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Archive for December, 2021

Yuzu

Yuzus have a tart, sour taste and have been described as similar to a grapefruit with overtones of orange and lemon. In fact, the flavor and incredibly aromatic fragrance is unique and difficult to describe and must be experienced to understand its lure.  Yuzu is rarely eaten out of hand and is highly coveted for the aromatic zest and tart juice. It is commonly used in Japanese cuisine like the way lemons are used in cooking, however Yuzus have less juice and more seeds than lemons. 

Celebrate Lunar New Year with Pummelos

Pummelos are the largest fruit in the citrus family and are very popular in Asia. Pummelos can weigh up to a few pounds with shapes ranging from tear drop to round.  All pummelos have a thick but easy to peel rind but the flesh can be white or pink, sweet or sour and can have a little or a lot of seeds depending on the variety.  Pummelos are best recognized by their refreshing, clean citrus fragrance. Turn the pummelo over and smell the blossom end for a strong burst of a citrus scent unlike any other.

In California the Chandler is the most commonly grown variety both commercially and with the home gardener.  In 1961 UC Riverside developed the Chandler by crossing the slightly acidic Siamese Pink Pummelo with the Siamese Sweet Pummelo.  The Chandler can be as big as a volleyball with a thick rind that needs to be carefully peeled away to reveal the sweet, crisp pink flesh inside.  The sweet flavor is well worth the effort it takes to get to the fruit.

African Shadock Pummelos have a medium thick rind and low acidity, giving them their sweet tart flavor. Melogold Pummelos are sweet with a mellow low acid flavor, thinner rind and a deeper gold rind than its sibling, the Oroblanco.

Pummelos are so popular for Chinese New Year that a small part of the crop grown in Southern California is specifically for the Asian community in San Francisco and other parts of California. Chinese New Year falls on February 1, 2022.

THE PUMMELO CAN BE CUT OPEN AND SEGMENTED IN 4 EASY STEPS

First cut off the top of the pummelo.  I recommend making a cut at least half inch deep because the rind is so thick.

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Secondly make 4 scores with a knife around the sides of the pummelo so you can easily peel back the rind. Wedge your fingers between the pith and the fruit and gently peel back each segment.

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Now the fruit should be easy to remove from the rind. Using your fingers again gently pull the fruit apart like an orange until you have two halves.

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Lastly using your hand or a knife peel away the pith surrounding the fruit and separate the segments of fruit.

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The Chandler pummelo is picked when the skin is greenish yellow but they have the best flavor when the rind has developed more of a yellow color. Pummelos are related to the grapefruit but they are not as juicy and the segments are best eaten out of hand, in a salad or try adding it to a smoothie. The rinds can be used to make candied pummelo and are sometimes used in Asian cooking.

Normally you will find pummelos in season from early winter to spring all depending on supply and demand and what regions they are coming from.  When choosing a pummelo, or any citrus, you want to pick one that is heavy for its size and free of bruising. It should also smell great!  We recommend buying a few extra pummelos to put in different areas of your house. The fresh citrus smell acts as a natural air freshener. You can also cut up the rind after peeling it and place it in a bowl in the bathroom.  The citrus scent will go on long after the fruit has dried out. Don’t store pummelos out on the counter unless you plan to eat it that day. Pummelos can be stored in the refrigerator for a little over a week.  Click here for a delicious Pummelo Thai Salad recipe. 

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes December 19, 2021

A lot of the Bay Area has had more precipitation this Fall than all of last year.  The mountains received heavy snow with more rain on the way this week in most of California.  We can expect harvest delays due to wet fields, possible post-harvest quality issues and even logistics snafus.  Generally, for known weather events like this, growers will try to pick as much as they can prior but that is of course limited by time and labor.  Yuma, AZ looks to remain dry and fairly cool but no frost yet.  Sonora, MX also looks dry and warm with highs in the 80s, perfect for warm veg crops.

Fruit    

Trucking and weather out of the Pacific Northwest on apples and pears will be challenging as we head into Christmas and New Year’s weekends. California Grape season almost made it to Christmas. Green grapes are done, officially ending the season. Forbidden Blueberries out of Lompoc and Santa Maria are large, firm and have outstanding flavor! Promotional opportunities are available. Speak with your Earl’s Sales Rep. California Winter Citrus season is seeing more varieties come on. Satsumas are so easy to peel and have more synephrine, a natural decongestant, than any other mandarin. Eating 5 Satsumas equals the effect of a Sudafed tablet. The Daisy Mandarin has a beautiful, sweet flavor with the right amount of acidity. Now on Earl’s Weekly Specials! Algerian Mandarins are very juicy with bright red-orange color skin. Lemon T’Orange from Buck has a sweet aroma and a fresh lemon flavor without any bitterness. Tangos coming soon. Download the latest organic fruit and vegetable update each week here!

Asian Pears or Nashi in Japanese

Asian pears are firm to the touch with the crisp texture of an apple and the juiciness of a pear. They can grow quite large and are round like an apple and have a yellowish green or brown russet skin like a pear. It is no surprise that they are also known as an apple pear. They grow well in hot climates and should be allowed to ripen on the tree unlike most pears. Harvest is usually mid-September and Asian pears will keep in cold storage for up to 3 months. They do not soften like traditional pears and are ready to eat immediately.  Asian pears have a high water content so they are best eaten out of hand, sliced in a salad and make a great meat tenderizer. Share your favorite recipes on our Facebook page.

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Robert Lichtenberg Retires After Almost 50 Years in Produce

Robert Lichtenberg, Director of Purchasing for Earl’s Organic Produce on The SF Market is retiring after a career spanning almost 50 years. Robert was trained in French intensive organic farming methods at the Santa Barbara Institute of Bio-Intensive Agriculture in Santa Barbara by a student of Alan Chadwick in the early 1970’s. He went on to farm organically in the Sierra foothills for 10 years. From 1986 – 1997 he worked at Star Route Farm as Warren Weber’s farm manager and later as sales manager, farming in Bolinas and Thermal, California. Star Route was growing specialty crops for San Francisco restaurants and retail organic markets during the emergence of California cuisine. In 1997 he joined Earl’s Organic Produce as a buyer and ultimately Director of Purchasing. Robert’s long-standing commitment to the organic farming community will continue in his retirement. He will be greatly missed by growers, the organic community and his co-workers.

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