08 Jun Tips for Buying Fresh Peas

Garden peas are generally available from spring through the beginning of winter. When purchasing garden peas, look for ones whose pods are firm, velvety, and smooth. Their color should be a medium green. Those whose green color is especially light or dark, or those that are yellow, whitish or are speckled with gray, should be avoided. Additionally, do not choose pods that are puffy, water soaked or have mildew residue. The pods should contain peas of sufficient number and size that there is not much empty room in the pod. You can tell this by gently shaking the pod and noticing whether there is a slight rattling sound.

Peas taste best when cooked as soon as possible after picking or purchasing.

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08 Jun Tips for Buying Fresh Onions

When buying onions, choose those that are heavy for their size with dry, papery skins, and that show no signs of spotting or moistness. Avoid onions that are soft or sprouting. Young onions are sweeter than old ones. They should have absolutely NO SMELL whatever. If they do, they are probably bruised somewhere under the skin and are on their way out.

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01 Jun Tips for Buying Fresh Green or String Beans

Green beans are available year round, with a peak season of May to October. Green beans are also called string beans and snap beans. Green beans were once called string beans. Today they are string less; just break off the end as you wash them. Leave whole or cut into desired lengths. Choose slender beans that are crisp, bright-colored, and free of blemishes.

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01 Jun Tips for Buying Fresh Carrots

When purchasing carrots, look for firm, plump carrots without rootlets. They should be small, bright orange and smooth, without cracks. Buy carrots in bunches, with their leafy green tops still attached. Carrots lose moisture through their leafy green tops, so if you purchase them this way, remove the tops before wrapping carrots in plastic and storing. Instead of throwing away the tops, which are full of nutrition, try adding them to soups or chopping them and adding to your salads.

Storing fresh carrots: Carrots keep will for weeks in the refrigerator, although you will sacrifice sweetness and flavor if stored too long.

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01 Jun Tips for Buying Fresh Beets

Many beets are sold in bunches with the tops still attached, while others are sold with the tops removed. Look for beets that are firm, round, with a slender tap root (the large main root), a rich, color, and smooth over most of the surface. If beets are bunched, you can judge their freshness fairly accurately by the condition of the tops. Badly wilted or decayed tops indicate a lack of freshness, but the roots may be satisfactory if they are firm.

Avoid elongated beets with round, scaly areas around the top surface — these will be tough, fibrous, and strong-flavored. Also avoid wilted, flabby beets — they have been exposed to the air too long.

As the beet greens are very nutritious, cook them as you would fresh spinach leaves.

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25 May Tips for Buying Fresh Tomatoes

  • Look- Don’t worry about tomatoes with weird shapes. Even cracked skin is okay, but leaking juice and soft spots are not.
  • Feel -Choose tomatoes that feel heavy for their size.
  • Smell -Tomatoes should smell earthy and tomato-y, never musty or flat

But above all never refrigerate tomatoes. Refrigeration will actually dull tomatoes’ flavor. Exposing a tomato to below 50 degrees may not allow sugars and acids to fully develop. Storing them at room temperature is ideal.

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11 May Tips for Grilling Vegetables

Cook vegetables over direct heat at medium-high temperature, and remember to turn about halfway through.

Start clean. Prevent sticking by beginning with a clean grill and well-oiled vegetables.
Don’t move. When you first place vegetables on the grates, resist the urge to shift them around until they’re nicely seared and lift off easily.
Manage the heat. Place the heartier vegetables, like onions and bell peppers, in the hottest spots on the grill. Keep more delicate produce such as tomatoes over places with less heat.

Summer Squash
How to Prep- Cut into 1/4-inch-thick lengthwise slices and brush with oil.
How to Grill- Cook until you see even grill marks, about 6 minutes. Squash should be pliable when bent with tongs, tender when pierced.

Bell Peppers
How to Prep-Cut into 2-inch-wide lengthwise slices and toss in oil.
How to Grill-Cook until charred in spots, about 10 minutes. Peppers should be moist, fragrant, pliable when bent with tongs, tender when pierced.

Plum Tomatoes
How to Prep-Cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds and toss with oil.
How to Grill-Cook until charred in spots, 4 to 5 minutes. Skin should have begun to peel back, and flesh should be soft.

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