Category Archives: Nutrition

Oregano

Oregano 101 – The Basics

 

Oregano 101 – The Basics

About Oregano
Oregano is a perennial herb that grows into a small shrub with multi-branched stems, with small, oval, grayish-green leaves. As the plant matures, it produces small white or pink flowers that are edible.

Oregano is an herb in the mint family. It is a close “cousin” to marjoram. Oregano is native to the Mediterranean region and western Asia. People have used it for thousands of years for both culinary and medicinal uses. Ancient Greeks and Romans associated oregano with joy and happiness, and used it at both weddings and funerals. The couple to be married was adorned with wreaths or garlands of oregano to ensure long years of love and happiness. Graves were planted with oregano to help the deceased find peace and tranquility in the next life.

Ancient Greeks discovered the plant had medicinal properties and used it to treat a variety of ailments. Oregano eventually was taken to China where it was prescribed to relieve fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, and itchy skin. In the middle ages, people used oregano to treat rheumatism, toothache, indigestion, and cough. Later, oregano was consumed throughout Europe and Northern Africa where it was used to flavor meats, fish, and even wine. Oregano was hardly known in the United States before World War II. Soldiers discovered the herb during the Italian Campaign and brought the herb to the United States, with suggested ways to use it. Its popularity in America has grown ever since.

Oregano is very popular in Mediterranean cuisines, especially Greek and Italian foods. The leaves have a distinct aroma with a warm, slightly bitter flavor. The intensity of the flavor of oregano can vary among the different varieties. Also, growing conditions (season, climate, and soil) affect the flavor of oregano, so it can vary from a mild to intense, biting flavor.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Even though we don’t eat a lot of oregano at any one time, the herb has an impressive list of compounds known to have disease prevention and health promoting properties.

Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties. Thymol, one of the noteworthy compounds in oregano is known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. In a 2019 study, thymol and carvacrol, another important compound found in oregano essential oil, were found to prevent various strains of Staphylococcus aureus from developing in meat and dairy products, suggesting it could be used to deter bacterial growth in food. Researchers tested the antimicrobial effects of oregano oil against an array of microbes and found it to be effective against eleven different strains of bacteria.

Oregano is also an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is well-known for its antioxidant properties and help in warding off infections.

Antioxidants. Oregano is rich in antioxidant compounds, including Vitamin A, carotenes, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin. It has been rated to be a plant among the highest with antioxidant benefits. These compounds protect us from dangerous free radical molecules that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Animal studies suggest that oregano extract may reduce inflammation associated with autoimmune arthritis, allergic asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Promotes Healthy Digestion. Oregano stimulates the release of gastric juices, promoting healthy digestion and movement of intestinal contents.

Source of Important Minerals. Oregano is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium, an important electrolyte in cellular and body fluids, is well-known for helping to control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese functions as a co-factor in the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is well-known for helping to prevent anemia, while magnesium and calcium are essential for healthy bones.

How to Select Oregano
Dried oregano is available in just about any grocery store you can name. Fresh oregano is found in the refrigerated produce section of many grocery stores. Many people prefer the flavor of fresh oregano over dried. Also, fresh oregano is richer in essential oils, and vitamins and minerals than its dried counterpart.

When shopping for fresh oregano, select those with a vibrant green color and a firm stem. There should be no mold, discoloration or yellowing.  They should not look wilted.

How to Store Oregano
Do not wash fresh oregano until you are ready to use it. The excess moisture could invite decay.

There are different ways fresh oregano can be stored…

(1) Store fresh oregano in the refrigerator in the original clamshell container it came in. Stored this way, it will keep for a few days.

(2) Store fresh oregano in the refrigerator, in a zip-lock bag. Like the plastic clamshell container, fresh herbs kept this way will have a tendency to dry out and should be used within three days.

(3) Store fresh oregano loosely wrapped, jelly roll style, in a slightly damp paper towel or cloth, placed loosely in a plastic bag, and kept in the refrigerator. When stored this way, it may keep for up to one week.

(4) Fresh oregano may also be kept like fresh cut flowers, standing up, cut side down, in a glass with a little water. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. Change the water every day or two. Try to use oregano kept this way within one week.

Store dried oregano in an airtight container in a cool, dry, place, away from a heat source and light. For best flavor, use it within six months.

How to Freeze Oregano
First, wash and dry your fresh oregano sprigs. Remove the leaves from the stems and place them loosely in a freezer bag. Remove as much air from the bag as you can. Try to place it somewhere in the freezer where the leaves won’t get crushed. Use within one year.

Fresh oregano may also be frozen in ice cubes. Wash and remove the leaves from stems. Place a measured amount of leaves in ice cube trays. Fill with water and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag or container. To use, simply add however many cubes you need to soups, sauces, stews, or marinades. Use your cubes within one year.

How to Dry Oregano
Like storing and freezing fresh oregano, there are different ways it can be dried.

(1) Wash and dry the fresh oregano on the stems. Tie the stems toward the cut side, and hang them upside down to dry in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. The area should have plenty of ventilation. Once dried, the bundle can be placed in a bag or container and stored away from light and heat. Use within six months for best flavor. To save space, the leaves can easily be removed from the stems before being stored.

(2) Wash and dry the fresh oregano on the stems. Place the oregano, stems and all, in a clean paper bag that is large enough so the stems won’t be overly crowded. Close the paper bag by folding over the top. Lay the bag on its side in a cool, dry place. Two or three times a day, gently shake the bag to keep any branches from sticking together and turn the bag over. Check it periodically for dryness, starting after a week or so. When they are completely dry, remove the leaves from the stems and place them in an airtight container. Store it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Use within six months for best flavor.

(3) Fresh oregano may also be dried in a dehydrator. Wash and pat the stems and leaves dry. Place the stems on a mesh dehydrator sheet and follow the manufacturer’s directions for drying your herbs. The usual temperature for drying herbs is as low as possible, about 95°F. Allow them to dehydrate until they are crispy and completely dry. Remove the leaves from the stems and transfer them to an airtight container. As with the other methods, store it in a cool, dry place away from a heat source and light. Use within six months for best flavor.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Oregano
* Add dried oregano at the beginning of cooking to allow it to rehydrate and the flavor to be released. Add fresh oregano at the end of cooking so the flavor will remain in your food.

* Some varieties of oregano can be spicier than others. Italian oregano is sweeter and milder in flavor. Greek and Mexican oregano is hotter and spicier in flavor.

* If your pizza is lacking that “classic” pizza flavor, sprinkle it with a little dried oregano. Oregano is the herb that makes pizza taste like pizza.

* Try adding oregano to tomato-based pasta dishes, omelets, breads, roasted potatoes, kebabs, chicken, and lentils.

* Add a little sprinkle of dried oregano leaves to a green salad for a spicy flavor.

* If a recipe calls for fresh oregano and all you have is dried (or vice versa), here’s the conversion rate: 1 part of dried oregano = 3 parts of fresh. Example: 1 teaspoon of dried oregano = 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of fresh oregano.

* If you’re making your own fresh dinner rolls, finely mince a few tablespoons of fresh oregano leaves, and knead it directly in the dough for fresh herb rolls.

* Try adding some fresh, chopped oregano leaves to a pot of beans during the last 15 minutes of cooking for an earthy oregano flavor.

* Make a robust, savory pesto using fresh oregano instead of basil leaves. Serve a little on a green salad, toss it with roasted vegetables, or brush it on your favorite bread.

* For a simple and satisfying salad, sprinkle oregano on sliced tomato and mozzarella cheese. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

* If you elect to use oregano oil on your skin, be sure to dilute it with a carrier oil.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Oregano
Basil, capers, cayenne, cilantro, cumin, marjoram, pepper (black), salt

Foods That Go Well with Oregano
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Beans (in general), beef, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, fish (and other seafood), lamb, pork, tahini, turkey, veal

Vegetables: Bell peppers, chiles, eggplant, endive, fennel, garlic, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, scallions, squash (summer and winter), tomatoes and tomato sauce, vegetables (roasted, stir-fried), zucchini

Fruits: Citrus (in general), lemons, olives, orange

Grains and Grain Products: Corn, grains (in general), pasta, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (i.e., feta, soft, white)

Other Foods: Mustard (Dijon), oil (esp. olive)

Oregano has been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Chili, Greek cuisine, Italian cuisine, kebabs, marinades, Mediterranean cuisines, Mexican cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisines, pasta dishes, pizza, salad dressings, salads (esp. Greek), sauces (esp. pasta, pizza, tomato), soups (esp. minestrone, spinach, tomato, yogurt), Southwest American cuisine, stews, stuffings

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Oregano
Add oregano to any of the following combinations…

Cannellini beans + zucchini
Feta cheese + tomatoes [in salads]
Garlic + lemon [in salad dressings]
Lemon juice + olive oil [in marinades]

Recipe Links
Chimichurri Sauce https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/68003/chimichurri-sauce/

Fast, Fresh Grape Tomato Salad https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/223168/fast-fresh-grape-tomato-salad/

Cajun spice Mix https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/149221/cajun-spice-mix/

Greek Lemon Chicken and Potatoes https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/242352/greek-lemon-chicken-and-potatoes/

Daddy Eddie’s Roast Pork, Puerto Rican-Style https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/254168/daddy-eddies-roast-pork-pernil-puerto-rican-style/

Homemade Pizza Sauce https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/234536/how-to-make-homemade-pizza-sauce/

Herbs de Provence https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/223272/herbs-de-provence/

Absolutely Fabulous Greek/House Salad https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/36520/absolutely-fabulous-greekhouse-dressing/

Oregano Recipes https://www.foodandwine.com/seasonings/herbs/oregano/oregano-recipes?slide=91503ca7-1673-4fde-b3b1-1f75cdfa0db9#91503ca7-1673-4fde-b3b1-1f75cdfa0db9

Grilled Yellow Squash and Zucchini Pasta Salad https://www.sunset.com/recipe/grilled-yellow-squash-zucchini-pasta-salad

Orange, Radicchio, and Oregano Salad https://www.sunset.com/recipe/orange-radicchio-oregano-salad

Grilled Potato Salad https://www.sunset.com/recipe/grilled-potato-salad

Tagliatelle with Fresh Oregano Pesto https://www.tastymediterraneo.com/tagliatelle-with-fresh-oregano-pesto/

 

Resources
https://www.americanspice.com/blogs/fun-facts-on-oregano/

https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/oregano.html

https://www.thespruceeats.com/oregano-storage-1807785

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/hgen/freezing-herbs.htm

https://www.livingonadime.com/herb-guide/

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

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

https://www.thekitchn.com/5-ways-to-use-fresh-oregano-from-your-garden-ingredient-spotlight-191094

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266259#benefits

https://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/herbal-history-oregano

http://www.indepthinfo.com/oregano/history.shtml

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266259#risks

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.

Broccoli

Broccoli 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

This is an update to my original post on Broccoli 101 – The Basics. This post has expanded, more comprehensive information about broccoli. However, the original post has a lot of valuable information, so please check it out too! https://www.judiklee.com/2019/02/28/broccoli-101-the-basics/

Enjoy!
Judi

Broccoli 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

About Broccoli
Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables in the cruciferous family and is enjoyed worldwide in many different cuisines. It is a member of the Brassica family of plants, and is related to many other popular vegetables such as cabbage, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, and Brussels sprouts.

The most popular variety of broccoli forms a “head,” referring to a flowering portion of the plant. This is the part of the plant we commonly refer to as the “florets.” If the plant is left to mature, the florets (head) would develop flowers that eventually produce seeds. Non-heading varieties of broccoli produce florets throughout the plant at the ends of the shoots. Broccoli varieties can range in color from deep sage to dark green to purplish green.

From what we understand, broccoli had its origins as a type of wild cabbage. Through centuries of selective planting, it was developed into the varieties that we are familiar with today. It is now grown in virtually all continents around the world and is especially diverse and plentiful in the Mediterranean area of Europe, the central and western parts of Asia, and the western half of North America. Almost all of the broccoli produced commercially in the United States is grown in California, followed by Arizona. Broccoli imported to America mostly comes from Mexico.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Broccoli is exceptionally high in many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. It is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, chromium and folate. It also supplies a lot of fiber, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, choline, Vitamin B1, Vitamin A, potassium, copper, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, niacin, and selenium. One cup of cooked broccoli has as much Vitamin C as an orange. It is also very low in calories, with one cup having only 31 calories. It is truly a powerhouse of nutrition!

In addition to its long list of vitamins and minerals, broccoli is concentrated with an array of phytonutrients which are key to its important health-promoting benefits.

Anti-Cancer Connection. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are particularly high in glucosinolates, which are converted into a group of compounds called isothiocyanates. These compounds are known to help shut down the inflammatory process. Sulforaphane is one of the well-known isothiocyanates known to squelch the inflammatory process, providing powerful health benefits.

There are other compounds in broccoli that work together synergistically providing potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, helping to reduce our risk for assorted types of cancer. Laboratory animal and test tube studies have shown sulforaphane to reduce both the size and number of cancer cells. Population studies have found that people who have a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables have a significantly lower cancer rate than those who eat less cruciferous vegetables.

It is noteworthy that sulforaphane is only activated through enzyme interaction when the vegetable is cut or chewed. Also, raw mature broccoli has more sulforaphane potential than lightly steamed broccoli. Broccoli sprouts have been found to have many times more of the health-boosting phytonutrients, including sulforaphane, than mature broccoli. To learn how to grow your own broccoli sprouts, see my video … https://youtu.be/U-e87xKofPs

Detoxification. In conjunction with the anti-cancer benefits of broccoli, it also has detoxification properties. Compounds in broccoli have been shown to improve Phase 2 of our detoxification process, which also helps to reduce our risk for cancer. The amount of broccoli shown to produce this effect is from 1 to 2 cups per day.

The vast blend of compounds in broccoli makes it a unique food in terms of cancer prevention. Oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and inadequate detoxification are well-documented connections to the development of cancer. Research has shown that broccoli has compounds that fight all three of those problems, thereby making it a highly valuable food in the fight against cancer. Even though 1 to 2 cups of broccoli a day may be ideal, researchers have found benefit with as little as ½ cup of broccoli daily. Even a 2-cup serving twice a week is enough to offer valuable benefits.  So, “the moral of the story” is…Eat your broccoli, whenever you can, as much as you can!

Cardiovascular Support. Recent studies have shown that broccoli can lower LDL cholesterol levels, decreasing our risk for heart disease. A recent study showed that as little as 1/3 cup of broccoli per day for 3 months lowered LDL cholesterol in subjects by 2.5 percent. Both raw and steamed broccoli showed cholesterol-lowering effects, although a stronger LDL-lowering effect was found with steamed broccoli.

Broccoli is also high in Vitamin B6 and folate, both of which are important nutrients in lowering homocysteine levels. Having lower homocysteine levels is associated with lowered risk for atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.

Eye Health. Lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids found in significant amounts in broccoli, are especially important for eye health. Low levels of these compounds can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration, both raising our risk for vision loss. Therefore, eating broccoli on a regular basis can help to prevent eye issues that can lead to vision loss over time.

Diabetes Risk. A human study reported in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, showed significantly reduced insulin resistance in subjects with Type 2 diabetes who ate broccoli sprouts daily for one month.

Healthy Digestion. Broccoli is high in fiber and antioxidants, both of which support healthy digestive function and the gut microbiome. Nutrients, such as those found in broccoli, have been found to promote reduced levels of inflammation in the colon along with favorable changes in the gut bacteria.

Brain Support. Some of the compounds in broccoli may slow mental decline and support healthy brain function. A study with 960 older adults showed that one serving a day of dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, helped to resist mental decline associated with aging. Animal studies showed that a compound in broccoli, kaempferol, lowered the incidence of brain injury and reduced inflammation following a stroke-like event. Another animal study showed that mice treated with sulforaphane had significant brain tissue recovery and reduced inflammation after a brain injury or toxic exposure.

Most of the current research on the effects of compounds found in broccoli on brain health are limited to animal studies. However, they are promising and may lead to further human studies.

