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Organic “Moro” Blood Oranges on sale in January 2023 for $2.59/lb
“Moro” blood oranges have a rind that is orange, kissed with red blush, and has a leathery texture, pebbled with prominent oil glands. Underneath the surface of the rind, there is a medium-thick pith that is white, spongy, and tightly adhered to the flesh. The flesh ranges in color from orange with red blush, to maroon, crimson, to a saturated, almost black hue, depending on the climate that it is grown in. The flesh is also soft, juicy, and nearly seedless, divided into 10-11 segments by thin membranes. Moro blood oranges have a slightly sweet, floral fragrance and a sweet-tart taste with notes of cherries and raspberries. The oranges with the deepest pigmentation will exhibit more intense sweet berry notes characteristic to blood oranges.
Moro blood oranges, botanically classified as Citrus sinensis, are an early season Italian variety that grows on a highly ornamental, evergreen tree that belongs to the Rutaceae or citrus family. Their color is due to a pigment called anthocyanin, not usually present in citrus but common in other red fruits and flowers. Fluctuations in temperature greatly affect the degree to which blood oranges develop their characteristic blush. Though the Moro can vary greatly in this respect, no other blood orange variety is known to exhibit such deeply red colored fruits.
Moro blood oranges are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, thiamine, dietary fiber and most notably antioxidants supplied by its anthocyanin content.
Moro blood oranges are both intensely flavored and colored, adding a unique citrus flavor as well as visual appeal to a dish. They are often used raw and can be sliced and mixed into parfaits, desserts, salads, salsa, and garnished over seafood and poultry. Moro blood oranges also stand up well in cooked applications and may be paired with sweet or savory flavors. Moro blood orange juice can also be served as a stand-alone juice, used in cocktails with prosecco, cooked into syrups, sorbets, marmalades, compotes, sauces, and vinaigrettes, or used to flavor cheesecake, pound cake, or muffins. Moro blood oranges pair well with meats such as duck, poultry, pork, and seafood such as Mahi Mahi, other citrus, mint, tarragon, soft cheeses, shallots, arugula, roasted beets, fennel, shallot, Dijon mustard, Greek yogurt, honey, rolled oats, pistachios, sweetened coconut, mango, cinnamon, avocado, ginger, lime, mint, and cilantro.
They will keep up to one week when stored at room temperature and up to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
Season: Grown in California and available year-round.
Flavor: Celery has a mild and strong taste at the same time, giving it a bold flavor. It can remind you of raw or green onions in a way, with an earthy taste. It can also taste unpleasant to some people and has a plant-like taste much like lettuce and kale does.
Choosing & Storage: It’s a not good idea to keep celery at room temperature for more than a few hours at a time. If you want to avoid celery from going bad, you will need to use a storage bag and make sure it stays in the refrigerator less than five days. Don’t keep celery for too long since it will start to rot. The vegetable crisper is your safest bet, but it would be a good idea to use an airtight container as well. Celery (especially if cut) has a strong smell and may contaminate other foods, so be mindful.
How to use: Fresh – with peanut butter for snacking or finely chopped and added to potato salad, egg salad or tuna salad. Cooked in soups and stews. Juice and drink it fresh by itself or combine with other fruits or vegetables.
Nutrition: Celery is mainly made up of water, but it also provides dietary fiber. Beyond apigenin and luteolin, celery contains other plant compounds that have powerful antioxidant properties, selinene, limonene, kaempferol, p-coumaric acid. Celery also provides small amounts of vitamin K, folate, vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C.
Season: They’re native to Southeast Asia but grown in several countries near the equator and are available year-round.
Flavor: Bananas have an interesting flavor transition during their ripening process. Unripe bananas which still contain the green peel have a bland flavor with apparent notes of grassiness. Furthermore, less ripe bananas contain higher levels of starch and therefore have a “starchier” taste. As they ripen a more distinctive fruity flavor develops accompanied melon, pineapple, candy and clove flavor notes. Yellow bananas have higher sugar concentrations and therefore taste sweeter. Finally, when the peel has become brown, the banana contains notes which are reminiscent of vanilla, honey and rum.
Choosing & Storage: Look for plump, firm, and brightly colored bananas. Occasional brown spots on the skin are normal. Avoid sunken, moist-looking dark areas, split skins or stems.
Bananas that require ripening should be left at room temperature, but away from heat or direct sun. To speed ripening, place them in a closed paper bag. Once ripe bananas can be held at room temperature for a day or two. Refrigerate to slow down ripening. Although the skins will turn dark, the fruits will remain edible. Keep refrigerated bananas for up to two weeks. Do not refrigerate unripe bananas because the exposure to cold interrupts their ripening cycle.
