Fast Sauteed Spring Mix

Fast and Easy Sauteed Spring Mix

Spring Mix greens are found in most grocery stores. They are packed with baby greens that are extremely healthful and delicious, and are usually added to salads. But did you know you can cook Spring Mix? Below is a video demonstration of a REALLY fast and easy way to cook Spring Mix. The written recipe is below the video. The recipe calls for only one small tub of the mix. But it can easily be increased so you can use whatever amount of greens you need to. I hope this helps! Let me know if you try this method…I’d love to hear from you!

Enjoy,
Judi

Fast Sautéed Spring Mix
Makes about 2 Servings

1 (5 oz) tub Spring Mix*
Garlic powder**
Salt and pepper
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 or 2 lemon wedges, or 2 teaspoons vinegar of choice

Rinse the Spring mix and spin it in a salad spinner to remove excess water. If you don’t have a spinner, place the rinsed mix in a colander and allow it to drain well. Do not dry the greens with a towel. Do not skip this step because the little bit of water on the greens helps them to cook.

Transfer the Spring mix to a bowl and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper, all to taste; toss it to disburse the seasonings. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil and allow it to heat briefly. Add Spring mix and sauté it for about 1 minute, just until it starts to wilt. Remove from heat and drizzle with lemon juice or vinegar. Enjoy!

*This recipe can EASILY be increased to using any amount of Spring Mix that you want. Just be sure your pan is big enough to handle the fresh greens at the beginning.

**If you prefer to use fresh garlic, omit the garlic powder. Chop garlic cloves (any amount you want) and place them in the skillet immediately before adding the greens. Proceed with instructions from there.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Basil

Basil 101 – The Basics

Basil is a delicious herb that has been used since ancient times. It has been so highly revered that its name stems from a Greek word meaning “royal.” It’s commonly used in many cuisines around the world and has some very important health benefits. If you’re just not sure what to do with basil, or are looking for some very specific information about this herb and its uses, hopefully you’ll find what you need here. Below is an extensive article all about basil. I hope this helps!

Enjoy
Judi

Basil 101 – The Basics

About Basil
Basil is a very fragrant annual herb with leaves that are used to flavor a wide array of foods. Many of us are familiar with basil since it’s a main ingredient in traditional pesto that most people enjoy. It is popular in Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Laotian cuisines.

Basil leaves are rounded to oval, usually with a point opposite the stem end. It is in the same plant family as mint. There are over 60 varieties of basil, all with a slightly different appearance and flavor.  The colors are usually a bright green, but can also have hints of red or purple in the leaves. The flavors can vary a lot, from sweet basil with its slightly sweet, spicy flavor, to anise, lemon, and cinnamon basil with flavors reflected in their names. Thai basil is spicy and often used in Southeast Asian and Chinese dishes. Sweet basil is not to be confused with holy basil. They are both in the mint family, but they are different plants with very different uses. Holy basil is used more for medicinal purposes whereas sweet basil is used in culinary applications.

Basil appears to be native to India, Asia and Africa, but is now grown around the world. The name “basil” stems from a Greek word meaning “royal,” which tells us that ancient cultures highly regarded this plant and considered it to be sacred. Some of that tradition lingers today, as in India, the basil plant represents hospitality, and in Italy, it is a symbol of love.

Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
Although we usually don’t eat huge amounts of basil at one time, it is an excellent source of Vitamin K, with ½ cup of basil providing 98% of our DRI (Dietary Reference Intake). That’s extraordinary! Basil also contains good amounts of manganese, copper, carotenoids (precursors to Vitamin A), Vitamin C, calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, and even omega-3 fatty acids.  It also contains small amounts of an array of other nutrients.

Protection from cellular damage: Basil has unique health benefits due to its flavonoids and volatile oils. The flavonoids in basil have been found to protect us at the cellular level by protecting cell structures and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.

Antibacterial effects: The volatile oils in basil have been shown to have antibacterial properties against unwanted pathogens. The oils have also been shown to restrict the growth of harmful bacteria including Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli O:157:H7, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. If that’s not enough, the oils in basil have been shown to inhibit some strains of bacteria that have become resistant to some commonly used antibiotic drugs. These bacteria include Staphylococcus, Enterococcus and Pseudomonas. They are widespread and pose a real threat to those who become infected with them.

Interestingly, studies published in the February 2004 issue of Food Microbiology reported that a weak solution of only 1% of basil or thyme essential oil reduced the number of Shigella, a bacteria that triggers diarrhea, to a level so low that it was not detectable. This factor alone is an excellent reason to include some fresh basil and/or thyme in foods like salads that are not cooked. Not only will these herbs flavor our food, but they can also help to ensure it is safe to eat!

Anti-inflammatory effects: Eugenol, a component in basil’s essential oil, has been found to block the activity of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), the SAME enzyme that is blocked by many over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and to a lesser degree, acetaminophen. This shows that, if taken in a high enough amount, basil can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent, helping conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions.

Cardiovascular benefits: Basil is a very good source of pro-vitamin A through its carotenoid content. Carotenoids are powerful anti-oxidants that help protect our blood vessels and circulating cholesterol from free radical damage, helping to ward off heart disease. Basil is also a good source of magnesium, a mineral known to help relax the blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure and improving blood flow, and also reducing our risk for cardiovascular disease.

With all things considered, we have plenty of reason to include basil in our foods!

How to Select Basil
Dried basil is available in just about any grocery store. When selecting dried basil, opting for organic basil ensures that it was not irradiated, which reduces its Vitamin C and carotenoid content.

Many grocery stores also carry fresh basil in the produce department. When opting for fresh basil, look for bright, deep green leaves. Avoid those with dark spots or yellowing leaves.

How to Store Basil
Store all dried herbs in air-tight containers, away from light, heat, and moisture. When kept properly, dried herbs will keep for a long time, years in fact. However over time, the flavor will diminish. Dried basil will retain good quality in your pantry for 2 to 3 years.

To tell if a dried herb such as basil is too old and needs to be replaced, place some in the palm of your hand. Rub it to release the oils, then smell it. If it’s aromatic, it’s still fine. If there’s little to no aroma, it has seen better days. It’s time to get a new jar.