Other Benefits of Broccoli. There are numerous other potential benefits of eating broccoli on a regular basis. The high Vitamin C level in broccoli supports a healthy immune system. The antioxidants found in broccoli, especially sulforaphane, may help to slow the aging process. Some of the compounds found in broccoli have been shown to support dental and oral health. Vitamin C, calcium, and kaempferol, a flavonoid found in broccoli, appear to play a role in preventing periodontal disease. Sulforaphane in broccoli may also reduce the risk for oral cancers. Broccoli is high in Vitamin K, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C, all of which are nutrients vital for maintaining strong bones. Researchers have extensively studied the health benefits of broccoli and its components, and are finding new implications regularly. Joint health, pregnancy support, and skin health are also among the areas being studied.

How to Select Broccoli
Look for bright green heads of broccoli with tightly clustered florets. The more open the florets, the older the broccoli is. The florets should be uniformly colored with no yellowing. Look for firm, strong stalks (flimsy stalks that bend are older and becoming dehydrated). Broccoli should feel heavy for its size. Any attached leaves should be vibrant in color and not wilted.

How to Store Fresh Broccoli
Do not wash fresh broccoli until you are ready to use it. Store it in the refrigerator. It may be stored in a plastic bag if you plan to use it quickly. However, for the longest storage life, place it in a container with a lid, with the bottom lined with a paper towel or clean cloth. That will absorb any moisture released by the broccoli, preventing it from sitting in water. At the same time, the cloth or paper towel will help to maintain a humid environment when it becomes damp from the moisture released by the broccoli. This will help to keep it from dehydrating. Use your fresh broccoli within 7 days.

How to Prepare Fresh Broccoli
Rinse fresh broccoli when you’re ready to use it. If it has started to dehydrate (get limp) in the refrigerator, it may be soaked in cold water for about 10 minutes to help crisp it back up.

The florets may be cooked whole or cut into smaller pieces, depending upon how you plan to use them. Of course, the smaller pieces will cook faster than the whole florets.

The stalks are often cut off and discarded. This is unfortunate, because they are edible and taste just like the florets. The outer edges of the stalks me be somewhat “woody.” If they are, the outer, tough area may be trimmed away (and discarded) either with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Then simply cut the stalks into desired size pieces, roughly the same size as the florets and cook them along with the florets.

Fresh broccoli may be eaten raw or cooked and used in just about any way imaginable: steamed, boiled, stir-fried, stir-steamed, roasted, added to casseroles, soups, stews, salads, smoothies, and juices. The use for broccoli is limited only to your imagination!

How to Preserve Fresh Broccoli
There is a trend today among some people to simply wash, chop, and place vegetables in the freezer without being pretreated first. Although this method does save time, it is appropriate for some vegetables (such as onions and bell peppers), but not for all. Broccoli is one of the vegetables that should be pretreated first to stop the enzyme activity that will cause the vegetable pieces to continue to age while in the freezer. If you insist on freezing broccoli without pretreating it, be sure to label it with the current date and use it within three months for best quality. Pretreating your broccoli first to disable the enzymes, will allow you to keep your broccoli for much longer with a better quality, up to about a year. It will be edible beyond that but the quality will dwindle over time.

Freezing Broccoli (Blanching). First wash the broccoli, and cut the florets into desired size pieces. The stems may be frozen, but first remove the woody area along the outer edges, then cut the stems into desired size pieces, comparable to the size of the florets. If you prefer larger pieces, it is best if all of the florets are no more than one inch across and stems are no longer than five inches.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place your prepared broccoli in the boiling water and set your timer right away. Allow smaller pieces to blanch (remain in the hot water) for 3 minutes. If your pieces are very large, they will need to remain in the water for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on size. Once the timer has finished, immediately transfer the broccoli to a large bowl of ice water. Allow the broccoli to chill in the cold water for as long as it was in the hot water. Then drain the broccoli well and transfer it to freezer bags or containers. To prevent it from freezing in a large lump, you could first spread your blanched broccoli pieces on a tray and place that in the freezer. When the pieces are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Label the container with the current date, and return them to the freezer. Use your broccoli within 12 months for best quality.

For a video demonstration on how to blanch broccoli, watch this video… https://youtu.be/RdLuEKq5wtw

Freezing Broccoli (Steaming). Fresh broccoli may also be preserved by steaming it first, instead of water blanching. Prepare your broccoli as detailed above. Place a steamer basket in a pot (that has a lid) and add water to a level that will not rise above the bottom of the steaming basket when the water boils. Bring the water to boil. Add the broccoli pieces and place the lid on the pot. Set the timer for 4 minutes if the pieces are small, or 5 minutes if the pieces are large. When the timer is finished, transfer the steamed broccoli pieces to a large bowl of ice water and follow the same procedure as detailed above for chilling and freezing your broccoli.

Dehydrating Fresh Broccoli: Broccoli florets may be dehydrated. The stems may remain a bit tough with dehydration, so it is only recommended to dehydrate the florets. Blanch and cool your broccoli pieces as detailed above. They may either be water blanched or steam blanched. Once the broccoli pieces have been cooled, spread them on your dehydrator mesh tray. Follow the dehydrator manufacturer’s directions for the length of time and temperature for proper dehydration with your machine.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Broccoli
* Try raw broccoli served with a dip or hummus.

* Add broccoli, raw or cooked, to your next green salad.

* Try roasting broccoli with cauliflower, flavored with olive oil and garam masala.

* Add broccoli to your next breakfast omelet or quiche.

* For a quick pasta dish, toss cooked pasta with some olive oil, pine nuts, and steamed broccoli. Season with a pinch of garlic powder, parsley and oregano. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

* Try making “broccoli rice.” Simply place chopped raw broccoli in a food processor. Pulse until the broccoli is in small, rice-like pieces. Then briefly sauté it in a skillet like you would make fried rice.

* Try adding some frozen and thawed chopped broccoli along with some shredded cheddar cheese to your next batch of corn bread. The bread will be moist and flavorful.

* If your raw broccoli has started to get limp, soak it in cold water for about 10 minutes and it will crisp back up.

* Make a broccoli dip by blending steamed broccoli, yogurt, chives or green onions, paprika, and fresh garlic. Use it as a dip for raw vegetables like carrots, celery, bell peppers, yellow squash, and zucchini.

* Try steamed broccoli topped with your favorite hummus.

* For some citrus-flavored broccoli, stir-steam broccoli in a little orange juice with a pinch of orange zest. Add some crushed red pepper flakes or black pepper for extra “zing.”

* Make your broccoli with a Mediterranean flare. Top steamed broccoli with a little marinara sauce and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese or shredded mozzarella.

* Make a salad with lightly steamed broccoli, feta cheese, grape tomatoes, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

* Try a stir-fry with broccoli, red bell peppers, and sesame oil. Top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

* Make delicious side dish by roasting broccoli pieces flavored with olive oil, salt and pepper. When it’s finished, drizzle it with a little lemon juice, then sprinkle with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Broccoli
Basil, capers, cayenne, chili pepper flakes, cilantro, coriander, curry powder, dill, marjoram, mustard (seeds, powder), oregano, parsley, pepper (black), rosemary, sage, salt, savory, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

Foods That Go Well with Broccoli
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans (esp. cannellini, green, white), beef, cashews, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, flax seeds, ham, hazelnuts, mung bean sprouts, nuts (in general), peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pork, pumpkin seeds, sausage, seafood, sesame seeds, soybeans, tahini, tofu, walnuts

Vegetables: Bell peppers, cauliflower, chiles, chives, garlic, ginger, greens (in general), leeks, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, scallions, shallots, spinach, squash (summer and winter), tomatoes, watercress

Fruits: Avocado, coconut, lemon, lime, olives, orange

Grains and Grain Products: Bread crumbs, bulgur, noodles and pasta (in general), quinoa, rice, seitan, wheat berries

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

Other Foods: Mayonnaise, miso, mustard (Dijon), oil (esp. olive, peanut, sesame, walnut), sauces (esp. Hollandaise), soy sauce, stock, tamari, vinaigrette, vinegar (esp. balsamic, rice, tarragon), wine (dry white)

Broccoli has been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Casseroles, crepes, crudités, curries, egg dishes (custards, omelets, quiches), gratins, guacamole, hummus, pizzas, baked potatoes (toppings), salads (i.e., green, pasta, tomato, vegetable), sauces, slaws, soufflés, soups (esp. broccoli, creamy), stews, stir-fries, tempura

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Broccoli
Add broccoli to any of the following combinations…

Almonds + Citrus Fruits + Garlic
Almonds + Mushrooms
Almonds + Romano Cheese
Basil + Garlic + Olive Oil + Parmesan Cheese + Walnuts
Bell Peppers + Capers + Olives
Bell Peppers + Mozzarella Cheese
Chiles + Garlic + Ginger + Lime + Olive Oil
Chiles + Garlic + Olive Oil
Chiles + Garlic + Orange (juice, zest)
Feta Cheese + Mint + Red Onions
Flax Seeds + Lemon
Garlic + Ginger + Sesame Oil/Seeds + Tamari
Garlic + Lemon + Olive Oil + Chili Pepper Flakes
Garlic + Lemon + Tahini
Ginger + Orange
Lemon + Parsley
Lime + Noodles + Peanuts
Onions + Orange
Orange + Parmesan Cheese + Tomatoes
Red Onions + Yogurt
Rice Vinegar + Sesame Oil + Sesame Seeds + Soy Sauce or Tamari

Recipe Links
Cook Frozen Broccoli (Not Mushy) https://youtu.be/Ig6CeSmgU0c

How to Steam Broccoli https://youtu.be/adqpjc_OJIg

How to Blanch Broccoli https://youtu.be/RdLuEKq5wtw

Easily Cut Fresh Broccoli with Less Mess https://youtu.be/mKX8jfNl5IM

How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts https://youtu.be/U-e87xKofPs

Lemon-Garlic Broccoli (NOT Mushy! Using Frozen Broccoli) https://youtu.be/bg6hb9qIQIM

35+ Of Our Best Broccoli Recipes https://www.thekitchn.com/20-ways-to-eat-more-broccoli-tonight-237483

27 Broccoli Recipes You’ll Want to Make Tonight https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/broccoli-recipes

Broccoli Soup https://producemadesimple.ca/broccoli-soup/

50 of the Best Broccoli Recipes We’ve Ever Tasted https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/superstar-broccoli-recipes-even-picky-eaters-will-love/

15 Best Broccoli Recipes https://www.thespruceeats.com/recipes-that-will-make-you-rethink-broccoli-4155771

11 Best Broccoli Recipes/Easy Broccoli Recipes https://food.ndtv.com/lists/10-best-broccoli-recipes-731246

Beef with Broccoli https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/beef-with-broccoli-2495686

Broccoli Recipes https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/1113/fruits-and-vegetables/vegetables/broccoli/

Simple and Satisfying Broccoli https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/simple-and-satisfying-broccoli-recipe-1923557

10 Family-Friendly Broccoli Recipes https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/popular-ingredients/broccoli-recipes

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

Asian-Flavored Broccoli with Tofu http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=254

Seriously, The Best Broccoli of Your Life https://www.errenskitchen.com/seriously-best-broccoli-life/#wprm-recipe-container-7680

33 Amazing Broccoli Recipes Even Broccoli Haters Can’t Hate https://www.delish.com/cooking/nutrition/g241/broccoli-recipes/

15 Favorite Broccoli Recipes https://www.acouplecooks.com/tasty-broccoli-recipes/

Broccoli Cornbread with Cheese https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/231966/broccoli-cornbread-with-cheese/

Our 15 Best Broccoli Salad Recipes https://www.allrecipes.com/gallery/best-broccoli-salad-recipes/


Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=9

https://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/broccoli.php

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-broccoli-rabe-broccoli-rabe-vs-rapini-and-9-ways-to-cook-broccoli-rabe

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

https://www.allrecipes.com/article/all-about-broccoli/

https://athleanx.com/for-women/10-new-ways-to-make-broccoli-taste-awesome

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sulforaphane

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sulforaphane#benefits

https://www.livestrong.com/article/433053-broccoli-sprouts-vs-broccoli/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22537070/

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. (1993) So Easy to Preserve. 3rd ed. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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.

Bell Peppers

Bell Peppers 101 – The Basics

 

Bell Peppers 101 – The Basics

About Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are native to the Caribbean and North, Central, and South America. These popular peppers were gradually distributed around the world and are now grown in a number of countries. Bell peppers are commercially grown in greenhouse and non-greenhouse settings. In the United States, most greenhouse bell peppers are imported, usually from Mexico. The United States also imports bell peppers from Canada, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Spain. Within the United States, bell peppers are a popular summer food to grow among home gardeners. They are also grown commercially in California, Florida, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Michigan.

Bell peppers are members of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family of plants, along with chili peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes (not sweet potatoes). The name “bell peppers” was applied to these fruits (that we use as vegetables) to distinguish them from their hot cousins, including cayenne and jalapeno peppers.

Classic bell peppers have four lobes on the bottom. Increasingly, we’ll find three-lobed green bell peppers in the bin in grocery stores. These are more elongated in shape and are referred to as the Lamuyo type of pepper. Bell peppers are considered to be sweet rather than hot because they do not contain capsaicinoids that give hot peppers their classic, flavorful “heat.” The amount of capsaicinoids in a pepper is measured on the Scoville heat scale. It’s an indication of how “hot” a pepper is. Bell peppers are given a score of “0” on this scale, whereas the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers have a score of 2 million! Ouch!!

Most varieties of bell peppers are green during the growing process and will undergo a color change during maturation. The colors can be yellow, orange, red, purple, lilac, brown, and even ivory. The colorful peppers are usually more expensive than the green, less mature peppers. This is because it takes a longer growing time to allow the peppers to mature, so the cost of production is increased. It is noteworthy that some varieties of bell peppers remain green, even with maturation, and others undergo color changes early in the development process.

Mini bell peppers are relatively new on the market. They are not young bell peppers, but are separate varieties of peppers. They can be more challenging to grow since they are less disease resistant than the larger peppers. Hence, they can be more expensive.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Bell peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. They also contain a lot of folate, molybdenum, Vitamin E, fiber, Vitamin B2, pantothenic acid, niacin, and potassium. They also contain Vitamin K, manganese, Vitamin B1, phosphorus, and magnesium.

The shining star of bell peppers is their abundant content of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. These many, assorted compounds in bell peppers provide an array of health benefits. Overall, such compounds reduce oxidative stress. This in itself reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Eye Health. The carotenoids and other antioxidants have been shown to help prevent age-related macular degeneration of the eyes, which can result in vision loss.

Neurodegenerative Diseases. The compounds in bell peppers can help ward off neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Compounds in bell peppers, especially ripe, colorful bell peppers, have been shown to block the release of amyloid proteins. It is the release of such proteins that allows them to accumulate around certain nerve cells in the brain (cholinergic neurons) that increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Although all bell peppers contain these antioxidants (primarily lutein and zeaxanthin), the darker, richer colored peppers contain more than the green, immature peppers.

How to Select Bell Peppers
Choose bell peppers that are bright in color, firm, with smooth skin, and no blemishes. The stems should be green and fresh looking. They should be heavy for their size. Avoid those that are soft and wrinkled, have blemishes, or are damaged in some way.

How to Store Bell Peppers
Store bell peppers, unwashed, in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. The drawer slider should be set on high humidity (with the air vent closed). Since bell peppers are high in water content, this will help to keep them hydrated during storage. They should be in a humid, but not wet environment. Stored this way, they should keep for about 7 to 10 days.

Once cut, bell peppers should be placed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator. Use them as quickly as possible, within two or three days.

