All About Asparagus
Even though it is still cold and wintery out, we know spring is right around the corner because fresh asparagus is now in season! Although it is available year round, asparagus is best between March & July. These little spears pack a nutritious punch that’s ready to fight age and disease. Asparagus is a great source of fiber, folate, and Vitamins A, C, E, and K. It also helps break down and protect you from carcinogens which are responsible for certain forms of cancer. Asparagus is one of the top producers of antioxidants, which helps slow the aging process and fights cognitive decline.
Besides your usual green, asparagus is also available in purple and white! Purple asparagus’ color comes from the high levels of antioxidants and low levels of fiber. This makes it more tender and there is no need to cut off the bottom! White asparagus is considered a delicacy, but is exactly the same variety as green. The difference is that the white asparagus is grown in the dark making there a limited supply and it is then more expensive with a mild taste.
Select & Store
To find the asparagus that will be best for your health AND the tastiest, look for the ones with smooth skin, compact heads, freshly cut ends and those that are bright green in color. Asparagus is usually thin during the beginning of the season, towards the end of the season the spears become fattier and meatier. Thickness does not indicate how tender it will be.
Store your asparagus in a loosely wrapped plastic bag. You can even wrap damp paper towels around the butts and store in the crisper of your refrigerator. Remember, the sooner you eat the asparagus, the better the flavor. Thin asparagus can become tough and flavorless if stored too long, however thick spears can become very sweet and tender!
You can really cook asparagus any way – raw, roasted, boiled, steamed, grilled, etc. Usually thin spears of asparagus are best roasted, grilled or raw while thick ones are best steamed or blanched. To prepare your asparagus, just simply snap the ends off, everything from the middle up will be tender enough to eat!
Enjoy this 15 min recipe for penne and asparagus!
Enjoy this delicious Macaroni and Cheese recipe made fresh in our test kitchen.
The Irresistible Pineapple
The pineapple is a sweet, tangy and wonderful source of vitamin C. It has the power to protect you from heart disease, cancer and cataracts all while helping to keep your bones strong. On top of all of that, pineapple contains an enzyme that can help upset stomachs, making it the perfect dessert! Pineapple is available throughout the year, but it is best between March and July.
When picking out your pineapple, choose the largest most plump one you can find with the strongest color. The fruit should be soft (but not too soft!) to the touch and have dark green leaves. Make sure to avoid pineapples with dark, soft spots on their skin and yellow or browning leaves, this could mean that they are overripe. You can also use your nose. If you can smell that delicious pineapple aroma, you’ve got a good fruit!
The pineapple you buy at the store is already off the plant, so it will not ripen anymore, it is ready to eat immediately and that is why it is important to follow our selection tips. If you plan to wait a few days before cutting your pineapple, wrap it tightly and place in refrigerator. It can keep for three days whole and then four days after you cut it. If you buy the pre-cut pineapple know that it does not last as long once you get it home. Be sure to check the date on the package to know how long it will last in your refrigerator.
Cut it out
A whole pineapple may look like a daunting task to cut, but it really isn’t.
Follow these steps to easily cut your fruit and make sure to use a sharp knife:
1. Cut off the base of the fruit and the leaves
2. Stand the pineapple on one end and shave off strips of the skin from top to bottom, including the eyes
3. Then cut the pineapple into quarters and stand each piece upright and cut downward to remove core
Try incorporating pineapple into your desserts, like this recipe for Pineapple Cream Cupcakes
We gotta fight!
Cauliflower is a fighter. It helps prevent and fight cancerous cells in the body especially in the bladder, colon and stomach. Cauliflower has a compound known as indels, which helps to neutralize carcinogens, an agent directly known for causing cancer. If you are looking for a vegetable that is going to help you become healthy and fit, cauliflower is 100% right for you. It is easy to incorporate more cauliflower into your diet with simple easy recipes. One easy way is to switch out cauliflower in your usual mashed potato recipe. The cauliflower has the same consistency when mashed, but is a much healthier alternative to potatoes.
It Has It All
Cauliflower is packed with many essential nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. It is also a good source of vitamin B5, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, and molybdenum. Additionally, it is a good source of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, and iron. This vegetable is perfect for weight loss, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
Only The Best
When shopping for your fresh cauliflower look for clean, creamy white and compact curd. The cauliflower that has more dark greens leaves around it are better, this is because these strong leaves have been protecting the curd – holder of all health benefits. The saying, “the bigger the better” is not always true, just pick the size that suits your needs. Be sure to avoid cauliflower that have spots or small flowers growing from the curd.
If you can only purchase pre-cut cauliflower make sure to eat it within 1-2 days of purchase and store it in paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator. Cooked cauliflower will usually keep 2-3 days in the refrigerator. After those few days, it should be thrown out.
The florets are not the only edible part of the cauliflower, the leaves and stems are also edible and great for making vegetable stock. To cut the cauliflower, first pull away the outer green leaves, then slice the florets at the base where they meet and cut off any brown spots on the curd.
When cooked, cauliflower can release an almost sulphurous smell. To prevent this from happening, cook the cauliflower for only a short time. This will also keep the vegetable crisp and full of its great health benefits. Best during the winter months, cauliflower is full of nutritional benefits and is even available in green, orange and purple.
Enjoy this simple roasted garlic cauliflower recipe to help start introducing this delicious vegetable into your diet!