The 52 New Foods Challenge – Cherries

Well this post will be up just in time for cherry season to be over :(. Cherry season typically starts near the end of May and goes through late June/early July.  But better late than never! Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests that folks dehydrate them, making “Sour Cherry Blasters” or make them into a cherry compote to accompany vanilla ice cream. Cherries are not one of my favorite fruits, but I will enjoy them raw. While I do think they are tasty, I just like other stone fruit better.

Food Facts:

  • Sour (tart) cherry juice can be used to help improve sleep and has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease and and diabetes.
  • Cherries are a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, copper, and manganese.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • Both sour and sweet cherries have been shown to reduce inflammation.cherries
  • Cherries have also been reported to reduce Gout attacks.
  • Sour cherries are lower in calories than sweet cherries.
  • They are a rich source of flavonoids, especially anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins.
  • Cherries were one of the first fruits to be brought to the “new world”.
  • One study found that runners that drank Montmorency cherry juice (one glass before the race and one glass during the race) were less sore afterwards because of the ability of the cherries to help with muscle recovery.
  • Fresh cherries are firm, shiny, and lack dents, pits, or bruises. They also have bright green stems. The fresher the cherry, the more nutrients!
  • Store cherries in the fridge and eat them quickly!

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 Murry, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Tonia Reinhard, and Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson.

In Season, in July

July is here! I love July because it truly symbolizes summer for me. Although, this July I do have to work for a couple of weeks, generally, for teachers, July is the only month of year where there is actually no school. The other reason I love July is because all the wonderful fruit and vegetable options available in July.

Figs are top of my list of exciting fruits this month! And everyone loves when tomato season is here! I’m looking forward to caprese salads this summer – it brings me back to Italy! Yum! What are you looking forward to this July?

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

 

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Plums

I have very fond childhood memories of eating all the fruit growing up. My grandfather grew up on a farm in Lake Huron, MI. When the Essenmacher clan moved to California, he set up a bountiful backyard garden. Among the many things that he grew were plums. The plum tree was nestled next to my childhood swing set. I still love plums to this day and I’ll give my grandparents all the credit for my fruit addiction.

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests that readers roast plums with pistachios or try making an Asian plum sauce. While I can easily eat about a half dozen fresh farmer’s market or backyard plums, I do like the idea of cooking the fruit. I’m particularly fond of grilled stone fruit served over some vanilla ice cream.

Food Facts:

  • Wild varieties pack the most nutrients. Look for red, purple, black, or blue plums because they will have more phytonutrients, especially anthocyanins.
  • Plums should be ripened on the the tree and can be susceptible to chilling injury.
  • Plums are a good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, K, fiber, potassium, and copper.
  • Plums and prunes (or dried plums as they are now being referred to in order to boost their popularity) are known for their laxative effects.
  • Their content of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids [phenols] has been documented to have antioxidant and anticancer properties.

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 Laura Pizzorno, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard, and Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson.

The 52 New Food Challenge – Peaches

Welp, I’ve fallen off the wagon. The “post a new food each week” wagon. But this week I’m getting back on the wagon. Rather than trying to play catch up for about 2-3 months worth of foods, I’m just going to start with the current food of the week: PEACHES!!

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests that you grill peaches (I’ve done this: YUM!), make peach ice cream, or try making fruit leather. Recently I made some paleo turkey meatballs with Thai chili and peach jam. Jim said, “the peaches are what make this dish!”. 

A little background: I started this challenge to encourage myself, a notoriously picky eater, to try and to LIKE more foods. This is my first post on the blog, but I’ve been posting these since December 2014 on my Facebook page and my Instagram page. I was a very picky eater as a kid, and although, I’m much less picky now, there are still more vegetables that I would like to ENJOY eating. From personal experience, I’ve found that the more often that I am exposed to a vegetable, the more I like it. This has been my experience with Kale, Beets, Tomatoes, and Cilantro.

Food Facts:

  • Peaches and nectarines are identical except for one gene – the “fuzziness” gene (it also happens to affect a couple of other minor traits)
  • Nectarines can spontaneously appear on peach trees and vice versa (WOW!)
  • Stone fruits, including peaches, are picked when unripe and continue ripening after being picked but if not kept in ideal conditions, they become mealy, brown, leathery, or dry. This is what causes most conventional grocery store peaches to leave people feeling disappointed. (read: buy your peaches at the farmers’ market)
  • White-fleshed peaches and nectarines have more antioxidants than yellow-fleshed peaches and nectarines
  • The white-fleshed fruits are also sweeter
  • Peaches and nectarines are consistently on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, so you should buy organic and eat the skins (it is the most nutritious part)
  • Peaches and nectarines are good sources of vitamins A, C, and E, potassium, niacin, and copper. Peaches are also a good source of vitamin K and manganese
  • Good source of fiber
  • High in antioxidants – especially carotenoids and flavonoids (white-fleshed have less carotenoids)
  • Peach extract has been shown to inhibit breast cancer cell growth
  • They help to protect against Heart Disease, Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome

From The 52 New Food Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee, The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Super Foods by Tonia Reinhard

Health & Hugs <3,

Katie

peaches - in season in august
Peaches – In season, in August

In Season, in August

I LOVE eating seasonally for three main reasons. 1) Seasonal produce usually grows locally and is therefore fresher because it hasn’t traveled nearly as far as when it is not in season. 2) It promotes local jobs and boosts our local economy. 3) Seasonal produce TASTES significantly better than when it’s picked unripe in order to travel, then traveled for many days, and then gassed with ethylene gas to artificially ripen them. I make very few exceptions to my seasonal eating rule [frozen berries, bananas, plantains, and that’s pretty much it].

In Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle she discusses eating tomatoes so much while they are in season that you almost become
sick of them. 

You don’t crave them as much during the offseason and you’re not tempted to eat a tasteless mealy tomato in January, because your tomato craving has been satiated for the year. I love this way to view it and have tried to really adopt this mentality since reading her book in 2011.

Go to your local farmer’s market this weekend and get some local food!

Health & Hugs <3,

Katie