If you’re in the NYC metro area today, you’re probably experiencing the same rainy and dreary day that I am. Everyone has her or his own way of dealing with unpleasant weather. Today, I’m reflecting on the best part of the season instead of the confusing winter we seem to be having. As the kids are saying these days: Go home, Winter. You’re drunk.
Can you name the citrus featured in the photo?
It’s a cara cara orange, known for its sweet, pink flesh that’s less acidic than its traditional navel neighbor. This fruit is a well traveled (Venezuela to Florida to California) mutation of the Washington navel and can be spotted in grocery stores between December and April-ish. They’re smaller than the average navel oranges and the skin sometimes has a pink mottled look to it. I rely on the produce staff to label the oranges correctly but I have been duped before (as I refer to as the Great Blood Orange Fail 2015).
What can you do with it? It can be difficult to peel but it’s so worth the effort. I also like to juice it for smoothies, cocktails and schorle. Why should you eat it? Well, other than the obvious reason of it being a fruit, healthy, vitamins, etc., it’s easily the best orange. Ever.
Let me know what your favorite citrus is or if you share a mutual fondness for this sweet savior!
This week I’m talking about kale. You know that curly, green leafy stuff or that dark green textured leaf that you’re seeing at the market and in restaurants? Maybe you’re seeing some purple kale or some red russian? Kale is popular mainly because it’s amazingly accessible, a great first step for picky eaters and it’s packed full of nutrients.
What’s so great about them? Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef (say what!?) It’s also high in potassium, Vitamin C and calcium. Leafy greens are known for their calcium. Just a cup of this stuff provides about 10% of your calcium needs for the day.
Are they easy to grow? Almost too easily. We have two plants in our garden bed now and they’re doing wonderfully. We planted them in little mounds, covered the base with mulch and have been giving them plenty of water. Be sure to water under the leaves and keep them free of pests. When you harvest, cut as close to the main stem as possible, always cutting the larger leaves on the bottom first (kale grows from the top). They like chilly weather but seem to be doing okay in the heat.
What do I do with them? Saute kale with garlic and ginger, throw some in soups, enjoy in a raw salad. Or make chips. Kale is one of the most versatile leafy greens out there.
1 bunch curly kale, washed, dried, stems removed and chopped into large pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 300.
In a large bowl, toss kale with olive oil, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste, until well coated.
Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Be sure that they are not overlapping. Use an additional baking sheet if needed.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Enjoy!
Okay, where can I find them? Kale has never been more popular. I’ve found bunches at my local grocery store. I usually get some from the CSA, farmers’ market or the garden. I trust you’ll have relative ease in finding kale (at least, I hope!)
What’s so great about them? They are packed full of Vitamin C. According to Livestrong, a 1/2 cup can satisfy up to 14% of your daily need. It’s a low calorie, high fiber food that is diet safe and can help guard against cancer. Whoa there!
Are they easy to grow? Yes, actually. 6 inches deep and 2 feet apart is what Organic Gardening recommends. They take about 3 weeks to mature.
What do I do with them? I personally love them with arugula, seared tempeh, snap peas, and avocado. You can slice them and bake them like chips or saute them with snap peas and scallions. Or you can just eat them raw! They’re peppery with a nice crunchy bite.
Okay, where can I find them? You can find radishes pretty much anywhere (I hope). I get mine from my CSA or from the farmers’ market. They’re white and purple radishes as well!
This veggie update is all about asparagus; those weird, green stemmy things that show up during this time of the year. Why should you try them? Keep reading!
What’s so great about them? Asparagus has some crazy health benefits. It doesn’t get digested at the first stage of of digestion and feeds some great bacteria in your large intestine. Cool, eh? It also has anti-inflammatory properties that regulate blood sugar and promote healthy hearts. There’s some crazy research around leukemia and asparagus but that’s still really unclear.
Also, if you have the gene for it, it will make your urine smell very funny.
Are they easy to grow? According to the Vegetable Gardner, making the bed is the most important part because asparagus can grow up to 20 years (it’s a perennial plant!)
What do I do with them? Omg, what can’t you do with them? Throw them in a saute with potatoes, mushrooms, ramps, and olive oil. Roast them. Shave them into ribbons for a salad. Cut off the woody part of the stem and just go to town.
Okay, where can I find them? Supermarkets, small groceries, farmers’ markets- you can find purple, green, and white asparagus at some of any of these places. They run for about $4-6/lb or $5 for a bunch.