• Summer Magazines

    beach plums Beach plums are nothing new.

    For generations, locals have gathered the small, tart plums along roadsides and in the dunes, mostly for jellies and jams.

    The fruit is much smaller than the European or Asian plums, to which it is related, and when ripe can range in size from about a pea, to a Bing cherry, or the size of a grape tomato for a really big one.

  • Summer Magazines

    Economy and trend meet in canning revival

    It’s late summer, and for now we are awash in fresh, local food. Markets, produce counters and your neighbor’s garden overflow with tomatoes, squash and other goodies, but the leaves are falling and the first cold snap can’t be too far away.

    If only there were some way of preserving these summer flavors for the winter.

  • 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

    Here’s one for Joe and Joanne Sixpack. 

    You know, regular folks. The common people. Those with taste.

    Let’s face it, beer gets a bad rap. Its reputation has improved in recent years, but for many, the world’s first alcoholic brew, and the most popular, is shorthand for plebian tastes. Think of Homer (Simpson, not the Illiad author) downing Duff Beer while sitting in the kitchen in his underwear.

  • 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

     pizza So it’s unequivocally late summer. Garden ripe tomatoes are piling up in offices, being traded back and forth among neighbors and co-workers like the seashells of the Trobriand Islanders, only with an expiration date.

    Roving bands of teenagers are forcing brown bags of enormous zucchini on unsuspecting passers-by.

    And while we’re nowhere near out of topics, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this space already, exploring the variety of fresh, local food available to anyone who wants to look for it.

  • 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

     Rob, Catherine and Karl Giulian join their dad, Karl Giulian, to talk about backyard gardens. The youngest, David, is not pictured.  Karl Giulian can’t wait for his kids to get older.

    He’s looking forward to it for all the usual reasons of course, but there’s an ulterior motive as well. The swing set is in the way of his garden expansion.

    His 12-foot-by-12-foot garden has already slipped its borders, with potted colonies…

  • 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

    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…



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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