Energetics of Kohlrabi: Discover Your New Favorite Vegetable

photo credit: postbear via photopin cc

photo credit: postbear via photopin cc

Kohlrabi is more than a funny name, it is also very good for you. It’s name comes from the German word kohl, cabbage, and rabi, turnip. Hence its nicknames German Cabbage and turnip cabbage. Its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts: they are all bred from, and are the same species as the wild cabbage plant (Brassica oleracea).

The Best Way to Choose and Store

The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter. Young stems in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although not as sweet. Kohlrabi is grown annually. They weigh about 150 g and have good standing ability for up to 30 days after maturity. There are several varieties commonly available, including White Vienna, Purple Vienna, Grand Duke, Gigante (also known as “Superschmelz”), Purple Danube, and White Danube. Coloration of the purple types is superficial: the edible parts are all pale yellow. The leafy greens can also be eaten. Kohlrabi stems are surrounded by two distinct fibrous layers that do not soften appreciably when cooked. These layers are peeled away prior to cooking or serving raw. This results in stems that often provide a smaller amount of food than you assume from their intact appearance. Kohlrabi root is generally served raw in salads, while the leaves are a bit more versatile. The leaves can also be eaten raw, or they can be cooked and used like collard greens or kale.

Energetics

Kohlrabi nutritionKohlrabi is rich in vitamins and dietary fiber while only containing on 27 calories per 100g. Kohlrabi is especially high in vitamin C, with 102% of your recommended daily value. It also contains health-promoting phytochemicals such as isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol that are supposed to protect against prostate and colon cancers. Kohlrabi has high levels of minerals throughout the plant. The stem also has an abundance of copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and phosphorus. The leaves are also very nutritious, with high levels of carotenes, vitamin A, vitamin K, minerals, and B-complex group of vitamins.

Kohlrabi improves qi energy circulation, eliminates blood coagulation and stagnancy, reduces damp conditions in the body, relieves painful or difficult urination, stops bleeding in the colon, reduces swelling of the scrotum, and alleviates the effects of intoxication by drugs or alcohol. It is used in the treatment of indigestion and blood sugar imbalance, especially in people with hypoglycemia and diabetes. The juice is drunk as a remedy for nose bleeds.

Roasted Kohlrabi and Butternut Squash

Roasted Kohlrabi and Butternut Squash

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 medium kohlrabi (2 1/4 lb with greens or 1 3/4 lb without)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 lb butternut squash

 

Preparation

Put oven rack just below middle position and put baking pan on rack, then preheat oven to 450°F. (If roasting vegetables along with turkey, preheat pan for 15 minutes while turkey roasts, then roast vegetables underneath turkey.)

Trim and peel kohlrabi, then cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Toss kohlrabi with 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Transfer kohlrabi to preheated pan in oven and roast 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel butternut squash, then quarter lengthwise, seed, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Toss squash with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in same bowl.

Stir kohlrabi, turning it, then push it to one side of pan.

Add squash to opposite side of pan and roast, stirring and turning squash over halfway through roasting, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes total (after squash is added).

Toss vegetables to combine and transfer to a dish.

 

Source

Roasted Kohlrabi and Butternut Squash

Energetics of Plums: 1 In a 1000

European Plums

Plum FactsEuropean Plums

Plum Facts

Did you know that there are over 100 varieties of plums in the US alone? Between the US, Europe and Asia there are thousands of varieties in a wide range of sizes and colors.  There are very few fruits that have such a range.  Plums have been cultivated since the ancient times.  European plums are believed to have originated from Damacus, Syria and Persia, while Japanese plums originated from China.

Plum Varieties

Plums are from the genus Prunus and are related to peaches, nectarine, and almonds.  They are considered drupes, which are fruit that have a hard stone pit surrounding their seeds.  Dried plums are also known as prunes.

Japanese Plums

Japanese Plums

Plums belong to one of six categories: Japanese, American, Damson, Ornamental, Wild, and European/Garden.  The plums in each category vary by size, shape and color.  The two main varieties found in the supermarkets are Japanese and European plums.

Japanese: These are known as clingstone because their flesh clings to the pit.  The skins of Japanese plums range from crimson to black-red (but never purple).  They are very juicy with yellow or reddish flesh.

