Fruits & Veggies To Beat Potato Boredom This Winter
Sparkly snowflakes, cozy blankets, rich hot chocolate… Winter has a lot going for it, but fresh produce is usually not on that list. In colder climates, eating locally through the winter can be downright challenging. But we’re here with some good news: Every meal doesn’t have to revolve around potatoes and onions until April. With a bit of advanced planning and creativity, it’s possible to eat fresh fruits and vegetables with plenty of nutrients and flavor all winter long.
Read on to learn about some of the unexpected vitamin-rich cold-weather foods you should stock up on right now.
Time to head to the cabbage patch, kid! This super-healthy, budget-friendly vegetable is a close cousin to other cold-weather favorites like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli . Cabbage is loaded with vitamins and minerals (Vitamins C and K and folate, in particular), fiber, antioxidants, and anti-carcinogenic compounds called glucosinolates. Some studies claim that the spherical vegetable can even reduce cholesterol and lower risk of cancer and diabetes.
- Peak Season: While some strains of cabbage are available starting in July, most varieties love cool weather and are ready for harvest through the fall and winter.
- Storage Tips: Tightly wrap individual heads of cabbage in plastic and stash in the refrigerator to keep ‘em fresh for up to a week.
- How to Eat It: Cabbage’s nutritional benefits are most pronounced when raw, so slice up a few leaves to add crunch to salads or stir fries.
- Brussels Sprouts
These trendy sprouts are finally getting their turn in the spotlight. The Brussels sprout, aka cabbage’s mini-me, boasts some of the same health benefits as it’s big bro. Like other cruciferous veggies, Brussels sprouts have high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants that can protect DNA from oxidative damage .
- Peak Season: September through February
- Storage Tips: Brussels sprouts will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. The outer leaves will shrivel, so remove them just before cooking your sprouts.
- How to Eat It: Toss halved sprouts with olive oil and roast until crispy and brown. Top with a light coating of brown butter and sage for a decadent (but still healthy) side dish.
- Winter Squash
Get ready to taste the gourdy goodness! Acorn, butternut, kabocha, and delicata squash are all at their prime during the fall and winter. Golden squash flesh is loaded with healthy goodness like carotenoids, Vitamin A, and potassium .
- Peak Season: Winter squash hit the markets around late September and stick around through early March.
- Storage Tips: Even though they seem pretty solid, squash continue to ripen once they’re picked. Slow down the process by storing them in a cool, slightly humid environment (like, say, a basement or cellar). Under the right conditions, squash will keep for up to three months.
- How to Eat It: Since squash is healthy, fairly inexpensive, filling, and darn tasty, it’s no wonder there are thousands of awesome recipes for them. Get started with these five delicious dishes.
Spuds get a bad rap, but they’re a staple food in many cuisines for good reason. Sure, potatoes are starchy and high on the glycemic index, but they’re also filling, inexpensive, and boast an impressive nutritional profile including potassium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, and even protein . Fancypurple taters may even help lower blood pressure and boost antioxidants. While sweet potatoes are considered a healthier choice (since they’re loaded with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and fiber), regular old white spuds are still nutritious as long as you don’t fry ‘em or mash them with tons of butter and cream.
- Peak Season: Various varieties of potatoes are available year-round.
- Storage Tips: Store potatoes in a dark, cool, well-ventilated area for about one month. Keep spuds away from onions and apples. At room temperature, potatoes will keep for one to two weeks.
- How to Eat It: Try a healthier take on the classic baked potato bar. Twice-baked spuds stuffed with kale, broccoli, and cheddar make for a tasty and comforting meal.
Ideal for flavoring anything from soup, to grain salads, to pasta, to meat, onions are a year-round kitchen all-star. They might make you cry, but onions are actually pretty healthy . The unassuming veggies arelow in calories but surprisingly high in vitamin C and fiber. The oils found in onions can lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol
- Peak Season: Various types of onions are available all year round.
- Storage Tips: Stash onions outside the fridge (they can go soft if refrigerated) in a cool, dry place for several months.
- How to Eat It: Sautéed white onion jazzes up this fig, ricotta, and arugula flatbread pizza.
