Hello everyone and welcome to August.
It’s hard to believe Summer is almost over and the kids will be going #backtoschool. It certainly has been a hot one. In this SPECIAL edition of Chop Talk we have some great info and promotions for you. First up, in Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips. In keeping with the fact that everyone loves a good list, we thought we’d give you a great rundown of the some of the abundance of autumn produce and ingredients that are available, or coming available, in this coming season. In addition we are bringing you our #BacktoSchool Blowout Sale with all products on the website at huge discounts. We also have two delicious video recipes for you from our partners, Pitmaster Champion Myron Mixon and America’s Favorite Chef, Michael Symon. We hope you enjoy.!
Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: Autumn Produce
Autumn has long been associated with the transition from warm to cold weather, the primary harvest has dominated its themes and popular images throughout the world. For many of us, especially here in the States, the smell of freshly made donuts, watching through the window while cider is being fresh pressed, and folks starting to get that wistful look in their eyes as they start to glimpse the hint of Thanksgiving and Christmas just over the horizon, is a childhood memory that brings warm thoughts of family and friends. We’re sure many of you can remember returning home from the farmers market with arms full of fresh produce, apples, cider, fresh donuts, placing pumpkins on the front stoop to await their fateful appointment with the carving knife that would soon transform them into the Jack-o-Lanterns for Halloween night. The cooling of the nights, the touch of color in the leaves and the anticipation of the coming holiday season always gives the air clarity, as if shaking off the haze of summer.
Apples There are thousands (7500) of varieties of apples, ranging from tender to crisp to sweet to tart. Apples are available year-round, but they’re best from September to November. Apples contain phytonutrients which can help you regulate your blood sugar. Eaten raw, or used as a great addition to any cheese board, baked alone, or used in a pie, they are healthy and delicious. Apples were brought to North America by colonists in the 17th century, and the first apple orchard on the North American continent was planted in Boston by Reverend William Blaxton in 1625. The only apples native to North America are crab apples, which were once called “common apples.” All other varieties were brought here from Europe.
Celery Root (Celeriac) Celery root, also known as celeriac, is the root of the celery plant. It is often available year-round, especially in temperate climates, but is at its best in the cooler months of fall, winter, and early spring (except in cold climates, where you’ll find it during the summer and early fall). Freshly harvested celery root is sometimes sold with the stalks and leaves still attached, as pictured here. It is edible raw or cooked, and tastes similar to celery stalks. It can be roasted, stewed, blanched, or mashed. Sliced celeriac occurs as an ingredient in soups, casseroles, and other savory dishes.
Chestnuts In Europe, Asia and Africa, chestnuts are often used as an everyday potato substitute. Although they are wonderful straight from the oven or fireplace, you can make use of the winter chestnut crop in many ways, both sweet and savory. Before trying one of the many chestnut recipes, learn about chestnut history and how to store them. Probably one of the first foods eaten by man, the chestnut dates back to prehistoric times. The majority of the chestnut trees currently found in America are of native European stock, but Native Americans feasted on America’s own variety, Castanea dentata, long before European immigrants introduced their stock to America. Today, most of the chestnut food crop is imported from Japan, China, Spain, and Italy. Legend has it that the Greek army survived on their stores of chestnuts during their retreat from Asia Minor in 401-399 B.C. Chestnuts contain twice as much starch as potatoes. It is no wonder they are still an important food crop in China, Japan, and southern Europe, where they are often ground into a meal for bread-making, thus giving rise to the nickname of “bread tree.”
Cranberries 95% of all cranberries are used as to make juice. The remaining 5% is used to make sauce, compotes and jellies. They are a a major commercial crop in the U.S. with Wisconsin the leading producer of cranberries, with over half of U.S. production. Massachusetts is the second largest U.S. producer. Cranberries are harvested in the fall when the fruit takes on its distinctive deep red color. This is usually in September through the first part of November. To harvest cranberries, the beds are flooded as we’ve all seen from the TV commercials, with six to eight inches of water above the vines. A harvester is the driven through the beds to remove the fruit from the vines. Although most cranberries are wet-picked, 5–10% of the US crop is still dry-picked. Labor costs are higher and yield is much less, but dry-picked berries are less bruised and are usually the ones sold at your favorite farmers market or fresh fruit stand.