European: These are characterized by their blue or purple skins. They are smaller in size, denser and less juicy then their Japanese counterpart. They are considered freestone because their flesh easily separates from the pit. This type is used most often in making prunes.

The Plum season starts in May and ends around October, with Japanese plums making the first appearance and peaking in August. European plums start peaking in the fall.

How to Pick Plums; How to Store Plums

Japanese Plums

Japanese Plums

When selecting plums look for ones that are fully ripe.  They should yield to gentle pressure and are slightly soft at the tip. Better quality plums will have a rich color.  Avoid plums with soft spots as this is an indicator that it is overripe. Overripe plums with brown flesh should not be eaten.  Make sure that the plums you are selecting are free of puncture marks, bruises, or any signs of decay. You should also avoid hard plums, as they have been picked too soon and will never develop their full taste, texture or nutritional benefits.

Plums are a very delicate fruit and bruise easily, so always handle them with care.

Proper storage is the key to keeping plums fresh.  If properly stored, fresh plums can last up to 10 days.  Any plums that you are planning to eat within a day or two can stay on the counter, store any other plums in fridge.  To enjoy maximum flavor and juiciness, make sure you allow plums to get back to room temperature before eating them.

Plums Nutrition

Plums - Nutrition FactsPlums (both fresh and dried) are an excellent source of antioxidant protection.   They have a high content of unique phytonutrients called neochlorogenic acid and chlorogenic acid.  These are classified as phenols and they have been found to be very effective in neutralizing a particularly destructive oxygen radical called superoxide anion radical. Another antioxidant that is found plums is catechins, a flavonoid phytonutrient that have been found to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation.  Plums have many heart healthy nutrients as well, including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and dietary fiber.

 

Plum Energetics

European Plums

European Plums

 

 

The purple varieties tend to be slightly cooling, while its yellow varieties tend to be neutral.  Plums build body fluids.  Plums can be used in the treatment of liver diseases, cirrhosis of the liver, hardened for expanded liver conditions in general, diabetes and dehydration.  The purple plums are best for liver conditions that express themselves as emotional repression, pain, and nervous disorders. Stewed prunes are a traditional remedy for constipation and are especially beneficial when excess liver and heat signs are present.

Caution: Plums are not good for people with delicate digestion or gastrointestinal ulcers or inflammations.  Rich in oxalic acid, plums can deplete calcium in the body.

 

Plums Recipe

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Plum Reduction

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Plum ReductionIngredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Season the pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat until the oil shimmers; gently lay the tenderloin into the hot oil. After about 1 minute, gently loosen the meat from the bottom of the skillet, if necessary. Cook until the pork is seared a golden brown color, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to the lined baking sheet.
  3. Roast the seared tenderloin in the preheated oven until a thermometer inserted into the center of the pork reads at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C), about 15 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing into medallions.
  4. Cook the plums, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, honey, and blueberry juice in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the plums are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. Return the sauce to the saucepan and simmer until reduced and thickened to the consistency of apple butter, about 5 more minutes. Spoon plum sauce over the sliced pork to serve.

Source

 

Energetics of Cauliflower: Surprisingly Colorful

photo credit: Cauliflower via photopin (license)

photo credit: Cauliflower via photopin (license)

Cauliflower is an extremely versatile vegetable.  Delicious and nutritious whether roasted, boiled, fried, steamed, or eaten raw!  It gets its characteristic white coloring form the thick green leaves that cover the head from sunlight, thus preventing the production of cholorophyll that makes vegetables green.  Although, due to natural mutations there are colorful cauliflower as well.

 

Varieties

Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family and comes in three main varieties.  The first variety is white cauliflower, which is the most widely available and most common in grocery stores. The second variety is the colored variety in light green, purple, and orange.  This variety is newly developed and is becoming easier to find in grocery stores.  The last variety is the broccoflower, a recently developed cross bred of cauliflower and broccoli.  Its curd (compact head) is green and looks less dense than cauliflower, and it has a milder flavor.

How to Choose and Store

When looking for the best tasting cauliflower, look for heads that are clean with creamy white, compact curds and that the curd clusters are not separated.  Cauliflower with many thick green leaves tend to be fresher. Size does not affect taste, so choose one that best suits your needs.

Avoid cauliflower heads that have brown spots, dull coloration, or small flowers.  These are indications that the cauliflower is old and no longer fresh.

Cauliflower is a sturdy vegetable, and can keep for a while if stored properly.  To store your whole head of cauliflower put it in a plastic storage bag, squeeze out as much air as you can, and store in the fridge.  It will last up to 7 days if stored correctly.  Do not wash cauliflower before storing it, or it will spoil quickly.  If you are storing a partial head of cauliflower place it in a container with a well-sealed lid, or plastic bag and refrigerate it. For optimal nutritional benefit, eat any cut up cauliflower within a few days.

Nutrition

cauliflower-nutritionCauliflower is a great source of heart healthy folic acid, potassium, magnesium, niacin, vitamin C and vitamin B6. It is also a good source of fiber, the omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, phosphorus, manganese, and tryptophan.

Cauliflowers, and many other cruciferous vegetables, contain compounds that are shown to stop enzymes from activating cancer-causing agents and they increase the activity of liver enzymes that disable and eliminate carcinogens.  These compounds include glucosinolates and thiocyanates.  Cauliflower also contains enzymes that help with the detoxifying process; these include glutathione transferase, glucuronosyl and qionone reductase.

Interestingly enough, new studies show that cutting cauliflower into small pieces enhances the activation of an enzyme called myrosinase, an enzyme that boosts phytonutrient concentration.  To get the most nutrition out of your cauliflower, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before eating for cooking. Heat will inactivate the effect of myrosinase, which is why it is important to let the cauliflower sit for a while before cooking.

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower SoupIngredients:

2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (about 3 slices)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)

2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped (about ½ cup)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 head cauliflower, trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade

¼ cup heavy cream

Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚. Arrange the prosciutto slices in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes or until crispy. Let cool slightly, then crumble the prosciutto into pieces and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a large pot melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and nutmeg, stir well to coat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

3. Add the broth to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot and simmer the soup until the cauliflower is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

4. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade attachment (or use an immersion blender). Return the soup to the pot and add more broth if it’s too thick. Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Divide the soup among bowls, garnish with the prosciutto and serve immediately.
Source

 

Energetics of Grapes: Food of the Gods

For many years the grape was considered the “fruit of the gods” and was closely tied to Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, agriculture, and fertility.  The cultivation of grapes can be dated as far back as biblical times.

Grapes are also credited with providing an explanation for the French Paradox.  The French Paradox is an interesting phenomenon where low rates of heart disease are present in France, even though the culture is known for eating a diet very high in fats.  It is said that the high levels of phytonutrients in grapes, grape juice, and red wine might be the key to their heart health.

Grapes fall into 3 classifications: table grapes, wine grapes, and raisin grapes.  Table grapes are the type of grape people enjoy raw as snacks, in salads, and desserts.  Wine grapes are used in viniculture to produce wine.  Raisin grapes, as the name suggests, are used to make dried fruit.

Varieties

Black Corinth

Champagne Black Corinth Grapes

Grapes also fall into 3 main varieties.  They are European, North American, and French Hybrid.

The European grapes include Thompson, Emperor, and Champagne Black Corinth.  Thompson is seedless and amber-green in color.  Emperor is seeded and purple in color.  Champagne Black Corinth is tiny is size and purple in color. Most European varieties feature skin that adheres closely to their flesh. They are available throughout most of the year.

The North American grapes include Concord, Delaware, and Niagara.  Concord grapes are large in size and blue-black in color.  Delaware grapes are pink-red in color with tender skin.  Niagara grapes are amber colored and tend to be less sweet than other varieties. Their defining characteristic is that their skin slips away easily from their flesh.  They are only available in September and October.

French Hybrid includes varieties developed from vinifera grapes after the majority of these grape varietals were destroyed in Europe in the 19th Century.

How to Choose and Store

The best tasting grapes are ones that are fully ripe.  They should be firm, plump, and wrinkle free. The stem should be firmly attached to the grape and the area around the attachment should be the same color as the grape.  Grapes do not ripen after being picked, so you should look for grapes that are already ripe.  As an added bonus, fully ripe grapes contain the highest concentration of nutrients and phytonutrients. Avoid grapes that are overripe or damaged. Overripe grapes are shriveled and mushy, and have lost much of their nutrient value.

