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Produce News for August 24, 2009

WATERMELON (August 24):  All right.  You get home your little tiny personal watermelon or perhaps you have one of those 30 pound Texas watermelons, right?  Huge watermelons, watermelons the size of Bud Abbott’s heart.  Oh, my goodness!  They’re just huge. And what’s the first thing you normally do?  That’s right.  You go open the refrigerator.  You open the refrigerator, and you try to find space for your watermelon.  Well, let me tell you something that maybe you didn’t think of.   A watermelon should not be refrigerated.  Now if you cut it up, yes, you refrigerate that, but when you get your watermelon home, set it out at room temperature.  Let me tell you what the cold temperatures do.  Watermelon started out in the Sahara Desert.  That’s where it originated.  It loves the heat.  It loves dry weather.  Well, it’s not hot and it’s not dry in your refrigerator.  So what happens to a watermelon?  It actually loses sugar content.  It loses flavor, and it actually gets mealy in your refrigerator.  So please don’t refrigerate your watermelon.  Keep it out on your countertopI’m Michael MarksYour Produce Man.   
TEASE:  All right, you get this thing home…no, this thing.  You get it home, do you put it in your refrigerator or not?  I’ll tell you in my next Produce man report.
CUCUMBER (Tuesday, August 25):  All this week we are having so much fun.  We are talking about whether you should refrigerate or not refrigerate some produce items because there are some produce items that you really should not be refrigerating and you go to cut it or slice it or eat it and you say, “Wow, this just has no flavor.  What happened?”  Well, because you did the wrong thing.  So we’re going to talk about storing fruits and vegetables.  Now, here’s a very common one.  This is very common in the summertime.  People bring home their cucumbers.  You can have your regular slicing cucumber or your English cucumber or maybe your Armenian cucumber or your lemon cucumber, whatever cucumber you’re hot on.  What’s the first thing you do?  You take it home.  That’s right.  You pull out the little crisper drawer in your refrigerator and you put it in the refrigerator.  That’s not what you should be doing to cucumbers.  Actually cucumbers are a subtropical item, and what happens when you chill a cucumber below 45 degrees, it actually gets translucent on the inside of the cucumber, and you wonder why it looks so weird- because you refrigerated it.  I’m Michael Marks…Your Produce Man.
TEASE: Hey, in my next Produce Man reportcucumbers – refrigerate or not? 
SWEET CORN (Wednesday, August 26): Hey, yesterday Rachel Ray turned 41, and one of her most favorite vegetables in the summertime is corn.  And all this week we’re talking about refrigerate or not refrigerate?  What do you do when you get them home?  Well, here’s corn.  Now the  first two items that I talked about were, of course, watermelon and cucumbers, and I said you really shouldn’t refrigerate those  Well, here we get to an item, beautiful summer sweet corn – yes, you should refrigerate these.  In fact, here’s what I tell my beautiful and lovely wife, Julie.  I said, “The last thing you buy at the farmer’s market or the grocery store, the last thing you buy is going to be the corn.  The first thing you put away at home when you get home is the corn.  Corn needs to be kept ice cold.  If you leave it out above 42 degrees, it begins losing sugar content and flavor, and that’s the corn that ends up so starchy.  You know, you go to bite it and it just sticks to your teeth.  Well, that’s all the starch in it.   So please, keep your corn ice cold in the refrigerator.  I’m Michael MarksYour Produce Man.
TEASE: Hey, in my next Produce Man report, corn – should you refrigerate it or not?
TOMATOES (Thursday, August 27):    All right.  We are up to tomatoes.  The question all this week – refrigerate or not?  You get produce home, how should you store it?  Well, let’s go to tomatoes.  Tomatoes are a subtropical fruit, and one of the first things I know a lot of people do when they get their tomatoes home, they put them in the refrigerator.  No!  Never in a million years should you refrigerate your unripe tomato.  Here’s what happens to a unripe tomato.  It literally breaks down the cell structure of the inside of the tomato, and that’s why it gets soft.  Also, let me give you three simple words about the tomato – “Cold kills flavor.” That’s right.  You put an unripe tomato in the refrigerator.  You stop the ripening process.   You turn the tomato into a mush because it gets soft, and you kill the flavor.  So please, never in a million years refrigerate your tomatoes unless of course they’re fully ripe, and if they’re fully ripe. not more than…I don’t know…two days.  I’m Michael MarksYour Produce Man. (Takes Bite)  Mmmm.
TEASE:  Hey, in my next Produce Man report, if you want full flavor in a tomato, do you refrigerate it or not?
NECTARINES AND PEACHES (Friday, August 28):  You know, I love this time of year because you get, you know, summertime, you get all the state fairs.  There are some many state fairs starting today and going through the weekend, and you get a lot of these…a lot of local agriculture, and a lot of that is going to be beautiful peaches and nectarines.  Now all this week we have  been talking about whether you take you fruits and vegetables home, should you refrigerate or not?  How do you properly store them?  Well, how do you store your peaches and nectarines?  Do you refrigerate them?  No , please leave them out at room temperature.  Make sure they stay covered or enclosed because if you don’t (there are no natural oils on the peaches or nectarines), they’ll just shrivel up before they ever ripen.  Here’s what I do with my peaches and nectarines.  I find an old shoebox that my beautiful and lovely wife, Julie, is not using anymore, and I put peaches and nectarines, one layer, into my shoebox.  That goes into the laundry room.  After a few days, oh ho, they are so ripe and ready to eat.  So that’s how you should get your peaches and nectarines.  I’m Michael MarksYour Produce Man.  (Take bite)
TEASE:  To get a super juicy peach or nectarine, do you refrigerate or not?  In my next Produce Man report I’ll tell you.  (Takes bite)  Mmm.