Dates Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, which grow in the desert. Harvested between September and March In the US they are grown in Arizona and California. They have a sweet, caramel-like taste and soft texture. Farmers markets may have fresh dates in season, but they are also available mail order from some growers and can usually be found at Middle Eastern markets.
Fennel Fennel has a light anise, or licorice, flavor. Crisp and refreshing when raw, but melts into a savory sweetness when slowly cooked. The tall green stalks look like celery with wispy dill-like leaves at the top. The stalks grow from a white onion-like bulb. All parts are edible, although the mild, tender bulb is most commonly used and served and is most associated with Italian cooking. It is often available year-round, but is at its best during its natural season from fall through early spring.
Hazelnuts Hazelnuts are used in confectionery to make some pralines, in chocolate for some chocolate truffles, and in hazelnut paste products. They are rich in protein and unsaturated fat and contain significant amounts of thiamine and vitamin B6, as well as smaller amounts of other B vitamins. In season primarily in October, the majority if not all the hazelnuts available in the US come from Oregon. In Austria, hazelnut paste is an ingredient in the making of tortes(such as Viennese hazelnut torte). In Kiev cake, hazelnut flour is used to flavor its meringue body, and crushed hazelnuts are sprinkled over its sides. Dacquoise, is a French dessert cake, and often contains a layer of hazelnut meringue and is also a primary ingredient of the vodka-based liqueur Frangelico. Over 2,000 tons are imported annually into Australia, mostly to supply the demand from the Cadbury-Schweppes company. Hazelnut oil pressed from hazelnuts is strongly flavored and used as a cooking oil.
Mushrooms There are over two thousand types of mushrooms, but only 2 ½ – 5 % are edible. Though you can usually get mushrooms all year round they are at their peak in fall and winter. Always look for mushrooms that are firm, not broken and avoid those that seem damp or smell of mildew. There are many varieties available, from Shitake to Crimini, to Portabello and more exotic varieties like the Black Chanterelle.
Pears The pear is native to coastal and mildly temperate regions of the Old World, from western Europe and north Africa east right across Asia. Most of North American pears are grown in Oregon and Washington, and the harvest months listed here reflect that. Pears have no cholesterol, sodium, or saturated fat. They offer a natural, quick source of energy, due largely to high amounts of fructose and glucose, plus Levulose, the sweetest of known natural sugars, found to a greater extent in fresh pears than in any other fruit. Great raw, on cheeseboards, and poached.
Peas Freshly frozen garden peas and petits pois are frozen within just two and a half-hours of being picked. Peas are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, thiamine (B1), iron and phosphorus. They are rich in protein, carbohydrate and fibre and low in fat which is mostly of the unsaturated kind. The less water you use when cooking peas, the less vitamin C is lost. Steaming helps to conserve this vitamin.
Pumpkin As one of the most popular crops in the United States, 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are produced each year. The top pumpkin producing states in the U.S. include Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California. Pumpkins are a warm weather crop that are usually planted in early July. When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted. Often, it is made into various kinds of pie which is a traditional staple of the Canadian and American Thanksgiving holiday. Pumpkins that are still small and green may be eaten in the same way as the vegetable marrow/zucchini. Pumpkins can also be eaten mashed or incorporated into soup.
Quince A quince is a hard, round or pear-shaped fruit. It looks and tastes like a cross between an apple and pear. Unlike apples and pears though, quinces are inedible raw. When cooked, quinces develop a slightly grainy texture similar to a firm pear and develop a rosy amber color. Their season is very brief, from October to December, so be sure to get them when you see them. Quince is a great side for duck and other game meats. You can use it as a paste on cheese boards, compote, poach it and also tarte tatin.
Sage Once prized for its medicinal value, the most popular use of sage these days is in stuffing for the Thanksgiving turkey. In ancient Rome, it was considered to have substantial healing properties, particularly helpful in the digestion of the ubiquitous fatty meats of the time, and was deemed a part of the official Roman pharmacopeia. Sage has been used effectively for throat infections, dental abscesses, infected gums and mouth ulcers. Great when used with game meats.
