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clementines (and winter fruit)

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Sharon A Jan 10, 2000 07:17 PM

These have become my fruit mainstay for the winter months, and I know lots of people in the NY area who feel the same. But I hear that clementines are hard to come by in other parts of the country--true? What fruit do you eat in the winter?

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    j gold RE: Sharon A Jan 10, 2000 08:10 PM

    Personally, as a new New Yorker, I really miss the splendid clementine tree that I had in my California back yard, which got sweeter as the season got longer until there was only the syrupy, sunbleached fruit left in the very crown of the tree. I just can't bring myself to pay $6 for a box of that dessicated fruit from Morocco. But I digress...

    1 Reply
    1. re: j gold
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      Val G RE: j gold Jan 10, 2000 09:31 PM

      Red grapefruit from Texas are my favorite. They are the sweetest. My in-laws mail them to us.

      I also like to make fresh lemonade in the winter. Warm or cold.

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      Allan Evans RE: Sharon A Jan 10, 2000 10:53 PM

      We are mad for ripe persimmons, the last fruit of the year. Make sure they are soft to the touch and cut them horizontally.

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        Jim Dixon RE: Sharon A Jan 11, 2000 12:05 PM

        For me, winter fruit means pears. Here in the Pacific Northwest we get a lot of nice local fruit, including comice from Oregon's Rogue Valley (what Harry & David sell at exorbitant prices as Royal Riveria) that have an amazing perfumy aroma and an incredible sweet flavor. The trick is eating them at exactly the right moment, when they're barely soft and full of juice. Too early and they're hard and flavorless, too late and they turn to mush.

        We also get bosc, bartlet, and anjou, the last two in both red and "green," which means anything from green apple green to pale yellow with a rosy blush. The bosc stay firm and are good for poaching as well as eating out of hand.

        A good pear, a wedge of stinky, blue-veined cheese, and a glass of Port make Oregon's wet winter survivable.

        Link: http://www.realgoodfood.com/

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          Liza RE: Sharon A Jan 11, 2000 12:16 PM

          I've just gotten hooked on Fuji apples, which I get at the Tribeca farmers market on Saturdays. It's now an all year market, but only the fruit people, the bread guy - have you tried the rye?, and the rugelach guy until spring. Find great bite and mouth feel with the Fujis.
          Lunch time, I snack on endamame's from the take out sushi next door. $1.59 buys me lots of protein and fun with my food, popping the beans from their pods.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Liza
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            Sue RE: Liza Jan 11, 2000 12:27 PM

            I love edamame, and I now buy it frozen, by the bag, at a Japanese grocery store on E 41st between Fifth and Madison. (It's under scafolding, so the entry's sort of hard to spot.) They sell a 1-lb. bag for about $1.59, and the beans take 5 minutes to cook. Yum!

            This store also stocks a lot of well-priced sushi ingredients and Japanese rice-cracker snack mixes.

            1. re: Sue
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              Veggie Friend RE: Sue Jan 11, 2000 02:24 PM

              I'm sure there are lots of places that sell edamame (heck, today even the salad bar at work had shelled soy beans), but MU and I get ours frozen from Trader Joe's in Westchester or in Rockland at the truly weird Foodworld in Tappan (Rte. 303).

              Food world used to be an IGA, but has been transformed by Korean ownership into a cross between a slightly run-down American-style supermarket and a well stocked asian grocery (mostly Korean and Japanese items). The produce varies in quality (some things are pretty worn out) but there is a very nice variety of stuff by Rockland County standards. Prices vary from cheap to wildly overpriced. I suppose they have a somewhat captive market and can jack prices up accordingly -- for example, my favorite ginger candy that is about $1.50 in chinatown for a big bag is something like $3.00 for a smaller one at Foodworld. As I recall, the edamame are $1.59. They're $1.39 at Trader Joe's.

              Also, one of our cats is crazy about edamame. He loves them so much that we have to put the shells in a seald bag or he digs though the trash to get at them!

              VF

              1. re: Veggie Friend
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                Liza RE: Veggie Friend Jan 11, 2000 03:11 PM

                Have you been to Yao-Han in Edgewater? Is Foodworld anything like it? I managed to find raw monkfish liver there, of course presented beautifully. Yao-han isn't great on produce, but their fish is top.
                That's some smart lucky cat you have. In the summer, one of the farmers at the local market had fresh edamame and it sold so I'm hoping for more come spring and summer.

                1. re: Liza
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                  Veggie Friend RE: Liza Jan 11, 2000 08:33 PM

                  Yaohan is very nice, and clean, and pretty. Foodworld is vaguely smelly and the floors look a little dirty. Fruit is on display until it starts to get funky, and is never individually wrapped in paper or foam. But as MU just pointed out to me (she's reading over my shoulder) you can find sesame leaves there, and the napa was very fresh the last time we were there. At least 4 kinds of radishes too. I dunno, I like it because it seems like an adventure. I don't know about the fish or other meat -- not my scene. Basically, though, it seems like the Korean stuff is pretty fresh and appealing.