Grape will continue to respire after they have been harvested; therefore proper storage is important to keep grapes fresh.  The best way to store grapes is in a refrigerator.  Grapes will remain fresh for up to 5 days in a fridge, verses 2-3 days at room temperature.

Nutrition

grape nutritionGrapes have many health-promoting nutrients, but one of the most beneficial is the high levels of flavonoids.  Flavonoids are phytonutrients that give the grape its purple coloring.  The more purple the grape, the higher concentration of flavonoids.  These include catechins, epicatechins, quercetin, and a second type of flavonoid called resveratrol.   These compounds appear to decrease the risk of heart disease by reducing platelet clumping, harmful clotting, and protect LDL cholesterol from free-radical damage.  Resveratrol alone has been found to inhibit the production of both a molecule that constricts blood vessels as well as one that causes the production of excessive collagen, which leads to the stiffening of the heart muscles.  Another heart health benefit is that grapes help lower blood pressure through increasing the body’s nitric oxide levels, a compound that helps relax blood vessels.

Grapes are also an excellent source of free-radical-scavenging vitamin C and manganese, heart-healthy vitamin B6 and potassium, and energy-producing vitamin B1.

Energetics

Grapes increase qi energy, used as a blood tonic- contains valuable cell salts known to build and purify blood and improve the cleansing function of the glands, diuretic, and benefits the kidneys and liver. Grapes are used to treat rheumatism and arthritis, conditions marked by signs of coldness, edema, urinary difficulty, and liver malfunctions such as hepatitis and jaundice.  Dark grapes are better for blood-building needs such as anemia. Poultice of mashed grapes purifies infected areas and reduces growths.  For this purpose, a fresh poultice is applied daily and kept in place for at least 8 hours.

Caution: Excessive use and consumption of grapes may diminish visual acuity.

roasted grapes and carrotsRoasted Grapes and Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs red seedless grapes
  • 1 package (16 oz) peeled baby carrots
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp groudn cumin

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Toss together the grapes, carrots, and red onion in olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with cumin and toss to evenly distribute. Spread mixture on baking sheet.
  • Roast in preheated oven until carrots have begun to soften, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Source

Energetics of Rutabagas: Warming in Winter

draft_lens19246622module157717840photo_1332015813a_a_aaaRutabagas are root vegetables, or “underground” vegetables, like carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beets. While they are closely related to turnips, their exact origin is vague. It is speculated that they are a cross between turnips and cabbage.  They are in season late fall and winter, generally ready to be harvested after the first frost has set in.

Rutabaga has many national and regional names. Rutabaga is the common American and Canadian term for the plant. This comes from the old Swedish word Rotabagge, meaning simply “ram root”. In the U.S., the plant is also known as Swedish turnip or yellow turnip.Rutabagas are also known as “swedes,” as they grew very well in the cold climate of Sweden and surrounding areas.

How to Choose and Store

RutabagaRipe rutabaga will usually have purple-tinged skin. If you scratch the skin slightly you should see yellow flesh beneath. Stay away from rutabagas that are bruised or blemished. And toss that rutabaga back if you notice any green shoots coming out of it, which typically means it’s overripe. A ripe rutabaga will also feel firm to the touch. If the flesh is shriveled, loose, or you notice any soft spots, that veggie is past its prime and should be avoided. Rutabagas are a very hardy vegetable. They should last about a week when left out at room temperature or for several weeks if refrigerated.

Don’t bite into that rutabaga as soon as you bring it home! Rutabagas are often sold with a food-grade wax coating on them. This keeps them from drying out while they’re stored during the winter months, but it’s definitely not tasty! Using a paring knife, cut off the top and bottom of the rutabaga so it has a flat surface to stand on and peel off the skin.

As with watercress, mustard greens, turnip, broccoli and horseradish, human perception of bitterness in rutabaga is governed by a gene that affects the TAS2R bitter taste receptor. Thus, sensitive individuals may find rutabaga so bitter that it is inedible.

Energetics

Rutabaga nutritionLong ago, rutabagas were fed solely to livestock and were considered “unfit” for human consumption. Ironically, rutabagas are incredibly healthy for us! They are high in fiber, potassium, iron, and vitamins A and C.