Fresh basil should be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel and placed loosely in a plastic bag. Basil can also be stored like fresh flowers. Cut a small piece off the end and store it cut side down in a shallow glass of water. Cover the leaves loosely with a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. Change the water every day or two. Basil should keep up to a week in the refrigerator.

Some people prefer to keep fresh basil like described above (cut side down in a shallow glass of water), but on the kitchen counter rather than in the refrigerator. In this case, do not cover the leaves with a plastic bag. Just leave them exposed to the air and enjoy their beauty. Change the water every day or two. Stored like this, you may see roots sprouting from the cut end after a week or so. If this happens, the sprig can actually be planted and you’ll have your own fresh basil plant.

How to Preserve Basil
Fresh basil can be frozen, covered with water, in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag or container. Such cubes can easily be added to soups, stews or sauces.

Basil may also be frozen whole or chopped in airtight containers.

Frozen basil will have its best quality if used within 4 to 6 months. However, when properly frozen and stored at 0°F, it will keep indefinitely.

Dried vs Fresh Basil
Both fresh and dried herbs have their own best applications. Dried herbs work well in cooked foods. Cooking allows time for them to re-hydrate and their flavors to blend with other foods. Dried basil works exceptionally well in cooked sauces, soups, stews, and on meats.

Fresh basil has a milder flavor than its dried counterpart. When cooked, the flavor tends to dissipate rather quickly, so fresh basil is usually added at the end of cooking time. Fresh basil works very well in cold, uncooked foods like salads. The delicate flavor shines when paired with other fresh foods, yet it doesn’t overpower them. The conversion rate is 1 part of dried basil is equivalent to 3 parts of fresh basil.

How to Prepare Basil
Simply give your fresh basil a quick rinse right before using it then pat it dry. Remove the leaves from the stems and cut them as desired. Many chefs roll the leaves and slice them (chiffonade) for use in just about any dish. Some resources suggest tearing basil leaves with your fingers, or cutting the leaves only with a ceramic knife to prevent oxidation which causes them to turn dark.

Quick Tips and Ideas for Using Basil
* Make a dairy-free pesto by combining chopped basil with garlic and olive oil. Add ground pine nuts, if desired. This can be used as a topping for pasta, salmon, and bruschetta.

* Top fresh tomato slices with mozzarella cheese, then sprinkle with chopped fresh basil leaves.

* The oils in fresh basil are volatile, so many chefs add the herb toward the end of cooking time. It will retain the most fragrance and flavor that way.

* Using a ceramic knife when cutting basil leaves can help keep them from oxidizing and turning dark after being cut.

* Try adding basil to a stir-fry of eggplant, cabbage, chili peppers, tofu, and cashews for a Thai flare to your meal.

* Flavor tomato soup with a puree of basil, olive oil and onions.

* Try a basil tea by infusing leaves in hot water for 8 minutes. OR try flavoring a cup of black or green tea with some fresh basil leaves for a mild spicy addition.

* The basil leaves are the main part of the plant used in foods. The smaller stems may be used, but the thicker stems and stalks can be bitter. Also, the stems and large veins have compounds that can turn pesto brown and dark, so it’s best to stay with just the leaves.

* If you grow basil, the white flowers of the plant are edible.

* One tablespoon of fresh basil is equal to one teaspoon of dried basil. This ratio applies to all fresh vs dried herbs.

* Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and garlic for a nice vinaigrette salad dressing. Increase the basil and add Parmesan cheese for a basil balsamic pesto.

* Are you looking for something really different? Basil not only pairs well with strawberries, but also watermelon, oranges, mango, lemons and lime. You can get creative making this into an interesting fruit salad!

* Try a healthful smoothie by blending together kale or spinach, banana, strawberries, basil leaves, milk of choice, some chia seeds and a few dates for sweetener.

* Basil and mint are in the same plant family. So each can be added to recipes calling for the other. For instance, if a recipe calls for basil, mint can also be added for a different flavor dimension. If a recipe calls for mint, basil can be added for a little flavor depth and spiciness. Adding basil to a fruit salad that calls for mint would be a delicious flavor enhancement.

* Add fresh basil leaves to a green salad for a sweet yet peppery flavor addition.

* Basil not only goes well with peanuts, but also peanut butter. Some people actually add fresh basil leaves to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Basil can also be added to many recipes calling for peanuts or peanut butter.

* When adding fresh herbs to a cold dish, add them a few hours in advance, if possible, to allow the flavors to blend.

* If you have a sunny window, you can store fresh basil there. First cut a small amount off the bottom end of the stem. Then stand the basil up in a shallow glass of water. Change the water daily. In a number of days, you may see roots developing. Those stems can actually be planted for your own fresh basil plant.

* Basil, oregano, and thyme work well together giving food an Italian flare.

* When in doubt with flavoring a dish, remember that basil and lemon always go well together. Add in some garlic and onion for a savory flare.

* Basil goes well with broccoli. The sweetness of basil helps to balance the strong flavor of broccoli. For a quick side dish, simply sauté broccoli and basil together. Drizzle with a little lemon and you’re done!

* Try a summer salad with strawberries, avocado and basil.

* Basil is known to compliment blueberries. Try adding a little basil to a blueberry crumble dessert.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Basil
Capers, cilantro, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, salt, thyme

Other Foods That Go Well With Basil
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans (fava), beans (in general), beef, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, fish, hazelnuts, lamb, nuts (in general), peanuts, peas, pine nuts, pistachios, pork, tofu, walnuts

Vegetables: Artichoke hearts, artichokes, asparagus, beans (green), bell peppers, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, greens (salad), jicama, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini

Fruit: Avocados, blueberries, lemon, lime, mango, nectarines, olives, peaches, strawberries, watermelon

Grains and Grain Products: Bulgur, corn, couscous, millet, noodles (Asian rice), pastas, polenta, quinoa, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (esp. mozzarella, Parmesan), cottage cheese, cream

Other: Oil (esp. olive), vinegar

Basil Has Been Used In: Aioli, beverages, breads, Cuban cuisine, curries, egg dishes (frittatas, omelets), French cuisine, gazpacho, Greek cuisine, Indian cuisine, Mediterranean cuisine, pasta dishes, pestos, pizzas, ratatouille, risotto, salad dressings, salads, sandwiches, sauces, soups, Southeast Asian cuisines, stews, Thai cuisine

