Beautiful red stalks of rhubarb have arrived at Earl’s signaling the beginning of spring. Often thought of as a fruit, rhubarb is actually a vegetable that can traced back to 2700 BC in China where it was used for medicinal purposes.
Only eat the leaf stalks or petioles. This is one vegetable where you do not want to use the whole plant. The leaves can be considered poisonous due to their high levels of oxalic acid.
How to buy
Look for bright red stalks which have a sweet rich flavor. The size of the stalk is not an indicator of tenderness!
Rhubarb is 95% water and high in potassium and vitamin c.
Storage and Cooking
Wrap loosely in plastic and store in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Do not keep for more than a few days or it will start to dry out. Place the stalks in cold water for about an hour to refresh them before cooking.
Our first land of peaches of the season landed today. Earl’s is offering sweet and juicy yellow Alta Kristys out of Mexico and California Amber Crest. Peaches at the beginning of the season are clingstone which means the fruit “clings” tightly to the pit. The bottom of the peach comes to a tapered point with a cling stone peach unlike a free stone peach that has a flat bottom.
Earl’s is now carrying Goleta Farming, a new California Grown blueberry label from Santa Barbara. This family-owned farm is just minutes away from the Pacific Ocean where they take advantage of the perfect conditions for a year-round growing season.
Beautiful bunched red organic beets from Ellwood Canyon Farms. Don’t throw away the green tops. Chop and saute with a little olive oil and garlic and served with sliced warm beets topped with crumbled feta.
Celery root, also known as celeriac, has a knobby hairy appearance, but don’t be intimidated. It can be eaten raw or cooked and has a refreshing flavor similar to celery and parsley. First trim off the top and bottom of the celery root so it is stable on your cutting board. Continue to cut around the rest of the root until all of the peel is gone. Now you can shred it and add it to a salad, cut it into cubes and add to soups or stews or toss the cut pieces with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them. If you are lucky enough to buy celery root with the green tops they are delicious added to soups and stocks. Celery root pictured is grown by Jack Motter and Jeff Kramer of Ellwood Canyon Farms in Goleta, California, 10 minutes north of Santa Barbara.
Navels from the Central San Joaquin Valley are best eaten out of hand. The recent cold nights have brought good color and high sugar for a very sweet orange.
Side Hill Citrus in Lincoln, CA, located in the Sacramento foothills, has the best Satsuma Mandarins in our opinion. Satsumas peel effortlessly, making it the perfect on the go snack for both kids and adults. As the weather continues to get colder Satsumas are the ultimate cold buster. Eat four or five Satsumas a day to receive six to seven times as much synephrine, a natural decongestant, as other citrus. Plan to stock up in November and December because the season usually ends the beginning of January.
Coliman Organic Fair Trade bananas are on special all month long. Buying Fair Trade products ensures that farm workers enjoy sustainable wages, safe working conditions and improves their community by collectively investing in social and business projects such as providing health care, scholarships and leadership training.
With the recent cooler weather, this year will be better for figs than last year. 2015 ended extremely early with no fruit in September and October. This year there is still lots of green fruit on the tree and Bob Steinacher from Maywood Farms expects slower production through September and into a good part of October.
The best tasting Jonagold apple is back from 5th generation orchardists, Rider and Sons. Located in Watsonville along the Central Coast of California, Rider and Sons is the only California grower we know that picks the Jonagold apple at its optimum maturity and flavor. The best tasting Jonagold will have developed a beautiful golden background before it is picked. This means it has been on the tree longer and has more flavor.