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Fun Finds

Have you ever had a fresh garbanzo bean?

I’m not talking the hard, yellow ones out of a can.

I mean the far tinier ones still encased in their fuzzy, papery green pods that you can find — if you look hard enough — in markets such as Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl at this time of year. The latter is where I bought mine for $3.29 a pound.

Tender and nutty tasting, the beans, once steamed or blanched, can be made into pesto or tossed into salads just like you would edamame or peas.

My favorite way to enjoy them is one of the easiest. Just rinse them under water, shake dry, and place in a saute pan with a little olive oil. Put a lid on and cook for 5-8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn.

The green shells will get charred in spots and the beans inside will soften. Sprinkle on a little sea salt and transfer to a serving bowl. Provide napkins as you pass the bowl for your guests to dig into this peel-and-eat pile with abandon. They make for the easiest cocktail snack — ever.

Now, have you ever tried an orange that tastes like a mango?

Nope, me, neither, until I spied — yes — Mango Oranges at Berkeley Bowl.

From the outside, they look like your ordinary orange. But inside, the flesh has an amazing deep pink-peach blush.

And the flavor?

Yes, remarkably like a mango. There’s far less acid. Instead, there’s an almost creamy quality with faint coconut and vanilla notes.

As the juice squirts into your mouth, close your eyes and it’s not hard to imagine you’re on a balmy tropical island. And that’s not too shabby for $2.19 a pound.

More Fun Produce: Padron Peppers

And: Fresh Wasabi

And: Buddha’s Hand

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