zucchini

What’s with All the Zucchini?

zucchiniYou see it almost everywhere — chances are there’s more than one stand at your local farmers’ market that has piles of zucchini, that light to dark green summer squash that can grow 2 to 3 feet long and 8 to 10 inches in diameter! But bigger isn’t always better when it comes to zucchini!

For a tender, juicy fruit (yes, zucchini is a fruit!) select one that is about six to eight inches long —large zucchini has less flavor and more water, and the seeds are large. Look for an even color, and the darker green the better; the deeper the color, the deeper the flavor. The skin should be glossy and you want the zucchini to have a slight stem on the end. Don’t store zucchini in a plastic bag because it can make the fruit slimy. Instead, opt for a brown paper bag and store it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator.

So, why is there so much zucchini? It’s easy to grow. It can grow in almost any soil and it flowers more than most other plants. Each of those blossoms that are pollinated grows into another new zucchini. It also has a long growing season; if you pick one zucchini off the vine, the vine just grows another squash. Over the course of one growing season, one plant can produce six to 10 pounds of zucchini!

There are almost as many recipes for how to cook zucchini as there are zucchini; an internet search shows sites that offer “36 things to do with zucchini,” “49 Sensational Zucchini Recipes,” even “80+ Best Zucchini Recipes.” You can fry it, bake it, stuff it, grill it, spiral it to use as a low-carb pasta substitute, make it into fritters, use it for manicotti, even make loaded zucchini skins.

If your kids aren’t zucchini fans (or fans of vegetables, in general), zucchini bread is a great way to make a tasty snack a little healthier. This receipt is from www.butterwithasideofbread.com

Best Ever Zucchini Bread

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (you can substitute applesauce for ½ the oil)
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (you can add a little more, I always do!)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Grease two 8 x 4 inch bread pansor 6 mini loaf plans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Assemble your ingredients. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, soda, nutmeg and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. {I always sneak in a few spoonfuls of flax!}
  4. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Grate zucchini.  Stir into the mixture along with the nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  6. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. My mini-loaf pans take about 35-40 minutes. Large sized loaves take about 55 minutes.
  7. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: auntmasako Via Pixabay

 

tomatoes

It’s Tomato Time!

tomatoesThere’s a benefit to the fact that it’s late summer — it’s tomato harvest time! But with more than 25,000 varieties available, you may have trouble picking the right type. The following are most likely to be at your farmers’ markets:

Beefsteak tomatoes are great for eating — think on a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich or a hamburger. They’re also good for adding to green salads or for just plain snacking. Try eating a juicy beefsteak the way you would a peach or an apple!

Roma, or plum tomatoes are the variety you want to use for cooking because they don’t have a lot of seeds and their skins are thin. They also are meatier than round tomatoes, so they won’t water down your favorite pasta sauce recipe.

Cherry tomatoes have the shape and size of a cherry. They are often sweet, so pop them into a salad or your mouth — they make great low calorie, low sugar snacks (watch out if you bite into them — they squirt!). Slice cherry tomatoes in half and drop them into a saute pan for a quick-cooking sauce.

Grape tomatoes have the oblong shape of a grape and are about the same size. Their skin is a little thicker than cherry tomatoes and their flesh is meatier. Many people feel they are sweeter than the cherry variety. They are growing in popularity because they last longer than cherry tomatoes.

Heirloom tomatoes certainly aren’t the prettiest tomato variety on the market, but they are the tastiest. Heirlooms vary in size and they come in a range of colors — yellow, pink, red, purple, green, orange, and even black. There are said to be more than 3,000 varieties of heirlooms being grown in the U.S. and more than 15,000 known varieties!

Look for plump, heavy tomatoes with smooth skins that don’t have any cracks. They should ‘give’ a little with slight pressure. If you plan to use them within a few days, you can keep them on your kitchen counter or windowsill, but not in direct sunlight! If it will be a few days before you use them, find a cool spot in the house. Never refrigerate tomatoes — it makes them watery and it ruins the flavor.

Take advantage of fresh tomatoes for their taste and for their health benefits. Eating tomatoes lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, reduces the risk of prostate cancer, and regulates blood sugar.

Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce

Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook onion in olive oil until translucent. Stir in tomatoes, cook until juice begins to thicken. Stir in puree, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes more, until rich and thick.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2017 Allrecipes.com
Printed From Allrecipes.com 9/4/2017

Photo Credit: Couleur Via Pixabay

vegetables

Storing Fresh Produce

vegetablesYou’ve just come home from the farmers’ market and now you need to know how best to store them.

