February’s Fresh and Tasty Veggies
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 sweet 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, too.
Ruby Crescent Fingerling potatoes are long and slender with rose-pink skin and sweet yellow flesh. These potatoes are very interesting in how 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.
Heirloom tomatoes have been growing and pleasing palates for centuries. The nostalgic name "heirloom" deliciously connects us to days long gone. Generally, an heirloom variety has been passed on from generation to generation, can reproduce from seed and has a history of its very own. Recently heirloom tomatoes have resurfaced in the produce aisles because of their good old-fashioned flavor. Heirloom tomatoes are colorful and often a little abnormally shaped. They are perfect in salads, dips and sauces. They are low-calorie, so that you can eat them at every meal.
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 round, and Melissa’s offers them packaged several ways. Pearl onions are a mild onion, about 1-inch in diameter. They have papery skin and look like miniature regular onions. 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, 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. Pearls should be stored in a cool, dry place, just as you would a large onion. They are very low calorie and sodium with some iron and vitamin C.
Melissa’s Boiler Onions are available in white, red, and gold. These versatile onions are about 1-inch in diameter and impart a sweet, pungent flavor. They can be cooked as a side dish and are favored 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.
Also known as soybeans, this trendy legume is the perfect healthy snack. Popular for their great taste and health benefits, you will find these at sushi bars and many Japanese restaurants as appetizers and snacks. Melissa’s Edamame is fully cooked and ready-to-eat right out of the package. Add shelled edamame to your favorite salad or sauté for an added source of protein. They are also the perfect on-the-go snack for school or anytime!
Ginger root is one of the most popular ingredients for flavoring foods and adding 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 looks like branches growing, and a whole root is referred to as a “hand” of ginger. It is usually grated or thinly sliced to be used in stir-fries, desserts, soups, casseroles and beverages.
Ginger root has very few calories but is packed with antioxidants that can help boost immunity and prevent some diseases. Popular for using in tea, smoothies or juicing, ginger adds a robust flavor to anything it is used in. Our new Immunity Booster Kit contains both ginger and turmeric, which together form a power-house boost.
It should be stored, unpeeled, in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic and used in a week or so. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Gently peel before using. An easy way to peel ginger is by using the back of a spoon and scaping the thin peel off. Once peeled, use immediately for freshest quality.
Chile peppers have been cultivated for more than 7,000 years and were used extensively by the Incas and Aztecs. Today they are used by many ethnic groups in their daily cooking. There are several varieties of fresh chile peppers: yellow (or caribe), pasilla (or poblano), red and green Fresno, habanero, jalapeño, Anaheim, and serrano, to name a few. Chile peppers get their heat from ‘capsaicin,’ oil that can burn your eyes and mouth. The hottest of these mentioned is the habanero chile, which is off the heat scale compared to the others.
A general rule is, 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 wearing gloves and using caution not to touch your eyes.
Melissa’s offers peppers fresh and dried. Dried peppers are convenient to keep on-hand for a last-minute recipe calling for some added heat!
Cactus Leaves (Nopales)
Cactus Leaves are actually a delicious side dish or ingredient for many recipes. 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 pricks which can poke your skin. Melissa's offers seasonal cactus leaves that are already prepared. They are washed and diced them making them easy to use.
Jicama is sometimes called a ‘yam bean,’ jicama looks like a turnip, but the taste is similar to a potato or water chestnut. It is a very versatile vegetable, from eating it raw in salads or with dips, to boiling and mashing like a regular potato.
Jicama is also a great substitute for water chestnuts, with the same juicy, crunchy flesh that stays firm when slightly cooked. Jicama must be peeled before using and stored like potatoes in a cool, dry place. It should last several weeks when stored properly. At times, Melissa’s offers Jicama with a wax coating to help it stay fresher.
Jicama is very low in calories (about 22 calories per 3 ounces) and an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and iron.
Tomatillos are sometimes referred to as Mexican husk tomatoes. 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, they 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 can be eaten raw, like a red tomato, but are most often used in fresh salsa. They are an excellent source of vitamin A and C and are very low in calories.
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 four 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.
Steamed Red Kidney Beans
Melissa's Steamed Red Kidney Beans are so convenient and easy to use. They are ready-to-eat out of the package as is or heated up; there is no extra prep time! Kidney beans are delicious and high-fiber food. Add them to soups, stews and casseroles, or toss them into a salad for added flavor. They are a healthy addition to any dish. They come packaged in a vacuum-sealed package with an extended shelf life.