Melons are one of those fruits that are technically a vegetable. They are related to other crops that grow on trailing vines like cucumbers and squash. True cantaloupes are found more widely in Europe and the Middle East. Cantaloupes get their name from a town near Rome named Cantalupo. However, what we call cantaloupes in North America are actually really netted melons. True cantaloupes are smaller and rounder than netted melons and have tougher skin that is either smooth or scaly, nut never netted.
Selection and StorageOne thing everyone asks is how to pick a ripe melon. If you ask ten people they will all tell you something different. My go-to method for cantaloupes is to smell the indentation at the end. If it smells fruity and fragrant (rather than just like rind) than it is usually ready to eat. If not leave it on the counter a few days. For melons with thinner skins, I usually expect them to be somewhat soft on the outside when they are ripe. Not mushy, but not rock hard.
Ripe melons don't last long so eat them as soon as you can. If they aren't quite ripe, you can usually store on the counter until they ripen. Once they are ripe, move them to the fridge and they will be good for a few more days.
A perfect melon really needs very little preparation. Remove the seeds, slice and eat! However, if you want to get creative, here are some other preperation ideas:
Bell peppers (also know as sweet peppers) are members of the Night-shade family of vegetables along with potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants. Did you know that green, red, yellow and orange peppers all come from the same plant? Green bell peppers are harvested before they are fully ripe, one reason they are less expensive than other varieties. Green bell peppers will continue to first turn yellow and then red if they are left on the plant to mature.
Fresh, unwashed bell peppers can be stored in the drawer of your fridge for 7-10 days without losing too much of their nutritional properties. To avoid the peppers from drying out in the fridge, it sometimes helps to put a damp napkin in the drawer to keep the air moist.
Peppers are fun to prepare because they come in all different shapes and sizes. To prepare your peppers, wash them with cold running water. Use a small paring knife to cut out the stem and core of the pepper. You should remove the seeds by rinsing the pepper under cold water again. At this point you can leave them whole for stuffing, cut them into rings for salads, or chop and dice them to add extra flavor to your favorite dishes.
Sweet peppers not only add flavor and depth to many dishes, they are also a great source of vitamin C! One single large yellow pepper can provide over 300% the recommended daily value of vitamin C. Green peppers can sometimes cause indigestion unless they are fully cooked.
Beef and Green Pepper Stir-Fry
Stir-fry is always our go-to when we have lots of veggies. We switch up the protein- tofu, shrimp, chicken or beef- and throw in whatever veggies we have that week.
Vegetable Run Down
This spicy Jamiacan recipe is a great way to use a lot of the veggies available right now including green peppers, carrots, cabbage, onions and eggplant. Leave out the spice (or any veggie you don't have) and it will still be delish!
Roasted Potato Fritatta with Peppers and Onions
This works well for any meal- breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!
We had a ton of extra tomatoes this week so we got to put some of favorite recipes to work including Fresh Tomato Bruschetta, Gazpacho and Ratatoullie.
Keep reading for a new take on a pasta salad with pesto and summer veggies.
Did you know that tomatoes are actually a fruit? It’s true! Tomatoes are the edible fruits/berries on the tomato plants. Although tomatoes originated in the South American Andes Mountain region, they have spread throughout the world. We now consume them in a variety of dishes, sauces, salads and drinks.
Tomatoes are quite versatile in the kitchen and can be prepared several ways. Fresh sliced raw tomatoes are great with oil, vinegar and fresh herbs like oregano, basil or dill. Roasted tomatoes also make an easy meal. Coat roughly chopped tomatoes in olive oil and spices and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in a 425°F oven until slightly shriveled and blackened (about 18- 20 minutes). Serve on top of whole wheat pasta with grated Parmesan cheese.
Warm Pasta "Salad" with Pesto and Roasted Summer Veggies
This recipe combines your pasta dish and your salad all in one and is chocked full of veggies. Pretty much all of the ingredients for this dish can be found in the FreshFix webstore during summer. You can even get basil and garlic and make your own pesto. Veggies can be cooked in the oven, on a grill or in a sautee pan.
When I was a kid I remember my dad doing the cabbage soup diet. For over a week, we ate cabbage soup! I checked online and the diet still exists. While its healthier than some fad diets, this is definitely not an endorsement. On its own cabbage soup is great, but too much of a good thing usually equals a bad thing. I wonder how this early association has colored my view of cabbage. It tends to sit in the back of my fridge forgotten until I run our of everything else or start to worry it will go bad. But then I cook it and I am always amazed by how good it is. I am reminded that I need to eat more cabbage, but I inevitably forget about it until I get another head in my veggie box. All this speaks to the point that cabbage is highly underrated. I’m sure some of you (like me) have a head hanging out in the back of your fridge. Time to take it out and get chopping!
Storage and Preparation
Cabbage will last for several weeks in the crisper; and even longer if you store it in plastic bag. Before using, remove any wilted outer leaves and wash thoroughly. Slice the cabbage in half and remove the large white core. Once the core is removed, slice into strips for shredded cabbage or prepare as directed
Ideas for Enjoying Cabbage
Eggplant is a summer vegetable that is prized for its deep purple color, glossy skin, unique taste, and spongy texture. Like other vegetables in the nightshade family, eggplant is a great source of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity.
Place uncut and unwashed eggplant in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator crisper, where it will keep for at least a week. Eggplant that has been washed, cut, and boiled for approximately 4 minutes can be frozen for later use
Eggplant is an incredibly versatile ingredient: it can be steamed, grilled, roasted, baked, or sautéed. Here are just a few ways to enjoy eggplant.