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Peaches

Peaches 101 – The Basics

 

Peaches 101 – The Basics

About Peaches
Peaches are stone fruits, native to northwest China. From there, the trees spread westward through Asia into the Mediterranean countries, then onward to other parts of Europe. Spanish explorers transported peaches to the Americas, where they were found in Mexico as early as 1600. Large-scale production of peaches started in the United States in the 19th century. Early crops were of poor quality. With improved techniques of grafting, large commercial peach orchards were eventually established.

The color of peach flesh can be white or yellow to orange. There are two main varieties of peaches: freestone, where the flesh easily separates from the one large pit or stone, and clingstone, where the flesh adheres securely to the stone. The freestone varieties are usually eaten fresh, “out of hand,” since the pit almost falls out once exposed. They can also be used in any application, like baking, cooking, canning and freezing. Clingstone peaches are a bit sweeter, smaller, and juicier than freestone varieties. They are excellent options for canning and preserving. Most commercially canned peaches are clingstone varieties.

Thousands of varieties of peaches have been developed over the years. Yellow-fleshed varieties are the most popular in North America.  Europeans enjoy both white and yellow fleshed peaches. Globally, China, Italy, Spain, and the United States are major producers of peaches.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Peaches have noteworthy nutritional value and health benefits. One medium peach contains Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber, potassium, niacin, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, copper and manganese. They also have smaller amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and B-vitamins. One medium peach has about 58 calories, so they would make a healthy, low-calorie snack or addition to any meal or dessert.

Peaches also contain a number of antioxidants, compounds that are known to neutralize harmful molecules in the body, protecting us from aging and assorted diseases. It’s noteworthy that the fresher and riper a peach is, the more antioxidants it contains.

Digestive Help. The fiber in peaches is half soluble and half insoluble. This is especially helpful since each type of fiber serves its own purpose and they are not interchangeable. Soluble fiber feeds our gut bacteria, keeping colonies strong and active. Soluble fiber also binds with bile in the digestive tract, removing it in the feces. This forces the liver to make more bile from existing cholesterol, which in turn, helps to keep our blood cholesterol levels in check. Insoluble fiber is important for helping to propel the contents of the digestive tract forward, preventing constipation. This also helps to ward off disorders like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis. It is important to note that much of the fiber in peaches is found in the skin, so to get the most benefit from your peaches, don’t peel them, if possible.

Heart Health. As mentioned under “Digestive Help,” the soluble fiber in peaches helps to keep cholesterol levels down. This in itself helps to ward off heart and cardiovascular diseases. Also, potassium, which is found in peaches, is an electrolyte known for helping to manage the balance of fluids in the body. It also promotes lower blood pressure, by helping blood vessels to relax and expand appropriately, allowing for better blood flow and transport of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.

Skin Health. The high level of Vitamin A and antioxidants found in peaches helps to promote healthy skin. First, peaches are high in Vitamin C. This crucial vitamin is important in the development and maintenance of collagen in the body. Collagen is vital in providing a support system for the skin, promoting wound healing, and strengthening the skin. It can also improve the appearance of skin by reducing wrinkling, improving elasticity, smoothing roughness, and improving skin color.

Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and the other antioxidants (along with Vitamin C) found in peaches work together as anti-inflammatory agents, helping to protect the skin from sun damage, improving the skin tone, calming inflammation by squelching harmful free-radical molecules, and helping to protect against premature aging. Also, since peaches are largely water, they help to hydrate the skin, giving it a healthy glow and minimizing wrinkles.

Cancer Protection. The skin and flesh of peaches are rich in carotenoids, caffeic acid, and polyphenols. These types of antioxidants have been found to have anticancer properties, limiting the growth and spread of cancer cells and also helping to prevent non-cancerous tumors from becoming malignant. Animal and human studies confirm that peaches may be helpful in preventing breast cancer.

Allergy Symptoms. Peaches may help to reduce allergy symptoms. Studies have shown that peaches may help to reduce or prevent the release of histamines in the blood after exposure to allergens, thereby reducing allergy symptoms. More research is needed in this area, but the findings look promising.

Immunity. The antioxidants found in peaches may help to boost immunity by fighting certain types of bacteria.

Diabetes. Animal studies found that compounds in peaches may help to prevent high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. More studies with humans are needed in this area, but it appears that peaches, along with other foods high in antioxidants, may be helpful in preventing and treating diabetes and insulin resistance.

Eye Health. The powerful antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin found in peaches, helps to protect the retina and lens of the eyes. Along with that, the compounds have been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, two common eye disorders that hinder the vision of many people. The Vitamin A found in peaches also is important for supporting eye health. A serious Vitamin A deficiency causes xerophthalmia, which can result in eye damage causing problems from night blindness to complete and irreversible total blindness. In fact, severe Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness among children in underdeveloped nations around the world.

Cognitive Health. Antioxidants, like those found in peaches, are known to fight harmful molecules in the body. When affecting the brain, harmful free-radical molecules can cause neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Ingesting ample antioxidants from foods in their natural form is the best way to obtain these helpful compounds. Including peaches and other fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet is a simple way to help ensure you lower your risk for serious conditions as detailed above.

How to Select Fresh Peaches
When choosing fresh peaches, bear in mind your personal preference or intended use. The white-fleshed peaches are sweeter and less acidic than the yellow-fleshed peaches, which are more of a sweet-tart flavor.

When buying fresh peaches, look for those that are hard or only slightly soft, with no bruises or wrinkles. Don’t be shy…smell the peach before you place it in your cart. Those that smell sweeter will be riper, sweeter in flavor, and ready to eat sooner than those with little to no aroma. Also, you can tell if a peach is ripe and ready to eat by gently pressing down on its flesh and feeling it slightly give…like you would test an avocado for ripeness.

Avoid peaches that are brownish, damaged, mushy or wrinkled, because they are old, overripe, and will not last long.

How to Store Fresh Peaches
If your fresh peaches are not fully ripe, they can be placed on the kitchen counter in a single layer, away from sunlight and heat. They should ripen within one to three days.

Ripe peaches will last up to one week when kept at room temperature. If you won’t be able to use them within that time, place them in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process. They may be kept in an open area of the refrigerator, or in a crisper drawer to help protect them from damage. If they are placed in the crisper drawer, leave the air vent open, on the low humidity setting.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Peaches
* Try grilling or roasting peaches, then add them to a salad.

* Try grilled or roasted peaches with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or mascarpone cheese.

* Serve chicken with a peach sauce.

* Make a peach salsa to serve on tacos or pork tenderloin.

* On a hot day, try adding some sliced peaches to your favorite iced tea. For the most flavor, smash the peaches in the bottom of the glass before adding the ice cubes and tea.

* Blend some peaches with coconut milk for a “peaches and cream” smoothie or dessert. Add some dates or sweetener of choice, if desired. Add banana for more richness, if desired. Spice it up if you want with a little cinnamon and nutmeg.

* Blend peaches with yogurt or coconut cream and freeze it in popsicle molds. Sweeten it with dates or sweetener of choice, if desired. Add a touch of lemon juice for a little tartness and color retention, if desired.

* Add diced peaches to your morning oatmeal.

* Blend peaches with raspberries to make a sauce, then serve it over ice cream or coconut milk sorbet. Top with chopped almonds and enjoy!

* Try a salad with a bed of mixed greens mixed with cherry tomatoes and peach slices. Top with some fresh basil leaves and drizzle with a balsamic-honey dressing.

* The lighter, white flesh peaches taste sweeter and are less acidic than the traditional yellow flesh peaches. The yellow flesh peaches are sweet, but more acidic which makes them a little tangier.

* Peaches come in two basic varieties regarding their pits or stones. They can be freestone, where the flesh separates easily from the stone. Or they can be clingstone, where the flesh adheres to the stone and is not easily removed. The freestone peaches are easier to work with since the stone comes out easily. They also tend to be larger and less juicy than their counterparts, the clingstones. Clingstone peaches tend to be slightly softer, sweeter, and juicier than freestone peaches.

* Botanically speaking, nectarines are actually a variety of peach. They are so closely related that sometimes nectarines naturally appear on peach trees.

* 1 pound of fresh peaches = 4 medium peaches = about 2-1/2 cups chopped or sliced = about 1-1/2 cups pureed.

* If you need fresh peaches for a recipe and don’t have enough, even though the flavors may be a bit different, the following fruit may be used as a substitute: nectarines, apricots, plums, mangoes, papaya, cherries, and pluots or apriums (crosses between plums and apricots).

* If you need dried peaches for a recipe and don’t have enough, even though the flavors may be a bit different, the following may be used as a substitute: dried apricots, dried nectarines, and dried cherries.

* Top rice pudding (or any other pudding) with diced fresh peaches.

* Try a peach parfait by layering diced fresh peaches, yogurt, banana, pistachios, and granola.

* If you buy conventionally grown peaches and are concerned with pesticide or other chemical residues on your fruit, most of it can be easily removed by a simple (scienced-based!) 15-minute soak in a baking soda solution. Combine a ratio of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 2 cups of water. Make up enough solution to be able to submerge your peaches. Weigh the peaches down with a plate to keep them under the water and allow them to soak for 15 minutes. Then simply rinse them with clean water and pat them dry. Store them and use them as usual. To see a demonstration on this technique, watch this video … https://youtu.be/AsUAD6EWyzw

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Peaches
Allspice, basil, cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, lemongrass, lemon verbena, mint, nutmeg, pepper, rosemary, saffron, salt, tarragon, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Peaches
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, bacon, beef, cashews, ham, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, nuts (in general), pecans, pistachios, pork, poultry, prosciutto, pumpkin seeds, salmon (and other seafoods), walnuts

Vegetables: Arugula, chiles, endive, fennel, ginger, greens (salad), onions (red), radishes, scallions, tomatoes, watercress

Fruits: Apples (fresh, juice), apricots, avocado, bananas, berries (in general), blackberries, blueberries, cherries, coconut, currants, grapes, lemon, lime, mangoes, nectarines, orange (fresh, juice, liqueur, zest), papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, plums, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries

Grains and Grain Products: Grains (in general), oatmeal, oats, quinoa, wheat berries

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, buttermilk, cheese (esp. blue, burrata, cream, goat, mozzarella, ricotta), cream, crème fraiche, mascarpone, sour cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Caramel, chocolate, honey, lavender, maple syrup, molasses, oil (olive), rum, sherry, spirits (i.e., bourbon, brandy, cognac, Cointreau, Kirsch), sugar, vinegar (i.e., apple cider, balsamic, champagne, rice, wine), whiskey, wine (i.e., red or white, fruity, sparkling, and/or sweet)

Peaches have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Baked goods (i.e., pies, scones), chutneys, compotes, desserts (i.e., cobblers, crisps, crumbles, Melba, pies), ice cream, salads (i.e., fruit, grain, green), salsas, smoothies, sorbets, soups (i.e., cold and/or fruit), Southern (U.S.) cuisine

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Peaches
Add peaches to any of the following combinations…

Almonds + Cinnamon + Yogurt
Almonds + Lemon + Olive Oil + Saffron
Balsamic Vinegar + Lettuce + Spinach + Maple syrup + Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar + Mint + Ricotta
Basil + Mozzarella Cheese
Berries + Lemon
Blueberries + Lemon + Maple Syrup
Blue Cheese + Hazelnuts
Cashew Cream + Balsamic Vinegar
Cherries + Balsamic Vinegar
Cilantro + Ginger + Lime
Cinnamon + Honey + Lemon + Yogurt
Fennel + Lemon
Ginger + Honey + Lemon + Lemongrass
Ginger + Lemon
Honey + Nuts + Oats/Oatmeal
Mangoes + Raspberries
Maple Syrup + Nuts + Orange Juice + Ricotta
Maple Syrup + Orange + Vanilla
Mascarpone + Strawberries + Vanilla
Pistachios + Vanilla

Recipe Links
34 Peach Recipes to Make This Summer https://www.foodandwine.com/fruits/peach/peaches

13 Most Delicious Ways to Eat Peaches https://www.self.com/gallery/peach-recipes

Baked Peaches https://www.wellplated.com/baked-peaches/#wprm-recipe-container-39548

Peaches and Berries with Lemon-Mint Syrup https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/peaches-berries-with-lemon-mint-syrup.html

39 Perfect Peach Desserts https://www.epicurious.com/recipes-menus/fresh-peach-desserts-gallery

Peach Pie Smoothie https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/peach-pie-smoothie-recipe-1940422

Savory Peach Chicken https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/savory-peach-chicken-recipe-1951238

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-chicken-breasts-with-spicy-peach-glaze-recipe-1922684

15 Savory Peach Recipes https://www.delish.com/cooking/g1292/savory-peach-recipes/?slide=16

Fresh Peaches with Blueberries and Yogurt http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=146

43 Peach Recipes That Make the Most of Summer’s Juiciest Fruit https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/peach-recipes-gallery

55 Juicy Peach Recipes for (an Endless) Summer https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g1499/peach-recipes/

70+ Fresh Peach Recipes to Savor This Summer https://www.southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/summer-peach-recipes

60 Ways to Use a Farmers’ Market Haul of Fresh Peaches https://www.cookinglight.com/food/in-season/peach-recipes

 

Resources
https://producemadesimple.ca/what-goes-well-with-peaches/

https://www.hgofarms.com/peach-pairings-to-try/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/varieties-of-peaches-4057064

https://thebakersalmanac.com/fruit-flavor-pairing-chart/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/peach-fruit-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/274620#benefits

https://www.verywellhealth.com/antioxidants-for-skin-health-4587778

https://www.health.com/nutrition/health-benefits-peaches

https://www.britannica.com/plant/peach

https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-freestone-and-clingstone-peaches-246304

Joachim, David. (2010) The Food Substitutions Bible. 2nd Edition. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

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.

Apricots

Apricots 101 – The Basics


Apricots 101 – The Basics

About Apricots
Apricots are small, golden orange fruits with smooth, sweet flesh. Their flavor is barely musky with a faint tartness. The tartness is more pronounced in dried apricots than in fresh. Their flavor has been described as being in between that of a peach and plum.

Apricots appear to have originated in China and were first cultivated there before 2,000 B.C. (some resources say as early as 4,000 B.C). They were transported through Armenia and into Europe. In the 1700’s, Spanish explorers carried apricots to America. They were then carried to California, where the climate is well-suited for their culture. Today, apricots that are grown in the United States are found primarily in orchards of California.

Apricots are enjoyed fresh, dried, simmered into jams and preserves, and added to both sweet and savory dishes.  Apricots are also distilled into brandy and liqueur, and used for the essential oil extracted from their pits, which is sold as bitter almond oil. Today, the leading producers of apricots are Turkey, Italy, Russia, Spain, Greece, the United States, and France. Since fresh apricots do not travel well, most are dried, making them available year-round.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Apricots are known for being rich in Vitamin A (in the form of various carotenoids, including lycopene). They are also high in Vitamin C, copper, fiber, potassium, manganese, all of the B-Vitamins, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and iron. Two fresh apricots provide all of 34 calories, so they are certainly a low-calorie food.

Antioxidant Protection. Apricots are rich in a variety of antioxidants including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, quercetin, a variety of flavonoids and polyphenols, and others that have been linked to many health benefits ranging from protection against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune conditions, and skin and eye diseases, among others.

Protection from Heart Disease.  Since apricots are a rich source of antioxidants, fiber and potassium, they are known to help ward off heart disease. Antioxidants are known for fighting harmful free radical molecules in the body that damage cells leading to disease. The fiber in apricots helps to keep cholesterol levels in check. The ample potassium in apricots helps to balance the electrolyte system, keeping fluids balanced and the heart working (along with other muscles) as it should. Also, the potassium in apricots helps to keep our blood pressure reduced by relaxing blood vessels. Apricots are small, but mighty fruits when it comes to disease prevention!