Rutabaga and other cyanoglucoside-containing foods (including cassava, corn, bamboo shoots, sweet potatoes, and lima beans) release cyanide, which is subsequently detoxified into thiocyanate. Thiocyanate inhibits thyroid iodide transport.  As such, foodstuffs containing thiocyanate, like rutabagas, are best avoided by hypothyroid patients.

Rutabagas benefit that the spleen-pancreas and stomach, helps clear liver and gallbladder obstructions, promotes perspiration, mildly diuretic, lubricates the intestines, reduces wind and damp conditions, and work as an analgesic (allays pain).  Used in soup to treat coughs, colds, and shortness of breath. Rutabagas treat headaches, dizziness, rheumatism, and arthritis.

Mashed Potato, Rutabaga, and Parsnip Casserole with Caramelized Onions

mashed-potato-rutabaga-and-parsnip-casserole-with-caramelized-onions

Gluten-free and grain-free with vegetarian and vegan option.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 7 cups low-sodium chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth for vegan option)
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 pounds rutabagas, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/4 pounds parsnips, peeled and cubed
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine chicken broth, potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme in a large pot. Bring to  a boil. Reduce heat, and cover partially. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Add 1/2 cup butter or margarine. Using an electric mixer (a manual potato masher works just fine, too), beat mixture until mashed but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mashed vegetables to a buttered 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.
  3. Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter or margarine ina heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions. Saute until onions are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spread onions evenly over mashed vegetables. Casserole can be prepared up to one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Back uncovered for 25 minutes or until heated through and top begins to crisp.

Sources
Mashed Potato, Rutabaga, and Parsnip Casserole with Caramelized Onions
Rutabagas: An Uncommon Treat

Energetics of Food: The Mystery Behind Sea Vegetables

photo credit: swernip via photopin cc

photo credit: swernip via photopin cc

Many people have heard of sea vegetables, or seaweed, and think it is this a strange and foreign food item. It is actually an extremely versatile and delicious way to boost the flavor and nutrition of any dish.

The consumption of sea vegetables has a long history, with evidence that people in Japan have been eating sea vegetables for more than 10,000 years. In ancient China, people served it as a delicacy to honored guests and royalty. Today, I like to enjoy sea vegetables in powdered form in my green tea and dried wrapped around my homemade shake onigiri (Japanese rice balls filled with smoked salmon).

Common Varieties

photo credit: I Believe I Can Fry via photopin cc

photo credit: I Believe I Can Fry via photopin cc

Sea Vegetables can grow in saltwater oceans or fresh water lakes, and can be found on coral reefs or rocky landscapes.  They are usually found in shallower waters, as they need plenty of sun light to live. They are not a plant or an animal, rather they are classified as algae.

 

The are thousands of varieties found around the world, and not all are edible. Here are the most popular varieties and the best way to use them.

 

  • Dulse: It is soft and chewy, with a reddish-brown color.  Very easy to use, Just chop it and sprinkle it on your food for extra flavor. It is sold as flakes, which do not require chopping, but the flavor is inferior to fresh.
  • Kelp: Light brown to dark green in color. Most commonly founding powder form, but can be found in flake form. Just add to vegetables, grains, or legumes.
  • Hikiji: Looks like small strands of black wiry pasta and has a strong flavor. Soak the hikiji for 10 minutes, rinse than chop.  Best served in salads and vegetable dishes. If added to a cooked dish, add at the end of cooking time.
  • Nori:Dark purple-black color that turns very green when toasted. Famous or being use as a wrap for sushi rolls.  Nori can be bought toasted and untoasted.  If you want to toast your own nori, put it in the oven at 350°F for 1-2 minutes, until the nori changes from black to green. Nori does not need to be toasted to use.
  • Kombu: Very dark in color, usually sold in strips or sheets (very thick compared to nori). Used often to flavor soups and beans.  Great for making soup bases, just follow the instructions on the package.
  • Wakame: Very dark in color, used primarily in miso soup.  Wake softens quickly, so just soak in water for 5-10 minutes.  Add this to salads or vegetables.  If used in a soup, only needs 5-10 minutes of cooking.
  • Arame: Lacy and wiry in looks, this is much sweeter and milder in taste than many other sea vegetables.  Soak in cold water for 15 minutes, then chop to add to rice and vegetable dishes.
photo credit: I Believe I Can Fry via photopin cc

photo credit: I Believe I Can Fry via photopin cc

Most sea vegetables come ready to eat or just need to be rehydrated.  Make sure when you are buying to pick tightly sealed packages.  Avoid packages that have evidence of excessive moisture.  Store in tightly sealed containers at room temperature and they will stay fresh for several months. Sea vegetables can be found at most grocery store, but for the best selections look at your local natural grocers or Asian market.

