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Archive for the tag “fruits”

The Art of Refrigeration

I previously provided information about why it was important to eat your vegetables and fruits. So now we are going to look at how to keep vegetables and fruits in the refrigerator, based on my experience. How often do you throw away decaying produce from the refrigerator? I can happily say that I rarely do and I believe it is because I am vigilant in how I keep my produce. I will share with you some of my techniques. But first I want to share with you one of my previous experiences.

Not too long ago when I was at Safeway the cashier noticed that I was purchasing three avocados and it sparked a conversation:

Cashier:  “Every time I buy avocados they just go bad! So I do not buy them anymore.”

Me: Well, do you keep them in the refrigerator?

Cashier: Yes!

Me: At what stage do you buy them? Do you buy them when they are ripe?

Cashier: Yes, I do.

Me: I think that is your problem, I buy one that is really hard, not so hard and one that is ripe.

Cashier: Oh, okay, I see.

Me. You have to make sure to remember to eat them as well. I believe that is a problem, people forget to eat them.

Cashier: Okay I will try that.

I have not seen her since our conversation, I do not shop at Safeway that often. But if I do, I will ask her if she took up purchasing avocados again and if anything has changed?

So back to the refrigeration of produce. I would have to say that there are three key things to think about when you are considering the refrigeration of produce: aeration, temperature and if the produce is alive.

We will tackle aeration first. I am assuming that inside a refrigerator, air is constantly moving; this is a good thing as well as bad thing. Some vegetables and fruits need to be sort of shielded from this moving air because that constant moving air dries them out (again my assumption). It is sort of similar to blow drying your hair only using the cold air option on the blow-dryer, even thought the air is cold, if you wait long enough your hair will dry.

So depending on the structure of the produce, you will have to keep specific produce in a paper bag. On that note, I cannot think of a specific type of produce that I would recommend to keep in a plastic bag. The reason for this is because the plastic bag drastically minimizes air flow which means that moisture given off by produce gets trapped in the bag. Compared to keeping produce in a paper bag which allows air flow but on a minimal level. The trapping of moisture is bad because mold which is similar to almost everything else on this planet needs water to survive. Keeping produce in a plastic bag will provide mold with adequate food as well as water. In this situation, this is good for them and bad for us.

The outer layer of your produce will give you a hint, on how to keep it. There are a handful of types of vegetables and fruits that you need to keep in their own paper bag. This includes berries (blackberries, strawberries, boysenberries, raspberries, etc) and mushrooms (shiitake, portobello, white button, maitake, brown button, oyster, etc). According to WiseGeek, putting a damp paper towel with the produce mentioned above will help last even longer. I personally do not put a paper towel but you are more than welcome to.

You will also find produce that you have to keep in a paper bag but you do not have to keep them separate. What I do for this category is that I put a shopping bag (paper) from Safeway, Costco, Raleys, etc, in the bottom pull out drawer of my refrigerator and then I put the produce in the bag. I believe that this is a good method, because it helps the produce from drying out and it is a easy clean up, just take out the bag when appropriate. Produce in this section include: broccoli, carrots, celery, romaine lettuce, radicchio, red leaf, green leaf, endive, iceberg lettuce, butter lettuce, eggplant, and cauliflower.

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Paper bag of carrots and broccoli

On the other end of the aeration spectrum is produce that do not have to be kept in a paper bag at all. We can make an educated guess and say that the reason why you do not have to do anything special to produce in this category is because they have a tough outer layer. The vegetables and fruits included in this section  are: oranges, bananas, plantains, lemons, squash, pineapple, cucumber (watch these closely), melons, and beets. There are other vegetables that are sort of vigor, if I can use that word, for example, cabbage, beets, ginger, tomatoes, artichoke, turnips, radishes, apples, bell peppers, grapes, corn, radishes, garlic and onions. I personally have a decent size plastic tupperware that I keep in my refrigerator for holding most of the produce in this section.

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Tupperware full of Produce

Just a quick note, above I had mentioned tomatoes, but it is important to point out that if you do utilize the ‘tupperware method,’ do not let the tomatoes sit under other produce. Because if they are at the bottom, the weight of the other vegetables and fruits will cause bruising which speeds up the decaying process.

Next we are going to look at temperature, which is sort easy; if you are someone who has a refrigerator. This is obvious because you would just set the dial on your refrigerator at an ideal temperature and let it do its thing. But some vegetables and fruits do not need to be refrigerated, these are mostly roots and some other types of produce: potatoes, onions*, garlic*, ginger*, lemons*, grapes*, apples* and avocados*.

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My potato box

Last and but not least we have the, ‘living produce.’ Believe it or not some of the produce that you buy is still alive. The different types of produce that I am talking about here are lettuces, produce in the Apiaceae family, and herbs. The produce in this category can be put in the refrigerator while sitting in a jar/cup of water. The plants will naturally begin to take in the water, which will allow them to last 100 times longer (exaggeration).  But really you will be surprised of the difference. I personally put, spinach, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, sage, thyme, etc.   This is such a cool method because  all you have to do is grab your jar (I recycle old jam jars, peanut butter jars, sauce jars, mason jars, etc) of produce pick how much of the plant you want and put it back. With this method you should pick off leaves at the bottom  of the plant as best as possible. So that they do not sit in the water (will increase rate of decay) and you should change the water maybe once a week.

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Spinach in a jar

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Jar of cilantro

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The water should be clean and kept as low as possible.

* Even though it is not necessary to refrigerate; I do. The potato only after it is cut.

Peace!

Reference:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/25/lettuce-varieties_n_1626023.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/464325-what-are-the-benefits-of-parsley-cilantro/ refrigeration

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-best-way-to-store-produce.htm

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Why…Plate…..Rainbow! Part 2: The Practical Version ;)

The Colors of Vegetables and Fruits

  1. Green Produce.
      1. Green leafy vegetables, kiwi, honeydew melon,  avocado, broccoli, artichoke, zucchini, lettuce, celery, asparagus, edamame, okra, and peas.
    1. Phytochemicals.
      1. Lutein, zeaxanthin, indoles, omega-3’s and omega-6’s
  2. White and Tan Produce.
      1. Turnips, bananas, garlic, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, radishes, potatoes(white flesh),  jicama, and ginger.
    1. Phytochemicals.
      1. Allicin and anthoxanthins.
  3. Yellow and Orange Produce.
      1. Sweet potatoes, peaches, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, mangos, pumpkin, corn, pineapple, carrots, butternut squash, apricots, tangerines and yellow peppers.
    1. Phytochemicals.
      1. Carotenoids( beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthi) and bioflavonoids.
  4. Red Produce.
      1. Red grapes, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, pink or red grapefruit, tomatoes, beets, radishes, red peppers, rhubarb, cherries, cranberries, red cabbage, guava and red apples.
    1. Phytochemicals.
      1. Carotenoids(Lycopen, anthocyanin), and resveratol.
  5. Blue and Purple Produce.
      1. Purple cabbage, blueberries, blackberries, black grapes, raisins, eggplant, plums, prunes and figs.
    1. Phytochemicals.
      1. Anthocyanins, phenolics, and resveratol.

Below is a chart taken from Ms. Zimmerman’s website found here.

Phytochemical Families

Family What They Do Where They’re Found
Terpenes
Carotenes, limonoids, saponins Activate body’s protective enzymes, protect eyes, act as antioxidants, modify hormones, help block cholesterol absorption, protect cellular differentiation Green, red and yellow vegetables and fruits; grains; legumes; nuts; seeds; herbs such as ginseng, chamomile, gotu kola
Organosulfur Compounds
Indol-3-carbinol, thiosulfonates, isothiocyanates Boost cancer-fighting enzymes, block multagenesis, inhibit cholesterol synthesis, may lower blood pressure Cruciferous vegetables; mustard family; onion & garlic family
Phenols
Polyphenols, anthocyanidins, caechins, isoflavones, tannins Protect heart and vascular system, protect against colon cancer, modify hormone response, prevent dental caries Berries, grapes, red wine, green leafy vegetables, soy foods, green tea, herbs
Organic acids, Polysaccharides
Lactones, celluloses, arabinogalactans, pectins, fructans, glucans Block nitrosamine effects, promote growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria, modulate immune system, may help prevent colon cancer Fruit, mushrooms, yeast, herbs, spices
Lipids
Isoprenoids, oils, fatty acids, physterols Reduct platelet aggregation, blood clotting, inflammation, nervous system disorders; balance hormones; modify autoimmune conditions Dark-green leafy vegetables, nuts, soy oil, wheat germ, herbs, animal foods

Peace!

References:
Coila, Bridget. (2010, Oct 7). List of Phytochemical Foods. Livestrong.com. http://www.livestrong.com/article/273326-list-of-phytochemical-foods/

Collins, Claudia. (2010, Sep 28). Nutrition: Fruit and Vegetable Colors. Livestrong.com. http://www.livestrong.com/article/262977-nutrition-fruit-and-vegetable-colors/

Zimmerman, Marcia. (2012, January). Color your Diet: Stave off Aging. Taste for life, 32-33.

Zimmerman, Marcia. (2001). Phytochemicals-Nutrients Whose Time Has Come. Marciazimmerman.com. http://marciazimmerman.com/phytochemicals-nutrients-whose-time-has-come/

http://marciazimmerman.com/education/

http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu/health_healing/fact_sheets/

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/metabolic+acidosis

http://www.cookingwithcolor.com/white_foods/

http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=4168

http://www.vitamins-supplements.org/phytochemicals/

http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=25930

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terpene

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxyl_group

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenols

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_acids

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organosulfur_compounds

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polysaccharide

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limonoids

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carotenoids

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saponin

The information here is not intended to replace standard(allopathic) medicine, which has its benefit in the medical environment in diagnosing and treating diseases. Any persistent, severe, and or unusual symptoms should be evaluated by a registered physician. The natural remedies/habits suggested here, although safer than pharmaceutical drugs, can cause unexpected results, in different people. If a condition fails to respond to the remedies/habits presented here, you should consult a physician. The author of this information, disclaims responsibility for any adverse reactions resulting directly or indirectly from the information given here.

Why Your Plate Should Look Like the Rainbow!

rainbow-vegetables-and-fruit

If you ask someone why they think they should  eat their fruits and vegetables? I bet they will reply with, “because it is GOOD for you.” As children so many of us are told to eat our vegetables because it is, ‘good for us,’ but we are not told what, ‘good for us,’ means.

For me,’good for us/you,’ means the cycle of life. Growing up I have had the luxury of interacting with nature. In the sense that my backyard was my playground. You know everyday my brothers and sisters had a target animal that we played with, from lizards,  to monkeys, to ants, to chameleons, to birds, to bees, to rabbits, and so I can go on forever. But this playground also included a garden, at an early age I was exposed to the beautiful cycle of life. Which allowed me to grow up appreciating how nature serves us and how we serve mother earth. So the answer that I prefer when someone asks why should they eat their fruits and vegetables. Is that, “it is the cycle of life.”

Just like you and me plants get sick, have diseases, parasites, nasty bugs and suffer from oxidative stress. Yes, it is a very interesting idea that plants are constantly fighting off some nasty invader. The idea that there is more to plants than water and soil is foreign to many but it does not have to be. We eat fruits and vegetables so that our body can use the same phytochemicals that plants use to survive for our benefit. Phytochemicals are not officially considered essential for life but I beg to differ. Because we eat fruits and vegetables because our bodies need phytochemicals to function efficiently.

The are many different types of phytochemicals. In the nutrition world phytochemicals can be grouped into different colors: Green, orange/yellow, blue/purple, red and white. Fruits and vegetables that have the same pigment have the similar phytochemicals. Our bodies uses these different phytochemicals for different reasons. For example carotenoids(this is why carrots are orange) found in carrots are good for your eyes but they also have anticancer properties.

The is so much information surrounding vegetables and nutrition but for this post we will keep it a bit more broad.

Below is a quick video featuring Dr. Weil.

“…you know they are just great, I just eat em.”

Haha, he is too funny.

“you want to eat a variety of vegetables across the color spectrum.”

The cycle of life: Dr. Weil tends to the vegetables in his garden and in return the garden provides him with wonderful food.

You do not have to search far and wide to find beneficial foods.

Peace!

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