Seasonal Produce Guides
Recently, a friend asked me, “How can I make kale yummy?” It occurred to me that perhaps a lot of people are new to the nutritional powerhouse that is kale. Maybe you only know it as that curly green thing underneath your potato salad. It does look quite nice, but it is severely underutilized as a garnish. Loaded with calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, and K, and even some protein, you’d be much better off eating the kale, and tossing the potato salad. Here are five simple things you can do to make your kale yummy. more→
Packed with nutrients, cranberries are healthy and delicious, making dishes pop with flavor. They also can take many forms: juice, sauce, jam, dried and of course, fresh. When fresh, they pack a punch of tartness that overpowers their sweetness, but if you can get over the bite, it’s worth it. This “superfruit” is full of antioxidants and really good for you!Harvested between September and December, cranberries grow on short, thin vines and also bloom flowers and ‘spikes.’ They start out white, and as they mature turn to their better known deep red color. Almost 95 percent of cranberries grown are used for fruit juice; the other 5 percent are sold fresh and raw. more→
“Korn has got one thing that nobody else has got,” wrote nineteenth-century humorist Josh Billings, “and that is a kob.” Equally indisputable is that the greatest gift the Native Americans gave the European settlers of Colonial America was the ability to cultivate corn. No other single food has had as great an impact on the development of American cookery. Since it grew well in poor soil and needed little skill to cultivate, corn quickly became a staple crop of the colonists. more→
At farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture farms, lettuces make their appearance in May and go strong through mid-summer. When I belonged to a CSA farm, each week, we could take as many as three healthy heads of lettuce for our share. No matter how much one loves salads, three heads a week is a lot of lettuce! If you shop at farm markets, they, too will be bursting with lettuces. more→
After long winter months of root vegetables and tubers, the farmers market re-awakens in spring – pulsating with energy and brimming with cheerful colors, enticing smells and delicious flavors that make for a full sensory experience. Strolling by the vibrant stands of produce, you’ll find everything to fulfill the stirring desires of re-awakened palates: fresh field strawberries, crisp green beans, plump artichokes and, of course, bright green asparagus.
Chili peppers are an indispensable part of many ethnic cuisines that have become intrinsic to the healthy cook’s home repertoire. Chilies are one of the most widely produced and utilized condiments in the world, after salt and black pepper.
Members of the capsicum genus, their flavors range from mild to sweet to explosively hot. There are hundreds of varieties, with inconsistent names and little standardization of labeling. Here are a few basic guidelines to help the curious chili lover: more→
Not long ago, when a recipe called for mushrooms, it meant the white button variety. What else was there? Now, nearly every natural foods store, supermarket, and produce grocery offers a wide array of mushrooms. Mushroom lovers, you’ll find many tasty recipes on VegKitchen’s category of recipes featuring mushrooms. more→
Everyone’s mad for greens these days! Once you get into the leafy greens habit, it’s hard to stop. And why would you? Greens are acknowledged as the most nutrient-rich group of veggies, with a multitude of benefits. The hardier greens, like kale, chard, and collards, are superb sources of highly absorbable calcium, a perk that’s especially valuable to vegans. They’re one of the best sources of Vitamin K, essential to bone health, and are abundant in vitamins A, B (especially folic acid) and C. Greens also provide a wealth of antioxidants and chlorophyll, are protective against cancers, and are anti-inflammatory. more→