Anti-Inflammatory Properties. Apricots are an excellent source of catechins, a family of flavonoids that is often prized as being found in green tea. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods (www.whfoods.com) one apricot provides as much as 4 to 5 grams of catechins. These compounds are strong anti-inflammatory agents and have been the subject of many research projects. Researchers have found that catechins can inhibit the activity of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme, which controls one of the critical steps in the inflammation process. Diets rich in catechins have been found to provide significant protection from blood vessel inflammation-related damage. This protection leads to better blood pressure control, which in turn, helps to lower the risk of heart disease.

Eyesight Protection. Apricots are rich in carotenoids and xanthophylls that have been found to help protect eyesight from age-related damage. One of those compounds, lutein, appears to help protect the retina from damage caused by blue light. Apricots are known to help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Researchers have found that people who eat at least three servings of fruit each day have less risk of vision loss as they age. This includes not only apricots, but other fruits such as berries, cantaloupe, kiwi, grapes, oranges, peaches, and others.

Skin Health. Antioxidants are known for helping to protect the health of our skin, guarding us from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation, reducing wrinkles, and improving the skin’s elasticity. Also, fresh apricots contain a lot of water, helping to hydrate the skin.

With all things considered, it’s worth including apricots in your diet whenever you can, in any form available to you…fresh, frozen, dried, or canned.

How to Select Apricots
Fresh Apricots. Fresh ripe apricots are very perishable and do not travel well. So, whenever they are found fresh in your local market, consider it to be a “gold mine” and grab some while you can. Fresh apricots in the United States are in season from June through August. Fresh apricots found during other times of year are imported from South America.

When shopping for fresh apricots, choose those with a rich orange color. They should be slightly soft, which means they are ripe. Those that are very firm have not been allowed to ripen long enough on the tree, and will not taste as good as those that were allowed to further ripen on the tree. Harvested apricots will ripen and age, but their flavor and sweetness will stay at the level it was when picked from the tree.

Avoid fresh apricots that are rock hard, pale yellow or have any tinge of green, which indicates that they were picked extremely early. Also avoid any that are shriveled, or very soft, since they will be old and past their prime.

Dried Apricots. Dried apricots were a major commodity during ancient times and were very important along the “Silk Road.” Today, drying apricots allows them to be transported around the world with year-round availability.

Larger apricots are dried in halves, whereas smaller apricots are dried whole. All should have had their pits removed. Dried apricots usually do not have added sugars, but are most often treated with sulfur dioxide, a type of sulfite, to preserve color, texture, and extend shelf life. This presents problems for people who are sensitive to added sulfite ingredients. Such individuals should be very careful and always read labels for any foods they buy, especially dried fruits.

Dried apricots may be found that were not treated with sulfur dioxide. They are only rarely found in grocery stores, but may be purchased through the internet. These will be darker in color and coarser in texture. The flavor may also change over time. So, if you prefer to eat unsulfured dried apricots, be sure to use them relatively quickly for the best quality. Researchers have found that they will keep for up to 6 months, but their quality and nutritional value may decline through time.

Canned Apricots. Apricots to be canned are usually left on the trees to fully ripen before being harvested. Because of that, they will often have a richer flavor than those sold fresh in markets. The loss of nutrients is relatively small during the canning process, so consider canned apricots to be a good choice in that respect. Optimally, choose ones that were packed in water or juice, without added sugars or artificial sweeteners.

How to Store Apricots
Fresh Apricots. Apricots will continue to ripen after being harvested. If your apricots are not slightly soft with a sweet aroma, store them at room temperature, away from sunlight and heat. This will allow them time to further ripen. Unripe apricots will usually ripen within 5 days. To speed up the process, they can be placed in a paper bag (on the counter, away from sunlight and heat) for 2 or 3 days. Check apricots often, as they can ripen quickly.

Once they ripen, refrigerate the unwashed apricots to help prolong their life. It is notable that some authorities caution that cold temperatures may change their texture and flavor. So, once they are fully ripe it is best to eat your fresh apricots as soon as possible. Ripe apricots may keep in the refrigerator for up to one week, but ideally should be used within a few days.

Dried Apricots. For optimal nutritional value and shelf life, dried apricots should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 6 months. To extend the shelf life of dried apricots, they may be stored in an airtight bag or container in the freezer. There is usually a “Best by” date on the original packaging of dried apricots. For best flavor, enjoy them by that date. However, when kept in the refrigerator or freezer, their quality will likely extend beyond that original date.

Canned Apricots. Store unopened canned apricots in a cool, dry place, such as your pantry. Once opened, store any leftovers in a covered, nonmetallic container in the refrigerator. Use within 4 days.

How to Prepare a Fresh Apricot
First wash your apricot under cold water, and pat it dry. Then run a knife around the entire fruit at the natural indentation. Then grasp each half in your hands and gently twist the halves in opposite directions, separating the halves (like you would an avocado). Remove the pit, and enjoy!

Fresh vs Dried vs Canned Apricots
Fresh. When considering fruits and vegetables, fresh is always best with regard to nutrition. However, since fresh apricots have a short season, and don’t travel nor store well, dried and canned are our only options most of the time. Nevertheless, if you can get some fresh apricots when they are in season, consider them a good “find” and take advantage of the moment. Their nutritional value will be at its peak in the fresh state and they make a wonderful treat that we don’t get very often.

Dried. Dried apricots are usually found year-round in most stores and online. They may be found sulfured or unsulfured. The sulfured options maintain their beautiful orange color and flexible texture. The sulfur flavor may be objectional to some people with more discriminating taste buds. Also, some people react to sulfites that have been added to foods, so these would not be good options for them. The nutritional value of dried apricots is similar to their fresh counterparts, although the Vitamin C content will be reduced. Also, since water has been removed from the fruit when dried, their calorie and sugar contents will be more concentrated. It’s very easy to overeat dried fruit, so if you’re monitoring your calorie and sugar intake, it may be helpful to remove your “allotment” of dried apricots from the container and put the rest away before eating your treat. It’s far too easy to overeat them when eating “from bag to mouth,” so beware! Note that one-fourth to one-third cup of dried apricots is roughly equivalent to one cup of fresh. Bear that in mind when snacking on dried apricots to help keep you from overeating them.

Canned. Canned apricots are handy to keep in your pantry for whenever the need or desire for apricots comes up. When shopping for canned apricots, it’s important to read the label before making your purchase. Many are packed in syrup with added sweetener. If that is no issue for you, then that’s your choice. Many people cannot or choose not to indulge in added sweeteners. In that case, look for apricots canned in water or unsweetened fruit juice. The natural sugars in the fruit and juices will provide plenty of sweetness to the apricots, and will give you the option of adding more sweetness if needed in the dish you make with them.

When compared with fresh apricots, canned apricots are similar in nutritional content, with some nutrients actually increasing, while others decrease somewhat during the canning process. As reported in 2018 in the Journal of Food Science, researchers compared the nutritional content of fresh, canned, and frozen apricots from the same source. The canned apricots had increased in antioxidants such as beta-carotene and phenols, with a decrease in Vitamin C content. The frozen apricots exhibited increased antioxidant levels in all compounds tested, and remained higher than those found in fresh apricots, even after 3 months of being frozen.

One can conclude that apricots are healthful treats in whatever form they can be found—fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. It’s just important to be mindful of how many dried apricots you eat at one time, with regard to calorie and natural sugar content.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Apricots
* Add sliced apricots to hot or cold cereal.

* Add chopped apricots to pancake batter.

* Add diced apricots to chicken dishes or vegetable stews.

* Add diced apricots to a green salad.

* Apricots can be used in most recipes that call for peaches or nectarines.

* Apricots work well in many savory dishes, including those with lamb or poultry.

* Fresh apricots will turn dark after being cut. To help keep their color, dip the pieces in a solution with water and citrus or pineapple juice.

* Most recipes using fresh apricots don’t call for peeling them. But if you need to remove the skins, dip them in boiling water for 20 seconds, then quickly transfer them to a bowl of ice water. The skins should easily peel off.

* If your dried apricots have gotten too dry and hard, they can be revived either in the microwave or on the stove. For the microwave, place the dried apricots on a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle a little water on them and cover them. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Check often for pliability so they are not overcooked. On the stove, dried apricots may be steamed until they soften. Check them often and remove them when they are the desired texture. Also, dried apricots can be softened by placing them in a bowl and covering them with hot water. Remove them when they are the desired texture.

* When chopping dried apricots in a food processor, add a little flour of choice with the apricots. The added flour will keep the small pieces from sticking together.

* When chopping dried apricots with a knife, oil the blade of the knife or dip it in flour to help keep the small pieces from sticking to the knife.

* If you enjoy salads but are trying to do without added oil, try pureeing canned apricots to use as an oil substitute. Ideally, opt for those packed in water or fruit juice, without added sweeteners of any type.

* If you use canned apricots, freeze the drained juice in ice cube trays and use them in smoothies or cold beverages, like iced tea. They will add extra flavor and sweetness to your beverage.

* A fruit sauce can be made from the drained juice of canned apricots. Simply thicken it with a little flour of choice or cornstarch. Use it over ice cream, desserts, or even pancakes.

* Canned apricots are an excellent choice to be used in baking, cobblers, and crisps.

* Try adding some chopped dried apricots to a cooked grain such as rice, quinoa, couscous, millet, or wild rice.

* If a recipe calls for dried apricots and you don’t have enough, you can substitute dried peaches, dried nectarines, or dried apples.

* Add chopped dried apricots to homemade granola.

* Make a pie with canned or fresh apricots.

* Try a parfait by layering yogurt with chopped apricots (canned, fresh, or dried), and granola. Add in some chopped nuts, if desired. Top with a little shredded coconut.

* Try apricot shortcake in place of strawberry shortcake.

* Top cottage cheese with sliced or chopped apricots (canned, fresh, or dried).

* For a healthful apricot jam, cook dried apricots in apple juice until they are very tender. No added sweetener is needed. Then puree them and serve. Store leftovers in a closed container in the refrigerator.

* For an easy apricot salsa, combine chopped fresh or canned apricots with chili peppers, lime juice, chopped onion, and a little ground cumin. Serve with chicken or fish.

* For something different, use sliced fresh apricots on a sandwich in place of sliced tomatoes.

* One pound of fresh apricots contains about 8 to 12 whole apricots, and about 2-1/2 cups of sliced apricots.

* One pound of dried apricots is about 2-3/4 cups, and about 5 cups when cooked.

* 2-1/2 pounds of fresh apricots is about 2 to 3 pints of frozen apricots, or 1 quart when canned.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Apricots
Allspice, anise, basil, bay leaf, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder, curry spices, fennel seeds, lemongrass, lemon thyme, mint, nutmeg, parsley, pepper, rosemary, saffron, star anise, tarragon, thyme, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Apricots
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, bacon, cashews, chestnuts, chicken, ham, hazelnuts, lamb, nuts (in general), pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pork, poultry, prosciutto, pumpkin seeds, salmon, sesame seeds, turkey, walnuts

Vegetables: Arugula, beets, cabbage, carrots, chiles, fennel, garlic, ginger, jicama, kale, lettuce, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, zucchini

Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries (in general), blueberries, cherries, coconut, cranberries, dried fruits (in general), figs, fruit juices (in general), grapefruit, lemon, lime, mangoes, nectarines, oranges (fresh, juice, liqueur, zest), peaches, pears, pineapple, plums (dried, fresh), raisins, raspberries, strawberries

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, bulgur, cereals (hot and cold), couscous, grains (in general), granola, oats, quinoa, rice, wheat berries, wild rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Buttermilk, cheese (i.e., Brie, cottage, cream, goat, ricotta, soft white), cream, ice cream, mascarpone, sour cream, whipped cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Brandy, caramel, chocolate, Cognac, crème fraiche, honey, maple syrup, sugar, (i.e., brown, powdered), vinegar (i.e., balsamic, champagne, rice), white chocolate, wine (i.e., sweet, white)

Apricots have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Baked goods (i.e., breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, pies), cereals (hot and cold), chutneys, compotes, desserts (i.e., crisps, crumbles, custards), French toast, granola, ice cream, jams, juices, Middle Eastern cuisines, Moroccan cuisine, pancakes and crepes, pilafs, porridges, preserves, puddings (i.e., rice), salads (i.e., fruit, rice), salsas, sauces, smoothies, sorbets, soups (i.e., fruit), stews, stuffings, tagines (i.e., Moroccan stews), tarts

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Apricots
Add apricots (any type) to any of the following combinations…

Almonds + Cinnamon + Oats
Almonds +Raisins + Orange + Yogurt
Brown Sugar + Sweet Potatoes + Vanilla
Chiles + Ginger + Honey + Lime + Vinegar
Chocolate + Walnuts
Citrus (orange, lemon, lime) + Ginger
Dried Cherries + Walnuts + Oats + Yogurt
Grains (i.e., couscous, wild rice) + Nuts

Recipe Links
Raw Refrigerator Apricot Jam with Chia Seeds https://producemadesimple.ca/raw-refrigerator-apricot-jam/

Pear Apricot Chutney https://www.canadianliving.com/food/recipe/pear-apricot-chutney

Apricot Scones https://producemadesimple.ca/apricot-scones/

Grilled Apricot Caprese Salad https://www.jessfuel.com/2015/06/03/grilled-apricot-caprese-salad/

Apricot Chicken with Ginger and Cayenne Pepper https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/recipes/apricot-chicken-ginger-and-cayenne-pepper

Grilled Apricot Salad https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/recipes/grilled-apricot-salad

Apricot Rice Pilaf https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/recipes/apricot-rice-pilaf

Apricot Almond Bites https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/recipes/apricot-almond-bites

Apricot Ice Cream https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/recipes/apricot-ice-cream

42 Apricot Recipes That Show Off This Fuzzy Little Fruit https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/apricot-recipes/

Our 21 Best Apricot Dessert Recipes https://www.epicurious.com/recipes-menus/apricot-desserts-for-summer-cake-compote-tart-recipes-gallery

23 Sweet and Savory Apricot Recipes https://www.thespruceeats.com/fresh-and-dried-apricot-recipes-4687078

Slow Cooker Apricot Preserves https://www.thespruceeats.com/slow-cooker-apricot-preserves-1327823

Stewed Dried Apricots https://www.food.com/recipe/stewed-dried-apricots-226005

Stewed Apricots and Dried Plums https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/4915-stewed-apricots-and-dried-plums

 

Resources
https://www.thespruceeats.com/fruit-flavor-combinations-for-cocktails-760298

https://producemadesimple.ca/what-goes-well-with-apricots/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=3#descr

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705341/

https://bjo.bmj.com/content/82/8/907

https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/fruits-lutein-zeaxanthin-6933.html

https://fruitguys.com/2012/07/fresh-fruit-storage-and-ripening-tips/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dried_apricot

https://www.eatbydate.com/fruits/dried-fruit-shelf-life-expiration-date/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942910701279945

https://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/perfect_prod_detail.asp?ppid=3

https://www.thespruceeats.com/apricot-selection-and-storage-1807928

https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-comparison/171698-173941-171697/wt1-wt9-wt1/1-1-1

https://www.thespruceeats.com/apricot-cooking-tips-1807834

http://www.foodreference.com/html/tapricots.html

https://blog.hhs1.com/living-well/the-many-benefits-of-apricots

https://www.myfoodandfamily.com/article/000001620/purchasing-and-preparing-apricots

https://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/article/apricots-golden-and-fragrant

https://www.nutritionletter.tufts.edu/general-nutrition/q-are-dried-fruits-as-nutritious-as-fresh-canned-or-frozen/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/apricot-measures-substitutions-and-equivalents-1807457

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29786843/

https://food.ndtv.com/opinions/8-apricot-benefits-the-nutritional-heavyweight-among-fruits-1248312

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/apricots-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6

https://www.nutfruit.org/files/multimedia/Dried-Fruit-Equivalency-Brochure.pdf

https://foodcombo.com/find-recipes-by-ingredients/apricots-dried

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-apricots#1

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/apricots.html

https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-comparison/171697/wt3/3

Joachim, David. (2010) The Food Substitutions Bible. 2nd Edition. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

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.

Jicama

Jicama 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

This is a completely revised, expanded, and updated version of my original article “Jicama 101 – The Basics.” If you’re looking for some specific information about jicama, this should help!

