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Thread: Scrutinizing the scrutiny of organic food.

  1. #97
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    Yes, we generally steam the carrots, chopped up in chunks, toward the end of, and over the top of, cooking potatoes.
    Also nice chopped small in a casserole with other veg, or sometimes mashed in with the potatoes with a bit of butter or olive oil.

    We often eat them raw, grated quite fine, (My teeth are almost as old as me!), with a salad, or in the salad portion of a meal. They make a nice salad veg in winter, when cheap salad stuff is harder to find. I am told they eat more of them in France like this, than we do.
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  2. #98
    Non of this matters NomadicRT's Avatar
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    Dont buy carrots from supermarkets.You can still buy them.in net bags or sack from.some farm shops,still grubby. Supermarket veg is unnaturally clean.and almist polished i wont buy the stuff.
    Hebridean at heart..everywhere else is just somewhere on the way back there...
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  3. #99
    Off the beaten track .... Maxal's Avatar
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    I saved a couple carrots yesterday, that were just starting on the black mould stage: scraped the stuff off and put it in a curry. I seem to be OK . . .
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  4. #100
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    We use them like that too, if the mould hasn't rotted through under the skin. The mould seems to spread pretty quick, once one or two have got it, even in the fridge. One time we used a whole batch with black patches of mould just on the skin, and once the potato peeler had been over them, the rest of the carrots cooked and ate fine.
    But sometimes the mould infects underneath, and the carrot changes colour, and goes soft, and doesn't smell too good. Only useful for the compost bin.
    (We rarely use the peeler on potatoes, by the way, unless there are cuts or gashes to the skin. Even after boiling, we eat the skins).
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  5. #101
    Off the beaten track .... Maxal's Avatar
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    Oldkeith - That made me chuckle. I bet you and the rest of your tribe have loads of furry black spots all over you.

    No, I don't peel my potatoes. I don't peel my carrots usually either, unless they have furry black spots. I once read that the skin of veg has more natural chemicals which keep insects
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    off (it's own kind of pesticide - of course not as toxic or effective as the man-made poisons), very often this natural protection is more bitter tasting (or more flavoursome, if you prefer a positive slant). These more bitter bits are actually better for you, they boost your immune system: that's what I read. It also went on to state: you shouldn't discard the outer leaves of cabbage / lettuce as they are better for you tastier. It's something that really stuck in my head and shapes my approach to how I view veg.

    Chemicals are weird. In small doses they can be medicine, larger, they become poison? Zinc is good for the hair - have too much and your hair falls out. What you said about potatoes made me think of something I remember about green potatoes, having toxins in the skin - so I looked it up and found the below article (it's worth reading). It mentions the property I mention above - the bitterness - but in a negative sense.

    "Another good rule: if it tastes bitter, don’t eat it. Unlike Dr. Seuss’s entree, this green meal would not have a happy ending."

    So, I have a contradiction of FACTS in my head.

    I wish they wouldn't generalise like that, what a stupid thing to say. The vagueness in itself is misleading and really offputting. My mother would trim all those sharp leaves off asparagus because they are sharp and more bitter. I LIKE THEM and it seemed a waste to throw them away even if they are small - it all takes time to grow. [And taste is something you can acquire / change as you see fit.] And what about quinine in bitter lemon or tonic water if you like it?

    This is the full article:


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    At the end of the article it says you'd have to eat 16 ounces of a fully green potato to have a bad case of solanine poisoning, making you sick. I suppose it's best to know these things, but a lot of the time when they tell you things like this, they don't tell you the critical bit that gives you the confidence to make your own judgements: that you need a pound of green mash to get sick.
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    Scuse me, but my mash has never been green - wot are you on about? Anyway, keep your potatoes in the dark . . . and I am NOT going to take that generalisation about bitterness seriously.

    This is a good life example of where you have to develop your own kind of translator for facts, what you believe / how you interpret things.

  6. #102
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    Fully agree about needing to develop your own kind of translator for stuff, whether you read it on the internet, in magazines and books, or even in the Daily Mail. It's a bit like trying to have moderation in all things, even the ones you like.