Nutritional Facts

Sea Veg NutritionSea vegetables are great for maintaining your bodies overall health.  They are a concentrated source of iron, calcium, magnesium, folate, and tryptophan. They also contain an unique carbohydrate-like substance called fucans, which have numerous beneficial properties. They help reduce the bodies inflammatory response, have antithrombotic properties (ability to inhibit blood clots),  and also may help inhibit the development of tumors.

Sea vegetables also have a high source of lignan phytonutrients, which have phytoestrogenic activity.  These lignans can be converted into enterolactone and enterodiol, which can act like estrogen.  These can help in time low estrogen levels, like menopause, potentially relieving the symptoms.  They can also help in times of high estrogen levels, helping with the treatment of PMS and prevention of some forms of breast cancer (since some forms of both conditions are sparked by excess estrogen). For more information.

Also, sea vegetables, especially kelp, are very rich in iodine. Iodine is essential to human life, without iodine your body cannot synthesize triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine(T4) in the thyroid.  These two hormones are very important in the regulation of the bodies metabolism and play a role in virtually all physiological functions.

 

Energetics

photo credit: ma.co. via photopin cc

photo credit: ma.co. via photopin cc

Sea vegetables in general soften harden areas and masses in the body, detoxify, moisten dryness, transform phlegm, used as a diuretic, removes residues of radiation in the body, builds yin fluids, improves water metabolism, acts as a lymphatic cleanser, alkalizes the blood, alleviates liver stagnancy, beneficial to thyroid, useful for weight loss, and lowering cholesterol and fat in the blood. They are used to treat swellings, nodules, lumps, goiters, swollen lymph glands, edema, chronic cough with heat signs, all skin diseases marked with redness, tumors, cures cancer and fibroid tumors. They contain soothing, mucilaginous gels, such as align, which rejuvenates the lungs and gastrointestinal tract.

 

  • Dulse: Exceptionally concentrated in iodine, rich in manganese which activates enzyme systems, prevents scurvy, induces sweating, remedy for seasickness and herpes virus, and is a good substitute for salt.
  • Kombu and Kelp: Moisten dryness, increase yin fluids, softens hardened areas and masses, helps transform heat-induced phlegm, benefits kidneys, diuretic, anti-coagulant effect on blood, natural fungicide, relieves hormone imbalances and especially affects the thyroid.  Used to treat goiters, arthritis, rheumatism, high blood pressure, prostate and ovarian problems, lymphatic swellings swollen and painful testes, edema, leukorrhea, diabetes, sterility in males, rheumatic fever damage, heart pin, blood clots, difficulty swallowing, anemia, reduces tumors and other growths, cools and soothes lungs and throat, relieves coughing and asthma, aides in weight loss, guards the heart at high altitudes, increases he depth of breath restores tired muscles, eradicates fungal and candida yeast overgrowths, and used in ointments for wounds. Caution: Use sparingly, if at all, during pregnancy and avoid if you have digestive fire deficiency (loose watery stools, and signs of coldness).
  • Hijiki: Diuretic, resolves heat-induced phlegm, detoxifies the body, softens hardened tissue areas and masses, benefits the thyroid, moistens dryness, helps normalize blood sugar level, aides in weight loss, builds bones and teeth, and supports hormone functions.
  • Nori: Increases yin fluids, diuretic, softens hardened body areas (such as nodules), transforms and reduces heat-induced phlegm, and is easy to digest.  Treats painful and difficult urination, goiter, edema, high blood pressure, cough with yellow mucus, beriberi (vitamin B1 deficiency disease), fatty cysts under the skin, warts, rickets, and aides in digestion, especially fried foods.
  • Wakame: Diuretic, moistens dryness, softens hardened tissues and masses, tonifies the yin fluids, transforms and resolves phlegm, counteracts growths and tumors, promotes healthy skin and hair, and purifies mother’s blood after childbirth.
  • Arame: Moistens dryness, softens hardened areas and masses, benefits thyroid, alleviates high blood pressure, builds bones and teeth, promote growth of glossy hair and prevent hair loss, provides clear complexion and soft, wrinkle-free skin.  Traditionally used to treat feminine disorders and mouth afflictions.

