We often cook pinto beans. Dried pinto beans are cheap, easy to cook, and very accessible. But at my local grocery store last week, they had fresh pinto beans. Fresh! They looked quite different from the dried ones I am used to. Pinker. More plump. And of course, softer.
I was shocked when I cooked them. They tasted NOTHING like cooked dried pinto beans. If I didn't know these were pinto beans, I wouldn't have guessed it. The taste was that different. It always amazes me how different fresh tastes.
If you've ever grown your own tomatoes, you understand the taste difference between a home grown tomato and one you purchase at the store. The difference in taste is usually shocking to those that take their first bite of a home grown tomato. In fact, most gardeners start growing tomatoes as their first vegetable because of all the hype they've heard about how good home grown tomatoes taste.
But, in my garden right now there are no tomatoes. Too cold. Those yummy bites of home grown deliciousness will have to wait a few months. And no pinto beans, either. Although I think those just made my "must grow" list for this summer!
What I do have in my garden right now is a lot of lettuce. Five different kinds. So, is the taste of home grown lettuce as shockingly different than a tomato or a pinto? Well, it depends on whom you ask.
I have grown suspicious of bagged lettuce. Lettuce stuffed in a plastic bag just does not appeal to me. So, when I go to the store, I usually opt for the organic heads that are unwrapped. Still, I always thought that if I could taste a difference, it was only in my mind.
If you asked Mr. Holleygarden, however, you would get a different answer. We don't often go to the local hamburger franchise, but I have to admit that we do occasionally. Mr. Holleygarden has started ordering his hamburgers plain - no vegetables on top.
That's shocking because we eat vegetables like crazy! Why would he order a plain hamburger?
It all has to do with taste. He first quit ordering the tomatoes because he could taste the difference, and he "just couldn't stand the taste of those tomatoes any more". O.K. I understand.
Then he started complaining about the lettuce.
"I just can't take their watered-down, round-up soaked lettuce any more."
Yes, he's right. The lettuce is completely different.
The lettuce we get from the garden is amazingly fresh. Amazingly beautiful. Amazingly crisp. And amazingly tasty. It's shocking, really.
I'm joining The Gardening Blog for Garden Bloggers Harvest Day.
Which vegetable(s) do you think has a shockingly different taste than that you get from the store?
Oh wow, look at your gorgeous lettuce. I didn't plant this year as the time got away from me. I might just go ahead and try before it heats up.ReplyDelete
I have not had fresh pintos will have to give that a try. I cook my own beans from dried because canned beans have a metallic canned taste and also I know what's in them.
Oh, definitely start some now. You should be able to have lettuce for a while before it starts to bolt. I am going to be ordering more seed soon, and I'm going to make sure we ordered some pintos. I really was surprised how different they were.Delete
You said a couple of times that the taste of fresh pinto beans was different. I assume since you are ordering seed that different is good. I planted some pinto beans last year and not a single one came up. My blackeyed peas came up, but I only got one pot of beans out of them. I will give the pintos another shot.ReplyDelete
Yes, they tasted "different". Almost as if they were a completely different bean. Not as dark as the dried ones, and the soup didn't turn brown like with the dried ones, either. So, I love the flavor of the dried beans, the but fresh ones were surprisingly - different!Delete
Hmmm. Maybe I will buy some fresh ones before I go through the effort of trying to grow them again. Then again, dried ones are inexpensive, don't take up garden space, and don't need to be shelled. I think I just talked myself out of growing fresh pinto beans!Delete
Yes I agree fresh tastes different but those of us that don't grow fresh have become use to the flavor of what we buy. It's wonderful that you are able to grow so much of your own. Healthier also since you know what has gone on them.ReplyDelete
Cher Sunray Gardens
Oh, yes, I am thankful each time I go to the store that if I don't have it fresh, at least I can get it! It's just hard to imagine that preserving some of these vegetables could make so much of a difference.Delete
I am shocked at the taste of fresh broccoli from my garden over store bought "fresh." It is an amazing difference! I think I'll go out and plant some lettuce right now :-) Onions tomorrow :-) I am bound and determined to grow some nice onions this year!ReplyDelete
Good luck with your onions! I have a hard time with those, too. Maybe one year we'll be be successful!Delete
Hi Holley, the photos of the fresh lettuce from your garden did me in! They look soooo..... delicious. No excuses anymore, no putting it of, I commit right now and here that I will grow my own lettuce in this winter season. Then I will see or better said taste for myself if fresh lettuce from the garden will top the store bought one.ReplyDelete
The broccoli that my neighbor once grew in her garden and was kind enough to share with me tasted shockingly better than the one that you usually get in the grocery stores. The taste was much more mild and nutty in comparison to those. I still rave about it!
