In New York, broccoli is in season from June until late November. Broccoli is very versatile in the kitchen. It can be eaten raw in a salad or dipped in a fresh yogurt dip. Broccoli is also great roasted, boiled, steamed or microwaved. Add broccoli to a pasta sauce for an extra punch of vitamins. Or try some in burritos or quesadillas.
Spaghetti squash is another type of "winter squash." While it is harvested in fall it can last all winter if stored properly. It gets its name because when prepared the flesh resmbles spaghetti. Never cooked a spaghetti squash before? Have no fear! We will help you turn those beauties into a delicious dinner.
Spaghetti squash stored in a cool dry place will last several weeks. Squash store at ideal temperatures will even last months. If possible, store at 50-55° in a dry spot with low humidity. If its too cold it will suffer chilling injuries and start to deteriorate. We don’t recommend storing in the basement because it is probably too moist and they will be more likely to rot.
Most often spaghetti squash is prepared by first roasting it in the oven. Start by cutting the squash in half lengthwise and scooping out the seeds and pulp (see pictures below). Next, place both halves face side down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake the squash for about 45 minutes. Alternatively you could microwave it for about 15 minutes, but roasting is preferred for the best texture. You can tell the squash is cooked when the outside starts to cave in a bit and appears hallow. Use a fork to scrape out the inside of the squash. If well cooked it should separate into stringy pieces that resemble spaghetti.
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!