Ok, all the shiny green things from early spring are gone or nobody wants nettle soup or fiddlehead frittata’s anymore. So we go back to fungus and tubers, but what a great selection of fungus and tubers we have available. Morel mushrooms have dropped so much in price the mortals can now enjoy them. Fresh Porcini don’t have to be flown in from South Africa right now as we have domestic harvest available in both Oregon and Washington. To make the trifecta complete we have to go to Bulgaria to get our beautiful golden button Chanterelles. We can even get some Cauliflower mushrooms from China. Tubers include a very reasonably priced black summer truffle from Italy and some surprisingly excellent southern hemisphere white Perigord winter truffles from Chili and Australia at absurdly low prices compared to European product.
The illustrious finger limes are back and the market should steadily rise in availability for the next several weeks. This market has improved and we are seeing fruits that are longer and greener with no brown and less yellow. The creative uses for this novel summer fruit continue to inspire chefs, bakers and decorators alike. From cornucopia to supermarket shelf dividers, the finger lime is finding its way into every aspect of culinary preparation. Currently we have three different growers packing fruit. There will be a few more growers as we get into late summer. This lovely fruit is a bear to harvest as you have to reach inside the thick thorned branches several times as these plants do not ripen uniformly. Product is offered in clamshells, burlap bags, red mesh and bulk. Most of the shipping is Fed-Ex but in a few months we will be able to offer a finger lime consolidation to those who load our fingerling potatoes out of Edison, California.
KNOCK ON WOOD
We probably should not predict good news but things are looking good for the 4th. Berries are in good supply and tomatoes are becoming abundant. Potatoes of all shapes, sizes and colors are available on both coasts and melons are everywhere (except yellow watermelon). Numerous bean varieties are ready for the dog days of summer and specialty greens are abundant and strong. Chervil is tight but summer basil abounds along with most other herbs. New crop garlic and onions allow for numerous varieties of both, and a huge selection of specialty peppers are here just in time for roasting. As long as we don’t blow ourselves up it should be a great culinary day to celebrate freedom. Remember freedom? We fought for it! More on this next week.
NEW PRODUCE QUIZ – – WHAT AM I??
I was the number one cash crop in the United States. Originating in East Asia (Manchuria), I arrived on the U.S. shores with the Mathew Perry expedition. I have more protein and calories than any other legume. I grow on a small bush two to six feet high. I am raised in a velvety pod that can be gray, yellow, black, white or brown. I have an amazing amount of uses. In my infant stage I am used in salads as a sprout. I am fermented, used as coffee substitute, made into cheese, jam, flour, grits, or used for imitation beef, ham, or chicken. Industrially my oil is used for soap, paint or vanishes. I am also very popular cooking oil. When brewed I make a wonderful sauce, but often my sauce is packaged without any of me in it. It’s truly a shame that water, salt, vegetable protein, corn syrup, and caramel color, cheaply replace my rich tangy flavor. I must be cooked to neutralize the anti-nutrients I contain (phytic acid, and trypsin). If defatted or dried, I will store moderately well. If fresh, I must be refrigerated or I will turn rancid in short order. When they dry us we are used in stews and casseroles but our pleasant hazelnut like flavor is best when fresh.
Answer to last weeks quiz..ACHIOTE…Congratulations to all winners!
Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015