Sweet, earthy, and deep red, beets are pretty unique in the vegetable aisle. Beets contain antioxidants called betalains, which can help fight cancer and other degenerative diseases . They’re also rich in vitamins A, B, C as well as potassium and folate . They’re also a natural source of sugar (about nine grams per serving), so those looking to cut down on sweet stuff should take note. Not bad for a bright-red bulb, right?
- Peak Season: Beets are available early spring through late fall.
- Storage Tips: Store beet roots in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a month.
- How to Eat It: Toss roasted beets and carrots with lentils and plenty of fresh herbs and spices to make a hearty, healthy vegetarian main dish.
Celeriac is probably the ugly duckling of winter produce. It looks like a misshapen, greenish-white blob covered in little roots. Appetizing, right? But beyond the odd exterior, celeriac boasts a tasty, subtle flavor — somewhere between parsley and celery — and a hearty texture. It’s low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant) and phosphorus (which contributes to strong bones and teeth).
- Peak Season: September through March.
- Storage Tips: Like other root veggies, celeriac will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a month.
- How to Eat It: Sub in celeriac for almost any root vegetable. Cube and sautée it for a tasty, healthy substitute for hash browns.
Did your mom ever tell you to eat carrots for healthy eyes? Bugs Bunny’s favorite food is loaded with the antioxidant beta-carotene, a compound that converts to vitamin A in the body . Vitamin A is essential for a strong immune system and healthy eyes, skin, and mucus membranes. The orange veggies are also loaded with vitamin C, cyanidins, and lutein, which are all antioxidants. Some studies show that eating carrots can reduce risk of cancer and even prevent cardiovascular disease.
- Peak Season: Available through late fall, although some varieties are harvested through the winter.
- Storage Tips: Like many root vegetables, carrots will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several weeks.
- How to Eat It: Bring out carrots’ natural sweetness with a side dish that combines the orange veggies, cinnamon, orange juice, and maple syrup.
- Turnips and Rutabagas
These purple-and-white bulbs might look like potatoes, but they’re actually related to cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Confused yet? Perhaps because of this oh-so-confusing identity crisis, turnips and rutabagas are often (unfortunately) overlooked in the produce aisle. But they boast the same nutritional perks as other cruciferous veggies (namely cancer-fighting glucosinolates, vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, fiber, and calcium), plus their slightly sweet taste is a boon to nearly any dish.
- Peak Season: Available all winter long.
- Storage Tips: Keep turnips and rutabagas in the fridge for a few weeks or in a root cellar for several months.
- How to Eat It: What’s cheesy, gooey, and surprisingly good for you? A lightened-up simple turnip gratin! Rutabagas can be subbed in for any dish that calls for turnips.
These (white) carrot look-alikes are packed with nutritional goodness. The long, pale, tapered root veggies are loaded with fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and folate. Like carrots, they have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor that goes well with nearly any winter soup, stew, or casserole. Half a cup of cooked ‘snips contains 17 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C and just 55 calories .
- Peak Season: Parsnips are at their best in the late fall and early spring.
- Storage Tips: Store parsnips in a bag in the refrigerator for three to four weeks.
- How to Eat It: Combine roasted parsnips with Granny Smith apples (and a few other essential ingredients) for a smooth, fall-flavored soup.
- Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes might win the award for “Most Versatile Tuber.” These orange-hued delights are loaded with fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants . Plus, since they’re fairly low on theglycemic index, they’re great for filling up without getting weighed down .
- Peak Season: Sweet potatoes are available year-round, but they’re best in the fall.
- Storage Tips: Keep sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place outside the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- How to Eat It: It wouldn’t be fair to pick one of these 45 sweet potato recipes and not try the rest. Pro tip: Sweet potato brownies are a thing.
Besides being one of the most fun words in the English language, radicchio (pronounced ra-DIK-kio) is a member of the chicory family along with endive and escarole. Its red and white, slightly spicy and bitter leaves are loaded with vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K. Plus, this leafy veg is extremelylow in calories, so add it to any dish for a low-cal dose of crunch and flavor.
- Peak Season: There are three main varieties of radicchio available in the U.S., Chiogga, Treviso, and Tardivo. Tardivo radicchio is available throughout the winter.
- Storage Tips: Keep it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic for up to three weeks.
- How to Eat It: Sautéed radicchio adds a kick (and a nice serving of vitamins and minerals) to thiseasy pasta dish.
