Fruits and Vegetables

 

[Apples] [Spicy Apple-Squash] [Benefits] [Bananas] [Banana Nut Smoothie] [Berries] [no-Crust Strawberry pie]


[Breakfast] [Fresh Beans] [Lemon-Walnut Green beans] [Butternut-Squash Gratin] [Carrots] [Gingered Carrots] [Cucumbers]


[Cucumber delight] [What counts as a Cup] [Drying foods] [Grapefruit] [Ruby-Grapefruit slush] [Lunch & Dinner] [Lettuce] [Nutrients]


[Pineapples] [Hawaiian Ambrosia] [Sea Bass w/dried fruit salsa] [Spinach] [Chicken Florentine] [Tomatoes] [Gazpacho] [Watermelon]

 

                                                                                                                          


 

 

Nutrient Information

Fruits and vegetables are sources of many vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Some of these nutrients may also be found in other foods. Eating a balanced diet and making other lifestyle changes are key to maintaining your body's good health.

Fiber

Diets rich in dietary fiber have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects including decreased risk of coronary artery disease.

Excellent vegetable sources:
navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, white beans, soybeans, split peas, chick peas, black eyed peas, lentils, artichokes

 

Folate*

Healthful diets with adequate folate may reduce a woman's risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.

Excellent vegetable sources:
black eyed peas, cooked spinach, great northern beans, asparagus

 

Potassium

Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Good fruit and vegetable sources:
sweet potatoes, tomato paste, tomato puree, beet greens, white potatoes, white beans, lima beans, cooked greens, carrot juice, prune juice

 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.

Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, collard greens, winter squash, cantaloupe, red peppers, Chinese cabbage

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy.

Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
red and green peppers, kiwi, strawberries, sweet potatoes, kale, cantaloupe, broccoli, pineapple, Brussels sprouts, oranges, mangoes, tomato juice, cauliflower

Good sources: These foods contain 10 to 19 percent of the Daily Value per reference amount.

Excellent sources: These foods contain 20 percent or more of the Daily Value per reference amount.

*The Institute of Medicine recommends that women of childbearing age who may become pregnant consume 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid per day to supplement the folate they receive from a varied diet. Synthetic folic acid can be obtained from eating fortified foods or taking a supplement.

 

 

 

Apples


 

 

The apple can be traced back to the Romans and Egyptians who introduced them to Britain and finally to America. Today, Americans eat about 120 apples apiece each year. At least 50% of the domestic crop is used in items we use every day such as, applesauce, juice, jellies, pies and other popular desserts. (Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition).


Apples

Serving size 1 medium (154g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 80

 

Calories from Fat 0

0

Total Fat 0g

0%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 22g

7%

  Dietary Fiber 5g

18%

  Sugars 16g


Protein 0g


Vitamin A

2%

Vitamin C

8%

Calcium

0%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

Selection

Choose apples that are firm with no soft spots. Avoid apples that are discolored for their variety.

Storage

Keep apples in plastic bags in the refrigerator after purchasing to prevent further ripening. Apples should keep up to six weeks. However, check apples often and remove any apples that begin to decay or the others will do the same.

Preparation

Wash apples well with soap and rinse with water. Prepare apple dishes just before serving to minimize browning (oxidation). Protect cut apples from oxidation by dipping them into a solution of one-part citrus juice and three parts water.

Varieties

There are about 2500 known varieties grown in the US. Thirty-six states grow them commercially with the following as top producers, WA, NY, MI, CA, PA, & VA. 56%of the 1999 crop was eaten as fresh fruit and 42% was processed.


Braeburn
Available Oct. through July

High flavor impact. The crisp, aromatic Braeburn blends sweetness and tartness just right for snacks and salads. Its color varies from greenish-gold with red sections to nearly solid red.
 


Golden & Red Delicious
Available year round
Goldens firm, white flesh retains its shape and rich, mellow flavor when baked or cooked, making it the preferred "all purpose" cooking apple. The skin is so tender and thin that it doesn't require peeling. The red is the favorite for eating.
 


Fuji
Available year round
Like fine wine, its flavor improves with age. Fuji's spicy, crisp sweetness makes it an excellent snack or as applesauce. Fuji varies from yellow-green with red highlights to very red.
 


Gala
Available August through March
Heart-shaped, distinctive yellow-orange skin with red striping. It has a crisp, sweet taste that can't be beat. Is the perfect take-along snackanytime. Great in salads.
 


Jonagold
Available September through April

A blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, offering a unique tangy-sweet flavor. With a yellow-green base and a blush stripe. Jonagold is excellent both for eating fresh and for cooking.
 


Rome Beauty
Available September through July

Baker's dream, but Also a great eating apple. Smooth, blazingly bright red skin with sweet, slightly juicy flesh. Primarily cooking apples, with flavor that intensifies and becomes richer when baked or sautèed.
 


Granny Smith
Available year round

Mouthwatering tartness. Bright green Granny with a pink blush has a crisp bite and a tangy flavor. Its tartness really comes through when baked and sautèed. Enjoy Granny Smiths out of hand or in a salad.
 


Winesap
Available October through August

The apple with old-fashioned flavor. The Winesap has a spicy, tart, almost wine-like flavor that makes it the cider maker's first choice. Violet red in color, it's great as a snack and in salads.
 


McIntosh
Available October through December

McIntosh is juicy, slightly tart, yet very aromatic with white flesh and a rather tough skin that is two-toned red and green coloring. It's a favorite apple for eating, but is also widely used in salads, sauces, pies and is a mainstay in fresh cider.


Recipes

Spicy Apple-Filled Squash
Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

1 acorn squash (about 1 lb.)
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tsp. melted butter or margarine
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Dash ground cloves

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 1-quart baking dish. Halve squash and remove seeds; cut into quarters. Place quarters, skin side up, in dish and cover; bake 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine apple, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
2. Turn cut sides of acorn squash up; top with apple mixture. Cover and bake 30 minutes longer or until apples are tender.
Variations:
Quick microwave version
Halve and seed squash; cut into quarters. Arrange quarters, cut side up, in microwave-safe baking dish. Microwave on high (100 percent) 6 to 7 minutes, rotating squash halfway through cooking time. Top squash with apple mixture, cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high 4 to 5 minutes or until apples are tender.

Nutrition information serving: Calories 88, Fat 3g, Carbohydrate 17g, Protein 1g, Fiber 3g, Sodium 24mg, Cholesterol, 0g.

 

 

                                                                                              Butternut Squash Gratin

 

1/2 cup coarse dry bread crumbs
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
1 clove garlic minced
3 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chicken broth or white wine (your choice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 1 quart baking dish.

Prepare Topping:  In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheddar cheese, and melted butter; set aside.

In a medium-size frying pan over medium-low heat, add olive oil and saute sliced onions, salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon thyme until onions are lightly browned, approximately 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook another minute or so. Remove from heat. Spread onion mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Set aside the frying pan for later use.

In a large bowl, toss butternut squash cubes with the flour, parmesan cheese, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme (or to taste) to evenly coat the squash cubes. NOTE: I like to add some additional black pepper at this point. Spread squash mixture evenly over the top of the onions; set aside.

Place frying pan (that you cooked the onions in) over low heat. Add chicken broth or white wine to deglaze, scraping down brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pan, and let simmer approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from head and pour over the top of the squash mixture.

Spread prepared cheese topping over the top of the gratin. Bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes until the squash is soft and the topping is lightly brown. NOTE: If you find your topping is browning to fast, cover the dish with some aluminum foil.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 2 to 4 Servings.

