This Season’s Hidden Gems

Make the most colorful and delicious seasonal dishes and salads featuring some of the most stunning produce from around the Market.  This Saturday hunt around to find these unique and delicious natural gems.

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Romanesco

The Romanesco Broccoli is nothing short of a mathematical marvel, reminiscent of the Fibonacci series Romanesco looks like something you could design using a Spirograph, and looks like broccoli and cauliflower collided in a great feast for the eyes. In addition to its pretty appearance, it also packs the nutritional punch you’d expect if broccoli and cauliflower had a baby. It is a good source of fiber, and is a surprising source of vegetable protein. It’s also full of Vitamin C, potassium, and Vitamin B6, so it boasts a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals for your overall health and well being. Use it like you would broccoli or cauliflower for a nice change of pace and better presentation.

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Watermelon Radishes

The Watermelon radish is made up of an edible globular root attached to thin stems and wavy green leaves.  The Watermelon radish’s flesh is white and becomes bright pink and magenta in the center, hence the watermelon reference. Its flesh is tender-crisp, succulent, and firm. Its flavor is mild, only slightly peppery with almond-sweet notes. Watermelon radish is an heirloom Chinese daikon radish and botanically a member of the Brassica (mustard) family.  The Watermelon radish, both the root and the greens, provide an excellent source of vitamin C, particularly when eaten raw.

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Purple Cauliflower

Purple cauliflower displays vibrant violet hues on the outside florets, however, the stem and core of the vegetable retain a cream color. The entire plant (floret, stalk and leaves) is edible. The stems and trunk are firm and tender and the florets have a dense yet soft and crumbly texture. It’s flavor is milder, sweeter, nuttier and free of the bitterness sometimes found in White cauliflower. Cauliflower is rich in vitamin C with a half cup of florets providing nearly half of ones daily requirement for vitamin C. It also provides a fair amount of fiber, vitamin A, folate, calcium and potassium as well as selenium, which works with Vitamin C to boost the immune system. Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower are known for their high levels of cancer-fighting phytochemicals know as glucosinolates!

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Candy Stripe Beet

It looks like a vegetable straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, but this striped beet is very real!  The Chioggia beet (pronounced kee-OH-gee-uh), also known as the candy cane or candy stripe beet, hails from Northern Italy and became popular in the 19th century. It’s most notable for its striking deep pink and white spirals, and the beet adds a beautiful pop of color to salads and soups. Though the candy stripe beet can be prepared much like any other beet, it has an especially sweet flavor—and it doesn’t ‘bleed’ as much as regular beets, meaning you don’t have to worry about bright red beet juice staining your fingers and clothes.

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Marigold Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are loaded with health benefits that can, among many other things, reduce stress and strengthen your bones. And don’t be afraid of the heirloom’s odd shapes and diverse colors as these are the result of their rich diversity. In short, they are supposed to have lines, bumps and wild color variation.  Heirlooms are picked at the peak of ripeness, which gives them greater vitamin content. The rainbow of colors indicate their diversity of antioxidants, which help protect our cells from aging. A good heirloom tomato is botanically a fruit and can have the juiciness and sweetness of a cherry or a grape.

 

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