The 52 New Foods Challenge – Artichokes

Boy! It has been waaayyyy too long since I blogged last! But I am nearly done with blogging about The 52 New Foods Challenge, so even though it’s Winter now and these foods are from the Fall portion of the book, I’m just going to finish up! PLUS, here in Northern California (where the self-proclaimed Artichoke Capital of the World is located) artichokes are in season in March, April, and May, so I feel like it’s okay that we’re talking artichokes in February.

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests grilling artichokes or steaming them with lemon butter. Honestly, I don’t really get artichokes. I’d like to get them, but I don’t. As a kid, I thought they were weird and avoided them like the plague. As a grown up, I’ve only had them a handful of times because I’m really sure that I’m doing it wrong. Am I supposed to be getting some meat off of these leaves?!?!? I think they taste fine, so I’m willing to keep trying them, but I’m still baffled.

Food Facts:

  • Native to Northern Africa.
  • We eat “… the leaflike bracts of the unopened flower” (Robinson, p.196, 2013).
  • Artichokes have been used historically for their liver protective properties. Recent studies have found that artichokes contain silymarin and cynarin, both liver protective compounds.
  • Artichokes have a higher ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity – a measure of antioxidant capacity) value than any other modern fruit and vegetable.
  • A rich source of inulin, a prebiotic fiber that helps to feed the probiotic colony in the gut.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • The Globe/French artichoke is the most nutrient dense variety.
  • In order to get the maximum nutrition from artichokes, they should be eaten as closet to harvesting as possible due to their high respiration rate.
  • To pick a fresh artichoke
    • Rub two together and they should squeak.
    • It should feel firm when you squeeze it.
  • Boiling artichokes is a great way to prepare them because it increases their antioxidant levels.
  • Steaming artichokes is the BEST way to prepare them – you get three times the antioxidant levels of boiled artichokes.
  • Good source of vitamins K and C, folate, potassium, lutein, niacin, riboflavin, and iron.

Sources:

Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson, Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard, and The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee.

 

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Rhubarb

My mom talks about growing up in Michigan and picking rhubarb from their backyard garden, sprinkling it with salt, and munching on it. I believe there was also a backyard swing involved in that story, although I could be merging two stories together. The first time that I tried rhubarb, the taste reminded me of picking sour grass with my grandma as a child. Like many people, I have also tried it in strawberry rhubarb pie. Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends a strawberry rhubarb crisp or rhubarb ice pops (YUM!). Additional ideas for use include in sweet fruit breads, rhubarb syrup, and rhubarb mojitos (!!!!!). I like sour things, so I imagine that I would like it chopped in a salad with other raw veggies. How do you use rhubarb?

Food Facts:

  • rhubarbThe leaves of the plant are poisonous. The stalks are the edible part of the plant.
  • It can be used to help constipation.
  • It has been shown to have anticancer effects in lab studies.
  • It is rich in lycopene and can be supportive in preventing heart disease.
  • It has vitamins K and C and calcium, potassium, and manganese.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • It is an early spring plant – one of the first to grow, especially in colder regions.
  • Choose firm stalks when harvesting or purchasing.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Wikipedia, and The Pioneer Woman.

In Season, in May

May is the first sign of summer produce. It makes me extremely h
appy so see summer produce. For me, it’s the berries that are the most exciting. I could eat a pint of strawberries every day. And actually, I pretty much do. ;-). My husband loves when cherries are in season and it is a pretty short season. I try to buy them for him often during May and June. I have never bought rhubarb, so it should go on my list of things to buy and cook with.

What are you most excited for?

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

 

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Strawberries

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Strawberries

This is the most exciting of all the foods and it’s likely not new for most people. There is just something about strawberries that I just can’t get enough of. For me, berries also mean summer. Ahhhhhhh. I’m pretty much a snob about my berries though…I only eat fresh berries when they are in season and I only buy them from Tomatero Organic Farm in Watsonville, CA. I choose Tomatero for three reasons: 1) They are local and organic. Organic is a big deal with strawberries as they absorb many of the pesticides that are sprayed on them and they are consistently on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen. 2) They grow several varieties of strawberries, all of them great, but this season I have been loving the Sweet Anne. 3) Also, I used to slang berries for them at local farmer’s markets for four years. You know, the whole “know the farmer” idea. 4) They are the best!!!! (I know, I said three reasons 😉

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests serving strawberry sauce on pancakes instead of syrup. I LOVE that idea. I also had sliced strawberries in a turkey sandwich with arugula (think: turkey and cranberry sauce) at an amazing place called Centrally Grown in Cambria, CA.

