Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Heather Parlato

  • As the weather warms up, it's a good time to build your arsenal of refreshing summer snacks. This is a place where cucumbers shine front and center due to their high water content and mild flavor.
  • Many planted crops are coming into season as we head into summer, but one wild item that coincides with June is the porcini mushroom, also known as Boletes or ceps. Though they are not commonly found in climates south of Santa Barbara, our fearless mushroom hunting suppliers will gladly drive them down to market.
  • Lemon verbena's flavor is also rounded out by the lack of acidity that comes with lemons, and a distinctly herbal green flavor that comes from the leaves, similar to lemon basil. Here are 5 ways to use it!
  • Epazote is a particularly pungent herb, having an aroma of gasoline or turpentine with slight citrus notes, and the same sensation in the mouth as some of the other volatile oil-containing herbs like mint, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil.
  • Something you might find at your Farmer's Market herb seller's tables this spring is sorrel, a perennial pot herb sharing the texture of spinach, the size of young chard, and having a tart, sour lemon flavor.
  • Rutabagas are actually related to turnips, originally created by crossing turnips with cabbages. As a hearty root vegetable, rutabagas are often used alongside potatoes, turnips and other roasting vegetables. They have a sweetness similar to sweet potatoes, and are a nice treat to slice up and eat raw, with a flavor close to raw sweet potato.
  • One young vegetable you won't see at the supermarkets is purple sprouting broccoli, a variety of broccoli with purple florets and many thin stems, as opposed to the tree-like shape of Italica broccoli. They are delicate and do well with a light steam or sauté, sometimes with the florets blooming into flowers.
  • This week we'll take a look at pea shoots, which are the soft, young stems and leaves of pea vines and plants. They're entirely edible with a nice toothy crunch, tasting lightly of peas. If you don't have room for the full vine, pea shoots make great container plants you can graze for salad instead.
  • Brussels sprouts are a cool weather cultivar of cabbage, though shaped quite differently: a thick, main stalk covered with helical patterns of buds that resemble tiny cabbage heads. They grow in cooler climates, which make them ideal for the winter season in Southern California.
  • You won't find them commercially, but stinging nettles are starting to appear in farmer's markets and can be foraged locally in early Southern California springtime. They earned their name for tiny, hollow stinging hairs on their leaves and stems, which inject a mix of histamine and chemicals that produces a stinging sensation when you brush them against their tips.

Stories by Heather Parlato

Support for LAist comes from: