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).
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 and Hank inside the refrigerator at Katzman Produce at the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx talking vegetables.
PLEASE CHECK OUT MY NEW BLOG RUNNING MONTHLY IN NEW JERSEY MONTHLY MAGAZINE ONLINE
HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY CABBAGE
LOVE YOUR STRAWBERRIES, VALENTINE'S DAY SPECIAL
RED RUBY GRAPEFRUIT
BLAST FROM THE PAST -- PRODUCE PETE IN HIS FIRST PATHMARK COMMERCIAL
BRINGING BACK MY YOUTH WITH THE LEGENDARY COUSIN BRUCIE, A REAL TREAT !!!!
Growing up with an Italian father and an Irish mother, corned beef and cabbage was a must for us on St. Patrick's Day, even though my pop wanted to put tomato sauce on it. Actually, my pop came to love my mom's corned beef and cabbage and our family became Irish, at least for that day. In fact, in later years when my pop retired to Florida with my mom, he would dress up in a green sport jacket, green pants, and green tie, get on his motorcycle, pick up the Irish nuns at my sister LuAnne’s school (my sister was quite a bit younger than me and moved to Florida with my parents to complete her middle and high school years when they retired there), and ride them in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Delray. To this day whenever the St. Patrick’s Day parade rolls around, I still laugh when I think about my tough, hard-working pop all decked out in his green outfit giving nuns rides. I guess the old saying that everyone is Irish on St. Patty's Day is really true!
The Truth Behind the ‘Authentic’ St. Patrick’s Day Dish
Believe it or not, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place not in Dublin but in New York City in 1762. Over the next century, as Irish immigration to the U.S. exploded, immigrants brought their own food traditions, including soda bread and Irish stew. Though pork was the preferred meat in Ireland because it was cheap, it was prohibitively expensive in the U.S. for most newly-arrived Irish families, so they began cooking beef instead.
So how did their workhorse meal of pork and potatoes become corned beef and cabbage? Members of the Irish working class in New York City frequented neighboring Jewish delis and lunch carts and it was there that they first tasted corned beef. Cured and cooked much like Irish bacon, corned beef was seen as a tasty and cheaper alternative to pork. And while potatoes were certainly available in the U.S., cabbage offered a more cost-effective alternative for cash-strapped Irish families. Cooked in the same pot, the spiced, salty beef flavored the plain cabbage, creating a simple, hearty dish that was easy to prepare and eventually beloved by Americans nationwide regardless of their ethnic heritage.
Kudos to Cabbage
One of the least expensive and most available of all vegetables, cabbage has been around for more than 4,000 years and possesses many anti-cancer properties. Many people unfortunately overcook it, but when it's cooked quickly and evenly, cabbage has a mild, sweet flavor and a nice texture; eaten raw, it’s spicier and crunchier. Offered in varieties such as Red, Green, and Savoy (which has puckered, wrinkly leaves and a looser head), cabbage is available year-round at reasonable prices.
When selecting cabbage, choose hard, round heads that are crisp, brightly colored, and clear of black edges or other signs of rot. To store cabbage, refrigerate it in a plastic bag or in the crisper drawer, where it will keep well for weeks. If the outer leaves turn yellow or dry out, simply peel them off, as the cabbage underneath will still be good.
When preparing cabbage, pull off and rinse the green outer leaves for use in making stuffed cabbage. The head may be cut into wedges for steaming, sliced thin for sautéeing, shredded raw and mixed with salad greens, or made into coleslaw. For a tasty winter salad, shred cabbage together with apples and carrots, then add raisins and nuts and toss with a dressing. Cabbage is excellent pickled, added to stir-fries, made into sauerkraut, or cooked and served with corned beef, smoked pork, or German sausage. Cabbage is also good simmered in vinegar and allowed to cool overnight, then served as a side dish with veal or pork.