How to Prepare a Bell Pepper
Preparing bell peppers is very easy. Simply wash them well under cold water and pat them dry. With a sharp knife, cut across the top of the pepper, as if you were creating a “lid” for the lower portion of the pepper. The stem can then easily be removed from the top section and the top portion can then be cut and used as desired. Then, the seed core can easily be grasped and removed from the lower portion of the pepper. It’s best to do that over a trash can or bowl, since individual seeds will likely be released in the process. If desired, remaining membranes can easily be removed from the interior of the peppers. The pepper can then be cut and used as desired.  To see my demonstration on how to cut bell peppers with this method, watch this brief video … https://youtu.be/HTWMHMy6fmk

How to Freeze Bell Peppers
Freezing bell peppers is really about as easy as it can get. They can be blanched, but it’s optional. Bear in mind, that once frozen, they will not be appropriate for use like you would have used fresh peppers. Their texture will be soft, so they will be suitable only for cooked applications.

First, simply wash and dry your whole peppers. Remove the stems and seeds (like detailed under “How to Prepare a Bell Pepper” in this article). Cut the peppers into whatever size pieces you want, depending upon your intended use(s) later. To allow them to freeze separately so they won’t freeze into one big lump, spread the cut peppers out on a baking sheet or tray. Place it in the freezer until the peppers are completely frozen. Transfer the frozen pepper pieces to an airtight freezer container or bag. Label them with the date and return them to the freezer. To avoid freezer burn, use them within six months.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Bell Peppers
* Add slices of bell peppers to your snack trays for scooping up dips. They would add color, crunch, flavor, AND nutrition.

* Add bell peppers to omelets, soups, and pasta sauces.

* Use diced or sliced bell peppers as pizza toppings.

* Are you looking for ways to get children to eat more veggies? Stuff bell peppers with macaroni and cheese.

* Add bell peppers to your favorite stir-fry.

* Add chopped bell peppers to tuna, chicken, and potato salad.

* Don’t store bell peppers in sealed plastic bags (even in the refrigerator). Moisture will develop inside the bag, inviting them to spoil faster.

* Sauté sliced bell peppers with onions, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Add the mixture to tacos, fajitas, sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, pastas, frittatas, and quiches. This mixture can also be used as a foundation for soups, stews, and sauces.

* Add diced bell peppers to any green salad for extra flavor, crunch, and nutrition.

* Stuff bell peppers with any meat or bean, grain, and vegetable mixture that you enjoy. Bake them until the peppers are just tender and enjoy! Embellish the baked stuffed pepper with your favorite tomato or other sauce for added flavor and moisture.

* Mix up a batch of your favorite hummus and use bell pepper slices for dipping the hummus. Take this one step farther by stuffing mini bell peppers with hummus, making small, bite-size appetizers.

* Add diced bell peppers to your next batch of corn bread. It’s a perfect match and will give the corn bread a touch of sweetness.

* Add diced bell peppers to your favorite green smoothie. Using red, orange or yellow peppers will add a touch of sweetness.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Bell Peppers
Anise, basil, bay leaf, capers, cayenne, celery seeds, chervil, chili pepper flakes, chili powder, cilantro, coriander, cumin, marjoram, mint, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper (black), saffron, sage, salt, thyme

Foods That Go Well with Bell Peppers
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Beans (esp. black, fava, red), beef, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, ham, lentils, pine nuts, pork, sausage, seafood (in general), sesame seeds, snow peas, tahini, tempeh, tofu, tuna, walnuts

Vegetables: Artichokes, arugula, asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, chiles, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, garlic, ginger, greens (salad), jicama, leeks, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, shallots, squash (summer), sweet potatoes, tomatoes (fresh, paste, sauce, sun-dried), vegetables (summer), zucchini

Fruits: Lemon, lime, mango, olives, peaches, pears, pineapple, raisins

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, bread, bulgur, corn, corn bread, grains (whole), millet, noodles (Asian), pasta, polenta, quinoa, rice (esp. brown, wild)

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (esp. cheddar, feta, goat, mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, soft), coconut milk, yogurt

Other Foods: Honey, miso, oil (esp. canola, corn, olive, peanut, sesame), pomegranate molasses, stock, vinegar (esp. balsamic, red wine, sherry), wine (dry red, white)

Bell peppers have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Bruschetta, casseroles, chili, coulis, couscous, curries, dips, egg dishes (frittatas, omelets, quiches, scrambled, tortillas), gazpacho, gratins, hash, meatloaf, Mediterranean cuisines, Mexican cuisine, pasta dishes (lasagna, linguini, orzo, spaghetti), pilafs, pizzas, purees, quesadillas, ratatouille, relishes, risottos, romesco sauce, salads (bean, green, pasta, potato, tomato, vegetable), sandwiches, sauces, slaws, sofritoes, soups (i.e., bean, gazpacho, gumbo, red pepper, tomato, vegetable), South American cuisines, spreads, stews, stir-fries, stuffed peppers, stuffings, Tex-Mex cuisine, Thai cuisine, Turkish cuisine

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Bell Peppers
Add bell peppers to any of the following combinations…

Balsamic vinegar + basil + garlic + olive oil
Balsamic vinegar + chili pepper flakes + garlic + olive oil
Balsamic vinegar + olive oil + red onions
Basil + chiles + garlic
Basil + eggplant + garlic
Basil + fennel + goat cheese
Basil + garlic + olive oil + onions + oregano + tomatoes
Cheese + eggs + tomatoes
Chiles + cilantro + lime + mint + scallions
Cucumbers + garlic + tomatoes
Dried cranberries + mushrooms + sage + wild rice
Eggs + mushrooms + onions
Garlic + olive oil + tomatoes + zucchini
Cider vinegar + garlic + honey + olive oil + red onions
Lemon juice + mint + pine nuts + rice
Olive oil + onions + red wine vinegar + thyme
Pomegranate molasses + walnuts

Recipe Links
45 of Our Favorite Bell Pepper Recipes https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/bell-pepper-recipes/

25 Bell Pepper Recipes That Make the Most of This Colorful Veg https://www.marthastewart.com/275370/bell-pepper-recipes

Pan-Roasted Peppers https://www.thespruceeats.com/pan-roasted-peppers-482763

15 Favorite Bell Pepper Recipes https://www.acouplecooks.com/favorite-bell-pepper-recipes/

Healthy Veggie Salad http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=311

Zesty Mexican Soup http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=30

Braised Kidney Beans and Sweet Potato http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=110

Spicy Black Bean Burrito http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=248

Sautéed Vegetables with Cashews http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=229

Tahini and Crudités Appetizer http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=312

Romaine and Avocado Salad http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=45

Black Bean Chili http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=43

Bell Pepper Lentil Dip https://www.naturefresh.ca/recipes/bell-pepper-lentil-dip/

11 Best Bell Pepper Recipes/Easy Bell Pepper Recipes https://food.ndtv.com/lists/10-best-bell-pepper-recipes-1395400


Resources
https://producemadesimple.ca/what-do-sweet-peppers-go-well-with/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=50

https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-freeze-fresh-peppers-for-later-use-4775099

https://food52.com/blog/11214-what-to-do-with-an-overload-or-not-of-peppers

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

https://www.naturefresh.ca/how-to-use-up-your-extra-peppers/

https://www.naturefresh.ca/12-creative-ways-prepare-peppers/

https://www.naturefresh.ca/bell-pepper-faqs-facts/

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/wont-red-bell-peppers-im-growing-turn-green-red-96236.html

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.

Oranges

Oranges 101 – The Basics

 

Oranges 101 – The Basics

About Oranges
Oranges are one of the most popular fruits around the world. There are over 600 varieties of oranges, with two categories: sweet and bitter. Of course, the sweet variety is most popular. Sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis) include Navel, Valencia, and Blood oranges. Bitter oranges (Citrus aurantium) are sometimes used to make jam or marmalade. The zest of bitter oranges is used to flavor liqueurs such as Grand Marnier and Cointreau.

The origin of oranges is unknown, but their cultivation is believed to have started in eastern Asia thousands of years ago. Sweet oranges were introduced in Europe around the 15th century by various explorers and traders who found them in Asia and the Middle East. Christopher Columbus brought them to the Caribbean during his visits, where they have been grown ever since. Spanish explorers brought them to Florida in the 16th century, and Spanish missionaries took them to California in the 18th century. This started the cultivation of oranges in the two most orange-producing states in America. When mass transportation was developed in the 20th century, oranges were taken around America for all to enjoy.

Today, they are grown in most warm climates around the world and are consumed mostly fresh and juiced. The countries that produce the most oranges commercially include the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, China and Israel.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Oranges are well known for being an excellent source of Vitamin C. They also supply a lot of fiber, Vitamin B1, pantothenic acid, folate, Vitamin A, calcium, copper, and potassium.

The vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient compounds found in oranges give this delicious fruit an array of health promoting properties.

Antioxidant Protection and Immune Support. The Vitamin C alone in oranges provides generous antioxidant protection to the body along with helping the immune system to ward off the effects of invading microbes. Together, these compounds can help to lower the risk of colon and other types of cancer, and inflammation that can lead to asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and stroke.

Lower Cholesterol. Researchers have found that a group of compounds in orange peel, polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs), has the potential to lower cholesterol more effectively than some prescription drugs. And, they do this without side effects. The juice of oranges also contains PMFs, but at a much lower amount than what was found in the peel. The researchers suggest that zesting a tablespoon a day (from a well-scrubbed, preferably organic orange), and including it in tea, salads, salad dressings, yogurt, soups, oatmeal, buckwheat, or rice may be an easy way to include more of this important compound in the diet.

Kidney Stone Prevention. Researchers reported in the British Journal of Nutrition that women who drank ½ to 1 liter of orange, grapefruit or apple juice daily had significantly lower risk of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones.

Reduced Risk of Ulcers and Stomach Cancer. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition that involved over 6,000 adults enrolled in the Third NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) project found that subjects with the highest blood levels of Vitamin C had a 25% lower infection rate with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). This is the bacterium that causes peptic ulcers, which increases the risk for stomach cancer. They concluded that eating an orange a day, or drinking a glass of orange juice daily may help prevent gastric ulcers, and ultimately stomach cancer. The lead researcher urges people who have tested positive for H. pylori to increase their intake of Vitamin C-rich foods to help combat their H. pylori infection.

Respiratory Health. The orange-red carotenoid found in oranges, corn, pumpkin, papaya, red bell peppers, tangerines, and peaches may significantly help to reduce the risk of developing lung cancer. A study of over 60,000 adults in Shanghai, China, reported in the September 2003 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention found that those eating the most foods containing this orange-red pigment had a 27% reduction in lung cancer risk. When examining the data of smoking subjects, their risk of developing lung cancer was 37% lower than smokers who ate the least amount of such foods.

Protection Against Rheumatoid Arthritis. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice a day can significantly lower your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. These findings were backed up by a study of over 25,000 subjects as reported in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer Incidence (EPIC)-Norfolk study. Participants with the highest daily intake of various carotenoids (zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin) had a much lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (40% to 52% less likely) when compared with those who consumed the least amount.

All of these studies should be enough to encourage you to eat an orange or drink a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice every day!

How to Select an Orange
To choose the best oranges, opt for ones that have smoothly textured skin and are firm and heavy for their size. Those that are spongy or light weight for their size will not have as much juice in them. Avoid those with soft spots or traces of mold on them.

If you’ve ever lived where oranges are grown, you know that oranges, as they appear on the trees, are not uniform in color, like the ones we see in grocery stores. Naturally, they may be partially green and/or have brown speckles on them. They are not bad, nor old with those discolorations. That is merely how they appear naturally on the trees as they ripen. The purely uniformed orange-colored fruits that we typically see in grocery stores have been dyed in their skins with artificial coloring to make them look so pretty. It’s something to bear in mind when you use orange zest! If you plan to zest your oranges and want to avoid the artificial dyes, it is recommended to buy organic oranges for that purpose.

How to Store Oranges
Oranges may be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. It is a matter of personal preference. They will last about the same amount of time either way they are stored. The key to storing oranges is to store them loosely, and NOT wrapped in plastic. The moisture that accumulates in plastic bags will invite mold and cause them to spoil faster.

If you purchase a bag of oranges and find that one in the bag has spoiled, throw away the spoiled orange, then rinse and dry the remaining oranges to remove any mold spores that may be on them. You can take further precaution with the remaining oranges by wiping them with a paper towel or cloth that has been moistened with white vinegar. They can be allowed to dry that way, or rinsed off with cool water then dried. This last step may be especially helpful if you plan to zest your oranges.

Ways to Prepare Oranges
There are a variety of ways to zest, peel, slice, dice, segment, and serve oranges. Here is a link to a web page that covers it all in detail, complete with pictures. If you’re not sure how to cut an orange to achieve a specific outcome, check out this page… https://www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t–968/all-about-oranges.asp

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Oranges
* Zest oranges before you cut them up…it’s much easier that way.

* Freeze extra orange zest in ice cube trays with some water. Add them to your glass of water for a refreshing orange flavor.

* If you are juicing oranges, they will yield more juice when at room temperature, rather than when chilled from the refrigerator. Also, to free up more juice, roll them on a flat surface under the palm of your hand before juicing.

* Make a refreshing salad with orange segments, slivered fennel and slices of boiled beets.

* If you’re making a salad with fruit that browns quickly, like apples and/or bananas, add a little orange juice and toss the fruit to disburse the juice. The fruit will not turn brown as fast and should be fine when made a little in advance.

* Use blood oranges for added color and flavor in sweet and savory dishes.

* If you’re only juicing oranges, zest them first and freeze the zest to be used later. Use frozen zest within 6 months.

* One pound of oranges is about 3 medium oranges, yielding 1 cup of juice, about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of orange sections, and 4 to 5 tablespoons of grated peel.

* One medium orange will yield about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of juice, 10 to 12 segments, and 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons of grated peel.

* Try adding orange segments to your favorite green salad.

* Make a simple snack by layering your favorite yogurt with orange segments and oats or granola. Drizzle with a little caramel sauce for an added touch.

* Make a simple fruit salad with orange segments, diced apple, sliced banana, red grapes, and some dried coconut. Top with 2 or 3 tablespoons of unsweetened pineapple or orange juice and toss to combine. Enjoy!

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Oranges
Anise seeds, basil, cardamom, chili pepper flakes, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, mint, parsley, pepper (black), rosemary, sage, star anise, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Oranges
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Beans (i.e., black, white), beef, chicken, chickpeas, fish, ham, nuts (i.e., almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts), pork, sesame seeds, snow peas, tofu, turkey

Vegetables: Arugula, asparagus, beets, broccoli, broccolini, cabbage (red), carrots, celery root, chiles, chives, daikon radishes, endive, escarole, fennel, garlic, ginger, greens (i.e., dandelion, salad), horseradish, jicama, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, radicchio, radishes, rhubarb, rutabagas, scallions, shallots, spinach, squash (winter), sweet potatoes, turnips, watercress, yams

Fruits: Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, berries (i.e., blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), coconut, cranberries, dates, figs, fruit (in general, fresh, dried), grapefruit, kiwi, lemon, lime, mangoes, olives, papayas, pears, pineapple, plums, pomegranates, pumpkin, starfruit

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, bulgur, cereals, couscous, millet, noodles (Asian), quinoa, rice, seitan, wild rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (i.e., cream, feta, goat), cream, mascarpone, yogurt

Other Foods: Brandy, chocolate, honey, liqueurs (orange), maple syrup, miso, mustard (Dijon), oil (olive, sesame, sunflower seed), soy sauce, sugar (esp. brown), tamari, vinegar (i.e., balsamic, champagne, cider, red wine, rice wine, sherry, white wine), wine (red)

Oranges have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Asian cuisines, baked goods (i.e., cakes, muffins, quick breads, scones, tarts), beverages (i.e., juices, sangrias, smoothies), cereals (hot breakfast), Chinese cuisine, compotes, desserts (i.e., puddings), gremolata, marinades, marmalade, salad dressings, salads (i.e., avocado, carrot, fruit, green), sauces, smoothies (i.e., berry, pineapple), soups (i.e., fruit), sorbets, stir-fries

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Oranges
Add oranges to any of the following combinations…

Almonds + lettuce + jicama
Almonds + dates + figs
Arugula + hazelnuts
Avocados + beets
Avocados + black beans + red onions
Balsamic vinegar + beets + fennel
Barley + fennel + radishes
Black beans + quinoa
Carrots + ginger
Cashews + rice
Chickpeas + couscous + fennel
Chili pepper flakes + garlic + ginger + soy sauce
Cilantro + jicama
Cinnamon + honey + pears
Cranberries + pears
Fennel + olives
Fennel + walnuts
Fennel + watercress + white beans
Goat cheese + pomegranates + walnuts
Honey + rosemary
Pecans + radicchio
Sesame + spinach

Some Varieties of Oranges Found in the United States
All of the oranges listed below, except the Seville oranges, are considered to be “sweet” varieties of oranges and are excellent for eating in a variety of ways. Try them as they become available in your area, and enjoy the subtle differences between the citrus varieties.

