Los Alamitos, CA (March 2021) – As Women’s History Month comes to a close, Frieda’s Specialty Produce looks forward to celebrating its 59th Anniversary on April 2 with the release of a new children’s book titled, “Try It! How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat.”

Authored by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Giselle Potter, the book celebrates the incredible life of Frieda Caplan—the produce pioneer who forever changed the way Americans eat by introducing a whole new world of delicious foods to the United States—from baby carrots to blood oranges and, of course, kiwis!

TRY IT! is what Frieda Caplan did,” says Mara Rockliff, the book’s author. “When she started selling produce in the 1950s, there were no women doing what she did. She could have given up and gone home, or she could have followed the men’s lead and sold the same old apples and bananas and potatoes and tomatoes. Instead, she decided to try something new, and she changed the whole industry.”

Frieda was credited with differentiating her products and building her niche through the clever use of product naming, clear labeling, customer education, and interesting recipes, all of which remains deeply entrenched in the company’s ethos.

“My mother always believed in thinking outside the produce box,” says Karen Caplan, CEO and president of Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “In fact, my favorite story is how she was approached by a produce manager to locate what is now known as kiwifruit. She managed to get the first shipment on grocery store shelves, and, as they say, the rest is marketing history.”

The book has already received rave reviews and is the perfect way to inspire the little ones in your life. For more information, please visit: https://bit.ly/3clogc9 and TRY IT! for yourself!

Speaking of kiwis, April 2 is also Love Your Produce Manager® Day, the perfect opportunity to recognize the incredible work done by the unsung heroes of produce and honor their knowledge, hard work, and ability to go above and beyond even during the toughest times.

Without produce managers, there would be no calamondins, kumquats, lychees, dragon fruit, or other exotic produce. So, don’t forget to celebrate your produce teams this year and highlight all they do to help create that outstanding consumer experience that shoppers are looking for.

Call your Frieda’s account manager today for ways to celebrate these produce heroes.

Los Alamitos, CA (March 2021) International Women’s Month, celebrated in March, is the perfect time to spotlight the incredible women who have paved the way for women all over the world. As a proud female and family founded, owned and led business, Frieda’s Specialty Produce wanted to do something innovative to recognize women pioneers.

A campaign unveiled across multiple social media platforms features our founder Frieda Rapoport Caplan, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and poet laureate Amanda Gorman. Their iconic styles and personalities were brought to life through produce like colored cauliflower, Stokes Purple® sweet potato, shishito peppers and Snow Dragon™ fruit.

“My mother would have gotten such a kick out of seeing her portrait recreated out of dragon fruit and colored cauliflower,” says Karen Caplan, president and CEO of Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “It brings such joy to honor her alongside the legendary RBG and the voice of the next generation, Amanda Gorman. We wanted to focus on women who have inspired us, but in true Frieda’s fashion do it in a way that makes people smile.”

This International Women’s month we salute all female trailblazers inside and outside the produce industry, from fearless frontline warriors to the female scientists working on the vaccines and all of the moms in between.
To all the women in our lives, thank you for everything you do!

 

To view the campaign, please visit our social media pages:
Instagram – www.instagram.com/friedasproduce
Facebook – www.facebook.com/friedasspecialtyproduce

 

 

Los Alamitos, CA (February 2021) Whole Foods Market is celebrating “Women Makers Raising the Bar,” highlighting some of the women makers, career changers and industry leaders who inspire and motivate others; and for the second year in a row, Frieda’s will be a focal point in the produce department as a proudly female-founded, female-owned and female-led company.

“We’re happy to spotlight Frieda’s Specialty Produce, a woman-owned and operated produce company,” said Erik Brown, executive leader, procurement at Whole Foods Market. “Frieda’s is a supplier that is all heart, caring deeply about the companies they supply and the shoppers they inspire.”

Nationwide, Whole Foods Market will promote a large selection of Frieda’s specialty items, including Snow & Honey™ dragon fruit, jackfruit, mandarinquats, kumquats, pink lemons and much more.

“We are thrilled to be included in this promotion for the second year in a row! In a male-driven industry, our female-first heritage is what lies at the very heart of our company and sets us apart,” says Megan Klemz, account manager at Frieda’s. “It is truly amazing to work with an organization like Whole Foods Market who has shared values and seeks to inspire their shoppers every day with new food experiences.”

 

Home for the holidays? Us too!

With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, you’re probably wondering what the holidays will look like this year—so are we! Celebrating the holidays may look quite a bit different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be just as special—in fact, there has never been a better time to throw out the old (traditions) and ring in the new! Read on to find bold, stress-free, and responsible ways to add your own unique spin to the holidays.

See You on the Other Side (of the Screen)

If there’s one thing we’ve embraced this year, it’s simplicity. While nothing compares to seeing your friends’ smiling faces in person, a virtual Thanksgiving may just be the next best thing. Not only do you get to invite as many people you want, but it’s also the perfect way to catch up with people who you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see over the holidays … minus all the stress!

Invite your friends, pick a date, choose your favorite virtual platform, set up an online doc with a meal plan and grocery list for everyone to see, and then on the chosen day, prep and cook together, if you have the time, or set a time for everyone to log in and enjoy together (virtually, of course). A great way to get ahead of menu planning is by researching what’s local and seasonal and take it from there. This year, the rules just don’t count.

We recommend shaking up the classics and giving them a vibrant upgrade, like this Hearty Stokes Purple® sweet potato and cipolline onion breadless stuffing, or a Creamy Stokes Purple® sweet potato soup which not only keeps the menu light and easy, but is also bright and festive!

 

And what are the holidays without a little liquid celebration? Try a citrusy Kumquat Ginger Smash or the heady Passion Fruit Mojito, and the fortifying Rainbow Carrot, Turmeric, Ginger, and Blood Orange Juice—delicious with or without alcohol!

Rocks glass filled with kumquats, ginger, rum and club soda garnished with skewered kumquats. Spoon laid to the side of glass.

 

(Socially Distanced) Sugar Rush

If a full menu sounds like too much, why not keep it simple and skip straight to dessert? Host your very own virtual bake off, and while there may not be any Great British Bake Off grand-prize winner, where there’s pie, everyone’s a winner. We highly recommend the no-sweat, easy-peasy Frieda’s Stokes Purple® sweet potato pie with fluffy maple whipped cream for a fun, modern twist on a classic Thanksgiving favorite.

Not a pie person? Try these Stokes Purple® sweet potato dark chocolate coconut cups, which are a great way to exercise portion control and restraint (even though you may not want to!). Plus, they pack a nutritional punch with Vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, which is something we all could use right about now. Not convinced? Read all about the nutritional punch these purple sweet potatoes pack here.

Frieda's Stokes Purple Sweet Potato Pie

 

The Great Friendsgiving Drop-Off

Still want a big meal without all the leftovers and hard work? A door drop-off is just what you need. Divide up the menu and have all your friends cook one (or several) of their favorite dishes, divide up the portions, and drop them off at each other’s door—the perfect way to get your fill of sweet, savory, and of course easy!

Looking for inspiration? Try these Hasselback Stokes purple® sweet potato with ginger turmeric glaze, easy to make and transport! Pro tip: Make a double batch of the glaze and save the leftover for spreading on toast or adding zippy flavor to roasted vegetables. If you’re looking for something a little more comforting, try making a batch of these Stokes Purple® sweet potato biscuits with maple butter glaze, a deliciously cozy and easily transportable dish to drop off to friends and family. They’re perfect to pair with your Thanksgiving spread or enjoy in the morning before the big feast begins.

Would it even be 2020 if we didn’t mention the year’s biggest vegetarian food trend … the cauliflower? This multicolored cruciferous veggie is not only delicious, but also extremely versatile and easy to cook, especially our Whole roasted colored cauliflower with salsa verde or the incredibly breathtaking (tasting?) Whole roasted purple cauliflower with a romesco sauce…*chefs kiss*

Pro tip: If you decide to make the turkey, make sure you take into account food allergies and restrictions.

 

Charcuterie Board Banksy

Kick your virtual happy hour up a notch and add an element of creativity with a fun charcuterie board contest. A charcuterie board is typically filled with cured meats, cheeses, veggies, dried fruit, nuts, and crackers, but since we’ve done away with the rules, add whatever you want!

Start by defining a theme—rainbows, desserts or good old Thanksgiving foods are a few easy options- appoint a judge (preferably one who can’t be bought with yummy treats) and then get ready to get competitive! If you’ve got your eye on the prize, then amp up the drama with fresh dragon fruit, kiwi berries, finger limes, kumquats, rambutan and watermelon radishes to not only set your board apart, but also add bright and festive pops of color.

 

So Close, But Just Far Enough

If nothing can replace the feeling of actually being together, host a small and socially distanced gathering in your backyard with a potluck style spread. Set up an outdoor projector, watch some movies and have a small fire going, and let your guests graze on hummus and crudités, assorted skewers, Stokes Purple® sweet potato crostini with goat cheese, slices of our Winter Citrus Tart that hits all the right notes of sweet and tart, and cozy up with a mug of Golden Milk Turmeric Chai, or a nourishing Ginger and Turmeric Sipping Broth that feels like a hug in a mug.

Sure, this might not feel like your typical Friendsgiving dinner, sharing drinks and dishes—and the occasional drama—but it’s still worth celebrating. The celebrations may require putting in a little more effort than years past, but don’t let that stop you from reaching out—whether that’s 6 feet or 600 miles apart.

Wishing you all a safe, yummy, and inspiring Holiday season!

Ever wonder why some coconuts are white, some are brown, and some don’t look like the tropical coconut emoji at all? Welcome to the ultimate coconut guide. Let us be your tropical tour guide through the wonderful, delicious journey of coconuts.

While the origin of coconuts is debatable, they are thought to have originally come from the beautiful tropical islands along Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. They are one of the most important crops of the tropics. Coconuts have been grown in temperate regions for thousands of years, thriving in sandy soil, and they have recently become quite popular for their flavor, culinary uses and potential health benefits—specifically coconut water. Frieda’s young coconuts are harvested in Thailand, while brown coconuts are harvested in Mexico. The fruit is also grown in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Vietnam and the USA.

Ever think a coconut looks like a little face staring back at you? Well Portuguese explorers thought the same thing! Those three little characteristic eyes looked like a goblin or grinning face, so it is believed that they named it “coco”—the word for goblin. Later the English added the word “nut,” creating the name we know today as coconut.

Interestingly, young coconuts, white coconuts and brown coconuts all come from the same coconut palm, they just differ by stage of maturity! All coconuts contain a husk, which is kind of like the rind of the fruit and under which you can find the delicious meat. The inside features a sweet, drinkable liquid called coconut water (not to be confused with coconut milk). Coconuts are almost the opposite of most table fruits, where the pit is on the inside and the flesh is on the outside. With coconuts, it’s reversed. Now that’s (coco) nuts! Let’s take a closer look to understand what makes them different.

 

Young coconut

Find your paradise with our favorite coconut! These fruits are harvested young and their green outer skin is pared away to reveal a white cylindrical husk with a pointy, pencil-like tip. Inside the white husk is the familiar round coconut with its hard, fibrous shell—or the nut. They might be a tough cookie to crack, but once you do, you’ll experience the sweet and refreshing water inside. At this stage of maturity, the coconut is mostly water. In fact, young coconuts have the largest amount of water compared to white or brown coconuts, containing up to 10 ounces! Not only is the water a great natural substitute for soft drinks, sugary juices, or sports drink, it is also loaded with electrolytes! Even though young coconuts are mostly filled with water, don’t forget about the yummy meat, which is thin, super soft and silky, almost jelly-like. You can scoop it out with a spoon. These coconuts are best for drinking and are a great source of hydration that can also be used in smoothies, slushies and other tropical drinks.

When shopping for young coconuts, choose heavy coconuts with no cracks, mold or soft wet spots. If you give the young coconut a shake, it shouldn’t slosh much—if any—because you want it to be full of liquid with no air inside.

Not quite sure how to open a coconut? Check out how to open a Frieda’s young coconut here.

 

White coconut

 

The white coconut is a pale cream color with hairy white fibers. As the coconut matures, the meat becomes firmer and the amount of water decreases. But that is not to say that this meat isn’t as delicious as that of a young coconut, and it’s considerably moister and fresher than the meat of the more mature brown coconut. White coconuts often have a floral fragrance. These coconuts are best for cooking, grating the meat into salads or baked goods, or using in curries. Yum!

 

Brown coconut

 

This is the type of fruit most people think of when they think of coconuts. Just check out the coconut emoji on your phone! As the most mature coconut, these are typically 10-12 months old. The outer shell has a coarse brown hair-like texture and the meat here is so hard you need a sharp knife to chop it. It also has the smallest amount of water because, as the coconut ages, the water is absorbed as the meat thickens. These coconuts are great for making your own coconut milk or as a substitute for packaged shredded coconut when grated.

 

Benefits and Uses of Coconuts

Coconuts have a host of health benefits, including being a great source of manganese, which is essential for bone health and for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol. Coconuts are also a good source of fiber, which can promote gut health, and they’re a great source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fatty acid that can help with weight loss (which is why coconuts are super friendly and on-trend with popular high-fat, low-carb diets like keto and paleo). Check out more coconut health benefits here.

Coconuts are truly unique in that they are often associated with indulgent, tropical escapes. As such, they can help turn a regular afternoon in the backyard into a Polynesian getaway! The coconut shell makes an excellent vessel for a drink or slushy. You can also take the meat and make delicious Blood Orange Coconut Yogurt or a Young Coconut Sugar Cream Pie, or use the water for Coconut Yogurt Chia Pudding.

So, as we here at Frieda’s like to say, just add a straw and an umbrella and you too can go “coco” for coconuts!

 

To check out more of our Ultimate Guides, click here, here and here.

Ever wonder exactly what dragon fruit is? With the cultural fascination of dragons (think “Game of Thrones,” The Hobbit, “How to Train your Dragon”), it’s no wonder that the produce spotlight would be turned to this funny-looking tropical fruit reminiscent of flame throwing. But what is dragon fruit? What do you do with it, and how are the different varieties, well, different? Look no further than this ultimate dragon fruit guide. Spoiler alert—there is a dragon in this fairy tale.

 

Step #1 – Go dragon hunting

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is a beautiful tropical cactus fruit that is a cousin to the cactus pear. Although it is the fruit of a cactus, it does not have any spines or needles on the outer skin. Originally grown in Mexico and Central America, today it can be found growing all over the world in places like Ecuador, Israel, Vietnam, Nicaragua, California and Florida. Dragon fruit tastes like a combination of kiwifruit and pear, and different varieties have different flavors and sweetness levels (more to come on that). This stunning cactus fruit is speckled with edible seeds and the flesh is high in water content, making it the perfect summer fruit.

Dragon fruit is known for containing prebiotic fiber to promote gut health, specifically encouraging the growth of the probiotics lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Not to mention, dragon fruit also contains multiple classes of antioxidants including flavonoids, phenolic acid, and betacyanin. Plus, the fruit has small amounts of several other key nutrients including vitamin C, iron, magnesium, protein and calcium. More on that here.

Dragon fruit is available year-round, but different varieties may be available at different times of the year. To extend the shelf life of these beauties, you can scoop out the flesh and freeze it.

There are many different kinds of dragon fruit that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, sweetness and flavor profiles, and color combinations—ranging from red skin/white flesh to red skin/red flesh to yellow skin/white flesh. Let’s take a closer look:

 

Red skin/white flesh

The most common dragon fruit variety, this dragon fruit has red skin with white flesh and black seeds. It has an earthy flavor and is the least sweet of all dragon fruit varieties. This type of dragon fruit is extremely popular in Asian cuisine and is used for summer refreshment, mealtime palate cleansers and snacking. We love how this dragon fruit comes in its own bowl—simply scoop out the flesh, dice it up and add it back in with berries and melon for a beautiful fruit salad. This type of dragon fruit is typically available year-round and is the most widely grown worldwide.

