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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.

 

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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 strawberries cut 1000pxpicked 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.

In Season, in April

April is here and that means that STRAWBERRY season IMG_5955is 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). This calendar is brought to you by The Young America Creative out of San Francisco.

What are you looking forward to in April?

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding [Paleo, GF, Primal, Vegetarian]

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding

Recipe:

strawberrychiaseedpudding1 can full-fat coconut milk

2-4 tbsp. chia seeds (2 for a thinner pudding and 4 for a thicker pudding)

10-15 organic strawberries, rinsed and trimmed

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. raw honey

Directions:

  1. Place coconut milk, chia seeds, and strawberries in food processor and pulse until it becomes a smooth consistency.
  2. Add the vanilla and honey. Pulse until just incorporated.
  3. Place into small jars and store in refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight. Chia seeds become gelatinous and will thicken the pudding as it sits. It can also be eaten right away.

Modifications:

There are many other options for chia seed pudding. Try experimenting with other seasonal fruits like peaches, raspberries, pears, blueberries, and even pumpkin. Also consider adding nuts, other seeds, and spices. The possibilities are endless!

Coconut Milk comes from the coconut and is found in tropical regions in Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands. Coconuts contain healthful medium chain fatty acids such as lauric acid and capric acid, which are antiviral and antibacterial. These medium chain fatty acids are easily absorbed by the body and help to increase the metabolism. They also protect against heart disease and promote weight loss. In addition to fatty acids, coconuts also contain healthy carbohydrates and some protein. Coconuts are a good source of manganese, molybdenum, copper, zinc, and selenium. When choosing a coconut milk, avoid the low fat options because the beneficial medium chain fatty acids have been removed.

Chia seeds are those same seeds that are used in the popular Chia pets. They come from the plant Salvia Hispanica that grows in the deserts of Mexico. They help to reduce food cravings, reduce blood pressure, control blood sugar, and they are easier to digest than flax. Chia seeds should be soaked in water before using, creating a chia gel, which helps to hydrate the body. Chia seeds are rich in Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of antioxidants, potassium, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, and they have some protein too!

Strawberries are the most popular berries in the world and are native to many parts of the world. Strawberries are rich sources of vitamins C, K, B6, and B1, silicon, fiber, flavonoids, manganese, pantothenic acid, iodine, folic acid, and biotin. Their flavonoid content helps to protect against inflammation, cancer, and heart disease. When storing berries, do not wash them until you plan on eating them because berries start to breakdown when they are moist. Strawberries are consistently on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, so it is very important to buy organic strawberries.

Honey is one of the four items that bees produce. Honey is rich in riboflavin, iron, manganese, and vitamin B6. It is also rich in antioxidants and it is an antiseptic. Local honeys are also said to help with seasonal allergies.

Nutrition Facts for one 1/2 cup serving

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding Label

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.

Sources:

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014). Foundations of Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College.

Environmental Working Group (EWG). (2014, April). EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Retrieved from http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.

Nuts.com (2014, April). 7 Good Reasons to Start Eating Chia Seeds. Retrieved from http://www.nuts.com/cookingbaking/chia-seeds/premium.html

WebMD. (2014, April). The Truth About Chia. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia