Percoca!


As we continue to enjoy the summer season here in Chicagoland, it’s time to talk about the annual arrival of a delightful summer fruit grown exclusively for Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets by an Italian family farm in California. Percoca peaches are an Italian specialty variety of clingstone peach prized for their flavor and aroma. Like most cling peaches, the Percoca’s flavor and consistency make it ideal for canning, processing, and cooking but are also quite delicious when eaten fresh. For over 30 years, we have been doing business with the family-owned DePalma Farms, who grows Percoca peaches exclusively for Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets.

These peaches have a flavorful yellow flesh which can be enjoyed in many ways, after removing the stone. One such way, popular in many parts of Italy, is to place chunks or slices of Percoca peaches into a container and cover them with white or red wine. After allowing this combination to mingle and chill for a while, it is customary to sip the wine and eat the wine-drenched peaches. There are entire festivals in Italy dedicated to this simple yet delicious treat.

Our Percoca peaches are only available for a limited time each year. Please stop in soon to get yours!

 

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There’s Something About Local Summer Fruit

Imagine sitting outside on a pleasant mid-summer evening, enjoying a handful of fresh strawberries, cherries, or grapes. Or slicing fresh peaches into a small pitcher and then pouring your favorite wine over the freshly cut fruit. Bite-size pieces of fresh cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto?

This is a magical time of year at Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets, especially for lovers of fresh-picked fruit. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are in full swing now and we are at family farms in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana to pick up fresh produce daily. These are the same family farms with which the Angelo Caputo Family has been dealing for decades. Because we buy directly from local family farmers and then sell the fresh produce to our customers, visiting any of our stores is like going to a farmers’ market, only without paying the premium prices!

Of course, our love of locally grown produce goes back a lot farther than that. When Angelo Caputo was growing up in Mola Di Bari, Italy, his family had a 25-acre farm site where they grew almond trees, olive trees, peaches trees, and St. John’s Bread (carob), as well as many different fresh vegetables. If you were to see Angelo’s backyard today, you would find peach trees, cherry trees, and fig trees, along with many fresh herbs.

This family learned many years ago that there is nothing quite like the experience of eating freshly picked summer produce. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Stop by today and see for yourself!

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Like Nonna Used to Make: Amaretti

So much of traditional Italian family life seems to revolve around the family table. Meals are more than just opportunities to take sustenance. They are family gatherings, opportunities to share news, knowledge, emotions and more. These gatherings—and the food served there—have long been an integral part of the Italian family experience.

The more momentous the gathering, the more interesting the food one might expect to see. This is not to say that the coffee and biscotti put out for family visitors on a Sunday afternoon won’t be great, but food offerings are often tailored to fit the occasion, from an ordinary weekday meal to a major holiday feast.

Desserts also tend to become more memorable for bigger occasions. After all the other courses have been consumed, as the coffee comes out, so do the sweets. And just when you think you couldn’t eat another bite, those tempting sights and aromas convince you otherwise.

Romana Caputo was known for her amaretti, delicious Italian almond cookies that come in several shapes and varieties. Straight from the oven, they have a crisp exterior and a chewy inside that becomes crunchy over time. For any significant family event—baptisms, first communions, special occasions, holidays, etc.—Nonna Romana would make her amaretti, which everybody looked forward to eating.

Were Romana’s cookies that good? Over the years, many friends and family members would come to her, asking her to help them make cookies for their special occasions. Romana Caputo did in fact help them, sometimes making hundreds of pounds of cookies in her small home kitchen.

The amaretti—along with biscotti and fig, lemon, and chocolate spice cookies, to name a few—that we bake from scratch and sell under the La Bella Romana label at Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets are still the same cookies that Romana Caputo used to prepare with so much love and pride. That’s why we do not hesitate to put her name on them. Please try some and see for yourself.

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A Perfected Family Tradition

You may be expecting us to say that the recipe for our famous homemade Italian sausage has gone unchanged for hundreds of years, but that would only be partially true. As has been the case in many Italian families, the original family recipes did not exist in written form but were handed down from one generation to the next in the kitchen. Young people learned the craft by observing and helping their parents, grandparents, and other relatives. This is why there are subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) variations between the same dishes as prepared by different members of the same family.

Of course when it comes to making Angelo’s Signature Italian Sausage for our customers, some of whom drive quite a few miles to get theirs, consistency becomes rather important. We couldn’t simply hope that the unwritten traditions handed down through the generations would translate to the same great tasting product day after day. Rather, we felt compelled to make it even better!

We begin with our old-world tradition of using hand-trimmed lean pork and mix in our private blend of aromatic spices and seasonings, developed expressly for this purpose. It has taken years of continually refining our art to reach this point and the result is a consistent sausage that’s bursting with flavor and will simply amaze your palate! We are confident you’ll enjoy our homemade Italian Sausage from the first bite! Get some on your grill today! 

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What Do You Know About Jackfruit?

If you’ve visited the fresh produce department at any of Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets lately, you may have seen this extremely large, bumpy, green-yellowish fruit on display and wondered what it was. Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world. Jackfruit is relative of the mulberry, fig, and breadfruit. One mature jackfruit tree can bear 100 or more fruits in a year and each fruit can be 8 inches to 3 feet long and 6 to 20 inches wide, ranging in weight from 10 pounds to over 100 pounds.

The rind of a jackfruit is pale brown or green and covered with many little cone-like spikes. The inside contains edible bulbs that range from savory to sweet, depending on ripeness. Immature jackfruit is sometimes used as a meat substitute because its texture is somewhat like that of pulled pork. Being a fruit, however, it is high in carbohydrates and does not contain much protein.

By comparison, ripe jackfruit is sweet and bears an aroma similar to pineapple or banana. The sweet, yellow bulbs can be eaten as is or used in desserts, smoothies and more.

The seeds inside the bulbs are to be removed and can then be steamed or roasted. Raw seeds are not digestible due to the presence of a powerful trypsin inhibitor, which is broken down through cooking.

The inside of a jackfruit contains a gummy latex that will stick to your hands, utensils, and just about anything else. Rub your hands and knife blade with salad oil before cutting into the rind. If you opt to wear gloves, oil them as well or else they will stick and likely rip and tear. 

When digging out the edible bulbs, with well-oiled gloves or hands, go fo the healthy yellow bulbs. Avoid any areas that may have gone beyond ripe. They will be pinkish brown in color and the smell will be off, too. If working indoors, once you have harvested the bulbs and seeds, discard all the remains and remove them from the kitchen, as they will deteriorate quickly.

Nutritionally, jackfruit is a good source of antioxidants and fiber and is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Not surprisingly, jackfruit has been used in eastern medicine for years.

The following video, published by Wendi Phan on YouTube, provides a visual demonstration of how to open and eat a jackfruit.

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