Fruit

A Sweet Note Played on the Limoncello: Limoncello Recipe

One of the best parts of January is avoiding the cold by staying in and working on DIY projects. One classic seasonal concoction is homemade limoncello. With some delicious Sorrento lemons and this easy recipe by Wine & Spirits Manager Sam Kling, you can be extra authentic with this Italian classic!

  • Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from a dozen Sorrento lemons. Try to avoid as much of the white pith as possible. Scrape off any pith you do get with a paring knife.
  • Add the peels to a quart jar and cover with a bottle of vodka, like Albany Distilling Co.’s ALB Vodka. Let that steep for two weeks.
  • A day before the two weeks are up, peel 6 more lemons. Add the peels to a bowl and cover with a pound of sugar, allowing the citrus oils to infuse with the sugar overnight (cover with plastic wrap or similar).
  • The next day, add the sugar and lemon peels to 2 1/2 cups of water and simmer until the sugar dissolves and it reduces slightly. Let the syrup cool, then combine it with the vodka and lemon infusion.
  • Allow that to mingle at room temperature in a dark place for another week or two, then strain the peels out, and bottle into recycled glass bottles of your choice (make sure to wash them thoroughly first—the swing tops are best, but wine bottles work).
  • Pop the bottles in the freezer and serve your limoncello chilled!
Carla Bueno-SandersA Sweet Note Played on the Limoncello: Limoncello Recipe
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Where’s the Citrus?

Citrus season is here at last! You might want to citrus self down for this one, because despite some delays, we’ve got more citrus varietals than ever this year. They’re coming in so quickly and so fresh you won’t be able to find them on our website just yet, but they’ll be easy to spot in our store. Thanks to our rockstar Produce Buyer, Laura Rose Dailey, even the basics have a little something extra!

Basics like heirloom navel oranges from Rising Ranches in California, a small fruit operation that only picks tree-ripened fruit for the highest quality harvest. They’re bringing us other citrus, too, like iconic blood oranges, candy-sweet Cara Cara oranges, and lesser-known sour Sevilles. Sevilles aren’t your everyday snacking orange, known for their deep, bitter flavor traditionally used in marmalades. They bring real complexity, too, to classic citrus treats like key lime pie—use these in your custard instead for a fresh twist!

Rising Ranches isn’t the only farm supplying our produce department with uncommon citrus. Buck Brand Citrus, operating from Deer Creek Heights Ranch—also from California—is responsible for the massive pomelos you won’t be able to help but notice on your next visit. Not just any pomelos, either—these are African Shaddock pomelos, a strain of pomelos with all the bright flavor you expect, but noticeably lower acidity and sourness. Other easily noshable varieties lining our shelves include satsumas and staff favorite Sumo mandarins. Both feature a handle for easy peeling, whether the satsuma’s long shiny leaves or the Sumo’s hefty nub that matches its considerable size. Don’t count out limequats, either! A cross between limes and kumquats, limequats are a perfect balance of sweetness and mouth-puckering sourness you won’t want to put down.

Chefs and aspiring cooks alike won’t just want to try the Seville, either. Sorrento lemons (also known as Santa Teresa lemons), easily identified by their knobbly peel, are the lemon of choice for making limoncello liqueur, and Wine & Spirits is stocked up with all the clear spirits you’ll need for that project. Meyer lemons have earned their notoriety for being the perfect baking lemon, of course. You don’t have to make your own Earl Grey with Bergamot lemons, whose floral sweetness gives the tea its signature aroma, but we won’t stop you, either.

Reading through this, you might wonder: Why is it all coming from faraway California? Doesn’t citrus come from Florida? The answer is that a tough few growing seasons, coupled with Florida harvesting laws, means very little citrus is coming from Florida right now. Growers are hard at work recovering their groves, and some experts say that work is already starting to pay off. In the meantime, we’ll be supporting small ranches and farms where we can to bring you the zest of the season.

Carla Bueno-SandersWhere’s the Citrus?
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Gotta Blame It On My Juice

While autumn’s first day might still be a ways away on the calendar, sweater weather has definitely arrived! The neighborhood is filling back up as folks make their return from nearby getaways and far-flung adventures, and families are bustling to get their kids ready for the first day of school. We’ve got our own back to school list ready, from after-school snacks to lunchbox essentials to easy dinners, that are sure to make the grade with everyone! 

Juice boxes have always been a lunchbox staple, but this season we’re upgrading the juice game. You’ll want to keep an eagle eye out for Lumi Juice, a new collection of cold-pressed juices. These are made from organic ingredients like beets, cucumbers, grapefruit, and granny smith apples, just to name a few. They’re sure to power up anyone’s lunch, whether in the school yard or the office break room, as well as fuel workouts and early grab-and-go breakfasts. Need something with a bigger kick to it to wake you up, and maybe even keep playground cooties at bay? Try Lumi’s health shots—the jalapeño shot is bound to kickstart your brain, while bringing something new to the shots scene. 