Enjoy!
Judi

Jicama 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

About Jicama
A jicama (pronounced “hee-cah-mah” or “hick-uh-mah”) is a Mexican root vegetable that looks like a big brown turnip. Jicamas may also be referred to as the yam bean, Mexican yam, Mexican/Chinese potato, Mexican turnip, or sweet turnip (in Singapore). They are native to central and South America, where they have been used for thousands of years as food and medicine. Jicamas are now also grown in the Philippines, China, and other parts of Southeast Asia, and are popular in the cuisines of those areas.

Jicamas have a brown, somewhat papery skin, with a tough, woody layer just beneath the skin, and crispy, juicy flesh underneath. Their size is generally from 1 to 5 pounds, but they can grow as large as 50 pounds. The flesh is crisp, slightly sweet, and somewhat juicy. The flavor, especially in the smaller ones, is like a cross between a water chestnut and an apple. They are most commonly eaten raw, but may also be added to soups and stir-fries.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Jicamas are high in fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, folate, Vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, manganese, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), copper, choline, and iron. They are low in calories with only 50 calories per cup of raw jicama. They are also known to have a number of health benefits.

Improved Digestion. Jicama is high in dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. This has a two-fold benefit for our health. The insoluble fiber increases bulk in the digestive tract, helping to move the contents forward preventing constipation. The soluble fiber does not break down into simple sugars, so it helps to stabilize blood sugar after a meal. Jicama provides a safe food for diabetics wanting a touch of sweetness in a meal that won’t raise their blood sugar.

Gastrointestinal Disease Protection. The high fiber found in jicama appears to offer protection against colon cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease, duodenal ulcers, and some other gastrointestinal diseases, as reported in a 2014 study published in the journal Acta Scientiarum Polonorum, Technologia Alimentaria. In addition to the fiber found in jicama, the high level of Vitamin C is effective in neutralizing free radicals, harmful molecules that can cause a lot of damage in the body. This, in turn, lowers the risk of assorted types of cancer, as well as heart disease.

Immunity Boost. Jicama is very high in Vitamin C, with 3/4 of a cup of diced jicama providing about 40% of our recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. This vitamin is an important antioxidant in the body, known for supporting healthy immune function by stimulating white blood cells, our first line of defense against illness. Vitamin C helps in fighting bacterial, viral, fungal, and other pathogenic organisms. In a 2014 study published in the journal Cytotechnology, researchers concluded that the fiber and carbohydrates found in jicama could have positive effects on the human immune system.

Other Potential Benefits. The combination of nutrients in jicama can also help to provide other health benefits. The potassium can help to manage blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Jicamas are high in copper and iron, which are important in helping to maintain the health of our red blood cells and circulatory system.

Jicama has significant amounts of Vitamin B6, which is linked with preserving brain health and cognitive function.

The minerals found in jicama are known to help preserve bone health, by being used in building and repairing bones. They can also help to ward off osteoporosis.

Jicamas are low in calories, with 1 cup of raw jicama having only about 50 calories. Including such foods in the diet on a regular basis can help with weight loss and management.

How to Select Jicama
Choose jicamas that are firm and heavy for their size. They should have smooth skin with few blemishes and show no signs of shriveling. Avoid ones with soft or wet spots.

Smaller jicama will be sweeter, more flavorful, and juicier, whereas larger ones will be woody, somewhat dry, and less sweet.

How to Store Jicama
Store your uncut jicama unwashed and uncovered in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. The ideal storage temperature is 55-59°F. At that temperature, they can keep for up to 4 months. Most homes are warmer than that, so at typical room temperature, they should stay fresh for 1 to 2 weeks.

If you plan to keep your jicamas for a while, place them in an open area in the refrigerator. They should not be placed where they will pick up moisture, as that will invite mold. They should last for 2 to 3 weeks uncut in the refrigerator.

Once a jicama is cut, it should be wrapped well and stored in the refrigerator. Cut jicama will not keep well if it is moist with water, so it’s best to be sure it is dry before wrapping and storing it. Use cut jicama within one week.

How to Tell When a Jicama is Old or Spoiled
There are specific signs you can look for that will indicate your jicama has gone bad.

Appearance. When a jicama starts to go bad, it will develop blemishes all over it. A couple of dark spots here and there are usually OK. However, when it is covered with dark spots, it’s old. Also, look for mold growing on the skin. If you see a lot of dark spots along with mold growing on the skin, it’s best to throw it out.

When cut, the flesh should be a very pale yellow, crisp and somewhat juicy. If the flesh is browning and has soft spots, the jicama is old and should be discarded.

Smell. When a jicama goes bad, it will smell rotten. If it has a bad odor to it, don’t eat it! Throw it away.

Here is a video that can help you determine if your jicama is old or spoiled. Some of these tips can also help you out when you are selecting one at the market…

How to Prepare Jicama
First, scrub the jicama under cool water. The skin is not edible, so it needs to be removed. The skin can be tough, so peeling it with a sharp knife is easier than using a vegetable peeler, but you can use a vegetable peeler, if preferred. It is helpful to first cut a small slice off the top and bottom end so it can stand up firmly, if preferred. Be sure to remove the white fibrous layer just under the skin. Rinse your jicama again, then slice, dice, shred, or julienne it as needed.

Jicamas can be enjoyed raw, steamed, baked, boiled, fried, or blanched. They can be added to salads, soups, stir-fries, and even mashed like a potato. They can be sliced thinly and added to sandwiches, or julienned or diced and added to wraps.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Jicama
* When adding jicama to soups or stews, add it toward the end of cooking to retain its crispness.

* Add jicama to stir-fries in place of water chestnuts.

* Jicama does not oxidize fast like an apple or potato, but if you need to cut your jicama early, you could place it in a bowl of water with a little lemon (or other citrus) juice to help it maintain its pale color.

* Add some shredded jicama to a green salad for a little extra crunch and sweetness.

* Try some easy jicama chips. Peel and thinly slice a jicama. Spread the slices out on a plate and drizzle with the juice of ½ of a lime. Lightly sprinkle with salt, sugar and chili powder. Chill it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, then serve.

* Add shredded or julienned jicama to your favorite coleslaw.

* Try jicama sticks with your favorite dip or hummus.

* Try a stir-fry with jicama, broccoli, garlic, ginger, and scallions, topped with toasted sesame seeds or cashews.

* Smaller jicamas will be sweeter than large ones.

* Try an easy jicama salad by combining diced jicama, cucumber and orange sections. Sprinkle with chili powder and a little salt. Drizzle with a tablespoon or so of lemon juice, and mix well.

* Add diced or shredded jicama to your favorite seafood or poultry salad for some added crunch.

* Enjoy slices of jicama with a little lime juice and a sprinkle of chili powder.

* Try a refreshing salad with chopped jicama, mango, and pear, drizzled with a little lemon juice and garnished with chopped mint.

* Here’s another easy jicama salad. Combine chopped strawberries, jicama, and mango. Add some chopped cilantro and drizzle with fresh lime juice.

* When cooked briefly, like in a stir-fry, jicama will usually stay crisp. It can also be cooked like potatoes, and boiled, baked and mashed.

* Try sautéed jicama with carrots and/or green beans.

* One pound of jicama yields about 4 cups shredded.

* Although the flavors will be different, if a recipe calls for jicama and you don’t have any, you could substitute water chestnuts or turnips in place of the jicama.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Jicama
Basil, cayenne, chili pepper flakes, chili powder, cilantro, mint, mustard, paprika, pepper, salt

Foods That Go Well with Jicama
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Beans (in general, esp. black beans), beef, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, fish, green beans, ham, peanuts, pecans, poultry, pumpkin seeds, sausage, sesame seeds, shrimp

Vegetables: Arugula, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, chayote squash, chiles, cucumbers, garlic, ginger, horseradish, lettuce (in general), mushrooms, onions, potatoes, radishes, scallions, spinach, sunflower sprouts, tomatoes, watercress, zucchini

Fruits: Apples, avocado, blackberries, fruit (in general), grapefruit, kumquats, lemon, lime, mangoes, melon, olives, oranges, papaya, pears, pineapple, tangerines, watermelon

Grains and Grain Products: Corn, millet, noodles, quinoa, rice, wheat berries

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (in general, esp. cream, cheddar, fontina, goat, mozzarella, pepper jack)

Other Foods: Oil (esp. grapeseed, olive, peanut, sesame), soy sauce, sugar, vinaigrette, vinegar (i.e., balsamic, rice, white wine)

Jicamas have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Central American cuisines, crudités, guacamole, Malaysian cuisine, Mexican cuisine, relishes, salads (i.e., fruit, green), salsas, slaws, South American cuisine, tacos

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Jicama
Add jicama to any of the following combinations…

Apples + Zucchini
Arugula + Horseradish + Mustard + Red Onions
Avocado + Cilantro + Citrus (i.e., grapefruit, orange)
Avocado + Citrus (i.e., orange, grapefruit) + Radishes
Black Beans + Cucumbers + Mint + Rice Wine Vinegar
Cayenne + Cilantro + Lime + Onions + Orange + Papaya
Cayenne + Greens + Lemon + Lime + Papaya
Chili Pepper Flakes + Lime + Peanuts
Chili Powder + Lime Juice + Salt
Cilantro + Orange
Cucumbers + Lime
Grapefruit + Pecans + Red Cabbage [in salads]

Recipe Links
Orange Jicama Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing https://producemadesimple.ca/orange-jicama-salad-with-lemon-ginger-dressing/

Jicama, Black Bean, and Tomato Salad https://producemadesimple.ca/jicama-black-bean-and-tomato-salad-2/

5 Vegetable Fries That Don’t Make Me Feel Like I’m Eating Cardboard https://www.thekitchn.com/oven-baked-veggie-fries-5-ways-227615

Jicama Shrimp Salad https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-jicama-shrimp-salad-227043

Cilantro-Jalapeno Jicama Slaw https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-cilantro-jalapeno-jicama-slaw-225566

7 Unexpected Ways to Use Jicama https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/195221/7-unexpected-ways-to-use-jicama/

Summer Cucumber Jicama Salad https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/238655/summer-cucumber-jicama-salad/

Miki’s Jicama (Pico de Gallo Salsa) https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/222166/mikis-jicama-pico-de-gallo-salsa/

Shrimp, Jicama, and Chile Vinegar Salad https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/220669/shrimp-jicama-and-chile-vinegar-salad/

Jicama Mango Salad with Cilantro and Lime https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/233495/jicama-mango-salad-with-cilantro-and-lime/

Apple Jicama Coleslaw https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/221137/apple-jicama-coleslaw/

Jicama Salad with Mango, Cucumber, Lime and Aleppo https://www.feastingathome.com/jicama-salad/#tasty-recipes-22447

Triple Cheese Jicama Fries https://melindastrauss.com/2016/01/20/triple-cheese-jicama-fries/

Keto Air Fryer Jicama Fries https://www.wholesomeyum.com/keto-air-fryer-jicama-fries-recipe/

Jicama Breakfast Casserole https://www.workingagainstgravity.com/articles/jicama-breakfast-casserole

Grilled Beef, Apple, and Jicama Salad https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-beef-jicama-and-apple-salad-51182800

Blueberry, Strawberry, Jicama Salsa https://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/blueberry-strawberry-jicama-salsa/?epik=dj0yJnU9ZTd4aDA1blM0dUpxSFVHTUZIT0xUeUtvb1ZiclNoU28mcD0wJm49cnQyUFo2dDVZRERZVldrV1lkVFhKQSZ0PUFBQUFBR0FVSXI0#wprm-recipe-container-41736

 

Resources
https://producemadesimple.ca/what-goes-well-with-jicama/

https://producemadesimple.ca/jicama/

https://fruitsandveggies.org/stories/top-10-ways-to-enjoy-jicama/

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/jicama.html

https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-comparison/170073/wt1/1

https://www.sharecare.com/health/healthy-foods-cooking/how-do-select-fresh-jicama

https://foodal.com/knowledge/how-to/prep-jicama/

https://pantrytips.com/how-long-does-jicama-last/

https://harvesttotable.com/jicama_tuber_vegetable_jicama/

https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/jicama.pdf

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/234820568055116313/

https://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/essential-ingredients/jicama

https://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Jicama_917.php

https://foodsguy.com/store-jicama/

https://www.thekitchn.com/jicama-recipes-tips-and-ideas-22927424

Joachim, David. (2010) The Food Substitutions Bible. 2nd Edition. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

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.

Zucchini

Zucchini 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

This is a completely revised, expanded, and updated version of my original post on “Zucchini 101 – The Basics.” If you have any questions about zucchini, from what it is, to suggested recipe links, this should help!

Enjoy!
Judi

Zucchini 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

About Zucchini
Zucchinis are a type of summer squash that is a member of a large family of plants, Cucurbitaceae. They are members of the gourd family and are cousins to winter squashes, cucumbers, and melons.

The variety found most commonly in American grocery stores has deep, dark green skins. However, zucchinis may also be striped or speckled with colors varying from light green to yellow. They can grow long and cylindrical, but in America, most are picked when they are young and under 8-inches long.

Summer squashes are native to North America, especially the central and southern regions of what is now the United States. Wild summer squash varieties still grow in northern parts of Mexico. It didn’t take long before the plants were domesticated and grown throughout North America, Central America and South America. Today, they are grown and enjoyed around the world.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Zucchinis supply a lot of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, potassium, folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B1. They also supply some iron, calcium, zinc and other B-vitamins. One cup of cooked zucchini has a mere 17 calories, so eat all you want!

Antioxidant Benefits. Zucchinis are rich in antioxidants, including the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These compounds help to protect us from damage by free radicals in the body. Antioxidants help to protect our eyes, skin, and cardiovascular system along with reducing our risk for various types of cancers. The skin of zucchinis contains the most antioxidants, so don’t peel your zucchini, if possible.

Promotes Healthy Digestion. Zucchinis are about 95% water. That water helps to soften stools, reducing the chances of developing constipation. Zucchinis also contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to keep cholesterol in check by removing bile from the body. This forces the body to make more bile, using existing blood cholesterol in the process. Soluble fiber also helps to feed the beneficial bacteria living in the gut. The bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids in the process, which in turn, nourishes our intestinal cells, and may also reduce inflammation and symptoms of some bowel diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools, helping to ward off constipation.

May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels. The fiber in zucchini helps to stabilize blood sugar levels after a meal. This may be especially helpful to people with Type 2 diabetes. Research studies have shown that diets rich in fiber from fruits and vegetables are consistently linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Animal studies have found that antioxidants in zucchini peel may help to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels. This, in turn, may help to reduce insulin resistance.

May Strengthen Vision. The Vitamin C coupled with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin found in zucchini are known for improving vision and reducing the risk of age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and cataracts. These conditions are leading causes of vision loss in older adults.

Other Possible Benefits. With the specific nutrients found in zucchinis, they may prove to be beneficial for bone, thyroid, and prostate health. They may even have anticancer properties. More research is needed, but the outcomes look promising.

How to Select Zucchini
Select fresh zucchinis that are smooth and firm, but with a tender skin. They should feel heavy for their size and have little to no blemishes on the skin. Avoid any with signs of mold at the stem end, and those that are wrinkled. Smaller to average size zucchini will be more tender and flavorful than larger ones.

How to Store Zucchini
Store fresh zucchini whole, dry, and unwashed in the refrigerator. They will keep well in a covered container that was lined with a paper towel or cotton cloth to absorb any moisture that is released by the squash. They may also be kept in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator with the vent closed to allow for a higher humidity environment. Use your fresh zucchini within 7 days of purchase.

How to Prepare Zucchini
Wash your zucchini right before you are ready to use it. Cut both ends off. The skin is edible and contains many nutrients, so it is beneficial to leave the peel on. However, cut off any blemishes. Then cut the zucchini into whatever size pieces you need. The seeds do not need to be removed.

How to Preserve Zucchini
If you have an overabundance of zucchini, it may be frozen for later use. However, be aware that when used, it will be very soft and not have the same texture as fresh zucchini. Frozen zucchini is appropriate only for cooking applications, not raw.

