Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7 am to 8:30 pm | Saturday, 7 am to 8 pm | Sunday, 8 am to 7 pm

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All-American Blueberries- Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Native to North America, blueberries have been around for more than 13,000 years – so they have deep roots in our country’s history. Today, we’re still reaping the health benefits of blueberries, and are discovering they have more to offer than our ancestors could have ever imagined.

The North American blueberry season and harvest runs from April to late September. Blueberries are very low in calories (only 80 in a full cup) and they are packed full of health benefits so don’t hold back, enjoy your blueberries. Blueberries are a good source of Vitamin C and are high in manganese. Vitamin C is necessary for growth and development of tissues and promotes wound healing. Manganese helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein. 

Blueberries are also a good source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease and adds bulk to your diet, which may help you feel full faster.

They can be used as a natural food dye, and legend has it that early American colonists boiled them with milk to make gray paint. Perfect blueberries are dusty blue in color, so don’t rush off to rinse that dust away until you are ready to eat them as this will speed up the spoilage process.

In the early 20th century, people didn’t think blueberries could be domesticated, but Elizabeth White, the daughter of a New Jersey farmer, was determined to grow a flourishing industry for cultivated blueberries. In 1911, she teamed up with USDA botanist Frederick Coville to identify wild plants with the most desirable properties, and crossbred the bushes to create vibrant new blueberry varieties. Coville and White harvested and sold the first commercial crop of blueberries out of Whitesbog, N.J.

 

Glazing your Easter Ham- Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When you glaze a ham it takes on an attractive brown color, and the glaze enhances the natural flavor of the meat. Glazing will also help avoid having the ham dry out during baking. We offer a ham glaze in the deli made by Boar’s Head, or you may choose to create your own from ingredients at hand or to invent your own unique recipe.

Start by baking your ham. The cooking time will vary depending the ham's size and whether there is a bone. If the ham is already fully cooked it only needs to be warmed through. Make certain that you use the right flavor combination in choosing ingredients for your glaze depending the ham you are preparing.

Sweet glazes are best with hams that have been wet cured and are not salty. Sweet glazes can be made from brown sugar, pineapple chunks, fruit juices, honey, maple syrup and even carbonated beverages or dark liquors like bourbon. Tangy glazes should be used on salty hams. These glazes include sweet ingredients, but also include savory ingredients such as mustard, pepper, hoisin sauce or vinegar.

Near the end of the cooking time for your ham is when you will want to apply your glaze. Remove the ham from the oven 30 minutes before it's finished baking. If you are cooking a raw ham, ensure that it's fully cooked before removing it. A ham is fully cooked when the internal temperature is 160 °F. Don’t guess or rely on cooking times from a recipe…use a reliable meat thermometer.

First you want to score the ham. This allows the glaze to penetrate the baked-on crust that the ham will have from having the layer of rind cooking for hours. Make a series of diagonal cuts 1 inch apart across the entire top surface. Turn the ham and make diagonal cuts in the other direction, forming a grid of diamond shapes. If you wish, press a whole clove into the ham in the centers of the diamonds or at the places where the lines intersect.

Generously apply your glaze with a pastry brush to the entire outer surface of the ham. Than return the ham to the oven and continue baking it until the glaze begins to turn brown and shiny. This indicates that the glaze has caramelized and the flavor has taken on a nutty, caramel flavor. Watch the ham while it is in the oven to ensure the glaze doesn't burn. Remove the ham from the oven and let it rest 15 minutes before carving.

 

Guinness Trivia for St. Patrick’s Day- Tuesday, March 13, 2018

When friends or neighbors meet on the street anywhere in Ireland, the second thing said after "Hello!" is, “Are you goin' fer one?”

“Goin'” refers to the local pub and “fer one” refers to a freshly poured pint of Guinness.