Props for Potatoes
Available in over two hundred varieties – including the iconic Idaho potato, which is great for baking, as well as Russet, New York State, and Maine versions, the latter of which are excellent for mashing -- potatoes are members of the nightshade family (along with tomatoes and eggplant).
Other popular varieties include Red Bliss potatoes as well as "New" potatoes, which are early-season potatoes available in red or white versions that are delicious when they’re boiled and eaten with their skins on or else peeled after cooking. Highly nutritious Yukon Gold potatoes have a golden color and a buttery flavor; yellower, sweeter, and heartier than regular potatoes, Yukons whip up beautifully and have a rich look and taste without the addition of butter.
When selecting, look for potatoes that are free of sprouts from the eyes, wrinkles, cuts, or dark spots; the potato should also feel heavy in the hand for its size. Potatoes prefer the dark, so avoid potatoes with a greenish tint to their skin, as these have been exposed to light for too long and will have a bitter taste. “New” potato varieties (those that are harvested early and shipped directly to market) should be stored in the refrigerator if you plan to keep them more than a few days, while “Old” potatoes (ones that have been left to mature in the ground for a longer time) generally keep longer and are best stored in a dark, dry place that's not too warm.
When preparing them, thin-skinned or “New” potatoes can be eaten with their skins; simply scrub them before cooking. “Old” or stored potatoes need to be scrubbed very well or peeled. Potato eyes that have started to sprout can be easily removed if you first push the sprout in with your thumb, then pluck it out.
Our family enjoyed corned beef and cabbage with red potatoes every St. Patrick’s Day while I was growing up in North Jersey and here’s my mom’s recipe made easy so that you can share the experience too! ( Go to Bette's Recipes at top of page)
Click link below for cabbage and potato segment
It seems hard to believe, but it wasn't so many years ago that red peppers were a rarity in the grocery store. You could find them only during a two- or three-week period each year, and you paid luxury prices for the privilege.
Now, of course, red peppers are available year-round, and if they're not dirt-cheap, they're certainly reasonable. For that, you can thank Israeli scientists.
In the past, red peppers were green bell peppers that had reached the final stages of maturity. As such, they were prone to a couple of notable shortcomings, not the least of which was that they had an extremely short season and shelf life. Their flavor was good, but their flesh was weak and prone to spoilage problems.
Today's red peppers, "bred to be red." They turn colors much earlier and, once picked, they stay firm and crisp much longer--up to two weeks. The trade-off is that the flavor is not the same. The new varieties are sweeter, without the earthy undertones of the old-time reds.
Le Rouge red peppers were introduced by Indio-based agricultural conglomerate Sun World International in 1983. The product of Israeli scientists at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, Le Rouge is a cross of a regular block pepper with Bulgarian and cubanelle peppers.
"A block red bell is a green bell that is at the end of its life cycle. "Once picked, a block bell doesn't have a lot of shelf life. Le Rouge is bred to be red at peak maturity. That means you have another seven to 14 days of shelf life after it has been picked."
Red Peppers are green at first. Sweet peppers will mature to various colors with red being the most prominent color. The green pepper that we eat is the immature version. Like I said, most common varieties of bell peppers will turn from green to red, with other varieties turning yellow, purple, or even brown as the pepper matures. As peppers mature their sugar content increases. Some yellow varieties are the only color found in both immature and mature peppers. Red peppers have a real sweet flavor and green and yellow peppers have a mildly sweet, slightly spicy flavor.
Colored peppers are grown in open fields, greenhouses, and shade houses. The quality, size and profile of the pepper is much more consistent when grown in greenhouses and shade houses. The protected environment is more costly to set up but the final product is a much better pepper. When a pepper is field grown you run the risk of bad weather, decreasing yield and exposure to diseases.
Look for Red Peppers that are fresh, firm, bright in color, thick-fleshed with a bright green calyx (stem). Pick up the pepper and shake it. If you hear the seeds rattle inside, pass it by; that means the pepper is old. Soft, pliable, thin-fleshed with a pale color indicates the peppers are old as well.
