Starting month 3 of my weekly CSA box! What became very apparent this week is how much better fresh veggies taste compared to store bought or packaged. I recently bought a vegetable party platter for vision board workshop I was hosting, you know the ones with the broccoli, carrots, peas, and cauliflower with the ranch dip in the middle. Last night as I was organizing my produce I decided to do a taste test with the fresh snap peas and carrots from the CSA box and the party platter peas and carrots. Wow! What a difference. The pea pod itself had a different appearance and texture when biting into it, and the taste was night and day. The baby carrots weren’t horrible, but I love the more earthy flavor of unpeeled whole carrots.
Baby Carrots Orange and Purple: Highest in vitamin A and provides other antioxidants including carotenoids and anthocyanins (found in the purple carrots). These properties are beneficial for eye, heart, and liver health. Carrots do contain more carbohydrates than other vegetables, that’s probably why we love them so much due to the sweet taste.
Garlic Scapes: I’ve only seen these on the Food Network, more of a “fancy” food, something you don’t normally find in the grocery store which is why I love being a part of this CSA, getting to try new foods, finding recipes, and experimenting. Just as the name implies they taste like garlic and are the flower of the garlic plant. Health benefits are similar to those of garlic cloves. They are high in the antioxidant glutathione which protects the cells from damage. The oil found in garlic helps protect against oxidative stress and kidney and liver health.
Cilantro: One of my favorite herbs and my husband’s least favorite. It is true some people have a strong aversion to the taste of cilantro but I’ve found when cooked the flavor mellows out and may be tolerated better by some. I found out years ago when I put fresh cilantro on a steak salad that my husband was not a fan, but it doesn’t stop me from using it in my fresh pico de gallo. In my opinion you can’t make pico without cilantro. Herbs are some of the most powerful healing foods we can eat. Benefits of cilantro: helps bind with heavy metals to get them out of the body, helps with oxidative stress which is linked to diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease, supports menstrual cycles, protects against food poisoning, settles upset stomach and bloating.
Cod Veracruzana: using salad onions, garlic scapes and cilantro from my CSA, with the addition of shishito peppers, tomatoes, celery and zucchini. Sauteed and seasoned with paprika, pepper, salt, capers, and Trader Joe’s Organic Roasted Salsa. Cook until fish and veggies are cooked through but not mushy. Enjoy!
Sugar Snap Peas: Sweet and crunchy, reminds me of my childhood, eating peas right out of my Grandpa’s garden. I can’t wait until later in the season we get access to U-pick beans and peas. High in vitamin C an antioxidant vitamin speeds wound healing, boosts immunity and also aids in the production of collagen. Vitamin A which is known for its ability to promote good eyesight and keep the connective tissue strong. Good source of fiber which helps control cholesterol and blood-glucose levels, it also helps fill you up, which is beneficial for weight loss and maintenance.
Purple Kale: Titled as one of the world’s healthiest foods. It’s nutrient dense and high antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-cancer benefits in the form of glucosinolates. Without sufficient antioxidants, our oxygen metabolism can become compromised and build up free radicals which cause damage within our bodies leading to oxidative stress. Without sufficient intake of anti-inflammatory nutrients, we can experience the problem of chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are risk factors for development of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Kale is highest in vitamin K, A, and C.
Spinach & Arugula: highlighted on week 7&8 post.
Lettuce Mix & Pea Shoots: highlighted on week 5&6 post.
Most CSA programs and farmer’s markets are starting soon! Check out http://www.localharvest.org for a list of those close to home.