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Lesser Known, Locally Grown

These unusual ingredients can spice up your dishes.


Micro red amaranth

A stunning magenta, these micro greens add a dramatic flourish to any plate. These pretty little leaves are slightly sweet and earthy.

Where to get it:
Nalo Farms, and at Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation (HFBF) farmers’ markets: Wednesdays 4 to 7 p.m. at Neal Blaisdell Center; Thursdays 5 to 7:30 p.m. at 609 Kailua Road, Kailua; Saturdays 7:30 to 11 a.m. at Kapiolani Community College; Sundays 8 to 11 a.m. at Mililani High School, hfbf.org/markets.


The culinary world’s newest darling, purslane, is actually a weed. No matter: Its succulent, lemony tang is welcome in salads and stirred into soups and stews at the end of cooking. Try it chopped into your morning scramble.

Where to get it:
From Otsuji Farms’ stand at Honolulu, Kailua and KCC farmers’ markets, otsujifarm.com.

Suriname cherry

Not actually cherries, Suriname cherries range from tart to super sweet with a bit of citrus and berry flavor and a pronounced resin-y quality, similar to cloves. Try them folded into a spice cake batter or in pies. They also make for good preserves.

Where to get it:
Frankie’s Nursery, 41-999 Mahiku Place, Waimānalo, 259-8737.

Heart of palm

Fresh heart of palm is nutty, tasting faintly of sweet corn. Slice it thin and eat it raw to best appreciate its delicate flavor. It makes an exotic addition to leafy salads or seafood salads such as crab or lobster.

Where to get it:
Wailea Ag Group, waileaag.com.

Green peppercorns

Peppery and floral, fresh green peppercorns pair well with any protein, such as fish or beef, and can be substituted in recipes that call for black pepper. Feeling more adventurous? Try crushing them lightly and sprinkling on top of strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

Where to get it:
Frankie’s Nursery, 41-999 Mahiku Place, Waimānalo, 259-8737.

Curry leaves

On first whiff, curry leaves smell like tires. Not exactly promising. But, once fried, they emit a smoky, lemony aroma with a slightly bitter edge. They’re not at all related to curry powder spice, but they’re often added to curries for more depth.

Where to get it:
MAO Organic Farms at KCC Farmers’ Market Saturdays 7:30 to 11 a.m. and Ala Moana Farmers’ Market Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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