Monday, July 16, 2012

Enjoy Summer Salads, Herbs, & Berries


It’s right around this time of year that the lettuce in your backyard garden really starts to pop – I know because I have bushels of romaine and spicy lettuce that I’ve been handing out to friends. I’ve been enjoying fresh salads almost every night since July 4, too. Over a salad last night, I got to thinking: what else is ripe in mid-summer? 

Talking to friends (and consulting Google), I discovered that it’s prime berry season. Also, herbs – easy to start indoors in winter – are giving up their bounty, and have been for some time. To enjoy these fruits of mid-summer properly, try out these tools and gadgets. 

Jonas Berry Comb – Great for kids and adults, simply sweep this simple tool across berry bushes for a bounty of fruit. The wire combs sweep through thick brambles, easily picking up blueberries, raspberries and more. 

RSVP Fresh Herb Keeper - When you want to keep rosemary, basil, thyme and others fresh on hand for salads, roasted chicken, and more, look to an herb keeper. These compact devices keep herbs submerged in water and standing upright, which prevents wilting. 

Microplane Herb Mill – The last time I dried a sprig of oregano in my house most of it ended up spilled on the kitchen counter or the floor.  That’s because I would crush the sprig in my hand to remove the good bits, resulting in waste. That problem goes away with the herb mill. Not only does it shred and spread fresh herbs, but it crushes up dried herbs to produce a fresh version of store bought herbs. 

OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner - Literally one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread. No more soggy salads, plus the centrifugal force causes any last remaining bits of dirt and muck to fly off. 

RSVP Endurance Tomato Shark Huller – I despise tomato stems. Before I got a tomato huller, I was slicing up tomatoes, then using the tip of my knife to remove the hard stem parts (and before that, I would core the whole thing, wasting lots of precious tomato goodness). The inexpensive tomato shark scoops out the stem with no mess. You’re free to slice and dice tomatoes without a care in the world!  
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