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Sit Down With Produce Pete

 

NBC's ' Produce Pete'  sits down to talk about food access issues, the New York Green Cart Initiative and his own beginnings as a street vendor.  He appears in the film THE APPLE PUSHERS (www.applepushers.com).

 

Produce Pete at Hunts Point Market, Bronx NY

 

Produce Pete NBC food contributor, talks produce with Hank Zona at the Hunts Point produce market

Pat & Pete at Eden Garden, South Orange

Pat and Produce Pete out for a fun day at Eden Garden Marketplace.  Pat's getting better at picking fresh fruits and vegetables then i am.

Produce Pete With Hank Zona At Katzman Produce

Produce Pete and Hank inside the refrigerator at Katzman Produce at the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx talking vegetables.

Produce Pete's WNBC Shows, Past and Present

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To see Produce Pete's shows please click the link below !!!

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete-151185725.html?page=1                              


!!!  Links to shows also available at bottom of page for shows listed !!!


JEOPARDY

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http://j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=1170




CLICK ON LINK ABOVE.  PRODUCE PETE A CATEGORY ON JEOPARDY??  WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED!

PRODUCE PETE'S UPCOMING APPEARANCES

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PLEASE CHECK OUT MY NEW BLOG RUNNING MONTHLY IN NEW JERSEY MONTHLY MAGAZINE ONLINE 


  https://njmonthly.com/category/eat-drink/table-hopping/


              

                               

                                                                                                                          




BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER 11/16/19

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  For the third week of our Thanksgiving Day Table, we are talking about two of the most

popular vegetables for Thanksgiving, Broccoli and Cauliflower.  A must on Bette and Pete's table, what would this holiday be without these traditional side dishes.Don't forget to check

out Bette's Thanksgiving Day Recipes at the top of this page. the Broccoli and Cauliflower 

ones are great.


BROCCOLI


Kids who call broccoli "trees" are imitating the Romans, who called it brachium, meaning "strong branch or arm." Their nickname for it was "the five green fingers of Jupiter," and they ate a lot of it. Broccoli is one of the cruciferous vegetables--in the cabbage family--that is packed with beta-carotene; the precursor to vitamin A that researchers believe has anticarcinogenic properties. 

Thomas Jefferson first brought broccoli seeds form Italy to Monticello. Although broccoli flourished there, Jefferson wasn't fond of it--probably because it was cooked to death. Broccoli didn't really catch on in the U.S. until the twentieth century; as Italian immigration increased, Italian farmers started growing it in California. They knew how to cook it, and by the mid - 1920's broccoli was becoming more popular. Although broccoli is grown almost everywhere, the bulk of the crop is still grown in California. 


Season

A cool - weather crop planted in the spring and fall, broccoli is available year round, but the peak of the season is March through November. It's usually very consistently priced, but when the price jumps up 30 to 40 percent, you know it's out of season and in short supply. 


Selecting

Look for a firm, clean stalk with tight, bluish-green florets. Check the stalks to make sure they're not too thick and hard--they will be a bit woody. Most important, the florets should be tightly closed and the broccoli should have little or no fragrance. Broccoli is eaten at an immature stage; left to grow in the field, the buds will open into yellow flowers. Buds that are starting to open and look yellowish will be mushy and have a strong cabbage taste. Use your nose when you're selecting broccoli: if a head has an odor, it's not good. 


Storing

Broccoli will keep up to seven days if refrigerated and kept moist. You can break apart the stalks and put them in ice water or spread crushed ice on top. Or wrap broccoli in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel and place in the crisper. 


DID YOU KNOW??

Cup for cup, broccoli has as much Vitamin C as oranges and as much Calcium as milk.


Preparing

The less you do to broccoli, the more it will do for you. Broccoli will lose up to 30 percent of its vitamins and minerals when it's cooked, so for nutritional reasons as well as good flavor, never overcook it. Broccoli is also very good raw on a platter of crudités, added to other vegetables in a salad, or served with dips. 

At certain times of the year, broccoli may harbor a bug or worm or both. When cleaning, soak the head in salted water about fifteen minutes, and the critters will float to the top. 

Broccoli can be prepared in countless ways. Sauté it with a little garlic and onion. Add it to pasta, or serve it blanched and cooled in vinaigrette. It's excellent simply steamed for a few minutes and serve with a dab of butter or squeeze of lemon--or both. To steam, put it in about half an inch of salted water, stem ends down. Don't let the buds touch the water--they'll cook very quickly and will get mushy and disintegrate. Cover and cook over low to medium heat for not more than four to five minutes--just until its fork tender. Check the pot once or twice to make sure there is adequate liquid in the bottom to keep from burning, and add a few tablespoons of water as needed. Properly cooked, broccoli has a delicate flavor and arrives at the table tender-crisp and bright green. If you're going to add lemon or vinegar, do it at the last minute because they tend to drab the color.

 

CAULIFLOWER

    

    Known as the "queen of garden vegetables", cauliflower is actually a densely packed head of tiny, unopened flower buds that form clusters called florets. Straight off the farm, cauliflower is enclosed by large, green, edible leaves. In the field these are bundled up around the head to keep it white. Left exposed to the sun, the head turns yellow. When you see cauliflower with the leaves on, it's been grown locally. Cello-pack cauliflower, usually shipped in from California, is what you see in the store 90 percent of the time. 


Selecting

Look for a good-sized cauliflower that is hard and heavy, with a touch of dew on the head. The florets should be compact and tightly packed. If florets have started to spread apart and the head looks very light and granular, that's called ricing, and it indicates changes in growing conditions. Ricing doesn't mean the cauliflower is spoiled, but it won't have quite the flavor or crispness of a firm, compact head. Riced cauliflower is a little softer and should be cooked for a shorter period.

 

Storing

Cauliflower must be refrigerated. Wrap it in plastic and store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, where it will keep for several days. 