The term “summer” and “winter” for squash are only based on current usage, not on actuality. “Summer” types are on the market all winter; and “winter” types are on the markets in the late summer and fall, as well as winter.
Acorn This winter squash is shaped like an acorn. Great for baking. A small acorn squash weighs from 1 to 3 pounds, and has sweet, slightly fibrous flesh. In addition to the dark green acorn, there are now golden and multi-colored varieties.
Butternut Beige colored and shaped like a vase, this is a more watery squash and tastes somewhat similar to sweet potatoes. It has a bulbous end and pale, creamy skin, with a choice, fine-textured, deep-orange flesh with a sweet, nutty flavor. It weighs from 2 to 5 pounds. The more orange the color, the riper, drier and sweeter the squash.
Spaghetti A small, watermelon-shaped variety, ranges in size from 2 to 5 pounds or more. It has a golden-yellow, oval rind and a mild, nut-like flavor. When cooked, the flesh separates in strands that resemble spaghetti. The most yellow squash will be the ripest and best to eat. Those that are nearly white are not very ripe. Spaghetti squash also freezes well.
Think outside the box when setting up your weekly menus and try different ingredients and techniques. You’ll be glad you did and it’s always great to get the family to try new things and expand their palette.
#BacktoSchool End of Summer Blowout!
My Juicer Back to School Special 20% OFF* 1 week only using Discount Coupon code: MYJUICER20 My Juicer
*Sale ends 8/22/16 Midnight.
Blend Well – Live Better!
This new My Juicer II has an updated stylish design with a powerful heavy duty 300+ Watt motor for crushing Ice, blending juice drinks and smoothies for a healthy lifestyle. The My Juicer II by Ergo Chef extracts the nutrients from the food your blending so your body can better digest and absorb the nutrients, for a healthier you. The additional Grinder Cup and special blade allow you to grind nuts, coffee beans, Flax & Chia seeds & fresh herbs etc. Beautiful and sleek stainless steel & black design looks great in every kitchen.
- Powerful Heavy Duty Motor for Crushing Ice, Frozen Veggies & Fruit with 300+ WATTS (320 Watt Max Power)
- Motor Base has suction feet for stable operation & Handle for easy storing and taking with you to the office
- 2 – 20 Ounce Sport Bottle is Triton(R) shatter Proof Composite Plastic Material when on the go & BPA Free for a healthier lifestyle Fits in most car cup holders
- Bottle top has compression fit cap for no accidental spills
- Bottle has measurement Marks on side so you fill it just right
- Easy to use, convenient size and easy cleanup!
- 1 Year Limited Warranty
Sport Bottle Dimensions: Height with Lid: 9.5″, Dia. at Base: 2.925″, Lid Size: 2.9″ Dia. with 1.3″ handle length for easy carry, Spout: 1.050″ Outer Dia. / .780″ Inner Dia. / .550″ Tall
Cleaning: Simply place warm water in bottle upto fill line after use with a few drops of dish soap. Place on motor base and turn on. It will blend & naturally clean itself. If needed use sponge for dried on drinks. Take apart and dry with a clean towel.
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That’s right you read correctly, 15% off everything on our website!
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The Myron Mixon @Lord_of_Q 3-in-1 Grill Tool is the ultimate tool for you Pitmasters. Pop it, Flip it & Slice it! The Myron Mixon Pitmaster Grill Tool is first tool to deliver a style and functionality that says “Game On”! The 3-in-1 design was specifically developed & tested for easily flipping all your proteins & large veggies on the grill with the patented flipper hook.
A good sharp knife is a must to slice up your mouth watering Q, hence we use the “Workhorse” an 8” Chef knife size blade with 7″ cut for slicing up your meats and veggies, from prep to serving. The blade is high carbon stainless steel for superior durability, ground precision sharp for perfect slices. It boasts an ergonomic non-slip grip handle over a full-steel tang for strength and balance, so cutting is effortless with ultimate control. Next, a flipper hook to easily grab your Q and turn it on the grill. Last but not least is the bottle opener, built into the blade to keep you cool, sipping your favorite beverage.Now get grilling your favorite foods, and be the boss of your grilling domain with the ultimate “Myron Mixon Pitmaster Grill Tool”.
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We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and we’ll be back with another blog post in October. Till then, all the best,