Produce Code – Who Knew?

produce code

I am physically incapable of going grocery shopping without buying a magazine. I’ve tried, but really, I need to go to “magazine buyers anonymous” or something. It doesn’t matter if I have a stack waiting to be read. So, this past weekend I picked up Cook’s Illustrated Light Spring 2008. It has a great mix of recipes from macaroni and cheese, to glazed pork tenderloin, to New York style cheesecake. But one of the things that I found really interesting was that it explained PLU codes of produce here in the US. I had no idea that the 4 or 5 digit PLU code on produce can tell you if it’s organic or conventionally grown. If the code is 4 digits and starts with 3 or a 4, it is conventionally grown. If it is 5 digits and begins with the number 9 it is organic. And the most interesting of all, if it is 5 digits and starts with the number 8, it is genetically modified! Did you all know this? I had no idea!

Oh, and my first CSA box of the season starts today! I am so excited. They emailed and said that it would contain: Strawberries, Pac Choi, Arugula, Radishes, Beet sprouts and pea shoots, Kale, and Lettuce! Any ideas, anyone? What do I do with beet sprouts and pea shoots???

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  1. says

    Pea Shoots Rule!
    You use the hole thing. stem, leaves, tendrils everything.
    Saute in a bit of olive oil. Add pea tendrils and toss (will wilt like spinach) finish with sesame oil, salt and sesame seeds. Can add garlic to saute if desired.

    Good salad as well on epicurious we made this week, radish, peas, pea tendrils, feta with a cumin dressing. MMMM

  2. says

    I never knew either–very good to know! I’ll be curious to see what it is I’m getting in the stores now…

    As for the CSA box, good for you! I’ve been on the fence about signing up for a while now but am very curious to hear how other people like it….I hope it goes well!