Suggested Flavor Combos:
Combine basil with…
Capers + tomatoes
Chiles + cilantro + garlic + lime + mint
Chiles + olive oil + pine nuts + sun-dried tomatoes
Corn + tomatoes
Cucumbers + mint + peas
Garlic + olive oil + Parmesan cheese + pine nuts
Garlic + olive oil + tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese + olive oil
Mushrooms + tomatoes
Tomatoes + white beans

Recipe Links
25 Basil Recipes Featuring the Fresh Summer Herb https://www.thespruceeats.com/basil-recipes-to-use-up-fresh-herbs-4688303

40 Easy Ways to Use Up Fresh Basil https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/25-fresh-basil-recipes/

91 of Our Favorite Basil Recipes https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/our-best-basil-recipes-gallery

33 Basil Recipes So You Can Eat and Drink It at Every Meal https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/basil-recipes

29 Fragrant Basil Recipes We Love https://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/basil?

Shrimp and Basil Fettuccini https://producemadesimple.ca/shrimp-basil-fettuccini/

Fresh Ontario Greenhouse Tomato-Basil Soup https://producemadesimple.ca/fresh-ontario-greenhouse-tomato-basil-soup/

Snap Peas, Basil, Tomato and Cucumber Salad https://producemadesimple.ca/snap-peas-basil-tomato-cucumber-salad/

Strawberry Basil Lemonade https://producemadesimple.ca/snap-peas-basil-tomato-cucumber-salad/

Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=85

https://www.thespruceeats.com/basil-cooking-tips-1807985

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/foods-that-pair-well-with-basil/

https://www.strongertogether.coop/food-lifestyle/cooking/using-fresh-herbs

https://thecookful.com/flavors-compliment-basil/

https://producemadesimple.ca/basil/

https://thecookful.com/fresh-v-dried-basil/

https://www.thekitchn.com/quick-tip-when-to-use-dried-he-133710

https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/11228-the-differences-between-thai-and-italian-basil

https://www.hunker.com/12532651/the-difference-between-basil-holy-basil

https://www.wideopeneats.com/mccormick-spices-expire/

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Easy Baked Beans

Easy Baked Beans

Here’s an easy way to make baked beans. This can be made with canned beans or your own beans already cooked from dried beans. It can be made with or without added bacon, so it’s vegan without the bacon. Below is a video demonstration of making the beans. The recipe is below the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Easy Baked Beans
Makes 4 Main Dish or 6 Side Servings

2 (15 oz) cans great northern beans (or beans of choice), rinsed and drained
OR 3 to 3-1/2 cups cooked beans of your choice
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp dry mustard powder (or 1 Tbsp prepared mustard)
1 Tbsp dried onion granules (or ¼ cup chopped fresh onion)
2 Tbsp molasses
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika
½ to 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the tomato paste, broth and seasonings (not the oil) in a bowl and stir to combine well. Stir in the beans. Coat an oven-safe casserole dish with the oil, if desired. (This step is not mandatory, but helps to keep the bean mixture from sticking to the dish.) Pour the bean mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Cover the dish and place it on the middle rack in a preheated 350F oven. Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and check to see if the beans are too juicy for you (see note below). If so, remove the lid and allow it to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or more, if desired, until the sauce is moderately thickened. If the amount of sauce is to your liking, leave the lid on the casserole and continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Note: A little sauce/juice in with the beans is needed. The beans will continue to soak it up and the sauce will thicken some as it cools, so don’t bake them until the liquid is all soaked up or the beans will end up being too dry.

Suggestion: If you want the smoky, meaty flavor typical of baked beans, feel free to add some cooked chopped bacon to the mix before baking.

How to Fix a Food That is Too Sour

It’s easy to add a little too much lemon juice or vinegar when finishing a dish. If this happens, all is not lost! There are different ways that this problem can be handled. Try whichever tactic listed below that would be right for your food that is too sour.

Below is a video where I discuss this topic. Following the video are my complete notes on how to reduce sourness in a food.

I hope this helps!
Judi

Add sweetener. Sweet and sour go hand-in-hand. A simple way to balance a food that is too sour is to add some sweetener of your choice. For example, when making a salad dressing, if too much vinegar was used, add a touch of sweetener to balance it out and transform your pucker into a smile.

Sometimes, homemade tomato sauce can be a bit sour or bitter from the tomatoes and/or tomato paste. Adding a little sugar will balance that out so your sauce will taste amazing. Even adding a fresh carrot to your tomato sauce while it’s cooking will do the trick, if you don’t want to add sugar.

Add salt. Adding a bit more of a salty component to your dish can balance the sour flavor. Example: If you’ve added too much lemon juice or vinegar to a stir-fry, simply add a touch more soy sauce to balance it out.

Add a little baking soda. When a food is too sour, it’s too acidic. Baking soda is a great neutralizer for acids. A little goes a long way here, so only add a SMALL amount at a time. If the food bubbles up, stir it and allow time for the bubbles to dissipate, and the baking soda to do its job. Taste the food after the baking soda is well mixed in. Adjust flavorings if needed.

Add some cheese. Adding a little Parmesan or ricotta to a sour sauce can help to balance the flavors and reduce the tartness.

Add some veggies. Adding some chopped vegetables, such as carrots or potatoes, will absorb some of the acid and help to balance flavors out in a soup or stew that is too sour.

Add some fat. Adding some fat such as butter, oil, ghee, coconut oil, or cream can help to balance flavors in a sour dish.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/fix-common-seasoning-mistakes/

https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-rescue-what-to-do-when-131736

https://sweeetheat.com/2018/12/09/how-to-fix-food-thats-too-sour/

https://oureverydaylife.com/can-counteract-sourness-sauce-28707.html

https://food52.com/blog/22607-how-to-fix-over-seasoned-food

https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/93503/how-to-reduce-the-sour-taste-in-gravy

https://www.livestrong.com/article/512120-how-to-counteract-acidity-in-cooking/

How to Reduce the Sweetness in a Food

Oops! You’ve tasted your food and it’s too sweet! That’s a mishap that can happen to anyone. So, is there something you can do about it? Yes, there is hope. You can’t remove the excess sweetener, but you can balance it out with other flavors. Try whichever option below that will work best with your overly sweetened dish.

