Posts Tagged ‘Farmers Markets’
Summer Foodie Stay-cations!
With the soaring prices of gas, inflation and the housing crunch, many vacationers are holding back their grand vacation plans for the time being. Many would-be holiday makers are simply choosing a “stay-cation” instead. What’s a “stay-cation” you ask? Simply put, a “stay-cation” is a vacation that is close to home. Many people are choosing locations that are with an hour or so from their homes, it’s close enough to save on gas and just far enough to feel like a getaway. A stay-cation allows a family to save money while spending more quality time together and helping a local economy.
First off: In order to enjoy your stay-cation we recommend you:
1. Put the World On Hold – Take time out—literally. Eliminating reminders of time helps wipe away the stress of the daily grind. Gather up all the clocks in your house and stash them in a dresser drawer. Throw your watch in next to them. Leave them there for the whole day (or two, or five).
2. Turn off the ringers on your phones and mute the answering machine. Check messages only when you want to, keeping in mind that “not at all” is always an option.
Do an “out of the office” message for your e-mail (even if your office is a corner of the playroom). Say you won’t be checking your e-mail till you’re back from vacation. Then power down the computer and throw a towel over it.
3. Skip the news—and maybe even stop the mail—for a week. When you banish the source of stress, the stress itself may follow. The earth will continue to turn even if you’re not reading all about it every morning at 7:30 sharp, and sadly, the bills will still be there when your vacation is over.
So now let’s get to the food portion of your stay-cation, shall we? Here’s our top 7 ideas on how to create a foodie stay-cation.
1. Book a week long series of cooking classes in your local area. Sacramento offers several options for classes and cooking camps this summer. Check out these companies and see what might peak your palate: Lulu’s Kitchen in Sacramento has a variety of day and evening cooking classes. The Learning Exchange in Sacramento offers food & wine classes. Whole Foods Market and Sacramento Co-op are both offering fun summer cooking demos and classes you surely can fit into your stay-cation. They even have summer kids cooking camps…..just in case you have more space to fill in your calendar.
2. The California State Fair – take a few days with your entire family and do the State Fair Fried Food Challenge – you haven’t vacationed until you’ve experienced the deep fried mac -n -cheese on a stick, deep fried cheese curds and deep fried twinkies at the fair. State Fair Summer 2013 dates: July 12th-28th. Many local businesses offer discount fair tickets – check out Big O Tires – buy one get one free ticket offer before they run out!
3. Grab your bags and baskets and plan a Farmer’s Market Week with your family. Lucky for you there is a market within a 20 mile radius of Sacramento each day of the week. Have fun and meet your local farmers and artisans…..there might even be some education involved! Searching for markets in the vicinity? Google: California Grown, Placer Grown, Davis Farmers Market, Ferry Building Market, Oxbow Market in Napa. Go to the market w/ a shopping list for the ingredients you will be needing for your brand new farm to fork recipes. We recommend coming on an empty stomach for the fun food truck vendors and samples you will run into. Try a different ethnic type of food at each market each day…making it an epicurean adventure.
4. Strap on your tennis shoes and sun had and participate in a culinary walking adventure in and around Sacramento. Eat your way thru your own city or explore the town next to you by going on a food or farm tour. These food tours are a half day event and give participants the opportunity to get up close and personal with local chefs, artisans, farmers and passionate mom and pop eatery owners. Kids will think you are the coolest parents when they have the chance for a local chef to sign their dirty napkin….Souvenir award for sure! 5 to 6 food stops along with history, culture and architecture just right out your back door. Check out Local Roots Food & Farm Tours for their different tour menu options and make it a foodie stay-cation must.
Farmers Markets are popping all over the country this time of year. Keeping it local and exploring your palate each and every week has its perks. Here are 10 reasons why its a positive experience by shopping at your local farmer’s markets:
1. You can Taste The Difference! Most of the produce has been picked within 24 hours (supermarkets could be as long as a couple of months!). It comes to your table ripe, fresh and full of flavor. The produce is at its “prime”!