Most leafy veggies like kale, spinach, escarole, and chard as well as broccoli should be used within three to five days. You’ve got five to seven days to use arugula, bell peppers, green beans, zucchini and summer squash (all of which you can find at the market right now!) You’ve got more time to use up cabbage, carrots, turnips and beets, as they have a shelf life of two weeks or more.

A few tips for storing your fresh treasure:

  • Store fruits and vegetables separately; some foods can make other fruits and vegetables ripen or rot faster
  • Keep broccoli, cauliflower and cucumbers away from other produce
  • Wash your leafy produce and dry well; wrap in a dishtowel or paper towel, and put in a plastic bag (poke some holes in it first!) and then store in the vegetable drawer
  • Remove the greens from carrots, turnips, beets and parsnips and store them loose in the crisper drawer. But keep the greens. They are tasty too!
  • Store most other vegetables in plastic bags with holes in them

Blueberries, the Super Food!

They’re showing up at the farmers’ market now – blueberries! Loaded with antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C, blueberries are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. Just one-half cup of blueberries a day can lower your cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. They also are a natural anti-inflammatory. When buying, pick the darkest blue fruit – the darker the fruit, the more health benefits they have. Frozen blueberries are just as good as the fresh ones, so be sure to pick up extra at the market now and freeze them for later!

To get a healthy start to your day, here’s a Wake-Up Smoothie recipe from the eatingwell.com test kitchen:

Ingredients

1¼ cups orange juice, preferably calcium-fortified

1 banana

1¼ cups frozen berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and/or strawberries

½ cup low-fat plain yogurt

Directions
Combine orange juice, banana, berries, and yogurt in a blender; cover and blend until creamy. Serve immediately.

Photo Credit: Free-Photos Via Pixabay

Peppers

Cut Down on Salt and Sugar – Shop Farmers’ Markets!

PeppersWe get most of our salt from processed and restaurant foods, so the best way to reduce the salt in our diets is to eat fresh – and it’s easier than ever to find fresh produce at your neighborhood farmers’ markets! With everything from beans to zucchini being harvested right now, and many markets offering fresh meat, poultry and fish, you can avoid sodium-heavy canned and packaged foods for an entire week – just don’t add any salt while you’re cooking. Try adding some fresh herbs such as basil and rosemary for seasoning. When you add fresh fruit for dessert, you avoid all that processed white sugar that can add unnecessary calories to your diet – and add unwanted pounds to you.

Here’s a recipe for a French vegetable stew that uses lots of things you can find at the market:

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille*

Ingredients

  • 2 onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, cubed
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 2 medium yellow squash, cubed
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the zucchini in batches until slightly browned on all sides. Remove the zucchini and place in the pot with the onions and garlic.
  3. Saute all the remaining vegetables one batch at a time, adding 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet each time you add a new set of vegetables. Once each batch has been sauteed add them to the large pot as was done in step 2.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and thyme and cover the pot. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and parsley to the large pot, cook another 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and adjust seasoning.

*From www.allrecipes.com

Photo Credit: H3rko Via Pixabay

Southampton Farmer's Market

Southampton Farmer’s Market

Southampton Farmer's MarketThe Southampton Farmers’ Market is a program of the Southampton Chamber of Commerce.

When is the market open? Sundays May 28th through October 8th from 9am to 2pm

Where is the market located? east side Grounds of the Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton NY 11968

Does the market accept EBT SNAP Benefits? Yes, EBT cards are accepted.

What do the vendors sell? A selection of locally grown produce and fruits, baked goods, yogurt, pickles and wine.

For more information about the Southampton Farmers’ Market, please visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/SouthamptonFarmersMarket/

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Check out what is being picked this week*:

Tomatoes, (round, grape, cherry), Beans, Cucumbers, Pickles, Hot peppers, Sweet Bell Peppers, Onions, Eggplant, Beets, Lettuces, Greens, Beets, Cabbages, Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Broccoli, Carrots, Blueberries, Cherries, Peaches, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Leeks, Cauliflower, Early Apples

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

Recipe of the week: Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad

http://snaptomarket.com/?recipe=sweet-corn-and-tomato-salad

 

 

 

Troy Waterfront

Troy Waterfront Farmer’s Market

Troy WaterfrontTroy Waterfront Farmers’ Market was established in 2000 with just a handful of vendors. Now in its 18th season, the market features over 80 local, producer-only vendors. The year-round marketplace attracts more than 10,000 customers a week.

What is it? Troy Waterfront Farmers’ is a year-round, independent, vibrant marketplace featuring locally grown food and locally made products for the mutual benefit of local producers, consumers, and the community.

When does it open? Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market is open year-round every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where is it located? Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market holds its Summer Season is May – October at Monument Square in downtown Troy. The Winter season is November – April in the Troy Atrium, 49 4th Street, Troy, NY.

Does the market accept EBT SNAP Benefits? Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market accepts EBT SNAP benefits, including MNP checks.

What do the vendors sell? Vendors at Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market sell all locally-grown or produced fruits and vegetables, garden plants and flowers, cheeses, honey, eggs and dairy products and much more!

What makes the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market special? This market is 100% farmers only. There is no reselling of products. So when you visit this market you can meet the farmers, ask questions and learn more about how your food is grown, how to choose the right products for your family and learn how to prepare the foods you purchase – all straight from the experts themselves, the farmers!

For more information on the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, please visit their website: https://www.troymarket.org/

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Check out what is being picked this week*:

Tomatoes, (round, grape, cherry), Beans, Cucumbers, Pickles, Hot peppers, Sweet Bell Peppers, Onions, Eggplant, Beets, Lettuces, Greens, Beets, Cabbages, Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Broccoli, Carrots, Blueberries, Cherries, Peaches, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Leeks, Cauliflower, Early Apples

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

 

Recipe of the week: Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad

http://snaptomarket.com/?recipe=sweet-corn-and-tomato-salad

 

 

 

 

 

peaches

Peach Picking at the Farmer’s Market

peachesNothing says summer like fresh peaches from the farmers’ market and we’re starting to see them now. The advantage to shopping locally is that the peaches are ripe when they arrive and not picked early so they can travel hundreds of miles to the grocery store. And because the farmer is at the booth, he or she can help you pick out the best fruit there. If you still need a little help in how to select a ripe peach, there are three things to look for:

  1. Smell – a ready-to-eat peach will have a sweet smell
  2. Touch – a ripe peach will have a little ‘give’ to it when you apply slight pressure. If the fruit is hard, it will need several days to ripen. Put it in a brown paper bag at room temperature.
  3. Color – ripe peaches have a deep yellow color that’s consistent on the fruit.

If you want to make a great dessert with fresh peaches but don’t want to heat up your kitchen by turning on the oven, Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler with Fresh Peaches and the most delicious Yogurt Whipped Cream is the perfect summer dessert! From Slow Cooker Gourmet

Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler with Fresh Peaches and Yogurt Whipped Cream

Ingredients

For filling:
8-10 fresh peaches ripe but not too soft
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For topping:
1/2 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, cold

For yogurt whipped cream:
8 oz Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5.3 oz Whole Milk Yogurt

Instructions

For filling:
Peel and dice peaches into bite sized pieces
Mix with remaining filling ingredients
Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and add peach filling (I used a 2.5 quart mini casserole slow cooker but any 3-5 quart slow cooker will work)

For topping:
In a large bowl stir together all topping ingredients except butter until combined
Cut cold butter into tiny pieces and then use a large fork to cut the butter into the topping mixture until crumbly
Add the topping to the filling in the slow cooker and cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours until bubbling and oats in the topping are tender

For yogurt whipped cream:
In a large bowl using hand mixer or in a stand mixer beat heavy cream with sugar and vanilla for 3-4 minutes or until cream forms stiff peaks that hold when removing beater
Add yogurt and beat again until just combined
Serve warm cobbler with fresh yogurt whipped cream

Queens Botanical

Queens Botanical Garden Farmer’s Market

Queens BotanicalQueens Botanical Garden is an urban oasis where people, plants and cultures are celebrated through inspiring gardens and innovative educational programs. The Queens Botanical Garden Farmers Market celebrates locally grown fruits and vegetables, brought to the neighborhood straight from the farm! It is one of 15 farmers’ markets operated by the Down to Earth company. Down to Earth Markets has been creating and managing farmers markets in down state New York for over 25 years. We bring cooks and eaters together with regional farmers and local food makers to create food communities, improving access to fresh, local foods, strengthening the local food system and supporting small businesses in the New York area.

When is the market open? Market open Fridays, 8:30AM – 3:00PM, 06/16 – 11/17

 Where is the market located? Sidewalk outside Garden – Dahlia Ave at Main St. in Flushing, NY.

 Does the market accept EBT SNAP benefits?  Yes, and to encourage you to use your SNAP card, we offer Health Bucks. Health Bucks are $2 coupons that you receive for every $5 you spend from your SNAP card; you can use the health bucks to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market.

What do the vendors sell? Vendors offer a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, meats, dairy; baked goods, specialty foods and plants and flowers; jams & jelly, salad dressings, sauces & salsa, olive oil, chutneys, frozen soups, chocolate, pickles as well as prepared ethnic foods.

