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December, 2009

Chestnuts, Pearl Onions and Other Holiday Favorites

Pearl Onions
Pearl Onions
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 sautés, 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, 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. Pearls 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.


Fiji Ginger Root
Fiji Ginger Root
Ginger has been a popular root for thousands of years. Its origination is unknown, but it is believed to come from Southeast Asia. Ginger was considered a food preservative before there was refrigeration. It has also been considered for many medicinal purposes. Today, ginger is grown in several countries, Fiji being one. Ginger is irregularly shaped with knobby “fingers”. The pieces are often referred to as hands. It is available all year around, making it an essential in several cultures. Ginger is best when used immediately, but can be frozen in pieces and used as needed. It can also be refrigerated for a week or two, but may tend to dry out this way. Ginger is generally peeled before using. It can be grated, chopped, minced or sliced for recipes. Ginger will add a delicious spice flavor to any recipe. Ginger is great in tea, stir fry, crystallized, in dessert or any main dish recipe.


Ready to Eat Steamed Carrots
Ready to Eat Steamed Carrots
These delicious ready to eat carrots have been steamed and peeled for your convenience. They are vacuum sealed to keep in their freshness. Perfect to use out of the package, or they are great when you use them in recipes calling for sliced carrots. These time-saving carrots will make all your recipes delicious and fast. Both low calorie and high in vitamins, these carrots are available all year around for last minute meals. Store refrigerated for best shelf life.







Shallots
Shallots
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
Baby Red Beets
Melissa’s Baby Red Beets are ready to use without the trouble of trimming, peeling and steaming. We have taken all the mess out and left only the good stuff in! These delicious baby red beets taste so fresh because of our innovative packaging to keep the freshness in and the bitterness out. No one will ever know these beets came out of a package! These tasty beets come from France, a country well known for beets. We don’t add any additives or preservatives-they are all natural to keep that great tasting flavor until the very end! Baby Red Beets should be kept in the refrigerator and used once opened. Beets are very nutritious, a great source of fiber, have no cholesterol and are low calorie. They will add color and flavor to your main dish, salad or side dish.




Winter Squash
Winter Squash
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, your 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.





Blackeyed Peas
Blackeyed Peas
These small beige colored peas are commonly referred to as “cowpeas”. They get their name because of the black spot on each pea, looking like an eye. They were believed to have originated in North Africa where they were a staple food for Greeks and Romans. Many years later, they appeared in the “New World”, possibly brought in by the Spanish explorers. Black-eyed peas earned a reputation for good luck once eaten during the New Year celebration. They are very popular eaten in the Southern US, but more so during New Years celebrations. Most black-eyed peas are packaged dry, but Melissa’s black-eyed peas are reconstituted in a tub, ready to prepare. They make great dips and are delicious in casseroles. Black-eyed peas are very low in fat and are an excellent source of folic acid.