Preparing

Cook whole heads in just an inch or two of water until fork-tender - no more than ten minutes. Broken into individual florets, cauliflower takes a little less time to cook. Cauliflower can be eaten raw, steamed or braised, or breaded and fried. It can be curried, served in a cream or cheese sauce, or mixed into vegetable salads, and it makes a terrific pickle. 

RUTABAGA ( WAX tURNIPS) STRINGBEANS, FRENCH BEANS 11/9/19

 

Rutabaga - Yellow Turnip


Each year Americans consume greater quantities of almost every sort of fresh vegetable except rutabagas. This neglected vegetable deserves better. Rutabagas can be cooked like potatoes, and if they're prepared right, they have a creamy, potato like texture and a distinctive taste. They've been a must on my family's Thanksgiving table for years, thanks to my Irish mother. Sure, the rutabaga is homely, but this inexpensive vegetable has a long shelf life, can be cooked in a number of ways, is very nutritious and is generally a terrific, hearty winter vegetable.

Large and squat, a rutabaga looks a lot like a big darkened white turnip with the top and tail cut off. The skin is purple at the top, yellowish below, and the whole root is heavily waxed to prevent it from losing moisture and shriveling. Rutabagas are grown in cooler climates everywhere, but for the U.S. market, Canada grows the best.


Season


Rutabagas are in season from October through early summer.


Selecting


Choose roots that are heavy in the hand for their size, more rounded than pointed; and hard as a rock - with no soft spots. The tops should be purple and bright looking, and the wax should have a good shine on it. You can tell right away if a rutabaga is old, the wax will look dull, and the rutabaga will feel light.


Storing


If you can, store rutabagas in a cool, dark place like a root cellar. Even at normal room temperature, however, rutabagas in good condition will keep for a couple of months.


Preparing


Prepare rutabagas as you would potatoes, or as if they were acorn squash, with a little sweetening (they aren't stringy like acorn squash). We mash them just like potatoes, peel, cube, boil, and mash; add butter, salt and pepper. Or combine with potatoes before mashing for a milder flavor. I love mashed rutabagas straight, they've got a distinctive taste and they really stick to your ribs. They're excellent as a side dish with turkey, roast chicken, pork roast, pork chops, or ham.



 

STRING BEANS


String beans are so named because years ago they had a "string" - a tough fiber that ran from one tip to the other. While the string has been bred out of most varieties you'll see on the market, the name has stuck. Although there are several varieties, they're generally divided into two categories - bush beans, which have a rounded pod, and pole beans, which are usually large and relatively flat. One of the best of the flat pole beans is the Kentucky Wonder - a bright green, fairly broad bean that reaches six to eight inches in length. When fresh, young, and velvety, Kentucky Wonders have a sweet taste and an excellent, crisp texture.

One virtue of pole beans is that they're usually picked by hand. There is a definite difference between hand-picked and machine-picked beans. Machine-picked beans are usually a less tender variety - they have to be tough to survive machine picking.

Machines also pick everything off in the row, while farm workers are a bit more selective. Although hand-picked beans are more expensive than others, they may be a better buy in the long run because there's less waste.


Season

Fresh green beans are available year round, but they are best in early winter, early summer, and early fall. That's when you'll get the early part of the crop. Beans picked early in the season are smaller, sweeter, and more velvety. You don't want a long, thick or bumpy pod that shows the outline of the beans inside. These are too mature, and will be tough and tasteless.


Selecting

Look for small to medium-sized pods that are velvety-looking and bright green, with no signs of wilting or wrinkling. Fresh green beans should be tender enough to eat raw. The USDA classifies string beans as snap beans, and that's exactly what the bean should do when you bend one - snap. If it's rubbery and bends, it will taste rubbery too.


Storing

Do not wash string beans until you're ready to use them. Refrigerate in a paper bag or unsealed plastic bag, and they'll keep well for a day or two, although it's best to use them as soon as possible. If you've had them longer and they're starting to wilt, you may be able to revive them in ice-cold water. Otherwise, add them to soups or stews.


Preparing

Tender young green beans can be added raw to crudités. To cook, simply steam or cook in a small amount of water in a covered pan for five to eight minutes, adding a dab of butter, salt, and pepper if desired. Don't overcook! String beans also freeze well if blanched for two minutes before freezing. 
 

 GREEN BEANS VS HARICOTS VERTS


What's the Difference ??

 When you’re in the supermarket and looking to buy some green beans, you’re often presented with two options: green beans, and usually right next to them, haricots verts, sometimes called French beans. What’s the difference between the two?

The answer? Not very much. In fact, haricots verts just means “green beans” in French. There are two main differences, though: haricots verts tend to be skinnier than traditional green beans, and are also more expensive. They’re actually bred that way: not only are they thinner, they’re also more tender and flavorful than comparably sized traditional green beans. They’re also younger than traditional green beans; if you were to pick regular old green beans at the same age at which haricots verts are harvested, they’d be missing a lot of that “beany” flavor. In France, all green beans are called haricots verts; the skinnier, pricier ones are called haricots verts filets extra-fins.


DON'T FORGET TO GO TO BETTE'S RECIPES AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE FOR ALL HER THANKSGIVING DAY RECIPES


Click link below for Wax Turnip and Stringbean Segment

 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Thanksgiving-Vegetables_New-York-564705522.html 

cranberries 11/02/19

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Where does the time go, all of a sudden it's November and Thanksgiving is here. For the next four weeks starting on the 2nd of November we will be talking about all your vegetables for your Thanksgiving Table 

11/2 Cranberries, 11/9 Wax Turnips & Stringbeans, 11/16 Cauliflower & Broccoli, 11/23 Artichokes & Yams. 

We will also have Bette's Thanksgiving Recipes, so please go to Bette's Recipes, at the top of the page. Enjoy the Holiday and let Produce Pete make it a fun Holiday for you and your family.

