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Springtime Veggies




Rhubarb
Rhubarb is actually a vegetable, but it is used like a fruit. Rhubarb is a plant with edible stalks (looking similar to celery stalks) with inedible leaves. Rhubarb is very tart. Generally the stalks are use in desserts like pies with a large amount of sugar. The most common use is in strawberry-rhubarb pie.

There are two kinds of rhubarb: hot house and field grown. Hot house rhubarb is available in spring. It is brighter red, sweeter and more tender than the field grown rhubarb. Field grown rhubarb is usually available April-June.

Rhubarb has trace amounts of fat and is a source of vitamin C. It is low calorie with about 25 calories per ounce. Rhubarb is firm and glossy when fresh.



Cleaned and Sliced Leeks
Melissa’s Cleaned and Sliced Leeks make meal prep easy, by cutting the edible part of the vegetable into carefully sliced and ready-to-use pieces. This new pack is simple and convenient to use in your favorite recipes. Leeks are related to both onions and garlic, but they are milder in flavor and fragrance. Used primarily as a soup green, leeks can also be used in salads or just cooked with a combination of vegetables for a side dish.

Leeks are low calorie and full of flavor. They are high in Vitamin A and a good source of Vitamin C; a great addition to salads or any recipe to which you would add chives or shallots.



Ready-to-Eat Peeled and Steamed Baby Red Beets
Melissa's Baby Red Beets are so convenient and easy to use. No more mess from boiling and peeling fresh beets. These no-hassle beets are vacuum sealed for extended shelf-life (a good 3 months!). Just slice or dice and add to your favorite recipe. They can be served hot or cold.



Melissa's Baby Red Beets are approximately 40 calories each and contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol. Beets are also a source of fiber and are rich in potassium.



Also available now are our Ready-to-Eat French Country Style Beets in Balsamic Vinaigrette. These are delicious as a quick side dish and are ready to go right out of the package.



Fiddlehead Ferns
This “First of Spring” vegetable is unique and delicious. Only available for the first few weeks of spring, they are the telltale sign that spring has arrived. Generally harvested when still curled, these young ferns come from the west coast. They are referred to as “fiddlehead” because their curled shape looks similar to the top of a fiddle.

Fiddleheads can be sautéed or steamed and are very perishable once harvested, so use immediately for best results.



Brussels Sprouts
These mini-cabbage looking vegetables are composed of tightly wrapped leaves filled with vitamins and flavor. One of the latest trends for chefs, shaving Brussels sprouts for salads and side dishes is becoming more and more popular. Restaurants and home kitchens are adding delicious nutrition to menus and meals everywhere with this flavor packed vegetable.

In addition to fresh Brussels Sprouts, Melissa’s now offers roasted Brussels Sprouts in a vacuum sealed package. Seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, they are perfect as a side dish or an addition to casseroles or medleys.



Boiler Onions
Melissa's Boiler Onions are harvested when their inner flesh is juicy and they are covered with a dry, papery skin. They are available in white, red, and gold. These versatile onions are about one inch in diameter and impart a sweet, pungent flavor. They can be cooked as a side dish and are favored for use in pickling and stews. Boiler onions are available year-round. They are perfect for summer grilling and holiday dishes. Delicious in salads, soups, main dishes or barbecued on skewers.



Pearl Onions
Pearl Onions are available in three colors: white, red and gold. They are available all year around and Melissa’s offers them packaged several ways. Pearl onions are a mild onion, about ½ inch in diameter. They are generally used in vegetable sautés, casseroles or creamed for a special side dish.

To peel pearl onions, blanch them in boiling water, and then plunge them into cold water. Cut off the root end, and squeeze the onion out of the skin. They are very low calorie, and very low in sodium with some iron and vitamin C.



Chile Peppers
There are several varieties of fresh chile peppers: Yellow (or Caribe), Pasilla (or Poblano), Fresno-red and green, Habanero-assorted colors, Jalapeno, Anaheim-red and green, and Serrano, to name a few. Chile peppers get their heat from ‘capsaicin’, an oil in them that can burn your eyes and mouth. The hottest of these mentioned is the habanero chile, which is much higher on the heat scale in comparison to the others. Generally, the smaller the chile, the hotter the bite. Also, when preparing chiles, if you remove the seeds and ribs, the chile will be milder. We also suggest that you wear gloves and use caution not to touch your eyes.



