Yesterday I went into full-on “throw it into the cart” mode at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. I went up and down the aisles, and got the most random assortment of appealing food items including:
My two favorite finds, however, came from the produce aisle.
Fresh mangosteens (pictured above) thrill me to no end. I remember eating bags upon bags of these fruits in Thailand 20 years ago, never for a second tiring of the nearly perfect way the juices pierce with sweetness and acid to deliver something akin to a blend of tangerine and melon flavors. It has none of the sticky, honeyed flavor I associate with tropical fruit, but rather a clean, ocean-wave-in-your-face flavor, like citrus or passion fruit.
The first batch I bought here were a little iffy. Some were overripe or overgrown, so that the juicy white segments inside the hard purple shell were mealy and starting to form into seeds. This batch, so far, has been amazing. The trick is to look for very glossy purple ones that won’t easily dent or bruise when you push the shells. You need either a knife or claw-like nails to break the shell. Mangosteens are expensive: about $7 a pound, or a buck apiece.
Korean cucumbers are new to me. Very pale and very long, they are as sweet and crisp as any I’ve tried. The seeds are small and tender. I haven’t tried pickling them yet, since they’re so good raw. Last week, I was thrilled to discover Persian cucumbers at the Dekalb Farmers Market, which have a distinctive, almost rosewater, flavor. How great that there are alternatives to the waxed, overgrown cucumbers big agriculture has been feeding us for so many years.
- By John Kessler, Food and More blog