Refrigerated in the crisper drawer, red peppers will keep for up to three or four days, but they will lose their crispness and turn limp in fairly short order. Left at room temperature, they'll lose their crunch in a matter of hours. Don't wash until you're ready to use them. Red peppers are low in calories, free of saturated fat, sodium free, cholesterol free, fat free, and high in antioxidant vitamin C. Red bell peppers are a versatile addition to any luncheon or dinner menu.
There are some really great deals on sweet red peppers available right now! Growers in Mexico are into their peak harvests fresh crop field-grown sweet red peppers. Sizing is big and prices are low compared to other times of year.
WHAT COLOR BELL PEPPER IS BETTER FOR YOU TO EAT ?
Choose red bell peppers for their high levels of antioxidant vitamins A and C which help protect cells from free radicals. One cup of chopped red peppers contains three times the minimum amount of vitamin C and nearly 100 percent of the vitamin A recommended for a typical 2,000 calorie-a-day diet. Green and yellow peppers fall short in vitamin A. All peppers are naturally fat free and low calorie, and they contain three grams of fiber per chopped cup, making them excellent snacks or mealtime fillers.
MY STORY , MOM AND HER STUFFED PEPPERS
When I was a youngster mom always made stuffed peppers, one of my favorite dishes, except for the anchovies, which was pop's favorite. She would put in black olives, bread crumbs, anchovies ( she would leave them out of mine), and meat if we were lucky and all her secret ingredients, boy I loved them. Now in those days they were made with green bell peppers or red bell peppers in the summertime , but mom she would make the stuffed peppers with what they called then, Italian Frying Peppers, now called Cubanelle Peppers. They were light green in color, with a very thin skin and not as harsh tasting as the green bell pepper which always gave me " AGITARE", an Italian - american slang word meaning to agitate, which it did giving me heartburn, indigestion, and an upset stomach. Starting in the mid 80's the RED LE ROUGE PEPPER starting hitting the stores, looking like a Italian frying pepper but sweet. This made a great pepper for mom to use for stuffing. Now by then mom was getting on in years, so her stuffed peppers days was passed on to Bette, who took the reins and did a great job. It's funny and sad, moms gone a long time, but when I was thinking of what to do on this weeks show and I decided on RED LE ROUGE PEPPERS, mom's stuffed peppers came flowing out of me. Like I always say "FOOD AND MEMORIES,MEMORIES AND FOOD", they are just part of our being.
Enjoy MOM and BETTE"S recipe, and I hope you have good memories that bring a smile or maybe a tear to your eye.
Click link below for Red Pepper segment
If you are not that familiar with this orange variety you might be asking yourself: “What is Cara Cara oranges. Cara Cara oranges are pink-fleshed citrus fruits that originated as a mutation that occurred on a Washington Navel orange tree in 1976. The first mutated fruit was found at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela and thus was given the name Cara Cara. Cara Cara oranges are extremely sweet and have a slightly lower acidity than Navels with a hint of cranberry or blackberry flavor. Furthermore, aside from their supreme taste and beautiful coloring, Cara Cara oranges contain 20 per cent more vitamin C and 30 per cent more vitamin A when compared to regular Navels.. Cara Cara navel oranges may appear similar to Ruby red grapefruit, but other than color and being citrus fruits, they are not the same. Cara Cara navel oranges are a result of a mutation in the navel orange which was found in Venezuel Cara Cara is a medium-size orange with a glossy, textured rind. The inner flesh of the Cara Cara is pink, resembling the color of a ruby grapefruit. The peel clings to the flesh. It tastes sweeter than any given orange with flavors far more comparable to tangerines with robust and complex citrus aromatics. Its flesh is also seedless, an advantage among any fruit. When ripe, the Cara Cara orange's flesh is tender, succulent and extremely juicy. You know the saying, "It's what's on the inside that counts"? Well, that couldn't be more true when it comes to Cara Cara oranges. From the outside, these citrus beauties look like your run-of-the-mill, bright-skinned navel oranges. Cut them open, though, and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Cara Cara oranges are a type of navel orange. Grown in California they reach their peak season between December and April.Cara Caras have the same round shape and bright orange rind as traditional navels. What really sets these oranges apart is what's on the inside! Cara Cara oranges have distinct pinkish-red and orange flesh. It's not just their beautiful color that makes them stand out — they have a remarkable taste that goes right along with it. Compared to traditional navels, Cara Caras are sweeter, slightly tangy, and less acidic, with a hint of red fruit, like cranberry or blackberry. And if that's not enough, they're seedless, too.
