Is It Fresh? - Stevie's Crazy Kitchen Blog at - 241135

Stevie's Crazy Kitchen

Is It Fresh? 
Jun. 24, 2011 11:50 pm 
Updated: Jun. 29, 2011 12:33 pm
I've known for years that when choosing a watermelon, you give it a good "thump," but what it's supposed to sound like when ripe escapes me...

I did however read an article in our newspaper FOOD section a week or more ago, that the "squeeze" test may result only in bruised fruit.  The reporter's opinion is that it's best to give it a "sniff" test...  If it smells heavenly, it will taste great... if it has no smell, it will have no flavor.  I do believe that I'll adopt this rule of thumb.  Well, for the summer, at least!

Just this afternoon, I bit into a nectarine, which smelled great, but actually had a spot on one side that was hard as a rock!  Nor did it taste as I had expected... save the other one for later days, I guess, as it has no aroma to speak of at all.  The same applies to a honeydew melon I picked up weeks ago, and left on the counter ignored for at least two weeks...  When I cut it up, I was disappointed.  Perhaps it's just too early in the season?  I doubt it...  I presume that the groceries want "fresh" fruit, rather than "perfectly ripe," so as not to have it all rot while on the display! 

While I say that it may be too early in the season, we are, afterall, close to California... I can only expect that their growing season begins much earlier than in the midwest!  Unless of course, the fruit is coming from Chile... 

I'm also reading in the "food" section about Farmer's Markets springing up around town, and farmers selling their locally grown... but then, there are the restaurants, who seem to gobble up the best of the best!  Also, by the time I'm up, and get my heart pumping, they all seem to be closing up for the week!  Alas, my loss, perhaps. 

Today's trip to Costco, which was unusual in one aspect... I only went a few weeks ago (and normally go only every 4-6 weeks.)  Besides a couple of necessities, I did pick up a few items that I won't need for a week or longer... I just decided to be prepared.  I also picked up a couple items for a friend, tho his sister had asked for marischino cherries... could I find them?  Not only were they not in the area that I thought they were in, they hadn't been moved... I checked out the same area at least twice... maybe three times!  Cashier said he'd not seen any in the store for some time...  Sorry, Rose!  I did pick myself up a 3lb bag of colombian coffee beans for $15-16!  Again, thinking that I might run out, before I really need to return!

I've managed to "cook" all week using only the toaster oven, and/or micro, which suits me just fine!  This whole "cook enough for two extra meals" idea seems to be working.  Last time I boiled spuds, I made mashed taters, again served leftover + a few more from the "batch," for meal 2, and just tonight made the remaining into tater salad, enough to last for 1-2 more meals!  Add the tater salad to the pork chops, baked with bbq sauce, and a salad that I made with broccoli as a start...  Lightly steamed it, dropped it into an ice bath, drained, adding halved cherry tomatoes, and half a jar of marinated artichoke hearts.  Finished it off with a dressing of bottled Italian...  I found it to be rather boring, and may well add some "Mrs Dash" seasoning...  At least the broccoli was "used up" before it went all "sideways!"  Oooh... I could give it a good dose of "McCormick" salad supreme seasoning... guess I' must taste each to decide!  I really had thought that the artichokes and Ital. dressing would have given it some zip... guess I was wrong!

So, sorry that CrazyCook has been absent a while, but have been absorbed in other efforts, and having not really done much cooking, haven't felt that I've anything worthwhile to share!

Till next time, be healthy, be happy, and be ????  "Crazy" works best for me!
Jun. 25, 2011 4:35 am
I have come to believe that real ripe fruit are not to be had in any market (including farmers markets) at any time. All seem to be in an unripe condition. The only excuse for it must be as you have said, to extend it's shelf life. ... Restaurants will get the best ripened food but they often have an arrangement with a grower or wholesaler that caters only to restaurants. The ripened naturally produce is gobbled up by the processors. It is harvested all at one time and processed immediately into frozen or canned offerings. We must buy the less than ripe produce and find our own means of ripening it or find a grower that sells to individuals.
Jun. 25, 2011 8:24 am
hey Stevie,glad you talked about the fruit ...i to never know why i am thumping that melon ...tells me nothing hope you are doing well...i haven't been here much lately kind to your self...judy
Jun. 25, 2011 6:36 pm
Thanks for stopping in, Mike and Judy... always nice to hear from a friend! I truly have come to believe that the ONLY way to get "fresh" anything that's worth a d&&m is grow it yourself... not an easy task here in the desert! Keep thumping those melons, Judy!
Jun. 29, 2011 12:33 pm
Bought some apricots at Costco in a plastic container made so as not to bruise the fruit. They needn't have worried--the fruit is so hard that it has no chance of being bruised. Guess I'll stew it and make preserves. Unfortunately, with the wrapping, I had no way to sniff, which has been the way I've always determined the freshness and ripeness of most fruits. If you thump a ripe watermelon in several places with your knuckle, or sharply flip your middle finger against it, using your thumb as the power leverage, you should hear a hollow sound, compared to the sounds made by thumping the unripe ones. It simply takes experience to recognize the difference. Muskmelons usually don't need to be thumped, although thumping works with them. They are so fragrant when ripe, or sour-smelling when too-far gone, that sniffing the stem end will pretty well indicate what they're going to taste like. I think the problem with the flat tasting and never ripening fruits lies in the hybrid engineering of the seeds. Growing your own is a good alternative, especially if you test your soil, fertilize naturally, supplement the soil where necessary, and find heirloom seeds. Wouldn't hurt to pray for our national food supply, either!
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Stevie crazycook

Home Town
Lansing, Michigan, USA
Living In
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Member Since
Feb. 2008

Cooking Level

Quilting, Gardening, Music

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About Me
Started cooking many years ago, and learned as I went. First meal may have been "steak & chips" at age 15, in Birmingham England, where I lived for several years. Mostly grew up in MI, transplanted to the desert 30yrs ago, or so. Favorite cookbook is "Better Homes", also enjoy "Great British Cooking, a well kept secret." Hesitate to call myself "expert," but friends do rave...
My favorite things to cook
Italian has been my "specialty" for some time, and my "signature" meal is Lasagne, salad, garlic bread, which I first made 20yrs ago... from SCRATCH, very first time I made it. (Never again, folks...) Now start with a big jar of sauce!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanks to my heritage, I have enjoyed trying foods from different cultures. We still have beer battered fish, and chips of course; ground meat dishes often, chicken occasionally, pork too. I would love to submit a bean dip recipe, however, my ex who gave me the original has passed, and I have no way to verify that it didn't come from another source! I also enjoy British cooking (with a few yankee twists) and once made Plum puddings, also known as Christmas puddings, as far as I know... what an ordeal that was, but well worth the effort. Today, there is mail order!
My cooking triumphs
Greatest triumph was not too long ago, when I held a sit down dinner for 12, Lasagne being the entree. It was a fund raiser I chose to sponsor, and am proud to say that "we" raised over $1000 from that meal alone, minimum donation being $25. All proceeds collected were donated; my partner and I provided the meal and beverages.
My cooking tragedies
MEATLOAF of all things! Went through a stage of "winging" it each time, and I pulled one after another out of the oven that were almost unedible. As yet, not too big on baking... no sweet tooth here! Have dabbled, but find doughs/pastries especially difficult, perhaps as it's 90 degrees in my kitchen much of the year.
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