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Mexican Hass Avocado Prices Jump 34% Overnight

Mexican Hass Avocado Prices Jump 34% Overnight


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Avocado prices from the leading producer rose faster on Tuesday than any time in the past decade.

The Mexican Ministry of Economy reported a 34 percent increase in avocado prices on Tuesday amid threats to close the U.S. border. This increase occurred in the city of Michoacan—responsible for more than 90 percent of the country’s avocado production. This is the biggest one-day spike in prices in a decade, Bloomberg reported.

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Avocados have consistently remained one of the most popular foods in our country—the U.S. alone accounts for 77 percent of global avocado purchases. While California supplies a fair percentage of our nation’s avocados, Mexico is the leading producer by far, providing Americans with 75-80 percent of the share.

Yesterday, President Trump acknowledged closing the border would have a negative impact on the US economy—but insisted the decision would be worth it to protect the nation's security. The New York Times reported many republican lawmakers, economists, and businesspeople warned that closing the Mexican border would devastate important industries depending on Mexico for goods as well as American farmers and automakers.


It’s hard to believe, but you only need avocado for the creamy avocado sauce. No butter or cream, just avocado! I love how easy this pasta is and the fact that I can make it in less than 15 minutes is a real bonus, especially during the week. We love this recipe so much that we’ve even made a version swapping sweet potato noodles for the pasta.

What you’ll need

The ingredients to make avocado pasta are simple. Here’s what I use to make it:

  • Whatever pasta I have in the pantry.
  • A tomato, which adds some color and freshness.
  • Sliced green onion (scallion) and garlic.
  • Ripe avocado
  • Lemon juice or when I’m out of lemons, lime juice.
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper

The (easy) steps for making it

The great thing about this avocado pasta recipe is that in the time the pasta takes to cook, you can make the creamy avocado sauce.

Step 1: Add avocado to a bowl and mash with a fork until creamy. You can also use a food processor, but we hate cleaning it, so a fork is our go-to. For the best, creamiest avocado sauce, use a ripe avocado. An avocado is ripe when it gives slightly when squeezed. You can see our tips for buying avocados here.

Step 2: Add fresh garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Since we add raw garlic to the sauce, I use a microplane to grate the garlic. This way, it’s grated into extra small bits. If you don’t have a microplane, simply mince the garlic, but make sure you mince it finely.

Step 3: Add a bit of the hot pasta water. This turns the avocado mash into a sauce.

Adding a little hot pasta water to mashed avocado turns the mixture into a creamy sauce that will coat the pasta.

Step 4: Stir in the chopped tomatoes, sliced green onion, and cooked pasta. After a good toss, the sauce will coat the pasta — if you need too, you can add a little more water to thin things out a bit.

If, after adding the pasta, the sauce isn’t coating the pasta, add a splash more of the hot pasta water and toss.

That’s it! Your very own bowl of creamy avocado pasta.

More easy avocado recipes

  • See how we make Avocado Egg Salad — Avocado adds a twist to classic egg salad. Easy avocado egg salad recipe with celery, fresh herbs, and lemon juice.
  • Our Avocado and Cucumber Salad is one of my favorite recipes shared on Inspired Taste. I could eat it everyday!
  • I love this Smashed Avocado Toast with Egg! Thanks to a hard-boiled egg, flaky salt, lemon, and pepper, it is healthy, protein-packed, delicious, and has significant sticking power!

Recipe updated, originally posted February 2012. Since posting this in 2012, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne


The cost of avocados have been creeping up over the past few months but the cost of the popular fruit appears to have now reached an all-time high - at $10 a piece.

One Auckland green grocer is selling large avocados for $9.99 each, or a tray of two smaller ones for $8.99. The cheapest avocado it has on sale is for $7.99.

The Herald contacted Fruit World Mount Roskill but it declined to comment.

At the middle of last month the price of avocados hit an all-time high, cracking the $5 mark - and at some outlets have almost doubled in price since.

Auckland Mexican restaurant La Fuente has felt the sting of increasing avocado prices, so much so that it had to axe a popular guacamole dish from its menu at the end of February.

La Fuente co-owner Edmundo Farrera said he made the decision to take the dish off the menu as he did not want to pass increasing costs on to the consumer.

Farrera and his wife Anna opened the restaurant in November and after around four months were forced to take it off the menu: "We are small owner-operators so we have to be very careful with everything we price and everything we invest in."

Farrera said he first noticed avocado price fluctuations at the beginning of the year.

Prices have catapulted from $1 to $2, then $2.50 to around $4.50 per fruit. Ordinarily, the restaurant would buy a single avocado from suppliers for between 50 cents and $1.

"We talked about it with the chef and he said 'I'm conscious of this, you keep an eye on it and basically let me know when it's the time we have to take it off the menu,'" Farrera said.

Guacamole was one of the restaurant's signature dishes, and the reason why many people came to La Fuente, he said.

Depending on the size of avocado, the dish would require up to two fruits. The dish cost around $14 but that would have increased to more than $20 if it had been kept on the menu, he said.

Edmundo Farrera, owner of Mexican restaurant La Fuente in Auckland. Photo / Supplied

Farrera is now waiting to get avocados from another supplier midwinter and will reinstate the dish in the next couple of months if prices reduce.

"I've been in the restaurant business for 26 years. the prices of avocado seem to me a bit drastic when they jump. I think growers should be a little bit more considerate to businesses. In Mexico, back home, we also move with the season but we've never had such a jump in prices."

Avocados are known to fluctuate in price, though not so drastically or so early into the season. In June 2017, avocados reached $7.50 a piece in some parts of the country.

La Fuente has been forced to temporarily take guacamole off its menu. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular said avocado prices fluctuated throughout the season and according to crop volumes.

"We have recently had a medium volume season and supply is particularly low at the moment," Scoular said.

"Avocado harvest runs August to February, and there is a very low supply of avocados in New Zealand right now as we are outside of the main season. They are a seasonal fruit, which means there is limited supply during the winter months. However, we expect to see new season Hass avocados available from late July."

Scoular could not confirm if $10 per fruit was an all-time high but said the industry was responding to demand and investing heavily into new plantings of avocados which would be ready to harvest in the next two years.


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Ingredients in my Best Vanilla Cake recipe

Here’s what you need to make this plush, soft vanilla cake. No cake flour, no buttermilk, no sour cream. Tried them all – this cake is better with plain / all purpose flour and just milk.

Plain / all purpose flour – compared to cake flour, the flavour of the butter and vanilla comes through better, the crumb is slightly more velvety AND it keeps slightly more moist too. Bonus: no need to hunt down / pay a premium for cake flour! Do not substitute with self raising flour or gluten free flour.

Eggs – whipped to aerate, these are key to make the cake extraordinarily light and fluffy. You don’t get an eggy flavour

Baking powder – not baking soda (bi-carb), it doesn’t rise as well. This is our safety net, extra helping hand to make the cake rise.

Milk, full fat – just plain cow milk. Low fat works as well but rises marginally less. Do not substitute with non dairy milk or buttermilk

Sugar – best to use caster / superfine sugar if you can because it dissolves better in the eggs. But regular / granulated sugar works just fine too – you may just end up with some little brown spots on the base

Oil – just 1 tablespoon adds a noticeable hint of extra moistness, especially on Day 4, without weighing down the cake in the slightest. Don’t be tempted to add more – I tried an extra tablespoon and it didn’t rise as well

Vanilla extract – the best you can afford. Imitation will work just fine, but the flavour isn’t as pure or real. I use Queen Vanilla Extract. Don’t waste your money on vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste – it’s not worth it for cakes.


White Bean Avocado Guacamole Dip

After you’ve cooked your dried beans you’ll puree them or mash them. I used a fork and then a potato masher. I think for the sake of the kids’ preference next time I will throw the beans in the blender and puree them. But it’s really up to you.

I used 2 large Hass Avocados. I always buy my avocados at Costco because they just seem to be better quality and have less brown spots…that’s just my two cents.

After you’ve gotten everything mashed up you’ll add in your favorite guacamole ingredients. Personally I love to add in a couple of diced Roma tomatoes, a little jalapeno, kosher salt, garlic, cilantro and lime juice. The only bad part about guacamole is that it gets brown too quickly and there’s no real good way to stop this. The good part is that this dip won’t last long enough to get brown anyway!


Cochinita Pibil Recipe

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Wanted to try out one of my new knives so decided what better way that to make some Pico de Gallo. Sorry I didn’t get any pics as I was filming a video instead. (Video link below)

The recipe is in the video but not listed in writing. I shared it on this site before so if you don’t want to listen to the entire video you can hit this link instead.

If I had stopped at the cheap Mercer knife, I had purchased from Amazon I’d have been fine. (See previous thread) Unfortunately, there was a sale over Labor Day at Cutlery and More, so my wife is now mad at me because I purchased 3 more new knives.

She suggested I have a problem and to this I must agree. I didn’t “need” any of these knives, but one was such a good price and the other two are, as Old Man Parker said on Christmas Story, “Indescribably Beautiful!”. Below is a short video of the objects of my wife’s wrath.
This first knife is a 9” Dragon Storm Chef’s knife by Apogee Cutlery. It’s made of BD1N steel with a HRC of 63. It was on Clearance with an additional 20% off for Labor Day.

This next knife is an Enso SG2 7” Bunka knife. It’s made of 101 layers of stainless with a SG2 steel core with an HRC of 63. It was on sale with special price and 20% off for Labor Day.

This last knife is an Miyabi Artisan 9.5” Kiritsuke knife. It’s made of 2 layers of hammered stainless with a SG2 steel core with an HRC of 63. It was offered at special introductory price for Labor Day.

I’m going to have to cook some good food using these knives to get out of the Doghouse.

The last time we rented an Airbnb I vowed to buy a knife roll and bring some of my knives with me so I could have the use of sharp knives instead on the dull knives they always seem to have. (It’s not that they need to be expensive, but if they were at least sharp I wouldn’t complain)

Well we just got back from spending a week in Reno at an Airbnb and you can guess how the knives were. So, I’ve made good on my vow and got myself a cheap knife roll. I also purchased this Mercer Millenia 8” chef knife to go in it.

As I said they don’t need to supply expensive knives and this new Mercer knife is proof of this. (It cost me whooping $18.00) So here is a video of the new knife and roll and the different knives I’ll be taking with me when we go on our next trip like this. (An assortment of mostly Mercer and Victorinox knives)

I picked up 2 lb. of 98% fat free ground turkey breast the other day. I made some more of the 4 bean Turkey Chili I made a month ago with it but this time it was virtually free of points. (Only 1 WW Purple point)

I diced up all the onions and peppers, mixed up the spices. Here are most of the ingredients.


1 ½ Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 lb. Pounds 98/7 Lean Ground Turkey
½ Yellow Onion (Diced)
½ Red Onion (Diced)
I Poblano Pepper (Diced)
1 Red Bell Pepper (Diced)
1 ½ Teaspoons Minced Garlic
1 6 Oz. Can Diced Green Chiles
1 15 Oz. Can Corn
1 15 Oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 15 Oz. Can Tomato Sauce
1 15 Oz. Can Chili Beans
1 15 Oz. Can Black Beans
1 15 Oz. Can Dark Red Kidney Beans
1 15 Oz. Cannellini Beans
1 15 Oz. Can Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp. Chili Power
1 Tsp. Cumin
½ Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
½ Tsp. Chipotle Pepper Power
½ Tsp. Black Pepper
½ Tsp. White Pepper
½ Tsp. Salt
¼ Tsp. Cinnamon

While I was prepping everything our new dog Lady came in to visit.