Below is a link to a video where I discuss this topic. My notes detailing this follow the video.

I hope this helps!
Judi

Add more liquid. Diluting the sweetener in the dish might be an option if it’s a water- or milk-based soup or sauce. Try adding more of the main liquid and see if that cuts the sweetness enough. Of course, by adding more liquid, you also may need to add more of the other ingredients that flavor the dish, EXCEPT for the sweetener (and possibly salt…see below).

Another example, if it’s a tomato sauce that has too much sweetener, add more tomatoes (and possibly more of the herbs to bring the flavor to where it should be). If your chili is too sweet, add more beans or ground beef, and possibly more tomatoes and spices.

Add some acid. Adding a little acid, such as citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange), vinegar (white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are good options), or even red wine may also counteract the sweetness. Avoid balsamic vinegar since it can be a bit sweet. For instance, if you’ve over-sweetened a sweet potato dish, sprinkle a little lemon or even orange juice on it to counter the sweetness. That may add more depth of flavor and a slight twist that enhances the entire dish. It’s worth a try! Here’s a tip…take a SMALL amount of the dish and add a very small amount of the acid, then taste it. If it works, add it to the entire dish.

Add something milk-based. Adding a little milk, cream, sour cream, cheese, whipped cream, or unsweetened yogurt to an overly sweet dish can help to balance out the flavors. Coconut milk or your favorite plant-based milk may also work.

Avoid adding more salt. Salt tends to bring out the sweetness in a dish, so adding more salt may not be the best option in this case. After adjusting the recipe, even if you need to add more of your other ingredients, hesitate and taste before adding more salt.

Make it spicy. Sweet and spicy tend to balance each other out very well. If adding some heat or strong spice would work well in your dish, go for it and give it a new flavor dimension! A little hot sauce, chiles, or crushed red pepper may do the trick. Just don’t add so much that it transforms your dish into something extra-hot or you may be reaching for something to counteract the heat!

If it’s a dessert that’s too sweet, adding a little cinnamon or cloves, if appropriate, will cut the sweetness a bit.

Add some herbs. Some herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, herbs de Provence, tarragon, and basil, are known to balance sweetness in foods. Add only a small amount at a time and taste as you go.

Add some fat. Adding a bit more fat to the dish, like olive oil, butter, or avocado, can help to balance out extra sweetness.

Add a little bitterness. Yes, bitterness. Even though bitter is a flavor that many people avoid, just think of dark chocolate and how sugar balances out the bitterness in the chocolate. Adding a SMALL amount of unsweetened cocoa powder to your dish may be an option. Just be sure it’s a small amount, so you don’t make your main dish taste like a weird chocolate dessert. Another option here would be to add a bitter vegetable, if applicable. Adding some kale, arugula, or radicchio may do the trick.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/fix-common-seasoning-mistakes/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-save-a-dish-thats-too-sweet-4174554

https://www.spiceography.com/too-much-sugar/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/524910-how-to-neutralize-sugar/

Millet 101 – The Basics

Millet is a food that many Americans are not familiar with (other than being a part of bird food). Yet, it’s a commonly eaten seed (used as a grain) in other parts of the world. Among other uses, millet flour is a common ingredient in the Indian flatbread,  Roti.

If you haven’t tried millet, this tiny seed is worth toasting and cooking it in some way that sounds favorable to you. It has a number of important health properties, so it’s worth including some in your diet at least now and then. Below are notes covering many aspects of millet, from what it is to how to use it, along with links to some recipes using millet. You should find what you need there! I hope this helps.

Enjoy!
Judi

Millet 101 – The Basics

About Millet
Millet is a tiny, round seed of a grass, with over 6,000 varieties around the world. It can be white, gray, yellow or red. The term “millet” actually refers to a variety of grains, but is commonly thought of as the hulled variety most often available. It is technically a seed, but is usually referred to as a grain, since that is how we use it for culinary purposes. It is naturally gluten-free, so it is a safe alternative food for those who are gluten-sensitive. In North America, millet us used mainly as part of bird seed. Its flavor is somewhat bland with a light nutty flavor, especially when toasted. It blends well with many foods and seasonings. Millet can be purchased as a whole grain (usually hulled), flour, and flakes. The types commonly eaten fall into the scientific categories of Panicum miliaceuem or Setaria italic, and they are in the Poaceae family.

Millet is believed to have originated in Ethiopia, where it has been eaten since prehistoric times. It may be one of the first grains cultivated by man, with research indicating it was used 10,000 years ago or even earlier. Millet was mentioned in the Bible as an ingredient of unleavened bread. To this day, millet is still a very important staple food in many African, Eastern European, and Asian countries. It is a main ingredient in flatbreads, beer and other fermented beverages, and porridges. The customary Indian flatbread, roti, is made from ground millet seeds. Millet was brought to America in the 19th century. Today, most of the world’s millet is grown in India, China, and Nigeria.

Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
One cup of cooked millet has about 6 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, with about 210 calories. It is a good source of copper, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium. It also contains an array of B-vitamins and other minerals as well.

Millet is naturally gluten-free. However, many varieties of millet have been tested for gluten contamination, and were found to contain gluten residue. This can happen when millet is processed in a facility that also processes gluten-containing grains. If you are gluten-sensitive, be sure to purchase millet that is labeled as being certified gluten-free.

In 2010, researchers at the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada found that all varieties of millet are high in antioxidants and phenolic compounds.  Antioxidants are known to help protect the body against harmful compounds that can form when foods are broken down and when we’re exposed to toxins. Such compounds can promote heart disease, cancer and other diseases. So, antioxidants can help to protect us from such diseases and it’s important to get all we can through our foods to help keep us healthy. Phenolic compounds include phenolic acids, flavonoids, tannins, stilbenes, curcuminoids, coumarins, lignans, quinones, and others. Such compounds are known to have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties, so they also can help to ward off cancer and other serious diseases. The phenolic compounds in millet have also been shown to help remove toxins from the body by promoting elimination and neutralizing certain enzymes in some organs.

Scientists in South Korea found that millet lowered blood lipids in rats fed millet for four weeks. The researchers concluded that millet may be helpful in preventing cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, researchers at the University of Kentucky showed a link between the consumption of whole grains and a lowered risk of heart disease. This may be due at least in part to the magnesium content of grains which lowers blood pressure, and in turn lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease. Millet is known to be a good source of magnesium.

Millet also has a low glycemic index which helps to control blood sugar. Scientific studies have shown millet to be effective in helping to control blood sugar levels in diabetics.

The fiber content of millet can also help some digestive issues by promoting regular elimination of waste. This also helps the kidneys, liver, and immune system to function better.

How to Select Millet
Millet is usually available as a whole grain that has been hulled. It is usually found prepackaged, but some stores also carry it in bulk bins. If purchasing it from bulk bins, be sure the store has a good turnover of it so you know it is fresh. No matter how it is sold, be sure there is no evidence of moisture in the package or container.

How to Store Millet
Store millet in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. It can be stored in a pantry, refrigerator or freezer. When kept cool, dry, airtight, and out of light, it should keep a year or two. If packed with oxygen absorbers in an airtight container, and placed in a cool, dry, dark place, it should keep for many years.

How to Prepare Millet
To soak, or not to soak (millet before cooking)…THAT is the question. According to https://www.leaf.tv and https://TheSpruceEats.com  there is no actual need to soak millet before cooking it. It does not contain bitter tannins, like sorghum. Nor does it contain saponins, like quinoa. With the outer hull removed and the absence of such compounds, there is no actual reason to soak it unless you simply want to. One part of millet can be soaked in 3 to 4 parts of cold water from 6 hours to overnight, or in hot water for one hour. Either way it is soaked, the cooking time will certainly be shortened, and it will absorb less water during cooking, so bear that in mind.

Depending upon how it is cooked, millet can be creamy like mashed potatoes, or fluffy like rice. Millet should first be rinsed under running water to remove any debris. For a chewier texture like that of rice, add 1 part of millet to 2 parts of boiling water or broth. For a creamier texture, add 1 part of millet to 3 parts of boiling water or broth. Return the liquid to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes (for a chewy texture), or 25 minutes or more, for a more creamy texture.

To obtain a creamy consistency like a risotto, stir the millet into a small amount of boiling water or broth. Stir it often adding a little more hot liquid every now and then, like you would a risotto.

To impart a nutty flavor to millet, roast it first (before boiling it) by placing it in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir it often. When the granules are golden brown, add them to boiling liquid and proceed as stated above.

According to Bob’s Red Mill, one cup of millet makes about 3-1/2 cups cooked (when cooked like rice).

Here’s a simple recipe for cooked millet…

Cooked Millet
Makes 3-1/2 Cups

1 cup millet
2 cups water or broth

Place the millet in a fine mesh strainer and rinse it well. Place the strainer over a bowl and allow the millet to drain.

Bring 2 cups of water or broth to boil in a pot with a lid. Add the rinsed and drained millet. Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium-low. Set the timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn off the burner and remove the pot from the hot burner. Leave the lid on the pot, set the timer for 5 minutes and allow the millet to rest and absorb any remaining liquid. When the time is up, remove the lid, fluff the millet with a fork and serve with flavorings of choice or use in any recipe calling for a cooked grain.

Cooked millet may be used in any recipe calling for couscous, rice, bulgur, quinoa, or any other cooked grain. It may also be served as a breakfast porridge with fruit, spices, and/or milk of choice. Cooked millet may also be used as a side dish with any meal calling for potatoes or a grain. It may also be included in burger patties, quick breads and even pancakes.

How to Preserve Millet
According to Bob’s Red Mill, a company that sells millet, cooked millet can be frozen, and will keep about 2 months in the freezer. However, cooked soft grains, like millet, will have different properties after being frozen. Therefore, they don’t recommend freezing cooked millet. So, according to Bob’s Red Mill, it is best to cook smaller amounts of millet so you can use it up quickly. Cooked millet will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator in a covered container.

According to TheKitchn.com at https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-ahead-and-freeze-cooked-rice-or-any-grain-226716 millet can be frozen and they provided suggestion on the best way to accomplish the task. Freeze cooked millet in a thin, flat layer in a small freezer bag. The smaller, flat layer allows the cooked grain to thaw out faster when the time comes. They suggest using the frozen grain straight from the freezer when it is going to be added to something like a soup, stew, casserole, or even a salad. If needed, frozen cooked millet can be thawed by transferring it to a microwave safe bowl. Sprinkle it with one or two tablespoons of water, cover the bowl, then microwave in 1-minute increments until thawed and warmed. It can also be warmed slowly in a saucepan on the stove with one or two tablespoons of water added. Stir it often to be sure it does not burn nor stick to the pan.

Quick Tips and Ideas for Using Millet
Millet works well in breakfast porridges, as a replacement for rice served with stir-fried vegetables, and as a savory pilaf. It also adds bulk to soups, casseroles, and meatless burger patties. With millet having a cooked texture like that of rice, quinoa, or buckwheat, it can be used interchangeably in just about any recipe calling for those grains. So it can easily be used in pilafs, casseroles, side dishes, soups, stews, puddings, baked goods, and more.

Millet can also be ground into flour to replace up to 25% of wheat flour when used in yeast breads. It can also be popped like popcorn and enjoyed as a snack, or included in granola, cereals, or baked goods for a little crunch.

Here are some easy ideas for using millet…

* Serve cooked millet as a breakfast porridge, as you would oatmeal. Top it with your favorite fruit and/or nuts, milk, and any flavorings you prefer.

* Add ground millet to breads and muffin recipes in place of some of the flour.

* Cooked millet can be used as an alternative to cooked rice or potatoes with any meal.

* Use cooked chilled millet in any salad calling for a cooked grain.

* Toast millet before cooking it to bring out its nutty flavor by placing it in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir or shake the pan often until the millet is lightly browned. Watch it carefully to prevent it from burning.

* Millet can be used in a recipe in place of couscous.

