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Field Guide to Produce    by Aliza Green order for
Field Guide to Produce
by Aliza Green
Order:  USA  Can
Quirk, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Have you ever stood in the grocery aisle in bemusement, wondering how on earth you would prepare some exotic fruit or vegetable for the family table? I do it often, so was delighted by this little volume, Field Guide to Produce. Used to be that I recognized any edible available for purchase, but the variety of exotic produce seems to have grown exponentially over the years. This little book, which fits easily in purse or large-ish pocket, can be taken to the store, or consulted in advance, as an easy reference.

It covers Fruits from Apple to (yikes) Yuzu, and Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini. Separating the two sections are over 200 color photos for easy identification. Icons go with each Produce entry to identify its Season(s), proper Storage, and Preparation tips. I found the history of the fruits and vegetables fascinating, and alternate names are provided to avoid confusion. Flavor affinities will be useful for anyone who likes to experiment with their cuisine. I learned that apples originated in Kazakhstan; that the Trojans gathered raspberries; yuzu is a Japanese citrus with a lemon/lime taste; carrots were cultivated in 7th century Afghanistan; chayote's taste falls between cucumber and apple; jicama is a cousin of the sweet potato; and nopales are cactus leaves.

There's a listing of 14 varieties of edible mushrooms, 16 kinds of onions, 13 types of chile pepper, and much more. Use this handy little guide to take advantage of the full range of seasonal produce available, to add variety to your cooking and eating. My copy will certainly be put to good use!

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