Markets Wrap up for the Year with Holiday Essentials
Start looking for some favorites at the Farmers’ Market to get a jump on holiday meals and festivities. The season wraps up Saturday, Nov. 23 but tables are full of fresh fall produce, baked goods and specialty foods.
Root vegetables like turnips, rutabagas, beets, onions, kohlrabi and carrots are great keepers. Purchase early and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Pumpkins, winter squash and sweet potatoes also keep well so when you spot the variety or shape you like, pick it up and store in a dry, well-ventilated space until the carving or baking begins.
Visit the booth for Marina Bay Bakery to try a unique, delicious line of artisanal farm-to-table breads. Favorites include summit whole wheat sourdough, whole grain gluten-free sourdough and ginger apricot scones. Stop by the stand and Dan can answer any questions about their breads – from sourcing single varieties of wheat to using natural starters.
Home cooks will appreciate shopping for new-crop almonds, walnuts, raisins, eggs and dried fruits to create their own favorite dishes. Pie makers may choose from a variety of apples to make an uncooked pie to freeze and bake fresh on Thanksgiving Day – smells great and guests enjoy the tasty results!
Persimmons add some flare to the holidays as decorations and baked into traditional puddings, cookies and cakes.
Pomegranates are a once a year treat – enjoy the seeds as a snack or add to winter green salads, toss a few on a dish of ice cream or yogurt or drop several seeds into a glass of champagne or apple cider.
Many growers and vendors from the Orinda market attend the year-round Sunday market in Walnut Creek. For more information go to www.cccfm.org or call the market hotline at 925-431-8361.
Buy the acorn shaped hachiya persimmons for this recipe. They need to be completely ripe and very soft to the touch. Fuyu persimmons remain crisp for eating fresh.
1 cup very ripe hachiya persimmon pulp
One half teaspoon baking soda
One half cup each white sugar and brown sugar
One half cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups flour
One and one half teaspoons allspice
One half teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
One half cup chopped walnuts (optional)
One half cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
Stir baking soda into pulp. In a large sized bowl beat together butter and sugars. Beat in egg. Mix in persimmon pulp. Combine flour, allspice, salt and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to persimmon mixture and mix until combined. Stir in nuts and cranberries.
Scoop heaping tablespoons full of dough, 2 inches apart, onto a stick-free cookie sheet (or line sheet with parchment paper). Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes until cookies are browned around the edges. Cool.
If desired drizzle with a glaze made from whisking together 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons orange juice and 1 teaspoon orange zest.
Makes 2 to 2 1/2 dozen cookies.