Rhubarb is a very old plant, dating back to 2700 BC in China where it was cultivated for medicinal uses. It is available in the spring.
While rhubarb is used as a fruit it is actually a vegetable. Field grown rhubarb (aka cherry rhubarb) has deeply colored red stalks and tends to be more juicy, with a bolder acidity than a hot house produced rhubarb (aka stawberry rhubarb). The leaves of rhubarb are INEDIBLE and toxic when eaten in large quantities. The stalk has a sweet tart, lip puckering taste that is good for baking and in compotes.
1 cup of rhubarb is just 26 calories. It is a good source of Vitamins C and K. It is also a good source of Magnesium and Calcium.
Use in pies, compotes, muffins and cakes.
Rhubarb will keep up to a week when stored in a plastic bag in the fridge.
There are two varieties of Swiss Chard, red or green. The wide leaves taste much like spinach, but the edible stems taste more like celery.
The stems need a little more cooking time than the leaves, so slice them off where the stems meet the leaves and add them a bit sooner.
1 cup has 35 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein.
Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E and dietary fiber.
To store, place unwashed chard in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. It will keep fresh for several days. If you have large batches of chard, you can blanch the leaves and then freeze them.
1 lb = 1.5 cups cooked stems + 1 cup cooked leaves
1 lb = 4 cups raw stems + 5-6 cups raw leaves
Store in a cool, humid (but not wet) location. Store in burlap, brown paper, or perforated plastic bags away from light, in the coolest, non-refrigerated, and well-ventilated part of the house. Don’t store onions and potatoes together.
Red Norland Potatoes are a red-skinned, white flesh variety of potato. They are perfect for potato salads or just boiled and tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Corn was planted in NY state as early as 500 AD. There are hundreds of varieties of corn and they all orginated from Native American Indians who first starting cultivating corn 6000 years ago in Mexico.
Iowa is now the heart of the Corn Belt, with over half of their cultivated land producing corn. Corn is the largest crop in the US, as well as the most largely distributed crop in the world.
1 cup of corn has a whopping 606 calories! It also has 8 grams of fat, which is equivalent to a chicken drumstick or a cup of pinto beans. On a positive note, it has 16 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber. Corn is also a decent source of B6 and Iron.
Cutting kernels: An average ear of corn weighs from 10 to 14 ounces and yields about 1 cup of kernels. To remove them, with a large, sharp knife, cut off and discard the stem end of each ear down to the beginning of the kernels. Pull off and discard the husks and silks; rinse ears. Holding each ear upright, shear off the kernels close to the cob.
Corn should be cooked and eaten soon after picking for the best taste. As fresh corn ages it loses its sweet taste, its nutrients, and it becomes starchy and tough. After buying, wrap unhusked ears in a plastic bag and refrigerate until preparation time. Do not remove husks before storing fresh corn as the husks help retain freshness.
A 5 ounce serving has 60 calories. Onions contain vitamin A, vitamin B-complex, calcium, magnesium, potassium and a surprising amount of vitamin C. They also provide 2.8 grams of fiber, twice as much as a one-half cup serving of kidney beans and only half the calories.
Cipolini onions look like they are flattened onions and encased in a yellow thin papery skin. They have firm flesh that offers a sharp and deliciously unique flavor. Native to Italy, cipoline or cipollini onions are botanically the bulbs of a flowering plant. They are also known as the Italian spring onion.
To store, keep cool and dry.
Tomatoes are a fruit rather than a vegetable. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans eat more than 22 pounds of tomatoes every year. More than half this amount is eaten in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce.
1 cup of cherry tomatoes is about 27 calories. It has 4 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. It is a good source of vitamin C, A, and K. Tomatoes have of late been cited as an excellent source of antioxidants because of there high lycopene content. Lycopene has been proven to prevent and fight certain types of cancer.
NEVER REFRIGERATE FRESH TOMATOES! Cold temperatures make the flesh of a tomato pulpy and destroys the flavor. Always store tomatoes at room temperature stem-end up.
1 cup of chopped tomatoes has 32 calories. It has 2 grams each of protein and fiber. It is freakishly high in Vitamin A and C with 30% and 32% of your reccomended daily intake.
Tomatoes are members of the fruit family, but they are served and prepared as a vegetable.
Cancer Institute published a study that showed an association between consuming a diet rich in tomato-based foods and a decreased risk of prostate cancer. Tomatoes contain large amounts of an antioxidant called lycopene, which may be responsible for this possible positive effect. Tomato paste and sauces contain a greater amount of lycopene, because they are more concentrated than fresh tomatoes.
Store tomatoes at room temperature until they have fully ripened. Try to store tomatoes out of direct sunlight, because sunlight will cause them to ripen unevenly. If you must store them for a longer period of time, place them in the refrigerator. Chopped tomatoes can be frozen for use in sauces or other cooked dishes.
Freezing tomatoes is one of the simplest ways to preserve them. Rinse them, then spread out on a cookie sheet, and freeze overnight. When frozen, put them in a freezer bag and return to the freezer. To use, remove from bag and thaw. When thawed, slip the skins off, and use in your favorite recipes.