 

Red skin/red flesh

 

A favorite of ours, red dragon fruit is the most striking with bright magenta flesh. The flavor is sweeter than the white-flesh variety, with a hint of berry. Red-flesh dragon fruit is commonly found growing in Nicaragua where it is magically fertilized in the rich volcanic soil, making it more flavorful and sweet. Compared to the red skin/white flesh variety, red dragon fruit is round with small leaves aka “bracts.” Red dragon fruit is also grown in Israel where it is smaller and looks different than its other friends––much like a giant, pink pine cone.

Just a little bit of red dragon fruit will go a long way. It is terrific in cocktails and popsicles, but you’ll need to rinse your cutting board immediately after because that delicious red juice likes to flow (it can stain your hands or any light-colored surfaces). This dragon fruit is usually available from summer into fall.

 

 

Yellow skin/white flesh

This is the sweetest of all dragons! The inside is almost translucent and the seeds are larger than in other varieties. This yellow dragon fruit is commonly grown in Ecuador. The bracts on this vibrant yellow variety are smaller and less leafy than on its red-skinned counterparts. We call this the “gateway” dragon fruit, since it is the sweetest and most flavorful. One bite and you’ll be hooked! We love this one in fresh, fruity salsa that pairs well with fish, or just eat it straight out of the skin with a spoon. Yellow dragon fruit is usually available in bursts throughout most of the year.

 

Step #2 – Know a dragon when you see it

What’s the difference between dragon fruit and pitaya?

The actual name pitaya, or pitahaya (they are interchangeable), stems from the Latin American heritage of this beautiful exotic fruit. This tropical fruit is native to Central America (dating back to the 13th century). However, it made its way to Vietnam and Malaysia (probably because of its popularity with Asian consumers), where it is now widely grown. We’ve heard that the Vietnamese name, “thang loy,” somehow translates into the English words “dragon fruit.” In Israel, where the fruit is commercially grown and then imported into the U.S., growers like to call it “pitaya” or “pitahaya,” while Vietnamese growers label theirs “dragon fruit,” thus the different names.

So, whether you see them called pitaya, pitahaya, or dragon fruit, they are all basically the same fruit.

 

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Grilled Tropical Fruit Kebabs

 

Step #3 – Befriend the dragon

Dragon fruit is extremely versatile. Its refreshing nature is perfect for smoothies and smoothie bowls— ideal warm-weather breakfasts.

Because the flavor is so neutral, it is a nice fruit complement to other fruits that like to steal the flavor show including berries, pineapple, citrus and açai. That means dragon fruit was destined for fruit salads and spicy salsa. You can even grill it, in fact, we “heart” these grilled tropical fruit kebabs.

But don’t end the day there! Dragon fruit is the perfect garnish for cocktails and can add a beautiful decorative flourish to any dessert. We also love it in sorbet.

 

 

So go forth, hunt for your dragon and let us know what you find!

 

To check out more of our Ultimate Guides, click here, here and here.

We all have our favorite takeout classics—Pad Thai and curries from Thai restaurants, dumplings from Chinese restaurants, pho from Vietnamese kitchens and different masalas from Indian eateries. When you go into the supermarket to gather ingredients to make an Asian favorite at home, you may see something called “yu choy sum” and have no idea what to do with it!

We at Frieda’s have created a comprehensive list of our ethnic favorites to help you decode the mystery of Asian cooking. This guide goes way beyond just broccoli and bean sprouts—it’s all about variety, flavor and freshness—and it’s easier than you’d think when using our Asian vegetable tutorial.

Bok Choy

This cousin to cabbage offers a satisfying crunch and delicate flavor to any meal. Though it is most commonly seen in stir-fries and sautés, we also love to use it raw in salads or braised in stews. We love adding it to our Asian Dumpling Soup recipe. Look for crisp, intact stalks with fresh looking leaves.

Chinese Bitter Melon

This “melon” is not a melon at all, in fact, it’s a gourd! The name isn’t totally misleading though—it is definitely bitter in flavor. This bitterness is easy to tame … all you need is some salt and a few minutes. Once you’ve tamed the flavor, slice the melon and add it to stir-fries, soups, curries—you name it! Choose firm, bruise-free bitter melons when shopping.

 

Chinese Eggplant

Long, slender and almost seedless, these eggplants are far less bitter than the American variety we see in our supermarkets. Chop Chinese eggplant up and add them to stir-fries, oven-roasted vegetable recipes or puree into a dip. We are really loving them in our Napa Cabbage Lettuce Cups with Chinese Eggplant and Basil. When shopping, look for a mostly smooth, shiny eggplant. Sponginess is normal.

 

Chinese Long Beans (A.K.A. Long Beans)

Long beans or Chinese long beans look like slightly darker (and very long) green beans. Their extra-firm texture makes them perfect for sautéing or roasting. When you’re shopping for these, you’ll want to select beans with some flexibility. Keep them refrigerated until you plan to use them.

Chinese Okra

A vegetable of many names: silk gourd, sing qua and veggie sponge. Chinese okra is primarily used in southern China, Southeast Asia and Japan. Unlike its southern American counterpart, this okra can grow up to three feet long! With its soft, spongy texture and zucchini-like flavor, it is the perfect addition to any dish. We recommend trying it in curries, stir-fries or for frying. Look for firm yet spongy okra when in the store with minimal blemishes.

 

Daikon Radish

You may be familiar with daikon if you eat a lot of Japanese food. It is often served pickled as “noodles,” shredded into rolls or served on the side with different types of sushi. It looks like a large, white carrot and has a sharp (yet sweet) flavor. When selecting them at your supermarket, choose a radish that is fairly firm with no dark spots.

 

Julienned daikon radish with bean sprouts, bok choy and Frieda's baby rainbow carrots with Pad Thai sauce in bowl

Dragon Fruit

This stunning cactus fruit is speckled with edible seeds. It’s a common co-star with açai, making for delightfully sweet and refreshing smoothies/smoothie bowls. Dragon fruit comes in a variety of color combinations, ranging from red skin/white flesh to red skin/red flesh to yellow skin/white flesh. Its country of origin can also affect the sweetness level. The red skin/white flesh variety is mildly sweet, and the yellow skin/white flesh variety is super sweet! (The red skin/red flesh version falls in between the two.) Look for unscarred skin when at the supermarket. You can also scoop out the flesh and freeze it to extend the shelf life.

 

Gai Lan (A.K.A. Chinese Broccoli)

This vegetable is longer and leafier than common broccoli, resembling rapini or broccoli raab. Its slightly sharp flavor is perfect sautéed with citrus, oven roasted or grilled. Look for tight heads (flowering is common and totally edible!) with crisp leaves, and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

 

Ginger

Arguably the biggest staple in Asian cooking, ginger is spoken of in the Jewish Talmud, was written about by Marco Polo and even recommended by Henry VIII as a remedy against the plague. Its peppery and zesty flavor is a great addition to sweet and savory dishes like cakes, stir-fries, teas, smoothies—you name it! Look for roots with firm skin. Struggle with peeling ginger? Use a spoon to scrape off the skin!

Indian Bitter Melon

Unlike its Chinese counterpart, this bitter melon has rough, bumpy skin and a tail-like vine. The bitter flavor aids in its medicinal qualities (or so the story goes), which can be tamed by sprinkling salt on the melon and letting it rest. Then you can slice and sauté, braise or even stuff Indian bitter melon! When shopping, look for firm bitter melons.

 

Indian Eggplant

Similar to American eggplant, this version has thicker skin and a stronger flavor. This vegetable is most commonly used in baingan bharta, an Indian staple. Select Indian eggplants with mostly smooth skin that are firm to the touch. Sponginess is normal!

 

Lemongrass

Commonly found in Thai and Vietnamese dishes, these stalks impart a lemony flavor to any dish. Steep lemongrass into broths and curries but remove it before serving, as it is inedible. Select stalks that feel firm and look fresh.

