Farmer’s Markets: How To Select Avocados (and Make Chocolate Mousse!)
Posted on December 03 2010 | (7) Comments
Category:Raw Snacks and Desserts
Farmer's markets were created to give local farmers an opportunity to sell directly to the public, and to provide the public with an opportunity to 'meet the producer.' They are springing up in American cities everywhere as people have become more interested in eating fresh items from local sources, as well as supporting local vendors.
As the oldest continually operating farmers' market in the nation, Pike Place Market attracts farmers from all over Washington state-from small, intensive plots to hundreds of expansive acres. In San Francisco, the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, is where some of San Francisco's best known chefs and most famous farmers can be found. And in New York City, the Union Square Farmer's Market is a hub of activity, where people gather to shop, eat, and learn.
Farmers are justifiably proud of the hard work they do to bring their fresh produce to market. Most love the opportunity to share their stories and truly enjoy interacting with customers. So if you haven't visited a farmer's market in your area, I encourage you to go.
Depending on where you live, farmers markets may be held once, twice, or even three times a week. Some are indoors and some are outdoors. And depending on the climate, some are held year-round.
If you don't have ready access to a farmer's market, there's plenty of information to be obtained at your local supermarket. Get to know the manager of the produce department. Most people love to share their knowledge, and managers, in particular, will be proud to tell you why they items they're selected for their shelves and display racks are the best.
The manager will be happy to give you his/her secrets for picking the freshest, most flavorful items. And you can also find out how to avoid foods that are past their prime or were picked and shipped before they reached their full flavor potential.
I live in California where avocados are an abundant and scrumptious local ingredient. So I'd like to be your 'farmer' today and share my best tips for selecting ripe avocados.
The best way to tell if an avocado is ripe is to gently squeeze it in the palm of your hand. An avocado that's ready to eat will feel firm, yet will yield to gentle pressure. Don't let the color of the avocado be your guide. Although the Hass avocado turns dark green or black as it ripens, other varieties (such as Florida avocados) retain their light-green skin even when ripe.
Ripe avocados can be refrigerated until you're ready to use them, but not for more than two or three days. Be sure to avoid fruit with dark blemishes on the skin or over soft fruit as these are signs that the avocado is over-ripe...and that translates into an unpleasant taste and texture.
Avocado is a key ingredient in many raw food dishes. It's the star of the Guacamole recipe in Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People. It's also the 'secret ingredient' that you can use instead of butter, cream, and eggs in a rich French dessert that's velvety smooth and delicious...
Click here for my Chocolate Mousse recipe.