Freezing Zucchini. To freeze zucchini, wash it well and cut off both ends. Slice it into rounds and place it in boiling water for 2 minutes. Then immediately transfer them to a bowl of cold water to cool. Allow them to chill for 2 minutes. Then drain them well and place them in airtight freezer containers or bags. Label with the current date, and use it within one year. To keep the slices from freezing into one big lump, you could first spread the blanched and cooled slices on a parchment paper-lined tray in a single layer. Place that in the freezer until the slices are frozen. Then transfer them to your freezer container or bag. This method will allow you to remove as much or as little of the frozen pieces as you need, rather than dealing with a big lump of frozen slices at one time.

Dehydrating Zucchini. Zucchini may be dehydrated, but some resources do not recommend it because the outcome may be “poor to fair.” To dehydrate zucchini, prepare, slice, and blanch your zucchini as detailed above. Then spread the slices in a single layer on a mesh dehydrator sheet. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the recommended time and temperature for drying your zucchini. They are considered to be dried when they are crispy and have no signs of moisture inside when broken in half. Store your dried zucchini pieces in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Remove as much air as you can from the container. For extended length of storage, it is helpful to place an oxygen absorber in the container.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Zucchini
* Zucchini is about 95% water with a lot of the nutrients found in the skin. So, for the most nutritional value, refrain from peeling zucchini if you can.

* Add raw zucchini to salads.

* Stuff zucchini with rice, lentils or vegetables then bake it for an easy and decorative meal.

* Spiralize zucchini and serve it with your favorite pasta sauce.

* Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise and use it as a substitute for lasagna noodles.

* If you grow your own zucchini, the blossoms are edible. They can be enjoyed raw or cooked in salads, soups, or stews.

* Try adding grated zucchini to breads, muffins, cakes, pancakes, and even veggie burgers.

* Try grilled or sautéed zucchini as a side dish. Flavor it with a little garlic, onion, and herbs of choice, such as basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, or dill.

* Add grated zucchini to soups.

* Try adding grated zucchini to sandwiches and wraps.

* Try stir-steaming zucchini with onions, bell peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes. Top with your favorite tomato sauce and enjoy!

* Serve slices of raw zucchini with your favorite dip or hummus.

* When you’re shopping for zucchini, and especially if you’re growing them, pick ones that are smaller, rather than larger. Although they can grow extremely large, the bigger ones develop very tough skins and seeds, which will need to be removed in order to eat the flesh. The smaller ones are much more tender and the entire thing can be eaten, allowing you to enjoy the full nutritional benefits of the squash.

* Although we treat zucchinis as a vegetable, they are actually a fruit.

* If you have a recipe that calls for zucchini, and you don’t have enough, you can substitute yellow squash in any recipe calling for zucchini.

* One pound of zucchini is about 3 medium zucchinis, and about 3 cups sliced.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Zucchini
Basil, Cajun seasoning blends, capers, cayenne, chervil, chili pepper flakes, chili powder, cilantro, cinnamon, curry powder, dill, garam masala, Italian seasoning blend, lemon thyme, marjoram, mint, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, salt, tarragon, thyme, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Zucchini
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Bacon, beans (in general), beef, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pork, poultry, seafood, tahini, tofu, walnuts

Vegetables: Artichokes, arugula, asparagus, bell peppers, carrots, chiles, chives, eggplant, garlic, ginger, leeks, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, yellow squash

Fruits: Apples, citrus fruits (in general), lemons, limes, olives, oranges, pumpkin, raisins

Grains and Grain Products: Bread crumbs, bulgur, corn, couscous, millet, noodles, pasta, polenta, quinoa, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, cheese (esp. cheddar, feta, mozzarella, Parmesan, ricotta), coconut milk, mascarpone, yogurt

Other Foods: Oils (esp. olive, sunflower, walnut), tamari, vinegar (esp. balsamic, champagne, red wine, sherry, white wine), zucchini blossoms

Zucchini have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Baked goods (i.e., breads, cakes, muffins, quick breads), carpaccio, chips (vegetable), curries, egg dishes (frittatas, omelets, quiches, scrambled), gratins, lasagna, pasta dishes, pesto, pilafs, pizza, ratatouille, risottos, salads, sauces, soups (i.e., potato, tomato, vegetable, zucchini), stir-fries, tagines, tempura, veggie burgers, zucchini (stuffed)

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Zucchini
Add zucchini to any of the following combinations…

Arugula + Lemon + Olive Oil + Parmesan Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar + Eggplant + Tomatoes
Basil + Garlic + Olive Oil + Parmesan + Pistachios
Basil + Lemon + Ricotta Cheese
Basil + Nuts (i.e., almonds, pine nuts, pistachios)+ Parmesan Cheese
Bell Peppers + Eggplant + Garlic + Parsley
Chiles + Cilantro + Corn + Garlic + Tomatoes
Cinnamon + Chocolate
Cinnamon + Nutmeg + Nuts + Raisins + Vanilla
Citrus + Mint
Coconut + Ginger
Dill + Feta Cheese + Lemon + Mint
Feta Cheese + Garlic + Parsley
Garlic + Lemon
Garlic + Lemon + Mascarpone + Nutmeg + Parsley [over pasta]
Garlic + Mint + Olive Oil + Vinegar
Garlic + Olive Oil + Oregano + Parmesan Cheese + Tomatoes
Ginger + Orange + Tofu
Lemon + Mint + Parmesan Cheese
Lemon + Mint + Pine Nuts + Yogurt
Lemon + Olive Oil + Ricotta Cheese + Thyme
Marjoram + Ricotta Cheese + Tomatoes
Mushrooms + Polenta
Nutmeg + Parmesan Cheese + Parsley
Pine Nuts + Raisins + Rice
Red Peppers + Eggplant + Onions + Tomatoes

Recipe Links
Zucchini with Italian Herbs and Tomatoes [Judi in the Kitchen video] https://youtu.be/WjrEHb9Mqds

Easy Zucchini Pasta Soup [Judi in the Kitchen video] https://youtu.be/DqIpmAJAdso

Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Tomato Sauce https://www.judiklee.com/2019/10/29/pasta-with-zucchini-mushrooms-and-tomato-sauce/

Simple Warm Zucchini Salad [Judi in the Kitchen video] https://youtu.be/eg805gkG0mM

5-Minute Healthy Sautéed Summer Squash http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=318

Steamed Vegetable Medley http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=58

Primavera Verde http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=166

Any Time Frittata http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=124

Grilled Vegetable Burrito https://www.spicesinc.com/p-3793-grilled-vegetable-burrito.aspx

32 Summer Squash Recipes https://www.thespruceeats.com/summer-squash-recipes-4684640

Top 34 Best Zucchini Recipes https://www.thespruceeats.com/best-zucchini-recipes-3062417

Quick and Easy Recipes for Zucchini Blossoms https://www.thespruceeats.com/quick-easy-recipes-for-zucchini-blossoms-2217741

Sautéed Zucchini https://www.thespruceeats.com/simple-sauteed-zucchini-recipe-2098696

Easy and Delicious Zucchini Recipes https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-and-delicious-zucchini-recipes-2217746

17 Creative Ways to Use Zucchini You Haven’t Tried https://www.eatthis.com/creative-zucchini-ideas/

50+ Zucchini Recipes That Are Easy, Healthy, and Delicious https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/g562/zucchini-recipes/

 

Resources
https://www.spicesinc.com/p-3882-all-about-zucchini.aspx

http://justfunfacts.com/interesting-facts-about-zucchini/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=62

https://www.vegkitchen.com/5-surprising-health-benefits-of-zucchini/

https://foodfacts.mercola.com/zucchini.html

https://www.taste.com.au/quick-easy/articles/top-zucchini-food-pairs-by-matt-preston/yd28k6am

https://producemadesimple.ca/what-goes-well-with-zucchini/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/217711-can-you-eat-the-zucchini-skin/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zucchini-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

https://www.spicesinc.com/p-3882-all-about-zucchini.aspx

https://www.thespruceeats.com/zucchini-courgettes-summer-squash-selection-storage-1807826

Joachim, David. (2010) The Food Substitutions Bible. 2nd Edition. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

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.

Cabbage

Cabbage 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

This is a completely revised, expanded and updated version of my original article on “Cabbage 101 – The Basics.” If you need information about cabbage, such as what it is, tips and ideas on using cabbage, what herbs, spices or other foods pair well with cabbage, nutrition facts and health benefits, how to select and store your cabbage, along with suggested links to recipes for cabbage, this article should help! All those topics and more are included below.

Enjoy!
Judi

Cabbage 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

About Cabbage
Cabbage is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, so it is related to kale, broccoli, collards, mustard, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, and others. There are many types of cabbage, with four types commonly found in the United States. They are… (1) Green cabbage, which is what most Americans are familiar with. It is round with smooth, tightly packed leaves that wrap around each other. (2) Red or purple cabbage, resembling green cabbage, but with purple leaves instead of green. (3) Savoy cabbage, with curly leaves that are less densely packed than the usual round green or red/purple variety. There are different varieties of savoy cabbage, ranging in color from light green to dark green, and red to purple. This type of cabbage is excellent in stir-fries and wraps. (4) Napa or Chinese cabbage, that looks more like an elongated head of lettuce than the round, green cabbage we commonly buy. This type of cabbage is often used when making kimchi and stir-fries.

There are two general colors of cabbage: red or purple, and green. The green cabbages can range in color from very dark to very light green. The red cabbage (which is called red, but is actually more purple) can also range in shades from lighter to darker purple. Sometimes the very dark purple cabbages are called “black cabbage.”

Because there are so many types of cabbage, researchers have not been able to trace the exact origin and history of this vegetable. Many historians believe that cabbage originated in Europe, Asia, and Africa. It was believed to have started as wild cabbage in Europe, which is a distant ancestor to the common green cabbage we typically see in grocery stores. However, the original forms of cabbage, found over 2,000 years ago were likely to be non-head-forming and more closely resembling vegetables like kale or collards.

In 2014, the average adult ate about 7 pounds of cabbage a year. This places cabbage as being the tenth most popular vegetable in America, with about half of that being made into coleslaw. The production of sauerkraut accounts for another 12 percent of cabbage use.

Cabbage is widely grown across the United States, but most is produced in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, and Texas. The United States also imports a sizeable amount of cabbage from Mexico and Canada.

According to the Economic Research Service at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), cabbage is the second most economical vegetable in terms of price per edible cup. So, if you’re on a tight budget, buy more cabbage!

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. It also supplies a lot of manganese, fiber, potassium, Vitamin B1, folate, copper, choline, phosphorus, Vitamin B2, magnesium, calcium, selenium, iron, pantothenic acid, and niacin. One cup of raw cabbage has a mere 22 calories, so feel free to eat all you want!

All types of cabbage are rich in phytonutrients with assorted health benefits stemming from their potent antioxidant activity. However, red cabbage tops the list with its anthocyanins that give the vegetable its purple color.

Antioxidant-Related Benefits. Cabbage of all types is very rich in Vitamin C, a well-known very important antioxidant in the body that stops harmful free radical molecules and also supports the immune system, among other functions in the body. Cabbage also contains other antioxidants, including a number of polyphenols that have strong antioxidant activity. These compounds have been the subject of many research studies exploring the health benefits of cabbage. These compounds contribute to the anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits of cabbage and other vegetables in the cruciferous family, helping in the detoxification process and in reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Purple cabbage is even richer in such phytonutrients that provide its rich color. The high level of anthocyanins found in purple cabbage provides even greater antioxidant protection against disease, so opt for purple cabbage whenever you can to get the greatest antioxidant benefits from cabbage.

Gastrointestinal Health Support. Research has long verified that cabbage is valuable in helping to heal stomach ulcers (also known as peptic ulcers). More recent studies have shown that cabbage is restorative to not only the stomach, but to the overall digestive tract. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in cabbage help to regulate the population of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach. This bacterium, which normally lives in the stomach, is responsible for the development of stomach ulcers and cancer when their population increases beyond a certain point. Eating cabbage can help to keep H. pylori under control, thus lowering the risk of gastric ulcers and cancer.

Furthermore, cabbage is rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. This benefits the gastrointestinal tract by providing bulk and moving contents forward, preventing constipation. It also helps to feed the important microbes that live in the colon, along with helping to keep blood cholesterol in check by removing bile from the body along with the feces. This forces the body to use more of its existing cholesterol to make more bile, thereby reducing blood cholesterol.

How to Select Cabbage
Choose a head of cabbage that is firm and heavy for its size. Look for leaves that look fresh, crisp, and tightly packed, with few blemishes or cracks. Severe damage to the outer leaves may indicate insect damage, decay, or infestation of some sort on the inside. There should be only a few outer leaves that are loosely attached to the stem.

With regard to nutrition, it is best to buy whole cabbage heads. Although precut and shredded cabbage is a great convenience, the vegetable tends to lose some of its Vitamin C once it has been cut. If you do opt to buy precut cabbage, it is advisable to wash it, even though it may have already been prewashed. Any bacteria within the package can multiply over time. Also, when buying pre-cut cabbage, it is important to check the “Best by” date and choose a package that has the farthest date outward to help ensure freshness.

How to Store Cabbage
Store whole unwashed heads of cabbage in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Red and green cabbage should keep this way for about 2 weeks. Savoy cabbage will keep for about 1 week.

Partial heads, or cut cabbage should be tightly wrapped and stored in the refrigerator. Try to use cut cabbage within a couple days to reap the best nutritional value from it.

How to Prepare Cabbage
Cabbage can be enjoyed raw in salads and slaws, or cooked in just about any way imaginable. It may also be stuffed and rolled, or pickled and fermented.

Wait to wash cabbage until you’re ready to use it. Cabbage leaves may be cut off at the base of the stem end if you want to use whole leaves. Otherwise, the whole head may be cut in half lengthwise from the stem end downward. Then the sections may be further cut into wedges. The wedges can be used as they are or further cut crosswise into thin strips or shredded. Be sure to remove the core from the wedges, since that would be tough and fibrous to eat.

Sometimes worms or insects can make their way inside a head of cabbage. If you notice any living creatures inside your cabbage as you’re preparing it, soak the cabbage in salt water or vinegar water for 15 to 20 minutes.

How to Preserve Cabbage
Freezing Cabbage. Cabbage may be frozen and used later in cooked dishes. Cabbage that has been frozen would not be suitable for raw dishes like coleslaw, because the texture will change after being frozen and thawed.

To freeze cabbage, wash the leaves and cut them into desired size pieces. Bring a pot of water to boil and place the prepared cabbage in the boiling water. Immediately set your timer for 1-1/2 minutes for small pieces, or 3 minutes for wedges. As soon as the timer is finished, transfer the cabbage to a bowl of cold water and allow it to cool for at least as long as it was in the hot water. Then drain it well and place it in freezer bags or containers. To prevent it from freezing in a big lump, you could first spread the blanched, chilled and drained cabbage in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined tray. Place the tray in the freezer until the cabbage is frozen. Then transfer it to freezer bags or a container. Label it with the current date and use it within one year for best quality.

Some people choose to freeze cabbage without blanching it first. This method does not stop the enzymes in cabbage from aging the vegetable while it is in the freezer. The quality will deteriorate quickly, so cabbage frozen this way should be used within 4 to 8 weeks at the most.

Dehydrating Cabbage. Fresh cabbage may also be dehydrated. Some resources say cabbage can be dehydrated without being blanched first. However, like freezing it without first blanching cabbage, this method does not stop enzymes that cause the vegetable to continue to age, nor does it kill any pathogens that may be on the food. Reliable sources emphasize that blanching cabbage before drying it is an important step.

To dehydrate cabbage, prepare it as you would for freezing, as detailed above (by blanching, chilling, then draining the cabbage pieces). After it has been drained well, spread it out in a single layer on a mesh dehydrator tray. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the temperature and approximate length of time needed to dry your cabbage. It is considered to be dry when the texture is brittle, dry looking, and shriveled.

Dehydrated cabbage can be eaten as a snack and is sometimes used by backpackers as a lightweight food to carry along the trail.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Cabbage
* If your grocery budget is short these days, buy a head of cabbage. They are one of the most frugal fresh foods available. A large head of cabbage can be used in a number of meals and in many different types of dishes.

