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WHAT'S IN SEASON?
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In Season for October
As we step into October, we welcome the earthy flavors of fall. From crisp sweet apples, to rich winter squash, the foods of fall are here. To warm up on a cool fall evening, enjoy delicious pork tenderloin topped with baked apples, or a bowl of homemade butternut squash soup. Fall comfort foods like pot roast and baked chicken are also well matched with the season's fresh produce.
Trivia:Apples are the second most important of all fruits sold in the supermarket, ranking next to bananas.|Tens of thousands of varieties of apples are grown worldwide.|The history of apple consumption dates from Stone Age cultivation in areas we now know as Austria and Switzerland. |In ancient Greece, tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage; catching it was acceptance.|Folk hero Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) did indeed spread the cultivation of apples in the United States. He knew enough about apples, however, so that he did not distribute seeds, because apples do not grow true from seeds. Instead, he established nurseries in Pennsylvania and Ohio. |Three medium-sized apples weigh approximately one pound.|One pound of apples, cored and sliced, measures about 4 1/2 cups.|Purchase about 2 pounds of whole apples for a 9-inch pie.|One large apple, cored and processed through a food grinder or processor, makes about 1 cup of ground apple.
Tips:Rub cut apples with lemon juice to keep slices and wedges creamy white for hours.|Store apples in a plastic bag in the refrigerator away from strong-odored foods such as cabbage or onions to prevent flavor transfer.
Beets are grown year round, but June through October are the peak months. At the start of the season you can find young beets with small tender roots that are suitable for cooking whole. Fresh beets in season are usually sold with the top on. This greens are just as edible and delicious as the sweet beetroot!
Broccoli is one of the most healthful foods you can eat. It is packed with a rich supply of important vitamins and nutrients and it contains the phytochemical sulforaphane, which helps reduce the risk of cancer. Fresh, in season broccoli should have a crisp texture and clean, refreshing flavor. It is delicious lightly steamed and sprinkled with lemon pepper.
- • Grilled Whitefish with Dijon Mustard Crust
- • Mini Broccoli-Cheddar Quiches
- • Oven-Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan Cheese
Trivia:Broccoli, a member of the mustard family, was known to early colonists who brought it from Europe where it originated in the wild form around the Mediterranean.
Tips:Don't make the mistake of discarding the broccoli stalk. Even the thickest stalk can be used and is quite delicious. Simply peel the outside skin from the stalk and cook as you would the rest of the broccoli. Cutting the stalks into thin slices and adding to stir-fry makes a great star-shaped addition to the appearance and texture of your meal.
Brussels sprouts pack plenty of nutritional value into a small package. They contain the cancer-fighting qualities of other cruciferous vegetables, along with good amounts of folate (folic acid), potassium, vitamin K, and a small amount of beta-carotene. A delicious addition to fall stews and pot roasts.
Trivia:Brussels sprouts, a member of the mustard family, are native to Europe.| Brussels sprouts were cultivated and developed primarily by the French and the Belgians who provided the name.
Only about 10 percent of the commercial crop is sold fresh, and the rest are frozen or canned. This is the time of year to enjoy fresh cranberries. Fresh cranberries do freeze very well, so buy an extra bag or two early in the season for use later on when they are not as plentiful in stores.
Trivia:Cranberry sauce was an invention of American Indians who cooked cranberries with honey or maple sugar, to eat with their meat. The plant is native to peat and bog areas of northern latitudes around the globe. American berries are unique for their large size and commercial production is confined to North America.
Tips:Since cranberries are very seasonal, it is helpful to know that they can be frozen. For example, buy an extra bag or two during Thanksgiving and freeze them if you like to make your own cranberry sauce for Christmas dinner. Do not thaw frozen cranberries. Simply rinse with cold water and use immediately after removing them from the freezer. Frozen berries are best in glazes and sauces.
Trivia:Originally an Oriental ornamental plant, eggplant got its name from yellow and white fruited varieties with egg-sized fruits. |In India and Medieval Europe, eggplant was credited with remarkable properties as a love potion. By the 16th Century, northern Europeans were calling eggplants, "mad apples" in the belief that consumption would cause insanity.|Eggplant were brought to America by Spaniards as "berengenas," meaning apples of love.|Ladies in the high society of China once made black dye from dark eggplant skins and used it to stain their teeth to a black lustre, a fashionable cosmetic use.
Fennel may look like a plump bunch of celery, but its flavor certainly sets it apart. Fennel has a mild sweet flavor akin to licorice or anise. Fennel is a delicious and refreshing snack eaten raw, and roasted it makes a lovely side dish to many meat entrees. It is also a great addition to fall stews.
Slightly sweet, tangy lime juice and lime zest makes a delicious and refreshing addition to a variety of foods and beverages. Limes will keep up to six weeks when refrigerated, so there is no reason not to have a few limes on hand.
Melons are usually considered to be a summer fruit, but many varieties are in season well into November. Cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon are the three best- known melons, but this is the perfect time of year to try exotic varieties like the Crenshaw, Juan Canary, Casaba, Persian, or Santa Claus Melon.
The third most popular fruit grown in the Unites States (right behind apples and oranges), the peach is really an All-American summertime favorite. The best peaches show a warm background color of yellow or cream, and have a rich, ripe aroma.
While you are enjoying your crisp fall apples, don't forget that it is pear season too! You won't want to miss the melting texture and syrupy sweet juice of perfect ripe pears! Pears are great for breakfast, lunches and after school snacks. You may even want to try one for dessert.
Trivia:Pears are cousins of apples. American varieties come from Europe, where they migrated from central Asia. Early colonists brought the first trees to America where they thrived until blights became severe. Most pears are now grown west of the Rockies where diseases are less of a problem.
Tips:Ripen pears at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag with a couple of ripe bananas. When the pear is ripe, refrigerate until you are ready to eat it.
There are about 30 different varieties that will be available at the supermarket at different times during the summer and early fall. Ranging in color from black to pale yellow, and from sweet to tart in flavor, you'll only find each of these special varieties for a short period of time, so when you see a new one, be sure to take the opportunity to try it.
Trivia:Although plums are native to Asia, Europe and America, most U. S. production is in the Japanese varieties which are red and yellow (European varieties are blue and purple). | The difference between plums and prunes is small. Plums are clingstone (the pit does not separate easily from the flesh) and prunes are freestone. While there are at least 125 prune varieties, most (except for Italian prunes) are grown for drying.
Not just for Jack-O-Lanterns, pumpkins provide some fine eating, as well as plenty of good nutrition. Pumpkins are rich in fiber, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamins C and E, and they are particularly rich in carotenoid pigments such as alpha-carotene, beta carotene, and lutein. Look for smaller varieties that are sold specifically for cooking.
While the vibrant colors of fall foliage is the ultimate symbol of the changing seasons, the arrival of unique and colorful hard squashes is a close second! Hard squashes come in a rainbow of earthy colors, and more shapes, sizes, tastes, and textures than you can count.