Saturday, August 8, 2009

Purple Is Not Just for Barney

I promise--I did not Photoshop this picture to get the purple hue you see here. This head of cauliflower is truly purple.

It was the last head of purple cauliflower the farmer had at today's farmer's market in downtown Bloomington. I try to get to the farmer's market every Saturday morning to pick up organic meats, produce, and herbs. I couldn't believe how beautiful this cauliflower was, and decided to try it.

The coloring comes from anthocyanins, phytochemicals responsible for the purplish color in cabbage, leaves, and other vegetation; this cauliflower variety is richer in antioxidants than its white counterpart. The color is a little off-putting, but the farmer assured me that it takes just like "regular" cauliflower. I will cook it up tomorrow and then let you know what I discover.

In addition to the cauliflower, I purchased a 5-lb. bag of sweet walla walla onions, more green and chocolate beauty peppers, some green onions, radicchio, red-leaf lettuce, dill, cilantro, and chicken drumsticks--all chemical-free. I also picked up a 3-lb bag of hard red winter wheat berries. I had no idea what to do with them, but the farmer said I could grind them to make my own wheat (although I do not yet have a flour mill, although I'm looking for a reasonably priced one) or could soak, cook, and eat them like hot cereal. I found a couple of recipes online that use red winter wheat berries, so I will soon give those a try.

My goal with farmer's market food is not only to eat fresh healthier, chemical-free produce now, but I've started freezing the produce so I'll have almost-fresh, healthier, chemical-free produce over the winter. Today I managed to chop and freeze the green onions (about 1 1/2 cups, separated into 1/2-cup packages) and green and chocolate beauty peppers (about 5 cups total, separated into 1/2-cup packages). I also baked two loaves of zucchini bread (which won't make it to the freezer) and am in the process of shredding some more zucchini and also chopping some zucchini for winter soups. The cucumbers I'll throw in the refrigerator for future bread-and-butter pickles and perhaps even freezer dill pickles (I just found a recipe).

Tomorrow I'll tackle chopping the walla walla onions. I'm not sure how powerful they'll be--today's green onions were powerful enough to get my eyes burning and tearing--but I'll manage somehow. Come winter, it will be a delight not to have to chop any onions--just open the Ziploc bag and pour!

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