Megan Saynisch is cook, gardener, culinary anthropologist and writer living in Brooklyn with her husband and young son. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, she is the creator of the blog Brooklynfarmhouse.com.
Butter and lard, two of the most prevalent fats used cooking since the domestication of sheep, goats, cattle and pigs thousands of years ago, are unmatched in flavor and texture. It's actually super easy to make your own butter, and play around with lard for delicious results at home!
Three billion people rely upon rice as their staple food, and it is the primary source of one quarter of the world's per capita energy needs. Rice's captivating history is tied to ancient global trade routes and, eventually, to the slave trade. Read more about and learn how to cook this fascinating grain!
Everything is adorable about kumquats. From their diminutive size to their cheery color, and even their name - all as cute as a button, and a welcome sight in the dead of winter when there is little fun to be had at the market. Pick up a basket of these wee fruit and get cooking.
Jicamas look like giant, round potatoes, with light brown, almost flaky skin. Peel the skin off to reveal a creamy white interior, with crispy flesh that has the same texture as an apple or pear, crossed with a potato - and it's delicious.
The coconut palm is incredibly important as a foodstuff across the globe. From the coconut fiber that lines your window box planters to the coconut milk in your curry and coconut water in your fridge, the coconut palm, aptly called "The Tree of Life" for its usefulness, is a truly remarkable plant.
Like salt and black pepper, you probably reach for cooking oil for just about every meal you make. But have you ever wondered about the history of your canola oil, or what makes fancy extra virgin olive oil so expensive? Or what the heck margarine really is? Read on for all of this and more.
You're unlikely to find cardoons at your local grocery store, but check farmers' markets in late fall and you might get lucky. Like a cross between artichokes and celery, these spiky, silvery stalks can add delicious new flavor to old recipes, though you may want to wear gloves!
If there's a beverage demarking Fall, it's cider. Hard cider, sweet cider, warm cider in one hand with a fresh apple cider doughnut in the other, yum! Explore cider this season with the many recipes - and historical tidbits - the drink has to offer.
What do you do with walnuts? Crack them open to crumble over your salad or sweet potatoes, enjoy them straight from the shell as a healthy snack or even make a full meal of various crunchy varieties.
When you think of avocados, you might think of guacamole, and we get it! The fruit is quite a nutritional powerhouse, incredible in savory dishes and a huge hit in desserts around the world. From dips and spreads to ice cream and milkshakes, avocados bring a special creamy satisfaction to plenty of other yummy concoctions.
Peanuts are an incredible food. This South American native legume has traveled the world to become a household treat on almost every continent, from the peanut flare in Thai cuisine to the humble PB&J in North America. Exploring the many roles of the peanut may just be the food adventure for you this season!
Honey - that golden syrup we drizzle on toast and stir into tea - is created by the busy little bees that pollinate so many of our crops. Read on to learn about how those buzzing insects produce honey and how honey plays into our history and into so many sweet and savory delights.
If you haven't tried ground cherries, you're not alone. These bright yellow-orange beauties wrapped in a papery husk are a niche fruit in the US. Once enjoyed by Native Americans, and later by early American settlers, the sweet ground cherry is under-appreciated today.
Blooming lavender fills summer air with a voluptuous, calming fragrance, an aroma often found in perfumes, lotions and soaps - but this herb is more than an olfactory delight. Lavender can make a splash at the kitchen table in beverages, jams and even as seasoning on meats. Take a deep breath and dive into cooking with lavender.
Virtually impossible to find in your local grocery store, lamb's quarters are a summer treat you can actually forage for yourself almost anywhere else. Once you know what to look for (there are several non-edible lamb's quarters look-alikes), you'll probably even find this hearty green weed springing up right in your backyard!
Tart, succulent purslane can be used like any green veggie. While many curse this juicy green as a weed, adding purslane to your kitchen arsenal brings a slightly tart and lemony flavor to salads, sauces, stews and more - perfect for the start of summer.