In store now: Melons

MelonsThere’s not a cloud in the sky (for the minute) and we think melons help soak in those Springy, warm feelings just fine. Available in the produce department now, here’s a fine looking group for your tasting pleasure:

  1. Personal watermelon (with seeds)- $1.19/pound
  2. Trace Me seedless personal watermelon- $1.19/pound
  3. Galia melon- $2.19/pound (a hybrid melon that looks like a cantaloupe on the outside and a honeydew on the inside, very sweet)
  4. Crenshaw melon- $3.49/pound- (another hybrid melon with a sweet orange flesh)
  5. Honeydew melon- $1.99/pound
  6. Charentais melon- $1.99/pound (French cantaloupe)

Let’s Toast: Fresh Strawberry Sparkler

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This tasty cocktail recipe uses freshly pureed strawberries to bring out the flavors of the season. We’ve had great deals on organic strawberries lately, so be sure to stop in and pick up a container!
To make the cocktail you will need:

2 cups hulled strawberries
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup orange juice
1 bottle chilled Prosecco or other dry sparkling wine
1 orange, sliced into rounds
In a blender, puree 2 cups hulled and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. In a pitcher, combine strawberry puree, cup 1 bottle chilled or other dry sparkling wine, and 1 sliced into rounds, and stir gently.

Egg Dyeing with Natural Dyes

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Egg dyeing is a ton of fun for the whole family, and now with Natural Egg Dye it’s safe too! Made from veggies, fruits and herbs the package of four dyes costs $9.99 in the Wellness Department at the Co-op.
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Simply mix the powdered dye with a 1/2 cup of hot water, let eggs soak for 10-20 minutes (depending on the intensity you’re after), then let dry, hide, find and enjoy!
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How-To: Simple Strawberry Jam

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Spring has officially arrived on the Palouse and we’re finally starting to thaw! To celebrate the change in seasons, our Produce manager, Kyle, was able to procure a smokin’ deal on organic strawberries. They are currently on sale for $3.99 per pound and are available until we sell out. Now, we’re all for eating strawberries as they come, cut up in yogurt or layered in shortcake, but we also love a sweet and simple jam layered on freshly baked Co-op bread. To make the jam you will need:

2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled
4 cups of sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, crush strawberries in batches until you have 4 cups of mashed berries. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees, about 10-15 minutes.

Test for jelling: Place three small plates in the freezer. After about 10 minutes of boiling, place a teaspoon of the liquid onto the cold plate. If it doesn’t run back together when you draw a line through it with your finger, it’s ready!

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 Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch headspace, and seal. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, there’s no need to process it. Simply keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

 

 

Winter Citrus Salad

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While it’s common to think of citrus as a summertime treat (who doesn’t love ice cold lemonade on a hot day?), citrus is actually at its prime in the winter. So, how about we celebrate the four new inches of snow n the ground with a recipe for this bright and flavorful citrus salad?
To make the salad you will need:

1 Cara Cara orange
1 Blood orange
1 Honeygold grapefruit
1 Pink grapefruit
2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
 Slice ends off of all citrus. With the fruit standing up on a cut end, cut down the sides of each fruit to remove the skin. Slice citrus in 1/4 inch think pieces. Arrange on a platter. Drizzle honey over fruit. Sprinkle feta cheese and rosemary over the top. Enjoy!
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All About Citrus

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Health Benefits of Citrus: Not only vibrant and pleasing to the eye, citrus has been adding nutritional benefits to diets for centuries. Mostly known for its wealth of vitamin C, citrus is loaded with plenty of other dietary advantages as well. The vitamin C available in citrus allows for iron absorption from other foods consumed. Citrus is also a great source of soluble fiber, so it’s a great option for reducing spikes in blood sugar levels. With their high levels of antioxidants, citrus fruits are a great at reducing inflammation. To be sure to enjoy the most benefits of citrus, opt for eating the whole fruit, rather than just drinking juice.

 1.      Cara Cara Orange: Characterized by pinkish flesh, Cara Cara oranges are part of the navel family. They are seedless, low in acidity and high in sweetness and juice. People often note how the tanginess is similar to that of cranberries. Serve as wedges or use the juice to make a vinaigrette.

2.      Valencia Orange: Named for the city in Spain, Valencia oranges are characterized by their sweet flavor and bright colored juice that other citrus fruits don’t have. Because of the brightness of their juice, Valencia oranges are usually used to make bottled juices available in grocery stores.

3.      Meyer Lemon: Meyer lemons, with their soft skin, are sweeter and less acidic than other lemons. The mild sweetness comes from a bit of mandarin orange in their family tree. Meyer lemons make extremely flavorful lemonade, salad dressings, lemon bars and lemon curd.

4.      Murcott Tangerine: Tangerines are marked by their bright orange skin and their smaller size. They are most often peeled and eaten out of hand, but also make a great addition to a fresh salad.

5.      Minneola Tangelo: Minneola Tangelos are a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. They are characterized by their bell shape and mildly sweet and tart flavor. They have a reddish-orange skin which is easy to peel and are seedless, making them great to cook with. Because of their sweetness they made a great addition to baked goods like cakes and scones.

6.      Red Grapefruit: Red grapefruits are both sweet and tart and are a great way to start the day. They get their vibrant color from the antioxidant lycopene which is great cardiovascular health. Enjoy grapefruits by juicing them (but be aware of any effect it may have on medications) or by eating their segments.

7.      Navel Orange: Navel oranges can be easily spotted by the button formation on the opposite side of the stem. They are a seedless variety of orange and are typically very juicy. They make a great addition to salads and make great jam or marmalade.

8.      Blood Orange: Blood oranges, named for their deep red flesh, have thin skin, usually with deep in orange color or with hints of red. Because their flavor is deep and their color is so enticing they are great for cocktails, like mimosas, which show off their jewel-like tones.

Wine, Cheese + Chocolate Pairings, Part 2

If you find yourself hopelessly wandering around the wine section trying to figure out what will go perfectly with the cheese and chocolate in your cart, then this two part guide is for you. Be sure to check out part one.
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Featured left to right: rosé, pecorino, milk chocolate
Although the color is described as sweet, rosé is typically described as dry (the opposite of sweet). The color of rosé is developed from the juice of white grapes and the skins of their red counterparts. This often makes for a more subtle flavor which pairs well with the saltiness and nuttiness of a pecorino cheese, made from sheep’s milk. Because of the mild and dry flavor of a rose, a sweeter, creamy milk chocolate makes a tasty companion.

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Featured from left to right: Syrah, truffle sea-salt cheddar, dark chocolate with espresso beans
Syrah is a fuller-bodied dark red wine that starts out with deep fruity flavors and often tapers to peppery notes. This flavor profile makes a perfect match for the sharpness of an aged cheddar, especially the one pictured, with truffle and sea salt. The depth of flavor in syrah stands up well to the bitterness of dark chocolate with espresso beans in it.

RieslingGoudaCollageFeatured from left to right: Riesling, Gouda, chocolate with caramel and sea salt
Riesling, a sweeter white wine, is known for its notes of citrus, apricot and honey. It’s these flavors that pair nicely with the bold, buttery flavor of Gouda- smoked or not. A sweet Riesling is also an equal match for a milky chocolate with caramel, toffee and sea salt.

Wine, Cheese + Chocolate Pairings, Part 1

If you find yourself hopelessly wandering around the wine section trying to figure out what will go perfectly with the cheese and chocolate in your cart, then this two part guide is for you.
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Featured from left to right: prosecco, triple creme brie, dark chocolate with hazelnut + currant
Prosecco, a nice alternative to champagne, pairs well with the luxurious texture and high butterfat content of a triple creme brie. The bubbles in prosecco offer a nice refreshing balance to the creamy texture of brie and the sweet and salty flavor and crunchy texture of a chocolate loaded with fruit and nuts.

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Featured from left to right: cabernet sauvignon, blue cheese, 85% dark chocolate
This pairing is not for the faint of heart- or taste. These flavors are bold and complement each other well. The salt and tang of a blue cheese needs something more full-bodied to stand up to its pungent flavor. Enter cabernet sauvignon. Drinkers of cabernet sauvignon often note the flavors of dark fruit, oak and smoke all of which tame the strength of blue cheeses and super-dark chocolate. The red wine and dark chocolate also pack a one-two punch of antioxidants.

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Featured from left to right: chardonnay, plain goat cheese, white chocolate with strawberries
Often with citric notes and crisp flavor, a chardonnay balances well with the herbal and tangy flavors of chevre. The lightness of the chardonnay is also a perfect match for a fruity and buttery white chocolate, which can be overwhelming with sweeter wines.

2 Ways to Preserve Your Valentine’s Day Flowers

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We know there are several schools of thought about buying flowers to show your love. We know that some of you think they’re already half-dead when they make it into your home (nothing says “I love you” more than something half-dead, right?) and some of you think there’s nothing more beautiful than a vase of fresh flowers to liven up your living space. This post is designed for both the flower nay-sayers and the petal pushers. Here are a few ways to preserve your flowers:

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We know you want to enjoy your flowers for as long as possible before preserving them, so here are a couple tips:

  • Cut stems at an angle to give them the best chance to take up water. Cut them about 3/4″ every couple days.
  • Add a couple tablespoons of white vinegar to the water to give bacteria a harder time to grow.
  • Change the water + vinegar every couple days.

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When you’ve enjoyed your fresh flowers for several days, it’s time to start thinking about their next incarnation. While you could add them to your compost heap, we have a couple of ideas about preserving them for the long haul. The first is to press them in a book. Be sure to pick a heavy book (a dictionary or, you know, Lord of the Rings). Pick a few blooms from your bouquet that are still healthy looking and blot them with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Place them between a couple pieces of paper inside the book and close. Wait a couple weeks and you’ll have beautifully preserved blooms that can be glued to paper and placed in a frame.

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Another option for preserving your flowers is to dry them. To dry them, take stems out of vase and  place them in small bunches. Tie the ends together with twine and hang them upside down from a hook, a bar, a nail or curtain rod. In a couple weeks, your flowers will be preserved and can be placed back in a vase.

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The Co-op will have your flower needs covered this Valentine’s Day with bouquets of mixed blooms and single-stem fair trade red roses available in our produce department.

Game Day with the Co-op: Beef + Bean Chili

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Now that it’s acting like winter again outside, we think the Co-op’s Beef and Bean chili would be a hearty addition to your game day menu. It’s full of local Country Natural Beef meat and veggies and will fill up a crowd without a ton of effort. To make the this chili you’ll need:
2 tablespoons safflower oil
2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 small yellow onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups frozen sweet corn
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups cooked pinto beans
2 cups cooked black beans
1 tablespoon beef bouillon
6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup potato starch

Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add all spices and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Add onions and bell pepper and continue to cook for 10 minutes or until veggies are soft. Mix beef bouillon with water. Add beans, tomatoes, salt pepper and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Mix potato starch with a little water to form a slurry and add it to the chili. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until thickened. Add corn and cook until heated, about 10 more minutes.