Flowers, Fruits and Trader Joes

I don’t usually buy fresh flowers because they don’t last very long in vases. I would pass by the fresh flower section, admire them and move on to the food section. One day, I saw a lady, without hesitation, picked up a bunch of Gladiolus and put it in her shopping cart. When she moved away, I walked over and took up a bunch and looked at the price. I was amazed at how inexpensive the price was. For a bunch of 6, Trader Joes (chain grocery store in Portland) sells it for less than $4.

I decided write this article because I wanted to show my readers how a bunch of fresh flowers can brighten a kitchen instantly. Whether you are hosting a dinner party or holding an open house, Gladiolus is an inexpensive option to dress up your kitchen. Most of all, it does not require you to learn how to arrange flowers. These flowers are super long and if you don’t have a tall vase, feel free to snip the flowers to fit into your vase, as I did in the following photo. I took off about 5 inches off the stems.

My good friend introduced me to shop at Trader Joes almost 5 years ago. Ever since then, it has been my weekly stop. A few weeks ago, they were selling Angelcots. Angelcot is a white apricot. As suggested by its name, it is heavenly delicious, super juicy and sweet. This week, they are selling Mango Nectarine and fresh (not dried) figs.

Figs is Hu Wa Kuo in Mandarin. It stands for “no flower”. My husband was explaining to the kids yesterday that Fig trees produce fruits without going through the flowering process. You can read more about Figs from Wikipedia. I have seen two kinds of Figs, the purple and the green kind. I love both varieties. 3 out of 5 people in our household loves Fig. I love Fig because I like the seedy, slightly sticky texture and the natural sweetness of the fruit.

Mango Nectarine (yellow fruit in the photo below) is a blend between Mango and Nectarine. I have a fun time eating this fruit because I could taste both the fruits in one bite.

Rainier Cherries (center in photo) and white peaches (right in photo) are also shown in the photo below and these two fruits are also very delicious. I can live without eating vegetables but I cannot live without eating fruits.

The following text and photo was added after the article was published.

Green Figs (left in the photo) is a little larger than Purple Figs (right in the photo). The taste is also a tad different, texture is very similar. I found fresh Green Figs at the Aloha Costco two days ago.



Filed under Hip Tips

41 responses to “Flowers, Fruits and Trader Joes

  1. Like you, I love to have fresh flowers for my home, I love the smell of fresh flower but i just don’t feel like spending $$ for things that are lasting for few days.
    Never heard of Mango Nectarine, hmm.. wonder if the sell it hear. I think i might like the fruit since both mango and Nectarine are my favorite fruits.

  2. I have seen fresh figs around but never dare to buy one pack to try because I know my DH and Nikita aren’t the adventurous type, so I might end up eating all by myself or throw them away if I don’t like. But now that you blog about it, I will get it the next time I do my grocery shopping. 🙂

  3. I miss Trader’s Joes SO much! Love your new remodeled kitchen with your seasoned wok, flowers and fruits! Very swee! 🙂

  4. alice

    Your newly renovated kitchen? So spick and span. Admire your kitchen. The kitchen over here is so small. Figs are expensive here but I heard that they are good for constipation.

  5. We love buying fresh flowers for the house too. I normally get a few bunches and spread them all around the house, from the living room to the kitchen to the bathroom! They certainly do make a difference.

    Your kitchen looks lovely. 🙂

  6. Dear Crazymommy,
    Out of 3 of my daughters only 2 of them liked Figs. Figs do get moldy after a few days in the refrigerator. My Taiwanese husband will eat durian but refuses to eat Figs. So, it is possible that DH and Nikita may not like Figs. If the store sells Figs by the pound, get just a few, so that it will not be a waste if nobody in your household likes it.

    Dear Cocoa,
    Since it is easier to determine the freshness of Gladiolus, they do last longer than usual flowers. I usually pick the buds that are not brown (not dried) and still in bud form (not open yet). I think if one is selling their home, put one bunch in the kitchen or master bathroom during open house and an investment of $4 will definitely draw in more offers.

    I have only seen Mango Nectarine at Trader Joes so far.

    Dear V,
    My kitchen just went through a quick makeover for the photo shoot. I hid everything in the pantry. 🙂 It is our balcony that is being remodeled.