  

Cranberries

Cranberries have been a part of the American holiday scene for many years. Raw berries are pretty strung with popcorn to make old-fashioned garlands for the Christmas tree. They're also used during the Jewish high holy days to construct little houses used in the celebration of Succoth. And although a lot of people have become accustomed to using canned cranberry sauce, it's quick and easy to make a delicious sauce from whole fresh berries. People are also starting to discover how useful cranberries are beyond Thanksgiving and Christmas. These festive, very firm red berries add great flavor to a lot of foods. Generally a half inch to an inch in diameter, cranberries are oval in shape, with a smooth, glossy, red to deep red skin, and contain tiny, soft, edible seeds. They are too tart for most people and require some sweetening. Cranberries are a member of the health family (Encaceae), which also includes blueberries, loganberries, and huckleberries. Their natural habitat is a swamp or bog in temperate climates, such as Wisconsin, Cape Cod, and Long Island. Native Americans used cranberries for dyes, medicines, and food, including a dish made of cranberries and dried meat. The various Indians names for cranberries translate as "sour berries" but settlers called them crane berries, possibly because they were favored by cranes or because the plant and flower look like one of these elegant birds. By the nineteenth century, American sailors and loggers were using cranberries to make a drink to prevent scurvy. Today cranberries are cultivated in shallow bogs that are flooded with water at appropriate times during the season. They are important crops in Massachusetts and New Jersey and are also cultivated in Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington State, British Columbia, and Quebec. 


Season and Selecting

Fresh cranberries are available from September to January. They're usually packaged in twelve-ounce cello bags, which yield about three cups. Packaged cranberries are always sold in good condition unless there has been a problem with refrigeration. Their high acid content gives them a long shelf life. 


Storing

Packaged unwashed fresh cranberries will stay fresh up to four weeks in the refrigerator. You can freeze unwashed berries in doubled, well-sealed plastic bags, and they'll keep for as long as a year. Rinse them briefly, pick out the stems and use directly in recipes without thawing - they collapse when thawed. 


Preparing

Wash well just before using, discarding the stems and any soft, wilted or bruised berries. Cranberries need to be sweetened with sugar, honey, maple syrup or other fruit juices. The high pectin content in cranberries makes them an ideal fruit for jellies or fruit chutney. Besides the popular cooked sauce and jelly used to accompany poultry and meats, cranberries can be made into an equally delicious uncooked relish. Grind or mince one package of cleaned berries with the grated zest and chopped pulp of one orange. Mix with 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar, add cinnamon if desired, and let the mixture stand overnight in the refrigerator. Cranberries are excellent mixed with apples or pears in pies and tarts. Apples are delicious stuffed with sweetened cranberry sauce, or try stuffing pears with cranberry sauce, sprinkling them with orange juice and cinnamon, and baking in a 325¡F oven for twenty minutes. Cranberry muffins are understandably popular, but your family will also enjoy cranberry nut loaf, cranberry upside-down cake, and cranberry cheesecake. Cranberry juice is delicious mixed with apple juice or lemonade, and cranberry sorbet is a refreshing treat.   


A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE CRANBERRY


 Cranberries – they’re a fruit that many people only eat during Thanksgiving, but there are many health benefits you may not be aware of that might want to make you eat them more regularly.

Not only are they delicious, especially paired with turkey and stuffing (although that’s definitely not a prerequisite to enjoying them), they can help keep you healthy year-round. 

 

FALL IS HARVEST SEASON

Every autumn (usually from mid-September until around mid-November in North America and March through May in Chile), cranberries reach their peak of color and flavor and are ready for harvesting. That's when the growers harvest millions of pounds of cranberries. 

 

WHAT'S A BOG?

For starters, it’s where cranberries come from. But if you want to get technical, it’s an area of soft, marshy ground with acid peat soil, usually near wetlands, where the cranberries grow on long-running vines. You can find them all over North and South America, from Massachusetts to New Jersey, Oregon to Washington, Wisconsin, parts of British Columbia and Quebec, and Chile.

 

WET HARVESTING

A lot of people think that cranberries grow under water. Makes sense, since we usually see the berries floating on top of the water. But, what we’re seeing is actually the result of wet harvesting. The bog is flooded with up to 18 inches of water the night before the berries are to be harvested. The growers then use water reels, nicknamed “eggbeaters,” to churn the water and loosen the cranberries from the vine. Each berry has a tiny pockets of air that allows it to float to the surface of the water. From there, they’re corralled together, loaded into trucks, and shipped off to become the Cranberry product, you see in all your stores. 


Click link below for Cranberry Segment

 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Thanksgiving-Cranberries_New-York-564281152.html 

NORTHEAST FARM APPLES. 10/26/19

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 I love apple season. There are few things better than a good apple eaten out of hand. Whether the flesh is mild and sweet or tart and winey, when you bite into it, a fresh-picked apple will make a crisp cracking sound and you’ll get a spurt of juice.  There’s a season for everything and the main season for American apples starts the last half of October. I’ve probably said this a thousand times, but our problem in the United States is that we try to buy produce out of season. Many varieties will keep well late into winter, but by summer most apples have been stored for seven or eight months. No wonder they are soft, mealy, and without juice. When peaches and melons come in, stay away from apples. Come back when there’s a snap in the air, and you’ll remember what makes apples so good. Apples are one of the most esteemed fruits in the northern Hemisphere in part because they’re so versatile. They’re delicious raw, baked, dried, or made into apple sauce. They make great pies, apple butter, apple jelly, chutney, cider, and cider vinegar, and they’re a welcome addition to dozens of other dishes. A member of the rose family, apples have been known since ancient times and were cultivated by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Many places grow wonderful apples now, but overall, the United States produces the finest apple crops in the world. The Northwest, the East Coast, and parts of the Midwest, regions where the seasons change, grow the best apples. They’re not a fruit for hot climates. Only a few of the thousands of varieties of apples grown today are mass marketed, but there are many more out there than Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Macs. There are very old and very new varieties you may never have heard of. If you’re north of the Mason-Dixon Line, you’re going to find the best apples at local farm markets and stands, where they’re fresh-picked, and you’re likely to find great varieties you’d never see at the supermarket.