  • Pouring a glass or pint of Guinness is a skill. A “perfect pour” should take 199.50 seconds. This is the result of pouring at an angle of 45 degrees followed by a rest. This is crucial. Most Irish people would cringe if they saw anyone pour it any other way. After a pause, long enough so what’s in the glass is a perfect black, the rest of the glass is filled, again at a 45-degree angle. What is handed across the bar should have a creamy head and should be served at exactly 42.8F.
  • What’s the ball doing in the cans? The little white balls that clink around aluminum cans of Guinness are called “widgets” (patented by Guinness in 1969), and are filled with nitrogen-infused beer like you’d find on tap. When you pull the ring on your can, the change in pressure causes that nitrogenated beer to bubble out into the rest of the brew, creating a foamy head like you’d find on draught.
  • The Guinness Book of World Records was made to settle a pub argument. One November day in 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, former Guinness managing director, was out shooting with some friends when they began to argue over which was the fastest game bird in Europe. When reference books supplied no answer, Beaver decided that the drinking world desperately needed one volume that could single-handedly settle any pub dispute. Three years later, The Guinness Book of Records printed its first thousand copies. It has since been published in 23 languages, in 100 countries.
  • What color is Guinness really? At first glance Guinness is quite dark in color, almost black, but actually, it’s red. Hold your glass up to the light and you’ll see a deep ruby red. The company attributes this in part to the roasting of malted barley during preparation.
  • Guinness was first marketed as a health elixir. The first-ever national print advertisement for Guinness touts the stout as a “valuable restorative after Influenza and other illnesses,” and invokes doctors who commend the beer’s ability to enrich blood and cure insomnia.
  • According to a study conducted at Northumbria University in 2013, approximately 13 million pints of Guinness were expected to be drunk on St. Patrick's Day. On an average day, about 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed.

 

Have you had the pleasure of tasting a Peppadew Pepper?- Tuesday, March 6, 2018

This type of piquant pepper is originally from South Africa and was first discovered in early 1993 and introduced to market later that same decade. The name is a portmanteau of 'pepper' and 'dew'. Although the pepper is sometimes described as a cross between a pepper and a tomato, this description is not botanically accurate, and refers only to the resemblance in color and size between peppadew and cherry tomatoes.

The fruit is processed for removal of the seeds and reduction of the heat of the pepper to more palatable levels and is then pickled and bottled. The flavor of the Peppadew® fruit is sweet because sugar is added in the pickling process, with mild heat.

They are a juicy and delicious treat all by themselves, but people also enjoy stuffing them with cream or goat cheese. Another great suggestion is for pureeing them with almonds, garlic and olive oil and spreading them on crostini. You might also try stuffing them with our homemade fresh ground pork sausage and broiling them. They make a great addition to a tossed salad and recently we’ve been using them as a pizza topping with great success.

If you have never tasted these delicious little peppers (by no means hot, although they are bright red in color), ask for a sample the next time you are visiting our deli. You’re going to love them!

 

 

Guacamole – The Fruit Dip We Americans Love to Eat- Tuesday, January 23, 2018

If you are over the age of forty you can no doubt harken back to a time when an avocado was still a bit unusual, and most Americans were either unfamiliar with or a bit squeamish about things like guacamole dip. Fast forward to the 1990s and we see all of that begin to change.

By the turn of the century, annual consumption of avocados began to rise dramatically year after year. In 2000 we each consumed on average about 2 lbs. of avocados annually, but in just 15 years that figure had grown 350% to seven pounds. Not only do we really love those little green fruits with the big seeds and bumpy brown skin, Super Bowl Sunday every year we consume over 50 Million pounds of the little critters, and it is safe to bet that about 70% of those avocados end up in the form of a guacamole dip.

So, guacamole dip…it tastes great and we can’t seem to get enough of it, but is it in any way healthy? Although high in fat, it’s the healthy monounsaturated variety. According to the American Heart Association, when healthy monounsaturated fats are in moderation in place of saturated and trans-fat, this can help lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol. However, if you overdo it guacamole can turn from good-for-you, to not very good-for-you quickly. A 1/2-cup serving of traditional guacamole contains around 100 calories and 9 grams of fat. And don’t forget to add the chips, which run about 140 calories per ounce (about 15 chips). However, it’s tough to stick to just 15 chips and stop scooping that guacamole. Many people tend to eat several servings at a time, which can rack up hundreds of calories.

Bottom line: Guacamole is a healthy snack packed with fabulous nutrients your body needs. Enjoy your guacamole, but keep those portions in check.

 

Potassium - A critical mineral we don’t tend to get enough of.- Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Potassium is an essential nutrient in our diet. It is the third most abundant mineral in the human body and is a powerful element in improving health. It contains the components for maintaining a high level of well-being and an improved lifestyle. Apart from acting as an electrolyte, this mineral is required for keeping the heart, brain, kidneys, muscle tissue, and other important organ systems of the human body in good condition. The benefits we extract from potassium include relief from stroke, blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, and anxiety and stress. It helps to enhance muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and the nervous system.

As important as potassium is to maintaining good health, it just happens to be a nutrient that most people don’t get enough of. Currently, just 3 percent of the US population is meeting the US recommended adequate intake for potassium of 4,700 mg per day.

So what are good sources of potassium?

