real food right now
Real Food Right Now and How to Cook it (#realfoodrightnow) is our weekly series on the ABCs and 123s of seasonal food.
We may think of it as a refreshing accompaniment to a slice of pizza (which it is!), but beer is so much more. As an agricultural product, requiring considerable resources for its production, and as a sustenance, beer has a significant impact on our food system.
Olives have long had a place in our kitchens and at our tables. To the Greeks and Romans, the olive wasn't just a source of food, but the fuel that lit their lamps and bolstered their economies. To this day, to figuratively extend the olive branch means to offer peace to your enemy. Learn more about the hearty olive, which not only tastes great but is good for you too!
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.
Salmon is an ancient creature that has sustained civilizations throughout the ages, but in just the past hundred-plus years, this majestic elder of the sea has been taken for granted, exploited, depleted and endangered. Whatever you know about salmon, there is more to the story.
There is perhaps no fish more prized, beloved, revered, fought over - or exploited - than salmon. In this special two-part series, we take a deeper look at what makes salmon tick, its current state of affairs and the future, with an emphasis on environmental highs and lows - and unknowns.
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.
Oregano and marjoram have a deeply entwined history. In fact, the name oregano is often used to refer to marjoram and vice versa. Confused? Don't be. We'll give you the scoop on these closely related herbs that bring a sweet and savory kick to meats and vegetables and why they're known as ancient symbols of love and happiness.
July and August are the peak season for plums in most parts of the country, and also the perfect time to sink your culinary teeth in this seasonal fruit. Try your hand at grilled plums, plum sauce or even plum schnapps this summer and rediscover this ancient delight.
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.
Papaya is a polarizing fruit. You either love the creamy cross between a mango and a squash or are totally grossed out by the flavor. It may not be the world's most popular tropical fruit, but it's definitely giving mango and pineapple a run for their money.
Snow peas and sugar snaps - is there a better snack to (healthily) satisfy what seems like a basic human need for crunchy foods? Their sweet, green pea-taste and super crisp texture are mighty fine on their own. Of course, they also taste great when tossed into a stir-fry, added to a salad or pickled in brine!
Happy birthday to us! A look back at the past two years in Real Food, our ongoing series on seasonal food, featuring cooking tips, nutritional profiles, historic and cultural background, and important information - including the environmental impact - about how each is cultivated.
Fresh tarragon is a delightful sign of spring slowly melting into summer. The herb has enlivened French cuisine for centuries, adding a sweet dimension to countless dishes. If you love licorice (and even if you don't), you are likely to enjoy a little taste of tarragon in your cooking.
If ramps can become an overnight produce sensation, why not chives? Chives are the next best mild onion-y thing -- and super easy to grow on your own. On top of that, you can enjoy chives well into the summer, when ramps will be a distant memory.
Mother Nature doesn't wait for us to get organized, and the nettle may be in the dappled limelight of a forest near you right now, but if you dally, poof (!) she'll be long gone. With the nettle, you're not just cooking in the season. You're cooking in the moment.