NUTRITION

 

 

This is a compilation of trivia on the veggies we grow in our garden:

ALL LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES: “One of our most powerful allies in cleansing the liver, leafy greens can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced. Extremely high in plant chlorophylls, greens literally suck up environmental toxins from the blood stream. With their distinct ability to nuetralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides, these cleansing foods offer a powerful protective mechanism for the liver.” (www.globalhealingcenter.com)


BEETS–root crop high in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene. It STAINS. A simple way to prepare them is to bake them. Wrap them in foil and bake them in the oven just as you do potatoes. When they pass the fork test, then cool them and put them into a zip lock bag in the fridge. They are readily available for a meal, as a side dish, or to top your salad. Simply remove the foil, slip off the peel, and then slice or chop the beets. My daughter shared this technique with me–Now we are eating much more beets!

Growing up, my grandma always (and only) boiled them, then plunged them into cold water to slip the skins. She canned them, pickled them, or made Harvard Beets for dinner. (SEE RECIPE PAGE)


BOK CHOI–type of Chinese Cabbage also known as Pak Choi. Excellent in stir-fry. (See basic Stir Fry recipe in RECIPES) Can be used in most recipes which call for cabbage. When you use the bok choi use the whole stem and leaves. If plastic wrapped it will keep in the fridge for several weeks.


BROCCOLI–Steamed, or cooked in a small amount of water; Butter before serving. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Serve immediately. “Eating broccoli and cauliflower will increase the amount of glucosinolate in your system, adding to enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes help flush out carcinogens, and other toxins, out of our body which significantly lowers our risk of cancer.” (www.globalhealingcenter.com; 14 Foods that Cleanse the Liver)

“Superfood: Broccoli
Broccoli has long been touted as one of the healthiest veggies because of its nutritional makeup. This superfood is loaded with fiber, antioxidants to fight cancer, and vitamin C to aid in iron absorption. While broccoli doesn’t provide as much calcium as a glass of milk, it is a great source of calcium to help control blood pressure and build strong bones. Aim to eat broccoli as well as other cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts) several times per week to reap the good-for-you benefits.” (MyRecipes.com)


 

CABBAGE–I can’t say enough about cabbage. Another cruciferous veggie with all kinds of health benefits. Cabbage is a main-stay in the German diet, as in many European cultures. Raw cabbage is used in slaws, cooked cabbage is coupled with sausages, fermented (or pickled) cabbage (sauerkraut) can be cooked with polish sausage and added to other dishes, steamed cabbage is one of the layers in the Milkcan dinner. There are Cabbage Burgers, and Cabbage rolls–everyone has their own way to make it. For cabbage burgers, I cook up the filling and use frozen roll dough for the outside bread–faster than making my own. Several mornings, when the cabbage is in abundance, I will cook up batches and make the ‘burgers’, then cool them, wrap them in foil, and freeze them. After frozen I put them in 2 gallon zip-locks to reduce freezer burn, and we are set for the winter months–I usually allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge and we reheat them in the micro-wave (individual meal for the men on the move) or oven (for the entire family).


CARROTS–In the same category as the beets as far as our liver health goes–high in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene. Can be eaten year round–this year we have Mokums which are an early variety, and then Sugarsnax for the mid-season. Two other varieties will be planted for Fall Harvest and to over-winter.

Carrots can be eaten raw, steamed, stir-fried, or cooked. I canned them one year, but that seemed impractical since you can eat them fresh all year round–even your own will keep in the refrigerator for months. We have stored them in a root cellar in sand–I thought the sand sucked the moisture out of them. One year we left them in the garden and covered them with straw–when we needed more carrots we went out in the snow and dug them. They were sweet and firm! Another year we did the same thing but the wind blew the straw away and the carrots were frozen solid in the ground…until the spring when they were a MESS!

Carrot juice is a favorite for juicers. I was not able to nurse one of my daughters beyond 10 weeks and didn’t want to put her on canned formula; She was raised on a ‘formula’ of 1/3 goat’s milk, 1/3 distilled water, and 1/3 carrot juice four times a day. Chele Belle was healthy, energetic, and had a nice golden ‘tan’…her complexion favors The Farmer’s anyway…not the freckled Euro of her mom! 🙂


CAULIFLOWEROne of those cruciferous vegetables! (See Broccoli) Will keep in the fridge. Can be eaten raw or cooked. One of my favorite preps is to put an inch of water in a saucepan just slightly larger than the cauliflower, steam it until tender. Top with a tab of butter, let it melt through, serve head on a plate cut into pie shaped pieces. YUMMMMY


CUCUMBERS–usually eaten raw. Can be kept in the fridge in a plastic bag. Some varieties have a bitter tasting peel. Cucumbers wilt but will spruce back up in the fridge.