    Yeah, I heard from Auntie Lily that there is no Trader Joes in Colorado. Perhaps, if there is enough demand, they will open a chain store there. There is a Ranch 99 in California and Seattle that I wish would open a chain here in Portland.

    Dear Alice,
    No, not my newly remodeled kitchen. Thank God there is nothing wrong with our kitchen. It is a little small in American standard but I guess it is big in Japanese standard. Sometimes when I lay all my groceries all around the countertop, my husband would make small remark like I wish our kitchen was a little larger. I am actually quite happy with what we have because if I have a larger kitchen, I may forget where I keep my kitchen accessories and food.

    You said Fig is good for constipation. That is good to know. Little Dragon should be able to go to the toilet tonight. I gave her 3 figs yesterday.

    Dear LL,
    You said that you love buying fresh flowers for the house too. And you normally get a few bunches and spread them all around the house, from the living room to the kitchen to the bathroom! I think that is a great idea. Saves money and the aroma from the flowers is all around the house. I have seen the center front dashboard of Volkswagen (mini car made in Germany?) with built in vase to hold fresh flowers. Some restaurants have small vases filled with fresh flowers on each table. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Gosh, you’re so lucky to have those types of fresh fruits and flowers there.

    Hmm, never seen figs in Malaysia. What is the texture like? Pomaloes?

  8. Kenny Mah

    Your new kitchen looks gorgeous! Esp. the stove being on the island in the centre… this way your family and/or guests can see you cooking… performance art, anyone? 😉

    I noticed the dish you chose to go with the figs. Very nice colour coordination. Shades of purple, violet and lavender… 🙂

  9. Jonzz,
    Yes, we are fortunate to have fresh flowers and fruits in Oregon. The soil and weather here are great for plants. No, figs do not taste like Pomelos. I want to say it taste like a well cooked egg plant but extra sweet.

    My kitchen does look new doesn’t it? I think it looks new because of the colors that were used. Stainless steel appliances go well with granite countertop.

    It is nice to have stove on the island in the center, not because I like to perform cooking for my guests but because I like to watch my kids while I cook. I just wished there was a ventilation hood at the top of the stove. Oil has been accumulating on the two lamps.

    You noticed the dish I chose to go with my Figs. This is due to Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen’s influence. I am still learning how to dress up my food. Perhaps, one day, I too can come up with my very own best dressed salad, just like Jaden’s.

  10. wmw

    What a lovely kitchen you have there….I miss shopping at Trader Joe’s when I’m visiting my sis in San Francisco…the other place I like going is Whole Foods, my sis is into organic stuff. Well, I just like going to supermarkets, hee hee…

  11. Trader Joes is my weekly stop too! I like your kitchen..seems so cosy. Maybe the flowers really work wonders. But for a rented unit (like mine, currently), I would not spend so much effort. Only for a house or unit I owned which I know it’s going to be permanent, I would make it pretty and cosy.

    I did not know figs were wu hua guo. TO think that I used to eat those preserved wu hua guo when I was a kid!

  12. Dear WMW,
    You mentioned that you miss shopping at Trader Joe’s when you are visiting your sister in San Francisco. I like shopping at TJ’s because they carry produce that are unique and their prices are reasonable. If you like nuts, they have pistachios, almonds, mocadamia, world largest cashews, blister peanuts, pine nuts, etc. I also buy their oatmeal, green tea, mint soaps. One other thing I like about their stores is they constantly have samples for their customers.

    We have New Seasons and Whole Foods in Portland as well. I seldom go there. Speaking of Whole Foods, I was there a few months ago. They have a huge selection of cheeses and I took several photos of the cheese counter. Before I left the store, a man requested me to erase the photos that I had taken. I was embarrassed and surprised. My husband explained that although my intentions are good, the person who worked for Whole Foods does not know that.

    I like going to supermarkets as well, especially ones that has unique delicious foods.

    Dear Tigerfish,
    One day, you will own your own place where you can decorate or paint freely. In the meantime, continue to “decorate” your foods and have fun with it.

    Trader Joe’s is your weekly stop as well? You must like the store as much as I do.