 

When cooking sea vegetables, introduce them gradually to your diet. It takes about a week for the body to adapt its enzyme system to digest sea vegetables.

 

photo credit: Or Hiltch via photopin cc

photo credit: Or Hiltch via photopin cc

 

 

There are so many different ways to use sea vegetables, and we want to hear yours! Leave us a comment about your favorite way to prepare kelp or your secret behind the perfect sushi roll!

Energetics of Turnips: The Orginal Jack-o’-Lantern

photo credit: Paul Stainthorp via photopin cc

photo credit: Paul Stainthorp via photopin cc

Did you know that the tradition of craving pumpkins at Halloween comes from the “turnip lanterns”. Turnip lanterns are an old tradition; since inaugural Halloween festivals in Ireland and Scotland, turnips or rutabagas have been carved out and used as candle lanterns. Large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces and placed in windows. It was thought to ward off harmful spirits. Although, carrying turnip lanterns was regarded as a form of a prank.   It was a common device of mischievous children for frightening belated wayfarers on the road. It wasn’t until Irish immigrants brought the custom of carving jack-o’-lanterns to North America that the more commonly available pumpkin came to be used instead.

Best Way to Choose and Store

As a root crop, turnips grow best in cool weather. In hot temperatures the roots tend to become woody and bad-tasting. They are typically planted in the spring and in temperate climates may also be planted in late summer for a second fall crop. In warm-weather climates they are planted in the fall.

photo credit: aurélien. via photopin cc

photo credit: aurélien. via photopin cc

The most common type of turnip is mostly white-skinned apart from the upper portion which protrudes above the ground and are purple, red, or greenish wherever sunlight has fallen. The interior flesh is entirely white. The entire root is roughly conical, but can be occasionally global, and lacks side roots. The taproot is thin and 10 centimeters or more in length, although it is normally trimmed off before marketing. The leaves grow directly from the above-ground shoulder of the root, with little or no visible crown or neck. Turnip leaves are sometimes eaten as “turnip greens” and they resemble mustard greens in flavor. Smaller leaves are preferred due to being less bitter, however the bitter taste from larger leaves can be reduced by pouring off the water from initial boiling and replacing it with fresh water. Turnip roots weigh up to about one kilogram, although they can be harvested when smaller. Size is partly a function of variety and partly a function of the length of time the turnip has grown. Most very small turnips, also called baby turnips, are specialty varieties. These are only available when freshly harvested and do not keep well. Most baby turnips can be eaten whole, including their leaves. Their flavor is mild, so they can be eaten raw in salads like radishes and other vegetables.

turnip nutrition

Energetics

The turnip’s root is high in vitamin C. The green leaves or turnip greens are a exceptional source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium. Turnip greens are also high in lutein, a xanthophyll found to be concentrated in the macula, a small area of the retina responsible for central vision and helps keep the eyes safe from oxidative stress . It is also found that increasing lutein intake helps lower the risk of cataracts. The only side effects of too much lutein is bronzing of the skin, carotenodermia.  Turnips, like rutabaga, contain bitter cyanoglucosides that release small amounts of cyanide. Sensitivity to the bitterness of these cyanoglucosides find turnips twice as bitter, and thus may find turnips and other cyanoglucoside-containing foods intolerably bitter.

Turnips improve circulation of qi and removes stagnant blood, builds the blood, promotes sweating, resolves mucus and other damp conditions, relieves coughing, clears food stagnation, and improves appetite. They also treat indigestion, hoarseness, diabetes, jaundice, and most commonly lung-related imbalances including bronchial disorders, asthma, and sinus problems. Turnips are a good source of sulfur, a warm purifying element, that detoxifies the body.