 

 

 

 

Fresh Beans

 

Fresh beans are classified into two basic categories: edible pod beans and shell beans. Green beans, otherwise known as snap or string beans, are the most popular edible pod bean in the United States. The lima bean is the most common shell bean sold in the United States.

Edamame, a shell bean, is also called an immature green soybean. The popularity of this bean has grown in the past decade and is now easily found frozen in most major supermarkets.


Fresh Beans

Serving size 1/2 cup cooked (63g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 20

 

Calories from Fat 0

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 5g

2%

  Dietary Fiber 2g

7%

  Sugars 1g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A

8%

Vitamin C

10%

Calcium

2%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

Varieties

Edamame

Edamame is of Chinese origin and was developed in Japan especially for eating out of the pod. Edamame is a variation on the same yellow and black field soybean that is transformed into many popular soy products such as tofu, miso, and soymilk. However, because of its recent introduction into the U.S. market, only a small percentage of U.S. soybean fields are devoted to growing edamame.

Some call edamame the super or wonder vegetable because it is the only vegetable that contains all nine essential amino acids. This makes edamame a complete protein source, similar to meat or eggs. Edamame also contains isoflavonoids. They are found in all soy products and are being studied for their health benefits.

Availability: Edamame is rarely sold fresh, but is available frozen all year.

Preparation: To eat beans right out of the shell, boil them until they are al dente (still slightly firm). Rinse to cool slightly, and season as desired. You can easily suck the al dente beans out of the shell. Beans may also be shelled and added to other dishes, such as salads. Beans are easy to shell after they are boiled briefly.

 

Green Beans

These beans are often called string beans because years ago a fibrous string ran along the seam of the bean. The string was noticeable when you snapped off the ends. The snapping noise is the reason for its other nickname.

Availability: Fresh green beans are available all year, with a peak season of May to October. Green beans are also available canned and frozen.

Selection: It is best to handpick green beans from a market that sells them loose. To ensure uniform cooking time, select beans of similar size and shape. Choose slender beans (no thicker than a pencil) that are crisp and free of blemishes. The beans should be a bright green color. Do not purchase beans that are stiff or have the seeds visible through the pod because those beans will be tough.

Storage: Keep green beans dry in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for 4 to 5 days.

Preparation: Wash beans thoroughly in clear, cool water. Beans can be cooked whole, cut crosswise or diagonally, or French-cut (i.e., cut along the length of the bean). If you want sweet tasting, crisp fresh beans, cut them as little as possible. Cut older, more mature beans in the French style (i.e., lengthwise).

Stir-frying is one of the easiest ways to prepare green beans. This method maintains more nutrients than other cooking methods. Whatever cooking method you choose, remember to cook beans as little as possible, using the least amount of water possible.

Boiling, steaming, and microwaving are other common methods for preparing green beans. When boiling, beans may release some nutrients into the water, so try to re-use the bean water to regain some of the nutrients lost. For example, you can use the water to boil rice.

TIP: Green beans continue to cook after you take them out of the boiling water. Either take them out just before they are cooked the way you like, or plunge them into ice water immediately to stop them cooking further.

TIP: The fewer beans in the pan, the quicker they cook and the better they taste. If cooking more than one pound at a time, use separate pans.

Lima Beans

Lima beans originated in Peru and have been grown there since 6000 B.C. The name lima bean comes from the capital city of Peru, Lima. Lima beans are often nicknamed chad beans or butter beans. In the southern part of the United States, lima beans are almost always called butter beans, even in markets and restaurants.

Varieties: Lima beans come in three main varieties: large, small, and dwarf.

Large lima beans are green or speckled. The speckled kind have a creamy texture and a strong earthy flavor, unlike the pale green ones.

Small lima beans are also called sieva beans and have several other nicknames, such as Carolina bean, civet, seewee, and sivvy. Most small limas are pale green. Small limas are less starchy than the larger varieties.

Dwarf beans, also known as butter peas, are white and speckled and the least starchy of the limas.

Availability: Fresh lima beans are difficult to find in the United States, but can occasionally be found at farmers markets. It is easier to find lima beans in the southern United States than anywhere else in the country. Most lima beans are dried, canned, or frozen.

Preparation: Fresh lima beans need to be shelled before they are eaten. Shelling can be a little tricky, especially with larger beans. Beans are easier to handle if they are tender and have full pods. One method used for larger beans is to simply cut open the pod with scissors and remove the beans by hand. To remove the beans from smaller limas, pull off the string along the seam, and press the two sides open to pop the beans out. Rinse canned limas before using them to reduce their gas-promoting properties.

Lima beans should never be eaten raw (see warning below). The most common methods of preparation are boiling and microwaving. Only a small amount of water needs to be used for either method.

WARNING: Do not eat raw lima beans. They contain linamarin (also called cyanogen), which releases a cyanide compound when the seed coat is opened. Don’t worry; cooking deactivates this compound. The United States sets regulations to restrict commercially grown lima beans to those varieties with very low levels of this linamarin, but lima beans grown elsewhere, may have 20 to 30 times the concentration allowed in the United States.


Recipes

Lemon-Walnut Green Beans
Makes 8 servings

Each serving equals 3/4 cup of fruit or vegetables

Ingredients

8 cups small green beans
cooking spray
2 cups sliced green onions
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Tbsps chopped fresh or 3/4 Tbsp crushed dried rosemary
5 Tbsps fresh lemon juice
Tbsps grated lemon rind

Arrange green beans in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 8 to 12 minutes or until crisp-tender. Plunge beans into cold water to stop the cooking process; drain.
Spray a sautè pan with cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, add green onions, and sautè until tender. Add green beans, walnuts, rosemary, and lemon juice; cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with lemon rind.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 74, Protein 3g, Fat 2g, Calories from Fat 24%, Carbohydrate 11g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 4g, Sodium 10mg.

 

 

 

Carrots

 

Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A, which is necessary for healthy eyesight, skin, growth, and also aids our bodies in resisting infection.

Carrots have a higher natural sugar content than all other vegetables with the exception of beets. This is why they make a wonderful snack when eaten raw and make a tasty addition to a variety of cooked dishes.

Varieties

There are many varieties of carrots, but the variety typically found in supermarkets is from 7–9 inches in length and 3/4–1-1/2 inches in diameter. Carrots are usually sold packaged in plastic bags. Baby carrots were once longer carrots that have been peeled, trimmed to 1-1/2–2 inches in length and packaged. True baby carrots are removed from the ground early and actually look like miniature carrots.

Selection

Carrots are available and in season all year long. Look for well shaped carrots. Pick carrots that are deep orange in color. More beta carotene is present in carrots that have a darker orange color. Avoid carrots that are crackled, shriveled, soft, or wilted.

Storage

Carrots are best stored between 32–50 degrees in the crisper section of the refrigerator. If you buy carrots with the green tops still on, break off the tops and rinse, place in a plastic bag and store as described above. Storing them in the refrigerator will preserve their flavor, texture, and the beta carotene content. Do not store them with fruits. Fruits produce ethylene gas as they ripen. This gas will decrease the storage life of the carrots as well as other vegetables. This is why it is best to store fruits and vegetables separately.

Preparation

Although carrots lose some of their vitamins when peeled, dishes prepared with peeled carrots taste fresher and better. Cook carrots in a small amount of water until they are tender, or save time and cook them in the microwave. Season with dill, tarragon, ginger, honey, brown sugar, parsley, lemon or orange juice.

