• Summer Magazines

    tomatoesSometimes, it seems as though there should be sort of a reverse toll at all bridges leading over the Delaware into South Jersey, with a nice old man in work trousers stopping each car.

    “Welcome to New Jersey,” he’d say. “Here’s your tomato.”

  • Summer Magazines

    Willis Allen (he says he just goes by Junior) and his brother Tony search for some early fruit at the Allen Family Farm this week. The blueberries should be going strong soon A visit to Carol Ann Allen’s farm this time of year is a lesson in potential.

    Fields surround her big white farmhouse on a dirt road in Belleplain. Some tomatoes and pumpkins…

  • Summer Magazines

    Cape May Salts are taking offOyster

    At low tide on an overcast spring morning, James Tweed is at the beach.

    It does not look inviting.

    His white rubber boots are covered with a silty mud, and a sweatshirt – hood up – protects him from a portion of the swarms of tiny insects that seem to live solely to bury themselves in hairlines and start biting.

    On this particular morning, he’s oyster wrangling.

  • Summer Magazines

     eggplant

    It’s as Italian as parmigiana, as French as ratatouille, and as Arab as baba ghanoush, without even getting started on moussaka, Szechuan-style eggplant and garlic sauce or a few dozen Indian dishes.

    In other words, eggplant tastes like home to a huge swath of humanity, under many names and many, many different kinds of spices.

  • Summer Magazines

     Steve Bradley shows off some of the fruit from his backyard shrub. He said it’s at least 50 years old, maybe close to 100, and seems to be going strong. Figs are said to be one of the first plants humans ever cultivated, apparently beating out staples like wheat and rye by a good measure. Ancient texts mention the fruit from thousands of years before…

  • Summer Magazines

    Corny ramblings for a late-summer feast

    When it comes to corn, are you a typewriter or a lathe?

    For the digital natives who may happen to read this, a typewriter used to have a little roller that held the paper, which would advance one letter at a time until the carriage was returned, and the type proceeded to the next line. Yes, it was a pain, but still a step up from engraving everything on stone tablets.

    So for corn on the cob, a typewriter eats one line…

  • Summer Magazines

     pumpkin Almost everything about a pumpkin – the color, the taste, its very presence on almost every other doorstep – says fall is here. They line roadside stands, decorate classrooms, and get carved into a million shapes for Halloween.

    Somehow, those big orange decorations are related to the pumpkin flavor found in pies and seasonal specialty coffees, but it seems as though very few people have witnessed the process of turning a fresh pumpkin into dinner or dessert.

  • Summer Magazines

    The season starts now, but it doesn’t last

    A more mature writer, in a more serious publication, could probably resist a lead like “this is the dawning of the age of asparagus.” 

    Fat chance. 

    The flowers are blooming, the days are long, and those in shorts and flip-flops no longer seem pathological. 

  • Summer Magazines

    crabs While the flavor is beloved, and many see a pile of steamed crabs, a nutcracker, a table full of friends and a cooler of beer as a vision of shore heaven, there is no denying they are, at first glace, not exactly the most appetizing creatures.

    An earlier column in this series referred to the red of a ripe strawberry as an invitation. Hardshell blue crabs offer no such invitation. Instead, they seem to make a pretty straightforward case to be left alone.

  • Summer Magazines

    Some say the berry you wait for tastes best

    So maybe you’ve been feeling pretty pleased with yourself. After all, you’ve switched over to organic greens now that they are pre-washed and easy to use, and you’ve traded sausage and bacon for the frozen simulated stuff in the green box. Maybe you even recycle the box. 

    Then suddenly, one of your friends goes localvore. 

    Here we go again.




Jersey fresh strawberries are in season

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strawberry Jersey Fresh strawberries are here, and the plump, juicy fruit is available now at farmers markets, grocery stores and pick-your-own farms in the state. Harvesting began in mid-May and is expected to continue through early June.

Nutritionists consider strawberries to be a part of a healthy diet, providing a good source of vitamin C. Strawberries should not be washed until ready to eat because their high water content, on top of the additional water, will result in a mushy berry. Once the caps are removed, an enzyme is released that destroys the vitamin C.

Be certain to remove the caps after rinsing to prevent the strawberry from becoming waterlogged and from losing vitamin C content.

Look for strawberries that are plump and firm, with a bright red color and natural shine. The size of the berry is unimportant; color and fragrance are the best indicators of flavor.

Caps should be fresh, green and intact. Avoid strawberries with green or white color, or those that appear mushy, shriveled or leaky. Strawberries do not ripen after harvest, so they should be picked as close to consumption time as possible and immediately stored in the refrigerator.

When purchasing strawberries, check the carton for stains, which can indicate over-ripeness. Remove the strawberries from the market or store container and store in a shallow container on a paper towel in the refrigerator for up to three days. For best results put paper towels between the layers.

Remove from the refrigerator and serve at room temperature for optimum flavor.

Freeze strawberries by coating in a water and lemon juice mix.

To find Jersey Fresh strawberries and other Jersey Fresh products see the Jersey Fresh website at www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov. Recipes can be found at http://jerseyfresh.nj.gov/recipes.


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