Cara Caras are ready for market starting in August, Venezuelan fruits arrive in October and California fruits make their seasonal debut in late November and are available through April.
Buying and Storing Cara Cara Oranges
While other navel oranges can vary in size, cara caras are all generally medium-size fruits. Choose oranges that are firm, shiny, and heavy for their size. Avoid pieces that have soft spots and blemishes.As with other citrus fruits, store Cara Cara oranges in a cool spot. Kept on the counter, they'll last three to four days, so you're better off storing them in the refrigerator where they'll last up to two weeks.
Eat Cara Cara oranges just as you would other types of navel oranges! Peeling away the rind and eating them section by section, blending them into smoothies or a fresh-squeezed glass of juice, and making citrus curd are just a few of my favorite ways to use Cara Cara They also make a beautiful addition to salads. Just like regular navels, Cara Cara has a bright exterior and has a crisp citrus aroma. But unlike your run-of-the-mill navels, Cara Cara’s flavor is more complex; it is extremely sweet with a tinge of raspberry or cranberry zing and a hint of cherry and rose. It is also low in acidity and is not sour like other citrus fruits. Select Oranges that feel heavy for their size – a sign of juiciness. They don’t have to be hard, but the orange should not feel so soft that it is squishy either.
2. They're similar to grapefruit. Because of their flesh, they remind us of grapefruits with their pink flesh. Only these Cara Cara Oranges have such sweet flavors that you don’t need to add any sugar.
Click link below for Cara Cara Show
I grew to love swiss chard for one reason only, MALFATTI'S, well what's malfatti you say, i'll tell you in a minute, but first here is a quick family story. Bette as you know was born in the same house she got married out of, ( to me i'm one lucky guy), and had lifelong friends since she was born and Adele was one of her friends. Adele's father Gabby had a restaurant in Tenafly, New Jersey, and also a summer house in Lavallette,N.J. ( we called it down the shore). He was a great man, always having his two daughters and their friends at the summer house and cooking for their boyfriends when they got older, and that's where i come in. Gabby would make this southern italian dish called malfatti's and it was always mine and the rest of the gangs favorite dish. So this is my tribute to this wonderful man who when we were all kids growing up treating us like family. Gabby you are always in my mind and heart all these years later, miss you every day.
( Malfatti Recipe under Bette's Recipes at top of page)
Swiss Chard , sometimes simply called chard or leaf beet, is a hard beet prized for its succulent stalk and leaves rather than its roots, It has large flat or crinkled green leaves growing from a thick, greenish white central stalk or rib. There is also a red-stemmed variety that almost looks like rhubarb, and other varieties that have a dark red leaf. Both the leaves and the stems are eaten, which leads some cooks to call Swiss chard two vegetables in one, The cooked leaf is similar to spinach; the stalks can be cooked separately like asparagus.
Despite its name, Swiss chard has no special association with Switzerland. A member of the chenopod family, along with beets and spinach, it originated in the Mediterranean region and is thought to be the ancestor of the beet root. It was well documented by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who used it as an herbal remedy. Swiss chard is much more popular in Europe than it is here, and is grown in every European country, as well as in parts of Asia, Africa, and South America and to a lesser extent in North America.
Swiss chard is available from April to December and is most plentiful between June and October. Swiss Chard from Texas starts around christmas time and goes till around april.
