Seasonal Miscellaneous Fruit Veggies - Shopping & Cooking

Avocado
Cucumber
Eggplant
Okra
Pepper, Sweet

Avocado

Over 80% of avocados in California are Haas, and are best from early winter though spring. When ripe, they are dark purplish-black with pebbly skin. (Other varieties may be ripe when still green.)

Look for: Avocados that yield to gentle pressure, if you're using them right away. Otherwise, look for slightly firmer. Avoid those that are sunken, shriveled or mushy, as well as those that are bright green and rock hard (they're very difficult to ripen).

Storage: Store at room temperature, or to speed up ripening, store in a paper bag with an apple. Once ripe, refrigerate for up to two days.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
  • Avocado crostini w/ heirloom tomatoes & cucumber -- Michael Tusk at Quince
  • Romaine hearts w/ hearts of palm, avocado, pickled ruby grapefruit, spiced pumpkin seeds, queso fresco & citrus vinaigrette -- James Ormsby at Jack Falstaff
  • Local rock cod ceviche, black bean taquito, avocado puree, jalapeno vinaigrette -- Jamie Lauren at Levende Lounge
  • Sauteed salmon served w/ tangy onions, avocado & quinoa cakes -- Emmanuel Liotard-Vogt & Rolf Bachman at Pomelo

AMIRA
very smooth skin
DIVA
thicker skin, sweeter
LEMON
ARMENIAN
METKI
ARMENIAN
PAINTED SERPENT

Cucumber

aka cukes. There are many varieties: some for slicing, for pickling, with or without spines, with skin that's smooth/bumpy/ridged/non-existent, with seeds or without, and of different colors...

Unwaxed cukes can be eaten as is, or peeled and seeded. Waxed cukes should be peeled. To seed, cut in half length-wise and scrape seeds out with a spoon.

Check out the recent SF Chronicle article on cucumbers.

Look for: Firm cucumbers with no soft spots.

Storage: Refrigerate in the 'crisper' drawer.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Plum & cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumber, pickled beets, feta -– John Clark & Gayle Pirie at Foreign Cinema
  • Ahi tuna crudo w/ lemon cucumber, radish & cress –- Armando Paniagua at Rose Pistola
  • Grilled sardines w/ mango cucumber relish -- Harveen Khera at Tallula
  • Sweet corn fritter w/ heirloom tomato & lemon cucumber "carpaccio", olive oil & spicy chile remoulade –- Eric Tucker at Millennium


Thanks to Heirloom Organics, Lucero Organic Farm and Mariquita Farm for their cucumber pics!


















AMERICAN
aka GLOBE
CHINESE
JAPANESE

Eggplant

aka aubergine.

There are many varieties; the most common are American (large, dark purple and pear-shaped) and Asian (thinner skin, fewer seeds and a milder, more delicate flavor).

A small size and/or fewer seeds means the eggplant will be less bitter.

Don't eat them raw. They're best baked, grilled, or sautéed.

Look for: Eggplant that's firm, shiny, and heavy for its size. Avoid those with spots, wrinkled skin, uneven color, green areas or soft spots.

Storage: Refrigerate for a few days at the most, before the skin wrinkles.

Seasonal Chef Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
  • Crumb-crusted eggplant & portabello mushrooms w/ tomato chutney -- Harveen Khera at Tallula
  • White shrimp w/ rosa bianca eggplant puree, golden peppers & orange Campari sauce -- Michael Tusk at Quince
  • Black pepper filet w/ japanese eggplant, tomatoes, tofu & thai basil -- Arnold Wong at Eos
  • Marinated rack of lamb w/ roasted eggplant, oven dried tomato & aioli -- Loretta Keller at Bizou

Okra

more info coming soon
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

Pepper, Sweet

aka bell pepper, capsicum...

There are many varieties of different shapes, colors and consistencies. Most sweet peppers start out green (or light yellow) and eventually turn red, yellow, orange, purple or even white when fully mature. Green, the most common, is actually unripe and therefore less sweet.

Great raw or cooked.

Look for: Fresh, firm, brightly-colored peppers with a healthy stem. Avoid soft or brown spots, thin flesh, or wrinkled skin.

Storage: Refrigerate until they soften or wrinkle. Since green peppers are less ripe, they usually last longer. Don't wash them until use.

Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
  • Mozzarella di Bufala, roasted peppers & marjoram -- Mark Gordon at Rose's Cafe
  • Roasted sweet pepper involtini w/ stuffed w/ ricotta cheese -- Armando Paniagua at Rose Pistola
  • Crispy Dungeness crab cake w/ chiffonade salad, red bell pepper coulis & chili olive oil -- Shigefumi Tachibe at Chaya Brasserie