* Make a millet polenta-like loaf by placing cooked millet into a loaf pan. Cover the pan and refrigerate it overnight. The next day, remove the loaf from the pan, slice it, and fry the slices in a little olive oil over low heat, until browned and heated through. Serve with a sweet or savory sauce.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Millet
Basil, bay leaf, cardamom, chervil, chili powder, cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry powder and spices, dill, garlic, ginger, mint, oregano, parsley, pepper (black), rosemary, saffron, salt, tarragon, thyme, turmeric, vanilla

Other Foods That Go Well With Millet
Protein, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans (esp. black beans), chicken, chickpeas, eggs, lentils, nuts (in general), pancetta, peas, pistachios, seeds (in general), sesame seeds, shrimp, sunflower seeds, tahini, tempeh, walnuts

Vegetables: Arugula, beets, bell peppers (red), broccoli, burdock, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celery root, chard, chiles, chives, eggplant, fennel, greens, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, scallions, shallots, squash (winter and summer), sweet potatoes, tomatillos, tomatoes, turnips, vegetables (in general, and sautéed baby vegetables), watercress, yams, zucchini

Fruits: Apples, apricots (esp. dried), avocado, berries (in general), blueberries, cherries (esp. dried), coconut, currants, dates, lemon, lime, mango, orange, peaches, raisins, raspberries

Grains and Grain Products: Amaranth, bulgur, cereals, corn, oats, quinoa, rice

Milk and Non-Dairy: Butter, cheese, milk (all types), sour cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Honey, maple syrup, oils, soy sauce, stock (vegetable), tamari, vinegar

Foods and Cuisines that Include Millet
Asian cuisines, baked goods (breads, muffins), batters (pancake, waffle), casseroles, cereals (hot breakfast), couscous, croquettes, curries, dals, granola, East Indian cuisine, millet cakes, muffins, North African cuisines, pilafs, polentas, porridges, puddings, risottos, salads (fruit and green), sandwiches (sloppy Joes), stir-fries, stuffed mushrooms or vegetables, stuffings, tabbouleh, veggie burgers

Suggested Flavor Combos
Combine millet with any of the following…
Agave nectar + almond milk + coconut milk
Almonds + cardamom + cinnamon + cumin + turmeric
Almonds + orange
Apricots + raisins
Black beans + sweet potatoes
Blueberries + fennel + hazelnuts
Chickpeas + garlic + greens
Cilantro + lime + tomatoes
Dates + nuts
Garlic + mint + parsley
Ginger + winter squash
Honey + milk
Honey + nuts
Orange + pecans
Peanuts + sweet potatoes

Recipe Links
12 Vegetarian Millet Recipes (Plus 3 Ways to Cook Millet) https://naturallyella.com/12-vegetarian-millet-recipes/

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Millet https://naturallyella.com/moroccan-carrot-salad-with-millet/?utm_content=buffer4eff1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Cauliflower Millet Soup with Lemon https://www.sugarsalted.com/cauliflower-millet-soup-with-lemon/

Vegetable Fried Millet https://www.beautybites.org/vegetable-fried-millet/

Turmeric Spiced Millet Veggie Burgers http://www.eatingbyelaine.com/veggie-burgers/#tasty-recipes-8194

Millet with Roasted Tomatoes and Chickpeas https://www.myberryforest.com/millet-with-roasted-tomatoes-chickpeas-vegan/

Vegan BBQ Lentils with Millet Polenta https://thefirstmess.com/2015/03/12/vegan-bbq-lentils-with-millet-polenta-recipe/

Millet Tabbouleh Salad https://saltedplains.com/millet-tabbouleh-salad-recipe-gluten-free/#wprm-recipe-container-5505

Black Bean and Millet Salad https://www.food.com/recipe/black-bean-and-millet-salad-146049

Basic Millet Pilaf https://www.thespruceeats.com/basic-millet-pilaf-2254669

Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=53#descr

https://www.usaemergencysupply.com/information-center/all-about/all-about-whole-grains/all-about-millet

https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/whole-grains-101-orphan-pages-found/health-benefits-millet

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/antioxidants/sls-20076428

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/cereal/health-benefits-of-millet.html

https://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/healthy-living/storing-cooked-grains-and-beans/

https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-ahead-and-freeze-cooked-rice-or-any-grain-226716

https://www.leaf.tv/articles/why-should-you-soak-millet-before-eating-it/

https://www.vegancoach.com/how-to-prepare-millet.html

https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-millet-3376839

https://www.glnc.org.au/grains-2/types-of-grains/millet/

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Tomato Sauce

Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce

Here is a delicious pasta recipe that includes a flavorful combo of zucchini and mushrooms cooked with herbs and aromatics, all topped with your favorite tomato sauce and cheese, if desired. It can be made into a meatless meal or served with meat of your choice. A video demonstration is below. The written recipe is below the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce
Makes About 6 servings

1 lb pasta of choice
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
About ¾ cup chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup chopped bell pepper
2 medium zucchini, chopped small
1 (8 oz) pkg mushrooms of choice, sliced small
1 (15 oz) can white beans (or beans of choice), rinsed and drained, optional*
1-1/2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup water
Juice of 1 large lemon
Tomato sauce of your choice
Parmesan or grated mozzarella cheese, optional topping

Place tomato sauce in a small pot with lid, and warm it over medium-low heat. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.

Prepare the vegetables: In a large pot, briefly heat the olive oil. Sauté the onion and bell pepper for 1 to 2 minutes; add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, beans, spices and water; stir to combine. Cover and allow the vegetables to cook until the zucchini starts to soften, stirring occasionally. This may take from 5 to 9 minutes, depending upon how cooked you want them to be. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice; stir to combine.

When the pasta is cooked and drained, and the vegetables are cooked, your dish is ready to serve. Place some pasta on the plate and top with some vegetables. Top with some tomato sauce, and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

* The added beans are optional, but make a nice addition for a meatless meal. If meat is preferred, omit the beans and serve this dish with the meat of your choice. A piece of chicken would go well. Also, if you want to add ground beef or sausage, browned and drained meat can be added to the tomato sauce. Ground meat can also be added to the vegetable mixture. In your large pot, brown the meat first, then drain the excess fat. You could omit the added olive oil in this case. Proceed from there with sautéing the vegetables, etc.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

How to Reduce the Spiciness of a Food

It can happen to the best of us. We taste our food that’s cooking and WOW it’s too spicy! This can happen in a number of ways and we’ve all done it at one time or another. All is not lost. There ARE ways to salvage the dish.