I got out my enameled Dutch oven and placed the OO. I put it on the side burner of my Gasser.

I put the Turkey in once it was heated up.

I cooked it until just slightly brown.

Next, I added the Poblano pepper, onions, Bell pepper and garlic. I covered this and cook it for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Once the veggies had softened,

I added in the spices and rest of the ingredients.

and mixed everything together.

I brought this to a boil and then covered. I turned the burner to low and let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Here it is in a bowl, garnished with onion, cilantro, some lime and some Non-Fat Greek yogurt.

This was delicious and only 1 point per serving. (A serving = 1 cup. This was a large bowl, so it was a double serving so 2 points) Eating like this makes me forget I'm losing weight.

With the wife and I on the Weight Watchers plan, I’ve been avoiding some of my favorite Mexican dishes. Now that I think about it, this really isn’t necessary if I’m carefully what I choose and how I prepare the dishes. Take fajitas for example. A protein, seasoning and some veggies. Made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and not much oil the fajitas themselves are only 1 point per serving. I can live with a diet that includes chicken fajitas, can’t you? Well, that leads me to the sides. Made carefully many of the sides are 0 to only 2 points per serving. Follow along with me and I’ll show you how I prepared everything.

The night before I mixed up some blue corn masa to make up some tortillas. (This is the one item I couldn’t cheat on to lower the point value. 3 tortillas = 5 points)


I also got out the onion and bell peppers to cut up


and mixed up the fajitas seasoning.


Ingredients:
1/2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt to taste
1/4 tsp. Chipotle pepper 1/4 tsp. Oregano

The next day started out by making a batch of my Mexican rice. (1 Point per serving) Started out by sautéing the veggies.

I measured out 2 cups of Brown rice, 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1 tbsp. of OO and put this in the rice maker. I now added 1 cup of Clamato Picante juice and 3 cups of chicken stock.

Next, I added the veggies to the pot.

I closed the lid and pressed start. Here are the results.

Next up was the Guacamole. (2 points per serving) Cut up 1 medium Hass avocado.

Now I added 1 tbsp. of light mayo, some granulated garlic, 5 heaping tbsp. of my Pico de Gallo, some fresh squeezed lime juice and mixed this up and covered.

Next up were some frijoles. I sautéed some diced onion, 1/2 a jalapeno, some bell pepper and corn and then added two kinds of black beans. (0 points per serving)

I now got out 3 boneless skinless breasts and coated them with the fajitas seasoning.

I took them and the cut-up veggies out to my gas grill side burner.

Now I needed to make the tortillas, so I rolled up 6 balls of masa about the size of a golf ball. I flatted them a little to make them easier to press out.

I was some issues with the masa sticking to the press so had to experiment with dusting the bottom with some of the blue core masa.

I heated them up on a C.I. griddle, very lightly sprayed with some OO.

Next I sprayed my 12” Camp Chef C.I. skillet with some OO. After it was heated it up I put the 3 breast in and cooked them for 8 minutes per side.

Once they were cooked I removed them to a cutting board and was left with the fond.


Whole Foods slashes prices on some produce, also selling Amazon's Echo

LOS ANGELES/CHICAGO (Reuters) - On its first day as part of Amazon.com (AMZN.O), organic grocery chain Whole Foods Market Inc (WFM.O) slashed prices on popular items like avocados and apples on Monday by a third as it bid to shake off its "Whole Paycheck" reputation for high prices.

In another sign of changes to come, a display offering Amazon's Echo and smaller Echo Dot hands-free smart speakers for $99.99 and $44.99, respectively, was nestled amid the colorful produce at the Whole Foods in downtown Los Angeles. Those gadgets sell for the same price on Amazon.com.

The companies signaled last week that they would selectively cut Whole Foods prices starting on Monday, and promised more discounts in the future.

Major supermarket chains and grocery sellers, including Kroger Co (KR.N), Sprouts Farmers Market Inc (SFM.O), Supervalu Inc (SVU.N), Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), already were grappling with growing pricing pressure when Whole Foods and Amazon announced their $13.7 billion merger deal on June 16.

And, shares in those food sellers have fallen on worries that Amazon could disrupt the grocery business in the same way it did with books and electronics.

Signs posted in Whole Foods' 450 U.S. stores trumpeted the changes.

The price of organic Hass avocados was slashed by 33 percent to $1.99 each, down from $2.99, in the Whole Foods in downtown Los Angeles. Organic Fuji apples sell for $1.99 a pound, from $2.99 previously.

Boneless rib eye prices dropped to $13.99 per pound from $16.99 in downtown Los Angeles, a reduction of nearly 18 percent, while the price for "responsibly farmed" Atlantic salmon filets fell to $9.99 per pound from $13.99, down almost 29 percent.

Price cuts varied slightly from city to city. For example, a Whole Foods in Chicago's West Loop reduced organic avocado prices by 20 percent, while Bloomberg reported that a Manhattan store chopped the price on organic Fuji apples by 43 percent.

The downtown Los Angeles Whole Foods prices, in some cases, were lower than those at a nearby Ralphs grocery store owned by Kroger, which competes aggressively on price.

Ralphs was selling conventional avocados for $1.99, versus $1.49 at Whole Foods. Conventionally grown bananas were also priced higher at Ralphs: 59 cents a pound, against 49 cents at Whole Foods.

Some analysts estimate that Whole Foods would have to cut prices by 10 to 15 percent overall to truly compete with other food sellers.

Nevertheless, its surgical paring of prices on popular staples could force other retailers to follow. That would only add pressure on those retailers, who already were preparing for another step down in prices as German discounters Aldi and Lidl expand in the United States and intensify the price war historically led by Wal-Mart (WMT.N).

