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Field Guide to Produce: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Fruit and Vegetable at the Market Paperback – March 1, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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  • Field Guide to Produce: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Fruit and Vegetable at the Market
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ever get chicory confused with curly endive? Can’t tell a turnip from a rutabaga? Wonder what’s to be done with a pattypan squash? Green (The Bean Bible) offers these answers and more in this little guide to fruits and vegetables. Though the photographs in the color insert are of middling quality and intermittent help (only a non-native English speaker is likely to appreciate and/or need pictures of such basics as green peppers, carrots and corn), the rest of the book is surprisingly handy. For each fruit or vegetable, Green includes alternate names, a general description, its growing season and tips on storage and preparation. Her serving suggestion for arugula, for example, is an easy, flavorful pesto; "flavor affinities" for the peppery green, she notes, include beets, goat cheese and tomatoes. For anyone who’s ever been wowed by the colorful abundance at a farmer’s market but has stopped short of buying persimmons, broccoflower or samphire for lack of any idea what to do with them, Green’s guidebook will be an excellent resource.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Aliza Green is a chef, food writer, and teacher based in Philadelphia. She is the author of The Bean Bible: A Legumaniac’s Guide to Lentils, Peas, and Every Edible Bean on the Planet! and co-author of Ceviche!: Seafood, Salads, and Cocktails with a Latino Twist.
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Product Details

  • Series: Field Guide
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Quirk Books; Gift edition (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931686807
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931686808
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.1 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 16, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I generally expect to find one or more deficiencies in small guides like this volume from Aliza Green, so I was not surprised to find some. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book also covered a lot more ground than I expected.
The first positive aspect of the book is the title, `Field Guide to PRODUCE'. It would have been easy and misleading to say it was a guide to fruits and vegetables, when many items in the book such as chestnuts and mushrooms are neither fruits nor vegetables. The book should have taken this positive title one step further and not divided entries up into fruits and vegetables. As I said, chestnuts and mushrooms are neither, and other products such as tomatoes are classified under their commercial category of vegetable instead of their botanical category of fruit.
The next positive aspect of the book is that the only product I could not find in either a primary entry such as `cabbage' or as an entry type such as `Brussels Sprouts' was the truffle. I will forgive them this omission, as it is the rare megamart that even carries truffles. On the other hand, the book did include such rarities as durian, loquat, and mung beans (although I thought the coverage of mung beans could have been a bit better).
Another positive aspect is that for produce such as apples, pears, cabbage, and tomatoes, several major cultivars are cited, with the best uses for each given.
The single biggest use for this book would probably be to find out when produce is in season, how to choose the best specimens, how to clean them, and how to store them. I will not be searching this book for the best fruits for a particular dish, although I may refer to the properties of apples to pick the best variety for a tart. On this subject, the book is excellent.
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Format: Paperback
A pocket-guide, small enough to fit into your purse, filled with fantastic information about fruits and vegetables.

Aliza Green is a chef, teacher and food writer based in the Philadelphia area. This is her third book.

The Field Guide to Produce is an excellent guide if you are looking to educate yourself on the produce available to you at your local market. There are photographs to help you identify the item at the store, as well as a description of each item, the season it is available, how to choose it at the store, what to avoid when selecting your produce, how to store it, serving suggestions, flavor infinities and other names the item may use!

This is not a cookbook. There are no recipes inside. Yet, there are clear color photographs helping you to identify some of the more exotic items at your store, and even the most familiar.

If you are new to cooking, or want to educate yourself further in newer more exotic items, then check out this book. It is extremely useful!
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This book gives good, basic, brief information about a variety of fruits and vegetables. I feel it pales in comparison, however, to Elizabeth Schneider's books on produce because her books are more detailed. I would say that if you like brevity you will like this book by Aliza Green, were it not that I feel your hard-earned money is better spent on the more detailed Schneider books.
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By Vahnee on September 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Field Guide to Produce is exactly what it claims to be. Roughly CD-jewel-case sized and about 2 in. thick, it's perfect for keeping in your car or reusable shopping bags for those random grocery trips. Without this book, I would never have had the courage to try fiddlehead ferns (fantastic sauteed with butter) or dinosaur kale - though I would often find unusual items such as these in the produce section. Now, I no longer get to stare curiously as I get another head of broccoli, but am forced to break out of mediocrity and try something new and exciting. Yay! The other side: This book is honest, at least - it doesn't step a hair over covering produce. (You need to get the 'Field Guide to Herbs & Spices" for that - no kidding.) The other morning, I was amazed to not find "chives" listed and realized that it doesn't cover any herbs at all. A pity, really, as it would be perfect all in one.
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Format: Paperback
So much of the advice in here is purely common sense ... and some of it is rather weird. Are there really readers out there who need to be told, when selecting fruits/veggies, to not buy things that are moldy or bruised or rotten? I was hoping for something a bit more profound.

And I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that apples should be kept in the fridge, because they'll go 'mealy' within 48 hours on the counter! Am I the only person in America who keeps apples on the counter for weeks without difficulty? (Well, assuming they don't get eaten up first.)

There is some interesting info on different varieties and cultivars, but even that is available elsewhere, and most of the content is a waste of time/money for anyone who already knows more than the basics.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a Philadelphian, like the author, and have taken cooking classes with her. She's as good a writer as she is a teacher.
This book is pretty complete, even to including things as exotic as African horned cucumber, caltrope and yautia. Her advice on using each item is clear and specific, accesible to the rawest cooking beginner and still helpful to the expert. The pictures are beautiful, full-color photos that make identification very easy. I only wish she had ncluded more pictures of different kinds of beans, squashes, tomatoes, greens and so forth. Of course, the book might just get too big to carry to the produce vender's. At Philadelphia's justly famous Reading Terminal Market, such a book is particularly useful as the venders regularly offer all sorts of unusual produce. This lovely book will make the explorations much more fun. Anybody who goes to farmer's markets will find it useful. It's a good read, too; I've read it cover to cover.
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