    Some folk don't feel it's 'nice', but I tend to have something of an analytical attitude towards ideas, philosophies, religions, and stuff I read, as well as people and situations. It has stood me in very good stead on many occasions, and saved me getting in a mess a few times, I guess. It has sure saved me one helluva lot of time, and probably money too, over the years.

    Getting back to food, solanine poisoning can affect some people much worse than others; some people are allergic to even the very small amounts in potatoes, tomatoes, and other members of the Solanaceae family. So take the idea of needing to eat 16 ounces of green potatoes before getting sick with an ounce of salt.

    The idea of bitter stuff being 'bad' for you is, as you say, not to be taken seriously. I remember being told this about anything bitter as a kid in the country; the idea was to stop you eating berries and plants which you weren't sure about. But young dandelion leaves are slightly bitter, and make a good little salad veg when there's not much else about. Some kales and chards can be a little bitter, but they are healthy veg, especially when only gently steamed. And what about beer? I'd not want to give up the occasional pint of bitter, just because it's bitter
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    Another bitterness item: a friend of mine reckons he has felt much better and healthier after taking a couple of small glasses of fresh lemon juice every day for the past twelve months. He's a fruit and veg trader, so he has plenty of lemons handy! Sometimes he dilutes the lemon with other juices, or just water.

    Quite interesting about the outer leaves of lettuce and cabbage being the best. Yet you read that the 'Iceberg' lettuce is Britain's favourite lettuce, more sold in supermarkets than any other kind. But it rarely has green outer leaves, just a tight ball of almost white crispy water. We usually prefer the Cos varieties, or something with nice big green leaves.
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  7. #103
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    Dont know if anyone else has noticed this but ive had the same 'black mould' issues with potatoes from supermarkets...vis the large superclean 'baked potato' packs.Potatoes will keep for many months in a sack and longer still in an earth or peat clamp but from a supermarket seem to decay purely for the fun a few days after purchase.I guess the answer is dont buy them from supermarkets.
    Ive justbgot to the bottom a 25kg bag of local spuds i bought in very late winter this year and i think ive thrown only half a dozen away because of rot.

    I dont think 'bitter' is particularly reliable test.Many leaf and salad leaves like rocket have a bitter or peppery taste,in fact that quality is very desirable in some instances.
    Seriously unpleasant or mouldy is something else and probably a very good/more reliable indicator that it belongs in the trash.

    Years ago we had no 'use by' or 'best by' dates,it was either useable or fit only for the bin/hogs/compost..Sometimes good bits cut off bad bits and salvaged.
    Thats how i tend to use my veg and some other produce still, regardless of where it comes from and the stuff that lasts longest and best tasting is always from someones allotment or garden or specialist producer and almost never from a supermarket.
    Last edited by NomadicRT; 16-10--2017 at 01:34 AM.
    Hebridean at heart..everywhere else is just somewhere on the way back there...
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  8. #104
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    Organic stuff doesn't last so long in my experience as it has fewer chemicals.Supermarkets however do not seem to understand or allow for this in storing,packing or sell by dates.I used to think we pay more for organic stuff to allow for wastage with pests etc to the suppliers.Wrapping any plant in stupid polythene may sanitise the ex[perience of eating ground grown veg for those who live outside reality but the veg of course produces moisture,in warm environment mould just loves it.The black mould slime wrecks most carrots in a poly bag.I wash dry put in the air soon as home.The best thing I ever eat is eggs from an old lady up a lane with hens that are not bounded by any fence and roost in a bush outside her house.finding the eggs is diy but lovely eggs.the market projected image is "we care,our produce is best for you and the planet"...a big fib to keep their money coming in.They do not give a .
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  9. #105
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    We've noticed supermarket potatoes go off quick, too.
    Yet ones from the local market last until you eat them, and the ones we grow in the garden or allotment, harvested in September or October, last well into the next Spring, stored in a cool place. One year, after a bumper crop, we ate them right into the following May, until we finished them.
    So it does make you wonder if the supermarket's short life produce is deliberate and intentional, so you have to buy more next week. Amazing how all the wonders of modern technology result in short-life natural food, and long-life junk food, isn't it?