Food Facts:

  • Wild berries and heirloom varieties have more nutritional value and more phytonutrients.
  • Strawberries do not continue to ripen after they have been harvested, so should be
    picked ripe. This also means that if your strawberry has traveled some distance to arrive to you, they are being picked when only three-quarters ripe.
  • Underripe strawberries are less nutritious than fully ripe berries. (Maybe we should all just grow our own, huh?)
  • Most supermarket berries are large, firm, white-fleshed, and hollow. This variety has been chosen because of their ability to travel well and last longer. There are many other varieties with other flavor profiles, softer textures, pink flesh, and juicy. I HIGHLY encourage you to go the farmers market and taste them all.
  • Jo Robinson, of Eating on the Wild Side, suggests that consumers up their standards for produce, especially for berries, so that the stores will have to supply higher quality produce (ripe, not moldy, flavorful, etc.).
  • Organic berries offer more of an anti-cancer effect than conventional berries.
  • The antioxidant activity of berries increases when left out at room temperature. The antioxidants contained in strawberries include: ellagic acid, anthocyanin, catechin, quercetin, and kaempferol.
  • They help to fight against inflammation, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Good source of vitamin C, folate, and manganese. They are also rich in vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Good source of fiber.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard.

Photo Credit: Luv Kreativ Photography https://www.instagram.com/luvkreativ/?hl=en

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Blueberries

This is probably the most exciting time of year for someone that LOVES fruit and that tries to eat by the seasons. Plus, I have two blueberry bushes and they are exploding with blueberries right now. Since I live in California, my blueberry bushes last year weren’t very prolific. The rain this season has been significantly better but we also started collecting the water from when we’re letting it warm up to take showers. Moral of the story: lots and lots of blueberries, which equals a super happy Katie.

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests that blueberries are a gateway food for kids because they are willing to try blueberries and therefore step outside their food comfort zone. She has recipe for a Cinnamon-Blueberry Sauce that would be great on ice cream, pancakes or waffles, or CREPES!!!! Yum!

Food Facts:

  • Blueberries have a shelf life of about two weeks – freeze whatever you can’t eat. Frozen berries are almost as nutritious as fresh berries. Ideally they are “flash frozen”.
  • Great source of vitamin C, K, manganese, and fiber.
  • Contain flavonoid antioxidants such as: anthocyanins, kaempferol, and stilbenes.
  • The antioxidant content of blueberries helps to counterbalance free radical damage and the inflammatory response.
  • High intake has been associated with lower risk of ovarian cancer, lung cancer risk in smokers, reduced anxiety, depression, and inflammation.
  • Risk of dementia decreased with an increased weekly consumption of blueberries and strawberries.
  • Aronia berries, a relative of modern blueberries, have nearly 5 times the antioxidant value of our most nutritious modern blueberry.
  • Blueberries are also known for their ability to lower blood pressure, reduce arterial plaque, and prevented obesity in rat studies.
  • Cooked blueberries are actually more nutritious than raw berries because the cooking process makes the antioxidants more bioavailable (easier for your body to use).
  • Dried blueberries are less nutritious than fresh berries.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Tonia Reinhard, and Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Healthby Jo Robinson.

Photo Credit: Luv Kreativ Photography  https://www.instagram.com/luvkreativ/?hl=en

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Peas

This week’s new food from Jennifer Tyler Lee is Peas. These are usually a crowd pleaser with kids and even most adults will eat peas. They are a sweeter and starchier veggie, which is probably why kids and picky adults like them. I like peas just fine, but I almost never make them. They’re a little too “basic” for me, after all, I really like lavender shortbread [inside joke for my Cookie Bake-Off Ladies]. Jennifer Tyler Lee shares her experience with kids really enjoying to help with the shelling of fresh peas. She also suggests making pea soup in shooters to make eating more fun for kiddos.