* Add some shredded cabbage to your next green salad.

* Try a different slaw by combining shredded cabbage with chopped papaya, pineapple, red bell pepper, and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Dress it with a combination of pineapple juice, a little lime juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt, if desired. For added savory flavor, add a little ground cumin. Leave out the oil and salt, if you prefer.

* Cabbage is a “forgiving” food that can easily be prepped in advance and will store well in a covered container in the refrigerator. Do if you prefer to prepare your fruits and veggies on the weekend so week-night meals are faster, include cabbage and it will keep well until you need it. Please note that cutting cabbage in advance will cause it to lose some of its Vitamin C content.

* If you shy away from cabbage because of the strong flavor and aroma when it’s cooking, try it again. Next time, cook it for as short a time as possible in as little liquid as possible. Prolonged cooking releases the strong sulfur odor and makes it mushy in texture. Cooking it briefly in the least amount of liquid possible will keep the sulfur compounds from being released and make the flavor more palatable.

* If you enjoy wraps, try using outer cabbage leaves in place of tortillas.

* When cooking red cabbage in water, add a little lemon juice or vinegar to help keep the color from leaching into the cooking water.

* For an oil-free way to sauté shredded cabbage, heat a skillet with 5 tablespoons of broth or water. Once bubbles begin to form, add the shredded cabbage, place the lid on the pan, and cook it for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Cook until the cabbage is just barely tender, remove it from the heat, and serve.

* For something different, try adding some shredded cabbage instead of lettuce leaves on a sandwich.

* One pound of fresh cabbage will yield about 6 cups when shredded.

* One medium head of cabbage weighs about 1-3/4 pounds.

* If a recipe calls for red or green cabbage and you’re out, you could substitute Brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage, or napa cabbage. In a pinch, you could even substitute bok choy.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Cabbage
Basil, bay leaf, caraway seeds, cardamom, cayenne, celery seeds, chili pepper flakes, chili powder, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel seeds, juniper berries, lovage, mint, mustard seeds, nutmeg, parsley, pepper, rosemary, salt, thyme, turmeric

Foods That Go Well with Cabbage
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, bacon, beef (esp. ground, corned), chestnuts, chicken, green beans, ham, hemp seeds, lentils, peanuts, peas, pecans, pine nuts, pork, poultry, sausage, seafood, seitan, sesame seeds, snow peas, sugar snap peas, sunflower seeds, tofu, turkey, walnuts

Vegetables: Arugula, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage (other types), carrots, celery, celery root, chiles, cucumbers, dulse, fennel, garlic, ginger, greens (bitter and salad), horseradish, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, radicchio, radishes, scallions, shallots, tomatoes, turnips, watercress

Fruits: Apples (fresh, juice, cider), cranberries (dried, fresh, juice), lemon, lime, pears, pomegranates, raisins

Grains and Grain Products: Bread, bread crumbs, cornstarch, croutons, noodles (esp. Asian), rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Browned butter, butter, cheese (esp. blue, cheddar, feta, goat, Parmesan), cream, milk (dairy and non-dairy), sour cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Brown rice syrup, honey, miso, mustard (prepared, i.e., Dijon), oil (esp. flax, hemp, nut, olive, safflower, sesame, walnut), soy sauce, stock, sugar, tamari, vinegar (esp. apple cider, balsamic, champagne, rice wine, sherry, red and white wine), wine (esp. dry red)

Cabbage has been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Asian cuisines, cabbage rolls, Chinese cuisines, coleslaw, fermented cabbage (sauerkraut), Hungarian cuisine, kimchi, relishes, risottos, salads, slaws, soups, spring rolls, stews, stir-fries, stuffed cabbage

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Cabbage
Add cabbage to any of the following combinations…

Apples + Brown Sugar + Caraway Seeds + Vinegar
Apples + Brown Sugar + Onions + Vinegar
Apples + Caraway Seeds
Apples + Garlic + Olive Oil + Tarragon + Vinegar
Apples + Yogurt
Asian Noodles + Cilantro + Sesame Oil + Sesame Sauce + Soy Sauce
Balsamic Vinegar + Feta Cheese + Sunflower Seeds
Brown Rice + Pine Nuts + Tomatoes
Carrots + Cider Vinegar + Mayonnaise + Mustard
Carrots + Ginger + Mint + Wine Vinegar + Sesame Oil
Cheese (i.e., blue, goat) + Walnuts
Chili Pepper Flakes + Garlic + Ginger
Cilantro + Lemon + Mint
Garlic + Ginger + Sesame Oil
Ginger + Lemon
Ginger + Soy Sauce
Pears + Red Onions + Walnuts
Potatoes + Turnips
Rice + Mushrooms + Tofu

Recipe Links
Easy Homemade Sauerkraut (Fermented Cabbage) [Judi in the Kitchen video] https://youtu.be/wCr_M3C644A

Easy Sautéed Cabbage (NOT Mushy) [Judi in the Kitchen video]  https://youtu.be/Gx8LXJ3Qhok

Vegetarian Healthy Sauté http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=141

Gingered Cabbage http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=181

Napa Cabbage Salad http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=66

5-Minute Healthy Sautéed Red Cabbage http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=240

Spicy Cabbage Soup http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=78

Sweet and Sour Cod with Cabbage and Broccoli http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=136

Sesame Braised Chicken and Cabbage http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=60

Cabbage, Smoked Sausage and Apple Soup https://producemadesimple.ca/cabbage-smoked-sausage-and-apple-soup/

Cabbage Roll Casserole https://producemadesimple.ca/cabbage-roll-casserole/

Hearty Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage Salad https://producemadesimple.ca/hearty-brussels-sprouts-and-cabbage-salad/

20 Ways to Eat More Cabbage https://www.thekitchn.com/20-ways-to-eat-more-cabbage-237481

18 Delicious Ways to Eat More Cabbage This Year https://www.justapinch.com/blog/articles/read/165980/18-delicious-ways-to-eat-more-cabbage-this-year

39 Recipes to Make Anyone Love Cabbage https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/slideshow/cabbage-recipes

26 Creative Cabbage Recipes That Are Way Better Than Coleslaw https://www.delish.com/cooking/g1237/cabbage-recipes/?slide=5

Our 35 Best Cabbage Recipes https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/favorite-cabbage-recipes/view-all/

Cabbage and Apple Slaw with Honey-Lime Dressing https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-cabbage-and-apple-slaw-with-honey-lime-dressing-254147#post-recipe-12456


Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=19#purchasequalities

https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-comparison/169977-169975/wt1-wt1/1-1

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284823#diet

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080307081409.htm

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

http://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Budget/All-about-cabbage.aspx

https://www.wikihow.com/Select-and-Store-Cabbage

https://frugallysustainable.com/how-to-preserve-cabbage/

https://stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16658

https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-freeze-cabbage-1388391

https://producemadesimple.ca/what-goes-well-with-cabbage/

https://lancaster.unl.edu/factsheets/115-94.htm

https://www.spendwithpennies.com/guide-to-cabbage/

https://www.reddit.com/r/recipes/comments/1v5duu/what_spices_go_good_with_cooked_cabbage/

https://thecrunchyginger.com/6-tips-for-using-cabbage/

https://www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t–819/all-about-cabbage.asp

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=whfkitqa&dbid=65

Joachim, David. (2010) The Food Substitutions Bible. 2nd Edition. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

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.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

 

This is an updated and expanded version of my original post on “Brussels Sprouts 101 – The Basics.” If you need some specific information about Brussels sprouts, this information should help.

Enjoy!
Judi

Brussels Sprouts 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

About Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are members of the cruciferous (Brassica) family of plants. They are not baby or small cabbages, but are a separate plant that grows on a stalk. They are cousins to broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and other such vegetables. They look like mini cabbages with diameters of about one inch. They grow in bunches of 20 to 40 on a stalk that may be as high as three feet tall. They are usually sage green, but some varieties are reddish.

It is not known where Brussels sprouts originated, but first mention of them was found in the late 16th century. They were thought to be native to an area near the capital of Belgium, named Brussels. Hence, they were named Brussels sprouts. Around World War I, they spread across Europe, and are now grown throughout Europe and the United States. Most Brussels sprouts in America are grown in California.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Brussels sprouts are rich in many nutrients. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K. They also supply a lot of folate, manganese, Vitamin B6, fiber, choline, copper, Vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus, Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, Vitamin B2, protein, magnesium, pantothenic acid, Vitamin A, niacin, calcium, and zinc. They are also abundant in disease-fighting phytochemicals including sulforaphane, indoles, glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, coumarins, dithiolthiones, and phenols.

Cancer Prevention. There are many studies that focus on the health properties of Brussels sprouts in PubMed (the health research database at the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D.C.). Over half of those studies center on the anti-cancer benefits of this cruciferous vegetable. This strong relationship occurs because Brussels sprouts provide support for three body systems that are closely connected with cancer development and prevention: (1) The body’s detoxification system, (2) The body’s antioxidant system, and (3) The inflammatory/anti-inflammatory response system. Prolonged imbalances in any of these systems increase our risk of cancer. When the imbalances occur simultaneously in all three of these systems, our risk of cancer significantly increases. Through these studies, Brussels sprouts have been closely associated with the reduced risk of bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancers.

Cardiovascular Support. Brussels sprouts, along with other cruciferous vegetables, contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. Researchers have become increasingly aware that unwanted inflammation creates problems for blood vessels and circulation as it relates to cardiovascular disease. The anti-inflammatory compounds found in Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables may help to prevent and possibly reverse blood vessel damage due to inflammation.

The fiber-related components in Brussels sprouts have been found to bind with bile acids in the intestine so they are carried out of the body in the feces, preventing them from being reabsorbed into the blood stream. This forces the liver to make more bile from existing blood cholesterol. This action helps to lower blood cholesterol levels, thereby reducing our risk for cardiovascular disease. These benefits were found to be provided by Brussels sprouts whether they were eaten raw or cooked. However, a recent study revealed that this binding capacity was greater in steamed Brussels sprouts than raw. So, if you want to get the most cholesterol-lowering benefit from Brussels sprouts, eat them steamed rather than raw.

Digestive Support. There are 4 grams of fiber in one cup of Brussels sprouts, which makes this vegetable an excellent choice for supporting the digestive system. Furthermore, researchers have found that the sulforaphane (made from Brussels sprouts’ glucoraphanin) protects the stomach lining from overgrowth and clinging of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. This particular bacterium is responsible for the development of stomach ulcers and promotes the formation of stomach cancer. This reason alone should invite you to include more Brussels sprouts in your diet!

Other Possible Health Benefits. The anti-inflammatory agents found in Brussels sprouts have prompted researchers to investigate their relationship to the risk of developing Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, insulin resistance, irritable bowel syndrome, metabolic syndrome, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, and ulcerative colitis.

How to Select Brussels Sprouts
Choose Brussels sprouts that are firm, bright green, and compact with tightly formed leaves. They should feel heavy for their size. They should not have yellowed or wilted leaves, and should not be soft in texture. Holes in the leaves may indicate that they have insects inside. Smaller Brussels sprouts are usually sweeter and more tender than larger ones.

Fresh Brussels sprouts are often available year-round, but their peak growing season is from autumn until early spring.

How to Store Brussels Sprouts
Store Brussels sprouts unwashed and untrimmed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. The vent should be closed to help keep a humid environment in the drawer. They may also be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to ten days.

How to Prepare Brussels Sprouts
To prepare fresh Brussels sprouts, first remove the stems and any yellow or discolored leaves. Then, wash them well under cool water. Slice them in half lengthwise. If they are large, quarter them. Smaller pieces will cook faster than larger pieces and should have less of a sulfur-like flavor then if they were left whole.

How to Freeze Brussels Sprouts
Fresh Brussels sprouts may be frozen. They should be washed and trimmed, as detailed above. Steam them for 3 to 5 minutes, then immediately chill them in a bowl of cold water. Drain them well, then transfer them to an airtight freezer container and label the container with the current date. Use them within one year.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Brussels Sprouts
* Try to avoid overcooking Brussels sprouts, and cook them with as little water as possible. Prolonged cooking, especially in a lot of water, releases their sulfur-containing compounds, making them taste strong and undesirable. Lightly cooking them in as little liquid as possible prevents that from happening.

* When shopping for Brussels sprouts, remember that smaller ones will be more tender and sweeter than larger ones.

* One pound of Brussels sprouts has about 24 to 28 medium sprouts.

* One pound of Brussels sprouts is about 3 cups of sprouts.

* If you’re cooking and find you don’t have enough Brussels sprouts for your recipe, you can substitute broccoli florets or chopped green cabbage. The flavors and cooking times may vary somewhat, but they will work as substitutes.

* Sauté Brussels sprouts with garlic and a sprinkle of chile pepper flakes. When finished, drizzle with a little lemon juice and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

* When steaming Brussels sprouts, cook them for 5 to 8 minutes, just until they are starting to get tender. Avoid overcooking them.

* When preparing Brussels sprouts, try to cut pieces about the same size. That means large ones will probably need to be quartered, while small one will probably be just cut in half. This helps them to all cook within the same amount of time.

* Try to avoid boiling Brussels sprouts. It’s easy to overcook them that way, making them mushy, bitter, and sulphury-tasting. You’ll also lose a lot of nutritional value in the process.

* The fiber in Brussels sprouts is known to bind with bile in the digestive tract, removing it from the body. In turn, this helps to keep blood cholesterol down (the liver makes bile from existing cholesterol). Researchers have found that the fiber in steamed Brussels sprouts binds with bile better than that of Brussels sprouts that were eaten raw.

* For an easy side dish or salad, combine quartered steamed Brussels sprouts with sliced red onions, walnuts, and a mild cheese, such as feta. Toss with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and enjoy!

* Try steamed Brussels sprouts topped with a tahini dressing made with tahini, lemon and garlic.

* Try braising Brussels sprouts in a little vegetable broth, along with some chopped garlic and a sprinkle of herbs such as basil, thyme, or rosemary. Braise them only until just barely fork-tender. Remove from heat and drizzle with a little fresh lemon juice and enjoy!

