The Food Service and Hospitality magazine has released its 2015 Produce & Protein Guide and we are going to highlight some of our favorite parts just for you!
“As the popularity of local foods continues to flourish, chefs across the country are turning to their own backyard to source produce. It’s clear regional cooking is continuing to gain momentum across Canada, and local products are more important than ever in the kitchen. And, it’s one way to ensure that cooking is as flavorful as it can be. Whether it’s fruit, vegetables, cheese, herbs or meat products, Ontario’s bounty brims with freshness and flavor. The Produce and Protein Guide is a chef’s road map to what’s in season, when it’s in season and how best to store and use the product(s).” – F&H Magazine
In this week’s blog we will be covering the Vegetable, Fruit and Herb categories!
OUR 5 VEGETABLE PICKS
|Asparagus||May to June||Usually green but sometimes white. Spears should be straight and crisp with green or purple tips and tight heads.||Should be refrigerated in plastic wrap with stems covered in damp paper towel. Can also be left upright in water.||Two to three days, refrigerated|
|Spinach||May to October||Should be vivid, dark green with firm leaves and stems||Wrap and store in refrigerator.||A fairly perishable item, spinach should be served immediately. Keep for no longer than a few days.|
|Beans||June to November||Should be long and thing. Pod should be smooth and snappable.||Can be refrigerated. Store dry, unwashed and bagged in plastic.||One week|
|Broccoli||June to November||Should be tightly budded with bright grey-green leaves and yellow-green stems. Pieces with flowered buds or yellow florets are past their prime.||Keep in perforated bag in refrigerator crisper.||Approximately five days|
|Corn||July to October||Ripe sweet corn has bright green, moist husks with stiff silk.||Keep moist and cool. Pack in cooler during transport. Store in plastic wrap in refrigerator immediately.||Two to three days|
OUR 5 FRUIT PICKS
|Cherries||June to July||Should have supple exterior and bright color.||Keep refrigerated to prevent seepage (juice spoils the fruit) and to enhance flavor.||About a week in refrigerator or several months to a year in freezer.|
|Strawberries||June to July||Should be completely red with no white or green spots. Size varies and does not indicate quality.||Store, unwashed and uncut, in refrigerator in loose covering.||Less than a week
Note: If frozen, fruit can last up to a year
|July to September||Should have crown-like formation at the stem, which indicates fruit was ripe when harvested. Exterior should be firm and free of soft spots.||Store between 10oC and 16oC.||Honeydew and cantaloupe can last seven to 10 days whole. Watermelon lasts two to three weeks whole.|
|Peaches||July to September||Should be firm with a smooth skin, sweet aroma and clear color.||Unripe peaches can be stored out of direct sunlight at room temperature for two or three days. Ripe peaches should be refrigerated.||Up to five days|
|Raspberries||July to September||Should be firm and dry, not overly soft or with any trace of mildew.||Store in refrigerator or freezer.||Raspberries can keep longer in the freezer but are particularly perishable and should be served as soon as possible.|
OUR 5 HERB PICKS
|HERBS||BEST HARVESTED IN||CHARACTERISTICS||STORAGE||BEST USE|
|Tarragon||Spring (grows best in warm soil)||Features many branches and narrow, twisted leaves.||Wrap in damp towel and place in plastic bag in refrigerator.||Used as seasoning or oil|
|Rosemary||Spring, summer and fall||Green, shrubby and narrow-leaved.||Can be stored in plastic bag in refrigerator or left in vase with fresh water.||Used as seasoning|
|Dill||Summer||Can grow to more than 60 cm and boasts feathery foliage.||Wrap in damp towel and place in plastic bag in the refrigerator.||Good for seasonings, salads and oils.|
|Oregano||Can grow year round and indoors||Features soft, rounded leaves. The plant grows to 60 cm.||Store in airtight jar in pantry.||Used as meat or vegetable seasoning or pizza topping|
|Parsley||Can grow year round||Features finely curved green leaves.||Store in vase or container with fresh water.||Used as seasoning or garnish|
Now all that is left to do is going to a local food market to buy these products while they are fresh! Stay tuned for next week’s blog on Meats and Cheese, you won’t want to miss it!