Fall is a wonderful time to skip the grocery store and venture instead out to one of Brooklyn's many farmer's markets!
For one, it's healthier: Food purchased at these markets is often riper, more fresh and grown in non-industrial settings, frequently without the use of GMOs or pesticides. Health benefits aside, shopping at Brooklyn's Greenmarkets is a fun opportunity to try new foods and discover surprising variations on classic ingredients.
I visited the Farmer's Market at Fort Greene Park this past weekend. Here are five of the most interesting items I discovered during my visit:
1. Blow Fish Tails
The salesman at the seafood booth called them the "chicken wing of the sea." Trapped eighty miles outside of New York City, blow fish tails are small and white with one single bone running down the center. Unlike their Japanese counterparts, they are not poisonous. They can be salted, peppered, breaded and fried, similar to chicken. A quick scan of internet recipes also suggests serving with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
2. Turkish Eggplant
These bright orange vegetables look like tomatoes or persimmons, but they're not. They are an African relative of the Asian purple eggplant. They taste similar to purple eggplants and can be used in salads, stews or simply roasted.
3. Purple Potatoes
Purple potatoes get their color from high levels of anthocyanin, which is an immune-boosting antioxidant that you can find in many purple and blue foods. I spoke with a farmer from the Catskills who sliced one open for me. A little drier than white potatoes, he suggested using them for french fries or roasting them with chicken.
4. Moroccan M'smen (Flatbread)
I spied an interesting bread behind a glass display case at the booth belonging to Hot Bread Kitchen. Similar to Na'an, this flatbread is traditionally served warm with honey and tea for breakfast. Shianne, the booth attendant pointed to another version, a savory one sprinkled with onions, kale and cheddar cheese. Both versions are made with unbromated (unprocessed) flour, and they're delicious.
5. Great White Tomatoes
These large tomatoes stand out from their red, green and orange counterparts. They are massive and creamier in flavor than typical tomatoes and feature lower acidity levels. Use them in salads, sandwiches or soups.