Fair Trade and Non-GMO Month start October 1! Our friends at Equal Exchange have put together some baskets of their products for us to give away. Starting tomorrow, come by any of our locations to enter to win!
Organic Warren Pears from Frog Hollow Farms
Season: August to November in Northern California
Flavor: Sweet, juicy but mild.
Storage: Look for fruit that are unblemished and are slightly firm when you purchase them, unless you plan to eat them right away. They also smell fragrant. You can allow pears to ripen by leaving out at room temperature, uncovered, for a day or two; or you can stall the fruit’s ripening by keeping it in the refrigerator. In either case, don’t suffocate the fruit for long with airtight plastic. Without oxygen, pears will degrade faster and their natural moisture may encourage mold.
How to use: Pear ripen from the inside out; if the outside looks fully ripe then the inside may be too ripe! What pairs with pears? The answer seems to be endless. Fresh pears can be enjoyed on their own, as a snack, or in multitudes of ways. The refreshing sweetness of pears adds complexity to savory foods well, like a charcuterie or cheese board. Serving pears fresh showcases their crispness, which is lost in cooked preparations.
Like apples, though, pears can be cooked in baked goods like pies and tarts. They can be canned or turned into preserves and take on additional flavors in the process. Simply poached peeled pears in wine or brandy, until meltingly soft but still retaining their shape and serve with chocolate sauce.
Nutrition: Pears are an excellent source of dietary fiber and carbohydrates. It offers a sampling of essential minerals, including copper, iron, magnesium and calcium, although much of this nutrition is found in the fruit’s skin. The flesh alone is a good source of potassium and Vitamin C, although pears are not as strong of a source of antioxidants like higher-acidity fruits and leafy green vegetables.
Mexico happens to be Pachamama’s coffee of the month, and since September marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we thought sharing this blog would be helpful, informative, and provide a new perspective about coffee’s wonderful, labor-love journey from seed to cup.
We present Pachamama’s latest Blog, Journey to the Origin. Their Creative Director, Rosa, recounts her discovery of coffee’s incredible journey from seed to cup while visiting one of Pachamama’s owner cooperatives: La Union Regionnal Cooperative, in Veracruz, Mexico.
We hope you find the time to read about her experience. It’s a short read that demonstrates how Pachamama Coffee is one of the most sustainable coffees the Natural Grocery can offer our customers. It is available in our El Cerrito Store.
Organic Hard-skin “Winter” Squash
Season: September to December in Northern California, but available year round.
Flavor: There are so many shapes, colors and sizes of winter squash that it’s a real treat to see them start to show up at the market each fall. Winter squash specifically refers to a wide variety of squash species that have matured long enough so that their skin is hard and their seeds are larger and tougher to eat than Summer Squash.
Storage: The best way to store winter squash is in a cool, dark and dry spot, where it will hold up for at least a month, even longer depending on the variety and if your storage space is well ventilated. Store cut squash in a tightly covered container and refrigerate for up to five days. You can also freeze raw squash for up to 6 months; cube first, then freeze in a single layer on a rimmed sheet tray and transfer to a freezer-safe container once frozen.
How to use: What can’t you do with winter squash? It’s wonderful roasted, stuffed, and pureed.
Thin-skinned cultivars like delicata squash cook quickly and are great combined with other vegetables or served as a side dish on their own. The skin can be eaten!
Nutrition: That beautiful orange and yellow flesh is the source of uber-powerful disease-fighting antioxidants that protect against cataracts and stroke, for starters. It’s rich in Vitamin A, B-6, C, potassium and fiber, for starters, and some heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well.
Organic Seedless Grapes
Season: July to December in Northern California
Flavor: Sweet & Juicy.
Storage: Fresh grapes should be as dry as possible when stored in the refrigerator, as moisture accelerates decomposition. Fresh grapes will keep in the fridge between one and two weeks.
How to use:Grapes and raisins both make great additions to a whole bunch of different dishes, both savory and sweet. Fresh grapes are, of course, delicious eaten out of hand, but also make amazing additions to pastries, salads and braised poultry.
Nutrition: Grapes are good sources of Vitamins C and K, but not much else. What they lack in vitamins, they make up for in containing a number of potent antioxidant compounds that may provide cardiovascular benefits, lower blood sugar and have anti-cancer properties. (It should be noted that the scientific verdict is still out on many of these claims, however.) The fruit with red or purple skins contain the most of these compounds.
Organic Red Bell Pepper
Season: May to December in Northern California
Flavor: Bell peppers turn red as they ripen and are sweeter than when they are green or yellow.
Storage: Can be stored for up to a week in the fridge but make sure the peppers skin is completely dry. Moisture causes rapid deterioration.
How to use: Raw, roasted, stewed, stuffed, or grilled.
Nutrition: Red Bell Peppers are very high in Vitamins A and C and are a good source of folate.
Organic Lil’ Gem Lettuce
Season: Year round in Northern California
Flavor: Little Gem lettuce, botanical name Lactuca sativa, is an annual plant of the sunflower family, Asteraceae, also called Sucrine (French for sugar), or Sugar Cos. . Little Gem, the sweet, compact lettuce that resembles romaine after you you strip away the flimsy outer leaves. the best of both worlds! sweet like butter lettuce and crunchy like romaine.
Storage: Keeping it cold and preventing excess moisture build-up is the key to extending its crisp freshness. Try to put it in the fridge as soon as possible. It will not store well in bio-bags and should be used quickly. You can get a little longer life by putting it in a plastic bag or container.
How to use: Vinaigrettes love getting lost in the Gem’s nooks and crannies, and even grill time can’t subdue its crispness. There’s no waste on this lettuce. It’s perfect for individual salads, sandwiches and lettuce cup appetizers.
Nutrition: Like romaine, this green is packed with vitamins A, C, K, and folate, as well as minerals phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Organic Yellow Peaches
Season: May to October in Northern California
Flavor: Yellow peaches tend to have an appealingly tart edge beneath their juicy sweetness for a well-rounded flavor. Frog Hollow offers several varieties. Taste them all and find which you like best. O’Henry and Cal-Red are year to year favorites and are here right now!
Storage: Peaches are highly perishable! If it needs a little time to soften up then keep it out of the refrigerator and out of direct sunlight. To buy a little time for a ripe peach go ahead and refrigerate it but keep in mind it might shrivel.
How to use: Fresh, baked, grilled (yes grilled!)
Nutrition: High in Vitamins A, C and E and dietary fiber.
LAST DAY TO PRE-ORDER IS WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31, 2021
The Annex is making Easter Dinner this year!
As always we use the finest organic ingredients! You may order an entire ham meal for six people or an entire vegetarian meal for six people, individual meals, quiches for brunch and sides. This year we have made it possible for you to order online via our website. You can choose to pick-up at any of our three locations Saturday, April 3 beginning at 9:00am through Sunday, April 4 at 7:30pm.
You may also order in-store at any of our locations or call us to place your order. If calling, please call the location from which you wish to pick-up your items.
The Annex 510-526-5150
Berkeley Natural Grocery 510-526-2456
El Cerrito Natural Grocery 510-526-1155
Thank you for making The Natural Grocery Company a part of your Easter celebration!