Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year! This year eat a pomegranate, it's good luck!

The Produce Picker Podcast wants to wish everyone a Happy and safe New Years! Whatever you're doing/did tonight enjoy it and I think a good resolution would be to eat better in the New Year. Of course I'm talking about trying to stick to the good ol' government program 5 a day (no they did not pay me to say that, unfortunately).

But if you did choose to eat more fruits and vegetables in '08 then potentially it would be beneficial to stay tuned to the Produce Picker Podcast so that you could choose and prepare the best tasting fruits and veggies possible:)

Now I couldn't let you ring in the New Year without a produce tip so here it is.
Pomegranates are fast becoming a favorite winter holiday treat. Americans typically use them as table decor around this time of year however many are quickly learning what most other cultures have known for centuries, they're good and good for you! This is due in large part to the POM company and their introduction of POM juice (again no pay, I just think it tastes great. Wow, I'm quickly becoming a "sell out" and I'm not even getting paid. I don't think that's how it's supposed to work lol). Since their introduction of pomegranate juice a few years ago they have marketed the incredible antioxidant benefits that pomegranates and their juice provide and thus Americans have begun to realize the beauty of this fruit.

interesting fact interruption:
The ancient Egyptians used to place pomegranates in the graves of their dead for safe passage to the "other world."

The Pomegranate, however, does have a downside. It's messy! Real messy! If you get the juice on your clothes while drinking it or cutting one open it will stain. There is an alternative that is now being sold in most produce departments around this time of year, pomegranate seeds, just the seeds. This wouldn't be the way I'd go because it's just not as fresh but if you don't know how to cut into one or don't want to bother with the hassle and of course the mess then this is the way to go.

Speaking of not knowing how to cut into a pomegranate, this is a tip off to the next episode of the Produce Picker Podcast because this will be the topic I'll cover. Stayed tuned to learn the best way to cut into a pomegranate and get the seeds out. You won't want to miss it and you'll certainly want to try it, the seeds are great and add a great aesthetic touch to any salad or desert.

UPDATE: Here's the Episode! Enjoy:

Once again have a Happy New Year and stayed tuned for more great tips from the Produce Picker Podcast and Blogcast (this site's new name:))

Ray a.k.a. The Produce Picker

P.S. Check out the comment section on the previous post (12/30/07 located below the blog post in small print labeled comments) to see an interesting new product for your fruits and vegetables and meet Maya the first member of the Produce Picker Podcast community to contribute to the conversation! Join us!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Few Tips About Storing Apples and Ripening Fruit Faster

In a recent response to a blog post about Uncluttering your refrigerator's crisper, I posted a reply about the storage of apples. You may find some of these tips useful in your own kitchen. Thanks for reading.

Learning how to best store your produce will save you a good deal of money and improve your recipes. I work for a specialty grocer and knowing how to best store your produce, as a produce manager, reduces what is know in the industry as "shrink" (bad product that must be thrown away).

A quick note about storage. The gas given off by apples is ethylene gas and can be harmful as well as beneficial to your other fruits and veggies.

To speed up the ripening time of produce such as avocados, peaches, bananas, apricots, plums, pears and kiwis place an apple into a paper or plastic bag with the fruit you want to ripen faster. The gas given off by the apple will speed up the ripening process of these fruits allowing you to eat them sooner.

The ethylene gas produced by apples, however, will work against you in the same way. Fruits and vegetables that are placed, stored, close to apples will go bad (wilt, mold, decay) faster.
If you have to store apples close to other fruits and veggies place them in a ventilated bag, however, as mentioned above this will speed up their ripening process and will result in a shorter shelf life. Also, if you put apples into a bag together, make sure to watch that one of the apples in the group does not go bad. A bad apple amongst others will turn the rest of the apples bad because of the excess of ethylene gas produced by the rotting apple. The best advice is to store apples on a shelf, in the fridge, away from odor producing food.

Storing apples away from odorous foods is important because apples, which are a porous fruit, will absorb these odors thus changing their flavor.

One final apple storage tip, once you cut open an apple, drizzle a solution of 50% water, 50% citrus juice on the cut apples pieces to prevent browning. This will buy you some extra time when displaying your apple slices and improve the presentation of your recipes.

Learn the Apple Wrinkle Test in this video and make sure you're getting the freshest apples in the store!

Ray a.k.a. The Produce Picker

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Episode 6 - Cutting a Mango

It's time again for another episode of the Produce Picker Podcast. In this episode I'll show you how to cut open yet another tropical treat, the mango. Get cubed sized pieces that you can eat out of hand, include in a salsa or add to your favorite recipe.

Grab a knife (carefully!) and give it a try. You'll be a pro at cutting into this fruit in no time at all. Sure to impress family and friends alike, cutting into a mango is not only useful it's something of a show!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Hey everybody. The Produce Picker Podcast and Produce got a review on! Just thought I'd write a quick note to share my excitement and give you a chance to check it out. It's the fourth one (bullet point) down. Stay Tuned.