Although there are many sources of potassium in the produce aisle, potatoes are among the very best. Not only do potatoes rank highest for potassium among the 20 top-selling fruits and vegetables, but they are also the most affordable source of this key nutrient, providing significantly better nutritional value per dollar than most other raw vegetables and fruits. In fact, at just 110 calories, one medium-size (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato has more potassium than a banana, provides almost half the daily value of vitamin C, and is sodium-, fat- and cholesterol-free.

Most people think of bananas as a good source of potassium, which they are. However, 1 large banana only delivers about 15% of your daily recommended intake of this mineral.

Adding lentils to your soups or stews will deliver a decent amount of fiber which is important, but lentils also contain more than 350 milligrams of potassium in every half cup. That equates to roughly 10% of your daily intake for this critically important mineral, in addition to a decent amount of dietary fiber, copper and manganese, which can further help with heart health and bone mineral density.

Just half of a salmon fillet contains more than 20% of your potassium intake for the day, in addition to the plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and other essential minerals. Regularly eating salmon has been associated with better nervous system function, a reduction in blood pressure, and less inflammation throughout the body, which can be affected by poor fluid balance.

Looking for a healthier snack? Try raisins! With roughly 250 milligrams of potassium in every quarter cup, raisins are an excellent choice. Despite only being 7% of your recommended amount, raisins are also packed with other minerals and dietary fiber.

Avocados pack a powerful amount of potassium. Approximately 30% of your daily requirement of potassium can be found in a single avocado.

If you prefer to get your potassium in a liquid form, try milk. Roughly 10% of the daily requirement of potassium can be found in a single 8-ounce glass. This is in addition to the calcium and phosphorus available in this popular beverage, the levels of which can be regulated by proper potassium levels in the body.

 

Avocados – The SUPER FRUIT you will want to invite to your next party- Tuesday, December 26, 2017

This time of year, avocados are one of the stand-out items in our produce department. They’re the go-to ingredient for guacamole dips at parties, and they're also turning up in everything from salads and wraps to smoothies and even brownies.

The name that’s best known in the industry for avocados is the Hass brand. The Hass tree was discovered in the backyard of a mailman named Rudolph Hass in California in the 1930s, and Hass patented his tree in 1935. When we say avocados are popular, we aren’t kidding. On average, 53.5 million pounds of guacamole is eaten every Super Bowl Sunday, enough to cover a football field more than 20 feet thick.

So what, exactly, makes this pear-shaped berry (yes, it’s a fruit not a vegetable) such a super food? For one thing, avocados contain four grams of protein, making them the fruit with the highest protein content! They offer nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving, including potassium (which helps control blood pressure), lutein (which is good for your eyes), and folate (which is crucial for cell repair and during pregnancy).

Avocados are also a good source of B vitamins, which help you fight off disease and infection. They also give you vitamins C and E, plus natural plant chemicals that may help prevent cancer. Avocados are low in sugar and have he highest fiber content of any fruit, which helps you feel fuller, longer.

These are all great facts, but there is such a thing as too much avocado. While the fat in avocado is monounsaturated fat (which is a "good" type of fat that helps lower bad cholesterol), avocados have a lot of calories. The recommended serving size is smaller than you’d expect: 1/5 of a medium avocado (or 1 ounce) is 50 calories.

 

If the cows could talk, they’d tell you: The milk at Prisco’s is the best!- Tuesday, December 12, 2017

We carry two brands of milk at Prisco’s, both of which we are proud to offer. The first has been a part of our product lineup for as far back as anyone here can remember…Oberweis milk. As many of you know, our family business was started almost 100 years ago in 1926 by our Grandfather (and for most, of us Great-Grandfather) Tony Prisco. One year later, in 1927, Peter Oberweis of Aurora, IL became co-owner in Big Woods Dairy -- the predecessor of the Oberweis Dairy.

No one today knows for certain when that first Oberweis Dairy delivery was made to Prisco’s, but we know for certain that we’ve been selling Oberweis Milk and Ice Cream at our store for generations. Oberweis is a premium product that is as close to nature as one can imagine. Simplicity is at the heart of every bottle of Oberweis milk because less processing leaves more room for flavor and delivers a healthier product that's better for your family. That means no artificial hormones, like bovine growth hormones, are permitted on Oberweis farms, and no added preservatives or antibiotics are ever found in their milk. They gently heat their milk to the minimum temperature to retain the most nutrients. They call this gentle pasteurization, and you'll taste the benefits! Healthier, tastier, fresher milk -- that's what has made the Oberweis name the most trusted in dairy since 1927.

If you haven’t yet tried Oberweis milk, or perhaps you are a loyal user of this brand, you will be happy to know that through December 26th you will earn 25 Prisco’s bonus points with every 1/2 gallon bottle you purchase.

