Although its nutty, delicious seeds can be found year-round in health food and some larger grocery stores, amaranth is only in season in the summer through mid-fall. The Today Show has called amaranth greens the next kale, and there are numerous reci
For a diminutive fruit, the apple is a force to be reckoned with, and we humans have been fascinated with it for millennia. Throughout history it has inspired Biblical myth, scientific theories and practical advice, and there are thousands of ways to
Fresh apricots are delicate and sweet in season, and worlds apart from the popular leathery, dried apricots you find in stores all year. Bake these flavorful fruits into a sweat or savory dish, whip up some apricot jam or bite into a soft apricot at
The nutty and chewy and garlicky artichoke inspires loving feeling by many avid admirers, whether in the frost-kissed or baby variety, and this week's Real Food warrants further inspection if you've been nervous about taking on necessary prep work.
Arguably the most iconic of the spring vegetables, asparagus is grown around the world and has been celebrated for millennia. Any asparagus enthusiast will tell you that despite its year-round appearance in modern American grocery stores, it is far
When you think of avocados, you might think of guacamole, and we get it! The fruit is quite a nutritional powerhouse, incredible in savory dishes and a huge hit in desserts around the world. From dips and spreads to ice cream and milkshakes, avocados
This week's Real Food has helped the over-30 set rid their memories of Ranch-doused iceberg salads, and "exist[s] in that leafy shadowland between vegetable and herb." Loaded with antioxidants, arugula in having its day in the (not too hot!) sun.
It's amazing that the giant panda subsists on bamboo almost exclusively - bamboo is not very nutritious, at least not for us. When it comes to munching on this unique and fascinating grass (yes! grass!), it's all about texture and flavor, and knowi
Famously perfect for peeling and eating raw, the scrumptious banana has more up its sleeve than first meets the eye. From desserts and liquors to vinegar and ketchup, grab one of these nutritious berries (yes, berries!) and go bananas!
Barley is an ancient grain, but its old school reputation doesn't keep it off the modern table. From food for livestock and fish, to a main ingredient in beer, to a sweetener and as a cereal grain for human consumption, barley's flexible nature and
If you're lucky to have access to a garden with verdant clumps of basil growing in it, there's nothing like its heady smell hovering in the summer heat. Bonus: according to folklore, basil is a cure for scorpion stings. Intrigued? Read on.
We may think of it as a refreshing accompaniment to a slice of pizza (which it is!), but beer is so much more. As an agricultural product, requiring considerable resources for its production, and as a sustenance, beer has a significant impact on our
Did your first experience with these sweet, earthy roots come in the form of the dreaded pickled beet? Megan's did, but she's long since learned to love "the gateway root" and its nutritious greens, and she's passed her affinity for them on to h
July is National Blueberry Month, and for good reason - they are delicious in dishes ranging from savory to sweet and they are super good for you! Find out where they were first cultivated, the difference between high- and low-bush blueberries and as
This week's Real Food is incredibly high in Vitamin A, takes well to vertical farming and one cup of it contains just 20 calories. Also known as pak choi or joy choy, bok choy is not just the delectably crunchy main ingredient in kimchi -- it's a n
Prickly brambleberry bushes are everywhere in the Pacific Northwest (and other places), producing inky sweet-tart drupelets in jeweled shades of indigo, deep purple and Snow White's lips. We're talking about raspberries, blackberries and their many
Broccoli is a virtuous superfood, packed with disease-fighting antioxidants; on the other hand, it's the culinary equivalent of icky, especially when boiled to death. Given its nutritional prowess, broccoli deserves better than a pity party. If its
Butter and lard, two of the most prevalent fats used cooking since the domestication of sheep, goats, cattle and pigs thousands of years ago, are unmatched in flavor and texture. It's actually super easy to make your own butter, and play around with
Cabbage - quite literally, the mother of all Brassicas - is hearty, healthy and delicious, and it keeps in your fridge for weeks. What better vegetable for mid-January?