- Citrus Fruit
Dark winter days getting you down? Grab a handful of cheery citrus to last you until summer fruit season. And while they’re not so great for your teeth, citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C and flavonoids, which may reduce risk of cancer . Citrus consumption has also been linked to lower risk of a laundry list of ailments, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cholera, gingivitis, cataracts, and Crohn’s disease. Stock up on lemons, oranges, grapefruit, kumquats, blood oranges, limes, andclementines to get your citrus fix this winter.
- Peak Season: Citrus fruits grown in warm climates are ripe for picking between late October and March.
- Storage Tips: Store citrus in the refrigerator for a few weeks, or at room temperature for up to four days.
- How to Eat It: Try one of these five healthy citrus recipes. Or just peel and eat!
Pomegranates are one of the world’s oldest fruits (Greco-Roman mythology, anyone?) as well as one of the most nutritious . The ruby-colored seeds are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that can help treat heart conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack, and congestive heart failure. Studies show that drinking pomegranate juice can reduce build-up of fatty deposits in arteries, which is a culprit behind many heart conditions . Extracting the seeds from a pomegranate can be tricky, but the heart-healthy, sweet-sour pods are well worth the effort. For a less laborious option, add a splash of no-sugar added pomegranate juice to a glass of seltzer.
- Peak Season: The globe-shaped fruits are in season from October through January.
- Storage Tips: Keep pomegranates in the refrigerator for up to two months, or at room temperature for one to two weeks.
- How to Eat It: A sprinkling of pomegranate seeds adds some tart, bright flavor to a winter kale salad.
- Dark, Leafy Greens
Trendy kale and flavorful collards have their moment in the sun (ironically) during the winter. These veggies are rich in vitamins A, C, K, and E, as well as iron, calcium, manganese, potassium, andphytochemicals and antioxidants . Plus, they’re low in calories and versatile enough to fit nearly any dish. Kale and collard greens are members of the super-healthy brassica vegetable family, which means they aid in digestion, help lower cholesterol, and protect the body against cancer .
- Peak Season: Kale is grown in warmer climates and the Pacific Northwest throughout the winter months.
- Storage Tips: Wrap washed and dried greens in paper towels, then put the whole shebang in a plastic bag in the fridge. Greens will stay fresh for one or two weeks.
- How to Eat It: Swap kale, chard, or collards for lettuce to make a nutrient-rich salad.
This uncommon green is a little bitter, but adds welcome freshness to late-winter cooking. It’s a bit crunchy, like lettuce, and wilts easily, like spinach. It’s a member of the chicory family, so it’s also related to endive, radicchio, kale, and chard. Like other greens, escarole is high in folic acid, fiber, and vitamins A and K.
- Peak Season: Escarole grows through fall and early winter in warmer climates.
- Storage Tips: This dainty green is a bit delicate, so eat it up quickly. Wrapped in paper towels and stored in an open plastic bag, escarole keeps in the refrigerator for up to four days.
- How to Eat It: Escarole adds some bright-green freshness to a classic Italian soup.
With feathery leaves on top, a round, onion-shaped bulb on the bottom, and a licorice-like tastethroughout, fennel is definitely one of the stranger vegetables out there. (And by “strange” we mean awesome and delicious, of course.) It’s a little bit sweet, kinda crunchy, and—above all—super healthy. The licorice flavor is due to a compound called anethole, which has been shown to reduce risk of certain cancers, aid digestion, suppress inflammation, and naturally thin blood to prevent clots . Fennel also boasts a boatload of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and copper.
- Peak Season: Fennel is available at the market from late fall through early spring.
- Storage Tips: Wrap fennel bulb in a paper bag and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
- How to Eat It: Yes, it’s possible to make a crisp, totally fresh salad during the winter. Try this fennel and celery dish for a crunchy cold-weather lunch.
For more information visit http://greatist.com/ Their mission? Help the world think of health in a healthier way.
The Tradition of the Fruit Basket
People have been giving fruit baskets for as long as there have been baskets. Early hunter-gatherers used baskets to collect fruits, vegetables and other comestibles. These baskets were then taken back to the family or tribe to be enjoyed by all.
