8/21/18

Tender Profile | Bell Peppers

Bell peppers at River Berry Farm

Bell peppers at River Berry Farm

Botanical name/plant family: Capsicum annuum

Important practices: According to the Environmental Working Group, conventionally grown bell peppers contain high levels of pesticide residues - look for organically grown peppers!

Harvest season: Summer

Great source of: Vitamin B6, Vitamin C (Excellent source!!! 97% DV in green peppers, and near 300% in red)

Storage methods: Store bell peppers in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

Cooking methods: I am crisp and sweet raw, though I also am great pickled, stuffed, grilled, sauteed, and stir fried! Roast me and remove my seeds for a delicious addition to sandwiches and salads, or puree me with garbanzo beans and tahini to make a flavorful hummus.

World cuisines: Bell peppers are indigenous to South/Central America, but were brought back to Europe in the 1400s by Christopher Columbus and incorporated into cuisines worldwide.

Pairings: I have a very distinct sweet flavor, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t pair well with savory ingredients. Serve me with onions, beans, lean pork, steak, zucchini, basil, salmon, and more!

 

Fun Facts

  • Unlike other members of the Capsicum family, bell peppers do not contain capsaicin, the compound that provides the pungency and kick to spicier varieties of peppers such as Serrano and Jalapeño.

  • Peppers have genders! Those with 3 lobes on the bottom are female, while those with 4 are male. Female peppers are sweeter and have more seeds and are better eaten raw and in salads, while male peppers are less sweet and contain less seeds and are better stir fried or sauteed.

  • All peppers begin as green peppers. Yellow red, and purple peppers are simply more ripened and therefore sweeter!

 

Tender Profile | Green Beans

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Botanical name/plant family: Phaseolus vulgaris

Important practices (organic/grassfed/etc.): According to the Environmental Working Group, green beans are fairly low in pesticide residue and should be okay to buy conventionally.

Harvest season: Mid-late Summer

Great source of*: Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese

Storage methods: Store unwashed fresh green beans in a reusable container or a plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator for up to a week.

Cooking methods: Green beans are delicious raw, though they also love to be roasted, stir fried, sauteed, and lightly steamed. Some more creative uses for them include quick-pickling and canning.

World cuisines: Green beans are native to South and Central America, and were introduced to France by the conquistadors in the 16th century where they quickly became an important culinary staple.

Pairings: Green beans’ fresh and mild taste pairs well with a variety of flavors; most notably lemon, mild cheeses, ginger, and soy. They also are delicious when served with chicken, squash, tomatoes, eggplant, currants, and nuts.

Fun Fact:

  • The first string-less green bean was developed by Calvin Keeney in 1894 in New York.

  • Every last Saturday in July, the city of Blairsville, Georgia, honors the green bean with the Green Bean Festival. The celebration includes cooking contests, canning plant tours, beauty pageants and other activities that showcase the vegetable.

Tender Profile | Tomatoes

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Tomatoes

Botanical name/plant family: Solanum lycopersicum

 

Important practices: Buy organic tomatoes whenever possible, tomatoes are one of the fruits/vegetables that has the highest amount of pesticide residue on their skin. Always wash before eating!

 

Harvest season: Summer

 

Great source of*: Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A

 

Storage methods: When I am ripe, I am best stored on a countertop at room temperature away from direct sunlight. If I am not yet ripe, keep me stem side down in a cardboard box or paper bag in a cool place until I turn red.

 

Cooking methods: I am wonderful raw on sandwiches or in salads, though I also am an important ingredient in a variety of soups and sauces. Roasting helps to bring out my natural flavors!

 

World cuisines: European, South American, North American

 

Pairings: I pair very well with flavors such as basil, oysters, balsamic vinegar, gruyere and mozzarella cheeses, garlic, and more!

 

Fun Fact:

  • Though the tomato is technically a fruit, in 1883 the US Supreme Court ruled that it is legally a vegetable because of the way it is commonly used.

  • Returning Spanish colonists introduced the tomato to Europe in the 1500s, but in North America the tomato was thought to be poisonous until 1820 when Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson ate one on the steps of the Salem, New Jersey courthouse.

Cherry Tomatoes

Botanical name/plant family: Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme

 

Important practices: The Environmental Workers Group ranks cherry tomatoes 13th on their Pesticide in Produce guide, we suggest buying organic cherry tomatoes!

 

Harvest season: I am sweetest and juiciest when harvested from July to late September.

Great source of*: Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A


Storage methods: Like all tomatoes, I don’t do well in the cold! Keep me at room temperature for peak flavor and texture (I can get mealy in the fridge)

 

 

Cooking methods: If you can resist eating all of the cherry tomatoes raw, you can slow roast for sweet and savory flavor, saute, throw on the grill for some flavorful char, or sauce them!

 

World cuisines: Italian, American and Mexican cuisine

 

Pairings: I am sweet, juicy and ready to mix and match with many different types of cheeses, greens, and pastas! I am very receptive to garlic, and onions.  

 

Fun Fact:

  • There are more than 7500 tomato varieties grown around the world

  • A “tomato fight” happens every year in the small Spanish town of Bunol, where about 40,000 people gather and throw an estimated 150,000 tomatoes

  • People used to be afraid of eating tomatoes due to their relation to the belladonna

Featured Tomato Recipes

Tender Profile | Zucchini

Zucchini with its blossom

Zucchini with its blossom

Zucchini

Who Am I?

  • Botanical name/plant family: Cucurbita pepo
  • Great source of: Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium
  • Harvest season: I am available for harvest through most of the summer, and am one of the most plentiful crops.

How to care for me:

I can be stored directly in the crisper drawer, or wrapped in a plastic bag.

How to cook me:

I'm great on the grill, sautéed in a pan, or added to a stir fry. 

Pairings:

I am a sucker for olive oil, parmesan and garlic. Try spiralizing me for a delicious replacement for spaghetti and toss with the sauce of your choice. I compliment meats and fish alike and will brighten up any summer meal! Try me with basil, match me up with eggplant, garnish me with parsley, and sprinkle me with pepper. I'm also great with tomatoes. 

Fun Facts:

  • A single zucchini is referred to as a “zuchinna”

  • The world’s largest zucchini on record was almost 70 inches long and weighed in at 65 lbs.

  • A zucchina :) has more potassium than a banana.

  • Zucchini is the only fruit that starts with the letter “Z”

A few ways to prep your zucchini:

Zucchini ribbons (we made these with a simple veggie peeler!). Serve these as their own dish with pasta sauce, olive oil, etc., or, add them to pasta!

Grated Zucchini - the first step to making zucchini bread, zucchini fritters, veggie burgers, etc. 

Zucchini boats (stuffed with grated zucchini, breadcrumbs, rice, meat, etc. & baked)

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Zucchini Coins - you can roast these or sautee them for a simple side dish. Or, add them to a simple savory crust for a Vegetable tart. Or, arrange them just so to bake them or add to the top of a quiche or frittata!

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Featured Zucchini Recipes