* Stir-steam Brussels sprouts in vegetable stock or water (2 tablespoons at a time) along with some chopped onion. Cook them only until just barely fork-tender. Remove from heat and stir in a dressing of Dijon-style mustard and a little maple syrup. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and serve.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Brussels Sprouts
Basil, bay leaf, capers, caraway seeds, chili pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, curry powder, dill, fennel seeds, juniper berries, marjoram, mint, mustard powder, mustard seeds, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, salt, thyme

Foods That Go Well with Brussels Sprouts
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, bacon, beef, cashews, chestnuts, chicken, eggs, fish (seafood), hazelnuts, lentils, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pork, poultry, rabbit, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tofu, walnuts, water chestnuts

Vegetables: Artichokes (Jerusalem), bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celery root, chives, endive, fennel, garlic, ginger, kale, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, root vegetables (in general), rutabagas, scallions, shallots, sprouts (bean), squash (winter), turnips

Fruits: Apples (fresh, dried), apple cider, apple juice, cranberries (dried), grapefruit, grapes, lemon, lime, orange, pears, raisins

Grains and Grain Products: Bread crumbs, buckwheat, grains (in general), kasha, pasta, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Browned butter, butter, cheese (in general, esp. blue, cheddar, feta, goat, Parmesan, provolone, ricotta, Swiss), coconut milk, cream, crème fraiche, ghee, sour cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Maple syrup, mustard (prepared, i.e., Dijon), oil (esp. olive, sesame, walnut), soy sauce, stock, sugar, tamari, vermouth, vinegar (in general), wine (esp. dry white, rice)

Brussels sprouts have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Crudités, egg dishes (i.e., fried, hard-boiled, omelets, poaches), salad, slaws, soups, stir-fries

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Brussels Sprouts
Add Brussels sprouts to any of the following combinations…

Almonds + Orange Juice
Apples + Goat Cheese +Hazelnuts
Bread Crumbs + Hard-Boiled Eggs + Lemon + Parsley
Buckwheat + Mushrooms
Caraway Seeds + Mustard
Caraway Seeds + Orange
Cauliflower + Garlic + Olive Oil + Rosemary
Chestnuts + Maple Syrup
Chili Pepper Flakes + Garlic + Shallots
Cream + Nutmeg + Parmesan Cheese
Dried Cranberries + Walnuts
Garlic + Lemon + Olive Oil
Garlic + Pine Nuts + Shallots
Garlic + Vinegar + Walnuts
Ginger + Thyme
Hazelnuts + Maple Syrup
Lemon + Mustard + Parsley + Walnut Oil
Mushrooms + Pine Nuts
Orange + Sesame Oil

Recipe Links
Judi in the Kitchen video, Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts https://youtu.be/TpXII-ZU9pc

Judi in the Kitchen video, Cook Brussels Sprouts Without Bitterness https://youtu.be/u9S7R_SV0OQ

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Cranberries and Pecans  https://producemadesimple.ca/shredded-brussels-sprouts-bacon-pecans-dried-cranberries/

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad  https://producemadesimple.ca/warm-brussels-sprout-salad/

Tangy Brussels Sprouts Slaw https://producemadesimple.ca/tangy-brussels-sprout-slaw/

Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Salad  https://pinchofyum.com/bacon-and-brussel-sprout-salad

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cauliflower https://producemadesimple.ca/oven-roasted-brussels-sprouts-with-cauliflower/

Roasted Brussels Sprouts https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-brussels-sprouts-recipe2-1941953

5-Minute “Quick Steamed” Brussels Sprouts http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=244

27 Tasty and Creative Ways to Eat More Brussels Sprouts https://www.foodnetwork.ca/in-season/photos/best-brussels-sprouts-recipes/#!Bacon-Wrapped-Brussels-Sprouts

25 Ways to Use Brussels Sprouts https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/devour/recipes/2014/11/how-to-use-brussels-sprouts

Our 17 Best Brussels Sprouts Recipes for Every Occasion https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/popular-ingredients/brussels-sprouts-recipes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (oil free and vegan) https://shaneandsimple.com/roasted-brussels-sprouts/

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts https://feelgoodfoodie.net/recipe/pan-roasted-brussel-sprouts/

No-Oil Roasted Brussels Sprouts https://www.graciousvegan.com/recipe-recommendations/2020/4/17/no-oil-roasted-brussels-sprouts

Vegan Brussels Sprouts Roasted (oil-free) https://eatplant-based.com/classic-roasted-brussels-sprouts/

Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=10

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/h-pylori/symptoms-causes/syc-20356171

https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/vegan-sauces-condiments/tahini-dipping-sauce/

https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/vegan-salads-sides/brussels-sprouts-with-maple-mustard-sauce/

https://www.thekitchn.com/5-tips-for-better-brussels-sprouts-236559

https://www.today.com/food/brussels-sprouts-recipes-tips-how-select-prep-cook-fall-vegetable-t45776

https://www.hitchcockfarms.com/blog/brussels-sprout-food-pairings

Joachim, David. (2010) The Food Substitutions Bible. 2nd Edition. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

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.

Orange Joy (Fruit Blend)

Orange Joy (Simple Fruit Blend)

Orange Joy is a simple blend of fruit that can be enjoyed as a snack or dessert, used as a dressing for various types of salads, made into popsicles, sorbets, or ice cream, or included in various recipes from appetizers, to main and side dishes, to desserts and snacks. Below is a video showing how to make Orange Joy, with the written recipe below that. Also, you’ll find a long list of potential ways this simple blend of fruit can be included in your snacks, meals, and recipes.

Enjoy!
Judi

Orange Joy
Makes 1 Generous Serving
This delicious simple blend of only fruit can be used in many ways,
from salad dressings to snacks or desserts, and to adorn many dishes in between.
It’s limited only to your imagination! Jk

1 navel orange, peeled and quartered
½ to 1 cup mango chunks, fresh or frozen

Optional:
1 tsp frozen orange juice concentrate
1 or 2 dates, chopped

Place the orange sections and mango chunks in a small blender or food processor. The amount of mango used will allow you to adjust flavor and consistency based on your taste preferences and application (less mango will make the blend thinner with more orange flavor; more mango will make it thicker with less orange flavor). Add optional ingredients, if desired (orange juice concentrate to bring out more orange flavor and make it slightly more tart, or dates to make it a little sweeter). Blend until the mixture is smooth, or to the desired consistency. Serve or use in any one of the suggested applications listed below.

Suggested uses:
A quick, easy snack
A simple dessert
Dressing for a vegetable salad
Dressing for fruit salad (i.e. bananas, apples, berries, papayas, kiwi, pineapple, plums, grapes)
Dressing for a fennel salad or dish
Dressing for a spinach or green salad
Topping for a grain dish with rice, wild rice, millet, quinoa, or couscous
Topping for cooked parsnips
Topping for cooked carrots
Orange topping for a chocolate dessert
Dip for jicama, and other vegetables or fruit (use about 1 cup mango for a thicker dip)
Dressing for a radicchio salad (to help reduce bitterness)
Topping for roasted butternut or other winter squash
Topping for roasted sweet potatoes
Layered in a parfait with yogurt and fruit, topped with nuts and/or granola
Partially frozen into a sorbet (or mixed with yogurt before freezing for variation)
Coarsely blended into a fruit salsa
Mixed with coconut cream for a dessert (or frozen into ice cream)
Topping for angel food cake
Freeze into popsicles
Use as an ice cream topping (esp. with vanilla ice cream)
Use with cilantro in a smoothie with other fruits and/or greens

Try an orange joy fruit parfait! Here’s a video demo…

 

Cauliflower

Cauliflower 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

This is an updated and expanded edition of my original post for “Cauliflower 101 – The Basics.” If you have questions about cauliflower, are looking for nutrition information, or tips on how to use cauliflower, along with some recipe ideas, this should help!

Enjoy!
Judi

Cauliflower 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

About Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, so it is related to cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other such vegetables. There are many different types of cauliflower, including those with different colors in orange, green, and purple. In the United States, most cauliflower sold is white with a fairly large, compact head (or “curd”) with undeveloped flower buds that resemble broccoli florets.

The history of cauliflower dates back about 2,000 years. It appears to have originated in the area of modern-day Turkey. Many cultures prefer a loose curd variety of cauliflower (similar to broccoli rabe) over the tight compact head variety often seen in American grocery stores. Cauliflower is more popular in other parts of the world than in America, although popularity is increasing with the new ways of preparing it with the “low carb” trend. China and India produce about 74% of the world’s cauliflower.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Cauliflower is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and Vitamin B6. It also supplies a lot of choline, fiber, Omega-3 fats, manganese, phosphorus, biotin, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, potassium, and magnesium. It is a very low-calorie food, with one cup of raw cauliflower having only 25 calories.

Like other members of the cruciferous family, cauliflower is high in antioxidants (specifically glucosinolates) that are known for fighting inflammation and reducing our risk for serious diseases. Also, cauliflower, like its cousin broccoli, contains choline, a compound that protects our nervous system and helps to ward off serious neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

When eaten at least once a week, cauliflower has been associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Cauliflower has also been shown to lower the risk of prostate cancer. Cauliflower has been included in assorted research projects studying the effects of cruciferous vegetables on the risk of cardiovascular diseases. These studies have repeatedly shown a decreased risk for such diseases. Because cauliflower has been shown to bind to bile acids in the digestive tract, eating cauliflower has been repeatedly associated with improvement in blood cholesterol levels. Furthermore, in a study focusing on the intake of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts in middle-aged women, the rate of obesity was reduced when subjects increased their servings over time to about three servings per day.

Raw vs Cooked Cauliflower. Both raw and lightly cooked cauliflower have strong nutrient profiles, both in their vitamin and mineral content, as well as their phytonutrients, like sulfur-containing compounds and flavonoids. Despite the fact that cooking does cause some loss of water-soluble nutrients, it also increases the availability of other phytonutrients (specifically carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin) that are hard to utilize in the raw vegetable. However, when raw cauliflower is chewed very well, plant cell walls are broken, making these carotenoids more bioavailable. This same effect appears to hold true for cauliflower’s sulfur-containing compounds (such as the glucosinolate sinigrin).

The “take-away” information here is to enjoy your cauliflower lightly cooked or raw. But if you eat it raw, be sure to chew it very well to get the most nutritional benefit from the vegetable.

How to Select Fresh Cauliflower
Select fresh cauliflower with a clean, firm, compact head that is creamy white in color. It should feel heavy for its size. Avoid those that are soft, lightweight, have brown areas or dark spots on the curds. If leaves are attached, they should appear fresh and not wilted. Cauliflower heads with a lot of thick, green leaves still attached will be better protected from damage and will be fresher. The size of cauliflower heads does not indicate quality.

How to Store Fresh Cauliflower
Store uncooked cauliflower in the original plastic packaging or in a paper bag in the refrigerator. Place it stem side down to protect the florets from damage and excessive moisture that may accumulate in the bag. Use it within one week from purchase.

How to Prepare Cauliflower
The simplest way to wash cauliflower is to cut or break it into desired size pieces, then wash it. First, remove the leaves then remove the florets by cutting the central stem out where it meets the floret stalks. The florets can easily be removed and cut down or broken into smaller pieces, if desired.

If you are making cauliflower “steaks” then simply cut through the entire head into the desired width of slices needed for your recipe. The leaves and any undesired stem pieces can easily be removed after slicing.

Submerge the pieces into a bowl of water to rinse away any dirt or tiny insects that may be in there. It would be unusual to find insects in grocery store-purchased cauliflower. However, if the cauliflower was picked from your garden or bought at a farmer’s market, insects may be among the florets. In this case, soak your prepared pieces for 15 minutes in a bowl of salt water or a bowl of water with either lemon juice or vinegar mixed in. This will kill any insects that are lurking inside and also helps to remove any trapped dirt. After soaking, rinse the cauliflower well in fresh water, then proceed with your recipe.

Most people just eat the cauliflower florets. However, the stems and leaves are also edible, so include them if you want to enjoy the full benefit of the vegetable. Some people reserve the leaves and stems for soups or vegetable stock.

If you are opting to cook the cauliflower whole, then submerge the entire head for 15 minutes in a bowl of water, or one with salt or vinegar added, depending on where it was purchased. Rinse it well under running water afterward.

How to Preserve Cauliflower
Fresh cauliflower may be frozen, fermented, pickled, and even dehydrated.

Freezing Cauliflower. First, trim off any leaves and cut the head of cauliflower into pieces about 1 inch across. Wash the pieces well. If there is the possibility that insects are lurking inside, soak the pieces for 30 minutes in a solution of 4 teaspoons of salt per gallon of water. Rinse well and drain. Bring a large pot of water to boil, then place the prepared cauliflower pieces in the boiling water. Immediately set the timer for 3 minutes. When the timer finishes, transfer the cauliflower pieces to a bowl of ice water and allow them to cool in the water for 3 minutes. Drain well. Place the cauliflower pieces in freezer containers or bags, and label with the current date. Use them within 10 to 12 months for best quality and flavor.

Dehydrating Cauliflower. Cauliflower may be dehydrated, although there is mixed information among resources as to whether cauliflower should be dehydrated because of the quality of the outcome. The reason for this is that once dehydrated, it may turn orangey-brown in color. Despite this, it should lighten up once rehydrated, although it may never return to its original creamy white color.

To dehydrate cauliflower, wash and cut it as detailed above into 1-inch florets. The pieces must also be blanched for 3 minutes, using the same procedure as above. After the cauliflower pieces have been cooled in ice water and drained, spread them in a single layer on a mesh dehydrator tray. Follow your dehydrator manufacturer’s directions for approximate length of time and temperature for drying the cauliflower. When completely dried, the florets should feel dry and crisp, and have no sign of moisture inside when broken apart. Store the dried cauliflower pieces in an airtight container, preferably a glass mason jar with a traditional lid. It is helpful to place an oxygen absorber in the jar, and remove as much air from the jar as possible. Store it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

Fermenting Cauliflower. Cauliflower can easily be fermented and is something anyone can do. Remove the leaves from the head of cauliflower, wash them and reserve them to be used in the final steps of preparing the cauliflower for fermentation.

Wash and chop the cauliflower into small pieces. Place the chopped vegetables in a clean mason jar with a non-metallic lid. One-quart or ½-gallon jars work well. A standard jar lid and rim may be used, but they will be prone to rusting from exposure to the salt brine. Plastic mason jar lids will not erode. Fill the jar with cauliflower pieces to the shoulder of the jar, where it curves inward toward the mouth of the jar. If you do not have enough cauliflower pieces to fill the jar, either use a smaller jar or add another vegetable, such as diced carrots on top of the cauliflower to fill the jar. (It is important to fill the jar with vegetables or the fermentation process may not work well.)

Next, mix your brine solution. Different salt to water ratios are suggested by different sources. I prefer one measured teaspoon of canning/pickling salt to one cup of filtered or distilled water. Do not use iodized salt, nor regular tap water. (The chlorine in the water, and the iodine in the salt will hinder the fermentation process.) Dissolve the salt in the water in a measuring cup. I prefer to add a starter culture to the first cup of water added to the jar. This can be any commercially available starter culture you prefer. I have found that a mere ¼ teaspoon of starter culture is enough to ferment a one-quart size jar of vegetables. Instead of commercial starter culture, you may use about ¼ to ½ cup of established brine from prior fermented vegetables, if desired. Then fill the jar with the salt/culture water solution. Prepare additional salt water solution as needed to fill the jar. Culture only needs to be added once, not with each cup of water used.

Place reserved cauliflower leaves inside the jar on top of the vegetable pieces so that they will hold the vegetables below the water line. This step is important to prevent mold or yeast from forming on the exposed vegetables that may float. Be sure everything is below the water line, so add enough brine solution to cover all the vegetables, including the leaves on top.

Cover the jar and label it with the date you started. Place the jar in a cloth-lined bowl or tray to catch any spills that may happen as fermentation progresses. Put the fermentation jar in a cool place away from sunlight. Do not place it in the refrigerator at this point, or your fermentation will not take place properly. Monitor the brine level from time to time to be sure it remains above the vegetables. If it drops down at any point, add more brine solution (without additional culture). Taste the vegetables periodically and consider them finished when you like the flavor. Personally, I allow my vegetables to ferment for 10 days.

When the vegetables are fermented and taste like you prefer, place the jar in your refrigerator. They will wait there for months, until you are ready to enjoy them.

To see my video demonstration on how to ferment cauliflower, click here… https://youtu.be/RBVZpLoGGIg

Pickled Cauliflower. Fresh cauliflower may also be pickled and used in salads or to flavor or accompany many foods. See the Recipe Links section below for detailed instructions on pickling cauliflower. Two specific links on this topic are provided.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Cauliflower
* Top hot cooked cauliflower with a little melted butter, then season with your choice of chives, dill, nutmeg, minced parsley, or lemon juice.

* Add raw cauliflower to an appetizer tray with dip or hummus.

* Add cauliflower, raw or cooked, to your favorite green salad.

* Add chopped cooked cauliflower to a quiche or scrambled eggs.

* Roast cauliflower and broccoli together, flavored with olive oil and garam masala.

* When preparing fresh cauliflower, remember that the stems and leaves are edible. If you don’t want to include them in your dish, save them for soups, stews, or making stock.

* To cut a fresh cauliflower, first remove any leaves that are attached to the head. Then cut at the base of the floret stems to separate the large pieces. The florets may be cut smaller from there, if needed. The inner core may be cut into small pieces and cooked or eaten as desired.

* For best results when cooking cauliflower, cook it for the least amount of time and with the least amount of liquid possible. The longer it cooks, the more nutrients and flavor will be lost, and the more sulfur odor will be released.

* Cauliflower can be exchanged with broccoli in most recipes. So, if you have some favorite broccoli recipes and want to eat more cauliflower, try those same recipes with cauliflower instead of broccoli.

* When you’re blanching or cooking cauliflower in water, keep it creamy white by adding either 1 or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, or 1 tablespoon of vinegar, or 1 cup of milk. The milk will also give the vegetable a sweeter flavor.

