This week, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program participants will be receiving canary melon cups and parsnip coins. If time allows, I will include some additional information about the fruits and vegetables that is for the adults that might be interested in these fruits and vegetables and read the blog. This can supplement your knowledge as the educator and maybe make it more interesting to you. The FFVP focuses on youth trying and eating fruits and vegetables without cooking or adding dressings or sauces, but I frequently have adults involved with the fruits and vegetable programs ask what else can be done with the things the kids are trying. Let me know what you think.
Canary melon is sweet and juicy with a creamy texture. These melons are at their best when they have a bright, smooth skin and is firm with a slight give when squeezed. Due to the naturally high sugar content, chucks will not completely freeze at typical freezer temperatures and are great for adding to smoothies or as a slushy treat. Canary melon is usually just eaten plain, but can be thinly sliced with other melons and dressed with a little balsamic vinegar, a sprinkling of mint leaves and goat cheese for an elegant salad.
Parsnips are a very versatile vegetable. A carrot texture combined with a sweeter, turnip flavor they are a great addition or substitute for any recipes that include carrot, potato, turnip or other root vegetables. Roasting turnips will concentrate the natural sugar and give it a nice caramelized flavor. A quick search online will give you recipes for parsnip chips, mash, fries or salads that will add something different to your dinner routine. Look for firm, white roots. Flexible roots can often be crisped up by soaking in ice water for a few minutes. Smaller parsnips are sweeter, larger parsnips have a higher starch content and are more like potato. Parsnips do grow wild in North America, but do not pick and eat what you think is a wild parsnip, it might be poison hemlock and you will have just picked your last meal.