You're unlikely to find cardoons at your local grocery store, but check farmers' markets in late fall and you might get lucky. Like a cross between artichokes and celery, these spiky, silvery stalks can add delicious new flavor to old recipes, thou
Carrots are equally at home in sweet and savory dishes; they can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, fried and stir-fried, made into puddings, cakes and sweet treats and grated, puréed and grantinéed. So of course they are ubiquitous in so
Could it be that cauliflower is the Wonder Bread of the vegetable world? Or is it stealthily packed with nutrients and enough Vitamin C to rival an orange? Surprisingly, the latter is true. Not bad for something writer Mark Twain once described as "
Celery is a ubiquitous ingredient in cooking, but tends to stay out of the spotlight. While you may recognize this fibrous snack from raw vegetable platters with dip, find out how celery has played many roles throughout history in cooking, medicine a
When there are so many other - and more beautiful - vegetables to choose from, it's easy to understand why celery root might get the short shrift. But if you take the time to cut away its hairy armor, you'll discover that homeliness is only skin de
Thanks in large part to a certain scrappy cartoon sailor, we are well familiar with the leafy green known as spinach and its magical nutritional powers. But chard, its cousin in the Goosefoot (or Chenopodiaceae) family? Not so much.
What is it about the cherry that urges us not to take the business of life so seriously? Even in the kitchen, the cherry keeps the fun and games going, an affable companion to both savory and sweet ingredients -- almonds, chocolate, chile peppers, ha
There's more to this week's Real Food than Nat King Cole. Did you know that they date back tens of thousands of years, or that the American chestnut was decimated by blight in the early 1900s? Also, learn the important DIY roasting step that'll ke
What is it with bitter greens and confusing naming conventions? This week's Real Food, chicories and endives, are bitter, leafy veggies that come in a rainbow of colors - all of which are delicious. Not everyone agrees, though - read on to find out
If ramps can become an overnight produce sensation, why not chives? Chives are the next best mild onion-y thing -- and super easy to grow on your own. On top of that, you can enjoy chives well into the summer, when ramps will be a distant memory.
While you may agree with our Food Program director, who said Valentine's Day (the holiday responsible for the sale of 58 million pounds of chocolate) is "mostly a lamentable shakedown perpetuated to promote superfluous consumption," we also know y
This week's Real Food goes way back - as far as 6,000 BC - and is thought to be among the first group of domesticated plants. Love it or hate it, cilantro's long history means that its unique flavor profile has made its way into dishes around the w
Happy New Year! Do you plan to cook up a pot of 'greens' to usher in fortune for 2015? Whether on the big day or shortly after, there's plenty of time to observe a time-honored culinary tradition to get the year off to an auspicious start.
The coconut palm is incredibly important as a foodstuff across the globe. From the coconut fiber that lines your window box planters to the coconut milk in your curry and coconut water in your fridge, the coconut palm, aptly called "The Tree of Life
Like salt and black pepper, you probably reach for cooking oil for just about every meal you make. But have you ever wondered about the history of your canola oil, or what makes fancy extra virgin olive oil so expensive? Or what the heck margarine re
This week's Real Food gets a bad rap -- it's heavily subsidized and heavily monocropped, a whopping 88% of it is genetically engineered and most of it becomes animal feed, high fructose corn syrup or ethanol. But we've got a soft spot for sweet co
What food heralds the holidays more than the cranberry, in all its rubine glory? But you should eat this all-American Thanksgiving-y treat year round! Cranberries are exceptionally nutritious, and you can whip up a sauce in about as much time as it t
Cucumbers may be a year-round mainstay at every supermarket in the US, but their time to shine has only just arrived in most parts of the country. 96% water, they'll help you beat the heat! Read on for more about this summertime favorite.
This Real Food's English name comes from the French dent de lion ("lion's tooth"), likely owing to its tooth-like serrated leaves. Dandelion greens are at their best in the spring to very early summer, before the flowers begin to bloom, while the
When most Americans think of dill, pickles come to mind, but the herb was once prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans for its health benefits and magical properties. A staple in the cuisines of Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, North Africa and Russia, d
Edamame are crazy versatile - cook them up and eat them as-is, with a little salt, or toss them into just about any savory dish. Sub them for any recipe that calls for lima beans; the nutty, sweet flavor of edamame is far more complex (and they are f
This nightshade has been unfairly blamed for maladies from pimples to leprosy to "melancholy." Also, should you salt and rinse it, and why? Megan Saynisch leads us on a path winding through eggplant's exotic history and straight back to the kitche
Whether the chicken or the egg came first, eggs probably win the "most versatile ingredient" competition hands down. Found in everything from sauces and custards to their own headlining items, like omelets and egg nog, eggs offer up "egg-cellent"
This week's real food is one of the world's most ancient grains. Nearly lost as industry flooded markets with grains that were easier to process, farro -- or emmer -- is making a comeback. A chewy, nutty comeback.