Blood Oranges. The flesh of blood oranges is a deep red color, and is very sweet. They may have a tinge of redness on the skin. They came from Italy, and are now grown mostly in California and in Florida. They are not always found in American grocery stores, but can be seen occasionally.

Clementine Oranges (AKA “Cuties”). Clementine oranges are small, sweet, and seedless. They are the perfect snack for young and old alike, and work well on fruit trays. They are in season from November to January.

Hamlin Oranges. Hamlin oranges are medium to small in size with few, if any seeds. They have a thin, smooth skin, with a finely pitted surface. Hamlin oranges are tender, juicy, and sweet with little acid. They are a major crop in Florida and Brazil.

Kumquats. A Kumquat looks like a very tiny elongated orange. Kumquats are known for their edible, thick peel, so they are eaten whole (there’s not much left if they are peeled). However, their flavor is somewhat sour. Kumquats are often made into marmalade, or pureed and included in cream pies.

Mandarin Oranges. Mandarin oranges are a type of tangerine that is small, mild and sweet. They are sold mostly in cans or jars, but fresh Mandarins are increasing in popularity.

Navel Oranges. Navel oranges are the most common type of orange marketed in the United States. They are medium to large in size, sweet, juicy, seedless, and very popular. They have thick skin and a little dimple on one end that resembles a human navel. They can be used in both raw and cooked applications.

Satsuma Oranges. Satsuma oranges are a type of small Mandarin orange. They are seedless and easy to peel. They are in season from November to January, and are grown around the Gulf Coast in the United States to California.

Seville Oranges. Seville oranges are a sour variety of orange that is often used in making marmalade. The juice from Seville oranges also works well for cooking, and being included in cocktails and salad dressings (in place of lemon or lime juice). They are a rather small orange with limited availability, usually from December to the beginning of February.

Sunburst Tangerines. Sunburst tangerines are an early crop that is widely grown commercially in Florida. The somewhat flattened fruit is medium in size, with a thin, smooth skin that is easily removed. They contain anywhere from 10 to 20 seeds.  They are juicy with a sweet flavor.

Tangelo. A Tangelo is a cross between a grapefruit or pummelo and a mandarin orange. They look like dark oranges with a stubby, protruding stem end. The Minneola tangelo is the most common variety found in the United States. They are sweet and juicy.

Valencia Oranges. Valencia oranges are best known for their juice. However, they are excellent eating oranges too. They have thin skins, a few seeds and (of course) are very juicy. They were named after the Spanish city, Valencia, when they were first introduced in California. Today, Valencia oranges remain an important citrus crop in California.

Recipe Links
Candied Orange Peel https://stacylynharris.com/candied-orange-peel-example-sustainability/#wprm-recipe-container-11842

67 Sweet and Savory Orange Recipes https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/sweet-and-savory-oranges-gallery

7 Ways with Fresh Oranges https://www.myrecipes.com/how-to/7-ways-with/recipes-using-fresh-oranges?slide=745af901-cc25-4c31-8e91-fc44e7fc7885#745af901-cc25-4c31-8e91-fc44e7fc7885

16 Surprising New Uses for Old Oranges https://www.readersdigest.ca/home-garden/tips/5-things-do-oranges/

90 of Our Most Irresistible Orange Recipes https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/orange-recipes/

25 Ways to Use Oranges https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/devour/2014/03/25-ways-to-use-oranges

30 of the Best Orange Recipes https://thewholecook.com/30-best-orange-recipes/

 

Resources
https://preparednessmama.com/24-uses-for-oranges/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=37

https://marketbasketfoods.com/healthy-and-interesting-facts-about-oranges/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/oranges

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/oranges#vitamins-and-minerals

https://www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t–968/all-about-oranges.asp

http://oranges.com/top-ten-oranges

https://specialtyproduce.com/produce/oranges/navel_8521.php

https://citrusvariety.ucr.edu/citrus/hamlin.html

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/tangelo-orange-85182.html

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/tangelo-orange-85182.html

https://www.moonvalleynurseries.com/trees/citrus-fruit-trees/sunburst-tangerine

https://www.thespruceeats.com/types-of-oranges-and-tangerines-2216772

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.

Spearmint

Spearmint (Mint) 101 – The Basics

 

Spearmint 101 – The Basics

About Spearmint
When someone uses the general term, “mint,” they are usually referring to spearmint, Mentha spicata. This same perennial herb has also been called garden mint, lamb’s mint, Our Lady’s mint, spire mint, and sage of Bethlehem.

Spearmint is native to the Mediterranean region, where it has long been a popular herb used as both food and medicine. In ancient times, mint was known as an herb of hospitality. The leaves were used to clean and scent tables and floors. It has been stuffed in pillows and mattresses and scattered on floors to cover odors and deter pests and rodents. Mint was also used with other herbs in tombs as an aromatic. The Romans brought mint to Europe. Mint was carried to America by early English settlers who used it medicinally, to make tea, and as an aromatic for the body and home.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Mint is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and folate, along with the trace minerals manganese and iron. It also contains some calcium and magnesium.

Digestive Upsets. Mint tea has been used to help relieve nausea, cramping, and indigestion.

Respiratory Problems. Inhaling steam scented with mint has been used to help relieve respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis.

Antibacterial Agent. Spearmint is added to many toothpastes and mouthwashes. In addition to freshening the breath, spearmint has been found to contain antimicrobial properties that can help kill harmful bacteria in the mouth. Furthermore, research has shown that spearmint essential oil can help destroy harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and Listeria, that cause foodborne illnesses.

Lowers Blood Sugar. Animal studies have shown that spearmint tea may help to lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Human studies in this area are lacking, but the animal studies that have been conducted are promising.

Reduces Stress. In many countries, spearmint tea is commonly used to induce relaxation and reduce stress. Animal studies have shown that spearmint tea does, in fact, produce such an effect. The menthol in the leaves may be responsible for this effect. So, if you’re feeling stressed, enjoy a cup of mint tea! Furthermore, mint aromatherapy has been used to help ease mental sluggishness and agitation.

Relieves Arthritis. Animal and human studies have found that spearmint can help relieve arthritis pain. People who drank spearmint tea twice a day for 16 weeks had reduced stiffness, pain, and physical disability from arthritis of the knee.

How to Select Spearmint
Look for fresh mint leaves that are bright green and not wilted. If possible, smell them. Their aroma will clue you into their degree of freshness. If they have no aroma, they’re not fresh. If your bunch of leaves was tied together with a twist tie or rubber band, remove it when you get it home.

How to Store Fresh Spearmint
Fresh spearmint is delicate and can bruise easily. If it was purchased in a closed plastic container, store it dry in the refrigerator, in that same container until you’re ready to use it. Wait to wash it until you’re ready to use it.

If your mint leaves were bundled, they may be stored in a couple different ways. First, you can store them like cut flowers, in the refrigerator. Place the stems, cut side down in a glass or jar with a small amount of water. Cover them loosely with a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator. Change the water every day or two.

Another way to store fresh mint leaves would be to spread them out on a SLIGHTLY damp paper towel or cloth. Roll the towel or cloth like a jelly-roll and place that loosely in a plastic bag. Store it in the refrigerator. Try to use your stored fresh mint within a week.

How to Preserve Mint
Freeze. Fresh mint may be washed, removed from stems, chopped, then frozen in ice cube trays with water. Transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer bag or container and use them when you want to add mint flavor to cold beverages or any cooked dish calling for mint.

Fresh mint may also be washed, dried, then frozen whole in an airtight plastic bag. This mint would be best used in pesto, sauce, or jelly.

Dry. There are several ways that fresh mint leaves can be dried.

(1) Wash the mint leaves while still on the stems. Carefully dry the leaves, then remove the stems. Place the leaves on a baking tray in a single layer. Be sure the leaves are completely dry before proceeding. Place the tray in a warm oven at its lowest temperature or 180°F until the leaves are dry. It may take two hours or longer. Watch them carefully so they do not burn. Allow them to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container. The dried leaves may be left whole or crumbled. If crumbled, sift them through a screen to remove any remaining stems.

(2) Fresh mint leaves may also be dried in a dehydrator. Prepare the leaves as detailed above and lay them in a single layer on a mesh dehydrator tray. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the recommended temperature and length of time to dry the leaves.

(3) Yet another way to dry fresh spearmint would be to wash and dry the leaves completely. They may be removed from the stems or left on. Place them in a paper bag and close the bag by folding over the top edges. Lay the bag on its side and shake the bag to disburse the leaves so they’re not in a big clump. Place the bag away from a heat source and sunlight. Two or three times a day, shake the bag and turn it over to “toss” the leaves around, then lay it on its side again. Continue to do this until the leaves are completely dry. This may take a week or more. Once dry, remove the leaves from the stems, if not already done and transfer them to an airtight container.

After your dried mint leaves have been placed in their storage container, check the container after a few days to be sure there is no moisture inside. This would indicate that the leaves were not completely dry, and will invite decay. If moisture is found, remove the leaves and dry them again.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Spearmint
* Recipes that call for “mint” generally mean spearmint, so the two terms are usually interchangeable.

* For a quick dessert or snack, combine sliced strawberries, mint leaves, and yogurt.

* Make an easy mint tea by placing 5 to 10 torn mint leaves in a mug. Muddle (smash) them just a bit with a wooden spoon. Pour hot (not boiling) water over the leaves and allow them to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Removing the leaves is optional. Enjoy!

* To make mint tea using dried leaves, steep 1 teaspoon of dried leaves in a cup of hot water for about three minutes. Strain and enjoy!

* Add 3 or 4 fresh mint leaves to your favorite chocolate or berry smoothie.

* Make a delicious strawberry salad that can be eaten as it is, used as a topping for a green salad, or as a topping for your favorite bread along with some goat or ricotta cheese. Combine 2 cups of sliced strawberries with 10 to 20 chopped fresh mint leaves, an equal number of chopped fresh basil leaves, and 3 to 4 tablespoons of your favorite balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

* Dress up diced watermelon with equal parts of chopped fresh mint and basil leaves, some feta cheese, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

* Add fresh mint leaves to plain or sparkling water for a nice refresher. Better yet, freeze mint leaves with water in ice cube trays. Cool your water with mint ice cubes.

* When ingesting spearmint, use only dried or fresh leaves. Use spearmint essential oil for aromatherapy or dilute it in a carrier oil when massaging it on the body.

* Add fresh mint leaves to a mixed fruit salad to make it extra special.

* Make a simple refreshing sachet by placing some dried mint leaves in a small square of fabric or cheesecloth. Tie the ends together and place it in drawers, closets, shoes, or anywhere you want to freshen with the aroma of mint.

* Here’s a fun activity if you like mint-chocolate. Wash and dry fresh mint leaves. One at a time, dip each leaf in your favorite melted chocolate. Place the leaves on a wax paper-lined dish. When all the leaves have been dipped, place the dish in the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened. Enjoy!

* Try adding finely chopped mint leaves to your favorite chocolate pudding or ice cream.

* If you only have dried spearmint and need fresh, or vice versa, here’s the conversion rate: 1 part of dried mint = 3 parts of fresh. Example: 1 teaspoon of dried mint is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint.

* When adding fresh spearmint to a cooked dish, add it toward the end of cooking, or when cooking is finished, for best flavor. When adding dried spearmint to a cooked dish, add it early during cooking so it will have time to rehydrate and release its flavor.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Spearmint
Basil, cardamom, cilantro, coriander, dill, lemongrass, lovage, parsley

Foods That Go Well with Spearmint
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans (esp. black, green, white), bean shoots, beef, cashews, chicken, chickpeas, lamb, lentils, lima beans, peanuts, peas, pine nuts, pistachios, pork, salmon (and other seafood), turkey, veal

Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chiles, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, garlic, ginger, jicama, kale, lettuce, marinated vegetables, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, radishes, scallions, shallots, spinach, squash (winter and summer), tomatoes, zucchini

Fruits: Apples, berries (esp. blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), citrus fruits (in general), coconut, figs, fruits (in general, dried and fresh), grapefruit, grapes and grape juice, lemon, lime, mangoes (green), melon (esp. honeydew), olives, oranges and orange juice, papaya (esp. green), peaches, pears, pineapple, watermelon

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, corn, couscous, grains (in general), millet, noodles (Asian, esp. rice), pasta, quinoa, rice, wheat berries

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (i.e., feta, ricotta), coconut milk, cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Bourbon, chocolate, gin, rum, sugar (esp. brown), vinegar (esp. balsamic, white wine)

Spearmint has been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Asian cuisines, beverages (juleps, lassis, lemonades, mojitos, teas), cakes, candies, chutneys, curries, desserts, frostings, ice cream, Indian cuisine, jellies and jams, Mediterranean cuisines, Middle Eastern cuisine, Moroccan cuisine, pestos, pies, pilafs, raitas, risotto, salads (bean, fruit, grain, green, Thai, vegetables), salsas, sauces, soups, Southeast Asian cuisines, stuffings, tabbouleh, teas, Vietnamese cuisines

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Spearmint
Add spearmint to any of the following combinations…

Artichokes + chiles
Balsamic vinegar + berries
Balsamic vinegar + peaches + ricotta cheese
Bell peppers + chiles + garlic + papaya + pineapple
Cardamom + ginger + lemon
Chiles + cilantro + garlic + olive oil + vinegar
Chiles + lemon + shallots + sugar
Citrus + zucchini
Cucumber + yogurt
Feta cheese + lentils
Feta cheese + peas + rice
Lemon + strawberries
Olive oil + white beans + white wine vinegar

Recipe Links
20 Recipes That Use Fresh Mint https://www.thekitchn.com/10-recipes-that-use-fresh-mint-kitchn-recipe-roundup-188533

50 Ways to Cook with Fresh, Fragrant Mint https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/get-fresh-with-mint-recipes-gallery

20 Recipes for Mint Lovers https://www.foodandwine.com/seasonings/herbs/mint/mint

14 Recipes That Freshen Up Dinner with Mint https://www.brit.co/dinner-recipes-with-mint/

Thai Ground Beef Recipe with Mint, Carrots, and Peppers https://eatingrichly.com/thai-ground-beef-recipe-with-mint-carrots-and-peppers/

Spiced Beef Stew with Carrots and Mint https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spiced-beef-stew-with-carrots-and-mint-237295

63 Fresh Mint Recipes to Help You Use Up That Bumper Crop https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/fresh-mint-recipes/

Middle Eastern Tomato Salad https://kalynskitchen.com/recipe-favorites-middle-eastern-tomato/

27 Fresh Recipes for Leftover Mint https://www.taste.com.au/quick-easy/galleries/recipes-leftover-mint/0hgpmndk

18 Recipes for Leftover Mint https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/26/18-recipes-for-leftover-mint

Resources
https://www.elizabethrider.com/10-ways-use-fresh-mint/

https://kalynskitchen.com/cooking-with-fresh-mint/

https://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Mint_308.php

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/226/2

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/spearmint#TOC_TITLE_HDR_12

https://www.encyclopedia.com/plants-and-animals/plants/plants/spearmint

https://www.thespruceeats.com/make-your-own-dried-mint-1706225

https://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/10-amazing-things-you-can-do-with-mint/

https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/how-to-buy-and-store-mint-peppermint-spearmint-article

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.

