5 Best Ways to Store Apples Long Term

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Apples have become a common staple in most households and in fact are in the top three most consumed fruit.  To keep apples stocked year-round in grocery stores, apples are imported from the southern hemisphere.  However, apples are harvested in Arizona June through September.

Learn proper storage techniques to preserve apples so they don’t spoil too fast.  This can mean enjoying local apples year-round, reducing your food waste, and saving money.

5 Best Ways to Store Apples Long Term

  1. Keep them cool and dry
  2. Keep them apart (you could wrap each apple individually in butcher paper)
  3. Tart apples with thicker skin will last longer
  4. Handle with care and avoid bruising them
  5. Do not store them with potatoes
  6. BONUS TIP: Preserve them!  Try preserving them by canning, making sauce, or pie filling.  You can freeze apples. When you want to use them, just reheat in a skillet with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Lastly, you can dehydrate them and enjoy them for a snack.

 

Discover Our 10 Favorite Apple Facts

1.  Two pounds of apples make one 9-inch pie.

2. The apple tree originated in an area between the Caspian and the Black Sea.

3. Most apples are still picked by hand in the fall.

4. Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.

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Crop of the Week: Mature Spinach

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Spinach is a cool-weather vegetable. Along with other green, leafy vegetables contain an appreciable amount of iron, calcium and vitamins a and k. A fast-growing plant, it yields many leaves in a short time. The variety we’re used to seeing at the grocery stores is known as “baby spinach”.  It’s a softer, sweeter leaf that’s delicious enjoyed fresh and paired with citrus vinaigrette and sliced radishes.  Baby spinach is harvested as early as three weeks. Alternatively, Mature Spinach is harvested 45-60 days. Mature spinach has a richer spinach flavor and is great to cook with because of its texture.

Read more fror trips on shopping, storing and cooking spinach.

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Ten Fun Facts About Cabbage

Fresh Local Organic Vegetable at Farmers Market

“Cabbage is humble, but worthy of the greatest respect” the great Alice Waters has written
(Don’t miss her talk this month – details below**)

Check out our Guide To Leafy Greens and get inspired to cook up Corned Beef and Cabbage this weekend.

Ten Fun Facts About Cabbage… yes, cabbage!
1. Cabbage is one of our oldest known vegetables.
It has been cultivated for longer than almost any other vegetable on record. To be precise, more than 6,000 years! It originated in Northern China, sometime around 4,000 B.C.
2. The first cabbage in America was brought by French explorer Jacques Cartier on his 3rd voyage (1541).
3. Cabbage belongs to the Cruciferae family of vegetables, along with broccoli, collards, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
4. Today, China is the largest producer of cabbage, followed by India and Russia.

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Your Guide to Leafy Greens

Guide to Greens
With so many fresh leafy greens this time of year, we’re helping you navigate the market with your Guide to Leafy Greens. Discover the different varieties you can shop, best practices for storing greens and easy recipe suggestions. Click to download or pick up your guide Saturday at the Market. Read the full story »

What’s In Season: Winter

Brussels sprouts and strawberries are beginning to make their appearance at the Market this week! Find fresh Arugula, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery root, Clementines, Dates, Garlic, Grapefruit, Green onion, Greens, Herbs, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lemons, Lettuce, Oranges, Parsnips, Radishes, Rutabagas, Spinach,  Sweet potatoes, Tangerines, Turnips

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Rockin’ Root Veggies

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The Winter Market is filled with fresh produce right from the farm.  What’s in season?  Sweet citrus, leafy greens and tons of root veggies!  Because root vegetables grow underground, they absorb a great amount of nutrients from the soil and a smart choice full of flavor. Not sure how to cook a turnip? Wondering what to do with a parsnip?  This week try one of these recipes.

RadishOrange Glazed Radishes
CarrotsCarrot Soup
Don’t forget to use up those carrot tops.  Try making our Carrot Top Pesto.
Turnips –  Buttered Mashed Turnips
Parsnips –  Honey Roasted Parsnips
BeetsBeet and Turnip Gratin

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What’s In Season: Fall

Fall_Festival(1)What’s In Season | Fall

Arugula, Basil, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Carrots, Corn, Dates, Figs, Green beans, Green onion/scallions, Herbs, Limes, Lettuce, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Spinach, Squash (winter), Sweet Peppers, Tomatoes, Turnips

Multi-sensory Market Discoveries [Shishito Shitake Shakedown]

Shopping at a farmers market awakens the senses and makes us realize that the exotic is not so far away. It’s a multi-sensory activity where we learn about, interact with, and become part of our surroundings. This week, we discovered that our favorite restaurant treat is available through a few of our farmers: Shishito Peppers!

