1. Broccoli Rabe or Rapini
SELECT: Look for bright green leaves, firm stalks and relatively few buds or open flowers. Avoid bunches with yellowed leaves or dry stalks.
STORE: Remove the wire twist or rubber band that secures the bundle, roll up in dry paper towel and store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in refrigerator crisper drawer for up to five days.
EAT: Cook as you would broccoli: steamed, sauteed, stir-fried or braised. To serve cold in salads, blanch first to lessen the naturally bitter flavor.
2. Citrus (Oranges, Tangelos, Grapefruit)
SELECT: Heavy fruits with shiny, smooth skin and no signs of bruising. Tenderness when squeezed indicates juiciness.
STORE: In refrigerator crisper drawer for up to two weeks. Wash skins before cutting or zesting.
EAT: Peel and eat out of hand, or cut into segments and add to salads and stir-frys. Use fresh-squeezed juice in marinades or sauces.
TRY: Scallops with Wilted Spinach, Grapefruit & Mint.
3. Lucinato Kale (Tuscan Kale)
SELECT: Sturdy and firm bunches with deep-colored leaves and hardy, fresh-looking stems.
STORE: Remove wire twist or rubber band that secures the bundle, roll up in dry paper towel and store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in refrigerator crisper drawer for up to five days. Wash only before serving to minimize spoilage.
EAT: Chop and use as a delicious alternative to spinach in soups, stews, sautes, curries and frittatas. Pairs well with garlic, bell peppers, chile peppers, onions and tomatoes.
TRY: Asian Kale & Tofu Salad.
SELECT: Large fruit that feels heavy for its size with smooth, shiny, blemish-free skin. Some stores sell fresh pomegranate arils already extracted from the fruit.
STORE: In a cool, dark place for up to one month. To refrigerate, extract arils and store them in a sealed container for up to one week.
EAT: Slice top from fruit to expose arils, t hen score the skin by slicing it from top to bottom in quarters, exposing the white flesh. Hold over top of or submerge in a bowl of cool water and use your fingers to pry sections apart; scoop out arils and drop into bowl; drain. Eat arils as salad toppings or juice them for concentrated pomegranate juice.
TRY: Hearty Chicken Salad with Pomegranate.
5. Sweet Potatoes
SELECT: Firm, heavy potatoes with smooth, bruise-free skin.
STORE: Loosely sealed in a paper bag in a cool, dark place for up to two weeks.
EAT: Boiled and mashed to accompany poultry or pork, cubed and sauteed with onions, garlic, fresh ginger and herbs, or sliced into wedges for carb-friendly fries.
TRY: Hawaiian Sweet Potato Skins.