    You ate preserved Wu Hua Guo when you were young child? I don’t remember eating Figs (dried or fresh) growing up in Malaysia. Trader Joe’s sells dried figs as well but I think I like the fresh ones better.

  13. Your kitchen is just like from those of a designer home. Very very niceee!

    And sooo thats how a fresh fig looks like. All the figs in Malaysia are either dried or preserved.

  14. I love both fresh and dried figs, though they can be expensive. You have a lovely kitchen!

  15. wow…u have such a beautiful kitchen !!!

  16. Love your beautiful open kitchen! I like the big juicy, crunchy white peaches too! Now need to look up for mango nectarine, don’t think I have seen it yet.

  17. elsie chlew

    hi there,

    i enjoyed coming to ur site for some inspiration both spiritual and physical…and today looking at all the fruits really make my day. i stayed in indonesia, i nearly never seen most of the fruits in ur pix…hmm yummy and juicy. keep up the good job on this site.

    take care

  18. MrsHBT, I love gladioli, too. ^_^ Right now, my dining table has a tall vase of six different colours of gladioli (greenish yellow, yellow with orange heart, pink-orange, white, orange, fuchsia with yellow heart) that my other half cut from a flower field on his way home from work on his bicycle. It’s as affordable as your Trader Joe’s if we cut the flowers from the field ourselves (farmer hangs a few knives near the payment box). (The farmer uses the honour system of having customers drop the payment into a metal box provided.)
    It’s a bit more expensive for lilies but they last twice as long and each stalk has about 4 to 6 buds that take turns to bloom.

  19. Dear Teckiee,
    Thanks. The previous owner had great taste in selecting the colors, countertops and appliances. Hence, our kitchen has the designer look. And yes, that is how a fresh Fig looks like. If I ever see a green Fig, I will add it to this article. I love Figs, especially the green ones.

    Dear WokandSpoon,
    Figs are expensive so I do spend a lot of time selecting non-blemish ones. You said I have a lovely kitchen. Yes, I think so too and I think the fresh Gladiolus really enhance the look, bringing it up to another notch.

    Dear Chinnee,
    Thank you. Although having a beautiful kitchen is great, I realized that it is even more precious to have beautiful children. Your daughter Qiqi is beautiful.

    Dear Little Corner of Mine,
    I love my beautiful open kitchen as well. Open Kitchen does have a few drawbacks though. For example, smoke and smell from hot oil. I love to entertain and open kitchen works well for me as I can socialize with my guests while I prepare the foods.

    I have only seen Mango Nectarines in Trader Joes. It is not in other stores yet. Perhaps when it becomes popular, other stores will carry it as well. I just remembered, there is another fruit that I like, yellow Kiwis.

    Dear Elsie,
    Thanks for visiting my blog. It is my dream to provide inspiration for other women. I am glad that I have done that for you today. I pray that I can continue to write inspirational articles. You said that you are from Indonesia. Apa Khabar? My Malay is rusty but how are you is one phrase that I will never forget. I am so glad that you left me a comment. In future, if you have questions, please feel free to ask me. I learn by answering questions.

    Dear Argus,
    You love Gladioli as well? When I read your comment, I looked up the correct spelling for Gladiolus. I had misspelled it yesterday. I spelled it as Gladiolas and it should be Gladiolus. Gladioli is the plural form of Gladiolus. You sure know your flowers.

    It must be nice living in Switzerland. Your husband riding his bike to work and cut flowers on his way home from work. We have honor system payment boxes here as well for UPick Fruit Farms but my husband drives 15 minutes to work daily. I was teasing him the other day that he should ride his bike to work to save on gasoline.

    So, Lilies is more expensive but their buds take turns to bloom? That is a good piece of information. I will check out Lilies the next time I am shopping for fresh flowers. Thanks!

  20. I love your kitchen! Its so bright and cheerful.

  21. I have never tried fig and mango nectarine before! After reading this, maybe I will go and hunt them out. oh, and I wish I have your kitchen ;p

  22. Dear SteamyKitchen,
    I love my kitchen as well. It is where I spend most of my time. Indeed, it is bright and cheerful. A bright kitchen makes the cook happy.