The leaves and stalks should be crisp and fresh looking. Avoid wilted or brown leaves.
Keep refrigerated in a perforated plastic storage bag for no more than three or four days. Swiss chard always has a better flavor when it's fresh.
To prepare, discard a thin slice at the base of the stalk and wash thoroughly in a sink full of cold water. Avoid cooking Swiss chard in aluminum or iron pans, which will discolor it. Many cooks separate the stalks from the leaves if the stalks are more than a half an inch wide. The leaves are either cooked separately or added to the pot when the stalks are almost done.
If they're very young and fresh, the leaves can be eaten raw in salads. To cook, steam or sauté rather than boiling them--they'll have more flavor. Treat them as you would spinach, but cook them a bit longer. Swiss chard is a good substitute for Bok Choy in stir fried dishes, is very good creamed, and makes delicious soup. The leaves are excellent chopped and added to a variety of other soups--including chicken, minestrone, vegetable, and lentil--during the last few minutes of cooking time.
The stalks are great steamed whole or cut on the diagonal and steamed or braised for just a few minutes. They should be slightly crisp when done. Serve as you would asparagus, either hot or cold. They're good with a variety of sauces, including vinaigrettes and even hollandaise.
Try using a seasoned Swiss chard and ricotta cheese filling to stuff pastas like ravioli or tortellini. For a great fish dish, put a bed of steamed leaves in a baking dish or in individual ovenproof shells, place cooked stalks over them, then spread a mixture of crab meat and Mornay sauce over the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and heat to 325ᵒF oven until the sauce is browned on top.
Swiss chard leaves are excellent stuffed. Cut them away from the stalks, then wilt them by barely steaming or blanching. Hold the stalks for another use or cook and mince them and add to the filling. Make a filling of ground meat and rice or wild rice sautéed with onions, garlic, seasonings, and herbs. Put a spoonful on each leaf, wrap, and place in a shallow baking dish, seam side down. Add tomato sauce, a creamy cheese sauce, or any braising liquid to barely cover the stuffed leaves. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake in a 325ᵒF oven about forty-five minutes.
In Europe, Swiss chard is served hot or cold after being sautéed in a little olive oil and garlic. It's seasoned with nutmeg, pepper, and salt, and finally given a generous squeeze of lemon juice or a sprinkling of wine vinegar. Sautéed shallots, onions, or anchovies are good added to this dish if you're serving it hot.
For a delicate treat, try Swiss chard pancakes. Cook a bunch of Swiss chard, mince fine, and squeeze out all the water you can. Put it in a bowl with some grated cheese, a few spoonfuls of sour cream, and enough bread crumbs to make the mixture hold together. Add about one tablespoon of mixed vegetable spices or chicken bouillon granules, a little lime juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well and form into small patties. Dip each patty first into a plate of flour, then into a bowl of beaten eggs thinned with a little water, and finally into a plate of bread crumbs, coating both sides each time. Fry in a nonstick pan with just a little oil until golden brown. Serve with sour cream or yogurt. The cooked patties freeze well if you have extras.
Click link below for Swiss Chard show
Every year, Idaho harvests about 13 billion pounds of potatoes from 311,000 acres of mineral-rich volcanic soil. That means about 1/3 of all potatoes grown in the United States are grown in Idaho! That’s a lot of spuds!
And, believe it or not all these potatoes are harvested in just six short weeks!
It seems like an impossible feat, but the Idaho potato growers, many of whom work and live on the farms their grandparents and great grandparents established, rely on the history of the land, the practices they learned from their families and of course technology, to grow America’s favorite vegetable. During harvest, each farmer works tirelessly around the clock to make sure the potatoes are unearthed only when they are perfect in terms of size, texture and density. If they harvest too early, the potatoes will not only be small, the skins may not set properly and can easily rub off. If the farmers wait too long, the potatoes can start to spoil in the soil. And perhaps the most important and unpredictable factor the farmers face is Mother Nature. If the area experiences an unexpected early frost, or too much rain, it can greatly impact the quality of the potatoes.