2. You are giving back to your local community. “Keeping it local” is a common trend in urban and rural areas today. In areas with strong local markets, the family farm has been given new life.
3. Discover New Flavors! Ever wonder what the long white root vegetable is and what it is used for? Flabbergasted by how many varieties of pears you can find at the market? Shopping at local markets helps you think outside of the supermarket bins and explore your palate with so many varieties of flavors. Small farms are keeping alive nearly 300 other varieties of particular produce; offering heirloom varietals and the good old fashion beef steak tomatoes!
4. Helps to Boost Local Economy! A US study showed that almost twice the contribution of a dollar stayed in the local economy when spent at a local food business compared to a supermarket.
5. Save the World! A study in Iowa found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a diet based on food shipped across the country! With gas prices on the rise, who wants to pay for transportation fees to a supermarket bringing in un-ripened fruit and vegetables when one could drive down the road and buy from Farmer Brown?
6. Meet Your Neighbors and Farmers! Local eating is social. Studies show that people shopping at farmer’s markets have 12 times more conversations than their counterparts at the supermarket. Sometimes shopping at your local farmers markets turns into a half day affair with all the friends and locals you run into. Bring your chairs and make a day of good old fashion community fun!
7. Be Healthy! Eating fresh local ingredients with no processing, no additives, no pesticides…..the only end result is healthy eating! Cooking from scratch makes you feel better; you are eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and fewer of the bad products that have turned our country into an obese problem. Once you go fresh and local, you won’t want to go back!
8. Get in Touch with the Seasons! Many farming communities are lucky enough to have year round supply of fresh, local ingredients at their markets. When you eat locally, you eat what’s in season. You’ll remember the cherries are the taste of summer. Even in winter, comfort foods like squash soup and sweet potato bisque just make sense.
9. Create Memories! Bringing back those fresh local ingredients each week, breaking out the cookbook and exploring your passion while creating some excellent dishes is all about eating locally grown. Making jam, eating fresh local food and pairing it with a local wine with family and friends makes memories of a lifetime!
10. Explore your local community! Get out and about and visit local farmers markets. Become a tourist in your own back yard! One way of exploring markets is by participating in a organized tour. Follow a chef thru a market and learn about unique vegetables and fruits you normally wouldn’t even think of buying. Visit your local event calendar and find a farmers market tour and join in on the fun and education. You will be surprised how much little you knew about your local farmers and artisans until you get one on one time with them on a tour!
Keep Your Family Safe - Food Safety at Farmers Markets:
Farmers’ markets are the prime destination for fresh and local food, but they’re not immune to germs and bacteria. Farmers work hard to comply with state and federal food safety standards but patrons also have to keep their eyes peeled (and their produce washed). Use our tips to help avoid food safety pitfalls.
Whether it’s organically grown or not, produce needs to washed well. It’s a good thing that farmers’ market produce isn’t waxed like much of what you’ll find in the grocery store, but these local goodies are often covered with dirt. Rinse delicate items like berries, herbs and lettuces well just before use; rinsing them before storing them can cause them to get moldy or mushy. Sturdy produce like carrots, apples and potatoes can handle a good scrub. Thick-skinned foods like melons should be washed before you slice into them.
Some vendors turn their produce into drinks like apple cider. Look for pasteurized beverages, especially if you’re pregnant, elderly or serving them to young children.
Eggs and Dairy Products
Eggs and dairy (yogurt, cheese and milk) at the grocery store is almost always pasteurized, this isn’t always the case at the farmers’ market. Read labels carefully and if in doubt, ASK! Raw milk products and unpasteurized eggs are appealing to some folks but also carry a higher risk of food-borne illness from salmonella and listeria. Also, be sure that all dairy products are stored at the proper temperature – in refrigeration or on ice, especially on hot days.
Meats & Seafood
Fresh and frozen meats, meat products (such as bacon and sausage) and even seafood are popular farmers’ market finds. Use a specially designated shopping bag to avoid cross contamination and bring along an ice pack to keep everything cold on the ride home.