Grapefruit

Grapefruit 101 – The Basics

 

Grapefruit 101 – The Basics

About Grapefruit
Grapefruits are large citrus fruits related to oranges, lemons and pomelos. Their flesh can be white, pink or red (ruby). Their skin color is yellow, sometimes with a pinkish hue. Grapefruits can range from 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Some have seeds, while others do not. They are juicy, tart and tangy with an underlying sweetness.

Grapefruits were discovered in Barbados in the 18th century. Botanists believe they were a natural cross breeding between the orange and pomelo, a citrus fruit that was brought to Barbados from Indonesia in the 17th century. The resulting fruit was named “grapefruit” in 1814 in Jamaica. The name reflects the fact that it grows in clusters like grapes.

Grapefruit trees were planted in Florida in the early 19th century. They became a commercial crop later that century. Florida is still a major grapefruit producer in America, along with California, Arizona, and Texas. Other countries that grow grapefruits commercially include Israel, South Africa, and Brazil.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Grapefruits are an excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. They also supply a lot of pantothenic acid, copper, fiber, potassium, biotin, and Vitamin B1. Like most plant foods, grapefruit also contains health-promoting phytochemicals. One fresh pink grapefruit provides well over half the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.

Immune Support. Being rich in Vitamin C, grapefruit supports the immune system, helping to fight symptoms and severity of colds and flu. This vitamin also helps to neutralize free radicals thereby reducing inflammation associated with asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. By reducing inflammation through its Vitamin C content, grapefruit can also help to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer.

Lycopene. Red and pink grapefruits (but NOT white grapefruit) are rich in lycopene, a type of carotenoid. Lycopene appears to have anti-tumor effects through its capacity to fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage cells in their path. Antioxidants, such as lycopene, neutralize such harmful molecules, preventing damage such as inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Limonoids. Grapefruits are rich in phytonutrients called limonoids. This class of compounds fights tumor formation by sparking the liver to make toxic compounds more water-soluble so they can be excreted from the body. In laboratory tests, limonoids have been shown to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach, and colon.

Lower Cholesterol. Research studies have found that both white and red grapefruits lowered LDL cholesterol when grapefruit was added to the diet for a period of 30 days. Red grapefruit was found to be more than twice as effective at lowering triglyceride levels than white grapefruit. The researchers concluded that adding fresh red grapefruit could be beneficial for people with high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. [IMPORTANT NOTE: Compounds in grapefruit are known to increase blood levels of several prescription drugs, including statins. If you fall in this category, it would be wise to have the blood levels of your medications monitored if you suddenly increase your intake of grapefruit.]

DNA Repair. A flavonoid, naringenin, that is concentrated in grapefruit has been shown to help repair damaged DNA in human prostate cancer cells, as published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age. With age comes cellular division. The more we age, the more times our cells have divided. With each division, there is greater chance for DNA mutations to happen. Repairing DNA is one of the body’s main defense mechanisms against developing cancer. Naringenin helps to restore damaged DNA, thereby lowering the risk of cancer.

Precautions. As mentioned in the section “Lower Cholesterol” above, if you are taking certain prescription drugs, you may need to consult with your doctor before increasing your intake of grapefruit juice. When combined with grapefruit juice, some drugs, including cyclosporine, calcium channel blockers, the antihistamine terfenadine, the hormone estradiol, statin drugs, and the antiviral agent saquinavir may become more potent. This is because compounds in grapefruit slow the normal detoxification processes in the intestines and liver, hindering the body’s ability to break down and eliminate these drugs.

How to Select Grapefruit
Choose grapefruits that are firm and feel heavy for their size. They should have plump, glossy skin. Grapefruits do not need to be uniform in color to be of good quality. Skin discolorations and small scratches do not affect the quality of the fruit.

Signs of age and decay include an overly soft spot near the stem end of the fruit. Areas that appear waterlogged should also be avoided when choosing grapefruits. Also avoid those that are overly wrinkled or rough.

How to Store Grapefruit
Store grapefruits at room temperature for up to a week, or up to three weeks in the refrigerator crisper drawer (set on low humidity, with the air vents open). Grapefruits are juicier when at room temperature, so it may be helpful to allow them to warm up before eating, if they were stored in the refrigerator.

How to Prepare a Grapefruit
Even though you very likely won’t be eating the peel, do rinse them off with cool water before cutting into your grapefruit. It’s important to rinse off any bacteria that may be lingering on the surface so you don’t transfer it onto the flesh that you will eat, when cutting into it with a knife.

Grapefruits may be cut in half horizontally, then sectioned with a knife along the membranes. A spoon can then be used to remove the flesh. Grapefruits may also be cut into quarters so you can fold the peel back and release the flesh that way. Remove as much of the white pith in the process, since that is rather bitter. The sections can be cut as desired. They can also be eaten like oranges, peeling the grapefruit with a knife.

Here’s a video demonstrating ways to cut grapefruit, …

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Grapefruit
* Try a salad with red grapefruit sections, avocado slices, and slivered fennel on a bed of arugula and other salad greens. Top with a citrus or honey mustard vinaigrette dressing.

* Try a grapefruit salsa by combining chopped grapefruit sections, avocado, mango, chili peppers, lime and grapefruit juice, olive oil, and lots of chopped herbs (basil, cilantro, or mint). Use as a topping for fish, chicken, or for scooping up with bread or chips.

* Grapefruit picked earlier in the season will be tarter than those picked late in the season. They are at their peak season from early winter through Spring.

* Add grapefruit sections to a smoothie. Blend together 1 medium grapefruit (peeled and seeds removed), 1 large sweet apple, 1 large banana, 2 cups fresh spinach, about ½ cup milk of choice (or water or orange juice), 2 or 3 ice cubes, and ½ tsp fresh grated ginger (optional).

* Are you looking for a way to make grapefruit taste better without loading it with sugar? LIGHTLY sprinkle just a LITTLE salt on your cut grapefruit. Yes, salt. NOT a lot. Just a little will cut the sourness or bitterness, and actually make it taste sweeter.

* Try a simple citrus salad for a quick snack or dessert. Combine cut grapefruit and orange sections with some vanilla yogurt, and a drizzle of honey (optional). Give it a little stir and you’re done. You could dress it up more with a sprinkle of ground flax seeds and/or a little granola for crunch.

* Try adding grapefruit sections to your favorite morning oatmeal. Round it out with some coconut milk and a drizzle of honey, if you want the added sweetness. Top it with toasted walnuts for some added crunch.

* For something different, try broiled grapefruit. Cut the grapefruit in half (horizontally) and remove the seeds. Place cut side up on a baking sheet and sprinkle each half with 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Broil until the sugar has melted and started to bubble, about 3 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the grapefruit halves to cool just a bit. Enjoy while it’s still warm!

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Grapefruit
Basil, cardamom, chili pepper flakes, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, mint, mustard, nutmeg, parsley, rosemary, salt, tarragon, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Grapefruit
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beef, cashews, chicken, fish, hazelnuts, pistachios, pork, salmon, scallops, shrimp, sunflower seeds, walnuts

Vegetables: Artichokes (Jerusalem), arugula, beets, cabbage (i.e., napa), celery, celery root, chicory, chiles, cucumber, endive (Belgian), fennel, ginger, greens, jicama, kale, scallions, spinach, watercress

Fruits: Avocados, bananas, cherries, coconut, dates, kiwi, lemon, lime, melon, oranges, passion fruit, pears, pineapple, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries

Grains and Grain Products: Bulgur (wheat), farro, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, wild rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (i.e., feta, Parmesan, ricotta), coconut cream, mascarpone, yogurt

Other Foods: Agave nectar, caramel, honey, maple sugar, maple syrup, mustard, oil (olive), soy sauce, sugar (i.e., brown, coconut, date), vinegar (i.e., champagne, rice wine, sherry, white wine), vodka, wine (i.e., sparkling)

Grapefruits have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Compotes, drinks (i.e., sparkling wine cocktails), granita, ices, salad dressings, salads (i.e., fruit, grain, green), sauces, smoothies, sorbets

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Grapefruit
Add grapefruit sections to any of the following combinations…

Arugula + olive oil
Arugula + hazelnuts + pomegranates
Avocado + salad greens + fennel
Honey + mint
Maple syrup + strawberries


Recipe Links

21 Delicious Ways to Cook with Grapefruit https://www.self.com/gallery/delicious-grapefruit-recipes

Top 4: Grapefruit Recipes https://www.sprouts.com/healthy-living/top-4-grapefruit-recipes/

29 Sweet and Tangy Grapefruit Recipes https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/10-sweet-and-tangy-grapefruit-recipes-gallery

14 Ways to Upgrade Your Grapefruit Game https://www.delish.com/cooking/g1332/grapefruit-recipes/

Pink Detox Salad https://www.cookingclassy.com/pink-detox-salad/

32 Great Grapefruit Recipes https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/great-grapefruit-recipes/

9 Grapefruit Recipes Better Than Just Dumping Sugar on Top https://greatist.com/eat/grapefruit-recipes#1

Grapefruit Smoothie Bowl https://www.hummusapien.com/grapefruit-smoothie-bowl/#tasty-recipes-22986

11 Unexpected Ways to Use Grapefruit https://www.foodbeast.com/news/unexpected-ways-to-use-grapefruit/

Broiled Grapefruit https://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/broiled-grapefruit.html

Freekeh Tabbouleh with Grapefruit https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/amazing-grains/freekeh-grapefruit-tabbouleh/

Grain Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Dates, and Grapefruit https://walnuts.org/recipe/grain-salad-with-toasted-walnuts-dates-and-grapefruit/

Ancient Grain Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit https://www.taste.com.au/recipes/ancient-grain-salad-avocado-grapefruit/49ba980a-599b-4c53-9761-862198d98939

Grapefruit Grain Salad with Roasted Chickpeas https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/grapefruit-grain-salad-roasted-chickpeas-vegan/

Millet Salad with Grapefruit, Olives and Chickpeas https://www.lastingredient.com/millet-salad-with-grapefruit-olives-and-chickpeas/

Farro and Spinach Salad with Grapefruit and Goat Cheese https://www.self.com/recipe/farro-spinach-salad-grapefruit-goat-cheese

California Wild Rice, Arugula, Grapefruit, Toasted Pecan Salad https://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/california-wild-rice-arugula-grapefruit-toasted-pecan-salad

Black Rice Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit https://www.thekitchn.com/vegetarian-lunch-black-rice-salad-with-avocado-and-grapefruit-166905#post-recipe-8301

Pink Grapefruit, Black Bean, and Rice Salad Recipe https://www.womanandhome.com/us/recipes/pink-grapefruit-black-bean-rice-salad/

Grapefruit-Coconut Oatmeal http://www.theoatmealartist.com/grapefruit-coconut-oatmeal/

Grapefruit Marmalade https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/272814/grapefruit-marmalade/

Grapefruit Baked Oatmeal with Walnut Streusel http://immaeatthat.com/2016/01/28/grapefruit-baked-oatmeal-walnut-streusel/

 

Resources
https://www.finecooking.com/article/grapefruit

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

https://minimalistbaker.com/grapefruit-green-smoothie/#_a5y_p=3119340

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=25#nutritionalprofile

https://www.thekitchn.com/salted-grapefruit-266959

http://howsweetthisisblog.com/2014/02/five-fresh-grapefruit-recipes-even-dont-like-grapefruit/

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/215980/simple-broiled-grapefruit/

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.

Mung Beans

Mung Beans 101 – The Basics

 

Mung Beans 101 – The Basics

About Mung Beans
Mung beans are small, oval green beans that are members of the legume family. They are native to India, and have been cultivated for thousands of years. Their popularity led them to quickly spread throughout China and parts of Southeast Asia.

In the United States, they are often sold as sprouts in the produce department of some grocery stores, and many health food stores. Mung beans have a slightly sweet flavor and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, both cooked and sprouted. They are often used in salads, soups, and stir-fries.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Mung Beans
Mung beans are high in fiber, with a one cup serving providing around 15 grams, which is over half the daily recommended intake of fiber! They also are a good source of folate, manganese, Vitamin B1, phosphorus, iron, copper, potassium, and zinc. They also supply appreciable amounts of Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, and selenium. Mung beans are considered to be one of the best plant sources of protein since they are rich in essential amino acids. That’s a lot to say for the humble mung bean!

Antioxidants. Mung beans are high in assorted antioxidants. Antioxidants help to neutralize potentially harmful molecules, known as free radicals, in the body that can raise our risk for various diseases. High levels of free radicals cause cellular damage which increases inflammation, thereby increasing our risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and assorted autoimmune diseases. Research studies have found that the antioxidants in mung beans can neutralize harmful free radicals known to cause lung and stomach cancers.

Interestingly, researchers have found that the number of antioxidants in sprouted mung beans increases up to six times more than those found in unsprouted mung beans.

Improved Cholesterol Levels. Animal studies have shown that the antioxidants in mung beans may lower levels of LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) while also protecting it from harmful free radicals. Simultaneously, human studies have shown that an increased intake of legumes (in general) lowers our LDL levels.

Reduced Blood Pressure. It is estimated that one-third of Americans has high blood pressure. Mung beans are high in specific nutrients, namely potassium, magnesium, and fiber, that are known to lower blood pressure. Adults who consume more beans have been shown to have lower blood pressure. Reinforcing that point, studies demonstrated that specific proteins in mung beans have been found to suppress enzymes that naturally raise blood pressure. This is all the more reason to include legumes of any kind in your diet as often as you can!

Improved Digestive Health. Mung beans are particularly high in fiber and resistant starch. Together, they promote the movement of bowel contents and support the health of our gut by feeding bacteria in the lower intestines. Furthermore, the carbohydrates in mung beans appear to be easier to digest, promoting less flatulence than other legumes.

Improved Blood Sugar Levels. Mung beans have several properties that can help to control blood sugar. The high fiber and protein in mung beans work together to slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Animal studies have found that the antioxidants in mung beans lower blood sugar levels and help insulin to work more effectively.

Pregnancy Support. Pregnant women are advised to consume plenty of folate to prevent neural tube defects in their newborn children. Most people don’t get enough folate in their usual diets. Including mung beans in the diet while pregnant can help to fill that need. One cup of cooked mung beans provides 80 percent of the recommended daily intake of folate.

How to Select Mung Beans
Unless you live where mung beans are locally grown, the only ones you’ll find will be dried. They are sold whole and split, but whole mung beans are more common. They should be about ¼-inch long, brightly colored (usually deep green, but sometimes reddish-brown), smooth and oval in shape, and have smooth, undamaged skins (unless you purchased split mung beans).

How to Store Mung Beans
Store dried mung beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. For best results, use dried beans within a year. They will be very edible beyond that, but may take longer to cook. Dried beans dry out even more with age, so older ones will take longer to cook.

If you have store-bought mung bean sprouts, store them in the refrigerator in their original container and use them by the “Best by” date on the package. Do not wash the sprouts until you are ready to use them.

Unwashed bean sprouts that you grew yourself should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic container or bag with a clean cloth or paper towel under the sprouts to absorb any excess moisture. Another paper towel or cloth may also be placed on top of them for moisture absorption. If you have a lot of sprouts in the container, you could layer the sprouts with more paper towels or cloths for moisture absorption. The container or bag can be left slightly open to allow for air flow to help keep the sprouts dry. They should be used within 5 days. Do not wash them until you are ready to use them.

Once you have cooked your mung beans, store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you cannot use them within that time, freeze them in an airtight container, and use them within three months.

How to Prepare Mung Beans

Soaking Mung Beans. Soaking dried mung beans before cooking is optional. Since they are small beans, they cook quickly. However, presoaking them helps to reduce their phytic acid content, making them easier to digest, and also allows them to cook faster. To soak mung beans, first sort through your dried mung beans and remove any damaged or discolored beans, along with any debris. Place them in a bowl or jar with a lid. Rinse then drain the beans. Then fill the bowl or jar with water and cover it. Allow the mung beans to soak for 8 to 12 hours. Drain the water, then rinse and drain them again. Your soaked mung beans can then be sprouted or cooked as desired.