 

Cooked Carrots

Serving Size 1/2 cup (78g)

Amount Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 25

 

Calories from Fat 0g

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

  Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 45mg

2%

Total Carbohydrate 6g

2%

  Dietary Fiber 2g

8%

  Sugars 3g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A 

270%

Vitamin C

4%

Calcium

2%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

 

Raw Carrots

Serving Size 1/2 cup (64g)

Amount Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 25

 

Calories from Fat 0g

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

  Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 45mg

2%

Total Carbohydrate 6g

2%

  Dietary Fiber 2g

7%

  Sugars 3g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A 

150%

Vitamin C

6%

Calcium

2%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 


Recipes

Gingered Carrots
Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

1-pound carrots
1 Tbsp. margarine
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, or ½ Tbsp. dried ginger
1/4 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. white pepper
A pinch of salt

Cook carrots in boiling water for 3 minutes or until tender, cool. In a sauce pan melt margarine and sugar until it begins to boil. Reduce heat, cook for 5 minutes to caramelize. Add apple juice and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce is reduced to a light syrup. Add carrots, ginger and cumin. Cook on medium heat until glazed. Add salt and pepper.

Nutrient analysis per serving: Calories 118, Total Fat 3 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 179 mg, Carbohydrates 22 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 1.4 g.
Protein 4% Carbohydrates 73% Fat 23%

 

 

 

 

Cucumbers

 

"Cool as a cucumber" isn't just a catchy phrase. The inner temperature of a cucumber can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the outside air. No wonder these are such a summertime favorite!

Cucumbers were believed to have originated in India and spread through Greece and Italy. They made their way into North America agriculture by the mid-16 century. Cool and moist due to their high water content. "Cukes" belong to the same family as pumpkins, zucchini, watermelon and other squashes.


Cucumbers

Serving size 1/2 cup, sliced with skin (52g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 10

 

Calories from Fat 0

0

Total Fat 0g

0%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 2g

1%

  Dietary Fiber 0g

0%

  Sugars 1g


Protein 0g


Vitamin A

2%

Vitamin C

2%

Calcium

0%

Iron

0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

Varieties

There are several varieties of cucumber; the most popular are English, Persian, and Pickling cucumbers. All these varieties are available year round.

Persian cucumbers are also known as regular cucumbers with soft, edible seeds. The skin is often waxed to seal in moisture.

English cucumbers are sometimes known as gourmet cucumbers, "burpless", or seedless cucumbers. This variety has seeds that are very small but do not need to be removed. Longer and thinner than regular cucumbers this variety is usually shrink-wrapped to seal in moisture because they are not waxed.

Selection

It’s important to look for firm cucumbers with rich green color and no soft spots. Cucumbers that bulge in the middle, usually most likely means its filled with large watery seeds and tasteless flesh.

Storage

Whole cucumbers should be refrigerated in a crisper for up to a week. Unwaxed cucumbers will easily lose moisture so keep them wrapped tightly in plastic.

Uses & Preparation

  • Wash; removing seeds and peeling depends on the variety and is optional. To seed, slice in half lengthwise and scrape out with the tip of a teaspoon.
  • Add a decorative touch to your veggie platter. Run tines of a fork down the entire length of the cucumber, penetrating the peel. Slice crosswise. 


Recipes

Cucumber Delight
Tomato, Cucumber and Red Onion Salad with Mint
Serves 6
Each serving equals 3/4 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Unknown

Ingredients

2 large cucumbers - halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
3 large tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup coarsely chopped red onion
½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
3 Tbsps olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss together the cucumbers, vinegar, sugar and salt. Let stand at room temperature for an hour, stirring occasionally.
Add tomatoes, onion, mint and oil to cucumbers and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 116, Fat 7.3g, Calories from Fat 11%, Protein 2.2g, Carbohydrates 12.4g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 2.1g, Sodium 399mg.

 

 

 

Bananas

 

Bananas are the most popular fresh fruit in the United States. They have a peel that comes off easily, they ripen after they've been picked, there is a generous supply all year, and they are inexpensive. Bananas have both a high amount of carbohydrates as well as potassium, which also makes them the fruit of choice for many athletes.
(Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition)


Bananas

Serving size 1/2 cup, sliced (75g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 70

 

Calories from Fat 0

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Potassium 400mg

11%

Total Carbohydrate 17g

6%

  Dietary Fiber 9g

8%

  Sugars 21g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A

0%

Vitamin C

10%

Calcium

0%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

Selection

Avoid bananas with brown spots that seem very soft. Select those bananas with a nice color, specific for the variety. Choose fruit that is firm and free of bruises. Best eating quality has been reached when the solid yellow skin color is speckled with brown. Bananas with green tips or with practically no yellow color have not developed their full flavor. Bananas are overripe when they have a strong odor.

Storage

To further ripen bananas, leave at room temperature for a couple of days. Once ripe you can store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. The peel may turn brown in the refrigerator, but the fruit will not change.

Varieties

The very popular yellow banana of Cavendish is the banana we see in grocery stores. However, Plantains, Finger Bananas and Red Bananas are also popular varieties. Most have a soft texture when ripe.


Recipes

Banana Nut Smoothie
Makes 4 (1 cup) servings.
Recipe source: PBH

Ingredients

2 bananas, ripe
2 cups pineapple juice
2 Tbsp Creamy peanut butter
2 tsp plain yogurt
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
6 ice cubes
nutmeg

Combine all ingredients, except nutmeg, in blender. Cover and run on high until smooth and well-blended. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 177, Total Fat 5g, Calories from Fat 23%, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 2g, Sodium 41mg.

 

 

 

 

Berries

 

 

One of the nation’s most well-liked fruits; berries have origins in both Europe and here in the United States. The Native Americans were the first to incorporate berries into their diets and lifestyle. Today, berries are appreciated worldwide.

Berries signify summer and rightfully so, as the warmer months are the peak harvest for these fruits. Berries have traditionally included blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. However, there are other varieties that have since flooded the markets.

Many berries are suitable to eat raw and most types vary from 50 to 100 calories per serving if eaten raw. Berries are brimming with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

Strawberries

Serving size 1/2 cup, sliced (83g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 25

 

Calories from Fat 0

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 6g

2%

  Dietary Fiber 2g

7%

  Sugars 4g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A

0%

Vitamin C

80%

Calcium

2%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


Blueberries

Serving size 1/2 cup (73g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 40

 

Calories from Fat 0

 

Total Fat 0g

1%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 11g

4%

  Dietary Fiber 2g

7%

  Sugars 7g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A

0%

Vitamin C

10%

Calcium

0%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


Raspberries

Serving size 1 cup (125g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 60

 

Calories from Fat 5

 

Total Fat 1g

1%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 14g

5%

  Dietary Fiber 9g

36%

  Sugars 6g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A

4%

Vitamin C

50%

Calcium

2%

Iron

4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


Blackberries

Serving size 1/2 cup (72g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 30

 

Calories from Fat 5

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 7g

2%

  Dietary Fiber 4g

147%

  Sugars 11g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A

4%

Vitamin C

25%

Calcium

2%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Selection

In general, berries should be dry, firm, well-shaped, and eaten within a week after purchase. If you can’t eat them that soon, remember that berries freeze well! It’s best to buy berries that are ‘in-season’ as they’ll cost less and are riper and more flavorful than ‘out-of-season’ berries.

Stay away from containers of berries with juice stains which may be a sign that the berries are crushed and possibly moldy; soft, watery fruit that means the berries are overripe; dehydrated, wrinkled fruit that means the berries have been stored too long.