It’s become very popular for venders to give away tastes of their goods, especially prepared foods and specialty items. Baked goods, pesto and tomato sauce, jams and jellies, cheese, granola, yogurt, pickles, hummus, soups and grain salads are just a few of things you might come across. Bring along your own napkins (vendors never seem to have enough). Make sure perishable foods are kept on ice and have proper serving utensils before you sample them. Most importantly, beware of double dippers!
It’s that time of the year again….local farmers and artisan specialty vendors getting ramped up for the launch of their produce and goods at local farmers markets. Lucky enough, many farmers markets are year round in California. What lies ahead are some amazing spring vegetables, fruits, artisan meats and cheeses. The highlight of shopping the market experience is what you get to take home with you and create fresh ingredient dishes. Trying to find a market in your local community being offered once a week is the key to always having the freshness for your kitchen. We are lucky enough in Sacramento County where there is a certified farmer’s market almost every day of the week!
If you can manage to wake up early on a Sunday morning, make your way to the Sacramento Central farmers market where you’ll find many Asian produce. Shoppers will find great prices at this Midtown market, which is among the larger markets in the area.Guide Tip: Get here early. Since this is a popular market, on a few of my visits, some vendors ran out of food.
- Location: 8th and W streets, underneath Highway 80
- Hours: 8 a.m. to noon, open all year
Roosevelt Park is among two farmer’s markets along P Street. Along the perimeter of the park, shoppers can buy vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, herbs, flowers, baked goods and cheeses.
- Location: 9th and P streets
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October
Just down the street from Roosevelt Park is Fremont Park. Vendors are spread along the perimeter of the park.Guide Tip: Finding a parking space can be a challenge at both of these parks. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a metered spot. Remember to keep track of the time to avoid getting a ticket.
- Location: 16th and P streets
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October
Caesar Chavez Memorial Plaza is abuzz with shoppers from area office buildings at this downtown market.
- Location: 10th and J streets, in front of City Hall
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October
Capitol Mall Market
- 6th Street and Capitol Mall
- Hours: 10am – 1:30pm, from May through September
Downtown Plaza Market
- 4th and K Streets
- Hours: 10am – 2:00pm, from May through September
East End State Capitol Park
- 15th and L Streets, (Between L & N Streets)
- Hours: 10am – 1:30pm, from May – September
Oak Park Farmers’ Market
- McClatchy Park, 35th Street and Fifth Ave
- Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Sunrise Station Market
- Folsom and Sunrise Blvds, Rancho Cordova – Light Rail Station
- Hours: 8:00am – 12:00pm, Open Year Round
Experiencing a Farmer’s Market through a chef’s eyes is an incredible experience. Being introduced to local farmers and artisans. Tasting, touching, smelling….it all is about growing your knowledge on how to pick out seasonal produce, how to use that produce in your home and receive some creative ideas on using the benefits of the produce to your advantage. Sound too good to be true? A new tour is being launched in downtown Sacramento by Local Roots Food Tours; Market to Plate Executive Lunch Tour. Beginning May 2nd and offered every Wednesday and Thursday throughout the spring/summer growing season, participants have the opportunity to be treated to a VIP Farmers Market Tour followed by a 4 course lunch with a wine pairing. 2 popular executive chefs will be taking fresh local ingredients from the morning’s local market and creating a wonderful lunch for all participants. Get up close and personal with these two chefs. Learn tricks and trades on how to pick out the best produce and fruits at this year’s farmers markets and receive recipe ideas to use in your own kitchen. For more information on how to be a part of this unique and inspiring walking food tour please contact Local Roots Food Tours: 1-800-407-8918 or visit their foodie friendly website at: http://www.localrootsfoodtours.com
Come join Local Roots Food Tours as we get up close and personal with local farmers, vintners, and executive chefs in our new Market-To-Plate Executive Chef’s Tour! This tour takes you through a popular downtown Sacramento farmer’s market, Cesar Plaza Farmer’s Market or East End Capitol Park Farmer’s Market and then into a four course, four star dining experience prepared by two local executive chefs!