Below is a video where I discuss this topic. Written notes are below the video.

I hope this helps!
Judi

Add more of the other ingredients to tone down the spiciness. Depending on what the dish is, you could add more liquid, protein, starches, vegetables, or other ingredients to counter the spiciness. Adding some bland ingredients like potatoes or rice can help, even if not in the original recipe. If doubling the recipe, be sure not to add more spicy ingredients until you’ve added the other ingredients, allowed it to cook some, THEN tasted it first before adding anything else.

Add a dairy ingredient. Milk, cream, sour cream, or yogurt can cool off spiciness in a dish. BUT, be careful about adding milk-based items to a cooking hot liquid, as the sudden heat could cause the milk to curdle. Instead, add a little to each serving after it has cooled just a bit. Coconut milk is a good alternative that may also work well in calming spiciness in a food.

Add some acid. Adding some form of acid, like citrus juice, vinegar or even ketchup can cut the spiciness of a food. This trick is often used in Thai cuisine, known for its spicy foods.

Add some sweetener. Adding a little sweetener of choice can help to cut the spiciness in a food. Just be careful not to add too much or your dish may end up tasting like an odd dessert.

Add a spoonful of nut butter. A spoonful of nut butter added to a spicy soup or stew can help to reduce the spiciness without its flavor being noticeable. Peanut, almond, or cashew butter, and tahini are possible options.

Serve the spicy food with something bland and starchy. Pairing a spicy food with a bland starchy food can balance the flavors out so nothing is overly bland nor spicy. Crusty bread, rice, potatoes, or pasta are all possible candidates.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi)
began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.thekitchn.com/6-ways-to-tone-down-a-dish-thats-too-spicy-223776

https://m.wikihow.com/Fix-an-Over%E2%80%90Seasoned-Dish

https://food-hacks.wonderhowto.com/how-to/oops-food-too-spicy-heres-fix-0169642/

http://dish.allrecipes.com/how-to-make-food-less-spicy/

Almond Rice Crackers

Almond Rice Crackers

If you’re looking for an easy, fast, gluten-free and vegan cracker to make, you’ve found it! These crackers are a favorite in our house and they are simple and quick to make. A win-win for us! Below is a video showing how to make them. The written recipe is below.

Enjoy!
Judi

Almond-Rice Crackers

Makes enough for 1 sheet pan (30 to 45 crackers)
½ cup almond flour
½ cup brown rice flour
1 Tbsp flax meal
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup milk of choice, or more if needed*

Makes enough for 2 sheet pans (double the recipe)
1 cup almond flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 Tbsp flax meal
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup milk or choice, or more if needed*

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir until well combined. Cover bowl and allow mixture to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour (can be placed in the refrigerator during this time) to allow flour to soak up moisture. Check the dough after it has rested for about 15 minutes. If mixture does not hold together well, add more liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. It has enough liquid when it is slightly moist and holds together well without being crumbly.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer the cracker dough onto a silicone baking mat or a sheet of parchment paper large enough to cover a baking sheet. Cover the dough with a sheet of waxed paper about the size of the baking mat or parchment paper. Roll the dough into a rectangle shape no more than 1/8-inch thick. Remove the top waxed paper and discard it. With a pizza cutter or a butter knife, score the dough into roughly 1-1/2-inch squares for crackers.

Place the sheet on the rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp and golden. Crackers along the outer edges will brown first, so remove them as they bake and return the rest to the oven. When all are baked remove the pan from the oven and cool remaining crackers on a wire rack. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature.

* If preferred, water may be used in place of milk, but the crackers will not have as much flavor as when made with milk.

If you want to add extra flavors to your crackers, go ahead!
Here are some possibilities:

Black pepper, rosemary, finely chopped cranberries and pepitas (or other dried fruit, nuts or seeds), garlic and Italian herbs, rosemary, thyme, chives, and parsley, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Parsley

Parsley 101 – The Basics

Yes, parsley seems to be one of those “mundane” herbs that some recipes call for. We’ve used it so long that we hardly think of it. Yet, it is the world’s most popular herb and has been used for thousands of years. Not only does it provide flavor to foods, but it has valuable health properties as well. If you need to know a little something about parsley, hopefully you’ll find your answer below!

Enjoy!
Judi

Parsley 101 – The Basics

About Parsley
Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. We often see a sprig of parsley as a garnish on the plate in restaurant meals, not only for its color, but also as a breath freshener. Despite its popularity and common use, it is often underappreciated.

Parsley belongs to the Umbelliferae family of plants. Its Latin name is Petroselinum crispum. The two most popular types are curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. There is another type of parsley, turnip-rooted parsley, which is cultivated for its roots. Botanically, parsley is related to anise, caraway, carrots, celery, celery root, chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, and parsnips.

Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe. It has been cultivated for over 2,000 years, but was used as a medicinal plant long before it was used in foods. The turnip-rooted variety is relatively new, having been cultivated for only a couple hundred years. It is slowly gaining in popularity.

Nutrition Tidbits
Parsley contains two types of unusual compounds: volatile oils and flavonoids. These give parsley unique health benefits. The volatile oils in parsley, particularly myristicin, have been shown to inhibit the formation of tumors (especially those in the lungs) in animal studies. The volatile oils in parsley qualify it to be categorized as “chemo protective,” meaning it can help to neutralize carcinogens, cancer-causing agents. The flavonoids in parsley function as antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory agents.

On top of its special compounds, parsley is an excellent source of Vitamin K and a good source of folate and iron. Parsley is also rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene, and other carotenoids. This further enhances the antioxidant properties of parsley in helping to ward off heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. So, the next time you’re offered a sprig of parsley as a garnish, remember to eat it too for its many healthful properties!

The special combination of nutrients in parsley helps to ward off cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, supports bone health, and helps to protect your eyes against age-related macular degeneration. Studies have shown that parsley extract may also have antimicrobial properties. With all things considered, we should all add parsley to our foods when we can!