Napa Cabbage (A.K.A. Chinese Cabbage)

Napa cabbage is a staple in Asian cooking. Its crisp, pale green leaves are often used in slaws and salads. Napa cabbage is also the main ingredient in kimchi. We love to use it raw in Napa Cabbage Wraps or roasted for Sesame-Roasted Napa Cabbage. Look for firm and crisp cabbage when shopping.

 

Napa cabbage leaves filled with Chinese eggplant, ginger, Thai green chile and basil

Okra

A popular staple in Southern cooking and many Asian dishes, okra can be sliced and added to stir-fries, soups or eaten on its own. In order to avoid a slimy texture, either soak it in vinegar and water or cook on a very high heat. When you’re at the store, look for brightly colored pods.

Opo Squash

Similar to zucchini, opo squash has a very mild flavor. Use as you would use other soft-shelled squash— in soups, stir-fries or stuff them! Look for squashes that are firm to the touch with fairly smooth skin.

 

Shanghai Bok Choy

This special baby bok choy variety has smooth spoon-shaped leaves and pale green stalks. It has a mild, sweet cabbage-like flavor. Like regular bok choy, it’s entirely edible and excellent in stir-fries, braised or roasted. Our favorite recipe is Grilled Shanghai Bok Choy. Look for crisp, intact stalks with fresh-looking leaves.

 

 

Small Taro Root

This brown root has white/beige potato-like flesh with occasional purple freckles. It’s starchy, nutty and delicious. Unlike some veggies, taro root MUST be cooked before consumption—it is toxic if eaten raw! This root vegetable is commonly used to make staples like poi and taro root cakes. You can also substitute it for potato in many sweet or savory recipes. Look for roots that are heavy for their size and firm to the touch.

 

Thai Eggplant

Ranging in color from all green to green with white stripes, this little eggplant is best known for being one of the key ingredients in curries. It is also perfect for pickling, adding to sauces like nam prik (a Thai chili sauce) and sweet-and-sour dishes for texture and flavor. Like the other eggplants on this list, look for a product with mostly smooth skin that is fairly firm to the touch. Sponginess is totally normal!

 

Thai Green Chiles

These chiles can range in color from bright green to red when fully mature and are a 7-8 out of 10 on the heat scale. Referred to as “Bird chiles” when dried, these peppers are commonly found in curries, pickles and chile sauces. Choose firm, smooth and unblemished chiles.

Turmeric

Can you say super food? Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been a healing staple for hundreds of years. It is less spicy in flavor that its cousin, ginger, and has a more peppery and earthy profile. Make Golden Milk Turmeric Chai, Lemony Ginger Turmeric Chicken or our favorite Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower Tacos! When buying turmeric, search for firm roots.

 

Young Coconut

Dive into paradise with the refreshing, sweet water from young coconuts. Known for their high level of potassium and electrolytes, these coconuts are the perfect treat. You can use the water and the sweet, delicate meat in recipes like our Young Coconut Passion Fruit Granita, Young Coconut Chia Pudding or even just blend the meat and water to make coconut milk! These are highly perishable, so keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to enjoy.

 

Yu Choy Sum

This vegetable looks very similar to gai lan—long and leafy with little flowers. The big distinction between these two is that yu choy sum has yellow flowers and skinny stems, where gai lan has white flowers and thicker stems. The two can be prepared very similarly—in stir-fries, soups or roasted on their own. Look for firm stems and full leaves when buying this vegetable at your supermarket.

 

 

And don’t forget to include Frieda’s wonton wrappers and eggroll wrappers in your pantry for Asian cooking!

 

To check out more of our Ultimate Guides, click here, here and here.

“The coolest thing is that after more than 50 years, the business remains family run,” said David Whiting in his March article in the Orange County Register.

It was a pleasure to have David and Cindy from the Orange County Register spend the day with Frieda and the Caplan family!

 

Get to know the people behind your produce department

Do you know who your supermarket produce manager is? Most people don’t, unless they happen to be in the produce department early in the morning when these hardworking men and women go through the inventory of beautiful vegetables and gorgeous fruits they have ordered for your local grocery store. That is why, on April 2, we are celebrating Love Your Produce Manager® Day to show our appreciation for their work.

So, why should you love your produce manager and other produce team members?

They know what’s what

Is this cilantro or Italian parsley? Is scallion the same thing as green onion? (The answer is yes.) Can you help me find a jicama? Your produce managers can help you navigate the produce department and find the exact fruit or vegetable you’re looking for. They can also answer your questions about certain products. Not sure how to eat a cherimoya? Your produce manager can help you with that!

They know what’s fresh

Produce managers definitely know their produce. They can tell you what’s in peak season and when your favorite vegetables will be back in season. They also have the knowledge to help you pick the best fruits and vegetables from the shelf!

They provide inspiration for your next meal

Supermarket produce people know how to make those fruits and vegetables look enticing with creative and colorful displays. Merchandising these perishables could be considered an art form, and it may even inspire you to pick up something for a recipe you’ve been meaning to try. While not all produce staff are gourmet cooks, many do have a handy tip or two about the best way to store and prepare some of the fresh items in your basket. Ask your produce manager about his or her favorite recipe and try it out for yourself.

They can help you get what you want in the store

It never hurts to ask your produce manager about hard-to-find items or to request specialty items. Produce managers are your connection to new and exciting produce. Your input helps them stock their shelves better and gives them opportunity to bring in something new to the stores. For example, back in the 1960s, a shopper asked a produce manager for what we now know as the kiwifruit. He, in turn, asked around, and we found them for him. The rest is history!

Two words: free samples

Would you like to know what a lychee tastes like? Your produce manager may be able to help you with that. In some supermarkets, produce managers can provide a sample of products upon request.

Now that you know how resourceful produce managers are, make sure to stop by and say hello to your local produce guy or gal the next time you’re in the store.

(And don’t forget to show them extra appreciation on April 2 on social media with hashtag #LYPM.)

Take egg roll and wonton wrappers beyond Asian cuisine

Egg rolls and wontons have never wandered far out of the American culinary purview.  After all, Chinese cuisine is one of the most popular ethnic foods in the U.S.

However, we have seen surge in popularity with egg roll and wonton wrappers in recent years as more people are cooking at home. Home cooks are wrapping and rolling fearlessly with all the video tutorials out there to guide them along the way, and with the wrappers being readily available at supermarkets.

[youtube=https://youtu.be/w4fth81B0_U]

But egg rolls and wontons have come a long way from the traditional filling of meat and vegetables and deep frying. Have you tried the Tex Mex, avocado, or salmon egg rolls at the Cheesecake Factory? Or perhaps the chicken wonton tacos at Applebee’s?

Clearly, these little pastry sheets are definitely meant for so much more than just egg rolls and wontons. They’re just waiting for you to unwrap and unleash a delicious culinary world beyond the traditional Asian applications.

Applebee's Chicken Wonton Tacos

Wok, away, grasshopper! Here are three creative ways to use egg roll and wonton wrappers.

Meal In a Cup

Eggroll wrappers fit perfectly into standard muffin tins, and smaller wonton wrappers are adorable in mini tins! After a quick trip to the oven, these pastry cups are ready to be filled with just about anything from sweet to savory.

How to: Spray muffin tins with cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil, then fit one wrapper into each cup. Depending on a recipe, you may fill them and bake them off all in one go, or you may have to bake the cups first, fill them, then bake again. Either way, the results are the same: delicious, bite-size morsels!

With what do you fill them? Anything you heart desired! You can just spoon in some Chinese chicken salad, or take a southwestern turn and fill with black bean salad with avocado. For a hot meal, try ricotta cheese with meat sauce topped with mozzarella for a lasagna cup, ground turkey taco filling topped with cheese and tomatoes, or jalapeno poppers like this one below.

[youtube=https://youtu.be/wVQiP5kvomM]

Fresh Pasta Stand-In

No time to roll out fresh pasta? Egg roll and wonton wrappers to the rescue!

Use egg roll wrappers as lasagna sheets. No need to pre-cook the noodles! Just layer them in as you would with your regular lasagna application. Cover and bake until the noodles are cooked through, then you can bake a little longer or put the lasagna under the broiler if you like that brown and melty, cheesy crust.