Food Facts:

  • peas-331280422124r5OkFrozen peas are 25% less nutritious than fresh peas and canned peas are 50% less nutritious than fresh peas. Opt for fresh or growing them yourself.
  • Pea sprouts are a great option in the winter months to get some fresh greens in your diet (especially if you grown them yourself!)
  • Good source of vegetable protein, B vitamins, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and iron.
  • Green peas are less nutritious than other colored heirloom pea varieties. The other colors have more phytonutrients.
  • Unfortunately peas are low in nutrition compared to most other common vegetables.
  • Choosing relatives of peas with edible pods, snow peas, sugar snap peas, etc., increases the nutritional value.

From Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson, The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Green Beans

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Green Beans

GREEN BEANS!! Since I was a kid, I have always loved green beans. I just found them at my local farmer’s market this past weekend! The grin on my face for green beans was probably pretty goofy, but boy was I happy! I tend to just sauté them in ghee and lemon with some salt and lemon pepper, so I could use a new recipe! Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests stir frying them with almonds (or other seeds or nuts).

Food Facts:

  • Short cooking methods do not destroy the important nutrients of green beansIMG_0221
  • They are rich in iron and for the body to absorb the iron, vitamin C is needed – so lemon or tomato would be great eaten with the green beans
  • Good source of vitamins C, A, K, potassium, manganese, magnesium, niacin,  folate, riboflavin, potassium, iron, calcium, and copper
  • Good source of fiber
  • Rich source of antioxidants including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin
  • Frozen and cooked green beans still have high antioxidant content
  • Boiling does reduce vitamin C content
  • Green beans can protect against heart disease and stroke
  • In studies, they have also been found to help children with asthma

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet
by Tonia Reinhard

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Zucchini


The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Zucchini

Again, I find myself behind!! 🙁 but I’ll be catching back up over the next few days. In my opinion, it’s a bit early for zucchini to be listed here – it’s not typically “in season” until late spring or early summer in most paces in the US, so I won’t be buying any until it’s at my farmers market. Anywho, besides sautéed as side dish and ZOODLES (zucchini noodles), paleo zucchini muffins are my favorite way to eat it! I love Danielle Walker’s recipe! Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great Oh and zucchini chips are pretty BOMB!

Food Facts:

  • Squash blossoms are used commonly in Italian cooking
  • Summer squash isn’t as rich in nutrients as winter squash because of the high water content (81%)
  • They are very low in calories
  • Good source of vitamin C, potassium, and carotenes
  • Squash has Anticancer effects – prevents cell mutations
  • It’s great to consume squash in the summer because it helps prevent dehydration and the carotenes help protect against sun damage (Nature is so smart!!)
  • Small to medium sized squash will have a superior flavor to really large squash
  • It does contain high levels of oxalates, so if you have a history of oxalate containing kidney stones, avoid over consumption.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Asparagus

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Asparagus

The first spring food for our challenge! (That puts me at least a couple week behind!) Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests roasting asparagus or adding them to a frittata. A couple of weeks ago, when I found them at my favorite vendor at my local farmers market for the first time this season, I decided to make cream of asparagus soup. The recipe I had called for heavy cream, but I decided to paleo-ify it by using cashew cream instead. It was great! I’ll be making it again!

Food Facts:

  • The season generally starts in March and only is a few months long, so I rarely buy asparagus after spring is over
  • Asparagus is best cooked and served as soon as it is harvested, so growing your own is highly recommended. When purchased from the farmers market or store, cook within a few days
  • Shorter spears are up to ten times sweeter than spears that are 10+ inches long
  • Cooked asparagus is more nutritious than raw and steaming is the most nutritious way to cook it
  • Purple asparagus is more nutritious than green asparagus
  • Member of the lily family
  • Good source of vitamins A, C, and K, and potassium, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, manganese, and copper
  • Good source of fiber
  • Includes antioxidants lutein and beta-carotene
  • Considered to be a good prebiotic. Our digestive systems are home to billions of bacteria (when they are functioning well, that is) and the bacteria colony needs to prebiotics to thrive
  • Because of their high fiber content, they help to lower cholesterol
  • Asparagus has been shown to suppress the growth of liver cancer cell

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet
by Tonia Reinhard

Photo Credit: Luv Kreativ Photography https://www.instagram.com/luvkreativ/?hl=en

In Season, in April

April is here and that means that STRAWBERRY season
is upon us. This means that I will be eating as many strawberries as I possibly can from now until about October.  Here is a list of what is in season in April (in Northern California). 

What are you looking forward to in April?

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie