’ll lose the…

This is the best way to wash pesticides off your fruit and vegetables, study shows

If you splash your fruits and veggies with a little water and consider them clean, you might want to step your game up. It turns out there is only one way that will get rid of the dangerous pesticides coating them. According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, removal of pesticide residues from fresh produce is important to reduce the risk of exposure. Pesticides have been linked to a number of health problems in humans including everything from headaches to respiratory problems to cancer. So what’s the best way to rid your produce of these unwanted chemical residues? Scientists for the study applied three different washing methods to a bunch of Gala apples — Clorox bleach, baking soda, and plain tap water. They tracked the pesticide levels throughout the study and found that apples soaked in a baking soda and water solution for…