This tour is a culinary and educational adventure. Participants are guided through an open-air market, where you can chat with the farmers and producers as the aroma of herbs and flowers waft around you. You’ll learn about what’s in season and how to choose and prepare foods from their seasonal harvest. We will meet local olive oil producers, lavender and flower producers, meat producers, and other artisans – in short, people who love to work with and talk about food! A shopping experience like no other!
Our tour continues with a 3 course exclusive lunch prepared by Executive Chef Michel at Morgan’s Restaurant (a four star, hidden gem restaurant serving farm-to-table ingredients). Lunch will be prepared using fresh local seasonal ingredients. Chef Michel will educate participants on how to use the produce they purchased at the morning market and share his culinary wisdom and passion for fresh, local ingredients. Definitely an up close dining experience! Lunch will be paired with a selected local wine.
Click to learn more!
Black garlic is a type of fermented garlic used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is made by fermenting whole bulbs of garlic at high temperature, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or even tamarind. Black Garlic is prized as a food rich in antioxidants and added to energy drinks, and in Thailand is claimed to increase the consumer’s longevity. One interesting use is in the making of black garlic chocolate. In the United States black garlic entered the mainstream in 2008 and has become a sought-after ingredient used in high-end cuisine. Black garlic is great for your health—it’s loaded with nearly twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic.
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Purple carrots, white strawberries and cucamelons?
No, I’m not going crazy, I’m talking about heirloom produce. I’m sure that you’ve heard of heirloom tomatoes, but what does the ‘heirloom’ prefix mean? An heirloom plant or vegetable is a crop that was commonly grown during earlier periods in history, but is not used in “modern large scale agriculture.”
More and more Farmer’s Markets are offering Heirloom produce. The heirloom seed market is growing rapidly as well. Many website offer a large variety of seeds for you to “grow your own” heirloom produce. Everything from black corn, chocolate colored sweet peppers and Merlot lettuce. (yes it’s deep wine colored!) One specific heirloom variety watermelon is a cucamelon. It is a light green fruit whose flesh is white, crisp and crunchy with a lemony tartness. The flavor is similar to a cucumber. People chop them up into summer salads or add them to a simple salsa. I personally eat them like pretzels or chips! Just add a tiny salt and pop them in your mouth! Delicious.
Food should be fun, interesting and enjoyable. Adding color, shapes and new varieties of produce is a simple, easy and great way to develop your palate and knowledge of food! Why bother with heirloom vegetables? Well, first of all, they’re something different. Who expects a blue pumpkin or a yellow tomato? Second, the taste. You might be surprised by how much more flavorful an heirloom vegetable is when compared to one of its modern equivalents. Third, most respond very well to organic treatment. This isn’t surprising, since most were developed long before chemical agriculture became the norm! Fourth, it maintains biodiversity. You never know when we’ll need those genes carried by heirloom produce.
Some heirloom veggies may seem quite odd by modern standards. We get so wrapped up in our expectations of what a certain type of vegetable should look like that we tend to forget that it took a while to breed our modern food plants to the standards that we now enjoy. For example, did you know that some heirloom cultivars of pumpkins are red, white, and even blue, rather than the standard orange? Similarly, carrots can be red, white, or black, and round instead of cylindrical. While a few unusual versions of both vegetables have made it into the modern seed catalog, they’re rare.
What about a simple, delicious and easy heirloom carrot recipe?
***Try and find some different sizes, color and shapes of the carrots for extra flair!
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 bunches heirloom carrots, scrubbed
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 large sprig fresh thyme, leaves only
salt and pepper to season
2 tbsp honey
1. Preheat oven to 400º. In a medium roasting pan, toss the carrots with butter, shallots, and thyme and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Place pan in oven and toast, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender.
