Newsletters: 13 July, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 13 July, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the garden
The WSU Master Gardeners say July is a good time to start planning for fall and winter crops. Start broccoli, cabbage, and kale for transplanting; plant carrots, peas, and rutabagas directly. Normally beans, cucumbers, and summer squash come on in July but they may be a little late this year. Keep an eye on the zucchini, though, so they don’t sneak up on you and get too big for anything but zucchini bread before you pick them. There’s always Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch night (8 Aug.) but the more you catch at the 6-inch stage, the quicker you’ll be able to get rid of the ones you missed.

This also a good time to stop watering your lawn and let it go dormant. It’ll get rather brown but I promise it’ll spring right back when the fall rains begin (whether you want it to or not), and you won’t have to mow it for most of August. That’ll give you more time for wandering the night with overgrown zucchini.

In the kitchen
I’m told July is Nectarine and Garlic Month — I hope that doesn’t mean we should eat them together! As tempted as I am to go hunting for recipes that use both (come to think of it, I may have one), I think it’s time for some more exotic (or at least unusual) summer drinks.

Bee sting
1 Tbsp honey, warmed if possible
1 Tbsp balsamic or raspberry vinegar
1.5 cup seltzer or sparkling water, chilled
ice cubes
Combine honey and vinegar; add water and stir once. Serve over ice.
Source unknown

Salty puppy
coarse salt
crushed ice
1 cup grapefruit juice
club soda, chilled
fresh mint, for garnish (optional)
Moisten rims of 2 glasses and dip in salt. Fill with ice and divide juice between them. Fill with club soda.
Source unknown

Lotus blossom
1 ripe banana, peeled and chunked
1 ripe peach, peeled, pitted, and chunked
1 ripe nectarine, ”
dash almond extract
24 oz. chilled ginger ale
Puree all ingredients except ginger ale until smooth. Pour ca. 1 c each into 5 tall glasses and fill with ginger ale. Stir gently.
Source unknown

Index to all blog posts.

Cinnamon orange chicken

3-4 lb chicken pieces
12 oz. orange juice
1 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
salt and pepper to taste
generous sprinkle of ground cinnamon (Saigon cinnamon* if available)

1 tsp. corn starch
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained

Place chicken in slow cooker and pour orange juice over it. Sprinkle with raisins and cinnamon and stir in. Cover and cook on med. for 1/2 hr., then low for 4-6 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove about a cup of sauce and combine it with the corn starch, mixing well and removing any lumps. Return the sauce-corn starch mixture to the pot and stir in. Add mandarin oranges, turn pot to high, and cook for half an hour.

Serve sauce over chicken pieces, or pick chicken off bones, stir into the sauce, and serve over rice or pasta.

From: Dana Huffman.

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*Saigon cinnamon is a particularly strong cinnamon found in specialty stores. Adapt the type and quantity of cinnamon to your taste, but I think this recipe is pretty bland without enough cinnamon to thoroughly coat most of the top.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Tangerines, mandarins, satsumas, clementines

native to: southeastern China
in season: winter

Tangerines are the US term for what Europe calls mandarin oranges (Citrus reticulata, of the Rutaceae family). Mandarins were once imported to the US via North Africa and picked up the name from the city of Tangiers, the residents of which are also called Tangerines. However, when a modern store labels something as a “tangerine,” it is probably a Fairchild or Darby mandarin orange, having seeds and a slightly tougher peel. “Satsuma” is the Japanese word for mandarins, now associated with a seedless variety having a leathery skin. These are most often canned, since they’re tender and don’t ship well. Clementines, often marketed as “Cuties” or “Sweeties,” are sweet, nearly seedless, and the easiest to peel. Some sources say clementines are a cross between mandarins and regular oranges, while others just list them as a cultivar of mandarins.

Remember those arils the pomegranate discussion mentioned a couple of weeks ago? Well, tangerine sections are also arils. Tangerine seeds are safe to eat, but unpleasantly bitter.

Like oranges, tangerines are low in calories and of course have no fat or cholesterol. They have even more flavonoid anti-oxidants than oranges and provide plenty of vitamins A and, of course, C. They’re also a good source of fiber and provide calcium, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals. Research is also finding phyto-chemicals and other compounds that protect against cancer, arthritis, obesity, and heart disease in citrus fruits.

Pesticides are widely used on citrus crops, so you should wash conventionally-grown fruits before peeling to keep the gunk off your hands. Beyond that, it’s not a big concern if you’re only eating the insides, but stick to organic fruits if you’re planning to use the peel: candied peel, tangerine peel tea, zest….

Read more:
label-style nutrition information for tangerines
a comparison of different varieties of mandarins
mandarins and other citrus fruits at Nutrition and You
oranges and tangerines compared at LiveStrong.com
The Fruit Pages

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.