Shazneen Gandhi, 41, in Los Angeles said the Amazon-Whole Foods merger is a frequent topic of conversation among her friends and fellow mothers.

"We're really expecting great things," said Gandhi, who closely tracks grocery prices for her business selling prepared organic meals.

Cynthia Von Weiss, 62, groused about the "ridiculous" high price for chicken salad as she shopped at the West Loop Whole Foods and said the store would have to aggressively compete with local grocers to win her loyalty.

"We'll see what happens . If I could come in here and spend something comparable to Mariano's or Jewel, or ideally Trader Joe's, then they got a customer for life," she said.

Mariano's is owned by Kroger and Jewel is owned by Albertsons Cos.

As part of Amazon's putting its stamp on the grocer, Whole Foods stores displayed promotions for Amazon's Echo speaker in tongue-in-cheek fashion, with signs reading "Farm Fresh" and "Pick of the Season."

The Echo plays a critical role in Amazon's burgeoning ambitions to popularize and dominate the market for voice-controlled computing.

Echo speakers are equipped with Amazon's voice-controlled assistant Alexa, which competes with Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) Siri. Users can direct Alexa to set timers, play music, read recipes, order deliveries, and perform a host of other activities.

Shares of Amazon were up 0.1 percent at $946.01 in afternoon trading.

Sprouts was the hardest hit of the food sellers. Its shares tumbled 9.8 percent on Monday, compared with the 2.7 percent drop for Supervalu and the less than 1 percent decline for the remainder of the group.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles Additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco Editing by Bernadette Baum and Sandra Maler)


Southern California Seasonal Produce Guide

By now you’ve heard it so often it’s become a cliché – to cook best, you must cook seasonally. But how do you really know what’s in season? When you go to the supermarket, they seem to have the same fruits and vegetables all through the year.

The Los Angeles Times’ Southern California Seasonal Produce Guide, will keep you up to date with what’s at its best no matter what time of year.

Not only will you learn which fruits and vegetables you should be looking for, you’ll also find out how to choose the best, how to take care of them once you’ve bought them, simple preparation tips and a whole bunch of recipes from among the nearly 6,000 in our Cooking section.

Apples

Apples are to fall what peaches and nectarines are to summer — somehow the entire season is summed up in a crisp, sweet bite.
Apple recipes »

When are apples in season?
August — November

How to choose apples?
Select apples that are smooth-skinned, deeply colored and glossy.

How to store apples?
Apples should be stored as cold as possible. Keep them in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator. A perforated plastic bag works best, as it allows some of the moisture to escape while keeping the apples crisp.

Extra tips
While varietal distinctions in most fruit have been smoothed over, they’re still terribly important with apples. There are apples that are terrific early, but don’t store (such as Galas), and some that are harvested later and will taste good for months (such as Honeycrisp). Taste before you buy.

Apricots and apriums

Because so much of the apricot harvest has gone to drying and canning, most lacked flavor when sold fresh. But newly introduced apriums — crosses between apricots and plums — offer taste and texture that hearkens back to the good old days.
Apricot recipes »

When are apricots and apriums in season?
May — July

How to choose apricots and apriums?
Apricots and apriums, like all stone fruit, will continue to ripen after they’ve been harvested. Look for golden background color and pay no attention to the red blush.

How to store apricots and apriums?
Apricots can be stored at cool room temperature for a few days, particularly if they are underripe. After that, refrigerate in a tightly sealed plastic bag.

Extra tips
In Southern California we are fortunate to have some orchards that still produce the lovely old-fashioned variety Blenheim. These are troublesome to grow, but their flavor and texture is unrivaled.

Artichokes

Most people eat artichokes only one way — the biggest ones, served whole with drawn butter or mayonnaise. But smaller artichokes are terrific as ingredients in risottos, stews or pastas and they cost a lot less.
Artichoke recipes »

When are artichokes in season?
March — June And October — November

How to choose artichokes?
Really fresh artichokes will squeak when squeezed.

How to store artichokes?
Artichokes are hardy enough to last at cool room temperature for a couple of days. Any longer than that and you should refrigerate them in a tightly closed plastic bag.

Extra tips
When you’re trimming artichokes, don’t throw away the stems. They have the same flavor as the heart and are just as tender if you peel the hard green skin.

Asian pears

Asian pear varieties can differ quite remarkably. Shinseiki has a very crisp texture and a flavor like honey, walnuts and flowers 20th Century is crisp with a flavor like a sparkling combination of apples and citrus Kosui has a vanilla undertone and Chojuro is buttery with a caramel sweetness.
Asian pear recipes »

When are asian pears in season?
August — October

How to choose asian pears?
Asian pears feel hard as rocks, but they actually bruise quite easily. Russet varieties should be deep golden brown smooth-skinned round fruit should be yellow, not green, and smooth-skinned pear-shaped fruit will be pale green.

How to store asian pears?
Asian pears need to be refrigerated.

Extra tips
If you’re unfamiliar with Asian pears, know that they are sometimes referred to as “apple-pears,” which is a perfectly good summation of their qualities.

Asparagus

The most reliable harbinger of spring in the vegetable world, when asparagus peeks through the dirt, you can bet warmer weather is coming.
Asparagus recipes »

When is asparagus in season?
March and April

How to choose asparagus?
The tips should be tightly furled and closed the stems should be smooth and firm with no wrinkles the bases should be moist.

How to store asparagus?
You can store asparagus tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for a day or so. Any longer, store them in the refrigerator like cut flowers — with the bases in a bowl of water and the tops loosely covered with a plastic bag.

Extra tips
Use thin asparagus as an ingredient in pastas and risottos. Serve thick asparagus on its own, dressed as simply as you dare. Medium asparagus can be prepared however you like.

