I have said it before and I will repeat myself for this worthy cause. Find out what produce is in season in your area. And not just now. Find a website, an APP, or a newspaper that can keep you current. This is the best way to know, seek, and buy the freshest produce you can. One possibility is Sustainable table http://www.sustainabletable.org/shop/seasonal/ where you simply put in your state and the season and you get a list.
In my area, the Catskill Mountains of NY, this site says we have the following freshness:
- snap peas
- sweet potatoes
You have to know your area and the impact of weather on the growing seasons. We went almost too late this year for apples. One of the orchards we visited were “picked out” because the weather has been chillier than usual. Pumpkins, too, are beyond their peak. Tomatoes aren’t really that nice anymore but I change my recipes and make less salsa!
This is another chart that is user friendly http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/F2S/documents/HarvestChart.pdf came from my state department of agriculture and can be printed and posted on the fridge or back of a cabinet door. 😉 The beauty of this chart is that it flows through the months. It also distinguishes between what is in peak harvest and what is available. So celery is available all year, but it is fresh and in season now.
It is good to be aware of what is in season and how to store those good flavors. For example, cranberries have shown up in the market (not a NY produce but seasonal nonetheless)! I made my first cranberry sauce last week with apples, and served it with pork tenderloin. Did you know you can take those cranberries and freeze them for later? Otherwise the goodness is gone until next year. In fact, the cranberry institute says…
“Can I freeze fresh cranberries? Yes. In fact cranberries freeze very well either whole or sliced. Sealed in an airtight container frozen cranberries will keep for nearly a year.” http://www.cranberryinstitute.org/cranfacts/faq.htm
So buy an extra bag when you pick one up for fresh cooking. Put it in the freezer. Then in the ‘dark of winter’, you can pull them out and make a bright and tasty sauce!
Well, I have to go shopping. I am out of onions, can you imagine!? And I am going to make buttery marinara so I need at least one!
Please find the freshest options you can. Buy healthy, eat healthy. See you back here soon.