Tag: seasonal

January: seasonal vegetables and fruit – Italian Cuisine

January: seasonal vegetables and fruit

With the beginning of the new year, in the heart of winter, the fruit and vegetable stalls are certainly not stingy with products, far from it! It's time to fill your shopping bags with vegetables and fruit in January. To be interpreted in a rich, tasty and always varied cuisine that enriches the daily diet with vitamins, mineral salts, fibers and antioxidants, so precious for the well-being of the body and the immune system.

Triumph of leaves
Among thistles and fennel, broccoli and cabbage, undoubtedly those are to excel over the many vegetables of the moment leafy: spinach, beets, ribs white or colored, they cook quickly and give the diet mineral salts and lots of fiber, with an undeniable detox effect useful after the festive "big binges". They are eaten raw or cooked envy as the Belgian or the escarole, both good in salads as well as in the stuffed and stewed versions. They are part of the large family of chicory, among which it is necessary to mention the late radicchio from Treviso. The one on the market now has uniquely shaped tufts, with a thick stem and long, thin, slightly spread leaves that roll towards the tips in graceful curls. The taste is gentle but characteristic, to be enhanced with quick cooking or in the most classic of winter risottos. The stems are not discarded: well scraped and julienned, they will give a crunchy note to the preparations. Their texture is reminiscent of another seasonal vegetable, the celeriac, also called of Verona. It is actually a large rounded root with an irregular and brownish surface. Once peeled, it reveals a whitish and intensely aromatic pulp. Raw it is the protagonist of two famous salads: the American Waldorf with apples and walnuts and the local capricciosa with gruyère and cooked ham, both tied with a mayonnaise-based sauce. It can also be cooked in the oven or boiled to make a puree, like a potato. About potatoes: have you noticed that those on sale are getting bigger, with thick skin and dirty with soil? They are old potatoes, perfect for gnocchi!

At the greengrocer's
Many think that the winter orchard pales in comparison to that of the warm months. In fact, there are many ready-to-eat varieties. Between pears, for example, it's time to buy Abbot And Kaiser but also an exotic specialty, the Japanese Nashi, which ends its season in recent weeks and surprises with its juicy, delicate, very fresh pulp: it can be bought in Asian stores with the fruit and vegetable department, in organic ones and in well-stocked supermarkets. Looking at the vast world of citrus fruits, it's time for cedars of which the peel, the albedo (the white part, not at all bitter) and the central pulp, little but very aromatic, are consumed. The best way to serve cedar is, therefore, cut into thin slices like a carpaccio, to be enjoyed in salads together with fennel, raw shellfish, flaked cod. While diced it can finish both a risotto and a fruit salad. Other citrus "mangiatutto" (peel apart) are le clementines, cross between mandarins and mandarin oranges: small and juicy, they are characterized by the lack of seeds. The wedges are immediately inviting, so much so that one leads to the other … that the cherries are envious of! In addition to being an excellent source of vitamin C, essential for preventing seasonal ailments. Among the fruits rich in antioxidants, one cannot forget the pomegranate, which has certainly made a splash on the holiday menus but deserves a place at the table even these days: superfood for the well-being of the body, super ingredient to give an elegant and crunchy touch to many dishes.

Francesca Romana Mezzadri
January 2022

December: seasonal vegetables and fruit – Italian Cuisine

December: seasonal vegetables and fruit

The last month of the year brings with it an abundance of fruit and vegetable products to be chosen with care at the market and brought to the table every day, waiting to celebrate them in the holiday menus. While it's cold outside, in the fields and orchards large and small delights come to maturity which guarantee, even at this time of the year, taste in the kitchen and Welfare to the body, thanks to the richness in fibers and antioxidants that characterize the crops of this period.

A generous vegetable garden
Speaking of healthy seasonal vegetables, the great family of gods immediately comes to mind cabbages. Those apiece, like broccoli And cauliflower, are rich in protective substances, in particular vitamin C, to be exploited more with rapid cooking and even with raw use, particularly indicated for cauliflower which can be sliced ​​like a carpaccio or finely chopped and seasoned as if it were a cous cous vegetable. Among the leafy ones, there are two in particular that benefit from the first frosts: the cabbage and the black cabbage. In fact, the intense cold not only softens the leaves, but makes them sweeter and more aromatic. Ideal for soups and typical dishes, such as Tuscan ribollita or Milanese cassoeula.
It still resists the pumpkin, a very long-lasting vegetable, and continues the season of beets, radicchio, escarole, celery, fennel. While the first ones begin to arrive artichokes, destined to accompany us until spring. If the taste of these vegetables fascinates you, you must try the Jerusalem artichoke, white-fleshed tubers that are in their golden moment and are called "Jerusalem artichokes".
Other "niche" vegetables, and probable botanical ancestors of artichokes, are the thistles. During this period, i hunchbacks, typical of the Asti area and, in particular, of the Nizza Monferrato area. The name derives from the fact that in the fields, at a certain point of development, the tufts of thistles are folded down and continue their growth underground: the lack of light makes them white and very tender, excellent au gratin, in risotto and indispensable with bagna cauda, ​​the traditional Piedmontese sauce.
The leeks, winter bulbs par excellence, more delicate than onions, more characteristic of shallots and very versatile. The white part, in thin slices, is suitable for sautéed and soups, while sliced ​​into slices, it is boiled and baked again in a pan or in the oven, for rustic side dishes. The green part aromatizes the broths and the large outer leaves, left whole, become the wrapping of rolls and bundles.

