A good source of potassium, calcium, and vitamins A and C, cauliflower should be used as soon as possible (before it becomes too strongly aromatic and flavored). Choose cauliflower that's free of tiny black spots (mold). Placed in an airtight container or plastic bag (washed), it will keep in the refrigerator for about five days. Cauliflower freezes well and makes terrific pickles. Before using, soak, if necessary, in cold salted water 15 minutes (no longer) to remove any bugs or cabbage worms. (This will also crisp the florets nicely.)
Serve raw, or blanch. Or cook whole or in florets by steaming, baking, grilling, roasting, stir frying, or microwaving. One medium head of cauliflower will serve about four people. Season with basil, cardamom, chives, cumin, curry powder, dill, garlic, marjoram, mustard, nutmeg, parsley, rosemary, savory, sea salt, tarragon, thyme, and/or turmeric.
What this vegetable lacks in looks it makes up for in taste, so don't be scared away! Yes, it does taste like celery, only milder, with a juicy texture. Instead of stalks, this plant forms a bulbous knob at the base, underground. Serve celeriac raw in salads, or steamed, boiled, baked, mashed, or sautéed. It's a great addition to almost any soup. Use about one pound of celeriac for 4 servings of a side dish. Season with cayenne, fennel, garlic, mustard, onions, parsley, pepper, sea salt, and/or thyme.
Choose from corn that's white, various shades of yellow, or a combination of white and yellow. All contain potassium and vitamins A and B. Sweet corn loses half its natural sugar in 24 hours, so plan to harvest or purchase your ears and serve them as soon as possible (refrigerate in the meantime; for longer storage, freeze, can or dry).
Steam, boil, or grill, and use cooked kernels in salads, muffins, breads, soups, stews, casseroles, puddings, fritters, and to make succotash. Season with basil, bay, cayenne, celery seed, cilantro, coriander, chives, garlic, marjoram, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, pepper, sage, savory, sea salt, thyme, and/or turmeric.
A good source of vitamins C and K, grapes can be enjoyed as a snack or in fruit salad, or even roasted with vegetables and meats. Because they're often sprayed with insecticides, purchase organic grapes whenever you can. Otherwise, be sure to wash them well. Choose plump, unblemished, even-colored grapes, and store them in a mesh bag in the refrigerator, where they'll keep for up to a week.
Season dishes that contain grapes (such as fruit salads) with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and/or nutmeg.
Many fresh greens -- like collards, kale, mustard, watercress, endive, and Bok choy -- enjoy growing in the cooler fall temperatures. Storage and cooking will vary with the type of green, but most can be served raw, in salads, as well as braised, steamed, chopped and sautéed. Season with chervil, garlic, ginger, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, and/or tarragon.
Not an artichoke at all, but a member of the sunflower family, this tuberous vegetable tastes sweet and nutty and looks a lot like a large fresh ginger root. The name comes from the Italian "girasol," meaning turning to the sun. Jerusalem artichokes are low in calories and high in vitamin B1 and potassium.
Store Jerusalem artichokes in a cool, dry, place, away from light, and rinse well before cooking. Then peel and grate to use raw, or cook as you would potatoes: boil and mash or bake, steam, or microwave, then remove the skin before serving. Be careful not to overcook, or they'll become mushy. Season with cayenne, celery seed, chervil, chives, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, lemon, marjoram, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, pepper, rosemary, paprika, parsley, savory, sea salt, and/or thyme.
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