Friday, January 13, 2012

The flavor purple

The flavor of purple- When I saw purple sweet potatoes on an offering from North Carolina, I got pretty excited. It's hard to find something exciting in the middle of winter, so I jumped at the opportunity. When they arrived, it was clear that they were purple, but they did look a bit weird. The skin, for the most part, was dirty (they do grow underground, after all), and they looked like they had ridges or veins. Some people had the impression that they were old or dried out. I tried cooking them, and fearing that they may have been as dry as they looked, I boiled them. It turns out that the "ugly" appearance was, once again, only in the eye of the beholder. They were moist and sweet, almost pudding-like, and the flavor was incredibly purple.

The flavor of blue-We've had many different blue or purple potatoes over the years, but this one, The Adirondack Blue, came as a surprise to us, coming as it did, so near to the end of the local storage season.
It is not unusual to find red or yukon gold offerings from local famers in January, but finding a blue is quite a treat. The Adirondack is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Wait a minute, that's the tardis! It is deeper blue on the inside than it is on the outside. It's great for baking, boiling, steaming, mashing. Let these moist, yet firm potatoes inspire you to make a gorgeous potato salad.

The flavor of stripe-Chioggia beets take their name from the Italian city of Chioggia, an ancient fishing village near Venice.
Historically Chioggia was famous for it's salt. Now it has lent its name to this striped variety of beet. If you look at any beet, even the red or gold, you will see that the flesh has concentric rings. It is not so easy to see these rings since their color of each ring is identical, but look carefully they are there. The chioggia is gorgeous; it will dazzle your kids, dazzle your friends, even dazzle yourself.

Green squash, blue squash, old squash, new squash. If you have been looking at the winter squashes lately, you have seen some old, dull looking squashes giving way to bright shiny cosmetically perfect squashes. What happened? Just as we've eaten (almost) the last of this fall's harvest, we are offered the newest harvests from Southern California, Mexico, and occasionally Florida. The older crop was harvested at the peak of ripeness, sweetness, and flavorfulness. The newer prettier stuff is flavorful and sweet, but not usually as good as the storage crop. This week, enjoy the last of the harvest of buttercup and the blue hokkaido.

Allen Zimmerman
General Coordinator
Produce Buyer

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