If you’re feeling more than just thirsty, few snack combos are as classic as juice and cookies. Try satisfying your sweet tooth with Makabi & Sons shortbread sandwich cookies, new to our shelves. We just can’t stop munching on them! Made by hand by founder Eiman Behmanesh in LA, these cookies bring new meaning to thinking globally and eating locally, infusing flavors from afar into buttery cookies and smooth creme. It’s hard to choose between spicy chocolate and cayenne, smooth and aromatic earl grey, and earthy matcha with black sesame. Our best recommendation is not to choose at all and stock up! Whether you’re sneaking one into a lunchbox or hosting a weekend shindig, you won’t regret treating yourself. 

Check out our back to school selection here!

Carla Bueno-SandersGotta Blame It On My Juice
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Sensational Citrus

Winter may feel like it’s abating as this balmy February washes over us, but the zest part of winter is just getting started. It’s citrus season! This week we’re bringing a bit of sunshine to our shelves in the form of these seasonal fruits. One of the many groves we’re working with is Bernard Ranches in California. From making the nitrogen-rich mushroom compost to managing the water conserving drip irrigation system, they’re as busy as the gophers they wrangle by hand on the farm. The Bernards also avoid synthetic pesticides and herbicides, instead implementing IPM (integrated pest management) by deploying beneficial insects in the grove, like lacewings and ladybugs. Now their hard work is paying off; spring can wait while we savor the fruits of their labor.

Coming to us from Bernard Ranches, we’ve brought in the Tangelo and the Oro Blanco, grown with IPM. The juicy Tangelo is also known as the Honeybell, thanks to its distinctive bell shape and delicate, appealing flavor. You may not be competing in this year’s Olympics, but you can still go for the gold with the Oro Blanco. Translated as white gold from Spanish, Oro Blanco brings the fragrant aroma and sweetness of a pomelo and the tartness of a classic grapefruit together into a real champion of a fruit.

Our organic citrus offerings this season feature classics like the Navel Orange, the Ruby Red Grapefruit, and hefty Pomelos, but look out for the Kishu as one of our newest additions. While these tiny mandarins were first grown in Japan, they have a real tangy history, stemming from an ancient variety of Chinese mandarin originally discovered in the Tang Dynasty. Their roomy peel and surprisingly big flavor make them great for a quick snack, but you may not be able to stop at one.

For the folks who just don’t Cara Cara ’bout all that, there’s conventionally raised Sumo mandarins and Cara Cara oranges. The Sumo Mandarin’s name is a nod to both its Japanese heritage and its impressive size; they’re easy to peel and super flavorful, making them a favorite with Provisions staff. The Cara Cara is considered a natural evolution of your friendly neighborhood Navel orange, first discovered in Venezuela in the 70’s. Its red flesh, while not as dark as a blood orange, is highly sweet without the acidity of a traditional orange.

Not to be pithy, but we think you might want to citrus self down while you send your taste buds into the transformative sunny world of seasonal citrus!

Carla Bueno-SandersSensational Citrus
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More Than A-peeling: Locally Harvested Apples

A walk through our produce section makes two things clear: fall is here, and so are apples! In addition to classics like Gala and McIntosh, we have many varieties you might not see in a typical grocery store. Our Produce Department works directly with ecologically-minded local farms like Champlain Orchards and Scott Farms in Vermont, and Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative in Pennsylvania. These farms grow a variety of apple species that support the local ecology by promoting biodiversity. While we recommend trying them all out, we thought we’d provide a little context to inform your choices in cooking and snacking.

Applications for Apples

If you’re looking for the perfect baking apples, we have a number of great options. Yellow with a pink blush, Honeycrisp apples live up to their title in both texture and sweetness. They work well baked into pies, crumbles, and other desserts. Their crisp texture also makes them ideal raw in salads and coleslaw.

For a great raw apple snack, the gala apple really shines. One of the sweetest apples, Galas pack some of the best nutritional value, containing vitamins A, C, and B in and pectin. Eat them raw or add them diced up to salads, salsas, and chutneys. Similar to Galas, we also carry the Sansa apple. Sansas are a Japanese species that are complexly sweet and mildly tart. They contain important nutrients like potassium and dietary fiber, and are a perfect snacking apple eaten fresh and raw.

Juicy and lightly tart, Paula Reds are a dusty red apple with gold spots. They break down quickly and easily, and are ideal for applesauce and apple butter. Similarly, McIntosh apples have a delicate flesh and spicy flavor that makes them ideal for cider and applesauce.

Mike FunkMore Than A-peeling: Locally Harvested Apples
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Spread Shrub, It’s The Brooklyn Way

What’s shrub got to do with it? Shrub is not a bush, but a refreshing mixer perfect for summer beverages. Popular during America’s colonial era, shrubs were a means of preserving fruit flavors prior to the invention of refrigeration and industrially processed foods. But like many traditional recipes, shrubs are now making a comeback! Also known as drinking vinegar, shrubs are an acidulated syrup made from fruits, vinegar, and sugar. A versatile concentrate for cocktails and softdrinks, try a lime shrub with tequila for an easy margarita, or dilute a strawberry shrub with seltzer for a funky soda similar to kombucha.

