Down & Dirty Articles

Down & Dirty: Celeriac

By • November 23, 2012 • 10 Comments


Celeriac -- also just called celery root -- has got to be the craggiest, least lovable plant there is. Covered in hairy roots and clods of dirt, it's like the hobbit of the vegetable world. Give it some time, though, and it'll pay you back: celeriac has all the mellow, vegetal flavor of celery and none of the stringy wateriness.


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Down & Dirty: Apples

By • November 16, 2012 • 6 Comments


Apples are arguably the world's most popular fruit -- "the apple of my eye," "as American as apple pie," "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." In many languages, other fruits and vegetables are defined in terms of apples, like pommes de terre in French and sib zamini in Farsi for potatoes, and the Medieval name "love apples" for tomatoes. And let's just say you won't find watermelons in the origin stories of multiple religions.


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Down & Dirty: Mushrooms

By • November 2, 2012 • 6 Comments


Mushrooms aren't vegetables at all -- they're fungi! More specifically, they're the fungus' spore-bearing fruit body, also called the sporocarp, which produces the spores that grow into more mushrooms. While many mushrooms are poisonous, hallucinogenic, or medicinal, the ones we'll be discussing today are all perfectly edible (also, delicious).

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Down & Dirty: Bell Peppers

By • October 12, 2012 • 1 Comment


Recently, we learned all about hot peppers. Today we turn to their mild-mannered cousin, the bell pepper. Crunchy when raw, meltingly sweet when roasted, bell peppers come in a rainbow of colors. And unlike other peppers, which vary in heat depending on factors ranging from their species to the weather, you'll never find a hot bell pepper: due to a recessive gene, they don't produce capsaicin, the chemical that causes spiciness.

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Down & Dirty: Grapes

By • October 5, 2012 • 2 Comments


How many types of grape are there? If you answered two -- "red" and "white," aka purple and green -- well, you're not the only one. In reality, there are hundreds of grape varieties used in wine-making, but even at the best farmers' markets you'll only find a handful of different types of "table grapes," as the snacking varieties are called.

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Down & Dirty: Hot Peppers

By • September 28, 2012 • 9 Comments


To the uninitiated, spiciness is binary: just hot or mild. When you look closer, though, you'll find that "spicy" can encompass fruity, meaty, and citrusy flavors. Today we're looking at 9 spicy members of the plant family Capsicum -- hot peppers -- and how they differ from each other.

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Down & Dirty: Radishes

By • September 21, 2012 • 0 Comments


Radishes -- peppery, perky, and dependable -- are easy to take for granted. They're among the first green vegetables to appear in the spring and one of the last to disappear come winter, so it's easy to pass them up in favor of other more glamorous brassicas, to say nothing of lettuces and nightshades.

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