 SEASON

The vast majority of apples are picked from September through November and either sold immediately or put into cold storage, where some keep well – some don’t. The peak of the season for domestic varieties – when most stored apples still retain their snap – is generally over by December. A few will last through the early spring, but by March it’s hard even to find a good Winesap.


  SELECTING

In most cases look for very firm, bright-colored fruit with no bruises and with the stem still on – a good indication that you’ve got an apple that’s not overripe. The apple should feel heavy in the hand for its size and have a good shine on it. A dull look usually means the fruit has been in storage too long, although some excellent varieties like Winesaps and eastern Golden Delicious have relatively rough skin with little or no sheen. As always, use your nose. An apple that smells great is going to taste great.

 

HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE VARIETIES


HONEYCRISP

 Sometimes the name of an apple says it all. Honeycrisp apples are honey sweet (with a touch of tart) and amazingly crisp, some say “explosively crisp.” It’s easy to see why this new variety continues to grow in popularity since its 1991 introduction in Minnesota. Supplies are limited for now but more Honeycrisp trees are being planted every year. 


   EMPIRE

 With the popular Red Delicious and McIntosh for parents, Empire apples were destined to be a hit. It’s a sweet-tart combination that’s great for everything. The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva Introduced this new variety in 1966.


  MCINTOSH

Nothing evokes Fall better than the aromatic fragrance of McIntosh apples. People have enjoyed this apple since 1811 when John McIntosh discovered the first seedling. McIntosh apples grow particularly well in New York’s cool climate!  

   

  MACOUN

 Want a perfect no-fat dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth? Macoun may just be your apple, but, hurry, these special apples are only available in the Fall. Macoun was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva in 1932. It’s named for a famous Canadian fruit breeder.


 GOLDEN DELICIOUS 

 Ever hear that Golden Delicious is the yellow cousin of the popular Red Delicious apple? Actually, they are related in name only, but this honey sweet apple is a special treat all on its own.

  • Mild, sweet flavor
  • Juicy
  • Crisp, light yellow flesh

Excellent for eating, salads, and sauces

  • Good for pies, baking, and free
  • You can put less sugar in pies and sauces made from Golden Delicious apples, because of the natural sweetness these apples provide.


CORTLAND 

Picture a fresh fruit cup featuring beautiful, snow-white apples. It’s likely made with Cortland, the very best salad apple. This great, all-purpose apple was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva in 1898.Sweet, with a hint of tartness

  • Juicy
  • Tender, snow-white flesh

Excellent for eating, salads, sauces, pies and baking

  • Good for freezing

Cortland apples are wonderful for kabobs, fruit plates and garnishes because they don't turn brown quickly when cut.


 STAYMAN WINESAP

 The Stayman-Winesap is a cross between a Stayman apple and a Winesap apple. The combination of the two strains produces an apple of exceptional eating quality.The Stayman-Winesap’s firm yellow flesh; crisp, coarse texture; and its tart, rich wine-like taste makes it memorable. Some say it smells like cinnamon. Stayman-Winesap’s thick skin maintains sufficient moisture within the flesh to keep the apple crispy to the bite and flavorful to the taste.The late maturing Stayman-Winesaps keep well and can last until spring if properly stored or placed in a fruit cellar. This multi-purpose apple is excellent when eaten fresh, or used in pies, desserts, applesauce, and cider.


 A TRIP TO DONALDSON'S FARM

One of my favorite farms in New Jersey, Donaldson's Farm is located in Hackettstown, N.J. Today I am here filming my Apple segment for Weekend Today in New York. I especially love this farm in the fall when the apple orchard and the pumpkins are in season. A family run farm it's a great place to take your family for a day trip and enjoy what made America great, FARMING. The apples from Donaldson's are great tasting,  juicy, crunchy, and a great taste of fall. Enjoy the fall weather and please support your LOCAL FARMERS     


PLEASE CHECK OUT MY BLOG IN NEW JERSEY MONTHLY ON APPLES

 https://njmonthly.com/category/eat-drink/table-hopping/ 


Click link below for Apple Show


 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Northeast-Apples_New-York-563908052.html 

HALLOWEEN PUMPKINS 10/19/19

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There’s perhaps nothing more iconic in New Jersey during the month of October than corn mazes, hay rides and especially pumpkins. Heading out to a farm with the family to pick pumpkins or enjoy a hay ride is a great fall tradition that shouldn’t be missed; for a list of pumpkin farms in your area, visit www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org. Since October is one of my favorite months of the year, I thought I’d share some fun facts about pumpkins and Halloween:

  • Pumpkin seeds should be planted the last week of May to the middle of June to allow them 90-120 days to grow.
  • The original birthplace of Halloween Jack-o’-lanterns is believed to be Ireland, where people would place candles in hollowed-out turnips to ward off ghosts and spirits.
  • Though many people only buy pumpkins to make Jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkins are actually among the most nutritious of all produce, supplying more beta carotene per serving than any other fruit or vegetable.
  • Besides the color orange, pumpkins come in white, blue and green varieties.
  • Despite public consensus, pumpkins aren’t vegetables — they’re actually fruits.
  • The largest pumpkin grown in the U.S. in 2018 weighed in at 2528 pounds, grown by Steve Geddes in New Hampshire.
  • Pumpkins usually always have one flat side, which is where they lay while growing.
  • Carving a pumpkin out from the bottom instead of the top usually makes for a better looking Jack-o’-lantern.
  • Always use a flashlight or another light source in the pumpkin instead of a candle for safety’s sake


TODAY I'M AT DONALDSON'S FARM IN HACKETTSTOWN NEW JERSEY, ONE OF MY

FAVORITE FARMS ESPECIALLY IN THE FALL WHEN PUMPKINS AND APPLES REMINDS

US OF OUR CHILDHOOD AND THE FUN OF HALLOWEEN.