* One medium head of cauliflower will yield about 3 cups of chopped cauliflower, or 4 cups of florets.

* Do not cook cauliflower in an aluminum or cast-iron pot. The chemicals in cauliflower will react with the metals and cause the cauliflower to become discolored.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Cauliflower
Basil, bay leaf, capers, caraway seeds, cardamom, cayenne, chervil, chili pepper flakes, chili powder, cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry powder, curry spices, dill, fenugreek, garam masala, horseradish, marjoram, mint, mustard seeds/powder, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, saffron, sage, salt, savory, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

Foods That Go Well with Cauliflower
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, bacon, beans (esp., black, fermented black, green, white), beef, black-eyed peas, cashews, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, hazelnuts, lentils, nuts (in general), peas, pine nuts, pistachios, poppy seeds, pork, pumpkin seeds, seafood, sesame seeds, tahini, tofu

Vegetables:  Asparagus, bell pepper, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, chiles, chives, cress (land), garlic, ginger, greens (in general), kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, scallions, shallots, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes (fresh, sauce, sun-dried), watercress

Fruits: Apples, citrus fruits (in general), coconut, lemons, limes, mango, olives, orange, pumpkin, raisins, tamarind

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, bread crumbs, bulgur, corn, couscous, kasha, millet, noodles (i.e., Asian rice noodles), pasta, polenta, rice, spelt

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter and browned butter, buttermilk, cheese (in general, esp. blue, cheddar, feta, Gruyere, Parmesan), coconut milk, cream, ghee, milk (dairy and non-dairy), sour cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Chili pepper sauce, honey, mayonnaise, mustard (prepared, Dijon), nutritional yeast, oil (esp. mustard, olive, sesame, walnut), pesto, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, stock, vinegar (esp. balsamic, rice, white wine), wine (esp. dry white)

Cauliflower had been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Aloo Gobi, chili, chowders, crudités, gratins, Italian cuisine, mashed cauliflower (like mashed potatoes), Mediterranean cuisines, Middle Eastern cuisines, pasta dishes (i.e., lasagna), pesto, polenta, purees, risottos, salads (i.e., cauliflower, green, pasta), soufflés, soups (i.e., cauliflower, curry, vegetable), cauliflower steaks, stir-fries, cauliflower tabbouleh, tacos

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Cauliflower
Add cauliflower to any of the following combinations…

Almonds + Barley
Almonds + Browned Butter + Lemon
Balsamic Vinegar + Garlic + Olive Oil + Raisins
Bread Crumbs + Capers + Lemon + Parsley
Brussels Sprouts + Capers + Lemon
Brussels Sprouts + Garlic + Olive Oil + Rosemary
Capers + Green Olives + Lemon + Olive Oil
Cashews + Cilantro + Coconut + Nut Milk + Onions + Turmeric
Cheddar Cheese + Mustard
Cheddar Cheese + Parmesan Cheese + Parsley + Pasta
Chickpeas + Eggplant + Raisins
Chiles + Lime Juice
Chili Pepper Flakes + Parsley + Pasta
Coconut + Curry
Garlic + Tomatoes
Ginger + Orange
Lemon + Parsley
Lemon Zest + Mustard + Shallots
Mint + Parmesan Cheese + Pine Nuts
Sage + Walnuts
Scallions + Sesame Oil + Soy Sauce

Recipe Links
Pickled Cauliflower https://www.freshpreserving.com/blog?cid=pickled-cauliflower

Pickled Cauliflower with Carrots and Red Bell Peppers https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/pickled-cauliflower-with-carrots-red-bell-pepper

Judi’s Fermented Cauliflower [YouTube Video] https://youtu.be/RBVZpLoGGIg

Asian Sautéed Cauliflower http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=182

Cauliflower, Fennel and White Bean Winter Salad https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-cauliflower-fennel-and-74484

Five Ways to Eat Cauliflower https://www.thekitchn.com/five-ways-to-eat-cauliflower-99565

Recipe Roundup: Roasted Cauliflower (links to many recipes for roasted cauliflower) https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-roundup-roasted-caulifl-74401

25 Ways to Cook with Cauliflower https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/ways-to-cook-with-cauliflower/

Everything Bagel Style Cauliflower Rolls https://thefeedfeed.com/lexiscleankitchen/everything-bagel-style-cauliflower-rolls

Everything Bagel Cauliflower Steaks https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/everything-bagel-cauliflower-steaks/

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/54675/roasted-garlic-cauliflower/

Cauliflower Parmesan Crisps https://www.willcookforsmiles.com/cauliflower-parmesan-crisps/

Our 41 Best Cauliflower Recipes https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/our-favorite-cauliflower-recipes-gallery

Crispy Sea Salt & Vinegar Cauliflower “Popcorn” https://www.blissfulbasil.com/crispy-sea-salt-vinegar-cauliflower-popcorn/#wprm-recipe-container-23883

30 Life-Changing Cauliflower Recipes for Every Comfort Food Craving https://blog.bulletproof.com/cauliflower-recipes-keto-paleo-2g3c/

13 Healthy Cauliflower Recipes https://health.facty.com/food/nutrition/13-healthy-cauliflower-recipes/?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=c-search&utm_term=cauliflower%20recipes&utm_campaign=f-h-13-healthy-cauliflower-recipes&gclid=Cj0KCQiAk-7jBRD9ARIsAEy8mh50R8Si3aHqZtGX266QI_icxPG4IXNrHiUVaQkazB7dFEBZXomlkgIaAk2ZEALw_wcB

Cauliflower Aloo Gobi https://producemadesimple.ca/cauliflower-aloo-gobi/

How to Make Cauliflower Rice or Couscous https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-cauliflower-rice-couscous-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-203344

Asian Sautéed Cauliflower http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=182


Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=13

http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/article/types-cauliflower

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-cauliflower#section5

http://pickyourown.org/freezing_cauliflower.htm

https://www.freshpreserving.com/pickled-cauliflower-br2760.html

https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/pickled-cauliflower-with-carrots-red-bell-pepper

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/lacto-fermentation-recipes/lacto-fermented-cauliflower-carrots-garlic/

http://www.sweetwater-organic.org/veggies/cauliflower/

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/22/cauliflower-health-benefits.aspx

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/22/cauliflower-health-benefits.aspx

https://producemadesimple.ca/goes-well-cauliflower/

https://www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t–864/all-about-cauliflower.asp

Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia. (1993) So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989. 3rd Edition. Athens, Georgia: Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia.

Joachim, David. (2010) The Food Substitutions Bible. 2nd Edition. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

MacKenzie, Jennifer, Jay Nutt and Don Mercer. (2015) The Dehydrator Bible. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

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.

Kale

Kale 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

This is an updated version of my original blog post on “Kale 101 – The Basics.” The content has been expanded to be more complete and comprehensive coverage of the subject of kale. If you have any questions about this VERY healthful vegetable, hopefully, you’ll find your answer here.

Enjoy!
Judi

Kale 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

About Kale
Kale is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, being a cousin to cabbage, cauliflower, collards, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and others. They all belong to the Brassica genus of plants. There are three main types of kale, with many varieties within each category: flatter, wide leafed kale; darker, Lacinato-type kale; and curly-leafed kale.

The color of kale can vary from light to dark green, and lavender to dark purple. Some green-leafed varieties have purple stems and veins. Kale can broadly be divided into two general categories: culinary kale and ornamental kale. All types are edible, but the ornamental kales may be tougher in texture and stronger in taste. They were developed more for their appearance than flavor or texture.

The kale we’re familiar with today was first cultivated in the Mediterranean area over 2,000 years ago. It was an important food in Europe during the time of the Roman Empire and during the medieval period in Europe from the 5th to 15th centuries. It is believed that European colonists brought kale to North America in the 1600s. Russian traders are believed to have first taken kale to Canada in the 1700s. Today, kale is grown commercially in the United States, mostly in California, Georgia, New Jersey, and Texas.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and is often referred to as one of the healthiest foods to eat. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, manganese, and copper. It also supplies a lot of Vitamin B6, fiber, calcium, potassium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B2, iron, magnesium, Vitamin B1, Omega-3 fats, phosphorus, protein, folate, and Vitamin B3. One cup of raw kale has only 33 calories. On top of all that, over 45 different flavonoids have been found in kale, which means this vegetable has outstanding health-promoting properties!

Anti-Cancer Benefits. Like other cruciferous vegetables, the anti-cancer effects of kale have been widely studied. The vast array of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and direct anti-cancer compounds found in kale all work together in their own specific ways to ward off cancer, particularly bladder, breast, colon, ovarian, and prostate cancers. The large number of antioxidant carotenoids and flavonoids found in kale have been shown to have direct anti-cancer effects. Furthermore, these same compounds have been shown to lower our risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma, atherosclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Cardiovascular Support. Kale is also a super-food in terms of reducing our risk for heart disease. Kale contains an overabundance of strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are precursors for developing clogged arteries. Since kale is a concentrated source of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, it is well-known for lowering our risk of arteriosclerosis.

In addition to lowering our risk for clogged arteries, kale also has cholesterol-lowering abilities. The fiber in kale binds with bile in the intestinal tract, removing it in the feces. This forces the body to use its existing cholesterol to create more bile. In turn, this lowers our total blood cholesterol level. Studies have also shown that LDL cholesterol also drops with increasing amounts of kale in the diet, while HDL cholesterol levels increase (which is a good thing). Both raw and steamed kale have been shown to provide these benefits, but interestingly, the benefits seem to be stronger with steamed kale. The same cholesterol-lowering effects have also been demonstrated with drinking 5 ounces of kale juice a day.

Detoxification. The isothiocyanates made from kale’s glucosinolates have also been shown to help regulate both Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification processes in our cells. This helps to keep our toxic exposure in check, whether the toxins come from the environment or from food.

Eye Health. Kale is particularly high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful nutrients that protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. These conditions are common causes of vision loss in older people.

Other Potential Benefits of Kale. Kale is high in nutrients that many people are deficient in, namely calcium, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin K. These nutrients protect bone health, control blood pressure, regulate the blood clotting function, reduce risk of heart disease, and offer protection against Type 2 diabetes.

The abundant fiber in kale helps to keep our digestive system healthy.

Also, glucosinolates have been found to help protect the stomach lining from bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium responsible for gastric ulcers and stomach cancer. With kale being so rich in glucosinolates, research will likely find that eating kale on a regular basis can be protective from these health concerns.

How to Select Kale
Look for dark, vibrant, unwilted leaves. Those with yellowing or brown leaves are older, so avoid them if you can.  Try to avoid limp kale leaves if you can, since they have started to dry out. The smaller leaf plants will be more tender than those with larger leaves.

How to Store Fresh Kale
Kale should be stored UNWASHED in the refrigerator. To help extend the life of fresh kale, remove the twist tie holding the bundle together, then wrap the bundle in a kitchen towel or paper towels, jelly-roll style. Place it in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. It should be used as soon as possible, but may keep for a week when stored this way. If it has gotten a little limp while in the refrigerator, place the kale in a large bowl or pot of cold water for about 10 minutes and it should revive. Then wash and use it as desired.

If your stored kale becomes soft, discolored or mushy, remove and discard those leaves and use the rest immediately.

How to Prepare Fresh Kale
Fresh kale is very easy to prepare. Simply rinse the leaves under cool water. The stems may be left on the leaves or removed, as desired. For uniform cooking time, roll the kale leaves and cut them into about 1/2-inch slices. Cut the stems in 1/4-inch pieces. This way, the stems and leaves will cook in about the same amount of time.

Kale may be eaten raw, or cooked in about any way imaginable. For the most nutrient retention, steam prepared kale for no longer than 5 minutes. Blanching kale (boiling it then immediately chilling it in cold water) for 2 minutes is also another way to cook kale while retaining most of its nutrients.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Kale
* One pound of fresh kale = 12 cups chopped, or 3 cups cooked

* When making dishes calling for raw kale, it’s helpful to know that smaller leaves are more tender than larger leaves.

* To tenderize and reduce bitterness in kale, quickly blanch it in boiling, lightly salted water before using it.

* To soften tough kale leaves when you want to use them in a salad, massage them first with a little oil of choice. If you don’t want to use oil, massage the leaves with a cut up fresh avocado. Use the kale immediately if avocado was used.

* Add kale to soups and stews, smoothies and salads.

* When including raw kale in salads, try slicing the leaves into thin ribbons. They should be easier to eat that way.

* Frozen kale should be used within about 6 months.

* Here’s a different way to serve kale. Braise chopped kale with chopped apples. Before serving, drizzle it with a little balsamic vinegar and top with chopped, toasted walnuts.

* Combine lightly steamed chopped kale with pine nuts and feta cheese. Toss it with cooked whole grain pasta and olive oil.

* If your kale has started to go limp, refresh it by soaking it in a bowl or pot of cold water for about 10 minutes.

* For a nutritional boost, add some kale to your favorite pesto.

* If you have some extra kale that you can’t use fast enough, blend it smooth with a little water in a high-speed blender. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. Transfer to an airtight container once frozen. When making smoothies, add kale ice cubes in place of plain ice cubes.

* Keep some frozen kale in your freezer. It’ll be there when you run out of fresh kale. Add it to smoothies, stir-fries, soups, pasta dishes, and even salads as a wilted green.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Kale
Anise, basil, bay leaf, capers, caraway seeds, cayenne, chili pepper flakes, cilantro, coriander, cumin, curry powder, dill, fennel seeds, marjoram, mint, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper (black), rosemary, salt, savory, tarragon, thyme

Foods That Go Well with Kale
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans (in general), black-eyed peas, cashews, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, green beans, ham, hemp seeds, lentils, nuts (in general), peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pork, pumpkin seeds, sausage, seafood (in general), sesame seeds, snow peas, sunflower seeds, tahini, tofu, walnuts

Vegetables: Arugula, beets, bell peppers, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celery root, chard, chiles, chives, dulse, escarole, garlic, ginger, greens (i.e., collard, dandelion, mustard), leeks, mushrooms, nori, onions, (esp. red), potatoes, radicchio, radishes, scallions, sea vegetables, shallots, spinach, squash (summer and winter), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips

Fruits: Apples, avocados, cherries (dried), cranberries (dried), dates, grapefruit, lemons, olives, oranges, papaya, raisins

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, bread crumbs, bulgur, corn, farro, noodles (esp. Asian), pasta, polenta, quinoa, rice (esp. Arborio, brown, wild), spelt

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Browned butter, butter, cheese (in general, esp. cheddar, feta, Parmesan, pecorino), coconut milk, cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Chili paste, maple syrup, miso, mustard (Dijon), oil (in general, esp. flaxseed, olive, sesame), soy sauce, stock, tamari, vinegar (esp. apple cider, balsamic, brown rice, red wine, sherry)

Kale has been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Casseroles, chips (dehydrated, not fried), egg dishes (i.e., frittatas, hard-boiled, omelets, poached, quiches), gratins, juices, pasta dishes, pestos, pizza, Portuguese cuisine, purees, slaws, smoothies, soups (i.e., bean, kale, minestrone, potato, vegetable, white bean), stews (i.e., barley, winter), stir-fries, stuffings

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Kale
Add kale to any of the following combinations…

Apples + Vinegar (i.e., balsamic, cider) + Walnuts
Avocado + Dried Apricots + Lemon + Orange + Pistachios + Raisins + Soy Sauce
Avocado + Mushrooms + Red Onions
Balsamic Vinegar + Beets + Feta Cheese + Walnuts
Beets + Walnuts
Brown Rice + Garlic + Ginger + Soy Sauce
Butternut Squash + Tomatoes [in risotto]
Cheese (i.e., cheddar) + Fruit (i.e., apples) + Nuts (i.e., almonds)
Chickpeas + Feta Cheese + Lemon
Chickpeas + Mushrooms
Chiles + Garlic + Ginger
Chili Flakes + Garlic + Olive Oil + Parmesan Cheese + Pine Nuts
Chili Paste + Egg + Garlic + Potatoes
Garlic + Hard-Boiled Egg + Lemon + Parmesan Cheese
Garlic + Lemon
Garlic + Lemon + Olive Oil
Garlic + Lemon + Olive Oil + Pine Nuts
Garlic + Olive Oil + Parmesan Cheese + Red Wine Vinegar
Garlic + Sesame Oil + Sesame Seeds + Soy Sauce + Vinegar
Garlic + Soy Sauce
Ginger + Tahini
Grapefruit + Red Onions
Olive Oil + Olives + Pine Nuts [Over Pasta]
Olive Oil + Onions + Orange + Raisins
Rosemary + White Beans

Recipe Links
54 Kale Recipes That Are Healthy, Not Boring https://www.self.com/gallery/50-ways-to-eat-kale

57 Kale Recipes That Go Way Beyond Salad https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/kale-recipes

45 Different Ways to Eat Kale When You Can’t Get Enough Leafy Greens https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/healthy/g1436/easy-kale-recipes/

Super Energy Kale Soup http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=214

Poached Eggs Over Sautéed Greens http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=77

Italian Tofu Frittata http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=38

Minestrone Surprise http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=55

5-Minute Kale http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=281

30 Kale Recipes to Add to Your Rotation https://www.foodandwine.com/vegetables/greens/kale/kale-recipes-and-ideas

15 Best Kale Recipes https://www.acouplecooks.com/12-best-kale-recipes/

20 Kale Recipes That Will Make You Fall Back in Love with the Veggie https://www.brit.co/best-kale-recipes/

15 Delicious Kale Recipes https://cookieandkate.com/15-delicious-kale-recipes/

119 Kale Recipes for When You’re Craving Greens https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/all-kale-all-the-time-gallery


Resources
https://producemadesimple.ca/kale-go-well/

https://producemadesimple.ca/kale/

https://delishably.com/spices-seasonings/Dulse

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38#descr

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-kale#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8

https://www.eatthis.com/how-to-cook-kale/

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.