Cooking Unsoaked Mung Beans. Presoaking mung beans before cooking is optional. Since they are small beans, they cook quickly. To cook mung beans that were not presoaked, first sort through your dried mung beans and remove any damaged or discolored beans, along with any debris. Rinse the dried mung beans well, then drain. The standard rule of thumb is to place one part of mung beans to three parts of water in a pot. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook them about 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain any remaining water, then use as desired. Store extra in a covered container in the refrigerator and use within 5 days.

Cooking Soaked Mung Beans. Soaked mung beans will cook faster than those that were not presoaked. Place one part of beans to three parts of water in a pot. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until they are tender to your liking. They will cook faster than those that were not soaked first, so monitor them so they do not overcook and become mushy. Drain any remaining water, then use as desired. Store extra in a covered container in the refrigerator and use within 5 days.

Sprouting Mung Beans
Mung beans may be sprouted in a jar or on a tray. They are easy to sprout, and are usable in as little as 2 days. For instructions on how to sprout mung beans in the simplest way, visit Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds on their mung bean page at  https://mumms-seeds.sherpaonline.io/products/cat/66

Judi in the Kitchen video demonstration of growing mung bean sprouts in a jar, start to harvest … https://youtu.be/Ky0LWJw1uNs

To grow thick, long mung bean shoots, sprout them on a plate or tray under a cloth or paper towel. On the third day, add some weight on top. A plate or book may be enough to provide some added weight while still allowing air flow (which is vital, or the sprouts may spoil). For detailed instructions, visit the Sprout House at https://sprouthouse.com/blog/how-to-grow-fatter-tender-mung-beans/

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Mung Beans
* Presoaking mung beans is optional. They are small and quick to cook, compared with other beans like kidney beans. However, they may be soaked for up to 12 hours (8 hours is usually enough) to remove gas-causing compounds, if preferred.

* Split mung beans, with the outer hull removed, are called moong dal. The split version has slightly less fiber and cooks faster than the whole beans.

* Mung beans don’t have to be sprouted. They can also be pressure-cooked, sautéed, simmered, and stir-fried (in addition to being sprouted).

* The US Dry Bean Council recommends adding ¼ teaspoon of baking soda per pound of dried beans to cooking water. This helps them to soften up and cook faster. This will be especially helpful if your beans have been stored for over a year. The older they are, the drier they get and the longer they take to cook.

* If you can take the time, sprouting mung beans before cooking them is a valuable step in reducing their phytic acid, which reduces the absorption of specific minerals in a meal.

* Unsoaked dried mung beans will triple in bulk when boiled. So, one cup of unsoaked mung beans will yield three cups of cooked. When cooking soaked and/or sprouted mung beans, they will not soak up quite as much water, so they will not quite triple in yield.

* Add mung beans to a stir-fry with broccoli and cabbage.

* Try using mung beans in place of lentils in a recipe.

* Include cooked mung beans in minestrone or vegetable soup.

* If you overcooked mung beans, simply blend them with your favorite hummus ingredients to make mung bean hummus.

* Add mung bean sprouts or cooled cooked mung beans to lettuce or other wraps.

* If you bought mung beans for the sake of sprouting them, store them in the refrigerator or freezer for extended germination life.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Mung Beans
Bay leaf, cayenne, cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, garam masala, ginger, mustard seeds, parsley, salt, turmeric

Foods That Go Well with Mung Beans
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Beef, lentils, peas (i.e. split), pork, shrimp, sugar snap peas, tempeh, tofu

Vegetables: Bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage (esp. napa), carrots, chiles, chives, garlic, greens (in general), leeks, mushrooms, onions, spinach, tomatoes, vegetables (in general)

Fruits: Coconut, lemon, lime

Grains and Grain Products: Bulgur, grains (in general), millet, noodles (esp. Asian), rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Coconut milk, ghee, yogurt

Other Foods: Oil

Mung Beans have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Asian cuisines, casseroles, Chinese cuisine, curries, dals, gravies, hummus, Indian cuisine, moong dal, mujadara, pancakes, pilafs, purees, salads, sauces, soups, Southeast Asian cuisines, sprouts (mung bean), stews

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Mung Beans
Add mung beans to any of the following combinations…

Bulgur + olive oil + onions
Cumin + garlic + ginger + onions and/or coriander

Recipe Links
Ayurvedic Spinach-Mung Detox Soup [Vegan] https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/ayurvedic-spinach-mung-detox-soup-vegan/

Mung Bean and Coconut Curry https://www.heynutritionlady.com/mung-bean-and-coconut-curry/#wprm-recipe-container-8430

Mung Beans with Caramelized Onions and Nigella [Fennel] Seeds https://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/recipes/mung-beans-with-caramelised-onions-and-nigella-seeds

Mung Bean Soup https://www.liveeatlearn.com/mung-bean-soup/

One-Pot Mung Bean Stew https://www.makingthymeforhealth.com/one-pot-coconut-mung-bean-stew/

Mung Bean Hummus https://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/mung-bean-hummus-recipe.html

Mung Bean and Kale Soup https://skinnyms.com/mung-bean-and-kale-soup-recipe/

Mung Bean Noodles Braised with Shrimp https://www.chinasichuanfood.com/braised-mung-bean-noodles-with-shrimps/

Mung Bean + Cilantro Falafel Tacos http://www.dollyandoatmeal.com/blog/2015/3/16/mung-bean-cilantro-falafel-tacos

Sprouted Mung Bean Burger with Mint-Cilantro Chutney https://holycowvegan.net/sprouted-mung-bean-burger-with-mint-cilantro-chutney/

Summer Veggie Mung Bean Salad https://thekitchenpaper.com/summer-veggie-mung-bean-salad/

Tangy Raw Cauliflower Salad https://www.giverecipe.com/tangy-raw-cauliflower-salad/#tasty-recipes-12117

Vegetable Stir-Fry Mung Bean Noodles https://healthynibblesandbits.com/vegetable-stir-fry-mung-bean-noodles/

Hearty Mung Bean Stew with Kale https://theminimalistvegan.com/mung-bean-stew/

Mung Bean Salad https://rouxbe.com/recipes/1923-mung-bean-salad

Philippine Mung Beans in Coconut Milk https://www.food.com/recipe/philippine-mung-beans-in-coconut-milk-176928

 

Resources
https://www.heynutritionlady.com/how-to-cook-mung-beans/

https://www.heynutritionlady.com/how-to-cook-mung-beans/

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=76&contentid=16081-1

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mung-beans#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

https://www.wise-geek.com/how-do-i-choose-the-best-mung-beans.htm#

https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-store-dried-beans-1389336

https://whattocooktoday.com/how-to-keep-mung-bean-sprouts.html

https://www.littwellness.com/blog/soakthosebeans

http://www.foodforawakening.com/mung-beans/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mung-beans#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19149749/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mung-beans#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627095/

https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/tips-and-ideas/archive/many-ways-mung-beans

https://www.livestrong.com/article/553811-how-to-eliminate-the-phytic-acid-in-beans/

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.

Celery

Celery 101 – The Basics

 

Celery 101 – The Basics

About Celery
The celery we are most familiar with, that we commonly see in just about any grocery store, is green to pale-green in color, with long, firm stalks, and leafy ends. The variety is Pascal celery. Interestingly, there are many other types of celery that are usually smaller than Pascal celery. The colors can vary from white to deep gold, and even red. Celery is a botanical cousin to carrots, parsley, dill, fennel, cilantro, parsnip, anise, caraway, chervil, and cumin.

Many different types of celery are commonly grown around the world and are often referred to as “wild celery.” Pascal celery was cultivated as far back as 1000 B.C in parts of Europe and the Mediterranean. It was used as a medicinal plant in ancient Egypt. There is also evidence that ancient Greek athletes were awarded celery leaves to commemorate a win.

Around the world, celery is often served as a major vegetable in a meal, rather than an addition to salads, or a flavoring agent in soups and stews, like it is commonly used in America. Also, the large root ball, celery root, is often prized as a food in other parts of the world, over the stalks that are so popular in the United States.

Today, the United States produces over 1 billion pounds of celery each year. The average American adult eats about 6 pounds of celery annually. The United States exports about 200 million pounds of celery annually to Canada. Despite that, a substantial amount of celery consumed in the United States is imported from Mexico.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Celery is an excellent source of Vitamin K and molybdenum. It also contains a lot of folate, potassium, fiber, manganese, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B2, copper, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamin A (carotenoids).

Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Support. Celery is VERY rich in phytonutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds include Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. But the antioxidant support provided by celery goes far beyond that. There are at least a dozen other compounds found in celery that demonstrate such benefits. Animal studies have shown that celery extracts have lowered the risk of oxidative damage to body fats and blood vessel walls. They have also been shown to prevent inflammatory reactions in the digestive tract and blood vessels. The extracts were even found to help protect the digestive tract and liver from damage due to acrylamides, which are harmful compounds that can form in foods during the frying process.

Further research on celery juice and extracts has demonstrated that celery has powerful anti-inflammatory effects by decreasing levels of specific factors that promote inflammation. This helps to keep those factors in check, preventing unwanted inflammation.

Digestive Tract Support. Celery contains specific pectin-based fibers that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits. Animal studies have found that extracts of these compounds in celery appear to improve the integrity of the stomach lining, lowering the risk of stomach ulcers, and providing better control of stomach secretions.

Cardiovascular Support. Many cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis, are promoted by oxidative stress and inflammation in the bloodstream. Because of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties already found in celery, researchers are taking interest in celery for its potential cardiovascular health benefits.

Cancer Prevention. Because compounds in celery have been found to have such strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, researchers are taking note of celery for its possible anti-cancer benefits. Human research in this area has yet to be conducted, but there has been speculation that celery may help to prevent stomach, colon, and bladder cancers.

Sodium Content. Celery contains about 35 milligrams of naturally-occurring sodium per stalk. If you are on a reduced sodium diet, your intake of celery should be monitored to help you keep track of your sodium intake.

How to Select Celery
Choose celery that looks crisp, with a clean bright green color, few blemishes, and with a tightly formed bunch. Avoid those that are limp, or with yellow or brown patches, especially in the leaves, as this indicates age.

How to Store Celery
Celery should be stored in the refrigerator. There are a number of ways to store celery to keep it crisp. But note that nothing will keep celery crisp forever. It’s full of water and the refrigerator is a very dry environment, so celery tends to wilt easily. Here are some easy ways to help minimize water loss and keep it crisp longer.

(1) When you get your celery home, simply pull the original bag upward and secure a twist tie or rubber band around the top of the bag. This will help minimize water loss, while still allowing for air flow because the original bags that celery are packed in have air holes along the length of the bag.

(2) Remove the celery from the base and wrap the stalks in aluminum foil. This method is effective in keeping celery crisp and fresh for extended periods of time.

(3) Celery may be stored in a closed container. There are long plastic containers made specifically for storing celery. They usually have a mesh insert that celery can rest on, allowing for air flow around the stalks as they are stored.

(4) Celery may also be stored in any plastic container it will fit in. The stalks may need to be removed from the base, and even cut in half so they will fit in the container, and that is fine for this purpose. It is helpful to place a paper towel or clean cloth under the celery pieces. This will soak up any excess moisture that forms in the container, while maintaining a humid environment, helping to maintain its crispness.

If your celery has become somewhat dehydrated and limp, simply sprinkle the stalks with a little water, or place them cut side down in a little water in a jar or glass. Place that in the refrigerator. They should crisp up within a couple hours or overnight. Then remove them from the glass or jar and continue to store them as usual. [If left in the water for a prolonged time, the internal cells of the celery will eventually burst from trying to absorb more water than they can hold. This will cause the stalks to collapse and be very limp.]

If possible, use your celery within one week of purchase for optimal flavor, texture and nutrient retention.

How to Prepare Fresh Celery
Remove the stalk from the base of the bunch. Wash the leaves and stalk under cool running water. Cut the stalk as desired for your recipe. If the outside of the stalk contains fibrous strings, they may be removed by making a small cut into the outside with a knife. The stringy fibers may then be peeled away and discarded.

How to Preserve Celery
If you cannot use your celery within a reasonable amount of time, it may be frozen or dehydrated for later use. However, when thawed or rehydrated, the texture will be soft. It will be suitable for being immediately added to cooked dishes, like soups, stews, stocks, sauces, and casseroles. Dehydrated celery may also be ground up and used as a seasoning. Previously frozen or dehydrated celery will not be appropriate for eating fresh, such as in salads or being stuffed for a crispy snack, since it will be soft.

Freezing Celery. Wash your celery well and shake off excess water. Cut the celery into the size pieces you will need them to be when used later. Celery may be frozen with or without being blanched first. However, blanched celery will keep longer with a better quality and flavor than celery that was not blanched.

To freeze celery without blanching it first, wash it and cut the celery stalks, as described above. The prepared pieces may simply be placed in a freezer bag and stored in the freezer. To prevent it from freezing into one big lump, it can first be spread out on a parchment paper-lined tray and placed in the freezer. When frozen, transfer the celery pieces to an air-tight freezer container or bag. Label with the date and use it within 3 months for best flavor and quality.

Unblanched, finely diced celery may also be frozen in ice cube trays. Place a measured amount of celery pieces in each cell of an ice cube tray. Fill with water, then place in the freezer. When frozen, transfer the cubes to an air-tight container. These would be suitable for adding to soups and stews or any cooked food where added liquid would be used.

To freeze celery by blanching, first prepare your celery pieces as described above. Then steam them or boil them for 1 to 2 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces). Immediately transfer your blanched celery pieces to a bowl of cold water to quickly cool them down. After they are cooled, drain them well and spread them out on a parchment paper-lined tray in the freezer. When frozen, transfer your blanched celery pieces to an air-tight freezer container or bag. Label the container with the date and use them within one year for best quality.

Dehydrating Celery. Celery may be dehydrated in a dehydrator or oven. Some resources consider blanching celery before dehydrating to be an optional step. However, celery that is dried without being blanched may turn an unappetizing tan color. Whereas celery that was blanched first will maintain its green color. The choice is yours!

To blanch celery before dehydrating, bring a pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, wash the celery. Cut the celery into desired size pieces and boil them for 1 to 2 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces). Immediately transfer them to a bowl of cold water to quickly chill them down. Drain them well.

Dehydrator. To dry your celery pieces in a dehydrator, arrange them in a single layer on a dehydrator tray. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for time and temperature for drying your celery. Usually 135°F is the recommended temperature for dehydrating vegetables. The celery will be dry when it is very brittle, and has no sign of moisture inside when broken open. Store it in an air-tight jar away from heat and sunlight. For extended storage, it is helpful to place an oxygen absorber packet in the jar. Properly dehydrated celery will keep for many years.

Oven. Prepare the celery pieces as directed above. Set your oven at its lowest temperature. If it will not go below 150°F, the oven door will need to be left slightly open by propping a towel or wooden spoon inside the door. This will waste a lot of energy. If you plan to dehydrate a lot of food, investing in a dehydrator may be a sound investment.

If possible, arrange the prepared celery pieces in a single layer on a small screen or rack over a baking tray. This will allow for air flow as the celery dries. If you don’t have a mesh screen or rack, the celery pieces may be placed directly on a baking tray. They should be stirred occasionally as they dry so they will dry evenly and completely. The process may take 6 to 8 hours for them to dry completely. They should feel completely dry and crisp with no sign of moisture inside when broken open. When done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Store them in jars with tight-fitting lids or air-tight containers. Placing an oxygen absorber in the container will help to prolong the shelf-life of your dried celery.  Store it away from heat and sunlight, and it should keep well for years.

Note that celery will shrink a lot as it dries. Using a very fine mesh screen or rack will help to keep the pieces from falling through during the drying process.

To rehydrate dehydrated celery. Simply add 3 parts of water to 1 part of dehydrated celery in a bowl. Allow the celery to sit for 20 minutes up to 2 hours, until fully rehydrated. The length of time will depend upon how big the pieces were before they were dried. If desired, dehydrated celery can simply be added to soups or stews without rehydration, since they will be cooked in liquid for enough time to allow the vegetables to become rehydrated. Just be sure there is enough liquid in your pot to compensate for the rehydration process.