Select blueberries that are firm, dry, plump, and smooth-skinned. Berries should be deep-purple blue to blue-black; reddish berries aren't ripe but can be used in cooking.

Select raspberries and blackberries that are unblemished dry, in an unstained container. Raspberries should be medium to bright red, depending on the variety. Blackberries should be shiny and black — avoid those that are dull or reddish. Moisture will increase spoilage, so the berries themselves should be relatively dry. Shelf life for raspberries and blackberries is short, and they should be consumed within 2–3 days of purchase. Eat at room temperature for fullest flavor.

Currants should still be firmly attached to their stems.

Strawberries should be a bright shade of red and the caps on the berries should be green and fresh looking. Berries that are green or yellow are unripe and will taste sour.

Storage

After purchasing berries, check the fruit and toss out any moldy or deformed berries. Immediately eat the overripe berries within 24 hours. Return the other berries back to the original container or they should be arranged unwashed in a shallow pan lined with paper towels, and washed just prior to use. The berries may be topped with a paper towel to absorb any additional moisture. Plastic wrap the entire container. This will ensure the fruit retains its freshness, but generally berries should be eaten within one week.

Freezing Berries

Because berries have a short shelf life, an alternative to enjoy them year round is to buy them fresh and freeze them yourself. The secret to successful freezing is to use unwashed and completely dry berries before placing them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, transfer them to plastic bags or freezer containers. Frozen berries should last approximately ten months to one year.

Preparation of Berries

When you’re ready to use the berries, go through the lot once more to sort out any undesirable fruit. Then, rinse, drain, and pat dry the fruit. Commercially frozen berries do not need to be ‘cleaned’ or thawed. If you froze your own berries, a quick rinse may be necessary.

Berry Helpful Hints

  • Blueberries tend to change color during cooking. Acids, like lemon juice and vinegar, make the blue in blueberries turn red. In an alkaline environment, such as a batter with too much baking soda, the blueberries may turn greenish-blue.
  • To reduce the amount of color streaking, stir your blueberries (right from your freezer, if frozen) into your cake or muffin batter last.
  • When making pancakes and waffles, add the blueberries as soon as the batter has been poured on the griddle or waffle iron. This will make the pancakes prettier and they'll be easier to flip. If frozen blueberries are used, cooking time may have to be increased to be sure the berries are heated through.
  • Frozen raspberries and blackberries are available in grocery stores. Blackberries are available in 16 oz. poly bags, while raspberries are available in 12 oz. poly bags.
  • A 12 oz. bag of whole frozen raspberries is equal to about 3 cups frozen berries.
  • A 16 oz. bag of whole frozen blackberries is equal to about 3 cups frozen berries.
  • Whole frozen berries destined for your baked goods should be used frozen. Gently fold into pies, cakes and muffins just prior to use.
  • Store whole frozen berries in their unopened or tightly resealed packages in your freezer. If berries are to be served alone, thaw until they are pliable and serve partially frozen. Add sugar to taste — it brings out both the flavor and the luscious juices.

Varieties

There are many types of berries from smooth-skinned varieties like blueberries, to berries that have fleshy segments like raspberries and blackberries. Strawberries are not considered a ‘true’ berry, as they do not grow from a flower ovary but from the base of the plant.

Blackberries have a similar appearance to raspberries, but they are larger, hardier, and have a dark purple to black color. In general, for this berry, the more intense color, the more sweet the fruit. There are blackberry hybrids that include boysenberries, loganberries, and ollalie berries, which are all, tart tasting and primarily used in jams and pies. Blackberry peak season is June and July with harvesting beginning in May and ending in September.

Wild blueberries are smaller in size compared to their cultivated cousins. Blueberries have a protective light powdery coating on the skins and tend to last longer than other berry varieties. Nearly half of the cultivated blueberries grown are sold as fresh blueberries. Fresh blueberries are available for nearly eight months of the year from producers across the United States and Canada. North America is the world's leading blueberry producer, accounting for nearly 90% of world production at the present time. The North American harvest runs from mid-April through early October, with peak harvest in mid-May—August.

 

Currants are berries that look similar to grapes but are very tart. Because of their tartness, they are primarily used for jams and jellies. Red and white currants are grown domestically while the black currants are grown in Europe. Fresh currants are available July through August.

 

The most delicate of the berry family, raspberries have a similar structure to blackberries but have a hollow core. Therefore, this fruit requires delicate handling during preparation. Red raspberries are the most common type but there are also golden, amber, and purple berries all similar in taste and texture. Imported raspberries are from Chile, while most of the fruit comes from California. Raspberry season begins in June and lasts through October.

Perhaps the most popular of all the berries, strawberries have the most vitamin C of the berry family. Strawberries have been known since the time of the Greeks and Romans and cultivation of strawberries began in 1624. Commercial growing in America began about 1800 on the east coast of the United States. Strawberries moved west with the pioneers and now there are more than seventy varieties of strawberries, many of which are grown in California and Florida. This familiar fruit is usually available fresh year round with a peak from April to July.


Recipes

No Crust Strawberry Pie
Serves 8
Each serving equals 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Unknown

Ingredients

3 cups fresh strawberries
1 (2.1 ounce) package sugar-free cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (.6 ounce) package sugar-free strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups water

Rinse and hull strawberries. Distribute evenly in a 10-inch pie pan. In a medium saucepan combine pudding mix, gelatin mix, and water. Stir well and bring to a full boil. Pour mixture over strawberries and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Top with light or low fat frozen whipped topping prior to serving, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 58, Fat 0.3g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 2g, Sodium 187mg, Protein 1.7g.

 

 

 

 

What counts as a Cup?

One cup refers to a common measuring cup (the kind used in recipes). In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or 100% vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the vegetable group. One cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the fruit group.

The chart below shows simple ways to enjoy fruits and vegetable throughout the day, with corresponding cup amounts

 


1 cup

1/2 cup



1 small apple

1 small banana



1 cup

1/2 cup



1 cup of lettuce* and
1/2 cup of other vegetables

6 baby carrots



1 cup

1/2 cup



1/2 large sweet potato and
1/2 cup of green beans

16 grapes

*1 cup of lettuce counts as 1/2 cup of vegetables

In addition to fruits and vegetables, a healthful diet also includes whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, lean meats, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.

 

 

Grapefruit

 

The grapefruit we know today was developed in the West Indies in the early 1700s and first introduced to Florida in the 1820s. Today, most grapefruit is still grown in Florida. Since the early part of the 20th century, mutant strains of white grapefruit have appeared with pink to slightly reddish color, and have been propagated by citri-culturists into several strains of grapefruit that are now best known as the Ruby Red. Grapefruit got its name from the way it grows in clusters (like grapes) on the tree. There is no mistaking a grapefruit tree—they are large with glossy dark green leaves and the fruit hangs in clusters on the tree. Grapefruit trees are beautiful and a member of the citrus family. It seems to be a cross between an orange and a shaddock, combining the sweet and tangy flavor of each fruit.

WARNING!

If YOU DRINK GRAPEFRUIT JUICE AND TAKE MEDICATIONS READ THIS:

A cold glass of grapefruit juice is part of the morning routine for a lot of people. What you may not realize, however, is that this same juice might interact with drugs you are taking. The interaction between grapefruit and some medications was discovered by accident when researchers were looking for an interaction between a particular blood pressure medicine and alcohol. Grapefruit juice was used as a vehicle to mask the taste of the alcohol. While the alcohol did not affect the amount of the drug circulating in the body, the grapefruit juice greatly increased the levels of the medication.