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Shishito peppers are said to have originated in Eastern Asia. They are part of the Capsicum species, along with bell peppers and cayenne peppers. These crops generally do great in dry, hot climates and get more flavorful with more sun exposure. Lucky us – we’ve got plenty of that! Recently, shishito peppers have gained popularity and can be found usually as a finger-food appetizer at trendy restaurants. We found ours at Al Hamka Family Farm.

Shishito peppers vary greatly between crops – on the same vine, one may be sweet and mild while the one next to it is savory and spicy. That’s what makes them addictive! One local restaurant named them “Russian Roulette Peppers” because you never know what you’ll get, and if you’re into surprises, you’ll be digging for the hottest in the bowl.

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Since they’re so easy to prepare, why not try them at home? Maybe even on the grill! If you’re extra DIY, a lemon aioli is easily prepared in a blender – add a little smokiness or zing with paprika or apple cider vinegar.

To start our shishito dinner, we first reached for an ice-cold beer. Then, we threw our peppers in a grill basket with some lime juice and zest, garlic, soy sauce, black pepper, and canola oil to coat. We used a microplane for the lime zest and the garlic. They cooked on high heat for about 10 minutes, tossing every four minutes or so to ensure an even char. Next time, we intend to take the char even further than this go-around. Having too many peppers and not enough surface area makes for overcooked peppers without much texture – though never lacking in flavor. A nice blended salsa or sauce could be made with these if they do seem overcooked!

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We paired our shishitos with some shitake mushrooms from Southwest Mushrooms and some frozen potstickers. It made for a great weeknight meal that breaks up the monotony of salads, pastas, and meat-centric roasts. Each bite was definitely spicy! Dinner became a competition of how much heat we could handle…so it was nice to get the occasional mild pepper. Leftovers will go into brown rice with a drizzle of Saucy Lips Pineapple Thai sauce for take-along lunches.

Get inspired next time you’re at the Open Air Market by looking out for produce you don’t see year-round. A long, skinny pepper available by the handful? Ask the farmer what they usually do with it, where it comes from, why it thrives in our climate.

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Multi-sensory Market Discoveries [Lemon Verbena]

Shopping at a farmers market is nothing like shopping at a grocery store. It’s a multi-sensory activity where we learn about, interact with, and become part of our surroundings. This week, we discovered a new-to-us herb: Lemon Verbena!

During the last hour of the market, we happened upon Lemon Verbena at Maya’s Farm. We sniffed at the leaves wondering what it was, though the lemony aspect of it was very obvious. It smelled a little more floral than other herbs at the table, though everything at this booth toes the line between flower, herb, and vegetable.

Maya herself convinced us to take it home and experiment! She told us to make a tea with it by simply adding it to just-boiled water (being sure to take it off the heat once we put the leaves in). Lemon Verbena can also be used in salads, with fish and chicken, and whatever else lemon would otherwise be great with. We grabbed a couple bunches of it along with some of the robust rosemary next to it, and flaunted its beautiful smell to friends we bumped into on the way out of the aisle.

Little did we know…Lemon Verbena is highly medicinal! In its thin and bright green leaves, there is a high concentrate of antioxidant compounds, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic properties. It even moderates appetite and is a great anti-stress agent.

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The tea was refreshing and floral! We ended up specifically craving it over ice at the end of a long, hot day. But it also just made the house smell amazing! Adding a sprig of rosemary was a good move, giving the tea a bit of nuance and a savory touch. Mint would be a natural addition, too. Having a jar of concentrated Lemon Verbena tea is sure to improve Summer. Next, maybe roasted halibut with asparagus–that would go great with Lemon Verbena!
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Multi-sensory discoveries can be made all over the market. Get the most out of the Open Air Market by opening your senses–smell what you see and listen to what you can feel. Ask a farmer or a fellow shopper about their experience, inquire about the story behind a handmade good and truly connect with your local commerce.
Be sure to share your findings with us and the market community on Instagram and Facebook with #lettucemeatdowntown!

Fun Fig Facts

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We love so many things about figs including enjoying them fresh, dicing them into oatmeal, topping pizzas with them and slicing them with savory cheese. But we also love these

Top Ten Fun Facts About Figs

1. Figs are actually a flower and not a fruit.
2. In ancient Greece, figs were regarded with such esteem that laws were created forbidding the export of the best quality figs.
3. Fig trees have no blossoms on their branches.
4. Fig puree can be used to replace fat in baked goods.
5. Fossil records date figs back to between 9400-9200 B.C.
6. Figs are harvested according to nature’s clock, fully ripened and partially dried on the tree.
7. Figs are high in fiber and a great source of potassium. They’re also rich in nutrients like vitamin K.
8. They’re considered a part of the mulberry family.
9. Figs made their first commercial US product appearance with the introduction of Fig Newtons cookies in 1892.
10. Figs are known as the “fruit of the gods”.