SELECTION AND STORAGE


When picking any kind of pumpkin, select one without bruises or soft spots. It may be greenish in color, but left whole in a cool spot — not refrigerated — it will ripen and turn orange. Always select a pumpkin with a nice green stem (I always say that a pumpkin without a stem is like a Christmas tree without a star on top), but never handle a pumpkin by its stem because it can break off easily.


 PREPARATION


Some people use Jack-o’-lantern pumpkins for cooking, but these were developed specifically to be oversized and thin-walled, with a huge seed pocket and a relatively small proportion of flesh. By contrast, the smaller sugar pumpkins, or pie pumpkins, will give you more meat for cooking purposes and often a better flavor and texture. Sugar pumpkins make an especially delicious pumpkin soup. For another interesting application, buy an extra sugar pumpkin, clean out the cavity, and use it as a tureen.If you can find it, I suggest using a variety called cheese pumpkins for pies. They’re medium-to-large-sized pumpkins with very flattened shapes, a light tan shell and orange flesh. Found most readily at farm stands and throughout New England, cheese pumpkins make delicious pies, while regular pumpkins — particularly sugar and especially Jack-o’-lantern varieties — sometimes make a stringy filling. 


DECORATING JACK-O LANTERNS


Instead of cutting and hollowing out a pumpkin for your Jack-o’-lantern, here’s a way to decorate pumpkins that’s different and colorful: Leave them intact and create a face using fresh vegetables. My mother used to decorate our pumpkins this way because it preserved the pumpkin, which she could then use in cooking after Halloween was over. Depending on what you use, you can give the pumpkins a wide range of personalities. I’ll never forget how my mother would use a carrot or parsnip to make a long, witchy nose, red peppers for lips, radishes for eyes, and string beans for eyelashes. Then she’d slice potatoes to make ears and make “hair” out of fennel tops. The result was unusual and very striking.My wife, Bette, who’s quite artistic, picked up a lot of kitchen techniques from my mother, and she’s decorated pumpkins for my NBC segments that were really something to see. 


WHY DO WE CARVE PUMPKINS


Thought the Americans were the first to carve the orange fruit into freaky figures? Think again. Like most American folklore, this spooky ritual comes from our European ancestors. We’re a country of immigrants, so most of our traditions originate from outside the U.S.—and jack o’ lanterns are no different. The practice dates back to a centuries-old Irish myth about a man named “Stingy Jack.”


THE TWISTED TALE OF STINGY JACK


According to the legend, Jack was a devious fellow who outsmarted the devil time and time again.  Jack,was the town drunk but had a clever side,and so he met the devil one fateful night. The duo shared a drink and, too cheap to pay for his booze, Jack convinced Satan to morph into a coin that he could use to pay for their beverages. As soon as he did, Jack put the coin in his pocket next to a silver cross. The devil was unable to change back into his original form, and Jack held him that way until Satan agreed not to take his soul. Sneaky!Next, the shifty swindler convinced the devil to climb up a tree to steal a piece of fruit. He quickly carved the sign of the cross into the tree bark. Again, the devil couldn’t come down until he agreed not to bother Jack for another 10 years.Shortly after his meeting with the devil, Jack died. As legend goes, God would not accept Jack into heaven and sent him down to visit the devil in hell. But the devil kept his promise. He wouldn’t let Jack into hell, either, and imprisoned him to an even darker fate. The devil sent Jack into the dark night to roam the world for eternity, with only a coal to light his way. Jack lit the coal, put it in a hollowed-out turnip and has been drifting through the world, scaring children ever since.Townsfolk began to refer to this figure as “Jack of the lantern,” and shortly thereafter “Jack o’ lantern.” People began to carve their own lanterns out of turnips, beets, potatoes and eventually pumpkins in hopes of warding away any ghostly spirits.  


THE TRADITION TODAY

Over time the tradition reached American shores by way of mouth, and immigrants from various countries took their own approach to the ancient tradition. A chiefly American fruit, the pumpkin became our own adaptation of this European tradition, and it’s now a symbol of Halloween. As years went by, the spooky history behind this family tradition has been lost. So now carving pumpkins is synonymous with family and friends instead of spooky spirits.This October, when you reach for a warm glass of cider and a carving knife, remember the spirit of Stingy Jack, and spook your friends and family with this ghostly tale!


Click link below for Halloween Pumpkin Show


 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Pumpkins_New-York-563446312.html 

BRUSSEL SPROUTS 10/12/19

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A lot of people think of Brussels sprouts as cute little cabbages but prefer not to eat them, usually because they've only had them mushy and overcooked. Brussels sprouts should be steamed or simmered very briefly, just until they're beyond the raw stage. That way they'll stay nice and green on the outside, they'll have a beautiful white color inside, and they'll be delicious. Trust me! Brussels sprouts are the newest member of the cabbage family - a mere two hundred years old - compared to head cabbage, which has been cultivated for thousands of years. They grow clustered on a thick stalk, although they are most often sold loose or packaged in pint cartons. In the fall you may see them fresh on the stem, especially at local farm stores. Buy them that way when you can. They're fresh, and they'll stay fresh a lot longer than cut sprouts. If you have room, you can put the whole stalk in the refrigerator, and the Brussels sprouts will keep a long time without wilting or yellowing.

Season

Brussels sprouts are available most of the year, but they thrive in cold, damp weather and are best in the late fall and early spring. Brussels sprouts from California - the biggest producer - are available from October through March. High-quality sprouts are also grown on Long Island and in upper New York State; these are most likely to be on the market in the fall.

Selecting

Look for fresh green sprouts that are free of wilt, yellowing, or spots. Buy them on the stalk when you can.

Storing

Cut Brussels sprouts will last up to a week in the refrigerator, even longer if they're still on the stem.

