Your ancestors had no choice but to eat according to the seasons. If the local trees produced apples, they ate apples. When there was rice, they ate rice. Entering a market today can leave you feeling overwhelmed by meal options, and it is difficult to focus on particular foods and dietary plans. A dietary plan that may be the most natural option is to eat according to the seasons; Enjoy fresh and ripe foods during peak harvest time. Eating according to the seasons generally means more than eating locally produced foods. Fresh foods begin to lose their flavor and nutrients as soon as they are picked, usually ripening excessively while they are in the transport box. Choosing food based on seasonal production not only means better taste and more nutrients, but it is also a way to support local and regional farmers, who are often less aggressive than large commercial farms in the use of chemicals. "If you can incorporate more fresh, seasonal and local foods into your diet, you will eat fewer overprocessed foods," said Dan'I Mackey Almy, a fresh-market marketing executive and founder of the Fresh Produce Organization, a group of farmers dedicated to improving the profile of fresh foods and to educate consumers. "You will be healthier and live longer." In addition, because fruits and vegetables are low in calories and rich in fiber, you can use them to manage your appetite and lose weight before the swimwear season. For best results, change the high-calorie, low-nutrient items in your diet, such as candy, soda, sweetened canned fruits, and crisps, for fresh seasonal foods.
If you can incorporate more fresh, seasonal and local products into your diet, you will eat fewer overprocessed meals. You will be healthier and you will live longer.
Dan'I Mackey Almy, fresh produce marketing executive
Sweet red strawberries are full of fiber and nutrients. Because they usually reach their peak in March and April, spring is the perfect time to incorporate them into your meals, appetizers and desserts.
How popular are strawberries? According to consumer research studies and the United States Department of Agriculture, they are very popular. Elementary and high school students in the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program in 2004 favored strawberries and carrots among a variety of options. A 2007 online survey by Ketchum West showed that strawberries are the undisputed favorite of adults over 18 years old when choosing their favorite fruits from a list of the best-selling fruits: apples, bananas, grapes, oranges and strawberries.The survey was commissioned by the California Strawberry Commission.
With its vibrant color, tantalizing aroma and heart-shaped, strawberries were considered an aphrodisiac in deep France. Throughout history, strawberries have been a symbol of Venus, the goddess of love. They are a mark on Valentine's Day and any romantic evening aperitif. From a nutritional point of view, strawberries can keep out seasonal allergies, which peak during the spring, because they provide more of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C than any other fruit, including oranges.
Almy recommends buying large quantities of seasonal strawberries and extending their use. Consume as many fresh as you can, he explains, and then "place the excess in a layer, freeze it and use it to prepare smoothies and other dishes as time goes by."
Doug Ranno, the chief operating officer and managing partner of Colorful Harvest LLC, a production company in Monterrey, California, recommends vibrant-colored strawberries that are "completely red." Your company uses native seeds, similar to those used hundreds of years ago. As a result, says Ranno, these strawberries provide more antioxidants, including anthocyanin, and have an incredibly sweet flavor. Ranno calls small strawberries "caramel for children" an excellent way to improve the well-being of your little ones.
Artichokes are like Tootsie Roll Pops for those who love them. Inside its colorful exterior hides a tasty appetizer. Although preparing this bulbous and prickly vegetable may seem difficult, the enjoyment and nutritional benefits are worth it.
Derived from the Mediterranean, artichokes can grow perennially or annually, but thrive particularly well during the spring. This vegetable that you consume is the floral bud of the plant and belongs to the sunflower family.
So, how can you prepare this thorny food? First, buy artichokes that are green evenly, with as little brown as possible. Because the outer leaves are not edible, you can remove them until you reach the soft center, or fry, bake or steam the whole artichoke and stir the leaves before or during the meal; with your teeth, as is the custom in many restaurants. Try steaming the whole artichoke stuffed with whole grain bread, Parmesan and Italian seasoning, or empty a whole baked artichoke and use the outside to contain a vegetable sauce. Artichokes are also dense in nutrients, including vitamin C, folate and potassium, and provide a low-calorie, nutritious alternative to potato chips, onion rings and other high-fat snacks.
Spring is a fantastic time to store cabbage. Although many leafy vegetables are available and in season the whole year, cabbage tends to reach its peak during the spring months, appearing in coleslaw, Chinese chicken salads, fresh vegetable soups and next to meat canned.
Along with the Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower, the cabbage is derived from the Brassica family of vegetables. As a rich source of vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese and fiber, cabbage promotes a good immune system, digestive health and bone strength. Because cabbage tends to maintain its freshness longer than other leafy vegetables, you can store it without fear of expiration. Terry Walters, author of "Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source," recommends soaking the minced cabbage in plum vinegar for two hours and then mixing it in a bowl with chopped red onion, carrots, radishes, fennel and a modest amount of grape seed oil to prepare a nutritious and tasty salad.
Colorful stuffed Italian artichokes
Ingredients 4 medium-sized artichokes 2 cups full of bread crumbs 2 large garlic cloves, chopped 3/4 cup green onion tip, chopped 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper Olive oil or vegetable oil
Directions Mix all ingredients well, not including artichokes. Cut the stems of the artichokes so that the bottom is flat. Remove the lower row of hard leaves. Cut 1/4 inch straight through the top, leaving this part flat. With a pair of scissors, cut the remaining tips of each leaf. Soak the leaves in water for 10 minutes and rinse them under cold water. Drain them well. Place the filling mixture between the leaves, separating them gently with your fingers while doing it. Place the stuffed artichokes on a rotisserie, wok or pan where the artichokes are just one against the other. Add about 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil on each artichoke. Cover and then cook over medium or low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the leaves come out easily. Check the water periodically to avoid scorching the artichokes. Add more water if necessary. Use a turkey dropper to cover them every 15 or 20 minutes. Enjoy the artichokes stuffed warm or cold.