Filed under In Season

Eat your weeds!

Eat your weeds!

The weeds are having a field day in my garden. Crowding the kale, tomatoes and green beans are plantain, purslane, lambs-quarters and many other wild edibles, I’m sure. This year I planted amaranth (amaranthus viridis), its oval green leaves splashed with purple, after tasting it at a produce conference dinner. It looked just like sautéed … Continue reading

Shishitos are for sharing

The hottest new chili pepper isn’t hot at all, yet it’s burning up menus all over North America. Trendy TO restaurants like Carbon Bar and Bar Isabel are frying up gnarled green shishito peppers as an appetizer, and Cava chef Chris McDonald says his most popular new dish is shrimp escabeche and pine nut hummus … Continue reading

Mad about Melons

Mad about Melons

  Randy Weinstein comes by his passion for melons naturally. His dad, Seymour, met his mom on a watermelon buying trip to Florida and the family’s 85-year-old “house” at the Ontario Food Terminal is now the country’s largest melon importer. “I sell happiness,” says the third-generation specialist, who took over Canadian Fruit and Produce with his … Continue reading

Hats off to haskaps

Hats off to haskaps

  Oh Canada, we have a new berry. It’s big, it’s blue and it’s easy to grow, from Northern Ontario to downtown T.O. Haskap’s Japanese name, haskapu, translates as “Little present on the end of the branch.” That’s where the long, oval berries congregate, hidden beneath branches of flat green leaves. Haskap tastes like a … Continue reading

Get passionate with passion fruit

Get passionate with passion fruit

If you need a little more passion in your life this Valentine’s Day, crack open a purple or yellow passion fruit. The purple variety is no beauty, with its dark leathery skin and slippery pulp, like jellied egg yolk dotted with crisp black seeds. But its exotic scent is irresistible and its intense sweet-tart taste, channelling … Continue reading

Live long with long beans

Live long with long beans

As the Lunar New Year approaches, memories of Beijing fill my kitchen. It was the early ’80s, before the Chinese capital exploded into a glittering metropolis scraping the sky. “Have you eaten?” my boss at the radio station would ask, a standard greeting in a country obsessed with food. Back then, long cabbages dried on … Continue reading

Endangered Nebrodi finds a new home

Endangered Nebrodi finds a new home

John S. Rowe didn’t set out to save an endangered Sicilian mushroom, though Toronto chefs and food lovers are glad he did. The former associate professor of neurosciences at McMaster University was simply tired of searching for grants to fund his research, and decided to find a job where he could use his scientific skills … Continue reading

Detoxify with bitter melon

Detoxify with bitter melon

As another season of delicious excess draws to a close, it’s time to think about starting fresh in the New Year. Practitioners of Ayurveda — an ancient Indian system of health that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and other healthful lifestyle choices — believe that bitter foods, such as bitter melon, detoxify the body and aid digestion. … Continue reading

Grab a Buddha’s Hand

Grab a Buddha’s Hand

Fragrant Asian citrus can be candied, tossed in salads or stir-fried Sightings of a bizarre new citrus flew through the local Twitter-verse last month. What to make of the Buddha’s Hand with its lemon-yellow fingers, some downright creepy, beckoning from the produce section? After an initial batch from Colombia, the current crop of Buddha’s Hand … Continue reading

A passion for persimmons

A passion for persimmons

Sweet persimmon earns its ‘fruit of the gods’ nickname ’Tis the season for fresh persimmons. The most famous varieties are the acorn-shaped hachiya with the pointed end and the squat, tomato-shaped fuyu or Sharon fruit. With shiny orange skin that’s baby-bottom smooth, both varieties glow from supermarket displays. But the similarities end there. While you can … Continue reading