Preparing

To cook, rinse the sprouts and remove any wilted or yellow leaves. Score the stem ends with a knife. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, then add the sprouts and cook just until tender - about seven to ten minutes. To steam, place in a steamer basket over, but not touching boiling water, cover, and steam just until the sprouts are tender but still firm - al dente, as the Italians say - which will take about ten to fifteen minutes. Do not overcook! You should be able to pierce each sprout easily with a cooking fork. The very tiny sprouts are very sweet and good raw. Try adding them to a platter of crudites or to a green salad - they're delicious.


BRUSSEL SPROUTS FUN FACTS

 

Brussel Sprouts are named after Brussels, the capital of Belgium, where they were a popular 16th century crop.


 The Brussels sprout was introduced to North America by 18th century french settlers in Louisiana.


 By the early 1900s, the little vegetable became an established commercial crop in California.


 The U.S. produces 70 million pounds of sprouts each year.


Brussel Sprouts look like mini cabbages because they’re members of the same cruciferous vegetable family.  


 Colorful purple sprouts are the result of a hybrid developed from purple cabbage in the 1940s.

 

A little under one ounce of these vegetables provides 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.


Weighing in at just 26 calories per cup, Brussels sprouts are a delicious and nutritious diet food choice.


One 80-gram serving of these healthy veggies delivers four times more vitamin C than an orange.

 

Brussels sprouts stay fresh in a plastic bag in the refrigerator vegetable drawer for as long as 10 days.


 One cup holds an average of five Brussels sprouts, and they steam up in just 6 to 8 minutes.

 

Carving an X in the bottom of the stems before steaming helps sprouts cook more evenly.


 A sulfur - like smell is a sure sign that Brussels sprouts have been overcooked

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 This versatile veggie tastes great grilled, stir-fried or roasted, and its size makes it a perfect snack food. 


Click link below for Brussel Sprout Show

 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Brussels-Sprouts_New-York-562916262.html 

HARD SHELLED SQUASHES 10/05/19

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Sometimes called Winter Squashes because of there hard outer shell

 From acorn to turban, winter squash are some of the most delicious and versatile ingredients of the season. Unlike summer squash, these are harvested in autumn when they are hard and ripe, and most varieties can be stored and enjoyed for use through the winter.   Cutting a winter squash can present an interesting challenge.Years ago on WNBC, I did a segment on winter squash. I put on a  pair of goggles and heavy gloves and pulled a chain saw from under the counter.It was a joke, but not too far off the mark. The problem is that the shell is very hard, the squash tends to roll, and the blade of a knife tends to slip off the smooth skin.To avoid consumers from having to deal with this hassle at home, green grocers and supermarkets have increasingly offered more and more cut-up fruits and vegetables, though the price for this service can cost as much as triple that of an uncut item.Coming from humble post-WWII beginnings like our family did, I remember my mom always cutting and preparing produce herself, and I encourage consumers to consider taking on this worthy challenge. As the fall weather starts to bring on a chill in the air, we look for something hearty, so here are a few of my favorite winter squashes.

 

  ACORN SQUASH

 Acorn squash is small in size, typically weighing between one and two pounds, with orange-yellow flesh and thick, dark green and orange skin.The flavor of Acorn squash has a mild, subtly sweet and nutty flavor. The skin is also edible.Like most varieties of winter squash, acorn squash is really versatile. It can be baked, roasted, steamed, sautéed, or even cooked in the microwave


 BUTTERNUT SQUASH 

 This pear-shaped squash has a smooth, cream-colored exterior with bright orange flesh and comparatively few seeds The flavor is the sweetest variety of winter squash. Butternut squash is extremely versatile. It's perfect for roasting and sautéing, or making a smooth purée or soup.


CARNIVAL SQUASH

 The pumpkin-shaped Carnival Squash has a pale yellow skin with green markings and often ranges in size from 5 to 7 inches in diameter. Unlike summer squash (which are picked when immature and skins are tender), Carnival Squash have hard, thick skins and only the flesh is eaten. The delicious yellow meat is reminiscent of sweet potatoes and butternut squash and can be baked or steamed then combined with butter and fresh herbs. 


 DELICATA SQUASH

 Also known as sweet potato squash, this small cylindrical squash has thin cream- to yellow-colored skin with green stripes, and orange-yellow flesh. Delicatas are smaller than most winter squash, so they're quite easy to prepare and cook.Delicata has creamy flesh with a mild flavor akin to sweet potatoes.The skin on this small squash is edible, so don't worry about cutting it off. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds, then you can either bake it as is, or cut it into slices which can be roasted, sautéed, or steamed. Delicata squash is also ideal for stuffing 


HUBBARD SQUASH

 Hubbard squash is one of the largest varieties of winter squash. It has a hard, firm exterior that can range in color from deep green to gray or blue. Hubbard squash has a rich, sweet pumpkin flavor. While the hard exterior is generally discarded, the sweet orange flesh can be substituted for any other variety of winter squash. It's ideal for both cooking and baking, and is especially great for making pie.


 SPAGHETTI SQUASH

 Spaghetti squash has a cylindrical shape with a firm exterior that ranges in color from pale cream to bright yellow. When you cook the squash, the moist flesh develops strands that resemble spaghetti .Spaghetti squash doesn't actually taste like spaghetti. It has a tender, chewy, fragile texture, and a very mild flavor. Unlike other winter squash varieties, it lacks sweetness.Roast or steam it, then scrape out the strands. Top with marinara, pesto, or mix in other veggies, and eat it as you would spaghetti 


SWEET DUMPLING SQUASH 

This small yellow squash, with bright orange to dark green striations, may be the cutest of the bunch The flesh is starchy and sweet, with a flavor that's reminiscent of corn. The small, single-serving size of this squash makes it ideal for stuffing and roasting.


 TURBAN SQUASH

 This large, decorative squash has an irregular turban shape with a dull-looking, bumpy exterior that can range in color from mottled green to orange and yellow. This large squash has a very mild, nutty flavor. Turban squash is most often used as a decoration, though you can use it in recipes in just about any way you use butternut, acorn, or other winter squash. Hollowed out, it makes a beautiful soup tureen. 


