Parsnips

Admired for its earthy flavor and delicate sweetness, the parsnip (Pastinaca sativum) is an ivory-colored taproot from the umxbelliferae family and a close relative of carrots, parsley, fennel, and celery. This Eurasian native once grew wild and was considered a luxury food by the aristocracy of ancient Rome. In the 16th century, Europeans brought parsnips to the

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Sage

Once honored for its medicinal properties, Sage (Salvia Officinalis) was essentially thought to be the key to a long life. The botanical name itself is derived from the Latin salvere, meaning “to be saved.” Native to the Mediterranean and Asia Minor regions, the aromatic plant was considered by Ancient Romans to have extraordinary healing properties, especially

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Blueberries

Native to North America, there are generally three varieties of blueberries grown in the US. Lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium agustifolium) grow only about a foot tall and prefer the cooler climate of Eastern Canada and Maine. They produce a small, intensely flavored berry and have a powdery blue hue. You will often find them referred to

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Asparagus

When you’ve tasted the first asparagus of the season, simply cooked, maybe spritzed with a bit of lemon and topped with a tad of butter, you’ve just tasted spring. Although good asparagus can be found year-round, it is at its peak – and least expensive – during the spring months. In California, the first crops

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Artichokes

The artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) may have thorns and an armor-like appearance, but it is a vegetable with a tender heart. This member of the thistle group of the sunflower family is a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region and one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, recorded as early as the

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Figs

The fig is the tasty, sensuous fruit of one of the world’s oldest trees, genus Ficus carica or common fig, a member of the mulberry (Moraceae) family. This deciduous tree grows 10-30 ft. tall. Its broad palmate leaves, with 5-7 lobes, feel rough on the surface and softly hairy on the underside. The branches do not bear

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Lemons

If there is a Johnny Appleseed of lemons, it’s largely believed to be Christopher Columbus, who brought them to the new world. The first plantings were probably in Florida, but an Italian hybrid initially planted near L.A. is believed to be the origin of lemon production in California and Arizona, which now accounts for 95%

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Anatomy of an Egg

Be it baked, boiled, coddled, or fried, a well prepared egg is the hallmark of a good cook. With this post we begin an ongoing series called Eggs 101, in which we will address each of these basic cooking techniques in-depth. By the time we reach the end, you will have mastered each approach. But

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