Thursday, January 18, 2007
I miss my bananas
I used to buy banana's every time I made a trip to the store. They are so tasty and convenient. Most bananas travel from Central and South America and doused in pesticides, so I thought I should cut down and only buy bananas that come from a closer location with less chemicals. Many other items fall into this category. Tomatoes and avocados are good examples. Plenty Magazine features alternate choices for those with a hankering for foods that are not locally available or in season.
Above is a picture of Pawpaws (already love them because of the name)which are grown in America in the Spring. Most purveyors sell puree of pawpaw year round at farmers markets for use in smoothies (this is what I used all of those bananas for!) or to enjoy as dessert or with breakfast. What do they taste like? As a member of the cherimoya family, Paw squared tastes like a tropical mix of mango, pineapple and banana. If you have never tried a cherimoya, you HAVE to try one. Its like banana custard in a fruit! Don't eat the seeds though, they are toxic.
There is a new eco-friendly fair-trade banana company called Oke which is coming to a natural food store in your area.
For our veggie eatin' friends outside of California and Arizona, mixed greens and lettuce in general is scarce during off-season months. Other tasty options to replace your need for a good salad are locally grown turnips, cabbage, carrots, and parsnips...these provide the same vitamins and minerals as dark leafy greens.
Tomatoes appear all year round for us lucky Californians....but other than Floridians, most other states don't see these red gems unless its summer. Off-season tomatoes never taste AS delicious as a summer sun drenched one, but if you MUST, buy the hothouse version. Tip: use summer tomatoes for canning or make sauce to freeze for use during the winter months.
If you haven't noticed already, its citrus season in California! I have enjoyed a variety of fruits lately that are super tasty and delicious from tangerines to basic navel oranges. When these tasty treats are not available locally, an alternative to try are kumquats which can survive in lower temperatures than other citrus fruits. If local lemons are not available, substitute white wine or vinegar in equal parts for juice in recipes. Lemons are limes are fairly easy to grow yourself...I even have meyer lemon tree that is still alive under my care! Its a miracle.