 SELECTION AND STORAGE

All squashes should have a solid, heavy feel; a squash that feels light for its size may be soft and dehydrated inside. The hard shell of a winter squash should be undamaged, but the skin, unlike that of summer squashes, should be dull, which indicates that the squash was picked when fully mature. Make sure the stem is still attached, as a missing stem indicates that the squash has been in storage too long.Never refrigerate squash unless it’s been cut, then wrap it in plastic and store it for only a day or two before using. The smaller the winter squash, the shorter its shelf life. Acorn squash, for example, should be used within two to three weeks of purchase. Some of the larger varieties of winter squash will remain sweet and tasty for as long as six or seven months if kept in a dry, cool (but not cold) place, out of direct sunlight.


 PREPARING WINTER SQUASH 

A kitchen saw or even a small saw will make short work of it, but another reasonably simple way to cut into a winter squash is to look for the area on the squash that has indentations or ribs. Lay the squash so that it’s steady, insert the point of a sturdy knife in a crease, give the handle a couple of taps with a hammer to start the cut, and then proceed as if you were cutting a watermelon, being extremely careful. Remove the seeds before cooking.Smaller winter squash like acorn squash are best baked. Cut them in half, brush them with butter, sprinkle them with brown sugar, and bake them for about thirty minutes or until tender.Very large squashes like butternut squash can be peeled, cut into chunks, and boiled for 10 to 20 minutes or until tender; the chunks can then be puréed or mashed and prepared as you would make mashed potatoes.Spaghetti squash is best when it’s baked whole in a moderately hot oven for 1 to 1½ hours, depending on the size of the squash.Pierce the squash in two or three places before baking to release the steam. After it’s done, cut it in half and use a fork to remove the flesh, which looks and handles like spaghetti. You can toss it with marinara sauce or top it with butter or cheese. Many people also like to eat spaghetti squash cold with a vinaigrette.Winter squash is delicious added to soups and stews or sliced, battered and fried. Remember to pre-cook it in water until the flesh is tender-crisp before frying. 


DID YOU KNOW  ??? 


  • Squash seeds make a delicious snack. Wash and dry the seeds with a paper towel. Don’t worry about removing all the stringy material as these will shrivel when roasted. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with oil; mix the oil into the seeds with your hands to coat well. Sprinkle a pinch of salt or any other herbs or seasonings desired (if you prefer sweeter, try cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or nutmeg). Roast at 275-300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until seeds start to brown. It is preferred to cook seeds at a lower temperature in order to prevent the breakdown of the unsaturated fats.
  • Which squash skins can you eat? All winter squash skin is technically edible but the thinner the skin, the more pleasant the texture is, such as with delicata, acorn, and sweet dumpling. Thicker skins are usually too tough to chew and enjoy, so they might be saved instead to make a vegetable stock.
  • Winter squash is technically classified as a fruit, but for culinary purposes is treated like a vegetable.

  Enjoy these Winter Squashes and check out Bette's Recipes !!!     

Click link below for Winter Squash Show


 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Winter-Squash_New-York-562264892.html 

BARTLETT PEAR SHOW 09/28/19

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BARTLETT PEARS

         

Cultivated for nearly four thousand years, pears have been known to man since ancient times. They originated in Asia and spread throughout Europe during the Roman Empire. Until the sixteenth century pears were tough and always eaten cooked, but in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, gardeners for European noblemen began to crossbreed varieties, competing with each other to get a pear with a soft, buttery flesh. Most of the pears we know today are derived from those cultivars. 

Pears are grown throughout the United States and Europe and are now being introduced as commercial crops in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Chile. In the United States, Oregon, Washington, and California produce particularly excellent pears. 

This is one fruit you do not want tree-ripened. Pears have a characteristically gritty texture caused by cells in the flesh called stone cells. Although more and more of these have been bred out, all varieties still contain them. Picking pears before the fruit has matured and holding them under controlled conditions prevents the formation of too many stone cells. 

Pears are delicate even when they're hard and green, so they're always picked by hand. Most markets don't sell really ripe pears because they bruise so easily, but it's very easy to ripen them at home.


BARTLETT OR WILLIAMS 


 The Bartlett Pear we know today in North America is the same variety that is called the "Williams" in many other parts of the world. Discovered originally in 1765 by a schoolmaster in England named Mr. Stair, the Bartlett was first referred to as Stair's Pear. A nurseryman named Williams later acquired the variety, and after introducing it to the rest of England, the pear became known as the Williams Pear. Its full name, however, is Williams' Bon Chretien, which translates to "Williams' good Christian."

Around 1799, Mr. James Carter imported several Williams trees to the United States, and they were planted on the grounds of Thomas Brewer in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Later, Enoch Bartlett of Dorchester, Massachusetts acquired the Brewer estate. Not knowing the identity of the trees, Bartlett propagated and introduced the variety to the United States under his own name. It was not until 1828, when new trees arrived from Europe, that it was realized that Bartlett and Williams pears were one and the same. By then it was too late... the variety had become widely popular in the U.S. under its adopted name: the Bartlett 


  Varieties

Because they crossbred so easily, there are somewhere between four thousand and five thousand cultivated varieties. Eight of those are commonly available to shoppers here. 


 The Bartlett (pronounced BART-let) carries a true pyriform "pear shape:" a rounded bell on the bottom half of the fruit, then a definitive shoulder with a smaller neck or stem end. Bartletts are extremely aromatic pears, and have that definitive "pear flavor." Often, the Bartletts found in grocery stores are green, and then they change to yellow as they ripen at home when left at room temperature. Red Bartletts are another variety to choose, and they are usually located in produce departments right next to the Yellow Bartlett's. Aside from color, there are only slight differences in flavor between the two Bartlett pears. Consider Red Bartletts as a second color alternative for displays in fruit baskets and bowls. Together in a beautiful fruit bowl, Red & Green Bartletts make a striking table-top centerpiece.