For more information about the Queens Botanical Garden Farmers’ Market, please visit the website at:  http://downtoearthmarkets.com/markets?region=Queens&market=Queens+Botanical+Garden+Farmers+Market and their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=queens%20botanical%20garden%20farmers%20market

_______

Check out what is being picked this week*:

Tomatoes, (round, grape, cherry), Beans, Cucumbers, Pickles, Hot peppers, Sweet Bell Peppers, Onions, Eggplant, Beets, Lettuces, Greens, Beets, Cabbages, Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Broccoli, Carrots, Blueberries, Cherries, Peaches, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Leeks, Cauliflower, Early Apples

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

Recipe of the week: Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad

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Rhinebeck

Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market

RhinebeckEntering our 23rd season, the Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market is one of the largest producer only markets in the Hudson Valley. The market has become Rhinebeck’s Sunday morning gathering place, a place where neighbors meet and mingle and visitors can sample the very best of the Hudson Valley.

When does it open?  May 14 – Nov. 19: every Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., rain or shine!  Winter market: December through April

Where is the market located:  Outdoor Market- 61 East Market St., Rhinebeck, NY. Indoor Market:  80 East Market St. Rhinebeck, NY

Does the market accept EBT SNAP Benefits? Yes! We launched EBT SNAP last season! In addition, SNAP shoppers can increase their buying power with Fresh Connect checks — $2.00 incentive checks for every $5.00 in SNAP benefits spent.

What do the vendors sell? A diverse and unique selection of farm fresh products including fruits and vegetables, beef, pork, lamb, venison, buffalo, fish, chicken, turkey, duck, pheasant, and rabbit; eggs from chicken, duck, turkey and pheasant; goat, cow and sheep’s milk cheeses; dairy; honey; juices; jams; flowers and plants; smoked products and much more.

What special events do you have at the market? Kid’s Day with T-shirt Painting on Aug. 27; Kid’s tour of the market and cooking demo with Chef Josh Kroner of Terrapin Restaurant; Kid’s Pumpkin Painting on Oct. 29.

What makes the market special? The Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market is unique in that it is not supported by a civic or governmental organization and enjoys no special eligibility status. The market relies solely upon vendor fees, business sponsors, donations, volunteers and merchandise sales for its operating funds.

For more information on the Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market, please visit their website at: http://www.rhinebeckfarmersmarket.com/ and Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/RhinebeckFarmersMarket/

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Check out what is being picked this week*:

Tomatoes, (round, grape, cherry), Beans, Cucumbers, Pickles, Hot peppers, Sweet Bell Peppers, Onions, Eggplant, Beets, Lettuces, Greens, Beets, Cabbages, Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Broccoli, Carrots, Blueberries, Cherries, Peaches, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Leeks, Cauliflower, Early Apples

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

Recipe of the week: Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad

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Jamaica Saturday Market

Jamaica Saturday Farmer’s Market

Jamaica Saturday MarketThis year marks the 43rd season of the Jamaica Friday Farmers’ Market, the longest-running farmers’ market in New York City. It offers fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables from New York area farms. It is one of 15 farmers’ markets operated by the Down to Earth company. Down to Earth Markets has been creating and managing farmer’s markets in down state New York for over 25 years. We bring cooks and eaters together with regional farmers and local food makers to create food communities, improving access to fresh, local foods, strengthening the local food system and supporting small businesses in the New York area.

When is the market open? Market open Saturdays, 8:30AM – 4:00PM, 06/17 – 11/18

Where is the market located? 160th St. off Jamaica Ave, Queens, NY

Does the market accept EBT SNAP benefits?  Yes, and to encourage you to use your SNAP card, we offer Health Bucks. Health Bucks are $2 coupons that you receive for every $5 you spend from your SNAP card; you can use the health bucks to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market.

What do the vendors sell? Vendors offer a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, meats, dairy; baked goods, specialty foods and plants and flowers; jams & jelly, salad dressings, sauces & salsa, olive oil, chutneys, frozen soups, chocolate, pickles as well as prepared ethnic foods.

Special Events: The Annual Harvest Festival will be held on October 21, 2017 from 11am – 4pm.

For more information about the Jamaica Saturday Farmers’ Market, please visit the website at:  http://downtoearthmarkets.com/markets?region=Queens&market=Jamaica+Farmers+Market+Saturday and their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/downtoearthmarketsjamaica/

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Check out what is being picked this week*:
Tomatoes, (round, grape, cherry), Beans, Cucumbers, Pickles, Hot peppers, Sweet Bell Peppers, Onions, Eggplant, Beets, Lettuces, Greens, Beets, Cabbages, Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Broccoli, Carrots, Blueberries, Cherries, Peaches, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Leeks, Cauliflower, Early Apples

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

Recipe of the week: Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad

http://snaptomarket.com/?recipe=sweet-corn-and-tomato-salad