Some medications which may be affected by grapefruit juice include: midazolam (Versed¾), cyclosporin (Sandimmune¾, Neoral¾), lovastatin (Mevacor¾), simvastatin (Zocor¾), ¾), pravastatin (Pravachol¾), and Thyroid medications.

Certain prescription antihistamines, such as Astemizole which is in Hismanal¾ and terfenadine which is in Seldane¾ and Seldane-D¾, could also be affected by grapefruit juice. With these particular medications, increased drug levels could be associated with arrhythmias which could be fatal.

If you are taking a medication that should not be taken with one of these drugs, Erythromycin, itraconazole (Sporanox¾), ketoconazole (Nizoral¾), mibefradil or (Posicor¾), the safest course of action is to assume that it would interact with grapefruit juice. An example of this is cisapride (Propulsid¾), which is used to treat certain gastrointestinal problems.

If you drink grapefruit juice regularly, it would be a good idea to inquire about its possible interaction with any medications you may be taking or any new drugs that are added. Some sources recommend not drinking grapefruit juice within 2 hours before and 5 hours after a drug that may interact with it. A safer approach would be to substitute another citrus juice, such as orange juice, which has the same vitamins but has not demonstrated the drug interactions.

Remember that eating grapefruit or taking grapefruit supplements may also interact with the same medications. Some drinks that are flavored with fruit juice could be flavored with grapefruit juice. Check the label, if you are not sure.

 

 

Grapefruit

Serving Size 1/2 cup, sectioned

Amount Per Serving

% Daily Value*

Calories Per Serving 60

 

Calories from Fat 0

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

  Saturated Fat 0g

0%

  Cholesterol 0g

0%

  Sodium 0g

0%

Total Carbohydrate 9g

3%

  Dietary Fiber 1g

4%

  Sugars 8g

 

  Protein 1g

 

Vitamin A

20%

Vitamin C

70%

Calcium

2%

Iron

0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

Varieties

There are three major types of grapefruit white, pink/red, and star ruby/rio red varieties. All grapefruit have a similar tangy-sweet flavor and are very juicy. The grapefruits that are used to make juice are those which contain seeds. The pink or red variety contains more vitamins than the white.

Selecting

Choose grapefruit that is glossy, round, smooth and heavy for its size. Avoid any grapefruit with brown and/or soft spots.

Storing

Store grapefruit at room temperature up to a week, or up to 8 weeks in a refrigerator. Leave at room temperature for a couple of hours before eating.


Recipes

Ruby Grapefruit Slush
Makes 4 servings. (about 2 cups)

Ingredients

2 cups Ruby Red grapefruit juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1/4 cup red raspberry jam (all fruit)

In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup of grapefruit juice and sugar to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in remaining grapefruit juice and corn syrup.

Pour mixture into an 8- or 9-inch square pan and freeze 1 hour, or until frozen 1 inch around the edges. Stir well with a fork to break up large pieces of ice. Cover and freeze 3 hours, or until completely frozen.

To Serve:
Once frozen, let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes to soften, then scrape with a large metal spoon, creating coarse pebbles of ice, and serve in chilled bowls or glasses, microwave raspberry jam until just pourable and drizzle over top of each serving.

Each serving contains about 145 KCAL, .6gm PRO, 35gm CHO, 26gm Sugar, 0gm Fat, 28mg Sodium, 198mg Potassium.

 

Lettuce

 

This vegetable is widely popular throughout the world and is readily available in supermarkets year round with hundreds of varieties to choose from. Iceberg used to dominate the selections but other varieties are now moving to the forefront. Most domestic varieties are from California and imported lettuce typically arrives from Europe.

The lettuce that we see today, actually started out as a weed around the Mediterranean basin. Served in dishes for more than 4500 years, lettuce has certainly made its mark in history with tomb painting in Egypt and identification of different types of lettuces by various Greek scholars. Christopher Columbus introduced lettuce to the new world and from there, lettuce in the United States began cultivating.

Benefits

Most dark greens are good sources of Vitamin C and other nutrients. The rule of thumb is, usually, the darker the greens, the more nutritious the leaf.

 

Lettuce (Romain, Shredded)

Serving Size 1 cup chopped, raw (56g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 10


Calories from Fat 0


Total Fat 0g

0%

 Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholestrol 0mg

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 2g

1%

  Dietary Fiber 1g

4%

  Sugars 1g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A

70%

Vitamin C

20%

Calcium

2%

Iron

4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

Types

There are four main types of lettuce and under each type there are different varieties.


Butterhead (includes Boston and Bibb)
Loose heads, grassy green leaves, butter texture, mild flavor. Good examples are Boston lettuce, which looks like a blooming rose, and Bibb lettuce that has a small cup-shaped appearance.


Crisphead
The least nutritious of the salad greens, this pale green lettuce takes on the cabbage appearance with its leaves more tightly packed together. An example is the Iceberg lettuce. It's known for the crispy texture and very mild flavor.


Looseleaf
This variety doesn't grow to form lettuce heads, but is instead the leaves are joined at the stem. Good examples of this variety include: oak leaf, red leaf, and green leaf.


Romaine or Cos
This lettuce has gained tremendous popularity in the past decade as the key ingredient in Caesar salads. It has a loaf-like shape with darker outer leaves. It's strong taste and crispy texture has been favored by those who like Iceberg lettuce.

Varieties


Arugula (rocket or roquette)
This variety used to be hard to find, but can now be found at many supermarkets. This variety is characterized by small, flat leaves with long stems, quite similar looking to dandelion leaves, and a peppery taste. This lettuce is usually paired with other varieties to balance out the taste.


Belgian endive or French endive
This leaf is a family member of chicory and escarole, with tightly packed leaves and bullet-like shape. Creamy yellow or white in color, slightly bitter in taste, but crisp in texture.


Chicory or curly endive
This leaf is slightly bitter, with darker outer leaves and paler or even yellow leaves towards the center. The leaves itself are ragged edged on long thin stems.


Escarole
Another member of the chicory family, this lettuce has broad wavy leaves and a milder taste than chicory.


Mâche or lamb's lettuce or field salad
With a fingerlike shape, velvety feel, and mild taste, this variety is usually sold bunched together with its roots, at an expensive price due to its delicate and perishable nature.


Raddicchio
This variety looks like red cabbage, but it's actually a chicory family member. This leaf is typically used for an accent in salads because of its steep cost as most radicchio lettuce arrives from Italy.

Selection and Storage

Lettuce is a delicate vegetable and great care should be taken when selecting and storing. Most lettuce is showcased on ice or in refrigeration. When selecting your leaves, be sure that they are fresh and crisp, with no signs of wilting, slim, or dark spots or edges. Remember when selecting your lettuce that the darker outer leaves are the most nutritious.

Lettuce tends to keep well in plastic bags in the crisper section of the refrigerator. Iceberg lettuce keeps the best, lasting around two weeks, while Romaine, ten days, and butterheads types and endives lasts approximately four days. The very delicate greens don't last very long, so it's best to buy only as much as you need at one time and use immediately.

Salad greens should not be stored near fruits that produce ethylene gases (like apples) as this will increase brown spots on the lettuce leaves and increase spoilage. Greens that are bought in bunches should be checked for insects. Those leaves that have roots should be placed in a glass of water with a bag over the leaves and then placed in the refrigerator.

