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Kohlrabi

kohlrabiA type of cabbage with a mild, sweet, turnip flavor, kohlrabi will keep for two or three months in a cool, frost-free basement or root cellar. Choose small kohlrabi, with smooth, uncracked skin. Aim for about two inches in diameter; if allowed to get too large it will be bitter and tough.

Kohlrabi is an excellent relish vegetable when served raw, peeled and sliced. It's also delicious when sautéed, baked, and/or mashed. (Cook then remove the skins and cube or slice) Chinese cooks use kohlrabi in soups and stir fries, and steamed as a side dish. It's a good source calcium and vitamin C.

Prepare with a liberal sprinkling of spices like basil, dill, lemon peel, mustard, oregano, sea salt, parsley, and/or pepper.

Leeks

Though they are giant members of the onion family, the flavor of leeks is mild. They contain calcium, potassium, vitamin C and fiber. Choose leeks with a clean white base and firm leaves. Choose straight, firm leeks with white bottoms and bright green leaves. Smaller leeks are more tender than larger ones. Refrigerate without trimming, in an airtight container; they should keep for about five days.

To prepare, thoroughly rinse (they're often sandy). Cut in half lengthwise and rinse again, then drain and slice. You can cook whole leeks until just tender by braising, blanching, sautéing, roasting, steaming, grilling, or boiling. Use the green leaves in stock or broth. Season with cayenne, garlic, nutmeg, pepper, sea salt, tarragon, and/or thyme.

Parsnips

A good source of vitamin C and potassium, parsnips have a sweet flavor that's delicious alone or with other vegetables. Wash, wrap in plastic or place in an airtight container, and refrigerate for one to two weeks, but use as soon as you can or they'll begin to loose sweetness. For longer-term storage, parsnips can be frozen, canned, or stored in a root cellar. The small to medium roots taste best.

Cook parsnips as you would carrots (or serve as you would raw carrots). Scrub, slice and add raw to salads, or steam, boil, mash, sauté, stir fry, bake, or microwave. Use about one pound for 4 servings. It's easiest to peel parsnips after they've been cooked.

Parsnips are great with apples and carrots as well as a variety of spices, like basil, cayenne, cinnamon, curry powder, dill, garlic, ginger, lemon peel, marjoram, nutmeg, onions, parsley, pepper, sage, sea salt, and thyme.

Pears

pearsPears are a nutrient-dense food, especially high in minerals and fiber. They're ready to eat when the skin near the stem or on the bottom of the fruit gives just a bit when you press on it. Choose pears with a matte (rather than shiny) skin and no bruises. Pears are good keepers in the refrigerator or a root cellar, though you can speed up the ripening process when necessary by putting them in a bag, along with a ripe apple. Winter pears like Anjou, Comice and Winter Nellis will keep for months.

Different varieties serve different functions. The Anjou pear, for example, is inexpensive and good for eating -- but not as tasty as the Comice pear, which is considered the best for eating out of hand. The Winter Nellis pear is ideal for baking. Pears are wonderful in salads and sauces (make pear sauce as you would applesauce), poached, roasted, sautéed, and baked. Season with lemon or red wine and spices like anise, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, ginger, mace, mint, nutmeg, and rosemary.

Pomegranate

pomegranateThe sweet/tart pomegranate is popular in beverages, syrups, jams and jellies. Choose large, firm fruit with smooth, shiny skin. The fruit should feel heavy for its size. Store pomegranate at room temperature until ripe, then store it in the refrigerator, where it will keep for two months.

Use the berries and/or fruit in salads, beverages, chutney, cakes, muffins, puddings, soups, jellies, meat sauces, and grain casseroles. Good spices for pomegranate (depending upon whether you're preparing a sweet or savory dish) include allspice, cinnamon, coriander, garlic, ginger, rosemary, and thyme

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