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Old 03.04.2007, 23:00
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fresh at the market - april

Who can resist the beauty and goodness that abound in the markets of April? Surely even hardcore carnivores may be tempted…even for a fleeting moment…to experience a vegetarian life. Well, ok maybe not, but… April does offer quite a few selections of fresh products which help us chase away any lingering residue from the winter months. Most of the tired winter products have disappeared, and in their place come products which are crisp, vibrant, full of aromas and tastes. Here are few things to look for, avoid, and look ahead toward…

what to look for

French artichokes, named mamole, have arrived at the market. These large globe-shaped artichokes are perfect for steaming or stuffing. If small is what you are after, then look no further than the small purple-colored carciofini. These little artichokes have very little choke inside, so practically the entire artichoke is edible…except those nasty little stickers at the end of the leaves. Asparagus from Europe are now present, but you still need to be a bit cautious with your selection. On the white side, try the varieties from Cavillon in France. True Cavillon asparagus will have a purple tinge on the tips (the French like to have their asparagus gently kissed by the sun), which will turn green when you cook them. Rub two white asparagus together…if they screech they are fresh! Don’t cook white asparagus like green asparagus. White asparagus should be trimmed well, then cooked whole in a sauce pan of water, salt, white wine, lemon juice and a spoon of sugar. Simmer them for about 20 minutes. The green asparagus available during the early part of April come from Italy (mostly the south), and are quite thin. These do not need long to cook. Fresh Fava Beans are another Italian product which are available in April and May. They require a bit of work, because they should be peeled twice…but they are also worth the effort! The best tomatoes are still the varieties from Italy. Look for the Sardo variety or the Pacchino. Also coming from France’s Cavillon region of France, and definitely worth trying out are the radishes and fresh garlic. Fresh garlic should be kept refrigerated and used within one week. Simply trim away the tough out layers, then chop up all of the rest. Fresh garlic is quite assertive in its aroma, but easier to digest. On the wild side…there is quite a lot to choose from. Look for Dandelion Greens and Bärlauch. This year’s warm winter means early lettuce. If you are a salad fan, then there are quite a few varieties of chicory, leaf lettuce, watercress, and arugula (rocket) that will for sure make a nice salad. April is not a real fruit month. There are still plenty of citrus fruits to try – especially blood oranges from Italy. One of the most popular ‘fruits’ this time of year is actually a vegetable – rhubarb. The early-month varieties are mostly coming from greenhouses in Belgium, so they are not exactly the freshest. Toward the end of April, Swiss rhubarb will begin to show up at the market. You will know when they arrive, because they will be quite small at first (10- 12-cm).

what to avoid

Strawberries are still not in season. The ones appearing at the market or in the major supermarkets are mostly coming from Spain. These strawberries are subjected to heavy doses of pesticide, and in some cases, they are grown on illegal farms using illegal immigrants. Asparagus is also tricky right now, and there are plenty of reasons to avoid most offerings. The major supermarkets are carrying asparagus from Peru, Greece, Mexico, and California – these are not very fresh! Berries and stone fruits are most definitely not in season here. These fruits are coming mostly from the southern hemisphere. Blood oranges from Spain are not as flavorful as the ones coming from Italy.

looking ahead…

May is clearly one of the shopping highlights of the year. There are plenty of fresh vegetables to choose from, and it is still too early for most of the Swiss products – which means the protective tariffs will not adversely affect the prices. Coming in May will be white asparagus from the Alsace, Germany, and Austria. Green asparagus from Italy and Switzerland. Fennel and green peas from Italy, rhubarb from Switzerland, new potatoes from Switzerland, and melons from France, strawberries from Italy and Nespola from Spain.

Happy cooking and shopping...
Jack
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Old 04.04.2007, 09:13
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Re: fresh at the market - april

Hi Jack,

Great article. My wife and I really enjoy your "fresh at the market" series! Any hints on using rhubarb. I only ever had it stewed with crumble and custard before. Are there any savory uses?

Cheers

Jekyll
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Old 04.04.2007, 09:18
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Re: fresh at the market - april

Coop were doing Spanish Strawberries at CHF7.90 for 2 kilos at the weekend... hhmmm
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Old 04.04.2007, 10:58
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Re: fresh at the market - april

Thanks for the tip on the strawberries, they look very tempting in Coop at the moment. The big pile there suggests that the season has already started. Have just got myself some italian blood oranges....

Thanks for the brilliant post. Your website is excellent as well, plenty of tasty food photos...
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Old 04.04.2007, 11:39
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Re: fresh at the market - april

Hello Jack.

Really fantastic article! Please do some more. Make it a monthly thing, like a newsletter or something like that. Add some gardning info. This is the true spirit of the forum. Well done Jack!!
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Old 13.04.2011, 14:37
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Re: fresh at the market - april

Update from 2011...

Take a 2-minute video tour of the Oerlikon market this morning - lots of great items including: local Swiss asparagus (white & green), radishes, carrots, kohlrabi, hops, tomatoes, Swiss chard, Tropea spring onions, Sicilian strawberries and plenty more...



Enjoy...
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Old 15.04.2011, 13:37
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Re: fresh at the market - april

Our latest video recap of our market visit - today coming from Helvetiaplatz in Zürich... Lots of great items to purchase and some very cool small specialty stands. We highly recommend a trip to this market on Tuesdays and Fridays!



Enjoy...
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Old 15.04.2011, 16:37
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Re: fresh at the market - april

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Who can resist the beauty and goodness that abound in the markets of April? Surely even hardcore carnivores may be tempted…even for a fleeting moment…to experience a vegetarian life. Well, ok maybe not, but… April does offer quite a few selections of fresh products which help us chase away any lingering residue from the winter months. Most of the tired winter products have disappeared, and in their place come products which are crisp, vibrant, full of aromas and tastes. Here are few things to look for, avoid, and look ahead toward…

what to look for

French artichokes, named mamole, have arrived at the market. These large globe-shaped artichokes are perfect for steaming or stuffing. If small is what you are after, then look no further than the small purple-colored carciofini. These little artichokes have very little choke inside, so practically the entire artichoke is edible…except those nasty little stickers at the end of the leaves. Asparagus from Europe are now present, but you still need to be a bit cautious with your selection. On the white side, try the varieties from Cavillon in France. True Cavillon asparagus will have a purple tinge on the tips (the French like to have their asparagus gently kissed by the sun), which will turn green when you cook them. Rub two white asparagus together…if they screech they are fresh! Don’t cook white asparagus like green asparagus. White asparagus should be trimmed well, then cooked whole in a sauce pan of water, salt, white wine, lemon juice and a spoon of sugar. Simmer them for about 20 minutes. The green asparagus available during the early part of April come from Italy (mostly the south), and are quite thin. These do not need long to cook. Fresh Fava Beans are another Italian product which are available in April and May. They require a bit of work, because they should be peeled twice…but they are also worth the effort! The best tomatoes are still the varieties from Italy. Look for the Sardo variety or the Pacchino. Also coming from France’s Cavillon region of France, and definitely worth trying out are the radishes and fresh garlic. Fresh garlic should be kept refrigerated and used within one week. Simply trim away the tough out layers, then chop up all of the rest. Fresh garlic is quite assertive in its aroma, but easier to digest. On the wild side…there is quite a lot to choose from. Look for Dandelion Greens and Bärlauch. This year’s warm winter means early lettuce. If you are a salad fan, then there are quite a few varieties of chicory, leaf lettuce, watercress, and arugula (rocket) that will for sure make a nice salad. April is not a real fruit month. There are still plenty of citrus fruits to try – especially blood oranges from Italy. One of the most popular ‘fruits’ this time of year is actually a vegetable – rhubarb. The early-month varieties are mostly coming from greenhouses in Belgium, so they are not exactly the freshest. Toward the end of April, Swiss rhubarb will begin to show up at the market. You will know when they arrive, because they will be quite small at first (10- 12-cm).

what to avoid

Strawberries are still not in season. The ones appearing at the market or in the major supermarkets are mostly coming from Spain. These strawberries are subjected to heavy doses of pesticide, and in some cases, they are grown on illegal farms using illegal immigrants. Asparagus is also tricky right now, and there are plenty of reasons to avoid most offerings. The major supermarkets are carrying asparagus from Peru, Greece, Mexico, and California – these are not very fresh! Berries and stone fruits are most definitely not in season here. These fruits are coming mostly from the southern hemisphere. Blood oranges from Spain are not as flavorful as the ones coming from Italy.

looking ahead…

May is clearly one of the shopping highlights of the year. There are plenty of fresh vegetables to choose from, and it is still too early for most of the Swiss products – which means the protective tariffs will not adversely affect the prices. Coming in May will be white asparagus from the Alsace, Germany, and Austria. Green asparagus from Italy and Switzerland. Fennel and green peas from Italy, rhubarb from Switzerland, new potatoes from Switzerland, and melons from France, strawberries from Italy and Nespola from Spain.

Happy cooking and shopping...
Jack
Thanks ! Gave me some ideas for my shopping tonight ... and also my cooking
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Old 16.04.2011, 19:14
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Re: fresh at the market - april

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Don’t cook white asparagus like green asparagus. White asparagus should be trimmed well, then cooked whole in a sauce pan of water, salt, white wine, lemon juice and a spoon of sugar. Simmer them for about 20 minutes.
All Great Info here Jack... Thanks

Never knew this about white asparagus, which would probably explain why the last lot I did were a bland blandness of biblical proportions!
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Old 16.04.2011, 22:22
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Re: fresh at the market - april

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All Great Info here Jack... Thanks

Never knew this about white asparagus, which would probably explain why the last lot I did were a bland blandness of biblical proportions!
Today, had a meal of asparagus, spinach, sauerkraut, with onions and garlic, accompanied by some Lyoner-Wurst. Absolutely delicious
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Old 17.04.2011, 13:36
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Re: fresh at the market - april