    Dear Mandy,
    I saw green Figs at Costco yesterday. If I get a chance, I will edit this article to include a photo of it. If you can’t find Mango Nectarines, a good substitute would be Mango and Nectarines. Mango (both yellow and red kinds) and Nectarines (especially white Nectarines) are especially sweet this time of the year in the US. I bought ripe red Mango at Thriftway (chain store in Portland) a few days ago, 2 for $1.

    You said you wish you have my kitchen. Perhaps one day, you can build or remodel your dream kitchen. I can offer free advices. 🙂

  23. wmw

    Sigh…once in a blue moon, us bloggers have some restaurants owners/operators telling us not to take photos of their food. Actually, we don’t really know why they wouldn’t want some free publicity. I guess they figure us bloggers aren’t important. There’s isn’t anything secretive about cheeses, is there? Ha ha ha…

  24. Dear WMW,
    So, there are some restaurants where owners/operators tell you not to take photos of their food? I guess it is the same principle. My husband explained to me that sometimes free publicity may not be favorable to them. We may write a good review and if we have a “but” somewhere in our text, it is not good publicity for them.

    I don’t think there was anything secretive with the cheeses. They looked fresh and very pretty. I liked the looks of beer cheese. I wonder how it will tastes. I started to blog about wine and cheese some time ago. The next time I find an interesting cheese like the beer cheese, I will blog about it.

  25. ahhh how many kinds of figs are they? what colours?

  26. Dear Teckiee,
    I have seen 2 kinds of Figs here in Portland Oregon and their colors are purple and green. I bought green Figs yesterday from a local warehouse (Costco).

    If you are interested to find out more about Figs, check out the Wikipedia link in my article. In the Wikipedia link, it is mentioned that Adam and Eve clad themselves with Fig leaves after eating the “Forbidden fruit” from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

  27. I don’t think I have eaten mango nectarine before. If only you could cut it to show the inside of it.

  28. Dear Wonda,

    We ate all of our Mango Nectarines already. So, I cannot cut it up to show you the inside. However, I will describe it for you. The insides look exactly like Nectarine. The texture and taste of this fruit is like Mango with a hint of Nectarine. You know how the flesh of the Mango is closely adhere to the large flat seed, Mango Nectarine’s seed is smaller and its flesh is easily separated from the seed, just like a Nectarine.

    I reread my reply to your comment and I thought, I need to show you a photo of a cut-up Mango Nectarine. If Trader Joe’s still sell it, I will buy it and post it here.

  29. Yes, MrsHBT, gladioli are lovely because they grow straight up and the budding flowers even look pretty from the back. (See my blog for some close-ups.)
    They also ‘drink’ the water in your vase voraciously, so you might need to top it up every day.

    I like the practicality and beauty of your kitchen. And thanks for telling about mango nectarines — sounds exotic!

  30. mei

    MrsHBT, you have a lovely kitchen – so cheery and bright and so spick and span! Love that bowl of fruits – Rainier cherries is one of my daughter’s favourites but they are so expensive back here in M’sia. Mango necatarine? Sounds delicious. Hope soon we can have it here.

  31. Dear Argus,
    I just got back from your blog. I love the photos of Gladioli and the city that you live in. Those pink and purple gladioli are beautiful beyond words and you are right, they even look pretty from the back. My gladioli are not doing too well; they have started to droop after only a few days. I am a little disappointed. Fresh flowers once cut really don’t last too long, do they, even with plenty of water and nutritious flower food.

    If I had my choice, I would have built my kitchen differently but for the past 5 years, I have learned to appreciate the practicality and beauty of it.

    If I see other “exotic” fruits, I will post them in the future. I remember you wrote an article on red cherries (what are your favorite red things?). I had mentioned to you about rainier cherries. Well, the rainier cherries (center of the fruit photo) are super delicious as well.

    Dear Mei,
    Your daughter Vern also likes rainier cherries? They are also quite expensive here. Since it is one of my favorite fruits, I don’t mind spending a little more. Mango Nectarine is still only in selective store here in the US, in particular Trader Joes. It may take a while before you can start seeing it in Malaysia. By the way, interestingly a fruit that is cheap in Malaysia, is very expensive here in the US, Papaya!