The modern cellophane-wrapped basket became a favorite of urban businesses during the 1940s and 50s. At the time, florists were looking to expand their businesses and they needed a product that could be delivered just like flowers. And since fruit was no shortage of wonderful, fresh fruit in the cities, they started offering fruit baskets.
Before very long, these gifts became popular with businesses. There are several obvious reasons for this. For starters, a fruit basket is a simple and affordable way to say “thank you” without the romantic or sentimental connotations of flowers. Really, what company sends another company a bouquet of flowers to celebrate the successful completion of an important project?
But when it came to fruit baskets, they were perfect for nearly any occasion. Businesses often exchanged them during the holidays because they knew the contents could be enjoyed by the entire staff. It was not until decades later than regular people started sending them to each other. And of course, fruit baskets make a perfect gift!
Here at Kousouris Brothers Produce, we offer a delicious assortment of seasonal fruits that are ALWAYS fresh and perfect for your gift basket needs. Give us a call today!
Meat on the Side: Modern Menus Shift Focus to Vegetables
Anchoring a plate with a massive hunk of animal protein is so last century. But let’s face it: Vegetarianism isn’t for everyone. Increasingly, chefs like Jody Adams in Boston, Michael Solomonov in Philadelphia and Alain Ducasse in Paris are finding delicious ways to strike a balance between health and hedonism
MICHAEL SCELFO used to be the ultimate man’s cook. At the Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square, the 290-pound chef turned out all manner of charcuterie and innards, and enormous portions of everything else.
Before he opened his new restaurant, Alden & Harlow, also in Cambridge, Mass., in January, Mr. Scelfo put himself on a diet. He cut carbs and dairy, started eating a lot more vegetables and lost 95 pounds in a year. “It dramatically affected the way I cook,” he said. His menu still features a burger and a steak. But most of Mr. Scelfo’s dishes use meat as an accent, if at all. Among Alden & Harlow’s current offerings are smoked burrata crostini with fried kale, burnt honey and a thin slice of cured pork loin; crispy baby bok choy topped with a slow-cooked egg; and charred broccoli with squash hummus. “At the beginning, I’d have to send the broccoli out to people,” he said—free of charge. And they loved it. “When I see that feedback, my next question is: How do I up the ante?”
Chefs around the country, and the globe, are pushing meat from the center of the plate—and sometimes off it altogether. Trade, in Boston, serves polenta topped with fall squash, peppers, scallions and a scattering of pancetta, while at Zahav, in Philadelphia, roasted eggplant comes drizzled with lamb’s tongue vinaigrette. At New York’s Dovetail, a “vegetable-focused” menu features cured carrots with duck breast, cashews and black garlic. In September, Alain Ducasse, the godfather of French cuisine, announced that his flagship restaurant at the Plaza Athénée in Paris would remove most meat from the menu in favor of organic vegetables and seafood.
In short, an haute restaurant meal no longer has to deliver 8 ounces (or more) of meat plus a vegetable side. Increasingly, it is the opposite.
Several trends have converged in a perfect culinary storm. Awakened by the national obesity crisis, many Americans want to eat more healthfully—though perhaps not enough to leave the table hungry. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends eating red meat no more than twice a week. But chefs know that dividing the portions across many meals is a smarter strategy. Studies show that having even a little meat on the plate makes for more satisfied diners.
Meat’s also been slammed as an environmental villain. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock industry is responsible for 14.5% of greenhouse gases. (Chase Adams, a spokesman for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said that the industry is increasingly sustainable. A 2007 study by Washington State University showed that farmers and ranchers raise 13% more beef from 30% fewer cattle and produce substantially fewer carbon emissions than they did 30 years before.)
Price spikes, too, have encouraged chefs to find ways to cut back. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that wholesale beef prices are at record highs, up 27% year over year. Wholesale pork has jumped 13% and is expected to rise as much as another 16% this year. “You can’t just increase your prices by 100%. It doesn’t work,” said Michael Solomonov, chef-owner of Israeli restaurant Zahav and several other Philadelphia places (including a meat-centric barbecue joint). “It’s smart if you can get away from that. With a lot of vegetables, we can be very dynamic.”
Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and some Asian cuisines make it easy for chefs to cut back on meat. “This is how people traditionally ateeverywhere,” said Mr. Solomonov, referring to the way he uses meat to amp up mostly-vegetarian dishes such as dirty rice studded with bits of chicken liver, and trumpet mushrooms flavored with crispy lamb bacon.