Pears

Pears 101 – The Basics

 

Pears 101 – The Basics

About Pears
Pears are members of the rose family (Rosaceae) family of plants. Other members of this plant family include apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, and almonds. The varieties of pears that are commonly found in American grocery stores all belong to the category known as European Pears (Pyrus communis). They typically have rounded bodies with tapering necks of varying lengths. While we’re most familiar with green pears, the different types come in an array of colors ranging from yellow/gold, to red, green, and brown. To expand information about pears, I have included a section in this article about the types of pears commonly found in American grocery stores.

There are other types of pears that are different, yet related to the European pears. One such pear is the “pear apple.” They are round and look like apples in their shape, but their skin looks like that of a pear. They are not a cross between a pear and an apple. They are a different category of pear broadly referred to as the Asian pear. In this same category are Chinese pears, Japanese pears, Korean pears, and Siberian/Manchurian pears. When the different categories are combined, people enjoy over 3,000 varieties of pears worldwide!

Historians believe that both European and Asian pears evolved separately roughly 3,000 years ago. In the 1500s, European settlers brought the beloved fruit with them to North America. Today, pears are grown mostly on the west coast of the United States, but most of the pears we eat are imported from Argentina, Chile, China, South Korea and New Zealand. Worldwide, China is the largest producer of pears.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Nutritionally, pears supply noteworthy amounts of dietary fiber, copper, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, along with lesser amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Beyond that, they are a concentrated source of many phenolic compounds and carotenoids that offer a number of health benefits.

Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease. Pears may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Ample dietary fiber has long been established as a means of reducing our risk for these two leading diseases in America. Pears are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which play important roles in maintaining health and reducing the risk of heart disease. The flavonoids found in pears are known to help improve insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes.

Cancer Risk. The fiber in pears has been shown to bind to secondary bile acids in the intestinal tract, removing them from the body, and thereby lowering our risk for colorectal cancer, along with other intestinal problems.

Pears have also been shown to lower the risk of stomach cancer. Specific phytonutrients (a variety of cinnamic acids) in pears and mangos were studied in Mexico City, and were found to lower the risk of stomach cancer. Researchers found that two servings of fruit and four servings of vegetables per day were needed to achieve this benefit.

Esophageal cancer risk was also found to be lowered by ingestion of pears in a very large-scale study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the American Association of Retired Persons. Other foods belonging to the rose family (Rosaceae) were also found to lower the risk of esophageal cancer, including apples, plums, and strawberries.

Hypoallergenic. Pears are among the foods that are considered to be hypoallergenic and easy to digest. Pear puree is considered to be one of the safe foods to introduce to weaning infants since they are very easy to digest and are very hypoallergenic. They are also recommended for older individuals who must follow a low-allergenic food plan.

How to Select Pears
Pears are very perishable once they are ripe, so most of the pears found in grocery stores are unripe. Look for pears that are firm, but not rock hard. They should have smooth skin with no bruises or decay. Avoid those with soft spots or puncture wounds. The skin may not be uniform in color, since different varieties of pears have some speckling on them.

If you are looking for a ripe pear and are not sure if it is ripe, hold it in your hand and gently press near the stem with your thumb. If it yields to slight pressure, the pear is ripe and ready to be eaten. If it feels extremely soft, the pear is overripe. If you purchase overripe pears, it is best to reserve them for cooking, for food safety reasons.

How to Store Pears
Most pears will need to be ripened after bringing them home. Allow them to sit at room temperature for a few days, away from a heat source or sunlight. Use the test for ripeness described in the above section. Once they are ripe, store them in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process. Use them within a few days.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Pears
* Try a pear and pineapple green smoothie! Blend a pear with a small can of pineapple chunks (with the juice) (or 1-1/2 c fresh pineapple chunks), a large handful of fresh spinach, 10 to 12 sprigs of cilantro, and 1 cup coconut water or coconut milk. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

* The licorice flavor of fennel complements the sweetness of pears, so try adding both to your favorite fruit or green salad

* For breakfast, cook your favorite oats, then top them with a diced pear, a little maple syrup (if desired), a little cinnamon or allspice, chopped pecans, and some milk of choice. Delish!

* It’s best to ripen pears at room temperature. Only place them in the refrigerator when they are ripe and to slow further ripening until you’re ready to eat them. Once pears are ripe, use them within 5 days.

* To test a pear for ripeness, apply gentle pressure with your thumb at the top of the neck near the stem. When it yields to slight pressure, the pear is ripe.

* There are a number of ways to slow down the browning of fruit, like apples and pears. The researchers at https://seriouseats.com tested different methods and found the best method overall.  Soak cut pears in a solution of ½ teaspoon kosher salt per one cup of cold water. Stir to completely dissolve the salt in the water, then add the fruit pieces. Be sure they are completely submerged. Allow the fruit to soak for 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry. They tested rinsing the fruit slices immediately after being soaked, after two hours at room temperature, and not at all. Without rinsing, some taste testers detected a minor salt flavor while others did not. Even the slices that were briefly rinsed in plain water immediately after soaking did not readily brown after two hours of sitting open at room temperature. So, the fruit may be rinsed immediately or later, if desired. Impressive!

* If you find you have too many ripe pears and can’t eat them fast enough, blend them into smoothies, soups, sauces, or purees, or poach them. Cooked pears, such as poached pears, pear sauce, or puree may be frozen.

* To speed up the ripening of pears, place them (at room temperature) near other fruits that release ethylene gas. Such fruit includes bananas, apples, and avocados. The gas will speed the ripening of your pears.

* Pears are very versatile. Besides being served raw in almost anything, pears can be baked, poached, sautéed, roasted and grilled. They can be used as an ingredient in baked goods, and can be made into preserves, jams and chutneys. Anything that can be done with an apple can be done with a pear.

* Make a healthy salad with kale, spinach, leeks, pears and walnuts. Top with your favorite dressing.

* Add chopped pears, ginger, and honey to your favorite cooked grain (such as millet, oats, or quinoa) for a breakfast treat.

* Try pears poached in apple juice.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Pears
Allspice, anise seeds, cardamom, chicory, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, juniper berries, mint, nutmeg, parsley, pepper (black), rosemary, salt, star anise, tarragon, thyme

Foods That Go Well with Pears
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Beef, chestnuts, chicken, duck, nuts (esp. almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts), pork, turkey

Vegetables: Arugula, cabbage (red, white), celery, chives, endive, fennel, ginger, greens (bitter, salad), lettuces, onions (esp. red), parsnips, radicchio, rhubarb, shallots, spinach, squash (winter, esp. butternut), watercress

Fruits: Apples (including apple cider, apple juice), bananas, blackberries, cherries (dried, fresh), citrus fruits, cranberries, currants, dates, dried fruits, figs, grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, passion fruit, persimmons, pineapple, plums (dried), pomegranates, quinces, raisins, raspberries

Grains and Grain Products: Gingerbread, oats, oatmeal, phyllo dough

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, cashew cream, cheese (esp. blue, brie, feta, goat, Parmesan, ricotta), cream, crème fraiche, ice cream, mascarpone, sour cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Agave nectar, bourbon, brandy, caramel, chocolate, honey, maple syrup, molasses, oil (esp. grapeseed, olive), sugar (esp. brown), vanilla, vinegar, wine (red or white, dry or sweet)

Pears have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Baked goods (cakes, pies, tarts), desserts (i.e., crisps, crumbles, ice creams, sorbets, tarts), pancakes, pizzas, poached pears, rémoulade, salads (i.e., fruit, green, spinach), sauces (dessert), smoothies, soups, stews (esp. with dried pears), trail mixes (dried pears)

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Pears
Add pears to any of the following combinations…

Agave nectar + lemon + strawberries
Allspice + black pepper + maple syrup + red wine
Almonds + figs
Arugula + balsamic vinegar + blue cheese + fennel + olive oil
Balsamic vinegar + cinnamon + maple syrup
Blue cheese + fennel
Caramel + peanuts
Cheese (i.e., blue, goat, Parmesan)+ nuts (i.e., hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts)
Cherries + ginger
Cinnamon + cranberries + oats
Cranberries + hazelnuts
Cranberries + orange
Cranberries + pecans + vanilla
Cream + molasses
Fennel + fennel seeds + ginger
Feta cheese + red onions + salad greens
Ginger + orange
Ginger + pecans
Goat cheese + hazelnuts
Gorgonzola cheese + pecans + spinach
Hazelnuts + raspberries
Honey + maple syrup + orange + Parmesan cheese

About Different Types of Pears
There are thousands of varieties of pears globally. In the United States, there are relatively few that are commonly found in grocery stores. The following list covers most of them.

Bartlett Pears. These are the best-known pear in the United States. They are the variety that is usually used in canning. They are yellow-green and speckled, and are sometimes called Williams pears.

Bosc Pears. Bosc pears are a cinnamon brown pear with long tapered necks. They have a honey-like, complex flavor.

Comice Pears. Comice (pronounced ko-MEESE) pears are sometimes known as “Christmas pears” because they are often included in gift baskets and boxes, and are featured in grocery store produce sections during the Christmas season. They are usually available from September through February. Comice pears have a round body with a very short neck. They are green, sometimes with a red blush in parts of the skin. Some new strains are entirely red. These pears are fragile and bruise easily. They are very sweet, soft, and juicy, and pair well with cheese, especially soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, and any blue cheese.

Concorde Pears. These pears are tall with a round bottom and a long, tapering neck. The flesh is sweet, dense, firm and juicy. As they ripen, they become slightly softer and the flavor mellows. This is a relatively new variety of pear that has a short season from fall into December, when they are sold out. Their availability will extend as the crop increases.

Forelle Pears (aka Green d’ Anjou Pears). Forelle pears are commonly referred to by their French name, “d’ Anjou.” They are green with red speckles. They are bell shaped with a relatively short neck. Their flesh is moist and crisp. It is a small-sized pear that yellows as it ripens. Anjou pears are the second most recognizable, and most abundant pear variety in the United States.

Red Anjou Pears. These pears are very much like their green counterpart, except that they have a rich, reddish maroon color. They are usually available from September or October into the summer months. Their flavor is like their green counterparts, but cutting them in a salad or another food with their pretty red peel adds wonderful eye-appeal to any dish. They are often simply labeled as red pears in grocery stores.

Red Bartlett Pears. Red Bartlett pears are very much like their green counterparts, except for their bright red skin. Red Bartlett pears are delicious any way they come. When slightly underripe, they are crunchy and tart. When fully ripened, they are juicy and super sweet. They are usually found in grocery stores from September through December. They are often simply labeled as red pears in grocery stores.

Seckel Pears. Seckel pears are small with a chubby bottom and small neck. Their skin is usually olive green, often with a dark maroon blush. They are in season from September through February. Since they are small, they are often overlooked by shoppers. But Seckel pears make wonderful snacks or lunch box treats, especially for children. They also make lovely plate garnishes, and may even be canned whole.

Starkrimson Pears. Starkrimson pears are another variety of beautiful red pears. They have a narrower neck than Red Anjou pears. They are very juicy, mild, and sweet pears when ripe. They are perfect for snacking or dicing into assorted dishes and salads to show off their beautifully colored skin. Like their red cousins, Starkrimson pears are usually marketed as red pears in grocery stores. They are usually available August through November.

Recipe Links
Honey Glazed Pork Chops with Pear Chutney and Pear Fennel Salad https://producemadesimple.ca/honey-glazed-pork-chops-with-pear-chutney-pear-fennel-salad/

Herb and Pear Glazed Roast Turkey with Fig and Goat Cheese Stuffing https://producemadesimple.ca/herb-and-pear-glazed-roast-turkey-with-fig-and-goat-cheese-stuffing/

Pear and Parsnip Soup https://producemadesimple.ca/ontario-pear-parsnip-soup/

Pear and Cranberry Salsa https://producemadesimple.ca/ontario-pear-cranberry-salsa/

Caramel Dipped Pears https://producemadesimple.ca/caramel-dipped-pears/

Veggie Skillet (with Pears) https://usapears.org/recipe/veggie-skillet/

Pear and Walnut Flatbread with Gorgonzola, Arugula and Balsamic Glaze https://usapears.org/recipe/pear-and-walnut-flatbread-with-gorgonzola-arugula-and-balsamic-glaze/

Pear and Lentil Stir-Fry https://usapears.org/recipe/pear-lentil-stir-fry/

20 Perfect-for-Fall Pear Recipes You’ll Want to Eat All Year Round https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/popular-ingredients/pear-recipes?slide=8e9a23dc-ea24-4e09-bf73-c9bc9763dc9a#8e9a23dc-ea24-4e09-bf73-c9bc9763dc9a

Arugula and Pear Salad with Maple Vinaigrette https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/arugula-pear-salad-maple-vinaigrette

55 Delicious Pear Recipes You’ll Make Again and Again https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/pear-recipes/

15 Perfect Pear Desserts That’ll Make It Your New Favorite Fruit https://www.delish.com/cooking/g1175/perfect-pear-desserts/

28 Pear Recipes for Breakfast, Dinner, Dessert and More https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/16-pear-recipes-fall-dinner-dessert

The 17 Best Pear Recipes for Any Meal https://www.thespruceeats.com/best-pear-recipes-4177001

Red Bartlett, Sweet Corn, and Strawberry Salad https://usapears.org/recipe/red-bartlett-sweet-corn-and-strawberry-salad/

Brown Sugar Pear Butter https://usapears.org/recipe/brown-sugar-pear-butter/

Holiday Cranberry Relish http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=324

 

Resources
https://spoonuniversity.com/how-to/made-for-each-other-meat-and-fruit-pairings

https://producemadesimple.ca/pears-go-well/

https://producemadesimple.ca/pear-and-pineapple-green-smoothie/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=28#descr

https://usapears.org/comice/

https://usapears.org/concorde1/

https://usapears.org/red-anjou/

https://usapears.org/red-bartlett/

https://usapears.org/seckel/

https://usapears.org/starkrimson/

https://usapears.org/pear-ripening-and-handling/

https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/garden-to-table/freezing-pears

https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/syrups.html

https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/09/how-to-prevent-apple-pear-browning.html

https://commonsensehome.com/preserve-pears/

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.