Summer is a great time to really clean out your refrigerator. With the farmers markets and fruit stands in full swing eating fresh is a breeze but it can seem like a lot of work! Here are a few tips to make your food prep really work for you!
- Throw out any old produce and try to plan a menu for the week ahead. If you are a person who would rather decide what to cook as you are shopping you still need to keep your purchases realistic, not only from a time management perspective but for reducing waste. Most people throw out 15- 20 % of fresh items weekly because they just don’t get to it or it goes bad before they do.
- When you return from the grocery or farmers market wash and store everything that day. By prepping all your vegetables that day you set yourself up to enjoy fresh salads and vegetables all week with only minutes to plate a salad or sauté whatever you like.
- Fresh Herb Storage: Basil should be kept at room temperature in a glass container filled with a few inches of water with a plastic bag covering it. This will keep it fresh all week. Other herbs like cilantro, dill and mint can either be kept the same way as basil but in the fridge or wrapped in damp paper towel and placed in plastic storage bag in the vegetable drawer.
- What to do with excess Herbs? Here is a link with great ideas https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/what-to-do-with-herbs
RECIPE: CARROT TOP PESTO
- 1 cup carrot leaves (from about 1 bunch carrots)
- 1/2 cup parsley leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup of nuts of your choice (roasted cashews, pine nuts, walnuts, pecans)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
Pulse the carrot tops, parsley leaves, nuts and garlic in food processor until coarsely chopped. With the processor on, slowly drizzle olive oil, and process until blended. Add the Parmesan and salt, and pulse until combined. *Cooks Note: Mint leaves are also a great addition to this recipe
With summer on the way, I have been busy developing lots of recipes and wanted to highlight Green Tomatoes. Living here in the south Green Tomatoes or Fried Green Tomatoes as they are known are featured on countless menus but there are so many other ways to use them! First check out some interesting information about all the amazing health benefits http://eatyourselfwell.com/the-surprising-health-benefits-of-green-tomatoes/.
Green Tomatoes aren’t a specific variety – any tomato that hasn’t ripened can be a Green Tomato. (However, don’t confuse them with the varieties that stay green when ripe, like Green Zebras.) Here are some tips for selecting Green Tomatoes http://cubitsorganics.com/2013/08/how-to-tell-when-your-green-tomatoes-are-ripe-and-ready-to-eat/.
So, if you are looking for new ideas this summer take your favorite Red Tomato Recipe and substitute it for Green…
Green Tomato Caprese
Scalloped Green Tomatoes
Green Salsa with Tortilla Chips (See below recipe) *Great topping for a Cali Mex Burger
- 2 green tomatoes quartered
- 1 small onion quartered
- 2 jalapenos seeded and quartered
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 haas avocado
- ½ cup cilantro tops
- 1-2 limes juiced
- salt to taste
Place Green Tomatoes in food processor and pulse until chunky, add cilantro, onion, garlic, jalapenos, avocado and lime juice and pulse until combined and chunky unless you like a smoother Salsa then puree. Taste to adjust seasoning.
With so much information out there on what to eat and what not to eat it can be really confusing to make good choices! As a Vegetarian I struggle to get enough Protein in my diet while managing Anti-Inflammatory issues. Ongoing inflammation is problematic and can cause several chronic conditions. Food plays a pivotal role and filling your plate with more anti-inflammatory foods while dialing back on the ones that cause inflammation will improve your body’s ability to ward off future diseases and slow down the aging process.
Check out Dr. Weil’s Food Pyramid very informative.
As mentioned last month I use Fresh Juice as a way to get the majority of my daily requirement of Fruits and Vegetables. I recently tried an Anti-Inflammatory Elixir from http://www.mountainjuicery.com and by the time I arrived home the swelling in my hands had gone down dramatically!
Ashley Covington co-owner of Mountain Juicery was nice enough to share the below recipe give it a try:
Inflammation and Skin Elixir
1 oz liquid Turmeric
Drizzle of honey
1 /2 Lemon squeeze
Dash of Water
Sprinkle Black Pepper
Orange Wedge (Eat after you finish)
Eating more Fruits and Vegetables -Organic or not is better than eating none at all! Most of us would love to buy Organic Produce all the time, but availability and expense often make it hard. There is a guide to shopping smarter by buying conventional produce that’s the least likely to contain pesticide residues and save your organic dollars for produce that tends to have the highest amounts of pesticide residue.
Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, releases a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides that identifies Fruits and Vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residues. The article is very informative but lengthy so below is a list of the Clean Fifteen and the Dirty Dozen.
Bottom line for me is do the very best you can! Even if you can’t buy all Organic when you purchase your Produce bring it home and process it in a mild Vinegar and Water Solution. https://happyhealthymama.com/how-to-remove-pesticides-from-fruits-and-vegetables.html
The Clean Fifteen is the list of foods that are least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, so if budget is a concern, you can feel good about buying these 15 Fruits and Vegetables.
The Dirty Dozen is a list of Fruits and Vegetables with the most pesticides.
The Clean Fifteen The Dirty Dozen
Frozen Peas Peaches
Honeydew Melon Potatoes
Cantaloupe Sweet Bell Peppers