  32. MrsHBT, I’m sorry to hear of your cut gladioli drooping. Mine last about a week, but of course the first blooms will fade & dry up after 4 or 5 days and I’d just pull them out so the whole stalk will still look fresh. Maybe mine last longer because we cut them from the field when only one or two blooms at the bottom have blossomed (the rest of the buds take the rest of the week to bloom).

    Did you re-cut the stalk end at an oblique angle after you brought them home? And not too much plant food in the vase water because it might cause reverse osmosis (water from the stalk going out to the vase water to ‘dilute’ it); same reason why you might need to top up the water up to twice a day.

    I was surprised the Rainier cherries are pale and peach-like in colour. They look big, firm and juicy though. ^_^

  33. Dear Argus,
    My last Gladioli also lasted for at least a week. And like you mentioned, I too pulled out the first bloom, so the entire stalk still look fresh. That was why I bought it again this week. Perhaps, I left it in the car too long under the sun light while I did other shopping.

    You also mentioned cutting the stalk end at an oblique angle after bringing the flowers home. You know, I did not cut it at 45 degree angle. In fact, I cut them in a hurry. Since the stems were not too tough, I cut several stalks at one snip.

    The store did not include any flower food for me so I did not add any to the vase. But, I did smell foulness in the water when I was throwing out my droopy flowers.

    Even though Rainier Cherries are pale in color, they are absolutely delicious. Perhaps, if you took the photo, the rainier cherries would look even more delicious. Your gladioli certainly look more beautiful than mine. 🙂

  34. Thanks, MrsHBT. You just need to play around with the macro setting of your camera and go up real close to your subject. Be mindful of the natural lighting too. Take a few shots from different angles and distances, then choose your fav(s).
    Jaden of Steamy Kitchen has very good photography tips; she’s a master. ^_^
    I noticed your fig photo is very good — it has few elements and harmonious colours, and is well composed.

  35. Dear Argus,
    Thanks for your photographing tips. I will continue to practice. 🙂

  36. Cool love you kitchen. I am hoping to have a new kitchen but they are so expensive. My new neighbour invested RM20k for her small kitchen….hmmmmm. She told me that she had install gold in her kitchen…. that was so humourous.
    Anyway I wish I can get so many lovely fruits, so envy you… 🙂

  37. Kenny Mah

    Big Boys Oven
    Gold in the kitchen? Wow, your neighbour must be real rich then… but even so, quite extravagant lah. I wonder if she wears more gold on herself or her kitchen does? Sounds very “Phua Chu Kang”… 😆

    Mrs. HBT
    Definitely good choices of colours and composition. It’s a pleasure looking at your photos… so clean, healthy and pleasant-looking. 🙂

  38. Big Boys Oven,
    I have heard of the phrase “The food is so expensive as though we are eating gold”. Your neighbor must be referring to how expensive her remodeled kitchen costs as though she has installed gold in her kitchen. RM$20K is less than US$10K. It can be cheap or expensive depending on what is the quality of the cabinets, the appliances, the flooring, etc.

    You wish you can get so many lovely fruits (in Malaysia)? Here in the US, we do get a good variety of fruits in the summer time. What is ironic is, with all these lovely fruits, I crave for Malaysian fruits, in particular, Buah Ciku. I have seen canned ones in the US, but they are not the same. If only we can grow Malaysian fruits in the US and vice versa….

    Thank you for coming by again. What a pleasant surprise. I am glad that you enjoy looking at my photos, clean, healthy and pleasant looking. I thought of what Jaden might respond to “clean”, I shower and moisturize daily. 🙂

    I will respond by saying, I still have much to learn, taking photographs, writing articles or answering comments.

  39. I love figs. As long as I dont have to look at them.

  40. Hello again:

    I lost your website – too long a story but I found you again. I too love to shop at TJ – because my oldest have all these crazy allergies, I always shop most of my items there.

    As for the flowers, I too love their orchids. The only problem is I have too many of them at home so I limit myself to only to unique ones.

    As for figs, I didn’t really care for them when I was little and when I sees them now, I just keep passing them. I guess you have to like it.

    It is great to find you again. I make sure to keep you in my “favorite”.

    Have a great week.

  41. I will have to give the Mango Nectarines a try, they look delicious!

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