Monthly Archives: September 2016

Freezing Fruit

How to Stockpile Your Produce Without the Hassle of Canning

With the outdoor farmers market season coming to an end, everyone is looking for ways to stockpile their fresh produce. To maximize your SNAP EBT benefits and utilize your farmers market produce several months from now, try preserving your produce!

The most traditional way to preserve your produce is by canning. Canning, however, can be very difficult for beginners and can be a long and tedious process. Here are three stress-free alternatives to canning that guarantee your produce’s freshness long after harvest.

  1. Freezing

Freezing is a great alternative to making jam and canning if you want your produce to be accessible in the middle of the winter. You also can do it easily in your own home with a standard freezer. You can freeze fresh fruit, vegetables, and even herbs in olive oil in an ice cube tray. Full recipes here:

How to Freeze Fresh Fruit, How to Freeze Zucchini, How to Freeze Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil

  1. Drying

Drying is another canning alternative that can preserve your best fruit. Although drying typically involves a dehydrator, it can easily be done in your own oven. Try drying your own fruit for your trail mix this fall. Full recipe here: How to Dry Fruit Without a Dehydrator

  1. Jamming

Although jamming is still done in a can, it is a much simpler process. Making jams and preserves is a great way to reuse extra fruit and can also double as a great gift. The difference between jams and preserves comes from how they are made. Jams use mashed up fruit whereas preserves use chunks of whole fruit. Full recipe here: How to Make Jams and Preserves

Check out what’s being picked this week*: Pumpkin, Cauliflower, Beets, Cabbage, Broccoli, Beans, Peppers, Eggplant, Potatoes, Winter Squash, Onions, Raspberries & Collards

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

Recipe of the Week:

Cozy up this fall with this seasonal soup recipe!

 

Snap To Market

How to Use Your SNAP Benefits at the Farmers Market

Having farm fresh produce available on a weekly basis is an excellent resource for maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Much like our grocery stores Farmers Markets are becoming more and more accessible to everyone. Thanks to the Farmers Market SNAP Benefit program all EBT cardholders are able to purchase goods and produce at participating Farmers Markets. If you’re a cardholder here is what you can expect when you head out to your local Farmers Market.

When you first arrive look for a table with a banner that reads “Use Your EBT Card Here”. Hand your card to the cashier and purchase as many $1 tokens as you need. While shopping look for the market booths with an “EBT Tokens Accepted Here” sign. You do not have to use all of your tokens in one shopping trip. Unused tokens can either be refunded back onto your card or you can use them the next time you shop at your Farmers Market. Keep in mind that the tokens are market-specific and cannot be transferred between markets.

The overall experience of being at a Farmers Market is more enjoyable and the selection is always fresh and unique. What can you buy with your tokens? You can purchase everything from fruits and vegetables to fresh baked bread and dairy products. Sometimes meats, fish, and poultry are also available making it easy to plan dinner that night.

It’s not a bad idea to take note of your favorite venders so you can go back and spend time with them during your next visit. The farmers and vendors are always willing to share recipes and preparation tips with their customers. They can keep you informed on what’s in season and what will be in the future. Making it more about the experience is beneficial to both you and the vendors. So take your time and enjoy!

What’s being picked this week: Grapes, Beets, Cabbage, Broccoli, Beans, Zucchini, Peppers, Eggplant, Potatoes, Winter Squash, Onions, Raspberries, Collards, Kale, Apples, Brussel Sprouts

Recipes: Looking for a way to make your lunch exciting? (http://www.honeyandbirch.com/grilled-chicken-salad-lettuce-wraps/)

Photo Credit: Patrick Kuhl Via Flickr Creative Commons

Farmers Market Apples

Why Apples are the Eye of the Empire State

Empire, Cortland, Red Delicious and McIntosh. Do these names sound familiar? If you grew up in the state of New York you’ve probably not only heard of these kinds of apples but you’ve probably consumed your fair share of them. The Empire state is known for offering the most varieties of apples in the United States. With about 700 growers throughout the state it’s almost impossible to travel through the various regions without coming across an apple orchard.

There are many reasons why an apple a day can keep the doctor away. One medium sized apple provides one-fifth of your daily dietary fiber, which promotes both cardiovascular and digestive health. They are an excellent source of energy and antioxidants. Apples are low calorie, delicious, and easy to eat on the go so they make for the perfect snack.

