How to Prepare and Store Your Produce!

As the weather continues to warm up, we’re excited about all the produce that will be available in one to two weeks on our Online Farmers’ Market. We’re excited to have a huge variety of veggies in Alberta, including many options that you may not already be familiar with. When it comes to trying out foods, you might have some questions like: How do I cook this? What’s the best way to store it? Why is it good for me? Well, we’re here to help you answer all your burning veggie questions and get you excited about a fresh, healthy summer! Check out these hot tips on everything you need to know from the flavour, how to cook it, the best ways to store it, nutritional value and more!

 

BEETS

Beets are rich in colour and have a full, sweet flavour. Usually two to three inches in size, they are known for having the highest sugar content of any vegetable! The most familiar beets are the red variety and are careful – they can stain just about everything! Beets also come in white and yellow (also known as golden) varieties.

HOW TO STORE:

Beets are best stored cold, like in the vegetable drawer in the fridge, and kept in a perforated plastic bag. Stored this way, they can last up to 6 months. Make sure to cut the greens from the beet and store separately as they are also edible and best kept this way.

HOW TO COOK AND EAT:

The most common way to prepare fresh beets is to boil or bake them. Another option is to pickle them. Just remember, when cutting and preparing red beets, the juices can stain cutting boards and textiles. The greens can be eaten raw with other greens, like in a salad, or can be lightly sautéed.

WHY THEY’RE GOOD FOR YOU:

Beets are a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, and iron and fresh beets can have twice the potassium and folic acid as the canned variety.

WHEN IT’S IN SEASON:

There are two normal seasons for beets, both spring and fall. They also can be left in the ground and harvested in the winter; a process called over-wintering.

 

TOMATOES

 

With countless varieties and a range of delicious flavor profiles, there’s no question that tomatoes are the perfect addition to just about any dish. Tomatoes are extremely versatile and are great for grilling, roasting, sautéing—even on their own as a healthy snack. Whether it’s a meaty Beefsteak or a small but snappy cherry tomato, adding these antioxidant powerhouses to your meal can add a much-needed burst of flavor

HOW TO STORE:

Keep your Tomatoes on your kitchen counter, uncovered and away from direct sunlight. This will allow them to continue to ripen and develop their flavor. Tomatoes will last between 3-4 days stored on a countertop. You should only keep Tomatoes in your fridge once they have fully ripened. This will help extend their life—ripened Tomatoes will usually last between 5 and 7 days in the fridge.

HOW TO COOK AND EAT:

Grilled fresh Tomatoes are great for topping off your chicken burgers or eating as a side. Grilling your Beefsteak Tomatoes or Tomatoes-on-the-Vine will give them a richer flavor – just don’t forget to brush them with olive oil and any desired seasoning before you put them on the barbecue.

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU:

Tomatoes are an incredibly versatile superfood – no matter how you eat them, they are full of powerful antioxidants, provide a healthy dose of lycopene, and are a great source of vitamin A and vitamin C!

WHEN IT’S IN SEASON:

Alberta grown Tomatoes are actually available fresh year-round because of our local green house growers.

 

Green Garlic

 

Also referred to as spring garlic, green garlic is harvested earlier in the season than standard garlic. You may find green garlic with straight stalks and hardly any curve or bulb shape at all, similar to a green onion. Or, a small bulb may have started to develop – more like a spring onion. Some of our green garlic have significantly larger bulbs, with small cloves starting to form even!

HOW TO STORE:

In addition to making powder, we also like to preserve garlic in the freezer. This way, you can pull out pieces as needed over time, adding it to a variety of dishes – much like you would fresh. 

Freezing green garlic can be as simple as cutting it into chunks, leaving it raw, and tossing it into the freezer in a container. 

HOW TO COOK AND EAT:

The bulb and tender stalks of green garlic can be used in the place of typical garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, or shallots in any recipe! This includes enjoying them sautéed with other vegetables, added to soups, fresh on top of frittata (or baked inside), in pesto, or minced and added to homemade salad dressing! 

To make use of the upper leaf portion or any tougher stalks, consider saving them in the freezer with other veggie scraps to later make homemade vegetable stock. Also, you could add those parts whole to infuse flavor into soup, rice, or beans while cooking, and then remove them before serving.

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU:

Green garlic contains the same nutrients as full-grown garlic, such as allicin (a sulfur compound and natural antibiotic), manganese (a mineral linked to good cholesterol) and iron.

WHEN IT’S IN SEASON:

Garlic is typically planted in the fall or early winter before the ground freezes and with foliage appearing in the early spring.

 

FRESH BELL PEPPERS

The bell pepper is a sweet, no-heat chili pepper of the species capsicum annuum, popular in many different cuisines around the world, sold in many colors.

HOW TO STORE:

To keep your Bell Peppers tasting great longer, store them in your refrigerator crisper drawer. In the fridge, raw Bell Peppers will last between 1 and 2 weeks. Cooked Bell Peppers will typically last 3-5 days. Partially-eaten peppers will last longer by storing them in a sealed container with the seeds and stems still attached. For cut Bell Peppers, store them in a sealed container or plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Keep them in your crisper drawer—just don’t forget about them! Cut Bell Peppers will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

HOW TO COOK AND EAT:

Give your Sweet Peppers a richer, smoky flavor by grilling them on the barbecue! Do you love stir fries as much as we do? Sweet Peppers are a must-have ingredient in any stir fry – not only are they super sweet when sautéed, but they also add some incredible color to the dish! They’re also simple to prepare – just slice up your Peppers and cook in a hot pan using some olive oil until they reach the desired tenderness.

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU:

Sweet Peppers are not only flavorful – they’re also packed full of incredible health benefits! Red, Yellow, and Orange Sweet Bell Peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and contain a healthy dose of folate, potassium, fiber, and iron.

WHEN IT’S IN SEASON:

Nothing beats a homegrown bell pepper from one of Alberta's amazing growers, available year-round because of our fantastic green houses.

The summer season gives us so many opportunities to add new products into our diet and take a chance on new foods. Locally grown and community-supported CultivatR helps provide produce that is better for the planet, better for the farmers and better for your table.

 

Check back regularly to see what new products we have added to our marketplace.