Category — Spotlight on Produce
It’s pomegranate season and pomegranates are one of my favorite fruits. They are famous for their high level of antioxidants and their beautiful sweet and tangy ruby red seeds. Here are two of my favorite pomegranate seed recipes. Enjoy!
Pomegranate Kiwi Salsa
This pomegranate seed recipe was inspired by simplyrecipes.com and is sure to be a hit at your next holiday gathering. You can serve it with raw flax crackers, jicama rounds, or baked tortilla chips for a healthy holiday platter. My husband enjoyed it over some black beans and it also makes a great topping to spice up a batch of quinoa.
4 ripe peeled and chopped kiwifruit
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 avocado chopped
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh jalapeño (seeds removed)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a bowl and gently fold ingredients together. Makes about 1 and ½ cups.
Pomegranate Radish Salad
This pomegranate seed recipe is a tasty way to eat radishes and it makes a great side salad or add your favorite greens and garbanzo or kidney beans for a more filling salad. (Radishes are a good source of potassium and vitamin C, they support the liver, and can help to relieve congestion in the respiratory system.)
5 red radishes chopped
3 tablespoons Citrus Honey Chia Seed Vinaigrette
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Add all ingredients together and let marinate for at least one hour before serving.
Hope these two pomegranate seed recipes inspire you to start adding pomegranate seeds to your cuisine! And as always, please share your favorite pomegranate seed recipes in the comments section below.
P.S. Note: Eating pomegranates might interfere with certain medications in the same way that grapefruit juice does. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist about any drug interactions.
November 5, 2012 1 Comment
Most people use avocados in savory dishes but did you know that avocado has some sweet applications as well? In this blog post I will share with you two sweet raw food avocado recipes including a recipe for raw food avocado pudding.
In California summer is avocado season and we are so blessed to have the most delicious creamy avocados available in season!
According to the California Avocado Comission:
Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.
But you really don’t need a reason to eat avocados do you?
In the Canary Islands where my family is from, they have an amazing juice bar called Maria’s where they put avocado in their smoothies to give them a creamy consistency and a lovely flavor. I tried this at home recently and was not disappointed!
Summer Avocado Smoothie
½ cup strawberries
¼ slice of an avocado
1 cup orange juice
Pinch stevia powder or a few drops of the stevia liquid
Blend and serve over ice! Very tasty.
Lemon Avocado Pudding
This isn’t my recipe, it’s from my very favorite raw recipe book Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet. She calls it Lemon Mouse and I modified it just slightly.
3 avocados (1 and ½ cups mashed avocado)
1/2 cup raw honey
1/4-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2-4 lemons approx)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3-5 drops lemon flavored stevia to taste (optional)
blueberries and sliced strawberries for garnish
Put all the ingredients in the food processor with the S blade, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Garnish with berries if desired. 4 servings.
I took this to a raw food party and it was a hit. I also served it to my family and they loved it! I have made it a few times and depending on the tartness of the lemons I needed to add more or less lemon juice. I like it really lemony!
Hope you are having a wonderful summer and enjoying those avocados!
Click here to Purchase the book Raw Food Made Easy For 1 or 2 People
by Jennifer Cornbleet-this is an amazon affliate link.
July 14, 2010 5 Comments
A few weeks ago at my potluck group I talked about my list of top foods that I believe to be super nutrient rich. Stinging Nettles, urtica dioica, were on that list.
The reason I think they are so great is because they are rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. According to some sources they are one of the best plant sources of iron. They are 40 % protein which is considered high for a vegetable. Traditionally in folk medicine they were used to build the blood and treat anemia among other conditions. Recently they have been proven helpful to treat hay fever and osteoarthritis. (For more medicinal uses scroll down to the bottom of this post.)
Where to Get Stinging Nettles
To add stinging nettles to your diet, first you need to find them. I am lucky enough to live in Northern California where I can get them at the Marin Farmer’s Market for 6 dollars a pound. If you have a local wild edibles guided tour (please don’t eat any wild edible unless you are sure) you might be lucky to find them in shady spots, in flood plains, woodlands, along streams and river banks in Europe, Asia, North America, and Northern Africa. Or you can simply try to grow them in your own backyard. If you can’t get ahold of fresh nettles you can find dried nettles in the bulk herb section of your natural grocery store, which make a lovely tea.
They are called stinging nettles for a reason, they have stinging hairs which can really irritate your skin. For this reason I do not advise handling them with your bare hands. I personally use tongs, but you could use gloves as well. Some people recommend rolling them like a taco and then eating the leaves. Here is a video of David Wolfe, raw food author and speaker, showing you how to do just that.
I personally prefer to enjoy them using the methods I describe below:
The great thing about stinging nettles is that when you cook them, juice them, or blend them they loose their sting!
My favorite thing is to make a nettle shake. (recipe below)
(Thanks to Novalee for this idea)
2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup nettles
Blend for a minute in a high speed blender and enjoy. For a heartier drink you can add 1 banana and half an apple.
Nettle Green Juice
You can also add nettles into your green juice. Just substitute whatever green you were going to use with nettles and run them through your juicer. I like to juice them with celery and apple.
Make Nettle Tea
Boil a pot of water and add a cup of nettles and let sit for at least 10 minutes. It makes the most beautiful emerald green tea you can imagine. Sweeten and enjoy.
Nettles can be steamed or boiled and are probably one of the most delicious greens out there. They have a mild nutty flavor and can be substituted in any cooked recipe that calls for spinach or kale. They are so good that they can be enjoyed just steamed plain or perhaps with a touch of sea salt. I have also seen recipes where they are boiled with potatoes, leeks, and other ingredients to make a creamy blended soup.
Nettles have been used medicinally in folk medicine for such things as: allergies, water retention, anemia, poor circulation, asthma, wound healing, as a diuretic, to build the blood, and for arthritis and rheumatism. Recently, nettles have been proven effective for treating hay fever and osteoarthritis.
*Now if you are going to use nettles medicinally I would definitely work with a professional for the correct dosage and there are some contraindications and drug interactions you might need to be aware of especially if you are pregnant, have kidney issues, diabetes, or are on blood pressure medication or other medications.
Hope you can enjoy this powerful superfood as a regular addition to your diet!
January 20, 2010 4 Comments
I know that in most of the U.S. the weather has cooled and people are gearing up for the cold winter ahead. Here in Northern California we usually have an Indian summer and just last weekend watermelons became in season at my local farm, hence the timing of this article!
How to Pick a Watermelon
I have to admit that I never knew how to pick out a watermelon, which is strange considering my husband considers me an expert at picking out the ripest most sweet fruits whenever we go shopping. I have to say that at my local farm they were all good, but there is a trick to picking a sweet one that I finally mastered.
- The best advice I can give you is to buy them from a local farm or farmer’s market where they pick them when they are ripe.
- Then you want to make sure they have a yellow or light spot on them. This spot develops from the watermelons sitting on the ground as they ripen. If a watermelon doesn’t have the spot it was likely picked too soon.
- Then you want to tap the watermelon and what you a listening for is a high pitched tone, that my husband described as “springy” because the sound feels like it bounces back at you like you are tapping something that is hollow.
- The sound should NOT be low, flat, or dull.
- If you follow this advice you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the quality of your watermelons.
I did a little research on watermelon and as it turns out they have a lot more nutrition in them than I realized. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, C, vitamin B1, and B6. In addition, watermelon is a good source of thiamin, potassium and magnesium. It is also a good source of beta carotene and red watermelon is a great source of the antioxidant, Lycopene.
The World’s Healthiest Foods
I couldn’t fine much information on the rind since most people in our country don’t eat the rind except for in the South. In the South and in some cultures they pickle it. What I did find though, is that it contains the amino acid known as citrulline. Our bodies use citrulline to make another amino acid, arginine, which helps cells to divide, wounds to heal, and has the ability to relax blood vessels among other important functions in our bodies.
I also suspect there are other nutrients in the rind and, at the very least, they are a good source of chlorophyll.
Juicing The Rind
One of the things that I’ve been doing lately is adding the rind along with the fruit to my green juices instead of cucumber or celery and I’ve gotten great results. Juicing the rind is a great way not to waste the rind and it cuts the sweetness of the watermelon juice. Not only do I feel great when I drink them, but I notice they keep me full for longer than I expected. I don’t feel a sugar rush and even though I know you aren’t supposed to combine watermelon with any other food for proper digestion, I found they digested fine.
My tricks for watermelon for digesting well:
- Only eat ripe and sweet watermelon
- I always eat it alone or blended with greens or I juice it with greens and some other water rich fruit
- Always eat watermelon or watermelon drinks on an empty stomach
- Eat or drink watermelon very slowly
- Never overeat on watermelon! If you overeat on watermelon you will get a bad stomach ache that I affectionately call, watermelon tummy, but it really hurts!
Watermelon Green Juice
1-2 small apples
3 crescent slices of watermelon with the fruit and rind
( about 3 cups chopped )
1 bunch parsley, cilantro, OR spinach
1 cup water
Chop all ingredients and blend in a high speed blender and squeeze through a sprout bag. If you want to make it less sweet you can substitute one of the apples for a small cucumber. Enjoy!
Please drink these juices on an empty stomach and slowly. Stop drinking them if you notice any stomach discomfort at all. I didn’t notice any discomfort but everyone is different.
If you live in Northern California I hope you can add this healing green juice to your routine, if not I hope you can enjoy it next summer!
October 8, 2009 8 Comments
In Northern California it’s cactus pear season right now. You might have seen these colorful little spiny cactus fruits around, but weren’t sure how to eat them. Well here is a little guide to these delicious and nutritious prickly pear fruits and their stems, also known as nopales.
The fruit of the nopal cactus are commonly called prickly pear fruit, cactus figs, cactus pears, Indian figs, or tuna. I have seen them in many color variations including a bright deep magenta, light yellow, light orange, and light green. They are available in California in early fall and are generally available only in the western hemipshere, such as the West of the United States, Mexico, Southern Europe, and South Africa. Tunas grow mostly in desert, semi-desert, grasslands, and Mexico has the most species. They are very hardy plants and in some places they grow like weeds. In California I have seen them growing wildly, in neighbor’s yards, at my local farmer’s market, and Mexican Super Markets.
- Besides tasting lovely, both the fruits and pads of the prickly pear cactus are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fibers that supposedly help keep blood sugar stable and the fruit contain a high amount of antioxidants.
It is really important that you purchase them de-spined; if you do pick them yourself be extremely careful. And never ever eat the skin! If you cut them in half they have some really great fruit inside that you can easily scoop out. The fruit inside is full of super hard seeds that you can swallow, but I prefer to blend the cactus fruit and then strain out the seeds with a fine mesh strainer or sprout bag.
- The fruit tastes like a cross between a pear and a melon with the consistency of a mealy watermelon. It makes for a great drink like the one below:
This is a great non alcoholic drink, super light, refreshing, and delicious!
2 cactus pears fruits (sliced in half with the fruit scooped out)
1 cup young coconut water
squeeze of lime
Make sure to scoop out the fruit from the cactus pear. Do not eat the skins! Blend the nopal cactus pear meat and the coconut water in a blender for 10-20 seconds and then squeeze the mixture through a sprout bag to strain out the seeds. Top with a squeeze of lime if desired. Makes about 16 ounces.
Nopales: The Stem of The Cactus Pear
Nopales, also known as prickly pear cactus or paddle cactus are actually the stems of the cactus pears. They have a slight tart flavor and a crisp yet mucilaginous consistency. In traditional Mexican cuisine they are usually cooked, but I have found them a nice addition to smoothies and blended soups. Just make sure you remove the spines first!
- Nopales are very rich in insoluble and especially soluble dietary fiber.
- They are also rich in vitamins (especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, but also riboflavin and vitamin B6) and minerals (especially magnesium, potassium, and manganese, but also iron and copper). Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nopal
They are more widely available than the cactus pears, and you can find them at almost any supermarket in California and especially in Mexican Markets. Sometimes you can find them with the spines already removed and in little bags already chopped up for you. Just be aware that you must use the cacti without spines very quickly as they are vulnerable to bacteria.
If you do buy them with the spines, it is easy to take the spines off with a good sharp chef’s knife. I like to first cut my cactus in half and chop of the top, bottom, and sides to remove the spines. Then I lay the knife flat against the cactus and remove the top layer of skin along with the spines.
This is what it should look like after the spines are removed:
Then I chop them up and use them in a smoothie. Here is a good one:
Cantaloupe Cactus Cooler
1 Nopal Cactus Leaf (spines removed)
2 cups coconut water
2 cups chopped Cantaloupe
2-4 drops liquid Stevia
Carefully remove spines from the nopal cactus and chop into pieces. Add all ingredients into the blender except for the lime. Taste for desired sweetness and top off with a squeeze of lime. Makes about 32 ounces.
I had this for breakfast the other day, mmmmmm! The melon seemed to digest well with the cactus for me.
I hope I’ve encouraged you to not be scared of the prickly pear cactus and maybe even try your hand at eating one soon:)
October 1, 2009 30 Comments