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Archive for November, 2019

Satsuma Mandarins



Satsumas have a loose peel that slips off effortlessly like a glove, with no mess and no seeds to deal with.  Satsumas are a perfect snack size that you can eat anywhere without the difficult peeling and complication that comes with eating a valencia or navel orange.

Health Benefits:

A 2008 U.S. Department of Agriculture study said Satsumas have six to seven times as much synephrine, a natural decongestant, as other citrus. Four or five Satsumas have enough synephrine to equal the effect of a Sudafed tablet, the study said. Satsumas are also naturally low in calories and a single fruit contains 34 percent of the USDA daily recommendation for vitamin C.

Buying Satsumas:

Look for fruit with an aromatic smell, firm tight peel, no dented spots and a heavier fruit means they are juicier. They can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, but not for too long because prolonged storage can dry them out.



Cranberries are America’s Original Superfruit

All fresh cranberries are dry harvested once a year between mid-September through early November.  Cranberries grow on vines planted in bogs with a mixture of moist acid peat soil and sand which allows them to thrive in harsh weather conditions. Unlike wet harvesting where the cranberry bogs are flooded so that the fruit can be harvested while floating, dry harvest vines must be completely dry.  The pickers drive self-propelled harvesters (think vibrating lawn mower with conveyor belt to burlap bag attachment) over the dry vines.  The fruit is then taken to the packing shed to be graded and screened based on color.  Lastly, the berries are bounce tested.  Good berries will bounce because of their air pockets and the soft berries that do not bounce are discarded.

Cranberries were introduced to the English settlers when arriving in Massachusetts in the early 1800’s. Over half of the United States crop is grown in Wisconsin. Massachusetts is the second largest producer followed by New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.  Canada is also a big player with more than 80% of the organic cranberries are grown in Quebec. Eastern Canada’s cooler weather is especially ideal for growing organic cranberries. Earl’s Organic Patience cranberries are grown in Quebec and the Greenbelle biodynamic organic cranberries are grown in Wisconsin.

Cranberries on the vine

Cranberries grow on vines planted in bogs

Fun Facts:

  • Cranberries will last for a year in the freezer and can be frozen in the package they come in.
  • Cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America and many of the cultivars have been propagated directly from these ancient wild super-foods.
  • They were initially called ‘craneberries’ because the flower, stem and calyx resembled the neck, head and bill of a crane.
  • Cranberries boast many nutritional benefits including promoting urinary tract health, protecting beneficial gut microbial and providing a wide range of phytochemical and micro-nutrient for overall immunity and health. Learn more on the health benefits.
  • Organic cranberries are free and devoid of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers.

Recipe Ideas: 

*Toss a handful of fresh cranberries with pears or apples for a delicious sweet/tart salad
*Muddle fresh cranberries with your favorite vinegar and blend with olive oil for a tangy salad dressing.
* Make a holiday shrub with cranberries, sugar and vinegar. Perfect for cocktail parties and the perfect hostess gift.
* Dip fresh cranberries in milk chocolate and freeze them for 5 minutes.

Cranberry shutterstock beverage photo

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes November 17, 2019

Tips on roasting chestnuts: Cut an “X” shape into the flat side of each chestnut. Use a sharp knife to do this. This will make the chestnuts roast faster, allowing the steam to escape from the chestnuts. Place them on a baking sheet with the cut side up. Roast 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees, keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn. Let them cool slightly before easily removing the shell. I enjoy added them to Japanese rice for a fall favorite. https://www.justonecookbook.com/chestnut-rice-kurigohan/

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Side Hill Heralds in the Citrus Season

From our frame of reference Side Hill Citrus Satsumas from Lincoln, in the Sacramento foothills have the perfect mix of sweetness, tartness and low acidity, with very little pulp, no seeds and taste like they are melting in your mouth. Rich Ferreira is a 4th generation farmer who started with only 75 trees back in 1975.  Rich has been certified organic since 1991 and now has over 2000 trees. The combination of a higher elevation of 600 feet, nutrient filled organic clay soil, warm summer days and cool nights and using a Satsuma Owari rootstock from China all contribute to growing consistently delicious Satsuma Mandarins year after year.

Satsumas, also called Mikans, are a Japanese variety brought to the US in 1878. Most citrus fruits originated in China and then made their way west which is where the word mandarin comes from.  In the United States Satsumas are grown in places where you wouldn’t normally expect citrus to grow. They need hot summers and a certain amount of chill hours in the winter and can tolerate low temperatures down into the 20’s.  Satsumas are grown in California in the thermal belt which runs from the San Joaquin Valley up to north of Sacramento.  They also grow in some southern states like Texas, Louisiana and Alabama where there are mild winters.

Satsumas have a loose peel that slips off effortlessly like a glove, with no mess and no seeds to deal with.  Satsumas are a perfect snack size that you can eat anywhere without the difficult peeling and complication that comes with eating a valencia or navel orange.

Health Benefits:

A 2008 U.S. Department of Agriculture study said Satsumas have six to seven times as much synephrine, a natural decongestant, as other citrus. Four or five Satsumas have enough synephrine to equal the effect of a Sudafed tablet, the study said. Satsumas are also naturally low in calories and a single fruit contains 34 percent of the USDA daily recommendation for vitamin C.

Buying Satsumas:

Look for fruit with an aromatic smell, firm tight peel, no dented spots and a heavier fruit means they are juicier. They can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, but not for too long because prolonged storage can dry them out.

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