Equivalents. When examining rehydrating charts from various resources, the equivalents vary somewhat. It may depend upon how big the celery pieces were when they were fresh. Larger pieces may yield a greater conversion rate than those that were cut very small. So, consider the following equivalents to be rough estimates, since there is a lot of variation based on the resource.

According to “Seed to Pantry School,” an online DIY food school, one tablespoon of finely chopped fresh celery is equivalent to ½ teaspoon dried. That’s a 6-fold increase in volume from dried to fresh of finely chopped celery. Note that the celery was very finely chopped.

According to Harmony House Foods, that sells dehydrated foods online, one cup of dehydrated celery yields 3-1/4 cups when hydrated. That’s a little more than a 3-fold increase in volume when rehydrated. Obviously, their celery pieces were not cut as small as those in the above conversion comparison by “Seed to Pantry School.”

According to Honeyville, that sells freeze-dried foods online, ½ cup of freeze-dried celery will yield 1 cup when rehydrated. That’s only a two-fold increase in volume. Also, USA Emergency Supply, another online seller of dehydrated foods, states that celery doubles in volume when rehydrated in cool water.

Suggestion for Rehydration Equivalents.  Test a small amount of your own dehydrated celery by measuring a small amount of your dried celery. Place it in a bowl and cover it with plenty of water. Allow it to sit until the celery is completely rehydrated, then measure the celery. This will give you the conversion rate of what you have available. Then you can determine how much dried celery to add to a dish so you can follow the recipe appropriately.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Celery
* Are you looking for a simple snack that has some crunch? Try celery stalks! Dress them up by stuffing them with whatever you have that sounds good at the moment…cream cheese, any nut butter, or even cottage or ricotta cheese. Or just dip them in your favorite salad dressing.

* Make a quick salad by combining chopped celery, apples, grapes, and walnuts or pecans. Top it with your favorite dressing or a little olive oil and white-wine vinegar.

* For some crunch, add diced celery to your favorite tuna, chicken, egg, macaroni, or potato salad.

* Make an easy vegetable salad by combining diced celery, tomatoes, and sweet onion. Add a little cucumber if you have it available. Top it with your favorite vinaigrette or other salad dressing.

* Don’t discard the celery leaves. They are perfectly edible and taste like celery. Also, they contain a lot of Vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. Why not just use them along with the celery stalks? They work especially well in salads. Or, freeze them and add them later to soups, stews, sauces, or stock.

* If you’re cooking celery, research has found that most (83 to 99 percent) of the antioxidants in celery were retained when celery was steamed, even after 10 minutes. However, when celery was blanched for 3 minutes, or boiled for 10 minutes, 38 to 41 percent of the antioxidants were lost.

* To retain most of the nutrients in celery, wait to cut it up until you’re ready to use it. Studies found that nutrients in celery were lost, even when it was cut up the night before it was to be used (despite being stored in the refrigerator).

* If your celery has wilted and become soft, sprinkle some water on it and return it to the refrigerator. You may also place wilted celery stalks, cut side down, in a little water in a tall glass or jar. Place it in the refrigerator and it will crisp up quickly (in a couple hours to overnight). Once crispy, remove it from the glass and store it as usual.

* Celery leaves can be used to substitute for parsley in pretty much any dish.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Celery
Anise seeds, basil, bay leaf, caraway, celery salt, celery seeds, chervil, cloves, cumin, dill, lovage, marjoram, parsley, pepper, rosemary, salt, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

Foods That Go Well with Celery
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, almond butter, bacon, beans (in general), beef, chestnuts, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, hazelnuts, lentils, nuts (in general), peanuts, peanut butter, peas, pecans, pistachios, pork, shrimp (seafood in general), snow peas, sunflower seeds, turkey, walnuts

Vegetables: Artichokes, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery root, chives, cucumbers, endive, fennel, garlic, greens (in general), kohlrabi, leeks, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, radishes, scallions, shallots, squash (winter and summer), tomatoes, turnips, water chestnuts, watercress

Fruits: Apples, grapes, lemon, lime, oranges, pears, pineapple, raisins, strawberries

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

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, browned butter, cheese (esp. Blue, cheddar, cream, goat, Parmesan, Swiss), cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Capers, maple syrup, mayonnaise, mustard (Dijon), oil (esp. nut, olive, walnut), soy sauce, vinegar

Celery has been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Casseroles, cocktails (i.e. Bloody Marys), crudités, curries, gratins, mirepoix (celery + carrots + onions), risotto, salads (egg, fruit, pasta, potato, vegetable), sauces, slaws, soups (i.e. celery, celery root, potato, vegetable), stews, stir-fries, stocks (i.e. vegetable), stuffed celery, stuffings

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Celery
Add celery to any of the following combinations…

Almond butter + raisins
Apples + walnuts
Carrots + onions
Cheese + fruit + nuts
Cucumbers + mustard
Garlic + tomatoes
Oranges + pecans
Parsley + tomatoes
Pistachios + yogurt

Recipe Links
Simple Celery Soup https://www.feastingathome.com/celery-soup/#tasty-recipes-25110

28 Non-Boring Ways to Use Celery https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/non-boring-celery-recipes/

35 Recipes That Feature Celery—From Toast to Cocktails https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/celery-recipes

22 Delicious Ideas for Celery That You Will Crave All the Time https://food.allwomenstalk.com/delicious-ideas-for-celery-that-you-will-crave-all-the-time/

Braised Celery https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/braised-celery-recipe-1939479

23 Celery Recipes That Prove There’s Much More to It Than Ants on a Log https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/celery-recipes-salad-soup-stew-gallery

Lentil and Chicken Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Escarole https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lentil-and-chicken-soup-with-sweet-potatoes-and-escarole

Ideas for Using Celery Leaves https://triedandsupplied.com/saucydressings/what-to-do-with-celery-leaves/

Unexpectedly Tasty Celery Recipes That Are Easy to Make https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/unexpectedly-tasty-celery-recipes-that-are-easy-to-make.html/

Celery Salad with Dates, Almonds and Parmesan https://cookieandkate.com/celery-salad-recipe/#tasty-recipes-24740

 

Resources
https://food.allwomenstalk.com/delicious-ideas-for-celery-that-you-will-crave-all-the-time/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=14

https://www.cuisineathome.com/tips/cure-for-limp-celery/

https://culinarylore.com/how-to-guides:make-limp-celery-crisp-again/

https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/garden-to-table/can-you-freeze-celery

https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-make-dehydrated-celery-1327565

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6017442/

https://shop.honeyville.com/dehydrated-celery.html

https://www.harmonyhousefoods.com/Rehydration-Chart_ep_40.html

https://www.healthycanning.com/dehydrating-celery

https://honeyville.com/blog/before-and-after-rehydration/

https://www.usaemergencysupply.com/information-center/all-about/all-about-dehydrated-vegetables#link6

https://seedtopantryschool.com/dehydrate-celery-make-powder-conversion-amounts/

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

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. (1993) So Easy to Preserve. 3rd ed. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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

 

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.

Strawberries

Strawberries 101 – The Basics

 

Strawberries 101 – The Basics

About Strawberries
Strawberries have grown wild in Europe, Asia, North America, and lower South America for thousands of years. For hundreds of years, they have been cultivated around the world. Today, strawberries are among the most popular berries worldwide. The United States currently produces the most strawberries, with over one million metric tons annually. This amounts to about 30 percent of strawberries commercially grown worldwide. Most are grown in California, followed by Florida, then Oregon. Most strawberries grown in the United States are consumed fresh, while about 20 percent are sold frozen.

Strawberries are members of the rose family of plants, Rosaceae. Botanically, strawberries are related to blackberries, boysenberries, loganberries, and raspberries. Apples, almonds, apricots, cherries, peaches, and plums are also members of the rose family.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C and manganese. They also supply a lot of fiber, folate, copper, potassium, biotin, phosphorus, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and even some omega-3 fatty acids (in the seeds). They are also a rich source of assorted antioxidant compounds that provide important health benefits.

Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Benefits. In addition to their high amount of Vitamin C, which is an extremely important antioxidant, strawberries contain a wide array of compounds that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Such compounds are known to help protect our blood vessels from damage, helping to reduce our risk for cardiovascular disease.

Blood Sugar Regulation. Preliminary research studies on animals have shown that eating strawberries after a meal helps to regulate blood sugar levels and the release of insulin. Strawberries have also been found to have a low glycemic index of 40, which is lower than many fruits. This lower glycemic index is also reflected in better blood sugar regulation following meals that contained strawberries. This effect may be partly due to the high level of folate in strawberries. Folate has been shown to play a role in blood sugar regulation.

Improved Cognitive Function. Research in the Nurses’ Health Study showed less cognitive decline in subjects who ate at least 1 to 2 servings of strawberries a week. Researchers speculate that this effect may be due to compounds in strawberries that promote nerve generation in areas of the brain that are involved in memory.

How to Select Strawberries
Strawberries are fragile fruit that are very perishable. Look for strawberries that appear firm and plump with a shiny, deep bright red color with attached green leaves. A dull red color indicates they are old and overripe. They should be free of mold and the inside of their containers should be dry. Strawberries do not further ripen after being picked, so unless you want tart berries, avoid those that are greenish or whitish, since they are not fully ripe.

Medium size strawberries often have a better flavor than those that are extremely large.

How to Store Strawberries
Before storing your freshly purchased strawberries, check them carefully and remove any that appear moist, soft, or moldy. They will quickly cause other berries to spoil. Store your UNWASHED strawberries in the container they came in (that has air vents in them). Strawberries need air flow to help keep moisture from accumulating in the container. Yet at the same time they have a high water content and can dry out easily. For optimal storage, place them in their container in a drawer in the refrigerator. Set it for high humidity (having the air vent of the drawer closed). Use fresh strawberries as quickly as you can, optimally, within 2 days.

How to Freeze Strawberries
To freeze extra strawberries, be sure they are fully ripe but still firm. Carefully wash them and pat them dry. The green leaves on top may be removed after they are washed, or they can be left intact. Strawberries may be frozen whole, sliced, chopped, or crushed. To retain the most nutrients (especially Vitamin C), leave them whole. If you opt to cut or crush your strawberries before freezing them, adding a small amount of lemon juice will help to preserve their color. Arrange your washed berries in a single layer on a flat tray and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight freezer container or bag and return them to the freezer. Use them within one year.

Strawberries may also be sweetened before being frozen. Wash and dry the strawberries first. Then remove the hulls. The berries may be left whole or cut as desired. Add ½ cup of sugar to every 4 cups of berries (the amount of sugar may be adjusted, if desired). Gently stir the berries and sugar until the strawberries are well covered. Allow the mixture to rest 10 to 15 minutes for the natural juices to be drawn from the berries. Gently stir again to combine everything. Put a premeasured amount into heavy-duty freezer bags or containers. Remove as much air as possible. Seal, label the containers and place them in the freezer. Lay freezer bags flat so the contents are not in a big lump. Use them within one year.

How to Prepare Strawberries
Gently rinse your fresh strawberries in cold water immediately before using them. Do not soak the berries since they are porous and will absorb water, making them soft and reducing their flavor. The green leaves on top may be removed or left on. If you want to remove the leaves, wash the strawberries first. Pat the washed berries dry and they will be ready to use.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Strawberries
* Try a salad with mixed greens, sugar snap peas, chopped fennel, goat cheese, sliced strawberries, and toasted walnuts. Top it with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

* Try a salad with Spring Mix greens, sliced strawberries, toasted sunflower seeds, crumbled blue cheese, and dried cranberries. Top it with a white balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

* Add whole, sliced or crushed strawberries to fruit salads, ice cream, or sorbets.

* Decorate cheese trays with whole strawberries.

* For a tasty appetizer or dessert, hull strawberries then top them with mascarpone cheese that was mixed with a little lemon zest.

* Top your overnight oats with freshly sliced strawberries.

* For a simple dessert, top ice cream or yogurt with sliced strawberries. To REALLY dress it up, drizzle it with some melted dark chocolate. Enjoy!

* If your strawberries are overripe, include them in pies, cookies, mousses, soufflés, flans, smoothies, puddings, or cakes.

* Try a refreshing beverage by blending 2 cups of frozen strawberries, 2 cups seedless cubed watermelon, ¼ cup lemon juice, and ¼ cup sugar or sweetener of choice (frozen red grapes can be used in place of sugar…use as many as desired).

* Add sliced strawberries to ANY mixed green salad.

* For a fast and easy fruit sauce, blend strawberries with a little orange or pineapple juice. Add a little sugar or sweetener of choice, if desired.

* Strawberries are at the top of the Environmental Working Group’s 2020 “Dirty Dozen List” for being high in residual pesticides. If you want to avoid these residues in your food, opt for organic strawberries.

* Add strawberries to your breakfast smoothie.

* Make a parfait by layering yogurt, strawberry slices, fresh blueberries, and a little granola.

* Concentrate the natural sweetness of strawberries by roasting them. Wash, dry, then roast them at 350°F for about 20 minutes. Enjoy them warm or chilled. They will have a heightened sweetness and flavor, with a slightly softer texture than when raw. Use them as a yogurt, ice cream, or oatmeal topping. Add them to a salad or use them any way you would raw strawberries.

* Strawberries are most flavorful when they are room temperature. Store them in the refrigerator, but remove them early so they can warm up a little before eating them.

* Bring out the natural sweet flavor of strawberries by sprinkling them with a dash of balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, orange, or pineapple juice.

* Adding a little sugar, lemon, orange, or pineapple juice to strawberries will help to preserve their color.

* When cleaning strawberries, avoid soaking them in water. They are porous and will absorb water, becoming waterlogged, which will diminish their flavor.