Our other brand of milk is a relative new comer to Prisco’s. This past summer when our primary wholesales unexpectedly went out of business, we found ourselves scrambling to find a second source of milk as the Centrella brand was no longer available. We know that a basic staple like milk is a key component for any grocery store, and we were not about to take any brand that came along because our store’s reputation rests heavily on the brands that we offer. After a great deal of investigation and product testing, we settled on our new milk brand, farmer-owned Prairie Farms. We chose Prairie Farms for several reasons: 1) We like supporting a farmer-owned co-op as opposed to large corporate-owned entities. 2) We found Prairie Farms quality to be well above average, and 3) we found that the folks at Prairie Farms were pleasant, helpful, and eager to assure us that we would receive great service and only the freshest possible milk as often as we needed it delivered.

It turns out that our faith in Prairie Farms was well justified as we recently learned that the Prairie Farms dairy was awarded 42 awards at the 2017 World Dairy Expo Competition held in Madison, Wisconsin. Prairie Farms competed in 27 categories and took home nearly 50% of all the awards given out -- far more than any other dairy in the competition. Here is one more interesting piece of trivia about Prairie Farms milk that you may not know just yet: If you make it a habit to buy your milk at Prisco’s, you will be graciously rewarded for your loyalty. That’s right, by registering for our customer appreciation program called Prisco’s Points, we will keep track of every gallon of Prairie Farms milk that you buy, so long as you remember to identify yourself at the register. Then, over time, each gallon not only earns you Prisco Points (1 per $1), but when you buy your 10th gallon you will receive credit for a FREE gallon on your next visit.

Not a member yet? Register here!

 

How You Store Your Spices Does Matter.- Tuesday, November 7, 2017

If you want to get the most shelf life from your spices and have them give you optimum flavor, where your store them is critical. Often cooks like to have spices in the cabinets closest to their stove so that they can quickly reach in and grab what’s needed while keeping a close eye on what’s cooking on the stove. While this is certainly convenient, it is not the best place to keep them. This is because spices and herbs will begin to break down when exposed to the moisture and heat from the stove.

Another common location for kitchen spices is in a spice rack on the counter. Again, not a good thing for the spices if the rack gets any direct sunlight.

What about keeping them in either the fridge or the freezer? Well, every time you take them out they have to warm to room temperature. Or when they were first added to the fridge they had to "cool down". These temperature changes often cause the spices to pick up moisture and condensation. Both will shorten the life of your spices. You should also be aware that temperature fluctuations may cause unwanted condensation, and possibly mold.

The ideal storage temperature for your spices and herbs is one that remains fairly constant and right around 70° F. So, for optimum flavor and shelf life you should store these away from the heat of the stove, heaters, or the direct sunlight. If you have a pantry that is dark most of the time this is your best alternative. Some folks prefer amber glass jars with airtight lids to keep the moisture out.

As a final word of caution on condensation build-up, be aware of how you use your spices around the stove. Don't shake directly into a pot or pan over direct heat as the moisture goes right into the bottle. It is better to shake the amount you want to add into the palm of your hand and then add that to the pot or pan.

 

What you may not know about cranberries!- Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Most folks don’t know that our neighbor to the north, Wisconsin, is the leading producer of cranberries in the US. Some 60 percent of all cranberries packaged and canned in the US come from 20 counties in central and northern Wisconsin. Actually, the cranberry is Wisconsin’s official state fruit. Cranberries are the state’s number one fruit crop, both in size and economic value. The sand and peat marshes in central and northern Wisconsin create the perfect growing conditions for cranberries.

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water, but they are harvested using water. I know, we’ve all seen too many Ocean Spray commercials. A perennial plant, cranberries grow on low running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. In Wisconsin, cranberry marshes are flooded with water to aid in harvesting. Because the tart, tiny berries contain a pocket of air, when the marsh is flooded, the berries float to the surface to be picked up by harvesting equipment. Cranberries are harvested each year from late September through October.

Cranberries score among the highest of all fruits in antioxidants. Diets including fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant values, like cranberries, may help support memory function and coordination.

  • Cranberries are a cholesterol-free, fat-free and low-sodium food, and help maintain a healthy heart.
  • Cranberries are part of a healthy diet and contain antioxidants that may help maintain a healthy immune system.
  • As part of a healthy diet, cranberries can be added to low-fat vinaigrettes, whole grain pancakes, and yogurt.
  • Cranberries are ingredients in more than 1,000 food and beverage products on the market, and only 5 percent of Wisconsin's cranberry crop is sold as fresh berries.