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CSA Cukes

 

Do you have one of those teens who pulls some carrots and cucumbers out of the fridge and sits down happily munching while checking her phone? What about a little one one who requests broccoli without being bribed with the promise of ice cream? No? Me either. Those kids are like something out of a fairy tale!

Thankfully just because your kids don’t want a salad doesn’t meant they won’t eat veggies at all. Here are 5 pointers to help get the good stuff in them.

Set the example: Eat your veggies. No excuses. You need them too.

Try something new: If you don’t, chances are your kids won’t. Make a different side dish to go with your standards. Try a veggie that you have to research how to prepare. Participate in Meatless Monday. Be brave.

Make veggies an easy option: You might be surprised how quickly veggies will disappear when they are cut and ready to eat on the top shelf in the fridge. Make your vegetables the first dish on the table when everyone is hungry. (I’ve seen a teen sneak roasted brussel sprouts this way. Not kidding!)

Make them pretty: It takes just a minute more, but there is something to be said about foods that are visually appealing. Same is true if they sound appealing, so feel free to rename whatever you are making.

Hide them: Actually don’t, just add them to everything and get your family use to the idea. Lasagna has spinach in it. Ramen noodles have carrot ribbons in them. Yes, those are zucchini muffins. It won’t take long before your family forgets that they every had it any other way.

Join a CSA: It is a shameless plug, but farm fresh veggies taste better. You are never going to win them over with canned peas or a tomato grown 1000 miles away. Get the good stuff and enjoy!

 

 

Spring has sprung and garden planning is in full gear. Though this winter was full of snowy days, I was still able to see and feel spring at the table and during mealtime. By saving last year’s bountiful crop of tomatoes, I was able to make soup, chili, pasta sauce and even a delicious beef stew.

From my small garden I canned 10 pints of tomatoes. With my new membership to the Ozone Park CSA I hope to can even more this year. Canning is easy and doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment. If canning isn’t for you, then freeze your produce. Most importantly, don’t let anything go to waste.

For canning you do need to purchase lids and jars, which can be bought at Target, Wal-Mart or even some supermarkets. You need a large pot for the water bath and then a small area to store your canned produce. You will sterilize the lids and jars; prepare the produce and the place the sealed jars into a large pot of boiling water.

The Ball canning guide is the best source for canning recipes both for beginner and experts alike. They have simple recipes with easy to follow instructions. Below is an easy one for canning whole tomatoes that I followed last year. So I was able to enjoy tomatoes all winter long!

RAW-PACKED TOMATOES WITH NO ADDED LIQUID

Canned tomatoes

You will need:

– 3 lb whole, halved or quartered tomatoes per quart jar
– Bottled lemon juice or citric acid
– Salt, optional
– (32 oz) quart or (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Directions:

1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) WASH tomatoes. Dip in boiling water 30 to 60 seconds or until skins start to loosen and crack. Immediately dip in cold water. Slip off skins. Remove cores and any bruised or discolored portions. Leave whole, halve or quarter.
3.) ADD 2 Tbsp bottled lemon juice or 1/2 tsp citric acid to each hot quart jar. Add 1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice or 1/4 tsp citric acid to each hot pint jar.
4.) PACK raw tomatoes into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Press tomatoes into the jar until the spaces between them fill with juice leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar, if desired. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding tomatoes. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
5.) PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 85 minutes for both pints and quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool.

Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Enjoy!

— Wende

Originally posted in Care 2 by Melissa Breyer

I’m the first to admit that the term “superfood” gets thrown around a lot in media and marketing, but that doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on the bursting-with-nourishment, lovely, potent, and delicious foods that fall under the moniker. Especially when these foods are known to lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and, while we’re at it, put you in a better mood.

Although some people have run rampant with the term and have made a mint by promoting the “miraculous! fountain-of-youth! death-defying!” benefits of superfoods, I hope that there won’t be a backlash against good, old-fashioned, super nutrient-exuberant food. As I’ve said before, I’m a crusader for most edibles in their pure forms–and the majority of them are superfoods in my book. There are few whole foods from the plant world that don’t have some health-boosting element to brag about–so how to decide what to eat? That’s why I like to think about (and eat) superfoods by season. (…)

1. Artichokes
2. Asparagus
3. Avocado
4. Blueberries
5. Fava Beans
6. Fresh Figs
7. Leeks
8. Oregano and other fresh herbs
9. Spinach
10. Strawberries

Click on each to find what makes it a superfood and how to use it.

Want another reason to join a CSA? From the Farm Aid website:

“When the food is sold directly from the farmer to you, you can be sure more of your dollar benefits the farmer who actually raised or grew your food. Through traditional food markets, only 19 cents of every food dollar goes to the farmer, while the remaining 81 cents goes to suppliers, processors, transportation costs, middlemen and marketers.”

http://www.farmaid.org/site/c.qlI5IhNVJsE/b.2723731/k.3F72/Take_Action_Ensure_that_your_food_dollars_support_family_farmers.htm

President’s Day is around the corner and President Obama stated in the most recent State of the Union address that our goal should be using 80% of clean power by 2035. It may seen a far ways off, but we can start today with Organic Foods.

