Persimmons are not a “new” food for me, however, I’m not a big fan of them. This is probably the only fruit that I don’t really like. From what I gather, if you grew up eating them (probably because you had a tree in your yard – at here in silicon valley), you like them, if you didn’t grow up eating them, eh, no so much. You guessed it, I didn’t have a tree in my yard or in any of my relatives’ yards. And while I don’t have many recipes for using persimmons, I have made a seasonal salad at Thanksgiving that included persimmons, and it was delish!
Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends baking persimmons, making a persimmon cake, or making persimmon chips.
- Persimmons are a relative of the apple and the pear.
- Good source of vitamins A, C, B6, E, and K, maganese, potassium, and copper.
- Good source of fiber.
- Persimmons contain antioxidant carotenoids, including: lycopene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and phenols.
- Because of the nutrients they possess, persimmons are heart protective.
- Studies have also shown that persimmons have an anti-viral effect.
- In season in late fall and early winter.
- A new study shows persimmons being used to combat breast cancer cells while not harming regular breast cells. This is due the content of fisetin, a flavonoid.
- Originally from Asia.
- There are two types of persimmons, astringent and non-astringent. The astringent persimmons are bitter when eaten raw.
- Fuyu are best peeled and eaten raw and can be eaten while the fruit is still firm.
- Hachiya are best used for baking. They are also commonly dried by hanging them from a string and allowing the sun to “candy” them.
- Hachiya have an elongated shape and the Fuyu are short and stout.
The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard, http://blog.outoftheboxcollective.com/recipes/glorious-persimmons/ and http://foodfacts.mercola.com/persimmon.html.
This week’s new food is Corn. While I do love corn on the corn and am totally addicted corn tortilla chips, this is a contentious food for me for a couple of reasons.
- Most corn is genetically modified. I personally don’t trust GMO foods and try to avoid them as much as possible.
- Corn is in everything. Dextrose, corn syrup, HFCS, maltodextrin, corn starch, and more. Many foods that are highly processed and then added to processed foods are also highly allergenic foods. As a species survival mechanism, plant foods contain tiny amounts of toxins. Overconsumption of one type of food builds up the amount of toxins we are exposed to. So I recommend limiting corn consumption.
- Corn is one of the top 8 most allergenic foods.
- Ever seen whole corn kernels in your stool? MOST people don’t digest corn well.
- It’s not a nutrient dense food and crowds out room for more nutritious foods.
With all that said, I do occasionally eat corn, I usually opt for blue or purple corn because these heirloom varieties are less likely to be genetically modified. Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends a corn salsa or popping the corn while it’s still on the cobb. That sounds like fun! I DO love heirloom popcorn made on the stove with ghee and then topped with real butter. It’s my vice.
- Corn is native to Central America.
- Corn is high in vitamins A, B5, B6, C, folate, thiamine, niacin, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, riboflavin, and zinc.
- Good source of carotenoids, specifically zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin, as well as phenols.
- Carotenoids can help to lower blood pressure as well as reduce risk of breast cancer for post-menopausal women.
- Modern corn has been bred to have more sugar and is lower in phytonutrients.
- Blue corn has nearly thirty times the antioxidant values of modern white corn.
- Darker yellow corn varieties have more nutrients than white corn.
- There are other varieties as well: red, orange, purple, blue, and black. These varieties are rarely found at the store but could be grown at home.
- Frozen corn is equally nutritious as fresh corn; canned corn can also be as nutritious as fresh corn.
- Corn is not a complete source of protein alone.
- Corn contains niacin, but in whole food form, it is not bio-available. Native Americans soaked their maize in lime which allowed the niacin become available for the body.
From The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard.
Green onions probably aren’t anything new for many of us, but they are an essential ingredient in all types of cuisine. I don’t mind onions raw, I love them cooked, and I ADORE them caramelized. I realize that not everyone feels this way about onions, especially children. Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests including them in omelets or even making savory green onion pancakes. I like the idea of using them to make savory pancakes, but choosing a grain free flour for the pancakes, rather than whole wheat flour. (You probably know my stance on wheat, but if not, check out this post.)
- Onions are members of the allium family, like garlic and leeks.
- Smaller onions have less water and a greater concentration of phytonutrients.
- The sweeter the onion, the less phytonutrient activity.
- The Western Yellow variety of onion has the most antioxidants
- The papery skin layer of the onion has the most concentration of bionutrients. And while we don’t eat that part of the onion, it should be saved and added to homemade broth.
- Onions are a rich source of the antioxidant quercetin. This phytonutrient is vital to support digestion and gut issues.
- The antioxidant values in onions have been shown to prevent cancer
- Onions have also been shown to fight against cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
- Good source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, and manganese.
- Onions have been also been shown to support the respiratory system and fight coughs and congestion.
- The sulfur in onions (and all alliums) is great for liver detoxification.
- A good source of prebiotic fiber (this feeds your gut bacteria and helps to keep the colony thriving).
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 Planet by Tonia Reinhard, and Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson.
Photo Credit: Luv Kreativ Photography https://www.instagram.com/luvkreativ/?hl=en
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.
- 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 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.
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.
- 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.
Weekly shopping trips to the farmer’s market are my inspiration for the week’s menu. Some people plan their meals around what’s on their shopping list, but I go to the farmer’s market to see what produce is in season and let that guide my weekly meal planning. Then I head to grocery store to pick up whatever else I need for the week’s meals. I realize this may seem backwards to many, but eating seasonally is my thing, so you’re probably not too surprised! 😉
This past week, there were the cutest little heads of cabbage for one dollar each. I decided coleslaw would make a great accompaniment to the Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs from The 21-Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally.
I always make my own paleo mayonnaise, but I remembered that I recently got a free jar of Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Avocado Mayo from Thrive Market. I was feeling a bit lazy and not wanting to make my own mayo, especially when I had a perfectly good paleo mayo on hand. I decided I would “make it work”. Then I had a lightbulb moment: what if I made a coleslaw that had a Mexican flare to it? And thus Mexican style coleslaw was born. This coleslaw was much, much better than simply “making it work”. I have made this huge batch of coleslaw 3 times in the span of one week. My husband looks at me with a big goofy grin when he eats it, because it is just that good. It was also a HUGE hit at our Father’s Day picnic at the winery. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Mexican Style Coleslaw
This coleslaw is so tasty and makes a great side dish at summer BBQs. It makes a LOT, be prepared to share!
- 1 small purple cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 small green cabbage thinly sliced
- 6 celery stalks thinly sliced
- 6 med carrots grated
- 1 small jicama peeled & grated
- 1 med yellow onion grated
- 1 cup Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Mayo
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup dijion mustard
- ¼ cup raw local honey
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 2 tbsp chives, minced optional garnish
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chiffonade optional garnish
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp garlic sea salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
I prefer using a food processor with the slicer attachment to slice my veggies and using the grater attachment to grate my veggies. It makes making a big batch of coleslaw that much easier. But feel free to slice and grate your veggies with whatever tools you have on hand. You can also opt to buy pre-slice and/or pre-grated veggies.
In a large bowl, mix all the veggie ingredients (reserve the cilantro and/or chives for garnish).
In a small bowl, whisk mayo, vinegar, mustard, honey, and herbs and spices. Add the lemon zest.
Stir the dressing onto the coleslaw and top with chives and/or cilantro
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.
- 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