As for wonton wrappers, they are just the right size for making ravioli. Fill these sheets with anything from simple ricotta (and bake for appetizer) to the show stopping raviolo al uovo with ricotta and runny egg yolk center.

[youtube=https://youtu.be/IGtSyNEGhEs]

Sweet Sensations

The sky’s the limit when it comes to using egg roll and wonton wrappers for desserts! Make the dessert cups by brushing on melted butter instead of non-stick spray. Sprinkle on some cinnamon-sugar for a perfect ice cream vessel (hm…dulce de lechce ice cream…), apple pie filling, or cannoli cream.

You can also make traditional shaped egg rolls and wontons that are crispy on the outside and filled with oozy, gooey, yummy sweet fillings like fried chocolate hazelnut banana raviolis, or S’more egg rolls filled with chocolate and marshmallow fluff.

[youtube=https://youtu.be/Y_yrKXVBGPE]

And by the way, these egg roll and wonton wrappers freeze really well. Pack unused portions into a zip top back, squeeze out all the air, and pop them into the freezer. They’ll keep for at least two months. Just thaw them out in your refrigerator overnight before use.

But seriously though, with all the things you can make with these wrappers, we doubt you’ll have them in your freezer that long.

Peak season citrus and fresh vegetables play major roles in this food-centric lunar festival

ChineseMerchandisingDisplay_NoBanner

Hang the red lanterns, gather your citrus fruits, and cook your noodles. On February 16, it’s time to welcome the year of the Dog!

Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) is the most important traditional Chinese holiday, and is celebrated around the world. The celebration starts on the second new moon after the winter solstice, which is on February 8, 2016, and goes on for 15 days. During this time, also known as the Spring Festival, those who celebrate visit temples to pay respect to their ancestors and pray for good fortune in the coming year. Small red envelopes of money are given to children as a token of good luck and prosperity. And, like most any family-centered holiday, everyone gathers around for a family feast, making Chinese New Year one of the biggest food holidays of the year.

Food is definitely a focus of Chinese New Year celebration, but it’s more than just nourishment. In Chinese traditions, foods served during the festival have auspicious meanings. Chinese traditions are rich with wordplay and symbolism. Some of the dishes and ingredients have names that sound similar to words and phrases referring to good wishes.

For example, “Kumquat” literally means “golden orange.” Symbolizing wealth and prosperity, the little citrus fruits, and sometimes the tree saplings, are given as gifts during Chinese New Year. Other “wealthy” fruits include Oranges and Tangerines. The larger citrus like Pummelos and Grapefruits symbolize abundance, prosperity, and family unity.

Another item that represents good fortune is Daikon or Asian Radish. In one Chinese dialect, the word for radish is a homophone for “good fortune.” This is why the savory radish cake is traditionally eaten during Chinese New Year celebration. But Daikon is more versatile than that. It can be added to soups and stews, steamed, or eaten fresh, chopped up or thinly shaved into salads.

Daikon could be a part of the mixed vegetable dish that represents family unity. This typical stir-fry is made with a touch of oyster sauce for business success and a mix of vegetables like Shanghai Bok Choy for close family ties, and Woodear and Shiitake Mushrooms for longevity.

The ultimate longevity blessing, however, comes from the noodles. Long and uncut, they symbolize long life. While Chow Mein is a traditional choice, other Asian noodles like Yakisoba are used for pan-fries and stir-fries, and Udons are used in soups. Shrimp may be added for liveliness and pork for abundance of blessings.

One of the many Chinese New Year wishes translates to “May your happiness be without limit.” With good eating like this, it definitely is the beginning of a very happy year!

Kung Hei Fat Choy! (Happy New Year and be prosperous!)

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[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYCn4Wix6dw]

Our president and CEO Karen and our company were featured on Intel’s #SheOwnsIt series which spotlights women small business owners and their journey of success.

“It is an absolute requirement to be fearless when you run a business. Sometimes you’re going in a direction no one else has been before. And the leader has to be leading the charge.”

And we’d follow her anywhere.

Demystifying different types of purple sweet potatoes, one tuber at a time!

 

Updated March 30, 2020

There is no doubt that purple sweet potatoes have gained popularity—just open the pages of Eating Well, Martha Stewart Living, The Washington Post and O, The Oprah Magazine. Even journalist Dan Buettner, author of Blue Zones, credits these purple beauties with being part of the diet and lifestyle that has propelled the longevity of the centenarian Okinawa population.  But not all varieties of purple sweet potatoes are created equal.

The four main types of purple-fleshed sweet potatoes consumed in the U.S. are Stokes Purple® sweet potatoesOkinawan sweet potatoes, Murasaki sweet potatoes and Charleston sweet potatoes. Ube (pronounced OO-beh) is available in concentrate form only, not as a fresh potato. Shoppers and foodies alike often confuse these varieties based on skin color, flesh color, different names and even incorrect internet images.

Take a look at what makes each variety different.

 

Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes

Born in the U.S.A., Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes originated in Stokes County, North Carolina. They’re now grown commercially in the perfectly sandy soil of central California. Available year-round, these sweet potatoes have purple-tinted skin with a deep purple flesh that intensifies when cooked.

Exclusive to Frieda’s, these unique Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes have a somewhat moist, moderately starchy texture and are mildly sweet with slight floral notes. They are a good source of vitamin C and contain a high level of anthocyanins—the antioxidant compound also found in blueberries that gives this potato its purple hue.

 

Some of our favorite ways to use Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes include sweet potato pie, served as a crostini, or in stuffing, soups, curries and more!

Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes are available at grocery stores nationwide and on our website at www.friedas.com/shop.

 

Okinawan Sweet Potatoes

Believed to have come from the Aztecs of South America with the Spaniards to the Philippines and China in the 1490s, the plant of these sweet potatoes did not reach Japan until the 1600s. The initial planting was in Okinawa—the southern island of Japan—before they were cultivated throughout Japan, hence the name. Eventually these purple tubers ended up in Hawaii and became a part of the native menu—they are also known as Hawaiian sweet potatoes.

With a creamy, beige skin on the outside and bluish-purple flesh on the inside, these sweet potatoes are grown in Hawaii for the U.S. market. Okinawan sweet potatoes have a mildly sweet flavor with notes of honey and a dry, very starchy texture. According to The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner, consumption of these potatoes is correlated to living a longer life.

 

Murasaki Sweet Potatoes

Murasaki sweet potatoes (also known as Japanese sweet potatoes) first originated in Louisiana, developed by the Louisiana State University’s Sweet Potato Research Station in the early 2000s. Today they are primarily grown in California.

This sweet potato variety has reddish-purple skin with a flesh that is actually white. Their name comes from the Japanese word for purple because of the color of their skin. If you’re wondering what this looks like—check your phone! The sweet potato emoji is actually a Murasaki! Murasaki sweet potatoes have a sweet taste with notes of brown sugar and vanilla, and a very starchy, moist texture, making them good sweet potatoes for baked goods. They are a good substitute for the fresh ube variety given their level of sweetness, although they lack the beautiful purple color that ube is known for.

 

Charleston Sweet Potatoes

The Charleston sweet potato is not as widely available in grocery stores as some other varieties. Its purple flesh is slightly sweet with earthy notes but it is very dry and chalky in texture so it is commonly used in seasoned savory dishes as well as in Asian cuisine.

 

 

 

Ube (Purple Yam)

Ube is commonly used in desserts all over the world—in ice creams, tarts and even donuts! Also known as a purple yam, ube is a staple of the Filipino kitchen and is well-loved all over Asia as a dessert ingredient for its sweet and nutty flavor.

With all the attention on ube comes the confusion about this elusive yam. (Yes, a true yam!)

First of all, we have never seen ube available fresh in the States. Many people would argue that they indeed have bought some ube, but photographic proof usually shows they have purchased either Stokes Purple® or Okinawan sweet potatoes (or sometimes even taro root, as it can be slightly pinkish on the inside).

This, folks, is fresh ube.