Preparation

Generally, lettuce is eaten raw, so consider removing any browned, slimy, or wilted leaves. For all lettuce types, you should thoroughly wash and 'dry' the leaves to remove any dirt or lingering insects. If you eat lettuce often, it's wise to invest in a salad spinner. Simply rinse the leaves and place in the spinner to remove the excess water.

In addition to their most common use in salads, you can also braise, steam, sautè and even grill certain lettuce varieties to create a wonderful and different taste treat. Try halving a head of radicchio or romaine lengthwise, and brush on some extra virgin olive oil, and grill until they soften and just begin to brown-absolutely delicious.


Recipes

Sweet and Sour Leafy Green Salad
Serves 4
Each serving equals 3 1/4 cups of fruits or vegetables
Source: Produce for Better Health

Ingredients

5 cups Romaine lettuce leaves, torn and lightly packed
3 cups spinach leaves, lightly packed
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 oranges, peeled and sliced
1 cup pitted prunes, halved
½ cup red onion, sliced
½ cup nonfat honey-mustard dressing
¼ to ½ tsp black pepper, coarsely ground

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 200, Fat 1g, Calories from Fat 3%, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 7g, Sodium 365g.

 

 

Drying Foods         

Drying is the oldest method of preserving food. The first European settlers in America often ate dried corn, apple, currants, grapes and meat. Sun drying of food was an easy way to prolong the life of food, but this form of dried food was different from what is available today. In different climates, the food dried differently because complete sun drying is dependent on very particular weather conditions. Drying eliminates moisture from the food resulting in a longer food life. Organisms that make food spoil require moisture to survive, so foods that have been completely dried have the longest life.

The methods of drying food, particularly fruits and vegetables, have become more sophisticated over time. The three most common methods used today are briefly described below:

  • Solar: Solar dehydration of food requires 3 to 5 consecutive days of 95 degrees or above and low humidity. This climate is found only in limited areas in the United States.
  • Oven: Foods are dried using a household kitchen oven. This method can be expensive as many hours are normally required to dry food. Oven dried foods are often times darker and more brittle than foods dried by other methods. This method is often suggested for first time dryers, as very little new equipment is required for this method.
  • Dehydrator: This type of drying produces the highest quality product. An electric dehydrator may be purchased and various sizes and levels of quality are generally available.

Dried fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and carbohydrates and low in fat. However, dried foods are more calorically dense than their fresh counterparts. The recommended serving size for dried fruits and vegetables is half that of fresh.

Vitamin C is one nutrient that is destroyed by heat. Pre-treating food with citrus juice can help increase the vitamin C content of the dried food.


Dried Cranberries

Serving size 1/4 cup (30g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 90

 

Calories from Fat 0

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 25g

8%

  Dietary Fiber 2g

7%

  Sugars 20g


Protein 0g


Vitamin A

0%

Vitamin C

0%

Calcium

0%

Iron

0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 


Sun Dried Tomatoes

Serving size 1/4 cup (14g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 35

 

Calories from Fat 5

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 280mg

12%

Total Carbohydrate 8g

3%

  Dietary Fiber 2g

7%

  Sugars 5g


Protein 2g


Vitamin A

2%

Vitamin C

8%

Calcium

2%

Iron

6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

Selection

For drying at home, select ripe fruits and vegetables for drying. Bruised fruit may be used if those areas are removed before drying. Do not use any food with mold on it for drying. Peel and slice food into 1/8 to 1/2-inch slices. The higher the water content, the larger the slice should be because the more it will shrink in drying.

Pre-treating food before drying is a common practice, but not required. Dipping fruits into citrus juices (orange, lemon, or pineapple) helps avoid color changes. Vegetables are best dipped in diluted lemon juice before drying (1/4 cup lemon juice to 2 cups water).

Blanching is also recommended for certain vegetables (asparagus, green beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and peas). Blanch vegetables in boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes, or until the skin cracks.

If you choose to purchase dried fruit at the supermarket, you will generally find a good selection of the most popular fruits. A larger selection of items, especially dried vegetables are often found at natural food stores. Most dried fruit is sold pre-packaged and may be found in either the fresh produce or canned food departments.

Dried fruits and vegetables are also sometimes available in the bulk foods section. Do not purchase any dried food with mold or an abnormal smell.

Storage

Whether dried at home or purchased, dried fruits and vegetables should be kept in an airtight container. Refrigeration is not necessary, but some people prefer the taste of cold dried food. Dried fruit may be frozen, but this sometimes affects the texture and taste of the food.

Shelf life varies from product to product, but most items will keep, if stored properly, for a minimum of one month. Some items, such as raisins, have a significantly longer shelf life of approximately a year or more.

Preparation

Generally, once a fruit or vegetable is dried, there is no additional preparation before using. Many recipes require the fruit or vegetable be sliced or diced, which is often easier when the item has been refrigerated overnight. Dried fruit and vegetables are commonly used in bread, desserts, granola, or as a topping.

Favorites

These are the most practical and common items to dry:

  • Fruit: Ripe apples, berries, cherries, peaches, apricots and pears
  • Vegetables: Peas, corn, peppers, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and green beans

Recipes

Sea Bass with Dried Fruit Salsa
Makes 4 servings

Each serving equals 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables

Ingredients 

4 (5 to 6 ounce) sea bass fillets, about 1-inch thick)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¾ tsp salt
¼ cup of each dried fruit, mango, papaya, cherry, and pineapple
1/3 cup apple juice or cider
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp apricot jam
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Rub fish with olive oil. Combine coriander, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper; mix well. Set aside ½ teaspoon of the mixture for the fruit salsa. Add salt to remaining mixture. Rub seasonings over both sides of fish. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat until hot. Add fish. Reduce heat to medium, cook 3–5 minutes or until fish is browned and seared. Turn fish over; cook about 5 minutes or until fish is slightly firm and flaky. Combine dried fruit, juice, vinegar and ½ teaspoon reserved seasoning mixture in a small saucepan or microwave-safe dish. Bring to a boil. Stir in jam. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer fish to serving plates. Top with fruit salsa and sprinkle with cilantro.

Nutritional Analysis:  Calories 337, Fat 6g, Calories from Fat 16%, Protein 28g, Carbohydrates 43g, Fiber 3g, Cholesterol 58mg, Sodium 241mg

 

 

Pineapples

 

The word "Pineapple," is derived from the word pina, which was used to describe a pine cone by the Spanish. Later, it was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands which are now the leading producers of this fruit. Today, in the United States the pineapple can be marketed as fresh or canned and it is most widely used as tropical canned fruit in recipes. (Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, 1992)

 

Pineapple

Serving Size 1/2 cup, diced

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 35

 

Calories from Fat 0


Total Fat 0g

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Potassium 115mg

3%

Total Carbohydrate 10g

3%

  Dietary Fiber 1g

4%

  Sugars 7g


Protein 0g


Vitamin A

0%

Vitamin C

45%

Calcium

2%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

Varieties

There are four types of pineapples mainly found in the marketplace. These include the Gold, smooth Cayenne, Red Spanish and Sugar Loaf. They are sold fresh and canned and all have a sweet flavor. The Gold variety features an extra sweet flavor, golden color, and higher vitamin C content.

Selecting

Select pineapples with a nice fragrant smell. If possible, choose pineapples that have been jet shipped from Hawaii or Central America because they will be the freshest. Avoid those pineapples with sour or fermented odors. It is really ripe if you can easily pull one of the leaves out of the top.

Storing

Store at room temperature for 1 or 2 days before serving to allow the pineapple to become softer and sweeter. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days or cut pineapple into chunks and store for up to 7 days. Cut up pineapple also freezes well.