Avocados

There are many reasons to love living in California, but ranking high among them are the variety of avocados we can try as wonderful as Hass avocados are, try a Reed or a Gwen.
Avocado recipes »

When are avocados in season?
February — July

How to choose avocados?
Remember that avocados will only ripen after they’ve been picked, and that that process can take as long as a week. Really ripe avocados will give when they are squeezed gently (use your palm, not your fingers). But usually, you’re better off buying avocados that are quite firm, even hard, and ripening them at home. It’ll take only a couple of days, and it will keep you from getting stuck with fruit that’s been badly bruised by overenthusiastic shoppers.

How to store avocados?
Keep avocados at room temperature until they are fully ripe.

Extra tips
The flesh of avocados will begin to blacken as soon as the fruit is cut, so don’t try to prepare them in advance.

Beets

Not only are beets physically beautiful — they have a deep, rich saturated red color that shines like nothing else — but they are also a wonderful combination of sweet and earthy. So why do so many people hate them?
Beets recipes »

When are beets in season?
November — March

How to choose beets?
Select beets that are heavy for their size and show no surface nicks or cuts. If they’re sold with their tops on, the greens are always a good indicator of freshness as they show wilting very quickly (they’re also delicious – don’t discard them).

How to store beets?
Refrigerate in a tightly sealed plastic bag.

Extra tips
Prepare beets by wrapping them in aluminum foil and baking at 400 degrees until they are tender enough to pierce with a knife. Cool them and the peels will slip right off.

Bell peppers

There is nothing at the farmers market that sums up the late summer-early fall season like the mounds of brightly colored peppers that seem to be everywhere. Their colors — red and yellow, even purple and brown — are so saturated they seem to have been designed for the painterly golden light at this time of year. And they taste as good as they look.
Bell pepper recipes »

When are bell peppers in season?
September and October

How to choose bell peppers?
Look for peppers that are firm, deeply colored and glossy. Peppers that have the straightest sides will be the easiest to peel.

How to store bell peppers?
Keep peppers in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag.

Extra tips
To peel peppers, place them whole on the grill, turning as the skin begins to blacken. Transfer them to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, the peel will slip right off.

Blood oranges

Blood oranges get their color from the same anthocyanin pigment that gives raspberries theirs. And though the chemical compound itself has no flavor, there is a shared berry taste between blood oranges and raspberries.
Blood orange recipes »

When are blood oranges in season?
February — March

How to choose blood oranges?
Select oranges that are heaviest for their size. Color is not a reliable indicator of flavor. Some varieties such as Tarocco, which are usually less “bloody” than others, have the best flavor.

How to store blood oranges?
Because oranges have relatively thick peels, they can be stored at room temperature for up to a couple of weeks. Refrigerating doesn’t hurt oranges, though, so that’s fine if that’s what you prefer.

Extra tips
Blood oranges pair beautifully with many of the best cool-weather vegetables — fennel and beets in particular.

Broccoli

Like cauliflower, to which it’s closely related, broccoli is a vegetable with two faces. Cook it quickly and the flavor is bold and assertive. Push it a little longer and it becomes sweet and complex.
Broccoli recipes »

When is broccoli in season?
December — May

How to choose broccoli?
Choose broccoli with flower heads that are tightly closed and blue-green, rather than pale green or even yellow. Feel the stock with your fingernail – overgrown broccoli will be too tough to dent and will be stringy when cooked.

How to store broccoli?
For a staple vegetable, broccoli spoils rather quickly. Treat it as you would a lettuce — tightly wrapped in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. And use it as soon as you can.

Extra tips
Besides the familiar “tree” broccoli, also look for broccolini (sometimes called “baby broccoli”), broccoli rabe and Chinese broccoli (gai lan). These have more stem than flower head, so they lend themselves to different dishes.

Brussels sprouts

Like tiny little cabbages, Brussels sprouts depend on accurate cooking to be at their best — cook them long enough to bring out the sweetness, but not so long as to bring out the sulfur-y smell.
Brussels sprouts recipes »

When are Brussels sprouts in season?
November — February

How to choose Brussels sprouts?
Choose Brussels sprouts that are vivid green and are tightly closed. As they sit, the leaves will begin to separate and the edges will yellow. Squeeze the head, it should be hard enough that there is very little give.

How to store Brussels sprouts?
Brussels sprouts should be refrigerated in a tightly sealed bag.

Extra tips
My favorite way to cook Brussels sprouts: steam them whole until just tender enough to pierce with a knife. Then cut them into lengthwise quarters and finish cooking as you wish to impart flavor. This helps keep them from overcooking.

Carrots

Once carrots came in one model — fat and orange. Today you can find them in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. And they’re more than just ornamental: well-grown carrots are among the sweetest of the root vegetables.
Carrots recipes »

When are carrots in season?
February — June

How to choose carrots?
The best way to choose carrots is by the greens — they should be fresh and crisp looking. After that, make sure the roots are deeply colored (whatever the color) and vibrant and make sure there are no cracks or deep dings.

How to store carrots?
Store carrots tightly wrapped in the crisper drawer. Be sure to remove the tops before storing as they will draw moisture from the roots, wilting them faster.

Extra tips
Want to look like a genius cook? Slice trimmed carrots in 1/2-inch rounds place them in a wide skillet with a good knob of butter and just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan cover and cook over medium heat until the carrots are just tender remove the lid, turn the heat up to high and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has evaporated, leaving a golden glaze.

Cauliflower

For cooks, cauliflower has two distinctive personalities. Blanch it briefly and it has an aggressive, grassy quality that pairs well with big flavors like olives and garlic. Cook it until it’s soft and cauliflower becomes sweet and earthy.
Cauliflower recipes »

When is cauliflower in season?
December — May

How to choose cauliflower?
Cauliflower heads should be firm and tightly closed. White varieties should be very pale, with no dark “sunburned” spots. Reject any heads that show signs of softness, that’s the start of spoilage.

