Pink & Purple Produce: what’s in season & what to do with it

By Brenna O’Dea

The farmer’s market can be a lil’ funky this time of year. Some of your summer staples are not yet in season…you play the waiting game…grabbing an underripe tomato here…a loaf of bread there…oo is that a donut stand in the distance? Before you know it your basket is filled with more sugar than spinach, and you might just feel a bit defeated. Where are the green goodies I like to see? The tables are lined with piles of pink and purple and I just don’t know how to eat or cook any of this. Look no further, we’ve got some tasty tips to make this transitional time just as delicious as blueberry season…well…almost. I mean, it’s almost impossible to beat blueberry pie, but we just might come close.

Radish

Bitter. Boring. Blasé. THINK AGAIN. Don’t dump on radishes just yet. I might be a bit biased because I have always been partial to this particular pink veg, but hear me out, radishes can make a great addition to your summer dinners if you just give them a chance. With a little salt a lotta love, even your pickiest eaters might wanna munch on these this month. Get started with these five fabulous radish recipes ranging from roasted to rolled right into your morning omelette. Radishes are really just a pink potato with an extra kick and a quicker cook. You can whip up a roasted radish dish in just about ten minutes. For those lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer when you want fresh food fast and you don’t want to spend hours standing in front of a hot stove, these might just do the trick. And of course, to cool things off…PICKLE IT. I recommend pickling everything and anything all the time all summer long…within reason. But radishes really do work well with a nice bright brine. These spicy pickled radishes are quick, easy, and elegant tossed into your favorite summer salad or on top of anything with nice grill marks. They’ll even add a lil’ flare to your next cookout, and your little one might be a bit more inclined to taste their veggie burger if it’s topped with something this pretty n’ pink.

Rhubarb

It’s truth time. I don’t love rhubarb. I do not gag in it’s presence or feel faint at the sight of the thing. I just don’t love it. I have never really understood the hype. I am puzzled when people freak out about their strawberry rhubarb pie. I stare in confusion when shoppers load up their carts with barb in bulk at the beginning of the summer. But this year, I have decided to try and let rhubarb into my life. I am welcoming it with open arms and an open mouth. And I am actually pretty excited. Recent discoveries have led me to the wide world of this weird root, and here are 18, that’s right, EIGHTEEN recipes to get your started on your ride with rhubarb. Forget the pie, try popsicles…or muffins, or jam, or muffins AND jam, or compote, or COCKTAILS. Ah, now I have your attention. Rhubarb is much more versatile than you would think. It doesn’t have a super strong flavor on it’s own, which can actually be a good thing. So try adding some to your next sweet treat for a little bit of tartness to balance it out. And that fizzy boozy barb-filled beverage will add some balance to those crazy summer nights too.

(Kohl)Rabi

Kohlrabi and cabbage. What’s the difference?? Here’s the secret, folks, there really isn’t any!! Cook up kohlrabi just like you would any ol’ head o’ cabbage. Make a nice slaw, sautée it with some spices, turn it into soup. Do not fear this funny lookin’ farmer’s market find. It comes in the regular old greenish whitish hue, but why be boring when you don’t have to? And of course, who wouldn’t want to eat a purple veggie over a green one (hint hint princess loving picky eaters!!) Cooking with these crazy colored foods is a great way to get your little ones excited about nature and nutrition. Show them that there is more to life than broccoli. Broccoli is beautiful, but come on, live a little. Here are some tips on how to store and slice your kohlrabi so you can create something DELICIOUS (and nutritious). Kohlrabi is packed with minerals and loaded with vitamin C. Remember, nobody wants to come down with a cold just as the air is warming up and the sun is here to stay.

Well, there ya have it. Something to make your next farmer’s market run a bit less stressful and a lot more fruitful…or veggie-full. It’s great to keep your plate green most of the time, but summer is coming quick, and we think it’s time to kick off your flip flops and have a little more fun in the kitchen.

(Image by flickr member Danika licensed under Creative Commons)

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