Farming isn’t easy and yet it’s one of the most important careers in the world.
FEBRUARY IS POTATO LOVERS MONTH
In 1875 when Luther Burbank accepted $125 from James H. Gregory for the tubers and rights to the white potato he had recently discovered, Burbank thought he was getting a pretty good deal. The equivalent to almost $3,000 today, it was a hefty sum for a potato, though hardly the largest amount ever paid for one. Except that this potato is now worth more than $1.5 billion in the United States. Annually. “Burbank’s Seedling,” as Gregory subsequently named it, became one of the most important potatoes in the world and an American icon. Like many great plant stories, it did not occur all at once, involved many different players, and a combination of good horticultural skills and luck, lots of it.
First cultivated in Peru centuries ago, ordinary white or "Irish" potatoes are still grown there - in varieties that include white, blue, red, and even striped and polka-dotted versions. Although we see only a few common ones in most supermarkets, there are more than two hundred varieties of potatoes now being cultivated. A small number of unusual varieties and hybrids can be found in farm markets and specialty produce stores.
A member of the nightshade family, along with the tomato and eggplant, the potato is native to South America. Brought to Europe by Spanish explorers, it was a bit slow to be accepted because many people believed it was poisonous. By the end of the sixteenth century, however, potatoes were regularly taking a place on the table in German households, and now this highly nutritious vegetable is a staple in almost every country in the Western world.
Potatoes store very well, but they don't keep forever. The year-round supply found in the stores is possible because crops from different states are harvested at different times. On the East Coast, for example, potato crops from Florida are the first to arrive on the market. As the season progresses, the potato harvest moves up the coast until the season ends with potatoes from Maine, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
The potatoes grown in the American state of Idaho are called Idaho potatoes. “Idaho potato” and “Grown in Idaho” seals are certifications which have been federally registered. These seals or marks belong to the IPC, Idaho Potato Commission. There are more than 30 different varieties of potatoes grown in Idaho State, yet there is no variety which is called “Idaho potato.” The different varieties of potatoes grown in Idaho are; Russet Burbank, Yukon Gold, Fingerlings, Red, etc. By far the most popular variety of Idaho potato is the Russet Burbank.
The confusion between the Idaho potato and Russet is prevalent. People generically use the term “Russet potato” for “Idaho potato” which was contested by the Southern District of New York, and the judge affirmed that these two terms could not be used interchangeably. A Russet potato is not an Idaho potato. A Russet potato is one of the varieties of Idaho-grown potatoes.
The famous Idaho potato is harvested in the early fall, but it stores well and is available nine or ten months of the year. Idaho has the right soil and weather conditions to grow a great potato and it is the variety Americans choose first for baking. The skin is thick and leathery, and the flesh has relatively low moisture content. Graded by size, Idaho's range from 60 to 140 potatoes per 50-pound box.
The Russet Burbank takes longer to mature, so this variety is not always available in the late summer or early fall from the major states that grow them. Among these three states—Idaho, Washington, and Wisconsin—the largest volume of Russet Burbanks comes out of Idaho. This variety is also preferred by processors for their French fries, so you are competing with them when supplies are tight. However, we expect an ample amount of Burbanks this coming harvest, and typically they are shipped in quantity beginning in late September. Many operators actually prefer “old crop,” which sometimes has a little drier profile after being stored for almost a year. The growers anticipate that old crop will carry through this season, so no potato gap is anticipated. Russet potatoes make up nearly 58% of the production. Keep in mind that Idaho harvests about 11 to 12 billion pounds of potatoes each year, nearly double that of Washington, there closest competitor
They are used mainly for baking and frying or mashing. They can also be used for boiling and in soups. Russets are specifically not used for making potato chips. The skin of the Russet is considered beneficial for health, thus should be included while cooking. They should be stored in cool, dark, and dry places, and the temperature should be maintained at 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit. They are fairly affordable and inexpensive, delicious. They are the most popular and well-known potatoes of the United States.
