By Jo Schaalman and Julie Pelaez of the Conscious Cleanse
Summertime is almost here and that means your local farmer’s market is probably bustling with excitement and bursting with fresh fruit and veggies. If you haven’t made the effort to get out to your farmer’s market yet, today we’ve some motivation–and hopefully some helpful guidance for what to do with all those fresh fruits and veggies.
One of the best reasons to visit your local farmer’s market is to take advantage of all the in-season produce being cultivated for you by your local farmers.
Local, seasonal produce not only tastes better, it contains more nutritional value than its store-bought counterpart, which typically has traveled hundreds of miles to get to your grocery store shelves.
Take a walk around your local farmer’s market today and you’ll find lots of greens, things like arugula, spinach, and mizuna, as well as other veggies like arugula, tomatoes, radishes, garlic, mushrooms, onions, and carrots.
Farmer’s Market are also great places for connecting with friends, enjoying lunch from one of the food vendors, and finding new and unique products like specialty olive oils or kombucha.
Now, if you’re like Carrie, you might have some questions about what to do with all the fresh produce when you get home. Read on for our Q + A, and be sure to check out the recipe for our favorite Farmer’s Market Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette.
Jo and Jules
Q. Which ones are most important to buy organic?
A. Consult the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide for the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 to know which produce is highest in pesticides or the cleanest and safest to buy non-organic.
Q. Which do we store in the fridge?
A. Most fresh produce will last longer when stored in the fridge, especially veggies, with the exception of potatoes, garlic, and onions, which are best stored in a cool, dark, dry place. Fruit on the other hand, is oftentimes not fully ripe when we bring it home, so allowing it to sit out on the counter for a few days will help it ripen. Skip, the plastic bags for storage and try a beeswax wrap like Abeego.
Q. Do we have to wash it?
A. Nobody likes the feeling of crunching down on dirt when enjoying a fresh spinach salad from the farmer’s market. In this case, a quick rinse is never a bad thing, And if you happen to be feeling a little lazy in the rinsing department, think of this – by not washing off your produce you could be keeping more helpful bacteria on the food, which is good for your gut!
Q. Do we eat the peel?
A. To peel or not to peel? That is the question! Hopefully when it comes to things like cantaloupe, mango, and avocado, you know that you cannot eat the peel. Veggies like beets, carrots and cucumbers are another story. We’re big fans of not peeling in this case because the skins contain vital nutrients and minerals that you want in your body, not in your compost!
Q. Which way of preparing retains the most nutrients?
A. Raw or lightly steamed is always going to retain the most nutrients in our fruits and veggies. That being said, some people get an upset tummy when eating too much raw. If this is the case for you rest assured you’re still getting your fill of vitamins and minerals simply by eating fruits and veggies whether they’re grilled, sautéed, or roasted.
Farmer’s Market Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Yield: 2 large salads
Ingredients for salad
8 cups farmer’s market fresh greens (spinach, mizuna, arugula, or mix of all 3)
6 large red radishes, ends trimmed, halved, thinly sliced
Ingredients for champagne vinaigrette
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
2 TB honey
1 TB Dijon mustard
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a small bowl whisk together garlic, honey, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large salad bowl, toss together greens, radishes and drizzle with champagne vinaigrette.