3. Remove from oven and drizzle over honey. Toss to coat. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
Want to eat healthy and look like a professional chef while serving “heirloom” produce?! Try:
Heirloom Tomato and Eggplant Gratin
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 pound baby Italian eggplants, peeled and sliced into rounds 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick
4 thyme sprigs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound goat cheese, coarsely crumbled (1 cup)
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush a large oval baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange the tomato and eggplant slices in a single layer of overlapping concentric circles. Scatter the thyme sprigs on top and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the top. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is barely tender and the tomatoes have exuded their juices.
2. Uncover the gratin and bake for about 25 minutes longer, or until the juices have evaporated and the vegetables are very tender. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top and bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I suggest your next trip to the Farmer’s Market you should ask the vendors if they have any delicious recipes or “new’ heirloom produce for you to try!
We are in peak season for summer squash and juicy tomatoes. Chefs are putting their skills to the test and coming up with some very delicious, healthy and creative dishes using these two key farm fresh ingredients. This Provençal summer dish is delightful as a starter or as a side dish with fish, chicken or cooked grains.
FRIED SUMMER SQUASH WITH TOMATOES and BASIL
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds medium or small zucchini or other summer squash, thinly sliced or diced (depending on what shape squash you use)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, grated on the large holes of a box grater, or peeled, seeded and diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped or slivered fresh basil (to taste)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy skillet. Add the zucchini. Cook, stirring or shaking the pan, until the zucchini is lightly seared and beginning to soften, three to five minutes. Remove from the pan, and set aside.
2. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, then the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until fragrant — less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have begun to cook down, about five minutes. Return the zucchini to the pan, add salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until the zucchini is tender and translucent and the tomatoes have cooked down to a fragrant sauce. Stir in the basil, and taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from the heat and serve hot, or allow to cool and serve at room temperature.
Yield: Serves four to six.
Advance preparation: You can make this a day or two ahead of time. Keep refrigerated, and reheat gently on top of the stove. The dish is also good cold, doused with a little lemon juice.
Nutritional information per serving (four servings): 111 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 10 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 20 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste), 3 grams protein
Nutritional information per serving (six servings): 74 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 7 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 13 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste), 2 grams protein
Be a part of National Can-It-Forward Day on August 13
On August 13, join millions of food lovers curious about canning to learn the ease of preserving fresh food as part of National Can-It-Forward Day.
Jarden Home Brands has teamed up with Canning Across America, a nationwide group of food writers, bloggers and cookbook authors united by a passion for canning, to create the National Can-It-Forward Day.
Gather your family and friends to celebrate the bounty of summer through home canning. Learn the ease of preserving fresh food through a day of home canning parties, online instructional canning videos and cooking demos, local events and more. We’ll help you every step of the way.
1. Host a Home Canning Party
Whether you are new to canning or a seasoned pro, canning is always more fun when shared with friends. So get a group and host your very own Can-It-Forward Day Home Canning Party. We’ll make it easy.
Let’s Get the Party Started!
Celebrate National Can-It-Forward Day by hosting your own home canning party. It’s easy and here are all the steps you need to get started:
Step 1: Mark your calendars for August 13 and pick a location to host your very own National Can-It-Forward Day Home Canning Party. Simply select any spot with a working stovetop and some counter space — your kitchen, community center, office break-room, etc.
Step 2: Spread the word – Invite Your Friends, Family, Neighbors and Co-workers for August 13, National Can-It-Forward Day! Twitter #canitforward
Step 3: Select Your Recipes. For National Can-It-Forward Day, we suggest Fiesta Salsa – it’s fun and easy and who doesn’t enjoy salsa made with fresh tomatoes?
Step 4: Decide how many jars of Fiesta Salsa you will be making at your party, just a few or a large batch.
Step 5: Download the printable Intro to Canning Guide, Party Tips Guide, National Can-It-Forward Day Regular Mouth Lid Labels, National Can-It-Forward Day Wide Mouth Lid Labels, and Party Games for hosting your own Can-It-Forward Day party.