The transition for restaurants is not always simple, though. To that end, the Culinary Institute of America introduced its Menus of Change initiative. The program aims to help chefs make menus more healthful and sustainable, which in almost all cases means serving less meat. At its annual conference in June, there were panels on topics such as “Fruits and Vegetables as Half the Plate: The Practical Business of Making This Happen.” Nearly a dozen chefs demonstrated recipes that used meat sparingly. Adam Busby, the CIA’s director of special culinary projects, showed off a soba noodle salad with just two ounces of Thai grilled shrimp per serving. “Chefs tend to be very good at offering what we might call ‘regular’ or ‘unleaded’ options—that is, full, impressive portions of animal proteins or vegetarian/vegan options,” he said. “[Until now] we have not done as much work for menu choices in between.”
Eating out, especially at an expensive restaurant, is a treat, and chefs don’t want to be seen to be lecturing. Ms. Adams, for example, says her Bostonian patrons would never forgive her if she took her Tuscan steak and roasted half duck off the menu at Rialto. “We’re not passing judgment,” she said. Her solution has been to add more, new dishes where vegetables have a starring role. “People appreciate having vegetables,” said Ms. Adams. “They need to be celebrated. Meat doesn’t have to be the main event.”
According to research firm Technomic, vegetable offerings on restaurant menus have jumped 11% over the last three years. Still, meat appears to be in no danger of disappearing from menus altogether anytime soon. Vivian Howard, who owns Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, N.C., and stars in the PBS series “A Chef’s Life,” said she has long been concerned with meat’s environmental impact. But the best seller on her menu continues to be a giant (albeit humanely raised) pork chop. “It’s a tough thing for us because consumers see value in meat that is not only at the center of the plate, but covers the plate,” she said. “Since I’m not Alain Ducasse, I find myself compromising and taking small steps.”
Source: Wall Street Journal
Welcome to Our Blog!
We thought the First Day of Autumn (Autumnal Equinox) 2014 would be the perfect day to begin our new blog. There is much more to the arrival of the new season than just the changing of the leaves and pumpkin spice everything. Although the pumpkins are definitely our favorite part.
The September equinox coincides with many cultural events, religious observances and customs. It’s also called the “autumnal (fall) equinox” in the northern hemisphere and the “spring equinox” in the Southern Hemisphere.
In many cultures, the September equinox is a sign of fall (autumn) in the northern hemisphere. In Greek mythology fall is associated with when the goddess Persephone returns to the underworld to be with her husband Hades. It was supposedly a good time to enact rituals for protection and security as well as reflect on successes or failures from the previous months.
Aboriginal Australians have, for a long time, had a good knowledge of astronomy and the seasons. Events like the September equinox, which is during the spring in Australia, played a major role in oral traditions in Indigenous Australian culture.
In China the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is celebrated around the time of the September equinox. It celebrates the abundance of the summer’s harvest and one of the main foods is the mooncake filled with lotus, sesame seeds, a duck egg or dried fruit.
Higan, or Higan-e, is a week of Buddhist services observed in Japan during both the September and March equinoxes. Both equinoxes have been national holidays since the Meiji period (1868-1912). Higan means the “other shore” and refers to the spirits of the dead reaching Nirvana. It is a time to remember the dead by visiting, cleaning and decorating their graves.
The Christian church replaced many early Pagan equinox celebrations with Christianized observances. For example, Michaelmas (also known as the Feast of Michael and All Angels), on September 29, fell near the September equinox.
Pagan celebration: Mabon
On the autumnal equinox, many pagans celebrate Mabon as one of the eight Sabbats (a celebration based on the cycles of the sun). Mabon celebrates the second harvest and the start of winter preparations. It is the time to respect the impending dark while giving thanks to the sunlight.
Kousouris Bros. Produce: Good Eats
For us, it is all about the good eats. Fall is such a great time for foodies. We reap the harvest of yum with butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash and pumpkins and apples and pears, oh my. Can you taste it now? Those hearty roasted vegetable soups and toasted cheese sammiches. comforting butternut squash and sage risotto. So many wonderfully delicious things to eat this fall. And we will have them all right here in the warehouse.
Come by and see us. Happy Fall!