Russet potatoes are high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, and carbohydrates or starch. The sugar content is high, and 3-4 gm. of dietary fiber is present. Russets have 120-135 calories per average-sized potato and are low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fats.
“Idaho potato” or “Grown in Idaho” are seals of certifications which have been federally registered by the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). Idaho potatoes are basically potatoes grown in the State of Idaho in the U.S. There are over 30 varieties of Idaho potatoes grown in Idaho State. No particular variety is called “Idaho” as such. The Russet potato is a variety of Idaho-grown potatoes which are most popular and well known throughout the world.
Is it OK to bake my Idaho® potatoes in foil, well here is the answer,
No. The best way to bake a potato so it has a crispy outer skin and a fluffy interior is to place potato directly on the oven rack. Using foil yields a steamed potato with a wet outer skin.
The Ultimate Baked Potato
For the best-tasting baked potatoes, start with Idaho® potatoes. The Idaho® potato has a high solids content so that during baking, the starch grains swell and separate, resulting in a characteristically light, fluffy texture. A potato with smaller grains, such as a round red or white will stay firm and waxy and is more watery.
Always wash potatoes before baking, being careful not to break the skin. Then, pierce the skin with a fork to prevent the potato from bursting in the oven. Again, I recommend that you NEVER bake an Idaho® potato in foil.
Idaho® potatoes should be baked at 450°F for 50-55 minutes (convection oven) and 55-60 minutes (conventional oven). An Idaho® potato is perfectly baked when it reaches an internal temp of 210°F
Check out Best Idaho ( Russet) Bake Potato on Bette's Recipe
Click link below for Idaho Potato Segment
When I see a mango, I think of my father, Pete. He loved mangoes and had no problem eating them, but he could never stand next to a mango tree because he would break out in hives. Something on the tree while they were growing triggered that response. I guess we’ll never know!America’s awareness of mangoes has definitely been on the rise. I’ve lectured about different fruits and vegetables at schools for a long time and years ago, when I’d hold up a mango and ask the kids what it was, most would say an apple. But all that’s changed now based on the number of American children hailing from different parts of the world, as well as because of the mango’s increasing popularity.
ORIGINS AND BENEFITS
The mango originated in Southeast Asia, where it’s been grown for over 4,000 years, and since then has spread to many tropical and subtropical settings where the climate is conducive to the mango’s success. Mango trees are evergreens that will grow to 60 feet tall and require hot, dry periods to set and produce a good crop. Today there are over 1,000 different varieties of mangoes throughout the world. In India, the mango tree plays a sacred role as a symbol of love, and some also believe that the mango tree can grant wishes.A comfort food, mangoes really can make you feel better. Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, mangoes contain an enzyme with stomach-soothing properties similar to the papain found in papayas, which acts as a digestive aid. Mangoes are high in fiber and are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and beta carotene.
SELECTION AND STORAGE
Handel a mango very gently, as it bruises easily. Pick it up and gently press your thumb against the flesh — it should have a little give and a really sweet smell. A very ripe mango will often have some black speckling outside; don’t worry about that or about a little bruising, but avoid mangoes that are black all over, as they’re beyond the point of no return. I think mangoes that weigh a pound to a pound and a half have the sweetest taste.Always use your nose when you’re choosing mangoes — 99 percent of the time, a mango that smells wonderful tastes wonderful. If the stem end smells sour or acidic, reject it. If a mango is firm and green, it won’t have any smell, but if it looks good, bring it home and ripen it yourself.Leave a firm, unripe mango out on the counter for a few days until it colors, develops a sweet aroma, and “gives” when you press it very gently. But never refrigerate a mango. If you must have it chilled, you can put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes, but I think mangoes taste best at room temperature. In any event, storing a mango below 50 degrees for any length of time will take the flavor out
Mangoes are great simply peeled and eaten as is or with a squeeze of lime juice (but don’t eat the peel — it’s bitter). Unlike many fruits, they’re slow to discolor when they’re sliced, which helps them make and retain a nice presentation. They make a beautiful tropical salad sliced with pineapple chunks, kiwi, papaya, banana, or just about any tropical fruit; I like to add a little squeeze of lime and some shredded coconut, too. For a refreshing and very nutritious tropical drink, purée some sliced mango with banana, pineapple and a squeeze of lime and enjoy! Because mangoes have a large and non freestanding stone right in the center of the fruit that’s difficult to remove, people always ask me how to cut and eat a mango. Following, I’ve shared the results of my years of experience to help you get greater access to this fantastic fruit. Hope this makes it easier for you to enjoy this burst of sunshine!