Lid Label Directions: The National Can-It-Forward Day labels for the regular mouth jar lids are designed to fit AVERY 5293 Labels. The labels for the wide mouth lids are designed to fit AVERY 5294 labels. Simply download the PDF of your choice, insert the appropriate label sheet into your printer, push print and apply to your jars. Then show your friends and family what you created and listen to their oohs and aahs!
Step 6: Host your own home canning party and receive valuable coupons.
2. Can-It-Forward Day Web TV
Set your calendars and join us here for a full day of LIVE streaming coverage of National Can-It-Forward Day events taking place at Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
From 11 AM — 7 PM EDT/8 AM — 4 PM PDT, we will be airing live canning demonstrations by the experts at Jarden Home Brands, makers of Ball® Home Canning Products and Canning Across America as well as recipe demos from top Seattle chefs. View demonstrations from the comfort of your own home or during a Can-It-Forward Day Home Canning Party! Ask our experts and chefs questions in our live Q&A.
Click here for the National Can-It-Forward Day Web TV broadcast schedule.
Click here for LIVE streaming video on August 13.
3. Participate in Person
Hey Seattle — let’s get canning! If you live in or are in the Seattle area on August 13, stop by Pike Place Market and participate in person! We’ll be celebrating with live canning demonstrations throughout the day, giveaways and sampling and more!
Here are some other recipes we will be celebrating on National Can-It-Forward Day.
Check them out for easy directions:
It is estimated that there are over 700 varieties of figs around the world, which is not surprising, since the fig is one of the oldest trees to be cultivated by humans for its edible fruit. In point of fact, the fruit of the fig is actually an inverted flower, but since it looks and tastes like a fruit, it is referred to as a fruit by convention.
There are literally hundreds of fig varieties, but only about half a dozen are grown commercially in California, dried and packaged for the consumer and industrial markets,
|The Calimyrna Fig||The Mission Fig|
|Noted for its delicious nut-like flavor and tender, golden skin, the Calimyrna fig is the popular favorite for eating out of hand. As the name implies, the Calimyrna is the California version of the Smyrna fig imported by a San Joaquin Valley grower.||Numerous plantings by the Spanish missionaries as they traveled northward from Mexico along the California coast that gave it a name, the Mission fig is famous for its distinctive flavor. The fresh fruit exhibits a deep purple color which darkens to a rich black when dried, making this fig an esthetic, as well as an edible, delight in all recipes.|
|The Kadota Fig||The Adriatic Fig|
|The Kadota fig, an American version of the original Italian Dattato, is thick-skinned and possesses a beautiful creamy amber color when ripe. Practically seedless, this fig is a favorite for canning and preserving as well as drying.||Transplanted from the Mediterranean, the Adriatic fig is the most prolific of all the varieties. The high sugar content, retained as the fruit dries to a golden shade, make this fig the prime choice for fig bars and pastes.|
It is said that humans could live on Figs alone as a source of food — such is the goodness and nutrition in the fruit! Figs are a rich source of calcium, iron, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and potassium. Figs are low in fat and high in fibre. They provide more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable.
Figs have many health benefits. Fresh and dry figs are high in pectin, a soluble fibre that can reduce blood cholesterol. The fruit is also believed to have a laxative effect and can aid those who suffer from chronic constipation.
Listed below are some common problems and illnesses and how they can be avoided by the use of figs:
Figs contain a nutrient called tryptophan. This promotes good sleep and helps the brain use glucose properly, encouraging and stimulating good circulation.
Figs contain a lot of natural sugar – up to 60%. Sugar stimulate the brain so we can think faster and recall information more quickly. So that you can think more clear and faster. Figs are the ultimate brain fuel!
Fresh Figs contain up to 80% of water, as well as being one of the fruits with the highest levels of natural sugars. So they are a brilliant source of energy and stimulant for the brain. Making you more alert, responsive, fresh, as well as de-toxing the self.