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Today, had a meal of asparagus, spinach, sauerkraut, with onions and garlic, accompanied by some Lyoner-Wurst. Absolutely delicious
Gawd!!! Now I'm gonna have to go cook myself some lunch!!! LOL Cheers for that!!! <--- opens cupboard and gets attacked by lonely termites.. TAXI!!
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Old 17.04.2011, 14:16
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Re: fresh at the market - april

Hello Jack,
Speaking of strawberries, I bought some last week that were bio NaturaPlan and also coming from Spain like you were saying. They are much more frangrant and smaller in size than the non-bio strawberries. I was curious what your thoughts were on the NaturaPlan and NaturaFarm brands here in Switzerland. Are they worth it or is it no more than a label?
Thanks so much for the article!
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Old 18.04.2011, 08:41
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Re: fresh at the market - april

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Hello Jack,
Speaking of strawberries, I bought some last week that were bio NaturaPlan and also coming from Spain like you were saying. They are much more frangrant and smaller in size than the non-bio strawberries. I was curious what your thoughts were on the NaturaPlan and NaturaFarm brands here in Switzerland. Are they worth it or is it no more than a label?
Thanks so much for the article!
Miss Zula...

I'm always in favor of less pesticides because I don't really like putting more chemicals into my body. So, for that reason I favor 'bio' labels, but I am in no way always driven to buy a product just because it says bio. Sometimes bio products are heavily processed and that is also not healthy. With fruits and vegetables, I generally look for something local (and organic if possible). Seasonality is also very important to me. If I buy something which has been imported then I try to look for some kind of distinguishing mark which would indicate quality - bio label, traceability, aoc designation, etc...

Hope this helps and glad you enjoy the updates...
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Old 30.03.2013, 11:29
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Re: fresh at the market - april

Springing forward to 2013...

Despite the cold, wet weather...there are still plenty of fresh choices at the market right now: Italian artichokes, asparagus and tomatoes are fantastic. Local spinach and swiss chard bring plenty of nutrients...as well as dandelion greens, fresh garlic and bärlauch...

More of what's in season

Cheers and good health...
Jack
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Old 30.03.2013, 12:27
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Re: fresh at the market - april

Italian artichokes are available starting in December (in fact, it's getting near the end of the season).

However, soon it will be asparagus season (for local stuff, not Mexican/US).

Meanwhile, 5kg or ribs and half a goat to smoke tomorrow, with plenty of veg on the side.

Tom
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Old 30.03.2013, 19:17
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Re: fresh at the market - april

This reminds me, any ideas where can I find kale? And chard that is shorter than my forearm? Admittedly, I won't be starting the local seasonal farmer search for another month so Coop and Migros is where I shop. Is kale and younger chard something I will find with local farmers or will my search lead me nowhere?
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Old 30.03.2013, 21:23
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Re: fresh at the market - april

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Springing forward to 2013...

Despite the cold, wet weather...there are still plenty of fresh choices at the market right now: Italian artichokes, asparagus and tomatoes are fantastic. Local spinach and swiss chard bring plenty of nutrients...as well as dandelion greens, fresh garlic and bärlauch...

More of what's in season

Cheers and good health...
Jack
Actually, a couple of days ago I read this thread and I followed your advice: the tomatoes that I had this weekend were amazing..!! I was planning for them to last a week.. but surprisingly they only lasted a couple of days.. I'm not a huge fan of tomatoes but for some reason I was eating them like if they were fruits ...! Thank you!!!
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Old 04.04.2014, 19:50
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Re: fresh at the market - april

OMG, that sounded so good that I decided to make a strawberry shortcake. Here is my favorite recipe. Don't count the calories
Ingredients
Non-stick vegetable spray, for coating the pans
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 pints fresh strawberries
1 recipe whipped cream frosting
Whipped Cream Frosting:
1 teaspoon gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven. Lightly coat 2 (9-inch) cake pans with nonstick vegetable spray. Line the bottoms with a circle of baking parchment.

Into a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, 3 times. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and butter to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and lemon extracts. In separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale yellow, and fluffy, and doubled in volume. While still beating, drizzle in the hot milk mixture. Fold in the flour mixture. Spread the batter in the prepared pans and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden, the center springs back when lightly pressed, and a cake tester comes out clean. Set the pans on a rack to cool. Run the tip of a knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen them, and turn them out of the pans.

Whipped Cream Frosting: In a medium bowl, mix together the gelatin and 1/4 cup of the cream. Let rest for 5 minutes to soften, then place the bowl over barely simmering water until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool to tepid. In the meantime, in a mixing bowl, whip the cream until slightly thickened. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and whip to the consistency of shaving cream. Fold 1/2 cup of the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture, then fold in the rest.

Wash and dry the strawberries. Pick out the 12 best. Stem and slice the rest. Lay the sliced berries over 1 cake, then spread a 1/2-inch layer of whipped cream on top. Place the second cake over the first. Frost the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream. Top with the 12 whole berries.
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Old 15.04.2015, 20:03
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Re: fresh at the market - april

A gentle bump...for those who may not have stumbled across this thread...

Jack
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