    Which brings me to something else to grouse about:
    I have noticed that there are few opportunities now to buy large quantities of anything; you really have to search around. Never seen a supermarket with a bargain 25 kilo sack of potatoes, for example. Or any other root veg in large quantity. Or fruit like apples. But you can get a sack of potatoes from the local market, if you order from the trader in advance. Or even a box of English apples, and other long-keeping stuff. Farmer's markets sometimes do stuff by the box or sackful, too. But often you have to go out into the country some way to be able to buy stuff in sacks, so you can keep it as a standby all through Winter, like we did in the fifties when I was a kid.
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  10. #106
    Heavenly Creature cricket's Avatar
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    When I was young we just went and collected apples and plums from the old abandoned orchard near us.I remember the plums all dribbly with juice and the smell of the apples all laid oud out in the attic all in thyeir own paper nests.Thanks oldkeith for reminding me.x
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  11. #107
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    Originally Posted by oldkeith
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    We've noticed supermarket potatoes go off quick, too.

    Yet ones from the local market last until you eat them, and the ones we grow in the garden or allotment, harvested in September or October, last well into the next Spring, stored in a cool place. One year, after a bumper crop, we ate them right into the following May, until we finished them.

    So it does make you wonder if the supermarket's short life produce is deliberate and intentional, so you have to buy more next week. Amazing how all the wonders of modern technology result in short-life natural food, and long-life junk food, isn't it?
    Exactly. And they are more expensive as well. You don't mind so much, if the supermarkets do their job with care - and with every product. Potatoes used to be a cheap product and when they are grown properly they are delicious cooked in so many different ways. What happened to the big, fluffy baked potato? I don't know . . . this is going to sound Science Fiction: notice how they are flat now? What's up? You can't get a standard round baked potato? Is this simply odd - or perhaps we should be annoyed. Because not only that - I've not had a fluffy one for ages, the inside texture of the potato is more resilient, there is almost a translucency to it. (And of course I do my baked potato the same way - in the oven, not micro-waved.) And a nice crispy skin: it's harder to achieve now.

    In fact there seems to be more of a art to the whole potatoe purchase. The potatoes are expensive, and you look at them carefully, even suspiciously, well, we're not in Kansas anymore are we, these are not normal potatoes. It used to be there would be a range of different potatoes, waxy or fluffy according to what you wanted them for - but all potatoes: you KNEW what you were getting, a cheap and reliably high qulaity product, unless for some odd reason there was a bad crop.

    I hardly ever throw food away. I've got some 'new potatoes' at the moment, they looked fine to me, but the taste is insipid. Recently I'd bought some red potatoes from the Indian shop - they were really nice, fluffy and with a nice flavour. I went and bought some more red potatoes and threw the supermarket potatoes away.

    So, what I said above. No, it's not simply 'weird', and yes, I should be more angry. The supermarkets aren't always doing their job right. They have my money, but I don't have my potatoes. I couldn't be bothered to eat them. I wasn't enjoying them and I really resent not enjoying food that I take the time to prepare. Just a one off?

    These are products I am wary of buying at supermarkets: satsumas (flavourless or dry), Almeria Melons (I don't know if this is the right name) at my Turkish stall they always ripen properly, sometimes, and this is rare, they smell intoxicating - like a mango and the smell fills the room, you need tropically HOT weather for it to ripen in this way, if you scratch the top where the stalk would have been you can smell it if it's going to ripen in this way, supermarket ones are always dry.

    The satsuma diemna, I think I may have solved. Last year I stopped going for the 3 for 2 offer. If you look around there will be a more expensive bag and it says sweet and juicy (well don't brag about it - yes that's what they are supposed to be like). I get them and they are fine. For the 342 they should have a big sign, 'get your dry flavourless crud here at a bargain price'. 342 irritates me anyway - I don't want to be forced to buy a certain amount of something. I cam for one bunch of asparagus and that's it.

    The thing about tropical fruit is understandable - if they pack them when they are ripe then when you buy them in the shop they will be rotten. However, I always think, 'if the stalls can do it, then surely a super market can do it?' After all what does the 'SUPER' refer to? Can you sell me a decent fresh fig or not? But maybe supermarkets aren't that great.

    Supermarkets are big, therefore they have a huge range. Yes, true, there is a huge range of toilet paper. You can wipe away shit with quilted, tri-ply, aloe vera or waxy (if your mental). Detergents too - a whole aisle. Shampoos - what colour would you like? Grapes . . . oh no, this is where it comes to a grinding halt. You can't get those lovely sultanas anymore. Supermarkets can't be bothered with these delicate grapes which have a short season. Sultanas, when they have that gold colour can have an amazing taste. When supermarkets have a special grape in stock they go all berserk and put a huge price on it like it had to be packed in velvet or something. oooooohhhh, M&S have some juicy Muscat grapes at 10 a kilo or hard, deep purple cherries at a phenomenal price. I have been to Trabazon in North East Turkey where you can get these cherries by the crate. The true joy of these foods is that everybody can afford them as a treat, of course they are more expensive than, say, oranges, but not four or more times the price. Don't believe the supermarkets - these are not emeralds they are selling.

    An apricot, when it's juicy is a rare delight
    . (On the odd occasion, I have had a properly ripe, juicy apricot from a supermarket.) In hungary you get a cherrry that is bright red and soft, a tangy fruit that is amazing in pies and straight from the tree. It's understandable this particular cherry is not sold here, they are certainly more delicate than sultanas, are easily bruised and have a very short life. Maybe that's the way to go, if you can't sell the product at it's proper ripeness, don't stock it. And, yes, I know supermarkets do a decent job in many ways - but in some ways they are letting the public down big time (like the flying saucer shaped baking potatoes).

    Went off on a tangent here, Old Keith's comment regarding potatoes set me off. There are a handful of products that I think are kind of sacrosanct food-wise because they are staples - for these it is imperative quality and price should be maintained: potatoes, butter, bread and milk. Supermarkets are a lot better with bread than they used to be so I needn't prattle on about that. But potatoes - X-Files needs to look into it - they've been taken over.

  12. #108
    I thought root veg simply needed a good coating of dry dirt to store well?????

    Supermarket root veg don't carry the requisite coating of earth and therefore don't last....I thought?

    Tatties were still available in an abundance of varieties and sizes and dirt covered too up until a few years ago......then seemed to fall out of favour.

    Have I missed the point?
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  13. #109
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    "I thought root veg simply needed a good coating of dry dirt to store well?????"

    That's right Zendaze - I should have just left it at that - you haven't missed the point. I put way too much ginger in my dinner last night and took it too far with the fruit etc . . . However, I think it is a bit more than that. I think supermarkets are encouraging growers to produce varieties of fruit and veg differently now to attain certain aesthetic requirements and then ignoring more fundamental aspects of what a potato is - the flat baked potato thing is odd and supermarkets favour those little bags of salad potatoes at extortionate prices too much.

    What you said about the solanine was interesting OK.
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  14. #110
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    The point about solanine allergy may be due to the relatively short time Europeans have been exposed to potatoes, tomatoes, etc. A few hundred years at most. South Americans have had thousands of years to become habituated to them, so are much less likely to be affected.

    Certainly supermarkets influence the type of fruit and veg they sell. It must be pickable unripe, with a long shelf life. It must have a hard skin for resisting bruising during transportation, and it must look clean, fresh, and presentable. Flavour is given a very second place. So a lot of the older, more delicious varieties don't get grown for the supermarkets. They'd like square tomatoes if the public could be persuaded to buy them; they'd pack more in a smaller box. Perhaps the flat potatoes are a stab in this direction - they take up a bit less volume for the same weight as round ones.

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