* One pint of fresh strawberries is about 2-1/2 cups whole, 1-3/4 cups sliced, 1-1/4 cups pureed, and usually contains about 24 medium or 36 small berries.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Strawberries
Basil, cinnamon, ginger, mint, pepper, thyme, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Strawberries
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beef, cashews, chicken, fish, hazelnuts, nuts (in general), pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pork, tofu (silken), walnuts

Vegetables: Arugula, bell peppers, cucumbers, fennel, greens (salad), rhubarb, spinach, tomatoes

Fruits: Apples, apricots, bananas, berries (all other), coconut, figs, grapefruit, guava, kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, melons (in general), nectarines, oranges, passion fruit, peaches, pears, pineapple, watermelon

Grains and Grain Products: Graham crackers, oats, oatmeal

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Buttermilk, cheese (in general), cream, cream cheese, crème fraiche, mascarpone, milk (dairy and non-dairy), sour cream, whipped cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Agave nectar, caramel, champagne, chocolate, honey, liqueurs, maple syrup, oil (olive), rum, sugar (esp. brown, confectioners’), vinegar (esp. balsamic, red wine), wine

Strawberries have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Desserts (i.e. cobblers, crumbles, custards, ice creams, pies, puddings, sorbets, strawberry shortcake, tarts), drinks (i.e. sparkling water, sparkling wine), jams, pancakes, preserves, salads (fruit, green), sauces (dessert), shortcakes, smoothies, sorbets, soups (fruit), tarts

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Strawberries
Add strawberries to any of the following combinations…

Almonds + lemon
Arugula + balsamic vinegar + pine nuts + ricotta
Balsamic vinegar + spinach + walnuts
Basil + balsamic vinegar
Basil + lemon + mint
Brown sugar + cinnamon + oatmeal
Cream cheese + lemon
Ginger + maple syrup + rhubarb
Honey + lime
Lemon + ricotta cheese
Pistachios + yogurt

Recipe Links
Chocolate Covered Strawberries https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chocolate_dipped_strawberries/

Strawberry Basil Lemonade https://producemadesimple.ca/strawberry-basil-lemonade/

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Strawberry Sauce https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/pork-tenderloin-medallions-with-strawberry-sauce/

55+ Sweet and Savory Strawberry Recipes https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/sweet-and-savory-strawberry-recipes/

55 Recipes Made with Fresh Strawberries https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/recipes-to-make-with-fresh-strawberries/

20 Unconventional Recipe Ideas Using Strawberries https://www.brit.co/strawberry-recipes/

Strawberry Balsamic Chicken https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/strawberry-balsamic-chicken/

Filet Mignon and Balsamic Strawberries https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/213507/filet-mignon-and-balsamic-strawberries/

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Strawberries https://spicysouthernkitchen.com/pork-tenderloin-with-balsamic-strawberries/

Roasted Strawberry Glazed Pork Chops with Strawberry Spinach Salad https://producemadesimple.ca/roasted-strawberry-glazed-pork-chops-with-strawberry-spinach-salad/

10-Minute Strawberries with Chocolate Crème http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=276

10-Minute Kiwi Mandala http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=252

How to Make Easy Chia Jam with Any Fruit https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-chia-jam-with-any-fruit-222310

5 Delicious Ways to Use Up Overripe Strawberries https://www.thekitchn.com/5-delicious-ways-to-use-up-overripe-strawberries-tips-from-the-kitchn-220134

25 Amazing Things to Make with Strawberries https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/devour/how-to/2012/04/25-amazing-things-to-make-with-strawberries

68 Sweet Strawberry Desserts You Won’t Be Able to Resist https://www.delish.com/cooking/g906/strawberry-desserts-round-up/

Pan Fried Fish Fillets with Strawberry Salsa https://simplysohealthy.com/fish-fillets-with-strawberry-salsa/

Strawberry Salsa Recipe https://smartlittlecookie.net/strawberry-salsa-recipe/

Baked Strawberry Salmon https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/baked-strawberry-salmon/

Strawberry Glazed Salmon https://www.thatskinnychickcanbake.com/strawberry-glazed-salmon/

Resources
https://www.dartagnan.com/meat-and-fruit-recipes-and-combinations.html

https://producemadesimple.ca/what-do-strawberries-go-well-with/

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/strawberry-watermelon-slush/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=32

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=147

https://www.hyperthyroidismsymptomsx.com/foods-high-in-iodine

https://www.sunfood.com/blog/newsletters/seven-foods-rich-in-iodine/

https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php

https://www.thekitchn.com/4-ways-to-make-bland-strawberries-a-lot-sweeter-245046

https://www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t–1088/all-about-strawberries.asp

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.

Bananas

Bananas 101 – The Basics

 

Bananas 101 – The Basics

About Bananas
Bananas are believed to have originated about 4,000 years ago in Malaysia. From there, they were slowly introduced around the world and grown in warm climates in the Philippines, India, and Africa.

Bananas were eventually brought to the United States in the late 19th century and were enjoyed by people living in coastal towns. Eventually refrigerated transport systems were developed in the 20th century, and bananas have since been transported around the United States where they are enjoyed by everyone. Today, bananas are grown in most tropical and subtropical areas with the main producers being Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, and Brazil.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Bananas
Bananas are a good source of Vitamin B6, manganese, Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, biotin, and copper. One medium banana has about 100 calories.

Reduce Heart Disease Risk. Bananas are well known for their potassium content. This mineral is important for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. With one medium banana having around 400 mg of potassium, including them in your diet on a regular basis helps to prevent high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

While bananas are very low in fat, they do contain sterols, which are similar in structure to cholesterol. When bananas are eaten with a cholesterol-containing meal, the sterols in bananas block the absorption of cholesterol from other foods in the meal. This effect can help to keep our cholesterol levels in check.

Furthermore, bananas have a small amount of soluble fiber, about 1 gram per medium size banana. Soluble fiber binds with bile in the digestive tract, removing it in the feces. This forces the body to make more bile from existing cholesterol. This effect also helps to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Low Glycemic Index. Despite their sugar content, bananas have a low glycemic index. In addition to their soluble fiber, bananas also contain pectin, another type of fiber. The amount of pectin in a banana increases along with the sugar content as the banana ripens. The increase in pectin further helps to stabilize the blood sugar effect when the banana is eaten. So, despite the fact that ripe bananas do contain a fair amount of naturally-occurring sugars, their fiber and pectin content counteract the effects of sugars, stabilizing blood sugars, keeping their glycemic effect low.

GI Track Health. If that’s not enough, the carbohydrates in bananas (fructooligosaccharides) are not typically broken down by enzymes in the digestive tract. Instead, in the lower bowel, they are digested by bacteria. This helps to maintain the colony of friendly bacteria in our colon, which is vitally important for health. One research study found that those who ate two bananas a day for two months had increased numbers of Bifidobacteria, fewer gastrointestinal problems, and more regular bowel movements than those who did not eat the bananas.

Endurance. Bananas have long been a favorite food among endurance athletes, such as long-distance cyclists. Their portability, low expense, and flavor make them easy to transport and eat along the way. The mix of vitamins, minerals, and low glycemic carbohydrates has been found to be just as effective as sports beverages in keeping energy levels stable and preventing muscle cramps.

How to Select Bananas
When buying bananas, choose ones that are firm and without bruises. Look for ones that are green near both ends. If you want to keep bananas longer, opt for ones that are more green than yellow, since they will take a little longer to ripen up.

Bananas with yellow peels are best for eating fresh, whether it’s from the peel or cut into salads. Ripe bananas, like those with speckles, are best for being used in baked goods and smoothies.

How to Store Bananas
Bananas should be left at room temperature to ripen. They should not be kept in overly hot or cold temperatures. Do not put unripe bananas in the refrigerator. Such cold temperatures will prevent them from ripening, even when taken out of the refrigerator. To extend the shelf life of ripe bananas, they may be stored in the refrigerator and should be used within 5 to 7 days. The peels will turn black when stored in the refrigerator, but the banana flesh will be fine.

Bananas are more fragile than they appear. A large bunch of bananas is rather heavy. When stored on the counter or in a fruit bowl, the bananas on the bottom may tend to bruise on the areas where they rest, due to the weight they are supporting. A banana hanger can alleviate that problem. Simply place your freshly purchased bananas on a banana hanger when you get them home and they will slowly ripen as expected without the added bruising from the weight of the bunch. Try it and you’ll see!

Another trick to help slow down banana ripening is to wrap the top end of the bunch with plastic wrap when you first bring the bananas home. The stem end is where their ethylene gas is released. That gas promotes ripening. By covering the end with plastic, the release of the ethylene gas will be slowed down, helping to deter the ripening process. Bear in mind that nothing will keep bananas forever, but these tactics can help to slow the ripening process, extending the shelf life. For the longest life of bananas, peel them, and freeze them in an airtight container.

To speed up the ripening process, place your bananas in a paper bag or wrap them in newspaper. Adding an apple will speed up the process. Ripe bananas may be placed in the refrigerator to keep them from further ripening. Their peel will turn black in the refrigerator, but the flesh will not be affected. For best flavor, remove bananas from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature before eating them.

How to Preserve Bananas
Whole bananas may be frozen. Simply remove the peel and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and/or place them in an airtight container in the freezer. Frozen bananas will keep for 2 to 3 months. They will be edible beyond that, but the quality may decline. To help prevent them from turning dark during the freezing process, simply coat them with a little lemon or orange juice before being frozen.

Bananas may also be pureed first before being frozen. To prevent discoloration, add some lemon or orange juice to them first. Blending them first with another fruit, like berries will also help to deter discoloration.

Bananas may also be frozen with the peel still intact. Simply place them in a freezer bag or container and store them in the freezer. To remove the peel from frozen bananas, briefly run them under water to slightly soften the peel, then remove the peel with a knife. Or, you could simply allow them to warm up at room temperature for about 10 or 15 minutes, then remove the peel with a knife, if needed.

Bananas may also be dried. First, peel your bananas and slice them thinly. Then dip the banana slices in an acidic juice, such as lemon or orange juice. Other juices may also be used, such as cranberry juice, cherry juice or others. The acidity is what counts here, to keep the bananas from turning dark in the drying process. If you have a dehydrator, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for time and temperature for drying your bananas. If you don’t have a dehydrator, simply lay the treated banana slices on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake them at a low temperature, anywhere from 200°F to 250°F until they are completely dry. Flip them over a time or two to allow them to completely dry throughout. This process may take an hour or two, so monitor them as they bake, and be sure they are completely dry before removing them from the oven. The exact time will depend on the oven temperature and the thickness of the banana slices. Store the cooled slices in an airtight container. They may be kept at room temperature, but should keep longer when stored in the refrigerator. Dried bananas will generally keep for 6 to 12 months in the refrigerator, and up to 18 months in the freezer.

Dried vs Fresh

Most of the weight of bananas comes from their high water content. When dehydrated, their nutrient content and calories are concentrated. The exception is in their Vitamin C content, which is about 20 percent lower in dehydrated bananas than fresh. Since they are concentrated, the standard serving size is ¼ cup of dried bananas. So, it may be wise to allocate your portion in a bowl or cup, and put the rest away before enjoying your snack. Simply eating from “bag to mouth” could easily lead to overeating dried bananas and consuming way more than you realize.

Read ingredient labels carefully when buying dried bananas. Those sold as “banana chips” are actually fried. Their ingredients label will reflect that, listing bananas, oil (of some type), sugar, and possibly artificial flavoring. Banana chips are much higher in calories than fresh bananas or even dehydrated bananas, and since they were fried, they should not be considered to be a healthy alternative to fresh bananas.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Bananas
* Make your own banana pops with ripe bananas. Peel and cut them in half, across the middle. Insert a popsicle stick in the flat, cut end. Lay them on a tray and place them in the freezer. When frozen they are ready to enjoy. To embellish your banana pops, you could dip them in melted chocolate, butterscotch, caramel, or any favorite ice cream sauce. If desired, sprinkle them or roll them in chopped nuts or ice cream sprinkles. Return them to the freezer then enjoy when everything is frozen. Wrap extras up in an airtight container and store in the freezer (IF there’s any left!).

* Use a banana peel to shine leather shoes. Peel the banana, then remove any strings still attached to the inside of the peel. Then rub the inside of the peel on leather shoes to shine them up. Buff them with a clean cloth. Done!

* If you want to attract butterflies and birds to your yard, put peeled and sliced overripe bananas on an elevated perch in your yard. Other ripe fruit (such as mangoes and oranges) can also be added. The fruit may also attract bees and wasps, so be mindful of that when putting up your perch.

* The inside of a banana peel can be used to sooth insect bites, sunburn, minor scrapes, and poison ivy. Simply press the inside of a peel onto the area like you would a cool compress.

* To speed up ripening an avocado, place a banana in a paper bag with the avocado. The ethylene gas released by the banana will hasten the ripening of the avocado.

* When making banana bread, the blacker the peel of the banana, the better the banana flavor will be in the finished bread.

* If you want to slow down the ripening of your bananas, place them in the refrigerator. The peels will turn black, but the fruit will stay fresh. Bananas may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

* To speed up the ripening process of bananas, place them in a paper bag in a dry spot away from sunlight. After a day or two they should start ripening. If not, place an apple in the bag with the unripe bananas.

* Try an all-time favorite peanut butter and banana sandwich. Drizzle with honey for added sweetness.

* Add sliced banana, walnuts, and a drizzle of maple syrup to your breakfast oatmeal.

* To slow banana ripening, when you first bring your bananas home from the store, wrap the bunch top (where the bananas are all joined together) with plastic wrap. This will help to prevent the release of their ethylene gas which causes them to ripen. If you want to take this one step further, you could separate all the bananas and wrap the stem top of each banana individually. This will not make them last forever, but it will slow the ripening process.

* For a quick and healthy dessert, make banana “nice cream.” Place a frozen banana in a food processor or blender. Add a tablespoon or two of liquid (such as water, milk of choice, or coconut water). Blend until smooth and enjoy! More or less liquid can be added, if desired. Or it can be left out entirely. Also, banana nice cream can be flavored in many ways. For instance, add unsweetened cocoa powder, nut or seed butter, a sprinkle of vanilla extract, cinnamon, or frozen berries of choice. It doesn’t take a lot of additives to flavor your nice cream, so add a little, blend, then taste it. Add more if desired.

* When you slice bananas for a fruit salad, toss them with a little bit of an acidic liquid to keep them from turning brown. A little lemon or lime juice, orange juice, or even mild-flavored vinegar will do the trick. If an acidic juice won’t go with your salad, I have also had success by coating banana slices with a little oat or coconut milk.

* Mashed banana can be used as a substitute for fat in muffins and other quick breads. The substitution rate is 1:1 (replace fat in the recipe with an equal part of mashed banana). Note that the banana may cause the product to bake faster, so watch it carefully as it bakes. It may be finished a few minutes early. You could reduce the oven temperature by 25°F to keep the product from baking too fast. Also, bananas will add some sweetness to the quick bread, so the amount of sugar may need to be reduced by one-fourth up to one-half, depending upon the recipe. Make a small batch to test it out first.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Bananas
Cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Bananas
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, bacon, cashews, chicken, flax seeds, ham, macadamia nuts, nuts (in general), nut butter, peanuts, pecans, pork, sausage, sunflower seeds, walnuts

Vegetables: Chiles, onions, sweet potatoes

Fruits: Apples and apple juice, apricots, berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), cherries, coconut, dates, figs, lemon, lime, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papaya, passion fruit, peaches, pears, pineapple, raisins, tamarind, tropical fruit (in general)

Grains and Grain Products: Bread, malt, oats and oatmeal, toast

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, cheese (cream, ricotta), coconut milk, cream, ice cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Agave nectar, bourbon, caramel, chocolate, cognac, honey, oil, rum, sugar

Bananas have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Baked goods (i.e. breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, quick breads), cereals (breakfast), French toast, granola, lassis, pancakes, salads (fruit), smoothies

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Bananas
Combine bananas with any of the following combinations…

Almond milk + nutmeg + vanilla
Almonds + oatmeal
Apple juice + cinnamon
Apricots + yogurt
Blueberries + yogurt
Cashews + pineapple
Chocolate + peanuts
Cinnamon + orange
Citrus + coconut
Coconut + pineapple + sesame seeds
Dates + flax seeds
Honey + peanut butter
Maple syrup + oatmeal
Oranges + papaya
Peaches + raspberries
Pineapple + sesame seeds

Recipe Links
30 Ripe Banana Recipes to Use Up Your Bunch https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/recipes-for-ripe-bananas/

22 Recipes for Ripe and Overripe Bananas https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/vegan-menus-collections/banana-recipes-ways-to-use-ripe-overripe-bananas/

Over 66 Recipes Using Overripe Bananas https://www.crazyforcrust.com/66-recipes-using-overripe-bananas/

35 Ways to Use Overripe Bananas That Aren’t Banana Bread https://www.myrecipes.com/ingredients/fruit-recipes/overripe-banana-recipes-besides-bread

15 Ways to Use Ripe Bananas That Aren’t Banana Bread https://www.allrecipes.com/gallery/ripe-banana-recipes/

22 Recipes for Ripe and Overripe Bananas https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/vegan-menus-collections/banana-recipes-ways-to-use-ripe-overripe-bananas/

Chocolate Chip Banana Bars https://butterwithasideofbread.com/chocolate-chip-banana-bars/

17 Amazing Ways to Eat A Banana https://www.eatthis.com/banana-cooking-tips/


Resources
https://www.readersdigest.ca/home-garden/tips/clever-uses-for-bananas/

https://www.farmanddairy.com/aroundthetable/9-tips-for-cooking-and-baking-with-bananas/347445.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=7

https://www.livestrong.com/article/534188-nutrition-of-bananas-vs-dehydrated-bananas/

https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/dehydrating-destroy-potassium-bananas-10757.html

https://food52.com/blog/14734-should-you-be-plastic-wrapping-your-bananas

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/bananas/

https://www.spokesman.com/stories/1997/jun/04/how-apeeling-the-versatile-banana-pairs-nicely/

https://www.yummly.com/recipes/sweet-banana-with-meat

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16451

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/18824

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.