Managing Your Melons

Did you know that there’s a National Watermelon Promotion Board?

Yeah, me neither. Here’s what they say about storing their, presumably, favorite food.

Store Watermelon on the Warm Side
Compared to most fruits, watermelons need a more “tropical” climate – a thermometer reading of 55° F is ideal. However, whole melons will keep for 7 to 10 days at room temperature. Store them too long, and they’ll lose flavor and texture. After cutting, store watermelon in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Lower Temperatures Cause Chill Injury
After two days at 32° F, watermelons develop an off-flavor, become pitted and lose color. Freezing causes rind to break down and produces a mealy, mushy texture. Once a melon is cut, it should be wrapped and stored at 36° – 39°F.”
Removing Seeds Is A Breeze
Wash and quarter a whole melon, then cut each quarter into three or four wedges. Cut lengthwise along the seed line with a paring knife, and lift off piece. Using a fork, scrape seeds both from the removed piece and the remaining flesh on the rind. Use for cubes or continue with recipe.

 

Ah! and what’s more there’s apparently a California Melon Research Board.

California doesn’t have a steady supply of drinking water, but they have a melon research board.

Ok.

Anyways, this is what they suggest for storing cantaloupe.

How should cantaloupes be stored at home?
Refrigerate ripe melons, but do not freeze. It is best not to cut a cantaloupe until you are ready to eat it. If you need to return cut melon to the refrigerator, do not remove the seeds from the remaining sections as they keep the flesh from drying out. Cut melon should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and put back in the refrigerator immediately.”

 

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Storage Tips: Eggplants

Turns out eggplants don’t like the refrigerator anymore than cucumbers or tomatoes. In a perfect world (which this clearly isn’t) they’d be kept at 50 degrees and consumed quickly.

So, the choice is yours: bundle them up in a paper towel and plastic bag and keep them on the top shelf of your fridge, or leave them on the table top at room temperature. Either way eat em up quickly, ideally within a day.

And because I’ve always wanted to know myself, here is a recipe for Babaganoush. Turns out it’s easy.

Ingredients
1 large eggplant (about 1 pound)
1 glove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Prick eggplant with a fork and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake the eggplant until it is soft inside, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, grill the eggplant over a gas grill, rotating it around until the skin is completely charred, about 10 minutes. Let the eggplant cool. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, drain off the liquid, and scoop the pulp into a food processor. Process the eggplant until smooth and transfer to a medium bowl.

On a cutting board, work garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt together with the flat side of a knife, until it forms a paste. Add the garlic-salt mixture to the eggplant. Stir in the parsley, tahini, and lemon juice. Season with more salt, to taste. Garnish with additional parsley.

Storage Tips: Children of the Corn

I’m really grasping at straws with this title. Suffice it to say this is about storing corn.

NOTE: This info was wholeheartedly ganked from this website.

Corn, like most things, is best eaten shortly after harvest. “You can wrap unhusked ears in a plastic bag and refrigerate until preparation time. Do not remove husks before storing fresh corn….The husks help retain freshness.

 

Corn freezes well on or off the cob, but for best results it must be blanched and frozen soon after harvesting. To blanch sweet corn on the cob, use a large stockpot partially filled with water, enough to cover several ears at a time. Bring the water to a rolling boil, then place the corn in the boiling water. Begin timing as soon as you immerse the corn in the boiling water. Cover the pot and boil on high temperature… small ears for 7 minutes, medium sized ears for 9 minutes, and large ears for 11 minutes. You may use the same boiling water two or three times. After boiling, cool the corn immediately in ice water for the same amount of time as it was boiled. Drain the corn thoroughly.

To freeze whole kernel corn, blanch the corn on the cob for about 5 minutes. Cool thoroughly in ice water for 5 minutes. Cut the corn from the cob and package in freezer containers or good quality freezer bags. Frozen sweet corn (at 0° F or lower) can be stored for a maximum of 12 to 18 months.”

ALLLSSSOOO: have you ever heard of milking corn cobs? My friend and fellow Core group member David taught me about it. Once you cut the corn off the cob, run your knife over the cob vigorously several times, pulling the starchy liquid out of it and any of the little bits of kernels that are still left. It creates a white milky substance that is great tossed into a pasta dish or into soups–it adds sweet starchy awesomeness. Give it a try!