Recipes

Hawaiian Ambrosia
Makes 8 servings.
Prep: No cooking.

Ingredients

1 can (20 oz) pineapple chunks
1 can (17 oz) fruit cocktail
1 can (11 oz) Mandarin oranges
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt or sour cream
1 cup miniature marshmallow
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup raisins
¼ cup pecans

Drain fruit well. Add coconut, yogurt or sour cream, marshmallows, raisins, and nuts. Mix well and refrigerate for one hour.

Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories 187, Fat 5g, Calories from Fat 24%, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 2g, Sodium 46mg.
Source: PBH/Maui Pineapple Co., Ltd

 

 

Fruit & Vegetable benefits.     

 

Almost Everyone Needs to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
A growing body of research shows that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. To get the amount that's recommended, most people need to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they currently eat every day.

Fruits and Vegetables and Weight Management
Substituting fruits and vegetables for higher-calorie foods can be part of a weight loss strategy.

 

 

 

Fruits and Vegetables Can Protect Your Health
Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Compared with people who consume a diet with only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers.

Fruits and Vegetables on the Go!
Busy lives can benefit from food that's nutritious, yet easy to eat on-the-go, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are a natural source of energy and give the body many nutrients you need to keep going.

 

 

Whole Foods or Supplements?
Nutrients should come primarily from foods. Foods such as fruits and vegetables contain not only the vitamins and minerals that are often found in supplements, but also other naturally occurring substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases.

For some people, fortified foods or supplements can be helpful in getting the nutrients their bodies need. A fortified food contains a nutrient in an amount greater than what is typically found in that food.

The Colors of Health
Fruits and vegetables come in terrific colors and flavors, but their real beauty lies in what's inside. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of many vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases.

To get a healthy variety, think color. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Some examples include green spinach, orange sweet potatoes, black beans, yellow corn, purple plums, red watermelon, and white onions. For more variety, try new fruits and vegetables regularly.

 

 

Tomatos

 

Currently, tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables eaten by Americans. Tomatoes are members of the fruit family, but they are served and prepared as a vegetable. This is why most people consider them a vegetable and not a fruit. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A.

 

Tomato

Serving Size 1/2 cup, cubed (90g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 20

 

Calories from Fat 5

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 10mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 4g

1%

  Dietary Fiber 1g

4%

  Sugars 3g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A

10%

Vitamin C

40%

Calcium

0%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

Varieties

There are thousands of tomato varieties. The most widely available varieties are classified in three groups: cherry, plum, and slicing tomatoes. A new sweet variety like the cherry tomato is the grape tomato, really wonderful to eat alone or in a salad.

How To Select

Cold temperatures damage tomatoes, so never buy tomatoes that are stored in a cold area. Choose plump tomatoes with smooth skins that are free from bruises, cracks, or blemishes. Depending on the variety, ripe tomatoes should be completely red or reddish-orange.

Storage

Store tomatoes at room temperature (above 55 degrees) until they have fully ripened. This will allow them to ripen properly and develop good flavor and aroma. Try to store tomatoes out of direct sunlight, because sunlight will cause them to ripen unevenly. If you must store them for a longer period of time, place them in the refrigerator. Serve them at room temperature. Chopped tomatoes can be frozen for use in sauces or other cooked dishes.


Recipes

Gazpacho
Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients

6 large tomatoes 
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced 
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped 
1 medium-sized red onion, minced 
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil 
Juice of 1/2 lemon 
2 to 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped (to taste) 
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped or 2 tsp. dried basil 
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste 
Tabasco sauce to taste

To peel the tomatoes, submerge them in boiling water for 15 seconds. Place into a colander and rinse under cold water. The skins should slip right off. Core the tomatoes and gently squeeze out the seeds. Chop half of the tomatoes coarsely and puree the other half in a food processor. Combine the puree and chopped tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Blend the remaining ingredients with the tomatoes. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serve chilled; garnish with herbed croutons if desired. This is an official Fruits & Veggies—More Matters Recipe.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 99, Fat 5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 3g, Sodium 20mg.

 

Breakfast

 

 




Add strawberries, blueberries, or bananas to your waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, or toast.



Top toasted whole-grain bread with peanut butter and sliced bananas.


Add vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms or tomatoes to your egg or egg white omelet.


Canned, dried, and frozen fruits and vegetables are also good options. Look for fruit without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces.

 

Stir low-fat or fat-free granola into a bowl of low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Top with sliced apples or berries.




Have fruit as a mid-morning snack.

 

Lunch & Dinner

 

Place a box of raisins in your child's backpack and pack one for yourself, too.


Ask for more vegetable toppings (like mushrooms, peppers, and onions) and less cheese on your pizza.


Add some cooked dry beans to your salad. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, add chopped apples, pears, or raisins.


Add broccoli, green beans, corn, or peas to a casserole or pasta.


Have soup. You can stick with the basics like tomato or vegetable soup or mix up some minestrone or veggie chili to cut winter's chill. When possible, choose soups with less sodium.



Add lettuce, tomato, onion, and cucumber to sandwiches.


Order salads, vegetable soups, or stir-fried vegetables when eating out.



Choose beans, corn on the cob, or a side salad with low-calorie salad dressing instead of French fries.


Try eating at least 2 vegetables with dinner.



Canned, dried, and frozen fruits and vegetables are also good options. Look for fruit without added sugar or syrups.

 

Spinach

 

Spinach is believed to be of Persian origin and introduced into Europe in the 15th century (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia). Since the early 19th century, spinach has been a versatile and commonly used vegetable in the United States. Eating and preparing spinach is simple and easy, since it tastes good raw or cooked. Spinach can be found fresh, frozen, or canned; it can be easily incorporated into many dishes. Its versatility makes it easy to serve raw in salads or sandwiches or as a complement to soups, meat, fish, or other vegetable dishes.

In addition to being tasty, spinach’s popularity stems from its high nutritional value. Not only is spinach low in calories, it is also a good source of essential nutrients such as vitamins A and C.

Selection

At the supermarket, you can find spinach packaged fresh, canned, or frozen. Fresh spinach is usually found loose or bagged. For the best quality, select leaves that are green and crisp, with a nice fresh fragrance. Avoid leaves that are limp, damaged, or spotted. If you are in a rush, grab a bag of fresh, pre-washed spinach. The ready-to-eat packaging makes it easy to be on the go and still stay healthy.

Storage

Fresh spinach should be dried and packed loosely in a cellophane or plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator crisper. If stored properly, it should last 3 or 4 days.

Varieties


Flat or Smooth Leaf
Flat or smooth leaf spinach has unwrinkled, spade-shaped leaves that have a milder taste than the savoy. This variety is commonly used for canned and frozen spinach as well as for soups, baby foods, and other processed foods.


Savoy
Savoy has crinkly, dark green curly leaves. The texture is different from the flat leaf but tastes equally as good. Look for fresh bunches of savoy at your local market.


Semi-Savoy
Increasing in popularity is the semi-savoy variety, which has slightly curly leaves. The slightly curly leaves have a similar texture to the savoy leaves but are easier to clean. This variety is usually sold fresh. It is also found in processed foods.

Fresh spinach is available all year. Major supplies come from Texas and California where it grows as a cool winter crop.

Preparation

 

Special Note

Iron and calcium in plant foods are not highly absorbed by the body. Spinach contains a chemical called oxalic acid, which binds with iron and calcium and reduces the absorption of these minerals. To improve iron absorption, spinach should be eaten with vitamin C-rich foods such as orange juice, tomatoes, or citrus fruit.