 

You can blame the misconceptions on the plethora of information and imagery on the internet. If you search for an image of ube yourself, you’ll understand the conundrum. Only when you search for ube’s botanical name Dioscorea alata will you find ube’s true form: a tuber with brown, bark-like skin and flesh that ranges from white with purple specks to lilac.

Now, the ube that is used widely comes as a jam (Ube Halaya) or in a powder, extract, or frozen form. It turns out that preparing these true yams is labor intensive and that is why they’re commonly available in processed forms. Ube pops up in some unexpected places, including in McDonald’s ice cream in Asia and Yogurtland here in the U.S.

Now, go forth and explore all the majesty of purple sweet potatoes and let us know which ones you like best!

To check out more of our Ultimate Guides, click here, here and here.

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Ahh. The warm scent of cloves, allspice and cinnamon. Cooking with these spices fills up a room with a lovely, comforting aroma that always reminds me of the holidays. There’s no better time to brew up some hot mulled cider!

To make mulled cider or mulled wine, you can use any blend of spices you like, but typically, mulling spices include cloves, allspice, cinnamon and orange peel. Frieda’s mulling spices made it easy for you and pack all of the spices into a 3-ounce bag, ready to go.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Mulled Cider

The ratio of spice to juice is about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of spice to a half-gallon of juice. I didn’t have cheesecloth handy to make a spice sachet, so I just put the loose spices right into the pot with the juice.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Mulled Cider

I heated the cider in my slow cooker for 2 hours on low. The house smelled fabulous!

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Mulled Cider

I just strained the juice to serve. I also strained the remaining cider and refrigerated it for later enjoyment.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Mulled Cider

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Mulled Cider

Yum! If I had cinnamon sticks handy, they would have been perfect in these glasses with a wedge of orange or lemon. The perfect warming winter drink! (If you are feeling more naughty than nice, you can always add a splash of brandy to your mulled cider for a little extra warmth…)

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Mulled Cider

Cheers!

– Hazel

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You’ve probably passed by this item thousands of times in your supermarket’s produce department or baking aisle. Crystallized ginger – dried slices of natural ginger root, cured and coated in sugar. It sure sounds nice, but what do you use it for? Here we have 10 great ideas for putting this sweet, spicy and comforting ingredient to work in your kitchen:

1. Chop and add to batter for cookies, such as ginger snaps, or quick breads like gingerbread, orange bread or banana bread.

2. Chop and add to at pan with butter, fresh lemon juice and sliced green onions in a saucepan. Heat until melted and spoon over hot rice and serve with chicken or fish.

3. Finely chop and use as a finishing touch on apple pie a la mode or a whipped cream-topped brownie.

4. Chop and combine with nuts, brown sugar and spices for a baked apple or pear filling.

5. Roughly chop and add to a stir-fry for a sweet and spicy bite.

6. Dip pieces in melted chocolate. Let cool and serve as a special after dinner treat.

7. Roughly chop and add to water and sugar mixture to make ginger-infused simple syrup. Strain before adding to drinks, such as iced tea.

8. Finely chop and sprinkle into fruit salad for a spicy, zesty flavor lift.

9. Finely chop and add to a homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest.

10. Just snack on this sweet treat right out of the package. Crystallized ginger is especially helpful for calming the stomach while traveling.

Can’t have enough? Here are some more simple recipes:

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Wow your friends and family with these unique and delicious holiday potluck dishes

Having friends over for Thanksgiving dinner instead of visiting family for the holiday is not a new idea. “Friendsgiving” is a usually potluck dinner with friends (aka “the family you choose”) which could be in addition to or instead of the traditional Thanksgiving feast with family.

That Thanksgiving potluck your office is having? That’s technically is a Friendsgiving too!

In the sea of sameness of traditional holiday dishes, why not bring a creative and adventurous dish so you’ll be remembered?

And because you’ll be using fresh ingredients that are bit off the beaten path, you won’t have to fight anyone at the grocery store for that last Russet potato or orange sweet potato.

We’ve gathered some great recipes for you here. You’re welcome. #GobbleGobble

Honey Roasted Cipolline

Frieda's Specialty Produce Honey Roasted Cipolline Onions
Honey Roasted Cipolline Onions

Sweet and savory, and looks impressive. Nothing at all like your grandma’s creamed onion! Recipe here.

Celery Root and Cauliflower Puree

[youtube=https://youtu.be/cwZO5-bSYAg]

Set those paleo, gluten-free, and/or low carb friends at ease with this delicious “mash.” Recipe here.

Heirloom Tomato Pudding

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Heirloom Tomato Bread Pudding
Heirloom Tomato Bread Pudding

A cross of stuffing and a pasta dish. Flavorful and definitely a showstopper. Recipe here.

Whole Roasted Purple Cauliflower

[youtube=https://youtu.be/F4Db2i_GJ4Q]

Actually pretty easy to make. You just need a little time! Recipe here.

Pear and Ginger Pie with Struesel Topping

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Pear and Ginger Pie with Strusel Topping

Warm your heart and soul with this fragrant and a little spicy departure from the usual apple pie. Recipe here.

Purple Sweet Potato Pie

Frieda's Specialty Produce Stokes Purple Sweet Potato Pie
Stokes Purple Sweet Potato Pie

Turn the whole season upside down by adding a purple pie to the table! Recipe here.

Don’t eat a jackfruit alone–call your friends and host a jackfruit party

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Jackfruit

So, you’ve always wanted to try fresh jackfruit, and your local supermarket finally stocks them. Upon seeing the fruit in real life, the sheer size of it scares you—weighing in anywhere from 10 to 20 lbs. What are you going to do with all that fruit?

You call your friends and family over for a jackfruit party, that’s what you’re going to do.

The jackfruit is truly a community fruit, a fruit worth sharing. The largest tree fruit in the world, jackfruit could grow to be 100 pounds. In Asia, the bounty of the fruit is usually shared among friends and family members. Seriously, fruits from one tree could feed a village!

Here in the U.S., you can still call up your “village” and share the jackfruit experience. Set up a jackfruit station where you can show your friends how to cut into the jackfruit. Hand everyone a quarter of the fruit, then have each person divvy up the sweet yellow pods so everyone can take some home. (The seeds are also edible once cooked.)

You can even build a luau or tiki party around a jackfruit. Forget the pig roast. Haul in a 20-pound jackfruit and use that as the showpiece! Make vegan Hawaiian kalua “pork” with jackfruit for dinner and serve up the fresh cut jackfruit for dessert.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Jackfruit Luau

If you can’t get a party together, lucky for you, jackfruit pods are also great for freezing. Lay those yellow pods on a baking sheet, freeze whole, then put them in zip-top bags for storage. You can even refrigerate a whole slice of jackfruit—skin and all—to process later too if you can’t do it all at once.

For fresh jackfruit pods, choose fruit that is fragrant with a golden brown skin that yields to pressure. Softer fruit means it’ll be easier to process, and the pods will be fragrant and  sweet too. If you need jackfruit for cooking like pork, you would want an under-ripe, green and firm fruit.

Watch this video below and follow our handy guide to processing jackfruit like a pro. You’ll master this giant fruit in no time.

[youtube=https://youtu.be/GCxBQCYrDH4]

To open a jackfruit, you will need:

Spray cooking spray or brush vegetable oil onto the knife to prevent sticking. Wipe down and re-oil the knife often so you don’t get stuck with all the sap at the end.

Quarter the fruit by first cutting crosswise, then lengthwise into quarters.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Cut out the core from each piece. You should be able to get to the pods more easily now.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Using your hands or a paring knife, extract the yellow pods from the filaments and remove the seed from each pod. Reserve seeds if using, or discard.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a jackfruit

Rinse the pods in water, and they’re ready to eat. Pods can be wrapped/covered and refrigerated overnight or frozen whole. Wrap any uncut chunk(s) of the fruit in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.

If the jackfruit leaves behind any gooey, sticky sap, clean up by rubbing the spots with cooking oil, and then hit it again with soap and water.

Have fun at your party!

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Happy 4th of July weekend! Do you have a potato salad recipe for your holiday grilling yet? Pick from our favorites!