Due to the Fig’s high water content, they are ideal for improving the skin. The skin requires a good level of water. This will clear the skin, act as a cleanser, improve acne, oil, and general well-being.
Figs are a natural laxative. So they can aid those suffering from constipation. They have a high level of fibre.
Due to the Fig’s high level of natural sugars, they are an excellent way to replace the bleached (white) sugars with a more healthy alternative. They contain a natural fructose and glucose sugar.
A high fiber diet is one of the best ways to improve cholesterol levels, and as a result aid oneself against heart related diseases insha’Allah.
The nutrient ‘tryptophan’ contained in Figs encourages good circulation, allowing blood to flow more easily around the body.
Figs contain the ingredient Pectin (and soluble Fiber) which is known for its colesterol lowering effects. Thus, Figs are beneficial for those of Old age, those suffering from High Blood-pressure, Diabetes, heart-disease, hyper-tension, and other such related illnesses.
Studies show that 80% of Americans don’t consume adequate amounts of calcium daily. Figs are another source where much calcium could be obtained. This is also beneficial for those who are lactose intolerant (or even those who chose to be Vegans!). Five figs provide about 250 mg of the daily recommended level of calcium.
Figs are beneficial for those with heart-related diseases. Lowering colesterol, they are advantageous for those with high blood pressure. Figs are a particularly good source of Poatassium. Potassium is a mineral crucial to the control of blood pressure. People who eat potassium-rich foods tend to have lower blood pressure and, subsequently, have less risk of related conditions such as strokes.
Figs contain Iron which enriches the blood, and helps to produce it. Thus, they are ideal for women, girls and those suffering from Anemia (lack of Iron).
Five figs provide more than 20 percent of the daily recommended allowance of fiber. Hence, they are excellent in aiding digestion and improving the condition of the stomach and bowels.
Prime melon season in the Sacramento Valley region is upon us and stretches into September.
There are some amazing melons to choose from. The varieties are bountiful when it comes to heirloom varieties.
Next visit to your local farmers market try to find these various types of melons and ask for a taste before buying!
Crimson Sweet: Crisp, sweet and mild with medium red flesh.
Mickey Lee: Red flesh w/ a clean taste and a slightly grainy texture.
Moon and Stars: Bright to pinkish-red flesh and a sweet-tart flavor.
New Orchid: Pale orange flesh and a rich, honey-like flavor.
Yellow Doll: Yellow flesh, slightly tart.
Muse & Late-Harvest Melon Family:
Ambrosia: Sweet, floral, and deeply flavorful orange flesh.
Canary: Dense green flesh with a sweet flavor that’s musky in a good way, like grapes.
Charentais: Deep orange and juicy with a flowery aroma.
Eel River: Super soft texture, gentle flavor, and elegant perfume; orange flesh.
Ha-Ogen: Chin-drippingly juicy, with slightly savory, tropical flavors and pale green flesh.
Honeyloupe: Hybrid that tastes and looks like a cross between cantaloupe and honeydew; bright orange, sweet and juicy.
Galia: As sweet, juicy and succulent as a summer peach, with soft green flesh.
Green Nutmeg: Tiny, single-serving melon. A bit spicy, with bright green flesh.
Tuscan: Earthly, clean flavor with hints of cucumber. Rich, amber-colored flesh.
How to choose a melon:
Give it the once over: Is it symmetrical? Check. No bruises? Check. No soggy areas? Check.
Find the Couche (coosh): That’s the flat spot where the melon rested on the ground. If it doesn’t have one, it was harvested too early.
Locate the “full slip” or belly button, where the melon attached to the vine. It should be smooth and clean, a sign it was ripe enough to detach on its own.
Lift it: Does it seem heavier than it looks? Good! That means its juicy!
MELON TIP: If your melon doesn’t smell strong and fruity, let it sit a day or two to ripen before you cut into it. Watermelon doesn’t ripen after picking so you need to use the steps above to pick the ripest one right off the crate.