We'd wager that at some point in your life, probably when you were a little kid, you stood under an oak tree holding an acorn and looked up thinking, "that big tree came from this little thing?" You may be surprised to learn that for many cultures' ancestors, the acorn was more than just a symbol of the wonders of life - it was a major food staple.
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!
Celery is a ubiquitous ingredient in cooking, but tends to stay out of the spotlight. While you may recognize this fibrous snack from raw vegetable platters with dip, find out how celery has played many roles throughout history in cooking, medicine and even garnishing and starring in popular beverages.
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.
Are you ready to step up your wine game? In this Real Food overview, we'll touch on some familiar grapes and wines while providing references for further exploration. Most importantly, we'll look at the environmental impacts and sustainable potential of winemaking!
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!
Pears are often regarded as the "other" fruit, standing in the shadows of apples, but the fresh, floral pear is as easy to cultivate as an apple and just a versatile. Bite into a juicy pear, slice it up for your cheese plate, or cook it into a savory dish: the options with pears seem to be endless.
The well-stocked pantry of the modern age would do well to include quinoa, seed extraordinaire. A complete protein all its own packed with nutritional goodness, quinoa shows off its multi-talents from breakfast to dinner, a highly versatile ingredient on the plates of meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.
Shallots are delicious roasted, sautéed, fried and braised, but where they really shine is as an integral component of sauces, vinaigrettes and other dishes (even desserts!), that can benefit from their allium punch. Although they can be pricy, shallots add a little je ne sais quoi to so many dishes.
With over 4,000 varieties, the potato is a staple in cuisines around the world. It was also among the first vegetables to be intensively monocropped and served as a model for other crops. The common tuber is more exotic than you think!
Broccoli is a virtuous superfood, packed with disease-fighting antioxidants; on the other hand, it's the culinary equivalent of icky, especially when boiled to death. Given its nutritional prowess, broccoli deserves better than a pity party. If its cousin kale can get a sexy makeover, why not the tiny trees of the produce aisle? Let the reinvention begin!
Carrots are equally at home in sweet and savory dishes; they can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, fried and stir-fried, made into puddings, cakes and sweet treats and grated, puréed and grantinéed. So of course they are ubiquitous in so many cuisines: what's better than a sweet, crunchy and colorful food?
The national fruit of Japan, the autumnal hued persimmon still elicits head scratches on our side of the world. (It looks like a tomato! How do I eat it?) Add in a sometimes astringent, even bitter flavor and you've got a recipe for confusion. Are we missing out on a tasty treat? In a word, yes.