vegetables

Napa or Chinese Cabbage

Napa  or Chinese Cabbage

Chinese Cabbage is not bok choy.  It is, however,  referred to as Napa (or nappa) Cabbage, and several other names not used here in America.  Chinese cabbage is more mild in flavor and more delicate in texture than other cabbage varieties.  The leaves are perfect for using as sandwich wraps and for rolling with clever mixtures.  The tender leaves are perfect for eating raw, but are delicious lightly sautéed or braised as well.  Botanically, this cabbage belongs to the brassica family which also includes Brussel sprouts, kale, etc.  

The Jerusalem Artichoke

jerusalem artichoke.jpeg

The Jerusalem artichoke, also known as a Sunchoke,  is not an artichoke.  It is the tuber of a species of sunflower native to the United States.  Etymologically speaking, the name really has nothing to do with the tuber itself, but a creation of a corruption of names, leading to the name Jerusalem artichoke. 

Jerusalem Artichokes are in season and this is why you should eat them:

  • They are delicious!
  • They have multiple digestive health benefits
  • High in Potassium, Thiamine, and Iron
  • Good source of Vitamin C and Niacin
  • Is diabetic-friendly and can be used in place of white potatoes 

The Jerusalem artichoke has a reputation of causing intestinal upset and flatulence, caused by inuline, the carbohydrate found in this tuber, which varies depending on the size and number of shoots growing off of it.  Not only is inuline a prebiotic, promoting the growth and proliferation of probiotics in your colon, Inuline is a diabetic-friendly carbohydrate.  Each of us have a different sensitivity to inuline;  if you have never eaten them before, try them in a small portion.  One way to reduce your risk of "major gas" is to not eat them raw or to boil them.

How to eat them?

No need to peel, but wash and scrub skin prior to eating/cooking.

Raw or cooked, but less flatulence cooked                                                                          

Pickled
Raw, shaved thin in a salad
Roasted, chopped like you would potatoes
Boiled for a mash

They are delicious and creamy when cooked, and like a water chestnut when raw.  Try these recipes:

Thank you for reading my blog!

xo, Dawn

Hail The Hakurei Turnip

The Hakurei Turnip, also known as salad turnips, is a small white turnip from Japan.  They do not need to be cooked like other varieties, are not as spicy and are much more sweet.     I love turnips, all turnips, but the Hakurei can be chopped raw in a salad, sliced in a sandwich, sliced as a cracker, cubed for a snack.  They are part of the Brassica family-cabbage/cruciferous- like broccoli and kale.  The leafy greens of the turnip are edible, and are actually more nutritious than the turnip itself! Not only are they delicious and versatile, but loaded with vitamins and minerals, however their nutritional value is depleted , as with any vegetable, if you boil them.  Turnips lower blood pressure, and help prevent cancer:

  • High in fiber-lowering all kinds of health risks and making you feel full
  •  Vitamins-vitamins C, B's (nervous system function, help with fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism, healthy skin, hair, eyes, liver)
  • Minerals- Calcium, potassium, small amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus
  • Low in calories-51 calories per mashed cup (200 calories for potato).

 Preparing these turnip are simple.  If you happen to have your turnip with green tops in tact, remove the greens as soon as you can;  the greens will actually leach nutrients from the turnip.  The greens should be washed thoroughly and can be used raw or cooked, thrown in with your salad, soup, sandwich, or sautéed on low heat with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Store unwashed greens in a plastic bag and they should keep for a couple of weeks, but again, the vitamins and minerals are depleted.  

How to eat them?  Wash thoroughly.  I use a veggie spray or soak and use a vegetable brush.

 The Hakurei Turnip should not need peeled.     Don't be afraid to just add them to anything.  Throw them in a casserole or roasting pan by themselves or other veggies in a 400 degree oven, toss with olive oil and roast in the oven, turning with a spoon occasionally.  You don't want to miss these recipes.  Turnips have become quite popular in the New York City restaurants.  Please click on the recipe link below.

Thank you for reading my blog.

-Dawn, CHHC, AADP

Exciting Asparagus: Our First CSA Share Topic Of The Season (Week 1)

I am so excited.  This week begins the CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture-a food production and distribution system that connects farmers and consumers directly, purchasing "shares") season for us here in the Lyme-Old Lyme area.  This blog is about asparagus: nutritional importance, how to store, how to prepare.  There will also be a recipe or two, just click on the recipe button below.

Asparagus contains the highest amount of folate (crucial for making new cells) and numerous vitamins and minerals.   To keep it in layman's terms and not to bore you, I will skip to telling you why you should eat asparagus and not list all the vitamins, etc.  Asparagus is a healthy choice in most diets.  There are different varieties but green asparagus contains the most nutrients.  Asparagus is low in calories, is a complex carb (what we want and need), is detoxing to the liver (the liver can ALWAYS use the help), and is a natural diuretic (it's worth the pungent odor most of us experience). 

Storing asparagus correctly will not only keep it fresh, but you will prevent the ends from drying out, and therefor, have less to trim and more to eat.  The best way to store asparagus is to trim about an inch off the ends, stand in about an inch of water in a glass jar, and loosely cover with a plastic bag.  Your asparagus should keep in the fridge for up to a week or so, but don't forget to change the water if it becomes cloudy.  

Preparing asparagus is very simple.  As with all produce, wash thoroughly.  I soak my produce in a solution of white vinegar and water, or use a store-bought produce wash.  Remember to rinse well.  There are two common methods to trim asparagus.  The most common is by grabbing the spear by both ends and bend until the spear snaps.  This will give you the most tender part of the spear, but will also waste a tasty portion of it as well.  The second method requires a bit more work, trimming a 1/2 inch off the base and peeling from just below the tip to the base.  The method you choose is a personal preference as to whether or not you enjoy your asparagus more fibrous or more tender.  

Asparagus can be eaten raw, chopped and added to salads or left long for a veggie platter, grilled with olive oil, steamed, sautéed, roasted, broiled.  How long to cook?  It depends on how you like your asparagus, crunch, no crunch.  Please click on the button below for recipes.

Thank you for following. : - )

Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) Are Not Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) Are Not Artichokes

Sunchokes,  also known as Jerusalem artichokes, have nothing to do with an artichoke.   Sunchokes are the tubers of a species of sunflower native to the United States, although seem to be more popular, now, in France and other European countries, although sunchoke flour is used in many processed products such as pastas.  Etymologically speaking, the name really has nothing to do with the tuber itself, but a creation of a corruption of names, leading to Jerusalem artichoke, now mostly referred to as sunchoke.  This food does have a nickname...FARTICHOKE....

Don't Be Afraid Of Napa Cabbage

Don't Be Afraid Of Napa Cabbage

Chinese Cabbage is not bok choy.  It is, however,  referred to as Napa (or nappa) Cabbage, and several other names not used here in America.  Chinese cabbage is more mild in flavor and more delicate in texture than other cabbage varieties.  The leaves are perfect for using as sandwich wraps and for rolling with clever mixtures.  The tender leaves are perfect for eating raw, but are delicious lightly sautéed or braised as well.  Botanically, this cabbage belongs to the brassica family which also includes Brussel sprouts, kale, etc.