How to store cauliflower?
Though it seems durable, cauliflower is extremely perishable. Keep it tightly wrapped in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

Extra tips
Unlike other vegetables, the color of cauliflower lasts through cooking, particularly if you add a little acidity, either vinegar or lemon juice.

Chard

You’ll usually find chard in three variations: green, which has white stems and a fairly mild flavor red, which closely resembles beet greens in look and taste and rainbow, which is not really a genetic variety but a mix of types that includes both red and white, plus shades of pink and gold (sadly, beautiful as they are raw, the color dulls with cooking). The term “Swiss chard” generally refers to any of those three. All of them have fairly crisp, ridged stems and thick, fleshy leaves that are, frankly, unpleasant raw but become absolutely wonderful when cooked.
Chard recipes »

When is chard in season?
January — April

How to choose chard?
Don’t worry so much about the leaves — you’ll get a lot more clues about the freshness of the chard by looking at the stems (they seem to wilt before the leaves do). The stems should be firm and crisp. Examine the cut end — it should be somewhat moist and fresh-looking, with minimal darkening.

How to store chard?
Keep chard tightly wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Properly stored, it’ll last a week or so.

Extra tips
Chard often seems to be sandier than some other greens, so clean it thoroughly by covering it with water in the sink and then giving it a good shake. It’s important that you do this right before cooking rather than before you stick the chard in the fridge — excess moisture is the great enemy of almost all fruits and vegetables.

Cherries

There is no surer, happier sign that summer is coming than the appearance of the first cherries at the market. The smallest and earliest of the stone fruit, they’re a harbinger of the peaches, plums and nectarines shortly to come.
Cherries recipes »

When are cherries in season?
May — July

How to choose cherries?
Look for cherries with firm, shiny, smooth skins. Usually the darker the red, the better (with the most common varieties, this is a sign of ripeness). Also check the stems, they should be green and flexible they turn brown and woody in storage.

How to store cherries?
Refrigerate cherries in a tightly sealed plastic bag. They’ll last a couple of weeks, at least theoretically (you’ll probably eat them by then).

Extra tips
Cherries are also closely related to almonds if you want to beef up the flavor of cherries in a dish, add just a drop or two of almond extract.

Corn is frustrating. Old varieties had terrific flavor, but the sugar started converting to starch sometimes within hours. Modern varieties stay sweeter longer, but some corn lovers complain that they don’t have the same flavor. Still, is there anything sweeter than that first bite of corn on the cob?
Corn recipes »

When is corn in season?
June — September

How to choose corn?
Ears should be well filled out (check the tips of the ears to make sure there are kernels), and make sure the silk is still soft, not dried out. Don’t shuck the whole ear before buying, though it makes the farmers really cranky.

How to store corn?
Corn should be refrigerated, tightly wrapped.

Extra tips
White corn is not necessarily sweeter than yellow which color you prefer has more to do with where you were raised than the actual flavor of the corn.

Cucumbers

Cool and crisp, incredibly refreshing in salads, cucumbers — along with tomatoes — are the stars of summer. They’re particularly good when served with seafood. And these days you can find so many different kinds.
Cucumbers recipes »

When are cucumbers in season?
May — September

How to choose cucumbers?
Choose cucumbers that are firm, vibrantly colored and without any soft or shriveled spots.

How to store cucumbers?
Keep cucumbers in a tightly sealed bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

Extra tips
Most cucumbers don’t need to be peeled, but if the skin feels particularly thick, or if they’ve been waxed, then you should. Also, take a bite — if the cucumber is excessively bitter, peel them because the compounds that cause bitterness are usually located right under the skin.

Eggplants

The sheer variety of eggplants in the market can be a bit overwhelming, but there is good news: For the most part, eggplant tastes like eggplant. Only the degree of bitterness varies somewhat. Other than that, the main difference among the varieties is texture. Eggplant can be firm, even slightly stringy, or it can be creamy. This can be hard to predict, although generally the familiar black globe eggplants are among the most fibrous.
Eggplant recipes »

When is eggplant in season?
July — October

How to choose eggplant?
There are a lot of myths about eggplant and bitterness. Bitterness doesn’t come from too many seeds or from a certain shape or type it comes from being over-mature. So be sure to choose eggplant that is firm, even hard to the touch. There should be no shriveling or soft spots. Also check the calyx (the green leaves at the stem end) it should be fresh and green, not dried out and brown.

How to store eggplant?
You can leave eggplants at room temperature for a day or two with no ill effects. After that, refrigerate them, but not for too long. Odd as it may seem, eggplant is a tropical fruit and suffers chill damage very quickly.

Extra tips
Eggplant is one of the best vegetables on the grill – cut it into thick slices, brush with garlic-flavored olive oil and cook over a medium fire until soft. Then brush with more olive oil and sprinkle with vinegar and salt.

English peas

There are few spring flavors that rival that of a really sweet English pea, but there are also few flavors more transitory. Peas begin converting sugar to starch as soon as they’re picked. Within a couple of days, they’re bland. Taste before you buy.
English peas recipes »

When are English peas in season?
March & April

How to choose English peas?
Look for pods that are firm and crisp. They shouldn’t bend at all but should snap. The color in general should be a saturated pale green. Some peas will show a little white scarring on the pod that’s not a problem.

How to store English peas?
Refrigerate in a tightly sealed plastic bag. They’ll last four or five days.

Extra tips
Shucking peas is one of the most communal of cooking activities. It’s unbelievably tedious, so it’s always a good idea to enlist a friend to help. If nothing else, you can talk about how boring it is.