How to Select Parsley
Parsley is available both dried and fresh in most grocery stores. As with most foods, the fresh variety will have a better flavor than the dried version. Choose parsley that is rich in color and looks fresh and crisp. Avoid options that look withered or yellowed, as they are older and not your best choice.

How to Store Parsley
Keep fresh parsley in the refrigerator wrapped in a paper or kitchen towel, placed in a plastic bag. If it is slightly wilted, either sprinkle it lightly with some water or wash it without completely drying it before storing in the refrigerator. Fresh parsley will keep up to two weeks.

How to Dry Parsley
Parsley can easily be washed then dried by patting it with a paper towel. Remove the leaves from the stems and place the leaves in a clean paper bag. Close the opening of the bag and lay it down in a dry area. Once or twice a day gently shake the bag and turn it over, allowing the leaves to shift around so they all get exposed to air. Check them from time to time to see if they are all completely dry. When dry, transfer to an air-tight container and store in a dark, cool, dry place.

How to Freeze Parsley
Parsley can easily be preserved by freezing. Simply take the leaves off the stems and place them in a freezer bag and store in the freezer. Use them in cooking without thawing.

Fresh parsley leaves can also be chopped, mixed with water, and then frozen in ice cube trays.

Any way it is prepared, parsley will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.

How to Prepare Parsley
Fresh parsley is fragile, so it should not be washed until you are ready to use it. Simply rinse it under running water, or (if it is really dirty) swish it around in a bowl if cool water until all dirt is removed. Repeat the process if needed. Shake off the water, or pat the leaves dry, then use it as desired in your recipe.

The stalks and leaves are all edible, however, the stalks may be a bit tough, depending on how large/thick they are. Those may be best used in stocks or soups.

Cooking/Serving Ideas and Quick Tips for Using Parsley
Italian flat leaf parsley has a stronger and somewhat sweeter flavor than the curly variety, and holds up better with cooking. With that, most chefs prefer flat leaf parsley when adding it to cooked dishes. It is helpful to add it toward the end of the cooking process for better color, flavor and nutritional value.

Quick serving ideas and tips for using fresh parsley:

* Combine chopped fresh parsley with bulgur wheat, chopped scallions, mint leaves, lemon juice and olive oil to make tabbouleh, a classic Middle Eastern dish.

* Add parsley to classic pesto to add more texture to its green color.

* Use a combination of chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest, as a rub for chicken, lamb and beef.

* Add parsley to soups and tomato sauces.

* Try a salad of fennel, orange, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and parsley leaves.

* Sprinkle chopped parsley on different foods such as salads, tomato dishes, baked potatoes, egg dishes, vegetable sautés and grilled fish.

* Try making an herb butter by kneading 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley leaves into ¼ cup of softened butter.

* The stems of parsley are edible, but of course, are more coarse and chewy than the leaves.

* Parsley tea has been used throughout history for its medicinal purposes: to improve digestion, increase urine flow, soothe asthma, remove mucous due to coughs and colds, and ease inflammation. Steep ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves (or 2 teaspoons of dried parsley flakes) in 8 oz boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the leaves and enjoy. It may become bitter and strong flavored with longer steeping times.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Parsley
Basil, bay leaf, capers, celery root, chervil, chili pepper flakes, chives, cilantro, cumin, fennel seeds, garlic, ginger, lovage, marjoram, mint, pepper (black), rosemary, salt, savory, sorrel, sumac, tarragon, and thyme

Foods That Go Well With Parsley
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans, chickpeas, eggs, fish, legumes, lentils, pine nuts, poultry, veal, and walnuts

Vegetables: Artichokes, beets, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery root, chiles, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, fennel, greens (salad), mushrooms, olives, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, scallions, shallots, spinach, squash (summer and winter), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini

Fruit: Apples, avocados, lemon, orange

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, bread crumbs, bulgur, corn, couscous, noodles, pasta, and rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter and cheese

Other: Oil (olive), stocks, and vinegar

Parsley is commonly used in: Baba Ganoush, bouquets garnis, chimichurri sauce, dips, fines herbes, hummus, Mediterranean cuisines, Middle Eastern cuisines, Moroccan cuisine, pasta dishes, pestos, pizza, salad dressings, salads, salsas, sandwiches, sauces, soups, stews, stocks, stuffings, and tabbouleh

Suggested Flavor Combos:
Parsley + artichokes + garlic
Parsley + bread crumbs + butter + garlic + shallots
Parsley + bulgur + lemon + mint + tomatoes
Parsley + capers + garlic + lemon + olive oil
Parsley + chili pepper flakes + garlic + olive oil + vinegar
Parsley + garlic + gremolata + lemon
Parsley + garlic + lemon + mint + olive oil + walnuts

Recipe Links
25 Ways to Use Parsley https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/devour/2013/06/25-ways-to-use-parsley

11 Delicious Ways to Use Up a Bunch of Parsley https://www.thekitchn.com/10-delicious-ways-to-use-up-a-bunch-of-parsley-246217

40 Different Ways to Use Up That Big Bunch of Parsley https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/ways-to-use-up-parsley/

Parsley and Lemon Pesto Recipe https://www.foodrepublic.com/recipes/parsley-and-lemon-pesto-recipe/

The Best Ways to Use a Plethora of Parsley https://food52.com/blog/11157-the-best-ways-to-use-a-plethora-of-parsley

40 Parsley Recipes, from Meaty Dinners to Herbaceous Salads and Sauces https://www.epicurious.com/recipes-menus/how-to-use-up-all-your-leftover-parsley-gallery

Our 10 Best Parsley Recipes https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/apr/05/parsley-recipes-10-best

Chicken Breast With Garlic and Parsley https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chicken-breast-garlic-and-parsley

Walnut Parsley Pesto https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/walnut_parsley_pesto/

Mediterranean Parsley Salad https://ethnicspoon.com/mediterranean-parsley-salad/

Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=100&tname=foodspice

https://www.herbinfosite.com/herb-information/herb-profile-parsley/

https://www.spicesinc.com/p-510-what-spices-go-with-what-meat.aspx

https://www.herbinfosite.com/herb-information/herb-profile-parsley/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/all-about-parsley-2355733

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Parsley-Tea

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/parsley-benefits#section1

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Mindell, Earl. (1992) Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.