From apple pie to apple brown betty there are so many apple recipes and different ways to prepare apples, which often justifies buying them by the bushel. You know you’ll get good use out of them but either way you can store apples up to about a month. The proper storage temperature is around 30-35 Degrees Fahrenheit and the best place to store them is in a refrigerator crisper drawer along with a dampened paper towel to create a humid environment.

After you’ve properly stored your apples start thinking of ways to utilize them throughout the fall months. Are you a baker? Cortland apples are one of the many varieties that are excellent for baking. Do your kids love applesauce? If you want to make homemade apple sauce Golden Delicious apples will require little to no added sugar to make it sweet. Most of the NY varieties are ok to freeze so you can enjoy them throughout the winter!

Can’t make it to an orchard? No problem. Often time’s your local farmers market will offer some of your fall favorites this time of year. Don’t forget to pick up some apple cider while you’re there. Buying apples locally will not only support a healthy diet, but will also support a healthier economy. How do you like them apples?

What’s being picked this week: Grapes, Kale, Apples, Brussel Sprouts, Beets, Cabbage, Broccoli, Beans, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Herbs, Peppers, Lima Beans, Eggplant, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Corn, Blueberries, Raspberries, Okra, Collards

Recipes: The BEST Apple Pie for the NY Native (https://audreysapron.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/the-best-apple-pie-ever/)

Photo Credit: Carriagehouse2011 Via Flickr Creative Commons

plastic containers for storing food in the fridge

How-to Keep Your Produce Fresh: Shelf-life 101

Everyone loves to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, but it can be difficult to keep produce fresh without spoiling. Each year, Americans dump $43 billion worth of spoiled food. To save your SNAP EBT benefits and the environment, use these tips to maximize your produce’s shelf-life and minimize waste.

Location of Produce

To lengthen the shelf-life of your produce, you must slow each food’s respiration using cold temperatures, typically using the refrigerator. Warmer temperatures speed up the rate of respiration. Some fruits release ethylene, a gas that’s speeds the rate of respiration and spoiling. To maximize your produce’s freshness:

  1. Refrigerate these ethylene releasers: Apples, Apricots, Cantaloupe, Figs, and Honeydew
  2. Do not refrigerate these ethylene releasers: Pears, Plums, and Tomatoes
  3. Keep these away from ethylene releasers: Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Lettuce and other leafy greens, Parsley, Peas, Peppers, Squash Sweet Potatoes, and Watermelon

Always make sure to never store produce in airtight bags or containers, lack of air flow accelerates decay.

Secret Tips

Specific fruits and vegetables last the longest when stored in particular ways. For example, berries last longer when rinsed in a one-part vinegar, three-part water mixture. Some other tricks to fresh produce are:

  • Store lettuce in a bowl with a paper towel and a dash of salt. The paper towel and salt absorbs the moisture and wetness from the lettuce
  • Store carrots in a bowl of water and seal with plastic wrap to keep them moist
  • Wrap onions in pantyhose to allow the right amount of air to circulate to keep the vegetable fresh
  • Store apples with potatoes to keep your potatoes from sprouting
  • Soak apple slices in salt water to prevent them from browning
  • Wrap celery in aluminum foil to allow ethylene to escape

What to Eat First

Although storing your fruits with the correct vegetables and following these secret tips help lengthen your produce’s shelf-life, you still must eat more perishable produce first. Delicate fruits such as raspberries are never going to last regardless of your storing techniques. Follow this guide to know how to prioritize your produce:

Eat on Day 0 – Day 2: Artichokes, Asparagus, Basil, Broccoli, Cherries, Corn, Dill, Green beans, Mushrooms, Mustard greens, Strawberries, and Watercress

Eat on Day 3 – Day 5: Arugula, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Grapes, Lettuce, Lime, and Zucchini

Eat on Day 6 – Day 7: Apricots, Bell peppers, Blueberries, Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower, Grapefruit, Leeks, Lemons, Mint, Oranges, Oregano, Parsley, Pears, Plums, Spinach, Tomatoes, and Watermelon

Eat on Day 8+: Apples, Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Garlic, Onions, Potatoes, and Winter squash

Check out what’s being picked this week*: Grapes, Kale, Apples, Brussel Sprouts, Beets, Cabbage, Broccoli, Beans, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Herbs, Peppers, Eggplant, Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Corn, Raspberries, Okra & Collards

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

Recipe of the Week:

Looking for a last minute side dish for dinner tonight? Try this recipe!