A less familiar chile is the Shishito Pepper. These chile peppers are approximately 3-5 inches long. They are used in both Asian and Latin cuisine. They have a thin green skin and a thick walled texture. Most Shishitos are mild, but occasionally, you may get a spicy one. Shishito Peppers are delicious added to stir fries or quickly sautéed and eaten as a side dish.

Chile peppers add a delightful flavor to any dish. Try them in eggs, soups, stir-fries, sauces and even bread. They are very versatile...and you can use more or less, according to your liking. Chiles should be refrigerated and used immediately for best flavor. They are low calorie and are a great substitute for salty seasonings.



Fingerling Potatoes
Russian Banana Fingerlings, named for their development in the Baltic States, look like a small banana in shape. They have a firmer texture and are an excellent base in potato salad. Russian Bananas are one of the most popular of the fingerlings. Ruby Crescent Fingerling potatoes are long and slender with rose-pink skin and sweet yellow flesh. These potatoes are very interesting in the way they occasionally grow branched off one another. They are the best roasting potato and are also delicious boiled for potato salad or baked and topped with sour cream. French Fingerlings are medium size tubers with satin smooth reddish orange skin. These potatoes are rumored to have been smuggled into America from Europe long ago in a horse’s feed bag. A welcome addition today, these potatoes are delicious boiled for potato salad or baked and topped with sour cream. Fingerling potatoes make a great side dish for any meal. They are low calorie and filling…making them great for those watching their food intake.



Ginger
Ginger root is one of the most popular “spices” used for flavoring foods and giving them some extra zing. It is most commonly found in Asian and Indian cooking, but it is finding its way into more and more recipes every day because of its pungent aroma and tangy flavor. Ginger is a root that looks like branches growing and it is referred to as a “hand” of ginger. It is usually grated or thinly sliced to be used in stir-fries, dessert dishes, soups, casseroles and many other foods.

Ginger root has basically no calories or nutrient value, but adds a robust flavor to anything it is used in. It should be stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic and used in a week or so. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.



Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes
Grown year round in nutrient-rich volcanic soils where the days are warm and the nights are cool, Melissa’s baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes are produced under ideal conditions to create an irresistibly buttery potato. Our baby Dutch Yellow® has a distinct, yellow flesh with a subtle flavor and a creamy texture. These are one of the best tasting potatoes on the market today. They are naturally sweet and taste like they are already buttered. Dutch Yellow® Potatoes are an excellent source of fiber and potassium, and are low in calories. They are great when baked, roasted, mashed or sautéed. They are also delicious in potato salad.



Jicama
Jicama is a very popular vegetable in today’s produce department. Sometimes called a ‘yam bean’, jicama looks like a turnip, but the taste is similar to a potato or waterchestnut. It is a very versatile vegetable for eating raw in salads or with dips, boiling and mashing like a regular potato. Jicama is also a great substitute for waterchestnuts, with the same juicy, crunchy flesh that stays firm when slightly cooked. Jicama must be peeled before using, and should be stored like potatoes in a cool, dry place. It should last several weeks when stored properly. Jicama is very low in calories (about 22 per 3 oz.), and an excellent source of Vitamin A. Also, a good source of Vitamin C and iron.



Tomatillos
Tomatillos are sometimes referred to as a Mexican husk tomato. They are thought to be native to Mexico, but no one is certain. Tomatillos are grown in California and a few other areas, along with Mexico. They are very popular for making green sauce or salsa. Tomatillos are actually a fruit, but like a regular tomato, are used like a vegetable. The best way to store tomatillos is with the husk on, in the refrigerator. They should keep for at least one week. Tomatillos are most often used in fresh salsa. They are an excellent source of vitamin A and C and are very low in calories.



Cactus Leaves (Nopales)
Cactus leaves are the pads of the prickly pear cactus. They are also called nopales. They taste similar to asparagus or green beans. Cactus leaves are great in omelets or casseroles. They are also delicious sautéed and served as a side dish.

Cactus Leaves are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C. They are low in calories. They should be stored in the refrigerator and washed before use. Also, be careful of any spines which can poke you.