                  Also, practically everything is overpriced at Yeaohan, but it seems like it's mostly the Japanese food that is overpriced at Foodworld; the Korean items seemed a lot more reasonable. Go figure.

                  VF

                  1. re: Veggie Friend
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                    nlb RE: Veggie Friend Jan 18, 2000 12:34 PM

                    FWIW, my grandparents swear by the fish at foodworld. And, since normally anything that has not been certified 100% sterile etc. etc. crosses not their lips, I have to assume that the fish actually is good for them to overlook fw's grime.

            2. re: Liza
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              pat hammond RE: Liza Jan 11, 2000 01:09 PM

              When we begin to get a large assortment of apple varieties at our St. Louis supermarket, I can't wait for the Empire apples. Of course, that's the apple from the Empire State. The first time they appear I only buy a few. The flavor just isn't quite right. But the second time around I buy lots and continue to until once again the flavor and texture fall off again.
              It's a wonderful apple. pat

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              jonathan sibley RE: Sharon A Jan 18, 2000 05:41 PM

              Plenty of clementines available in Montclair, NJ, but I'm not sure how long they've been off their trees, and how they've been stored. Better than nothing, but they could certainly be a little fresher.

              I've ordered some Honeybell Tangelos from Florida for the end of the month, and will report back on how that goes.

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                Jim Leff RE: Sharon A Jan 18, 2000 06:10 PM

                FWIW, I've been finding lots of small but very juicy and intense California navel oranges priced VERY cheaply here in Queens. They juice well.

                you know, this might be a cool thing...produce reports!
                Everybody, feel free to start threads if you find that something is running particularly well lately. All for the greater chow good of us all...

                ciao

                6 Replies
                1. re: Jim Leff
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                  Jim Dorsch RE: Jim Leff Jan 19, 2000 12:15 AM

                  For the first time in about two years, I'm finding good prices on navels. About time! I love navel oranges in the winter. Well, I love 'em all the time, but they seem to be more available in the winter. Summer is mangoes and peaches, fall is apples, and winter is oranges. And I love bananas all the time. Speaking of which, I read that there are dozens of varieties of bananas, but we seem to get only one type in the US. Plus plantains, which I imagine are related.

                  1. re: Jim Dorsch
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                    Jim Leff RE: Jim Dorsch Jan 19, 2000 12:23 AM

                    "I read that there are dozens of varieties of bananas, but we seem to get only one type in the US"

                    I may be wrong, but my understanding is that Chiquita is a specific and unique type of banana. Their bananas certainly taste better than most others, though there are some nasty corporate stories there that might render their products less savory for some...

                    ciao

                    1. re: Jim Leff
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                      Jeremy Osner RE: Jim Leff Jan 19, 2000 02:42 PM

                      The fruit stand on the SE corner of Broadway and Houston sometimes (usually in the late summer/ early fall) has miniature red bananas that taste wonderful.

                      1. re: Jeremy Osner
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                        Barb H. RE: Jeremy Osner Jan 20, 2000 08:55 AM

                        I've seen miniature red and yellow bananas all over NYC at various times (my local Pathmark had the red ones last weekend), most often in health food stores or the organic sections of the supermarket). I find it takes a while for the reds to soften/ripen enough, but when they do they are are a real treat-- moist and sweet with a little more "tooth" and a more delicate flavor than the regular big yellows. The mini-yellows are also good, but are not as different as the reds (to be expected, I guess), nor do they take as long to ripen.

                        1. re: Barb H.
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                          Sharon A RE: Barb H. Jan 20, 2000 09:03 AM

                          I've been told that the little yellow ones are really the same as the usual big yellows, just--well--smaller. Engineered to fit into lunchboxes.

                          Whenever I've traveled in the tropics, I've been stunned by the number of banana types--sizes, shapes, colors we never see here, each with its own delicious difference. We don't even see a fraction of the possibilities up here in NY.

                          1. re: Sharon A
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                            Jim Dorsch RE: Sharon A Jan 20, 2000 10:50 AM

                            I have seen the red bananas, now that you mention it. I'll give them a whirl next time I see them.

                            On a historical tangent, I read in John Reader's recent book on Africa that the introduction of the banana to Africa radically changed life there, because it was very easy to grow, thus providing abundant food and (if I understand correctly) reducing stress, which was a factor in elevating the birth rate. I'm pretty new to African studies; I'm sure it's more complex than I say here.

                            It's interesting how life on our different continents is so interrelated and dependent on explorers, politicians, and other people from areas far removed.

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