HOW TO EAT A MANGO
To deal with the pit in the center, take two lengthwise cuts on either side of where you figure the pit is; if it’s a flattish mango, turn it up so a narrow side is facing you. The pit is large but fairly flat, so make the cuts no more than half an inch on either side of an imaginary center line. You’ll have three slices, the center one with the pit in it.Now take the two outside slices and score the flesh with the tip of a knife, getting as close to the skin as you can without breaking it. Hold the scored slice in two hands and gently push up from the skin side, which will pop inside out. The segments of mango will separate and can easily be scooped off the skin with a spoon or butter knife. Add a sprinkle of lime juice if you like.As for the slice with the pit, you can discard it if you have the willpower, but I personally find the flesh around the pit to be the tastiest part. All I can say is that the best way to eat it is to remove the strip of skin around it, pick it up with your fingers, stand over the sink, and enjoy!
KENT MANGO STORY
Kents tend to be softer when ripe than other round varietals seen in the USA. They can also be a bit more wrinkly when ripe, often a deterrent to the end user, so education is very important in their merchandising. It also tends to be more juicy or succulent in comparison to the Tommy Atkins or the Haden, probably an attribution of their yellow mango roots, which are often more juicy. These extremely succulent, juicy mangoes have a deep golden flesh when ripe, much more so than any other mango. They tend to be on the large size spectrum, and in terms of skin, they often exhibit slight red, yellows and eventually golden and orange blush tones. They have white speckles, as the Haden, but as the Kents ripen their speckles become more predominant.The Kent cultivar has certainly been passed around the world; it is the predominant mango produced in Ecuador and Peru for export to the USA, and one of the main cultivar produced in South Africa (another leading world mango exporter) and it’s the prized import mango in France and other European countries. Originating from Florida in the 1940's, Kents are ideal mangos for juicing and drying.
FLAVOR: Sweet and rich
TEXTURE: Juicy, tender flesh with limited fibers
COLOR: Dark green and often has a dark red blush over a small portion of the mango
SHAPE: Large oval shape
RIPENING CUES: Kents have yellow undertones or dots that cover more of the mango as it ripens. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.
PRIMARY SOURCE COUNTRIES: Mexico, Ecuador, Peru
PEAK AVAILABILITY: January, February, June to Aug, and December
What are Kent variety Mangos like?
Featuring a mostly dark green skin with small patches of red blush, Kent Mangos have gold to orange flesh that is both sweet and rich, and is less fibrous and less stringy than the Tommy Atkins.
The amount of redness on the skin is not an indicator of sweetness or ripeness with the Kent variety Mango. These Mangos do not give much in the way of visual clues to when they are ripe, so judge by the softness when you squeeze them.
Ripen Mangoes at Room Temperature !!
Squeeze Gently to Test Ripeness on Kent variety Mangos
Click link below for Kent Mango Show
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Excellent for eating, salads, and sauces
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
Excellent for eating, salads, sauces, pies and baking
Cortland apples are wonderful for kabobs, fruit plates and garnishes because they don't turn brown quickly when cut.
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
Click link below for Apple Show
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.
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".
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