The Farmer loves sliced cucumbers in vinegar & water with salt and pepper. Sometimes he’ll save the vinegar water and use it over and over. Cucumbers are great in salads–you can score them length-wise with a fork, then slice them. To the girls the little cucumber slices look like a flower, to the boys–a cog!

Here’s 2 tidbits (of 14) that showed up in my email:
1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. 2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours. OTHER USES LISTED WERE TO PREVENT THE BATHROOM MIRROR FROM FOGGING UP, RIDDING GARDEN OF SLUGS/GRUBS, REMOVING CELLULITE AND WRINKLES, HANG-OVER/HEADACHE CURE, TO POLISH YOUR SHOES, LUBRICATING A SQUEAKY DOOR HINGE, AROMATHERAPY FOR STRESS, BAD-BREATH CURE, CLEANING STAINLESS STEEL, & AN INK ERASER. 🙂


EGGPLANTa very versatile fruit. Often used as a meat-substitue in dishes; takes on the flavors of the other ingredients. Can be fried with summer squash and onions, or tossed in olive oil and cooked with garlic and salt and pepper, and topped with cheese. A great sandwich option (see RECIPES for Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwich).

The Farmer’s favorite eggplant dish is Fried Eggplant–remove the skin, slice thin, roll in egg and cornmeal/flour mix, and fry in hot oil. (He also likes the huge zucchinis done this way, too.)

Eggplant goes all the way back to the 5th century BC in China where it was considered an important food source. Later it spread to Greece, Rome, Europe, Africa, the Middle East… and the Western Hemisphere.

 

 

Cooking – Eggplant can be steamed, baked, roasted, stuffed, boiled, grilled, fried, stir fried, added to soups and stews, made into dips like babaganoush and many other ways of cooking this wonderful veggie. (see Recipes page)

You can slice it, add salt to get rid of some of the bitterness… then rinse and use the Eggplant in your cooking.

Nightshade – Eggplant is a nightshade veggie and if you are sensitive to these veggies then you should stay away. But there has never been any controlled studies showing nightshade veggies causing problems. But if they bother you… don’t eat them.

Enjoy Eggplant – It will do your body good! (See the separate page on 14 Benefits of Eggplant)


KOHLRABI–a member of the cabbage family known as “German turnip”, though it’s not a turnip at all! The bulb at the base of the plant in the center of the leaves is the part usually eaten. It is sweet and tender. Best eaten when young–can become tough and stringy if left to grow too long. We are looking for recipes…so far, we are just eating as a snack. Our neighbor Bonnie says you can grate kohlrabi into slaw, and I think you can cook them cubed into cabbage dishes. Kohlrabi is cruciferous so liver friendly and a good thing for us!


LETTUCE–Mini-heads: Wash in cold water, drain, and store in a zip-lock bag in fridge. (Crispest if prepared ahead) The mini-heads can be left whole until right before serving; Cut them at the base and the leaves will come apart. Great with other types of leaf lettuce, baby spinach, carrots (I like mine sliced with a peeler), cucumber (scored length-wise with a fork and sliced), bell peppers (thinly sliced), and sliced mini-sweet peppers. Top with croutons, grated cheese, and/or choice of dressing. (SEE RECIPES for Oregano & Lemon Viniagarette) Fresh herbs are good–use a stingey amount as the flavor can be overwhelming!


LETTUCE–Annapolis Baby Leaf (a red Romaine): wash in cold water, drain, and store in a zip lock bag or tight container. This is a deep red Romain and has been developed to mix with other greens, though you can surely eat it by itself.

GOURMET MIXES – LETTUCE 101:
Have you ever noticed that sometimes your lettuce mix has a few bitter leaves?
Have you ever had lettuce so bitter you could not eat it?
Is there a reason for this–anything that can be done?

Lettuce has a milky white liquid coursing through its veins–figuratively speaking. This white juice is BITTER–so inherently all lettuce has the potential to be bitter. BUT, some varieties are more bitter than others.

Let me share what we have found to be true:
The early lettuce Gourmet Mix is tender baby leaf…hard to stab with your fork, but definitely not bitter in the least…in fact some might consider it bland.

The second week the leaves are a little bigger and distinct flavors start to develop. When washed you will note when you lift the lettuce after the wash the water left behind is ‘soapy’–it does not taste like soap, but it is bubbly and slightly slimy.

Our first experience with the second week Gourmet mix was that The Farmer (whose taste buds are keener than mine) was ready to ‘plow it under’…to my buds it was ‘okay’. Our Gourmet Salad Mix is 7 varieties of baby leaf–the Oakleaf and Lollo Rossa seem to have bitter tendencies, the Bib seems the least affected, and the Romaine’s can go either way.

The cure: soaking in cold water, then the normal three rinses and spin dry. Soaking seems to take the bitter from the leaves, and the subsequent rinses get the grit and bitter juices off the outside–a night in the cold refrigerator, AND–VOILA: perfect salad!


SNAP PEAS–great snack food. Keep refrigerated in a plastic bag. Can be eaten raw, cooked, steamed, or stir-fried. Normally Snow Peas are used in stir-fry; they are flat with a tender pod. The immature snap peas can be used in stir fry. We are growing an early variety with shorter pods, and a mid-season one that will be maturing in July. Peas are a legume–like beans and alfalfa!


RADISHES–Some like it hot, some like it mild…we like it in the fridge sitting in cold water. Frigid water makes them crisp and crunchy–it seems to take some of the ‘heat’ away, too. Different varieties are hotter than others. We try to keep them well watered in the garden when forming their root. Radishes are usually eaten as a snack, or in salad. (SEE RECIPES for German Potato Salad)


RADISHES–WATERMELON

The Watermelon radish, given name Shinrimei, AKA Rooseheart and Red Meat, is an heirloom Chinese Daikon radish. It is a member of the Brassica (mustard) family along with arugula, broccoli and turnips. The Watermelon radish shares the same attribute with all radishes, it contains isothiocyanate, a pungent chemical compound that when isolated makes an organic pesticide. Often radish crops (along with other Brassica plants) release these compounds which are toxic to pests, weeds and soil born-pathogens.
The Watermelon radish is made up of an edible globular root attached to thin stems and wavy green leaves. Its exterior is creamy white in color with pale green shoulders, a sign of the chlorophyl it received from exposure to the sun. The Watermelon radish’s flesh is white closest to the exterior becoming bright circular striations of pink and magenta. Hence the watermelon reference. Its flesh is tender crisp, succulent and firm. Its flavor is mild, only slightly peppery with almond-sweet notes. Depending on when harvested, Watermelon radishes can range in size from golf ball to soft ball.
Applications

Watermelon radishes can be served fresh or cooked, hot or cold. They pair well with fennel, apple, cheeses such as feta and chèvre, butter, creamy based dressings, vinaigrettes, bacon, white fish, cucumbers, mild salad greens, cooked eggs, noodles such as soba and udon, citrus, cilantro, mint and tarragon.
Watermelon radishes are a cool season crop preferring soil temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Overly warm soil temperatures affect the radish’s flavor, turning a mild pepper flavor often into a bitter sting.  (www.specialtyproduce.com)


SUMMER SQUASH–do not wash until before use. Does not need to be refrigerated if larger, but wilts and scars easily if small. Recipes with summer squash are endless–and so is the plants ability to yield tons! Most are familiar with zucchini and yellow squash; this year we have added patty pan. Patty pan can be used in the same way as zucchini and yellow squash; it can be sliced and fried in butter with onion. If young enough it can be sliced into pie shapes and fried on its own. It can be grilled or baked in the oven. Our favorite dish is simple for all the summer squashes: slice with onions, and cook in butter on medium, covered. You can add some chopped tomato during the last minute. Salt and pepper to taste. You can also add fresh parsley, a little basil or oregano. Other vegetables can be added for variety–you will want to cut them small so they are done at the same time as the squash.

 


SWISS CHARD–we like ours cooked and served with vinegar on the side. Wash leaves and boil until tender. Will shrink in size when cooked. Serve hot. This is probably one of the least appreciated leafy greens…I’m learning more about it, myself. I just learned you can chop it up and add it to your salad, or cook it with zucchini, or add it to spaghetti sauce. My daughter says you can cut it up and toss it in a pan with a little olive oil and fresh herbs…hmmm. Nutritionally, this is one of those Leafy Green Vegetables that help our liver and cleanse our system. If you follow the links on the RECIPE Page you can find dozens of Swiss Chard recipes and uses.

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