Fava beans

One of the most popular of all farmers market vegetables, favas have ascended to culinary stardom contrary to all reason. They’re expensive. And you have to buy a mountain to wind up with a molehill. (It takes more than 3 pounds of pods to make enough for two respectable servings of beans.) And then you have to peel them a second time to remove that fine pale skin that surrounds each bean. But still, is there any taste that promises spring as much as that bright flash of green you get from a fava bean?
Fava beans recipes »

When are fava beans in season?
March — June

How to choose
Select pods that are firm and filled out along the entire length. If you choose the pods with the smallest bumps, you’ll get the youngest beans and they won’t need to go through the second peeling. (Further hint: If the secondary peels covering the individual beans are not white, they don’t need to be removed.)

How to store
Store favas in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed plastic bag. They’ll last at least a week.

Extra tips
The easiest way to peel that second skin from favas is to collect the shucked beans in a work bowl and pour over boiling water just to cover. Let them stand for a few minutes, and you can split the skin with your thumbnail and press with your fingers to “squirt” the favas from their skin.

Fennel

One of the most versatile of the cool-weather vegetables, you can shave fennel thin and use it crisp in salads, or you can braise it until it’s soft and use it as a side dish. Either way, its licorice flavor is a perfect fit.
Fennel recipes »

When is fennel in season?
January — March

How to choose fennel?
Look for fennel with fresh-looking greens on long branches. (As the fennel sits, the greens wilt and grocery managers trim them.) The bulbs should be bright white with no discolorations or soft spots.

How to store fennel?
Keep in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed plastic bag. You may need to double-bag in order to cover the fronds.

Extra tips
If you’re serving fennel raw, it’s a good idea to quarter it lengthwise first, and cut away the solid core.

Figs are among the most sensuous of fruits, almost melting in texture and with a sweet, jam-like center. Considered rarities not so long ago, fresh figs have become more and more available in the last five years as cooks have discovered their magic.
Figs recipes »

When are figs in season?
June — August

How to choose figs?
Figs are quite fragile, and because they don’t continue ripening after harvest, choosing them is a balancing act. You want them soft and ripe but not smashed. A few tears in the skin will be just fine, though. Real fig lovers say to look for a drip of moisture in the little hole at the bottom of the fruit. Smell is important, too. There shouldn’t be any whiff of fermentation.

How to store figs?
Figs are so delicate that they have to be refrigerated they can start to spoil within a few hours of being harvested.

Extra tips
Some green fig varieties are grown primarily to be dried — they have thick skins and the flavors are unremarkable. But if you see Adriatic figs, snap them up, they’re among the best you’ll ever taste.

Grape and cherry tomatoes

The stars of deep summer are big juicy tomatoes. But unfortunately those take a while to ripen. Rather than jump the gun and settle for less-than-great fruit, choose these little tomatoes, which are bred to ripen early.
Grape and cherry tomatoes recipes »

When are grape and cherry tomatoes in season?
April — July

How to choose grape and cherry tomatoes?
Choose tomatoes that are vibrantly colored and without soft spots or wrinkling.

How to store grape and cherry tomatoes?
Store tiny tomatoes as you would the big ones — at room temperature. Chilling kills tomato flavor and it won’t come back.

Extra tips
There are so many ways to use these little tomatoes, but one of the best is in a pasta sauce: Cut them in half warm butter, garlic and the tomatoes in a skillet over medium heat add a splash of white wine and cook just until the tomatoes have softened and released their juices.

Grapefruit

The largest and latest of the citrus fruits, grapefruit need some heat to sweeten up. This is especially true of the large pummelos and the crosses that come from them, such as Oroblanco.
Grapefruit recipes »

When is grapefruit in season?
March — July

How to choose grapefruit?
Choose grapefruit that are heavy for their size they are full of juice. Rub the peel with your thumbnail the fruit with the most perfume will be the most flavorful.

How to store grapefruit?
Because their peels are so thick, grapefruit can be stored at cool room temperature for a week or so. But refrigerating does them no harm.

Extra tips
Though grapefruit aren’t nearly as trendy as blood oranges, their complex flavor lends itself to just as many — if not more — different uses. Try making a beet salad with grapefruit.

Grapes

Most grapes you’ll find at supermarkets are grown to be snack food — they’re sweet but little else. But you can find grapes with real flavor at farmers markets.
Grapes recipes »

When are grapes in season?
July — October

How to choose grapes?
Choose grapes that are heavy for their size with taut skins.

How to store grapes?
Store grapes tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Don’t wash them until just before serving them. If the grapes are moist when you buy them, slip a paper towel into the bag to absorb the extra moisture.

Extra tips
For a real treat, late in the season look for Thompson Seedless — the predominant California variety — that have begun to turn golden. The flavor is terrific.

Green beans

The world of green beans is split pretty neatly in two: the round and the flat. The round beans and even thinner haricots verts need to be cooked quickly in order to preserve their delicate crispness. Flat beans repay extensive cooking as their thick hulls take a while to tenderize.
Green beans recipes »

When are green beans in season?
May — August

How to choose green beans?
Green beans should be crisp and firm. There should be no soft spots or signs of discoloring. It makes for easier cooking and much nicer presentation if you sort while you’re shopping and make sure you’re only keeping the straightest beans (they can be extremely kinky).

How to store green beans?
Keep beans refrigerated in a plastic bag. If you’re going to store them for very long, slip in a piece of paper towel to absorb any extra moisture.

Extra tips
Though these are sometimes still called “string” beans, in most modern varieties that filament that runs the length of the pod has been bred out. Still, it’s worth checking.

Green garlic

How do you know winter is finally closing out and spring is coming? Green garlic in the farmers market is about as reliable an indicator as any. Originally the thinnings from garlic plantings, it became so popular farmers are growing it on purpose.
Green garlic recipes »

When is green garlic in season?
March — May

How to choose green garlic?
Green garlic comes in a range of sizes, from slim as a green onion to almost fully formed heads. Whatever the size, choose garlic that’s firm with no soft spots. If a hard papery skin has formed, it will have to be removed.