Though they might not be the most economical choice, they are by far the healthier and “greener” choice. Locally grown vegetables and fruits where you know the farmer and the soil where he grows them. These should be the easy choices, eat clean and healthy foods and your body will thank you.

How does organic food help the environment? With organic farming you are no longer contaminating the land with harmful chemicals. Farmers take measures to produce foods without hazardous chemicals and grow crops that are indigenous to the area. This sustainable farming practices preserve and save the land for future generations.

By joining CSA’s that support organic farmers, you are supporting the movement towards a “greener” world and getting delicious vegetables and fruits without all those harmful chemicals.

Enjoy your organic veggies. Make a small change for a healthier environment and an even healthier you!

– Wende

If you’ve had the experience of having certain vegetables pile up in your fridge, it is important to pay attention to the best ways to store those veggies. Here’s a few tips:

  • Don’t wash the dirt off the vegetables—they keep better that way.
  • Check your vegetables periodically for little bad spots. It doesn’t mean you have to toss the vegetables, but make sure to cut those spots out before the rot spreads…and then use that vegetable sooner than later.
  • When you store vegetables in plastic bags (good for carrots, turnips, rutabaga, cabbage, etc.) make sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag. Then close tightly.
  • For veggies that you aren’t storing in the fridge, make sure they are covered. Light is not good for storage—potatoes will turn green, garlic and onions will start to sprout faster if they are in the light, etc.
  • Chop off the tops (such as carrots, beets)—the greens rot faster and that rot can spread to the rest of the veggie.
  • Aside from the fridge, a good place to store vegetables is a dry, cool (around 50 degrees), dark place, although some people recommend damp, not dry for potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Did you know that rutabaga is a cross between turnip and cabbage? They have less than a third of the carbs and less than half of the calories of potatoes. If you’ve never had rutabaga before, you might be wondering what to do with them. I had mine like mashed potatoes—with a little butter and nutmeg. They were yummy.

Here are a few other ideas:

  • Cube, boil and serve rutabaga mixed with cubed, boiled carrots.
  • Make oven-baked rutabaga fries. Slice rutabaga into 1/4″ thick rounds or fries (strips). Toss in olive oil, salt, pepper and put them on a baking sheet. Cook for 12 minutes making sure to turn them. When they are golden brown, take them out. You can sprinkle them with garlic powder or paprika if you like.
  • Peel and cube rutabaga and boil in water. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Add some curry powder and a little brown sugar. Boil, then simmer until tender.
  • Mash boiled rutabaga into your mashed potatoes for a little kick!

Hope you enjoy this tasty little root vegetable.

Jenny

Who says you need to have a backyard to grow your own food? Well, not anymore. Most of you have likely came across hydroponic tomatoes at the supermarket. (Yes. Those perfect-picture, packed in a cello bag).

We just found out you can grow these beauties and much more in your little window. So, ready to become a “Windowfarmer”? Read on!

Originally posted in Care 2 by Angel Flinn

You want to eat healthy but it costs too much. Fruits, vegetables, and whole foods in general are pricey and when you’re trying to feed a family of four on the cheap, choosing nutrient dense eats without draining your wallet may seem like an impossible mission.

But that’s not really the case. In fact, some of the healthiest foods in the world are cheap. I mean really cheap. Don’t believe me? From veggies to whole grains and everywhere in between, we’ve got the best and brightest in superfoods for the taking. And what’s more, if food preparation is an issue, you’ll find easy and ridiculously delicious preparations as well.

1. Kale
2. Broccoli
3. Winter Squash
4. Sweet Potatoes
5. Cabbage
6. Apples
7. Quinoa
8. Brown Basmati Rice
9. Barley
10. Adzuki Beans
11. Black Beans
12. Flaxseed
13. Sunflower Seeds
14. Sesame Seeds
15. Almonds

To find out why these are so good and a list of recipes read the complete article.

Originally posted in Care 2 by Angel Flinn

For those who are considering adopting a vegan diet, one of the most common concerns is whether a diet that includes only plant foods can be nutritionally adequate.

Considering the position that animal-based foods have in the standard Western diet, this is hardly surprising. However, there is increasing evidence that suggests that not only is a whole-food vegan diet nutritionally adequate, but that eliminating animal-based foods can actually reduce one’s risk of disease and encourage overall physical health and well-being.

For those who are concerned about obtaining adequate amounts of specific nutrients, it’s useful to know which foods contain what. Not surprisingly, green leafies are some of the stars in this show, adding even more evidence to the case for a daily green smoothie regimen.

Do you know which fruits and vegetables are loaded with calcium? How about iron or magnesium? Read on!

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