We’re excited to showcase two shrubs this summer, both made near Washington DC. Shrub District infuses vinegar and simple syrup with locally grown fruits and herbs, and is sold as a concentrate. It can be combined with seltzer to taste, with or without your favorite spirit, and each bottle comes with unique recipes on the label. For shrubs on the fly, check out Element Shrub‘s newest line Shrub & Club. Though Element makes lovely syrups, this ingenious ready-to-drink shrub is pre-balanced with club soda right in the bottle. Delicious chilled straight or poured over ice with your favorite spirit!

If you feel like getting creative, both Shrub District and Element have even more fun recipes listed on their websites. Whether you enjoy a buzz or prefer a clear head on a hot day, shrubs are a refreshing, bright way to celebrate the best of Summer’s bounty!

Angela GelsoSpread Shrub, It’s The Brooklyn Way
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Citrus Circle of Trust

Come January, gone are the days of fresh picked apples. Locally grown berries and ripe stone fruit? A mere memory. Thankfully, citrus is in season, and one bite of these juicy, sweet fruits is a momentary escape to some far off grove. Read on and decide which is bite of Provisions produce is right for you!

Sweet: Cara Cara, Heritage Navel, and Blood Oranges, Pomelo (grapefruit’s less tart cousin)
Juicy: Page or Satsuma Mandarin
Extra Juicy: Sumo Mandarin – Nailah, our Produce Buyer’s top pick!
Tart: Oro Blanco and Ruby Red Grapefruit
Unique: Meyer Lemon (sweet and tart!)
Buddha’s Hand – This citrus has no pulp or flesh, but the rind gives off a heavenly citrus and lavender aroma. Add it to a cocktail, prepare in a marmalade, candy it or swap it for lemon in dressings or in batters!

Meg ChristmanCitrus Circle of Trust
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Sofrito for the Season

Mixtures of stewed aromatic vegetables, herbs and spices are at the core of almost every type of cuisine. Sofrito is the Spanish version, usually consisting of peppers, onions and tomato. Luckily all of those veggies are in season right now and Provisions Produce Buyer, Jason Rivera, has put together a recipe for sofrito success. The idea behind this homestyle dish is to use whatever vegetables are available to create a flavorful, easy to eat, easy to digest meal.

(And remember, the word sofrito doesn’t have to limit your cooking. In the Fall you could just as easily be using fennel, carrots and onions instead of peppers, onions and tomatoes.)

Ingredients
Extra virgin olive oil (preferably really tasty stuff)
A few sweet peppers, diced (whatever looks pretty at the market)
A fat juicy onion, diced (look for fresh uncured onions at this time of year)
A ripe tomato diced (Brandywines work really well for this, I recommend a red tomato)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups white wine
water or chicken stock
1/2 pound of green, yellow, purple or romano beans with the tough end trimmed
2 heirloom squash cut into 1/4 inch rounds (my favorite is the Romanesca)
1 ear corn cut from the cob
4 red radishes sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
10 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Sherry vinegar to taste

1. Heat a pot, large enough to contain all of the ingredients. Add enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pot. Throw the peppers and onions in there and cook them until they are soft without browning them. If it looks a little dry add more olive oil.
2. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and white wine. Simmer this until all of the liquid evaporates.
3. At this point continue to cook the mixture until the oil separates out and the mixture starts to stick on the bottom. Be careful here, you don’t want burnt, just a little toasted. Stir very often.
4. Add the beans and cover with stock or water and simmer. It’s a good idea to take a wooden spoon and scrape all the tasty bits of the bottom of the pot.
5. Cook the beans until they are very soft and tender, and a lot of the liquid has evaporated. They will turn army green, and look overcooked, but they will also become sweet and soak up all of that sofrito liquid.
6. Stir in the squash, corn and radishes and remove from heat. At this point season with salt, pepper and vinegar.
7. This dish should be served just above room temperature with a piece of crusty bread to soak up the juices. Just before serving, stir in the basil leaves and a bit of fresh olive oil.

Enjoy!

Meg ChristmanSofrito for the Season
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I Got It For My Mama!

We have a number of ways you can treat the moms, mothers and mamas in your life this Sunday!

Send her some love- we’re offering a special Mother’s Day Gift Basket that can be shipped nationwide or picked up right here in our shop!

Make breakfast in bed- create a custom menu with all of her favorite treats, or look around for suggestions at each of our counters.

Decorate a coloring page– our beautiful Mother’s Day coloring pages are available at the registers. Get creative, get expressive and don’t be afraid to color outside the lines!

Pick up some flowers– we will have gorgeous fresh bouquets available from Stem and for those looking for a more lasting gift, take home a paper blossom branch by local artist Bespoke Brooklyn.

We’re wishing a very Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mom’s we see each day here at the shop!

 

If love is sweet as a flower,

then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” —Stevie Wonder

Greene GrapeI Got It For My Mama!
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