February In SeasonTue 05 Feb 2013
Story by The Food Revolution Team
In case you missed the news, Punxsutawney Phil, the infamous groundhog from Pennsylvania tasked with the job of predicting the length of winter, did not see his shadow last week. For those of you not familiar with Groundhog Day in America, this result translated to the relief of many, indicating that winter is coming to an end and spring will soon be here. Though itís not quite time to pack an outdoor picnic or retire your winter coat just yet, lighten up your dinner routine with our Everyday Green Chopped Salad using some of Februaryís finest seasonal produce.
Citrus season in the bleak midwinter is natureís incredible gift to our weary palates. After months of slow cooked, deep roasted flavours, citrus lands at the market like a much needed burst of sunshine. Some of our favourites:
While these Spanish oranges are too bitter and acidic to eat, they are one of the highlights of the season. They are known for their knobbly, dense skin and are perfect for making marmalade. The growing season is short, only the eight weeks of January and February, but if you find yourself in Spain or anywhere else where these are growing, be sure to grab a bag. Unlike other oranges, Sevilles are fine in the freezer, so if you donít have time to preserve them right away, save them for some rainy day marmalade making.
Meyer lemons are a citrus fruit native to China, first brought to the United States by Frank Nicholas Meyer in the early 20th century. Thought to be a cross between a traditional lemon and a common orange or perhaps a kumquat, Meyer lemons are most commonly known as a staple of Californian cuisine. They are rounder than a common lemon, and sweeter, making them an excellent addition to all sorts of dishes. Try squeezing them into salad dressings, roasting them with chicken, or baking them into tarts.
Who can resist the sweet, deep red flesh of a blood orange? While these sanguine little fellows may have originated in the Far East or the Southern Mediterranean, they grow in California and parts of Texas. They are primarily grown, though, in Sicily and Southern Italy where they are commonly shaved in salads paired with fennel, made into gelato or baked into treats.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world the weather hasnít quite begun to cool down. February down under signals the end of the summer season and beginning of autumn. Fruit and vegetables are prime and plentiful, and begging to be used.
Radishes are a spicy, peppery edible root from the cabbage family. They are grown all over the world, and can sprout from seed to plant in as quick as 3 days! While radishes are well known for their red exteriors and white flesh, they come in a variety of colors: purple, white, red and white striped and even light green with pink insides. If radishes are in season near you, as they are in Australia, try adding them to your chopped salad for a nice peppery crunch!
Cucumbers are refreshing, watery fruits from the gourd family. Originally from India, where they are often mixed with yoghurt and eaten to cool the mouth from accompanying spicy curries, they are now known all around the world. Cucumbers are most commonly green and long, though they can vary in size, shape and even color, as round yellow cucumbers are commonly eaten in parts of South Asia. Cucumbers are a great addition in salads, with a satisfying crunch and a mild almost melon-like taste, though you can also try your hand at preserving and pickle them to use at a later date.
Also known as scallions, salad onions, green onions and a whole host of other names, are members of the allium family with long hallow green stems or leaves and a subtle flavor. As they are milder than other onions, they are commonly sliced and used raw in salads or stirfrys, though they can be sautťed to build a flavour base for sauces or soups, or even pickled. Choose onions that are firm with bright green leaves, and after washing slice up some rounds, finding use for the green tops as a lovely garnish.
So what are you waiting for? Get cooking! And of course if the growing season is dormant where you are, pull out the frozen fruit or veggies or make use of the jars of preserves you packed last summer. And whatever you are cooking, be sure to share your photos with us on our Food Revolution Community Facebook page, or tweet them to us @foodrev.
The Food Revolution Team
Photo Credit: Jennifer Tyler Lee/Crunchacolor Ė www.crunchacolor.com
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