Fall Vegetables Are Here...
It’s fall and time for Halloween! Pumpkins are extremely popular this time of the year; not just because of Halloween, but also because the weather is getting colder and squash makes a great meal! Pumpkins can be used for desserts, breads, soups and decorations. You can substitute a pumpkin into just about any hard squash recipe you have. Pumpkins, like most squash are low calorie with about 45 calories per ½ cup, cooked. They are a good source of fiber and an excellent source of potassium and vitamin A.
Pumpkins aren’t just orange anymore… you can find white pumpkins, also known as “ghost pumpkins” in regular and baby size. This year, we will continue offering PINK pumpkins! These pumpkins are grown to raise awareness for breast cancer. All these colors can be fun too. Use them as a decoration or carve them for Halloween. Baby pumpkins are unique and can be carved out and used as a serving bowl for any fall gathering!
Pearl Onions are members of the lily family. They are thought to have originated in Southern Europe. 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 1-inch in diameter. They have a papery skin and look like a miniature regular onion. Pearl Onions are very popular around the holidays. They are generally used in vegetable sauté casseroles or creamed in a side dish. Pearl onions are great on skewers or in sauces too.
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. It is very simple and easy for such a delicious treat. Pearl onions should be stored in a cool dry place, just as you would a large onion. They are very low calorie, and very low sodium with some iron and vitamin C.
Ready-to Use Leeks
and Belgian Style Leeks
Melissa’s Ready-to Use Leeks are washed and cut for convenience. Whole leeks, like our Belgian Style Leeks, resemble giant green onions. They are used as an essential ingredient in flavoring soups and stews. Leeks have been popular for thousands of years. As a mild and sweet member of the onion family, leeks are related to both onions and garlic, (containing a more subtle flavor and fragrance.) Whole leeks have thick white stalks and slightly bulbous roots with broad, flat, green leaves that wrap tightly around each other. Melissa’s Ready-to Use Leeks can be used in fresh salads or added to a medley to add a delicate onion flavor.
Pine Nuts are a versatile nut that can be used in many dishes from sauces to salads. They are also known as pinon or pignolia nuts. Pine nuts come from pine cones that are harvested by picking the cones, placing them in a large burlap sack and shaking the nuts to the bottom of the bag. The nuts are then washed and shelled for sale. They are generally eaten raw or pan roasted.
Store pine nuts in a cool, dry area. Pine nuts will stay fresher if they are refrigerated after opening. They can even be stored in the freezer. Pine nuts are a very creamy nut and contain some fiber, iron and vitamin A.
Melissa's boiler onions are considered a dry onion (mature onion) harvested when their inner flesh is juicy and is covered with a dry papery skin. Melissa’s Boiler Onions 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...
Melissa’s Boiler Onions should be firm, with dry, papery skins. Store whole dry onions in a cool, dry place with good air circulation for up to two months. Once cut, tightly wrap any unused onion in plastic, refrigerate and use within a few days.
Shallots are a member of the onion family and are tender in texture, mild in flavor (less pungent than the onion), and quick to cook. Once thought to have originated from an ancient Palestinian city, shallots are now widely used in France. Since each head is made up of several cloves, shallots often resemble garlic rather than onions. Covered with a thin, paper-like skin, shallots are an excellent way to enhance flavor without adding sodium or other salty seasonings. The skin color of a shallot can range from pale brown or gray to a soft rose. Once exposed, the ivory flesh is usually marked by a pale green or purple color.
Shallots should be stored like an onion, in a cool, dark place. They are low calorie; contain no cholesterol and very minimal sodium (12g per 3 oz.). Use shallots in sauces, sautés, casseroles, as a condiment or any way you would use an onion. You will love them!
Baby Red Beets
Melissa's Baby Red Beets are very delicious, 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 (about 6 months!). Just slice or dice and add to your favorite recipe. They can be served hot or cold. Try them added to your favorite vegetable dish, or sliced in your garden salad. Beets will add color and vitamins for minimal calories and maximum flavor! Use them in this quick and delicious salad: Chopped beets, diced cucumber, diced onion, chopped kale and rice wine vinegar... YUM!
Melissa's Baby Red Beets are approximately 40 calories each and contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol. Beets are also a good source of fiber and are rich in potassium. The best part is these are available year around!
Melissa's Seasonal Potatoes are a mix of red, white and purple baby (or creamer) potatoes. These thin-skinned potatoes are mostly round with distinct colored skins. They can be cooked in just about any way imaginable. They are great for summer grilling or salads. They have a light, subtle flavor and a creamy texture. To preserve their nutrients, leave the skins on and simply scrub them gently in water before using. These potatoes are available year-round.
Seasonal potatoes are hand-selected for excellent quality. Look for firm, well shaped and fairly smooth potatoes. Store in a cool, well-ventilated area rather than in the refrigerator. Potatoes are low fat (about 20 calories per ounce) and have no cholesterol or sodium. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and fiber.
Melissa’s variety squash will add color and warmth to your dinner table, adding flavor, variety and health. With over 20 different squash varieties to choose from, you won’t have any problems finding one you will love. Hard squash is extremely rich in vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium. Squash can be easily prepared by halving and baking in the oven until tender. Butternut squash is one of the more popular winter squash… This light beige colored squash is best when it is about 8-12 inches long. It has a bulb at the end of the long neck, as if it were an elongated pear. Butternut squash is a sweet tasting squash that is great when cooked and cubed as a side dish. The high carotene content of butternut squash makes its flesh a deep orange color.
Chile peppers have been cultivated for more than 7,000 years, used extensively by the Incas and the Aztecs. Today, they are used by many ethnic groups in their daily cooking preparations. There are several varieties of fresh chile peppers: Yellow (or Caribe)
, Pasilla (or Poblano)
, Fresno (Red and Green)
, Habanero (Assorted Colors)
, 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 off 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, the chile will be milder. We also suggest wearing gloves and use caution not to touch your eyes.
Hatch Chile Powder
Melissa’s now offers amazing Hatch Chile flavor, all year ‘round! We took thousands of pounds of fresh hot and mild Hatch chiles, and dried them for the best tasting chile powder EVER! Use Hatch powder to add flavor and heat to soups, casseroles, omelets, eggs, or anything you would use regular chile powder.
If you are a Hatch Chile fanatic, you know you will love this powder. If you have never tried Hatch Chiles, this is the perfect way to try their unique flavor. (Fresh Hatch Chiles are only available 4-6 weeks in August/early September.) You will love trying some of our family recipes in our Hatch Chile Cookbook