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Winter

My winter produce rant

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My winter produce rant

Brandon Nelson | Jan 3, 2002 08:34 PM

Good winter to all!

I've lost count of how many times in the last week I had to talk someone out of buying a cantaloupe. Just when I thoughtI was making a difference the nameless faceless grocery giant I work for runs them on the add. Yummy...not.

It's citrus season kids. Put down that immature melon (upon a quick proofreading session I' realize how naughty that might sound) that will never taste good. Leave those lime green nasty strawberries for the next sucker. Grab on of those funky looking Satsuma mandarins (tangerines). Yes the skin is supposed to be loose and wrinkled that is actually a bonus. A kindergardener can peel it. Nope no seeds. Tastes spendid! You can go nuts on mandarins this time of year. Pixies, fallglos (they are almost over), fairchilds, sunbursts they are all worth a taste. Blood oranges make great juice and sauces. Grapefruits are at their peak. They cousins the oro blanco and the pummelo. Those floral scented Meyer lemons we hounds covet are available. Even those basics, the navel and Valencia orange are good. California grows great citrus, but it's not alone. Texas produce lovely citrus fruit too. The Indian River valley in Florida is, in my never to be humble opinion, the finest producer of ruby red grapefruit.

Eveyone seems to grouse about winter veggies. I like greens and root vegetables though. Celery root makes great winter salads. Parsnips, rutabega, and turnips are great on their own, and add lovely elements to mashed potatoes. I'm less enthusiastic about winter greens though. I must admit Kale isn't my favorite. But I like collards, mustard greens, chard and dandilion greens. I really enjoy brocoli rabe on it's own, or sauted with some pancetta and red pepper flakes.

Take heart hounds asparagus may be below average and expensive, but winter still offers up some fine produce. Buy local if you can. I know that winter is not as kind to agriculture in colder climes as it is here (Napa, Ca.) but the fresher you get this stuff the better it will taste. So support the local sustainable agriculture. You will learn things are very different from the supermarket norm. The older waxed fruit you get at the Gigantomart is shiny and spongy. Wax creates that shine. Fresh oranges and grapefruit are hard. They have lost little moisture. Seek them out and taste the difference!

Love, happiness, and prosperity too all of you in 2002!

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