Red, White & Blue Potato Salad with Peppery Radish Dressing

Recipe Renovator - Red, white, and blue potato salad with peppery radish dressing
Recipe Renovator – recipe here

Roasted Potato Salad with Prosciutto and Lemon Caper Dressing

Hungry Goddess - Roasted Potato Salad with Prosciutto and Lemon Caper Dressing
The Hungry Goddess – recipe here

Bacon and Potato Salad

Fresh Food in a Flash - Bacon and Potato Salad
Fresh Food in a Flash – recipe here

Red, White & Blue Potato Salad with Blue Cheese

Frieda's Specialty Produce -Red White and Blue Potato Salad

(Or try our Star Spangled Spuds potatoes with chipotle aioli, shallot vinaigrette, or fennel and dill.)

BONUS: More ways to serve Red, White & Blue Potatoes!

Red, White and Blue Herbed Potato Tagine

Cookistry - Red White & Blue Herbed Potato Tagine
Cookistry – recipe here

Smashed Potatoes

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Smashed Potatoes
Recipe here

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

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Fresh turmeric root is a fantastic ingredient, however it stains just about everything—skin, clothing, cutting boards, and even your plastic containers and food processor bowl!

Of the many ways to remove stains, some are more successful than others. We’ve listed a few that we have tried from the wonder powder that is baking soda to the stain removal nuclear weapon that is bleach.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Turmeric Root

Surfaces

Baking soda: Make a paste with baking soda and a few drops of water, apply generously around stained area. Let sit 15 minutes before scrubbing, then rinse thoroughly.

Distilled vinegar or bleach solution: Combine 1/2 tablespoon bleach or distilled vinegar with 1 cup water. Soak container in solution 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Clothing

Five helpful—and hopeful—steps to save your turmeric-tinted garments:

  1. Gently dab or scoop off spill. Do not rub out stain with water! It will just spread the stain more.
  2. Pour on baking soda to absorb additional stain. Let sit for 15 minutes, then shake off.
  3. Soak area in vinegar solution—1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup water—then dab dry.
  4. Wash immediately. If bleach-safe, use bleach.
  5. Hang to dry in sun to break down more of the pigment.

Skin

Mix a few tablespoons of granulated sugar with a few drops of olive oil to make a scrub. Scrub away stain, then rinse.

Good luck!

Frieda's Specialty Produce - OC Weekly - Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan - Shane Lopes - Gustavo Arellano
Photo by Shane Lopes for OC Weekly

Our 92-year-old founder, Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, was surprised and delighted when OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano came calling for an interview for the March 2016 “People” issue.

“Frieda Caplan Taught America How to Fear No Fruit,” says the headline.

Knowing what we’re going to want to eat years before we know it: That’s the Frieda’s way. She called the move toward organic and fair-trade decades before anyone else and thinks we’re undergoing a fundamental change in our diet, one Caplan’s company is ready to capitalize on.

“Americans are eating less meat than ever before,” Caplan says with a hearty laugh. “Isn’t it wonderful?”

Yes, it is, Dr. Frieda. Yes, it is.

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drinks

Keys to a great New Year celebration are preventing a hangover from happening, while also preparing to “cure” it after the fact. Many of the well-known and well-tested methods can be found right in your produce department. All of these “cures” can be prepared a few days before—or even on—New Year’s Eve, so you don’t have to stumble around the kitchen too much on New Year’s Day.

Young Coconut

Staying hydrated is the number one hangover prevention and “cure.” Coconut water is a great alternative to water to keep you hydrated before and after New Year’s Eve celebrations. Since ideally you’ll hydrate pre-party with one or two, I highly recommend also opening two or more for after the party. Cover them with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for easy access in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t attempt to crack open a young coconut with bleary eyes and a pounding headache.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - How to open a Young Coconut

Ginger and Turmeric

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Turmeric Ginger Tea - Cold Killer

Ginger has been used for centuries to aid indigestion and settle nausea. Turmeric, the “It” spice of 2016, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Fortunately, both of them taste wonderful together in a tea that will sooth your stomach while helping you hydrate like this recipe here, or simply steep slices of both roots in boiling water, then add a bit of brown sugar or honey to taste. This “magic” elixir can be made ahead and kept in the fridge so you can just nuke it on New Year’s morning.

Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Purple is the New Orange

Any starch can help alleviate nausea and general queasiness. Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes are a source of complex carbs and fiber that will help keep your stomach calm. They also have the added benefits of vitamin C to help you bounce back faster. Bake a few sweet potatoes on New Year’s Eve and leave them in the fridge. They can be eaten hot or cold, hashed with eggs, or even mashed and added to pancake batter (with bacon).

As a testament, yours truly had once rolled off the couch the morning after overindulging, nibbled on some purple sweet potatoes on the way to a 5K race, and completed the run without any, um, incident. So, there you go.

Enjoy your celebration responsibly, and we’ll see you in 2016!

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You have your tickets. You have your plans. But do you have the perfectly themed snacks to celebrate Star Wars: The Force Awakens with? You don’t have to be the best cook in the universe to serve up intergalactic snacks. Just look in your produce aisle!

1. Starfruit

Obvious choice, isn’t it? Slice Starfruit crosswise and serve fresh, make starfruit upside down cake, or play up the Dark Side and the Light by dipping the slices in dark and white chocolate.

A video posted by Frieda’s Specialty Produce (@friedasproduce) on

2. Kiwano®

This horned melon is the golden cousin of Darth Maul. See?

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Darth Maul - Kiwano

Relations or not, the Kiwano is alien-looking enough to serve up at your party. Did you know that you can eat the Kiwano whole–skin and all? Use a vegetable peeler to trim off the spikes, slice into rounds (or cut down the middle like Darth Maul!) and serve with a sprinkle of sea salt. A squeeze of Meyer Lemon also brings out a completely different flavor profile for this odd fruit.

And of course, the Kiwano’s electric green pulp also makes great Mos Eisley-esque cocktails like Toxic Sludge Margarita or a Rum Martini served in the shell.

ETA 12/21/15: Kiwano melons were actually spotted in The Force Awakens along with some Romanesco! Did you see them? (We’ll tell you where in January. No spoiler here!)

3. Icicle Radish

Recreate the Wampa cave scene with these spicy, pure white radishes. Nestle your Hoth Luke action figure or a mini Lightsaber on the platter, and serve with a snowy white dip or whipped butter.

“I wish I could reach the party platter from here… Oh wait…”

4. Black Garlic and Elephant Garlic

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Star Wars platter - Black Garlic - Elecphant Garlic

Which side will you choose: the Dark with umami-tastic Black Garlic Spread or the Light with sweet Roasted Elephant Garlic? Split the platter down the middle with crostini or crackers and let your guests choose their own tasty side of the Force.

Enjoy your snacks and see you at the movies!

– Oakley

Fresh Fruit Portal stopped by Frieda’s booth to chat with our president and CEO Karen Caplan at Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit in Atlanta this October.

It seems everyone is rebranding these days. With a new logo here, a packaging twist there, new product lines and social media endeavors, these exercises can respond to changes within a company or its customers. In the case of Frieda’s Specialty Produce’s new “inspire.taste.love.,’ it’s the latter, appealing to a younger demographic.

“We want to be playful, fun, and engaging,” said CEO Karen Caplan, who certainly fits the bill.

Karen fits the bill alright.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Fresh Fruit Portal - Karen Caplan
Courtesy of Fresh Fruit Portal

Read the complete interview here.

Update holiday classic recipes with fresh, new ingredients

One of the hottest trends in home cooking is putting a modern twist on traditional recipes by using new ingredients. We recommend these nine vegetables for those retro-chic recipes. (And get our recipes below!)

Pearl & Boiler Onions

Traditional creamed white pearl or boiler onions get a modern treatment with a variety of red or gold pearl/boiler onions, or even a healthier twist with a simple glaze.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Pearl Onion in Cream Sauce

Cipolline Onions

Nothing says comfort like roasted vegetables. Substitute chunks of onion with sweet, whole Cipolline Onions for that savory-sweet flavor profile.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Simply Roasted Cipolline

Shallots

Remember that classic green bean casserole? Instead of reaching for the canned fried onions, go fresh all the way with crispy fried Shallots.

Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a must-have for the holidays, but don’t settle for just the orange ones.  Wow your dinner guests with a new sweet potato dish that is vibrantly purple–or even an orange-purple mix!

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes with Chickpeas

Colored Baby Carrots

Beautiful heirloom root vegetables add more than just orange to your holiday table. Pair these Colored Baby Carrots with Parsnips for a brilliant side of roasted vegetables.

Parsnips

This root vegetable is made for roasting, which brings out a sweet flavor profile that complements any holiday side dish…especially with carrots!

Baby Potatoes

Nobody’s knocking mashed potatoes, but whole-roasted baby spuds are where it’s at for holiday cooks…and nobody minds a little bacon, right? (Limited market area: Try Butter Babies!)

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Maple Bacon Roasted Potatoes

Colored Cauliflower

The “new kale” is a must-have at the dinner table. Now available in purple, orange, and green, cauliflower is perfect for roasting whole or in florets!

Sunchokes®

Sunchoke purée used to be something you’d only see on a restaurant menu. Now you, too, can impress your guests with these knobby little roots.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Roasted Sunchokes® - Roasted Jersusalem Artichokes

Have a flavorful holiday!

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Discover the authentic taste of Hatch Green Chiles from New Mexico

ChilePlantYou may have heard the buzz about these famous green chile peppers. Why are Hatch Chiles so special? To be called a “Hatch” pepper, it must be grown in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico. There’s just something about the climate and soil of this growing area that produces a distinctly zesty, bold flavor. Chile aficionados—also known as “Chile Heads”—know that nothing enhances that awesome flavor like roasting their Hatch Chiles over an open flame.Chile FieldYou can roast chiles on your grill or even in your oven, but if you can find a store that will roast them for you in bulk, it’s a deliciously festive way to kick off the Hatch Chile season! Frieda’s works with select supermarkets around the country to create Hatch roasting events.

Ralphs_2The beauty of the Hatch Chile is that you can still enjoy that delicious green pepper flavor without blowing your head off from the chile heat factor. Hatch Chiles can be found in mild, medium, or hot degrees of heat, although they generally end up in the medium-hot range.

Green chiles like Hatch are perfect for enchiladas, chile rellenos, and other south-of-the-border classics. Or, try them in a creative twist on apple cobbler, deviled eggs, even a margarita!

If you are able to get your hands on some of these limited-edition chiles this summer and fall, buy them in bulk and freeze them for extended use over the winter. By the time next season comes around, you will be craving that authentic Hatch Chile flavor!

WANT TO LEARN MORE? WATCH:

 

Five tips to great fruit and vegetable grilling

Recent studies show that 87 percent of American households have outdoor barbecues, and they believe grilling more often is a healthier way to prepare meals. Grilling also brings out the flavors of fruits and vegetables like no other cooking method can! As our eating habits are changing to include more fruits and vegetables, so are our grilling preferences. Put more vegetables—and even fruits—on your grill this summer. Follow these five easy tricks and tips to make grilling produce a breeze.

Well-oiled Grate

Vegetables and fruits tend to stick to the grate more because of the caramelizing sugars. Brush some oil (or spray) on the grate before adding your produce to the grill.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Grilled Fava Beans
Grilled Fava Beans. Get recipe

Cooling Rack as Veggie Grill

Tired of losing your vegetable slices to the fire? Put a metal cooling rack on the grill grate as a secondary, smaller grate grill surface so nothing falls through. And you can still get the beautiful grill marks. (We picked up this tip from Alton Brown!)

Aluminum Foil Is Your Best Friend

Cleanup is a breeze when you cook your fruits and veggies in aluminum foil packets! Add your favorite vegetables onto a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with some olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Fold up the packet and seal the edges well. Set the packets on the grill and let the vegetables steam themselves. You can do the same with fruits, sugar or honey, and a drizzle of orange or almond liqueur, then serve over vanilla ice cream.

Hooray for Skewers

Wooden or metal skewers make grilling fruits and vegetables easy AND fun! The key is to make sure all the pieces are about the same thickness so they cook evenly. Shishito Peppers, Mini Sweet Peppers, thick slices of sweet Maui Onion, and whole Elephant Garlic cloves are wonderful when charred on skewers. Finish off parboiled Fingerling Potatoes, Pearl Onions, or Baby Sunburst Squash on the grill for great smoky flavor and beautiful grill marks. Zululand Queen Baby Pineapple, Yellow Seedless Watermelon, and other melon cubes are all delicious when lightly caramelized.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Ready, Set, Grill!

Try Something Unexpected

You can put more on the grill than onions, peppers, carrots, and zucchini! Did you know that you can grill leafy vegetables like Belgian Endive, Radicchio, Baby Bok Choy, and even romaine lettuce? They actually get sweeter when a little charred. You can also grill Fava Beans in the pods and eat them whole, pods and all. Try avocado halves, grilled right in the skin. As for fruits, have you ever had grilled Dragon Fruit? Cube them and add to skewers with other fruits for fun fruit kebabs!

Have a great grilling season!

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Frieda's Specialty Produce - Janet Helm - US News & World Report

Janet Helm, MS, RDN, registered dietitian/nutritionist and author, wrote about our “Eat One Fruit a Day the Scares You” campaign in her recent post on the US News & World Report “Eat + Run” blog.

In “Get Over Your Fear of Fruit With These 10 Exotic Choices,” Janet encourages people to be brave and eat more fruit: “We shouldn’t fear fruit. We should look for ways to add more fruit to our plate – and not just in our glass.”

Frieda's Specialty Produce - David Sax - The Tastemakers

“Agriculture’s tastemakers are arguably the most potent trendsetters in the world,” said James Beard Award-winning author David Sax in his new book “The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes But Fed Up with Fondue,” released in June. One of those trendsetters mentioned in his book is our founder, Frieda Rapoport Caplan.

Sax is also the author of “Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen” and has won a James Beard Award for writing and literature. He is a freelance writer specializing in business and food. His writing appears regularly in the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Saveur.

oliveoil

We were also featured in “Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil” written by our friends Mary Platis and Laura Bashar. Our products were used in many recipes in the book, including Organic Finger Limes Kamikaze Shots with Mint and Olive Oil.

In the May 2014 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine, celebrity chef Aarón Sanchez chooses our Dried New Mexico Chiles as one of his top supermarket picks to create south-of-the-border flavors.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Everyday with Rachael Ray - Dried New Mexican Chiles

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Where Women Create Business

Our President and CEO Karen Caplan is featured in the Winter 2014 issue of Where Women Create BUSINESS.

“Karen Caplan takes pride in continuing the family business that her mother [Frieda Caplan] built from the ground up and carrying on the company’s involvement within their community.”

Well deserved, Karen!

YearOfPurple_Article_Header

“Now it seems that purple-hued vegetables are hotter than ever. Frieda’s Specialty Produce has declared 2013 The Year of Purple.  So why the sudden fame?  Purple vegetables have a lot to boast about. The same compounds that put blueberries on the map as a superfood are what make purple vegetables potential disease fighters, too. The dark pigments responsible for the purplish tones are called anthocyanins, a type of phytonutrient that is gaining attention from scientists worldwide.  Studies suggest that anthocyanins may help reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Some evidence indicates these purple pigments might also protect our brains as we age.”

Read the full article: Nutrition Unplugged.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Orange County Register

We were on the front page of the Orange County Register business section!  (Subscription only. Day pass and 7-day free trial available.)

The article profiles our company history and the three generations of women behind it: founder Frieda Caplan, president and CEO Karen Caplan, COO Jackie Wiggins, and Promotions Manager Alex Jackson, Karen’s daughter.

Columnist Jan Norman writes:

“For 51 years, Frieda Caplan has created a reputation for selling exotic fruits and vegetables, such as Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, kiwifruit and spaghetti squash.  It’s a reputation her daughters have built on at Frieda’s in Los Alamitos, and now a third generation is coming into the company.”

Read more about our history here.