 Bartletts are traditionally known as the canning pear, and you'll find many different recipes in most cook books and from family members. Because Bartletts have a definitive flavor and sweetness, they are a good all-around choice for many forms of processing. Consider them in preserves, syrups, chutneys, and more. They also make excellent dried pears 


  

Selecting

Green pears should be free from blemishes. Ripe pears - especially tender varieties like the Comice, that are going to show a few scars. Avoid bruised or too-soft fruit, but don't be afraid to bring home pears that are still green. That's the way you're going to find most of them. 


  

Ripening and Storing

Place unripe pears in a bowl or paper bag, leave them at room temperature, and they'll ripen in a few days to a week, depending on how green they are when you buy them. 

Most pears show a subtle change in color as they ripen, and some develop a sweet fragrance. You can test a pear for ripeness by applying gentle pressure to the stem end with your thumb - it should yield a bit. You can hold off the ripening process by refrigerating them, and they'll hold for a long time - as long as three to four weeks. A few days before you want to eat them, bring them out to ripen. You can refrigerate a ripe pear too, but at that point it's only going to last a couple days. 


Preparing

There are lots of ways to eat pears. They're good with prosciutto. You can use them in any recipe that calls for apples. Use several different varieties, all on the green side, to make a terrific pie. My aunt used to make pear pies just like apple pies, mixing in one or two quinces. You can poach pears and serve them with strawberry sauce for a simple, very pretty dessert that tastes great. 

During the holidays, line a basket with napkins, pile up Comice or Forelles or a mix, tuck in sprigs of holly and maybe a few ornaments, and you'll have a pretty centerpiece that's also a good way to ripen the fruit. 


Click link below for Bartlett Pear Show

 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Pears_New-York-561630992.html 

About Produce Pete

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 Managed and operated a family owned farm/produce business for retail, wholesale, and fruit baskets. Pete has been in the produce business his whole life, and started out selling produce off the back of a truck at auctions and at his parents' roadside stand. Pete's family has been in business since 1953 at the same location in Bergenfield, New Jersey. From 1971 - 1997 Pete owned and operated this family "seasonal" business that includes at Christmas - Christmas trees, wreaths, and fruit baskets. During Easter we sell various plants, gourmet baskets and fruit baskets - Mother's Day - plants, fresh cut flowers, fruit baskets. At Halloween - pumpkins, corn stalks, etc. The produce store is open between April and December with retail, wholesale, and fruit baskets.

"KNOW A LITTLE ABOUT A LOT". JACK OF ALL TRADES MASTER OF NONE.....

In January 1998 he turned over the business to his son Peter Charles making him the 3rd generation to own Napolitano's Produce. In April of 2006, Napolitano's Produce closed it's doors after 53 years, a sad day but everything comes to an end. I would like to thank all the faithful customers who shopped my family store over the past 53 years. It was a privilege serving you. In June 2000 - he started as a Fruit & Vegetable Buyer for S. Katzman Produce at Hunts Point Market, Bronx, New York.Pete comes from a large family with his father being the 20th child - "That's why we are in the food business".

  • In April 1989, with the Chilean grape scare, he was hired by "People Are Talking" WORTV Channel 9, super station - nationwide - 150 markets - 24 million viewers and became "Pete Your Produce Pal" on daily five days a week.
  • In December 1990 hired by NBC for "House Party" as "Pete the Prince of Produce". Group W
  • In September 1991 hired by WORTV Channel 9 for "Nine Broadcast Plaza" as "Pete Your Produce Pal".
  • In September 1992 hired by WNBC Channel 4 "Weekend Today in New York" show with 52 week contract as "Produce Pete" / "Pete Your Produce Pal". (Been there ever since)
  • In 1994 he wrote a book about produce tips called "Produce Pete's Farmacopeia" - William Morrow, publisher
  • In September 1995 Discovery Channel - "Home Matters"
  • In January 1997 CNBC - "Steals and Deals"
  • In January 1998 Bionova Produce / Masters Touch Spokesperson
  • In January 2000 NBC - Ainsley Harriot Show (National - Buena Vista)
  • In February 2000 Woman's Home Network with Joan Lunden
  • In September 2000 hired by WCAU Philadelphia 10 as Produce Pete (Sunday & Wednesday Segments)
  • In February 2001 - Pathmark Supermarkets - Spokesperson
  • Guest on numerous Radio and Television shows.
  • In February 2001 "Produce Pete's Farmacopeia"- Republished by iuniverse.com
  • In July 2004 - The View (ABC 7)
  • In February 2005- Bella Vita Spokesperson (In Italy)
  • In July 2006 - NBC Today Show (Nationally)
  • In August 2007 Italian American Network (Produce Pete picks of the week)
  • Numerous Weekend Farmers Market Appearances throughout new jersey
  • 2011 New York State Farm Aid 
  • 2012 Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield Healthcare Event
  • 2013 Paramus Farmers Market, Ramsey Farmers Market, Nutley Farmers Market
  • 2013 Horizon BlueCross , Moorestown NJ
  • 2013-2017 NBC Health Fair New York Giants Health And Fitness Exbo
  • 2014-2015  Dr Oz Show Appearance
  • 2014-2015 Northern New Jersey Farmers Markets
  • 2016 Business Expo"Taste of the Gold Coast' 
  • 2017 Sparta Farmers Market
  • 2016-2017 Meet and Greet Donaldsons Farm Hackettstown 
  • 2013-2017 Chester Harvest Celebration Meet and Greet
  • 2017 Westchester Food Bank An Evening Of Good Taste
  • Appeared at D'Agostino, King's Culinary Arts Cooking Schools, Macy's and Bloomingdale's Cooking Classes.
  • Because of obesity and fast foods in schools Pete has been asked to speak at numerous grammer and high schools about healthy eating and his love for produce.

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