 

 

Spinach grows in sandy soil, so wash it thoroughly to get rid of the grainy, sandy particles. Make sure to tear off the stem. Separate the leaves, and place them in a large bowl of water. Gently wash leaves, and let the sand drift to the bottom of the bowl. Remove leaves from the water, and repeat the process with fresh water until the leaves are clean.

If spinach is to be eaten raw, dry it completely by using a salad spinner or by blotting it with paper towels. Slightly damp spinach can be steamed or microwaved without adding any additional water.

Blanching
Drop leaves into a large pot of boiling water. Once the leaves slightly wilt, drain and squeeze out excess moisture. This method is used to quick-cook spinach or to prepare it for sautéing, braising, or stuffing, and usually takes 2 to 5 minutes.

Microwaving
This method can be used instead of blanching. Place washed, slightly wet spinach in a microwavable dish, loosely cover, and cook until tender (4 to 7 minutes for ½ pound of spinach).

Sautèing
Blanched spinach can be sautèed quickly with a quick spray of oil. If cooked in a non-stick pan, only a spray is needed for several cups of chopped spinach. Try adding some garlic for flavor.

Steaming
If you plan to steam the spinach, do not dry leaves after washing. Steamed spinach makes a great side dish and usually takes only 5 to 10 minutes.

 

Cooked Spinach

Serving Size 1/2 cup (90g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 20

 

Calories from Fat 0

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

Sodium 65mg

3%

Total Carbohydrate 3g

1%

  Dietary Fiber 2g

7%

  Sugars 0g


Protein 3g


Vitamin A

190%

Vitamin C

15%

Calcium

10%

Iron

20%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

 

Raw Spinach

Serving Size 1/2 cup, chopped (30g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 5

 

Calories from Fat 0

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

Sodium 25mg

1%

Total Carbohydrate 1g

0%

  Dietary Fiber 1g

4%

  Sugars 0g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A

60%

Vitamin C

15%

Calcium

2%

Iron

4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 


Recipes

Chicken Florentine
Serves 4

Each serving equals 3/4 cup of fruit or vegetables
This is an official Fruits & Veggies—More Matters recipe (source: Produce for Better Health Foundation).

Ingredients

4 cups firmly packed baby spinach leaves, washed with stems removed, or 1 (10 oz) package frozen, chopped spinach
1 tsp dried thyme leaves, crushed or 2 tsp fresh
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 grilled or roasted skinless chicken breasts, shredded or chopped
2 lemons, to yield 2 Tbsp grated lemon peel and 4 lemon wedges for garnish

Place spinach in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover and cook until fresh spinach is wilted or frozen spinach is heated through. Spinach should have a dark, rich green color. Do not overcook, or the spinach will change color. Remove spinach, and drain well.

In the same skillet, heat thyme with oil, garlic, and onion. Sauté until onion is transparent. Stir in flour until it disappears. Add broth and stir continuously until a thickened sauce is formed. Return chopped spinach to sauce and mix well. Heat and adjust seasonings, if desired.

Stir half the chicken into sauce. To serve, spoon equal amounts in four small casseroles. Top each with equal portions of remaining chicken and ½ Tbsp grated lemon peel. Place in preheated 300° F oven for 10 minutes. Serve piping hot with a lemon wedge.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 220, Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 1.5g, Calories from Fat 29%, Carbohydrates 8g, Cholesterol 75mg, Fiber 3g, Sodium 150mg.

 

Watermelon

 

An American favorite for meals and snacks. People can't seem to get enough of the sweet treat, and nutritionists have long appreciated the health benefits watermelon provides. Recently research has shed new light on its potential health benefits. Watermelon contains high concentrations of lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risks of cancer and other diseases.

Watermelon, the fruit that is really a Vegetable. Watermelon can be traced back to Africa and is part of the cucumber and squash family. Early watermelons were mainly rind and seeds. Today's varieties are larger, the flesh sweeter, the seeds smaller and the rind thinner. It is perhaps the most refreshing, thirst quenching fruit of all. Watermelon consists of 92% water and 8% sugar, so it is aptly named. Americans eat over 17 lbs of watermelon each year.

When to look for them in your grocery store: 

Watermelons are available all year. The natural sweetness of watermelon makes it a favorite anytime of the year. It is a perfect addition to a salad, salsa, or cool drink. Top chunks of sweet watermelon with fruit flavored sherbets or sorbets.


Watermelon

Serving Size 1/2 cup, diced (76g)

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 25

 

Calories from Fat 0

 

Total Fat 0g

0%

Saturated Fat 0g

0%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 0mg

0%

Total Carbohydrate 6g

2%

  Dietary Fiber 0g

0%

  Sugars 5g


Protein 0g


Vitamin A

8%

Vitamin C

10%

Calcium

0%

Iron

2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

 

Selecting

Choose firm, symmetrical, fruit free of cracks, bruises, soft spots or mold. Ripe watermelon will have a healthy sheen, a dull rind, dried stem, and a buttery yellow underside where it touched the ground. There should be a melon like smell or fragrance. Thump if you must, sound should be dull and hollow. Lift them, weight should be heavy for size.

Special Tip

Avoid watermelons that are very hard, white or very pale green in color on the underside, indicating immaturity. An immature watermelon will be slightly acidic.

Storing

Once picked, watermelon will not ripen easily.  If unripe, try putting the whole melon in paper bag un-refrigerated. This sometimes works to ripen them.  Watermelons can be kept for short periods of time, up to 2 weeks, uncut at room temperature.  Wash watermelon with soap and water before cutting.  Once cut, package what is not eaten in closed plastic containers or bags and put back in the refrigerator. 

Varieties

There are more than 50 varieties of watermelon. Most have red flesh, but there are orange and yellow-fleshed varieties. Of the 50 varieties of watermelon throughout the United States, there are four general categories: Allsweet, Ice-Box, Seedless and Yellow Flesh.

AllSweet

  • 20–25 pounds
  • Red Flesh
  • Oblong
  • Dark green rind, with or without stripes

Serving suggestion: Surprise your guests by serving a large refreshing wedge of watermelon following a heavy meal. Place the wedge on a plate with a large knife and encourage the entire table to enjoy a slice.

Ice-Box

  • 5–15 pounds
  • Red or yellow flesh
  • Round
  • Dark or light green rind

Serving suggestion: Make your salsa or relish really "cool" by substituting watermelon for tomatoes in your favorite recipe. Serve with grilled chicken, fish or pork. Try watermelon salsa with chips, too.

Seedless

  • 10–25 pounds
  • Red or yellow flesh
  • Oval to round
  • Light green rind with dark green stripes

Serving suggestion: This variety's perfect for sorbets and beverages. Blend cubes of seedless watermelon and use the juice in margaritas, daiquiris or lemonade for a new twist. 

Yellow Flesh

  • 10–30 pounds
  • Yellow to bright orange flesh
  • Oblong to long
  • Light green rind with mottled stripes

Serving suggestion: Use for color variety as a garnish or side dish. Create festive fruit kabobs by skewering yellow flesh watermelon with other seasonal fruits, such as kiwis and strawberries. 

 

 

FRUITS (Just some)

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Berries
  • Cherry
  • Cranberry
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Passion Fruit
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Plum
  • Pomegranate
  • Watermelon

Vegetables (Just some)

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beans - Dried
  • Beans - Fresh
  • Bell Pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Rhizomes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tomato
  • Winter Squash

 


 

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