by Marge Jones
CELEBRATE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES! One of the joys of the summer is the abundance of fresh produce. What better time to enjoy our favorites, and to try those that are less familiar, when they are at their peak-season best?
VEGETABLE TIPS – When cucumbers, tomatoes and onions are plentiful, make a tossed salad without lettuce. If you like, add bell peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, radishes, etc. Top with a simple sweet-sour dressing of one teaspoon each of mayonnaise and vinegar, mixed together, and sweetened with one-half teaspoon of honey for each serving. Adjust seasoning to your taste. Enjoy at once or allow to marinate about one hour.
If you don’t raise your own, buy beets with the tops on and only when the tops are fresh-looking. Cut tops to within an inch of the beets and set aside. Scrub beets with a vegetable brush. Leave roots and remaining tops intact. Boil or steam whole, for about 45-60 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Use gloves or paper towels to slip skins off easily. Trim off remaining tops and roots and slice thickly into serving bowl. Add a dab of butter if you want to. Boil or steam the greens (washed well) for about 10 minutes and serve at the same meal as the beets. The greens are loaded with nutrients – one cup supplies a whopping 7400 IU of vitamin A, 144 mg of calcium, 480 mg of potassium, and 2.8 mg of iron!
Cabbage family vegetables, or the mustard family, have been singled out by researchers to be protective against cancer, so we should try to increase our use of them. When cabbage is fresh, the flavor is mild and almost sweet. Try steaming sliced cabbage for 5-10 minutes; serve with a wedge of lemon. Or dice cabbage into one-inch cubes and toss into a stir-fry. Now that food processors are in so many kitchens, we can make coleslaw quickly, easily and often. Other members to the cabbage family we should try to use more include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips (and their tops), rutabaga, radish collards, kale, and kohlrabi. If you family isn’t used to all of these vegetables, introduce them gradually. Turnips and rutabaga are especially appealing when pureed, somewhat like mashed potatoes. Use a food processor, if you have one, or beaters. You won’t need to add much liquid, but try a little vegetable water in place of milk, and whip smooth. A bit of butter is tasty but optional . . . For lettuce, try looseleaf, romaine, Boston, or Bibb. All have more vitamin A than iceberg. Other nutrients are scarce – a little calcium, potassium, and much water. Surprisingly, lettuce offers very little fiber – only one-half gram in a capful. Salads need much more than lettuce to nourish us!
FRUITS – Many fruits are best eaten out of hand. Period. Nothing we do them or with them can improve their nutrient content. But we do occasionally give in to the family sweet tooth and "do something" to them. Rhubarb and cranberries are best cooked with a little water or apple juice for about 10 minutes; sweeten (minimally) with honey. Enjoy them warm or cold. . . Berries, peaches and apples often go into pies, cobblers or crisps. These make a fine occasional treat, but watch that the crust isn’t too rich with fat and that the filling isn’t oversweetened. By popular demand, I include the recipe for Apple Crisp that I designed especially for the June NOHA luncheon. Though very good cold, it’s "out of this world" served warm.
Melt butter and honey in a medium saucepan over low heat. Combine oats, oat brain, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and stir into butter/honey mixture. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the apple juice concentrate and Minute Tapioca. Let soak for 10-15 minutes. Peel and slice the apples. Stir apples into the juice mixture, tossing to coat them. Pour apples into a buttered casserole (with a lid) and distribute crumbs evenly on top. Bake, covered, until brown and crisp. Cool for one-half hour at room temperature. Serves 6-8.
*Any apples but red delicious. In place of apples, blueberries or peaches may be used.
(If you have any questions related to food preparation/nutritional cooking, please let us know.)
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. X, No. 3, Summer 1985, pages 2-3.