Oh, you should grow lettuces in the winter! Since I did it this year, I will be doing it every year from now on! My spring planting of lettuces would always bolt so quickly. I've been thrilled to be eating fresh lettuce all winter long. I do agree that broccoli tastes sweeter if it's fresh - nuttier and milder - perfect description.Delete
I enjoyed my visit here!ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you come by! :)Delete
The taste of fresh, home grown, and newly harvested produce really is different that commercially produced ones - really really good. And that's coming from gardeners that really don't grow fruit and veg anymore (used to so at least we know). Have to say tomatoes are still takes the top spot for taste difference, and in my personal opinion sweet corn would be close second :)ReplyDelete
Sweet corn! You are so right! We grew a lot of corn this past year because we hear it's one of the biggest modified hybrids. We now have in our freezer a lot of heirloom corn grown organically, and it is yummy!Delete
Since cutting down my holly tree I have suddenly got a new sunny spot in my garden, up against a fence where the patio is. I am thinking of buying some cheap shelving and have window boxes with vegetables up against the fence. It would be south facing so ideal for it. Maybe I will have lettuce too by this summer, your photos are certainly inspiring and I already know how different home grown taste :-)ReplyDelete
Oh, that sounds like a great plan! You really don't need a lot of room to grow quite a few vegetables, and I think you will really enjoy having fresh veggies to harvest. Good luck with your plans!Delete
First off I am always jealous of you gardeners that can grow crops year round! We grow lettuce in cold frames at my dad's but our yield is minimal. My two top flavor shockers are lettuce (as you mentioned!) and broccoli! My dad grows the most amazing broccoli! Like you I was amazed and a bit out of sorts when I had the real deal. Makes the other stuff seem scary!!ReplyDelete
I can remember the first time my Dad ever grew green peas. I wouldn't touch the canned ones after that!Delete
The difference really is huge isn't it? Hubby has been greatly disappointed with store bought tomatoes the last few months after our mammoth tomato harvest this fall. He says they have virtually no taste at all and I have to admit he's right. To me strawberries is probably the biggest difference in taste. The extra large ones we get shipped in from California have virtually no taste at all, particularly when compared with the homegrown bounty we had in our garden.ReplyDelete
It is extraordinary how different fresh tastes. I'm currently cooking lots of dishes with the Meyer lemons I harvested. They are so good compared to the store bought lemons. I'm gonna miss them when they're gone. :)ReplyDelete
Oh, I'm really jealous of your fresh lemons! A Meyer lemon tree is on my wish list!Delete
I am seriously drooling! I agree about the Lettuce and the Tomatoes. That's why a BLT with fresh produce is like a little piece of heaven to me, while a BLT at a restaurant is totally unappealing. You are so fortunate to have fresh Lettuce in January!ReplyDelete
Oh, I can just imagine a fresh BLT! Wish my tomatoes would mature before the lettuce bolted here!Delete
I think it's great that you are growing some of your own veggies and fruit. It certainly makes sense when you hear of food contamination. I just wish I had more sunny spots to grow vegetables in my yard!ReplyDelete
That is the reason we started growing our own. We just didn't trust the food we were buying anymore. Such a sad thing to realize our food may not really be safe.Delete
I was a fussy kid that didn't like vegetables, although I would always look forward to the lettuce my grandparents grew in their garden. As for tomatoes, they have to be grown in the greenhouse here in North East Scotland, but even they taste better than the ones from the supermarket.ReplyDelete
I wonder if kids would like vegetables more if they were all home grown!Delete
Fresh is phenomenal compared to the various alternatives. You are right having felt shocked at that difference, as I do with many foods. I love fresh asparagus, beets, and spinach and will not touch them as a side dish in any other way. Growing your own, like you are doing, makes eating them so much more satisfying too.ReplyDelete
Oh, I agree with you about those three! I can not imagine eating them out of cans now!Delete
I cannot grow that many vegetables in my garden, only when I should change my garden radical. But I grow tomatoes, and indeed they taste so much better, the beans are also delicious from the garden but not the same from the shop. Lettuces I always grow in my own greenhouse or outside in summer, the same thing. Yes we should grow all our vegetables ourselves to be able to enjoy our meals best!ReplyDelete
You are lucky to have a greenhouse. I don't, and wish I did, although I am lucky enough to be living in a climate mild enough to be growing something outside almost all year long.Delete
I couldn't agree more which is why I would love to grow veggies for as many months as possible...I am growing lettuce indoors just for a treat right now....fresh homegrown lettuce has the sweetest flavor and my husband can tell the difference too...I just can't eat many salads anymore out of season...just tastes yucky to me.ReplyDelete
I'll be having a seed giveaway this February again!
