There’s Gold in Them Hills

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What in tarnation! Thar's Gold Nuggets in them thar’ TakeHome

boxes this week! For those getting the Veggie and Fruit mix you will

notice these little easy-peel mandarins nestled among the veggies. At

The FruitGuys we treasure all the various fruits over the seasons -

the Gold Nugget is the last lucky charm on the string of mandarins

that take us from November to June.

These Gold Nuggets are from Tangerine Man in Ojai, CA. The peel is

somewhat bumpy and fragrant and this little gem is seedless. This

fruit is “tree ripened” and that is not some special

add-on - The FruitGuys wants to tell you - all citrus is tree ripened.

The Gold Nugget (citrus reticulata) was crossbred at the University of

California Riverside, which is essentially the mecca of citrus

research and development. The parents of this hybrid are Kincy and

Wilking mandarins. The Kincy is a hybrid of the King and the Darcy

mandarin... does anyone else think citrus breeders just sit up in

trees thinking up name combinations?

If your Gold Nuggets make it past snack time it can also be used as a

refreshing addition to salad, in sections or as part of a salad

dressing. The essence of mandarins can be captured and used as an

ethereal element in baking. Simmer the peel and fruit for a few hours

to make a lovely mandarin syrup. The juice is also acidic enough to be

used as a marinade: combine with oil, honey, ginger, and spices on

vegetables or meat.

Mandarins like the Gold Nugget are cold pressed into essential oils

and used in aromatherapy for many ailments. The refreshing smell is

known to give pause to anxiety and grief and aide stomachaches.

Fab Favas

This week in your TakeHome box you’ll find Fava Beans (Vicia

faba). The Fava Bean has been around for a long time, reportedly as

far back as the Egyptian pharaohs. Its plant produces a white flower

with a single black mark on it. The Romans believed the mark came from

the finger of the lord of the underworld. They served it at funeral

banquets. In Sicily in the Middle Ages it was used as fodder for

livestock until a terrible famine when it was the only crop that would

grow. Then it became known as the “lucky bean;” a Fava

Bean in a coin purse means the bearer will never be out of money.

Also known as “horse bean” or “broad

bean,” the Fava Bean is also used dried and even ground, as it

is in some middle-eastern recipes for falafel. But to appreciate its

rich flavor, the Fava Bean is best enjoyed straight from the field.

Farmers like our friends at ALBA who grew this week’s

super-hero legume certainly know the blessings of favas—and

not just as food. The Fava Bean is also grown to put nutrients back

into the soil. Fava, like other members of the vetch family, are

nitrogen fixers. When a Fava Bean plant is uprooted the little power

packets of nitrogen can actually be seen clinging to the roots. They

have loads of Folate, Thiamine, and protein. They also contain L-dopa,

a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine, which has been shown to

help Parkinson’s Disease. If you are on any medication for

Parkinson’s Disease, you should check with your doctor before

eating them to be on the safe side.

To get at these morsels, split the pods open and remove the beans. The

pods are inedible. It is personal preference as to whether to remove

the pale green outer skins, but they are pretty thick. To remove the

skins, blanch in boiling water for one minute and then rinse in cold

water. Slip off the skins and then finishing by boiling or steaming

until tender (approx. 2 - 5 minutes). Dress with good extra virgin

olive oil, salt and some grated Pecorino cheese or just lemon juice.

They are well worth the effort to prepare them!

 

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