Megan Saynisch

Megan Saynisch is cook, gardener, culinary anthropologist and writer living in Brooklyn with her husband and young son. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, she is the creator of the blog Brooklynfarmhouse.com.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Prickly Pear

There are a great number of species of prickly pear cactus, all of which are native to the Americas. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization explains that the cactus was probably first cultivated in Mesoamerica, and was of particular importance to the Aztec. Fossilized seeds and skins of the fruit over 7,000 years old have been found in Mexico!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Bamboo

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 knowing how to cook it.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Kiwi

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 on to learn the history and uses of this fuzzy fruit.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Ginger

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!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Yuca

Also known as cassava or tapioca, yuca is the fourth most important starch in the world, prepared in a wide variety of ways from South America to Asia. Fun fact: if you love bubble tea, you may have sucked up the powdered and pearled flesh of this woody root without even realizing it.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Butter and Lard

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 lard for delicious results at home!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Rice

Three billion people rely upon rice as their staple food, and it is the primary source of one quarter of the world's per capita energy needs. Rice's captivating history is tied to ancient global trade routes and, eventually, to the slave trade. Read more about and learn how to cook this fascinating grain!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Kumquats

Everything is adorable about kumquats. From their diminutive size to their cheery color, and even their name - all as cute as a button, and a welcome sight in the dead of winter when there is little fun to be had at the market. Pick up a basket of these wee fruit and get cooking.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Jicama

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.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Coconuts

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" for its usefulness, is a truly remarkable plant.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Cooking Oils

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 really is? Read on for all of this and more.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Cardoons

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, though you may want to wear gloves!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Cider

If there's a beverage demarking Fall, it's cider. Hard cider, sweet cider, warm cider in one hand with a fresh apple cider doughnut in the other, yum! Explore cider this season with the many recipes - and historical tidbits - the drink has to offer.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Walnuts

What do you do with walnuts? Crack them open to crumble over your salad or sweet potatoes, enjoy them straight from the shell as a healthy snack or even make a full meal of various crunchy varieties.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Avocados

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 bring a special creamy satisfaction to plenty of other yummy concoctions.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Peanuts

Peanuts are an incredible food. This South American native legume has traveled the world to become a household treat on almost every continent, from the peanut flare in Thai cuisine to the humble PB&J in North America. Exploring the many roles of the peanut may just be the food adventure for you this season!

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