Favas are a fleeting spring vegetable - like ramps and sorrel and morels -that show up at the market and quickly disappear. Enjoyed in cuisines worldwide, favas are much lauded subjects of folklore and even show up in one of the most notorious lines
Fresh fennel, its seeds and fronds impart subtle anise-like flavor to many dishes, from cakes to side dishes to Sambuca. This cool-weather crop even makes it through to spring. While famed in Italian cuisine, the seeds show up in Indian and Chinese c
Here on the East Coast, beautiful fiddleheads are bright green, their tightly coiled heads delicately curled like the scroll of a violin. With a flavor slightly reminiscent of asparagus, but somehow also nutty and pleasantly bitter, fiddleheads are a
Just in time for Thanksgiving, sweet potatoes reach their seasonal peak -- how fitting! And while we have plenty of delicious recipes and tasty trivia to offer, we know why some of you are really here: to find out about where the marshmallows fit in.
From Adam and Eve's use of their leaves to cover up to the Newtons of your childhood, figs have a long cultural history. The sticky harbinger of late summer pairs well with a slice of prosciutto and a glass of wine â€" a grown up alterna
Every fall in the US, fresh shell beans make an appearance at local farmers' markets. Their texture -- creamier than any canned or dried bean -- and fresh, nutty flavor will change the way you think about the humble bean.
With a tangle of garlic scapes' green curlicued shoots in your midst, you aren't just eating seasonally; you're eating in the moment. Scapes represent a specific stage of growth of hard-necked varieties of garlic. As the bulbs grow and harden, gre
Get to know rhubarb, the fascinating, delicious spring vegetable -- er, fruit. (Which is it? Depends where you are!) Tangy and beautiful, these late spring/early summer stalks will lend a lot of zip to your seasonal eating!
Millet -- it's not just for birds! How did this ancient crop become synonymous with birdseed in the United States? And how did a plant once revered by the Chinese fall into obscurity? Thanks to millet's resistance to drought in an era of shifting c
Before the year-round ubiquity of the supermarket orange, December heralded the navel, tangerine, satsuma and clementine season. And it's still the time when citrus is at its peak, its bright hue and golden taste a welcome if fleeting contrast to th
Between Hurricane Sandy and the presidential election countdown, it's fair to say we are a nation distracted, but we are sure a fair number of you have still got the Great Pumpkin on the brain, Charlie Brown. It only seems fitting -- especially with
Long before it became a culinary star, this week's real food was used foremost as medicine and considered a panacea for sundry ailments, from impotence to smallpox, parasites to poor digestion. Here, the condensed history of the so-called stinking r
Imagine a life without the tingly, peppery, uniquely lovely bite of ginger. No worries - just rejoice in the fact that this prized spice can now be found in every grocery store across the land!
Grapes are a special fruit. From inspiring myth (think Dionysus and Bacchus) to sustaining WWII troops in the form of raisins, grapes have been involved in so much of human history. Although I grew up eating lots of raisins and grapes, as I imagine s
Jicamas look like giant, round potatoes, with light brown, almost flaky skin. Peel the skin off to reveal a creamy white interior, with crispy flesh that has the same texture as an apple or pear, crossed with a potato - and it's delicious.
The ruffly green formerly known as highway median beauty queen is having its moment in the culinary sun, and rightfully so. Kale isn't just a pretty face; she's a hardy, unpretentious sort who plays well with others in the kitchen and is about nutr
Vibrant (on the inside), juicy and perfectly scoop-able, the kiwi is just as delicious right off the vine as it is baked into a tart. But, did you know that this sweet fruit can be used to firm pie filling or tenderize meat? We didn't either! Read o