How to use: Eat them fresh! Bake them into “banana bread”. Use to thicken and sweeten smoothies. Dip in melted chocolate, roll in nuts and freeze for a sweet frozen treat.
Nutrition: Bananas are a healthy source of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and various antioxidants and phytonutrients. Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Folate, Niacin, Copper, Potassium, Magnesium.
Season: July & August are the height of watermelon season in California. Watermelons are native to Africa.
Flavor: A watermelon is a large fruit that is green and striped on the outside and red and juicy on the inside. It is a very sweet, fresh, green and fruity taste with cucumber notes. It has a soft, crisp flesh.
Choosing & Storage: When choosing a watermelon, obviously you want to avoid any that show signs of decay, but that yellow spot – as long as it’s not mushy – merely shows where that watermelon ripened in the field and it’s perfectly fine. Ripe watermelons make a dull thud when you tap them with your fingers.
Place melons in a cool, shady spot or put them on ice. Watermelons can be stored uncut and unrefrigerated for about 10 days to 2 weeks. Place them in a very cool place to increase their storage time. If cut, watermelon will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days wrapped tightly in plastic. Once refrigerated, they should remain refrigerated.
How to use: Fresh, eaten as is! Try grilling it and adding to salads or salsa. It’s easy to juice for a sweet summer drink. I like to add a bit of lime juice to balance the sweet!
Nutrition: This fruit is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, copper, vitamin B5, and vitamin A.
Season: Now! A sweet and fragrant peach that’s ripe enough to drip juice down your chin is one of the ultimate joys of summer! Frog Hollow Farms grows over nineteen varieties of organic yellow peaches. How many will you try this year?
Flavor: White peaches tend to be sweeter than yellow ones. Yellow peaches have a bit more acid. Depending on the variety the flesh may be firm or soft, the flesh may cling to the pit (cling-stone) or separate easily (cling-free and free-stone). Frog Hollow hand picks and hand packs their peaches and we are so lucky to be situated close to their operations.
Storage: When buying peaches, choose fruits that smell sweet. They should have a creamy, yellow, or yellow-orange color and unwrinkled skin. Avoid green skin or bruising.
Once picked, mature peaches do continue to ripen and soften. If you must store them then let them breath, don’t stack them and keep them dry. Too many ripe peaches on hand? Consider washing, slicing and freezing them.
How to use: Fresh – whole, juice dripping down your chin! In a mixed fruit salad or combine with berries and blue cheese and serve in little gem lettuce cups as an appetizer. I like using firm peaches to bake in pies or galettes and for grilling.
Nutrition: Peaches are a rich source of carbohydrates, fiber, and natural sugars with little fat or protein. Peaches provide vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and B vitamins.
Season: March through November in Northern California
History: There are native varieties of wild strawberries in both the Old and New Worlds, ranging from South America to Europe to Asia. A member of the Rosaceae family (along with roses, apples and blackberries), they have been cultivated in Europe since the 14th century, though there is some evidence that Native Americans may have gardened the North American wild variety even earlier (and created one of the first versions of strawberry shortcake, made by mixing them with cornmeal). The varieties of the berry commonly grown in the United States today were developed in 19th century England — until hybridization with larger, juicier varieties, earlier cultivated strawberries were tiny, much like wild strawberries and the highly prized fraises des bois variety available today.
Flavor: Sweet and juicy with a touch of acidity. When shopping, look for glossy, red fruit without visible bruised, mushy or moldy spots.
Storage: Fresh strawberries deteriorate quickly after purchase — the culprit primarily being mold. You can keep the fruit fresher by waiting to wash them until just before eating, and by storing them in the refrigerator in a paper-towel lined basket or bowl.
How to use: Strawberries are a versatile fruit. They can be roasted, stewed, baked into a pie, made into jam, pickled, churned into ice cream or frozen into an icy sorbet.
But strawberries really shine when eaten raw, either completely unadorned, or sliced and tossed with a bit of sugar, orange juice, red wine or balsamic vinegar. Tossing a fruit with sugar and a bit of acidic liquid (“macerating” the fruit) draws out the delicious juices, enhances the flavor and makes a natural “sauce” for topping shortcakes or ice cream.
Nutrition: Strawberries are high in Vitamin C, fiber and manganese. The berries are also a fairly good source of folate and potassium, and are low in calories.