A jump into the orchard
Or, better, in the citrus grove! It's time to pick the tastiest and juiciest oranges, especially the varieties red: T.arocco, Moro And Sanguinello. Among tangerines, clementines and mandarins, here comes the sours too grapefruits, the sweets pomelos and small kumquat, or Chinese tangerines, intended to brighten up the fruit bowl on the Christmas tables.
Where the dried fruit: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and peanuts, harvested in early autumn, reach their perfect degree of dryness, ready to be shelled at the end of a meal and to enrich breakfasts and snacks.
Chapter esotic fruit: it is now common to bring to the table, especially during the holidays, products that come from tropical countries. Not only the now common pineapple, but also mango, papaya, passion fruit, carambola. Colorful, decorative and also suitable for refined savory dishes, the best are those transported by air (it is indicated on packages and boxes), ready to eat as opposed to those arriving by sea and immature. Another parameter to guide you in your choice is to look for fair trade fruits, which are now often also organic. Thus, the festive table will be not only beautiful, but also good.

Francesca Romana Mezzadri
December 2021

Seasonal fruit and vegetables: this is what you will find in November – Italian Cuisine


Launched for the first time on November 1, 1994, the World Vegan Day was created precisely to increase and spread the knowledge of the benefits that this lifestyle can bring to our body. A green lifestyle with a low environmental impact that has spread like wildfire throughout most of the world in recent years. And we, on the occasion of this day, want to tell you about the seasonal fruit and vegetables that you will find on the tables of November, the one that tastes and smells of autumn, earth and good!

Why it is important to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables
Growers, nutritionists and doctors have been telling us for years now, eating seasonal fruit and vegetables is good for us body and toenvironment. From the fruit and vegetables in season, which is born and grows in its time of year, we can draw several benefits including a greater supply of micro nutrients such as minerals and vitamins; eat tastier and more fragrant foods. How many times, buying fruit and vegetables out of season, have we realized that the flavor and aroma were less intense? This happens because fruits and vegetables do not have the necessary time and the right environment to ripen as nature wants, the plants are forcibly grown in greenhouses and the fruits ripen in a completely unnatural way. Not only that, seasonal fruit and vegetables contain fewer pesticides than those grown in greenhouses "out of season". Why? Seasonal plants are stronger and more resistant parasites while those grown forcibly to meet the market and consumer demand for seasonal fruit and vegetables that are not always available on large-scale distribution stalls are weaker and more exposed to parasites.

Seasonal fruit and vegetables, that of November
There fruit this month is full of C vitamin, we find it in oranges, mandarins, clementines, lemons And Kiwi, but also in the unsuspected persimmon. Yes, even persimmons have a good amount of Vitamin C in addition to many precious micro nutrients. But the fruit par excellence of November is her, the Chestnut! One of the beautiful gifts of November nature (but also of mid / late October) that turns out to be a very versatile food in the kitchen. Perfect for roasting in a pan, boiling in water or milk to soften them and prepare many sweet or savory dishes. But let's not forget about the apples, harvested from the end of August to November to be available on our tables until January; a delicate, tasty, juicy and excellent fruit for baking sweet and fragrant cakes. For example, one of the November varieties is the Melannurca bell, small, juicy, with a slightly sour and fresh taste. Given its size, it turns out to be an excellent snack to be consumed in the middle of the morning or as a snack. Not only that, another apple variety that is harvested in November is the Pink Lady, with an unmistakable color tending to pink and an aromatic flavor. But did you know that this apple variety is the fruit of a cross between a Lady Williams apple and a Golden Delicius? Very good! Furthermore, in November we can also find some very juicy and sweet grape.

And the vegetables? In November we find cabbages, cabbage, potatoes, turnip greens, broccoli, fennel, mushrooms, spiny artichokes, cauliflower. Mushrooms, the true kings of the undergrowth, with an intense flavor and aroma. Excellent for preparing risottos, preserves or soups; to sauté with other vegetables or to fry or sauté to accompany a soft polenta. But in reality, all the vegetables that November gives us are perfect for preparing very hot dishes, soups and dips that warm the soul and stomach. Not only that, they are also perfect for gratinating! Think of a steaming pan of fennel or broccoli au gratin? Irresistible! And then the cabbage, perfect allies for wrapping meat and vegetable rolls to be cooked slowly; or you can use them to prepare savory pies or the more classic Valtellina pizzoccheri, strictly with Bitto!

November and truffles
192432Mineral and earthy, with an unmistakably good and elegant scent, the truffle It is not only good for the soul and the palate, it is also good for the body! One of its strengths is that it is totally cholesterol-free, which makes it an excellent food to combine with more fatty dishes such as classic fried eggs or noodles with butter! But pay attention to the quantities, to flavor a dish, a few flakes are really enough. There are several varieties, but the ones that you will find also in November are the Precious White (September – January), the Smooth Black (September – December), the Ordinary Black (October – January), lo Winter Scorzone (October – December) and the Precious Black (mid-November – March).
Truffles are mainly eaten raw and in flakes, to flavor risottos, tagliolini, eggs or bruschetta. You can also make a different use of it and try to prepare a truffle flavored oil homemade! Very simple and impressive. You will need a truffle, a truffle cutter to obtain thin slices, 500 ml of extra virgin olive oil with a not too marked taste and obviously a glass bottle. The procedure is very simple, you just need to cut thin slices of truffle and put them in the bottle of oil, close and let it rest in a cool and dry place for a few days so that the tuber can release its aromas and the oil absorb them. properly. Use it to dress bruschetta, salads, pasta and rice dishes!
Here you can find lots of information and curiosities about this precious tuber!

November 2021
Giulia Ferrari

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