A Broccoli Surprise: Fresh Food from a Market Cart

My birthday started off pleasant enough. Ken was working and the kids were sleeping, so I went for a walk to get a fancy coffee drink, pursue a new area of town and even stop at a paca or two. Pacas are small stores with used clothing from the US. They are prevalent throughout Central America and are the best way to buy clothes. 

It was nice having some quiet time to myself. Every mother, especially one that homeschools, needs this. Ahhhhh. 

Everytime I see a display of the beautiful, bountiful fruits and vegetables available on several street corners, I fall in love with Central America all over again. Seriously, this is the way to shop. This particular cart is actually a truck bed with a tent overhead. Central Americans find all sorts of ways to display their wares. 

Everytime I see a display of the beautiful, bountiful fruits and vegetables available on several street corners, I fall in love with Central America all over again. Seriously, this is the way to shop. This particular cart is actually a truck bed with a tent overhead. Central Americans find all sorts of ways to display their wares. 

On my way home, I bought a bunch of vegetables at a market cart so that I could make Tag more homemade tomato sauce. He accepts tomato sauce from the jar, but prefers that I make it at home instead. For those of you that know me well, I'm not a great cook, and cooking is an end-to-a means for us. Our kids are picky eaters and often it's easier to eat at home than to go out. By the way, we'd eat out everyday here if only both kids liked more than 2 restaurants in town. 

At the last minute, I added a head of broccoli to my purchase. I paid an additional 71 cents and went home. I was soon to learn that 71 cents got me more than just a head of broccoli. 

As soon as I got home from the market, I washed the vegetable in a vinegar solution. The vinegar kills off harmful bacteria from the water that is used to irrigate crops. We even wash avocados and other hard skinned food because the knife cuts through the tough skin and then touches the food inside. After reading more about the necessity of washing fruits and veggies thoroughly, I believe we will continue to do this in the US and other 1st world countries as well. 

Here in Nicaragua, I fill a medium size bowl with water, add in some vinegar, and mix the two before adding the fruits and veggies. Once they have soaked for 30 seconds to five minutes or however long I leave them in the water, I remove them, dry them and put them away. Today, I started with the broccoli. The bowl of water didn't entirely cover the broccoli, so I put the big, bushy end in first. After a few minutes, I turned the broccoli over and let the stem soak.

This is when IT happened. 

I felt something slimy, almost like a mushroom, touch my fingers. I looked down and there they were. 

2 of them. 

Yes, two of them. 

Maybe if I'd brought these in from my own garden, I would have expected something like this. This simply was not the case and I was totally freaked out seeing these slugs in my sink.

Maybe if I'd brought these in from my own garden, I would have expected something like this. This simply was not the case and I was totally freaked out seeing these slugs in my sink.

My body is covered in goose pimples just thinking about this again. 

Slugs. This is how fresh the broccoli is. At least that's what I keep telling myself. Slugs. 2 small, slimy slugs crawled out of our broccoli and fell into the kitchen sink. 

Thank goodness Ken works from home or the kids and I would have abandoned the house for the rest of the day. 

Ken took pictures of the slugs in the sink so that we can share these with you. 

A few minutes later, they started crawling out of the sink. 

No, no, no, no, no. 

No, no, no, no, no. 

NO, thank you. Get those slugs out of my kitchen! 

My husband, the one that accidentally scheduled a late work meeting on my birthday and has yet to buy me the best quality dark chocolate that can be found in this town, has totally redeemed himself by picking up those slugs and flushing them down the toilet. 

Elle showed some interest in the slug that creeped me out. Tag could care less. There was no way he was going to let a little slug interrupt his precious digital time. 

Elle showed some interest in the slug that creeped me out. Tag could care less. There was no way he was going to let a little slug interrupt his precious digital time. 

This slug may not seem like such a big deal compared to the huge slugs we have in the Pacific Northwest, but I've never found a big one in my produce. Note the little piece of broccoli still on it. 

This slug may not seem like such a big deal compared to the huge slugs we have in the Pacific Northwest, but I've never found a big one in my produce. Note the little piece of broccoli still on it. 

And what about the broccoli? Well, I don't want to just throw it away. Secretly adding it to the spaghetti sauce is the only way my kids will ever eat broccoli. Once again, Ken to the rescue. He cut the broccoli into small pieces, tossed two more little sluggies that had yet to show themselves and rinsed away any remaining slug goo. In total there were 4 slugs on one head of broccoli. 

Homemade tomato sauce. Once it goes through the Vitamix, the kids will have no ideas how many veggies they're eating -- tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, carrots, onions, garlic to start. I tend to put in it whatever looks good at the market and whatever we have in the fridge. 

Homemade tomato sauce. Once it goes through the Vitamix, the kids will have no ideas how many veggies they're eating -- tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, carrots, onions, garlic to start. I tend to put in it whatever looks good at the market and whatever we have in the fridge. 

PS. This post is dedicated to my cousin, Leslie. As a child, she was a little too fond of slugs and sampled several of them from the woods near Port Angeles, Washington.