I've never tried growing lettuce indoors - I wonder if I could grow it indoor in the summer, when it's too hot here to grow it outdoors! That just might be something to experiment with!Delete
I am tempted to get a cold frame so I can enjoy lettuce all year. Something to add to my 2013 goals.ReplyDelete
I think it would be worth it to have a cold frame for that fresh lettuce. Of course, I can't enjoy it all year - it gets too hot for it very early on in the season. :(Delete
I think your husband is right, and I would be more worried about the pesticides than the taste. However, organic lettuce works for me when there is no fresh lettuce available.ReplyDelete
We try to only buy organic, just because of the possibility of pesticides in or on it. I have never been able to tell much difference in taste between the fresh and the unwrapped organic heads at the grocers. I have noticed, however, that my home grown lettuce lasts a lot longer in the refrigerator - I guess because it doesn't have to travel.Delete
I've never seen fresh beans in the store. Our discussions have always been about the advantages of canned v. dried. My brother-in-law claims dried has a much better flavor, though we tend to use canned just for the convenience, though it is more expensive.ReplyDelete
I had never seen fresh beans in the store, either, and picked them up just because of that. I'm glad I did. They didn't take very long to cook, either. Which is the drawback of dried beans - planning in order to have time to cook them!Delete
Fresh lima beans! As a Northener who moved south, I had never heard of such a thing. In Raleigh, they call them "butter beans," and they are amazing fresh. If you hated lima beans as a kid, try them fresh and you will be a convert. They are incredible.ReplyDelete
Interesting! I did hate lima beans as a kid! Maybe I should give fresh ones a try. I'll be certain to pick some up next time I see them at the farmer's market!Delete
Our fresh sugar snap peas are so yummy you can eat them right off the vine! Happy New Year!ReplyDelete
I just love eating things right in the garden! Those little bites are the best!Delete
Peas right from the vine are incredible. My mother (a chemist) explained that peas start converting sugar to starch immediately after they are picked, which is why fresh peas always taste best and sweetest.ReplyDelete
But generally speaking, everything tastes better homegrown. Some of it is real (tomatoes that are homegrown can be picked at the peak of freshness, whereas store-bought tomatoes are typically picked green and ripened en route or at the very least bred for appearances rather than taste) and some of it is psychological. I'm not sure if homegrown okra is better than the kind I get at the farmers market (never see it at the grocery store except in exorbitantly-priced plastic packages) but it sure TASTES better since I raised it from seed and saw it form from a bud!
As for homegrown lettuce, I agree it's *much* better than the store bought kind. Even organic lettuces don't taste the same, again, some of that is due to varieties, some to psychology and some to the fact that lettuce doesn't have a terribly long shelf life and will always therefore taste best when picked right before mealtime :)
Interesting info about the peas. And I am always surprised that tomatoes can withstand all the handling and shipping that it has to in order to make it to the grocery story just when it finally turns red. I do agree with you that some of it is psychological. Just watching the plant grow, bud, then finally fruit, gives one a vested interest in the taste. I have often wondered, too, how they can transport lettuces that will are still crisp when they arrive at the store!Delete
Yes, I totally agree on okra! :)Delete
I could not agree more. The shop bought tomatoes are tasteless and I have so many tomatoes in my garden this year. The lettuces from the garden is so much more tastier and healthier too. These are the must haves in my garden. It's just too hot for my tender lettuce now but I still keep growing them.ReplyDelete
I was surprised to see you were still growing lettuces in the height of your summer. They bolt by early summer, here. I've found, though, that I can have fresh lettuce all winter!Delete
I grow cannelini beans and borlotti beans for drying, and then I cook them up the same way you would shop-bought dried beans. I have never eaten them fresh though! They are flowering and forming pods now, so in a few weeks I'll have to pick some and sample them. Can't wait to taste the difference. I'm also growing sweet corn for the first time this year. I hope it's successful because it's so delicious fresh!ReplyDelete
I grew some borlotti beans last year, and since I only grew a little, we cooked them up fresh. They were wonderful! Of course, I can't say if they are different from dried, because I haven't dried any. It will be interesting for you to find out! I hope you corn is successful, too. There really is no comparison there!Delete
One of the veggies I grow for freshness reasons is cabbage. I don't know that it tastes any better but at least I get the green leaves. Too often those have been picked off or crushed inside a plastic wrapper. My cabbage is absolutely beautiful! I also don't have to worry about how OLD it is when I grow it myself.ReplyDelete
I am impressed - I have never done well with cabbage, and I'm not even sure why. I just don't seem to have the 'touch' with that or broccoli. I bet yours does taste better!Delete