To continue with last week’s blog entry, another way capitalize on fresh fruits and veggies from street markets during growing season is by using some of the techniques below:
I get fresh culinary herbs from street markets for a variety of things and to put a twist on some recipes during summer: Caprese salad (tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil with balsamic vinegar), mint tea (rather than canned soda), mint sauce (to serve with a variety of meats), pesto (that can be made with basil, parsley, cilantro, or mint). I recently discovered that you can freeze pesto and it comes out of the freezer tasting just as great as it did when I put it in the freezer. That means, I can have fresh pesto dishes in the fall and winter.
When they come out of the freezer, they will work best in recipes rather than on top of salads or pastas. Also, note that when using herbs in recipes, keep in mind that herbs lose their flavor quickly when being heated. Therefore, add herbs near the end of cooking time for best results.
You can make the culinary herbs that you get from street markets last longer by rinsing them with water, shaking off excess water, wrapping them in a paper towel and storing them in Ziploc bags in the fridge.
One way to save fresh herbs so they taste fresh even in the winter months: freeze them in ice cubes or larger quantities in glass jars with enough water to cover the herbs (just remember to leave about an inch at the top of the jar that you put in the freezer to allow for expanding).
You can find locally grown foods in your area by checking out Eat Local Grown, Local Harvest, Visit a Farm, try Community Supported Agriculture, Local Foods About, Eat Wild, Find Sustainable Food by Grace, Organic Consumers Association (includes some of the above; however, also offers some great tips), Mother Earth News offers tips about farmers markets. Although the article is more about how farmers can get accepted into farmers’ markets, there are some great tips in the article.
I grow basil and rosemary in pots because there are so many ways to use these herbs. In a pot, I have them fresh all year round.
Suggestions for ways to use culinary herbs:
Herb Spreads: mix your favorite herbs in butter or Neufchatel cheese or cottage cheese
Basil: In addition to the ways that Cooking Light shows for Basil, I also use it in Caprese Salad
Chives: Also in cottage cheese and Neufchatel
Cilantro: Salsa fresco, tacos, and guacamole would be very bland without cilantro!
Dill: pair with vinegar and make dill beans and dill cucumber slices
Mint: Also mint sauce
Parsley: Also pesto