How to store green garlic?
Store green garlic in the refrigerator, but keep it tightly sealed. It’s flavor may be mild, but its aroma is pungent and will permeate everything if you’re not careful.

Extra tips
Green garlic is simply immature garlic. It has the perfume of the grown-up version, but is milder in flavor. Cook it slowly in butter and it makes a wonderful pasta sauce.

Hardy herbs

Once the province of gardeners only, even modest supermarkets now stock rosemary, thyme and oregano. They’re wonderful for adding perfume to a dish.
Rosemary recipes »
Thyme recipes »
Oregano recipes »

When are hardy herbs in season?
October — February

How to choose hardy herbs?
Choose hardy herbs that show no signs of wilting or browning.

How to store hardy herbs?
Keep hardy herbs in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic. Better yet, grow them in a pot on a sunny windowsill.

Extra tips
Be careful cooking with hardy herbs. While you can throw around soft herbs such as basil and mint with relative abandon, most hardy herbs have a much more assertive flavor and can become bitter when used incautiously.

Of all of winter’s hardy greens, none are more popular than the many members of the kale family.
Kale recipes »

When is kale in season?
December and January

How to choose kale?
Kale is remarkably durable, which is why it has become such a popular wintertime garnish. But still, it will wilt eventually, so look for leaves that are thick, fleshy and crisp.

How to store kale?
Refrigerate in a tightly sealed plastic bag.

Extra tips
The trick to cooking kale is to take your time. The lower and slower the cooking, the sweeter and nuttier the final result. For the suddenly popular kale salads, be sure either to shred the leaves very finely, or to massage them roughly with a little oil and salt until they soften.

Lima beans

Childhood trauma from eating canned lima beans? Get over it. There are few vegetables as delicious as a properly cooked, fresh lima bean, and there are few easier to prepare.
Lima beans recipes »

When are lima beans in season?
October and November

How to choose lima beans?
Though shucking beans takes some time, the pods are really the best indicator of freshness. Look for pods that are firm and crisp. If you’re buying shucked beans, make sure none have soft spots or discoloration.

How to store lima beans?
Lima beans should be refrigerated in a tightly closed plastic bag.

Extra tips
Render some bacon or prosciutto, soften shallots, add the lima beans and cream just to cover. You’re on your way to heaven.

Mandarins

These small, easy-peeling citrus fruits come in a wide variety, and the season extends well into spring.
Mandarin recipes »

When are mandarins in season?
November — March

How to choose mandarins?
Look for mandarins that are deeply colored and firm. If they are sold with the leaves attached, make sure the leaves are fresh and flexible.

How to store mandarins?
Because the skin is so thin, mandarin is one citrus fruit that needs to be refrigerated, tightly sealed in a plastic bag.

Extra tips
Many popular mandarin varieties can be seedless, if they’re grown in orchards isolated from other kinds of citrus. But that’s always a gamble, and even with fruit that’s advertised as being seedless you’ll find the occasional pip.

Melons

If any fruit captures the sweet, dripping heart of summer, it’s a good melon. There are two main families of melons: those with rough, netted or reticulated rinds (muskmelons, cantaloupes, etc.) and those whose rinds are baby-smooth (such as honeydew). The difference has nothing to do with color: There are orange-fleshed honeydews and green-fleshed cantaloupes (such as the Galia variety). Netted melons tend to have a slightly buttery texture and a flavor that tends much more toward the musky (hence the name). Smooth melons such as honeydew will have crisp texture and a very floral flavor.
Melon recipes »

When are melons in season?
July — September

How to choose melons?
With netted melons, the best indicator is smell they should have intense perfume. Also, the net should be raised and the rind underneath it should be tan to golden, not green. These melons “slip” from their stems when they are ripe, so their bellybuttons will be clean. The honeydew family is harder to choose (it is called “inodorous” for its lack of perfume). The best clue is color — it should be rich and creamy. The rind will also feel almost waxy. If you find a melon that has freckles, buy it — those are sugar spots.

How to store melons?
Reticulated melons will continue to ripen after they’ve been harvested as long as you store them at room temperature. If you like melons chilled, refrigerate them overnight. Much longer than that and they can start to develop soft spots and pitting.

Extra tips
Melons are extremely sweet, so try pairing them with salty ingredients, such as thinly sliced prosciutto or country ham, or with blue cheese.

Meyer lemon

Where most lemons — especially ones grown commercially — offer little more than a jolt of acidity, the flavor of a Meyer is softer, rounder and more floral. Think of the taste of a lemon crossed with a tangerine.
Meyer lemon recipes »

When are Meyer lemons in season?
January — April

How to choose Meyer lemons?
Meyer lemons should be firm and the peel should be soft and smooth. Rub the peel with your fingernail and you should get a strong whiff of that distinctive Meyer perfume. Watch out for fruit with soft spots or fruit that’s been harvested haphazardly -- no holes where the stem was plucked.

How to store Meyer lemons?
While most lemons have thick rinds and can be left at room temperature for days without ill effect, the peel of a Meyer is thinner and more delicate. Refrigerate them, wrapped in a plastic bag. If you’ve got backyard trees and have too much fruit for one time, you can juice the lemons into ice cube trays and zest a little of the peel over the top. Freeze in an airtight bag and you’ve got Meyer flavor for months.

Extra tips
The peel is soft and smooth and contains the oils that carry so much of the fragrance. To get the Meyer’s full effect, be sure to use some of that zest as well.


How to make barbacoa in the Instant Pot

Use the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot to sear the meat on all sides. Once browned, press Cancel to turn off the heat.

Add the remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot, close the lid and seal the vent valve.

Press Manual, set to High Pressure and cook for 60 minutes.

Turn the vent valve to release pressure, open the lid and shred meat with a fork.


I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. Let me know in the comments below!


Watch the video: Green Gold Rush: Rising demand drives up avocado prices (May 2022).