Energetics of Figs: An Ancient Delicacy

photo credit: outdoorPDK via photopin cc

photo credit: outdoorPDK via photopin cc

The consumption of figs can be traced back to the earliest of times with mentions in the bible and other ancient texts. It is thought that the fig originated in Asia and was then brought to the Mediterranean region, where it is held in high esteem. The fig is one of the first plants that was cultivated by humans. Nine types of fossilized figs dating to about 9400–9200 BC were found in the Jordan Valley. The find predates the domestication of wheat, barley, and legumes, and may thus be the first known instance of agriculture.

Fresh figs have a very short growing season, one quick season in early summer and the main season starting late summer through fall. Dried figs however can be bought all year.

Fig nutrition

The Best Way to Choose and Store

Fig are a favorite due to their deliciously sweet flavor in combination with its chewy flesh, smoothness of its flesh, and crunchiness of the seeds.  There are many varieties of figs with skin colors ranging from purple to light green, and flesh coloring from purple to pink. The best figs are fully ripe. They are plump, have a rich deep color, and yield to gentle pressure. Just be careful, figs are very delicate, a fig that breaks open will spoil very fast. They should be soft, but not mushy, and exude a syrupy nectar from the side opposite of the stem. They should also have firm stems and be free of bruising. Avoid overripe figs, which are soft and mushy and have a sour odor, as they have started losing their nutritional value and contain free-radicals. Correct storage of figs is critical to preserving nutrients, texture, flavor, and keeping the fig from perishing too soon. Fresh ripe figs left in room temperature with only last about 2 days, where as if refrigerated they remain fresh about 3 days. Figs are one of the most perishable fruits, and should only be purchased within 2 days of consumption. Dried figs have a longer shelf life, lasting for several months when keep in a cool, dark, ventilated place or fridge. They should be wrapped so they are not overexposed to air, which can cause them to get dry and hard.

Energetics

Figs are very heart healthy! Figs have a very large concentration of phytosterols, which block cholesterol absorption leading to reduced cholesterol levels. They also contain lots of potassium which helps control blood pressure and help people avoid hypertension.   Figs are also great for weight management because they are high in dietary fiber. They also have high levels of manganese, which is a cofactor of superoxide dismutase and helps protect our mitochondria from free-radicals. Fig leaves are also very good for the body. They contain anti-diabetic properties and reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetics. In some studies fig leaves have been shown to inhibit the growth of some types of cancer cells. Although, researchers are still unsure of what part of the leaves contain this remarkable benefit.

Figs help moisten the lungs and large intestine, balances acidic conditions created by a diet rich in meat and refined foods, and cleans the intestines. Figs are used to treat dry cough, signs of lung heat, asthma, sore throat, lack of appetite, indigestion, constipation, dysentery, hemorrhoids, and toothaches. It also has good detoxifying action which is used for skin discharges, boils, and warts.

 

 Vanilla Port Poached Figs in Honey Cream

 

Poached FigServings: 4

 

Ingredients:

– 12 fresh figs

– 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

– 1/2 cup sour cream

– 1/4 cup honey

– pinch of salt

– 2 cinnamon sticks

– 2 peppercorns

– 2 whole cloves

– 1 tbsp honey

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

– 1 lemon, zested

– 1 orange, zested

– fresh mint

 

 

Directions

  1. Trim a small piece from the bottom of each fig so they stand up straight. Remove stems, and score a 1/4 inch “X” into the top of each fig. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, beat whipping cream together with sour cream until stiff peaks form. (This can be done either by hand, or with an electric mixer.) Gently fold in 1/4 cup of honey and a pinch of salt. Cover, and refrigerate.
  3. Pour port into a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, cloves, 1 tablespoon honey, vanilla extract, balsamic vinegar, and lemon and orange zests. Stir to dissolve honey and blend flavors. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for up to 30 minutes, or as time allows, being careful not to reduce liquid too much. Place figs upright in pan, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. To serve, place a spoonful of honey cream in the center of each plate. Arrange 3 figs around the cream, and drizzle with a small amount of poaching liquid. Tuck a sprig of mint into the slit on the top of each fig. Serve immediately.

Source

Poached Fig Recipe

 

Energetics of Eggplant: Not Quite Egg, But Fully Plant

What a funny name for a ‘vegetable’ (like the tomato, it’s actually a fruit of the nightshade family), especially one that doesn’t look like an egg, in shape or color, so who decided it was an “egg” plant? The first time I brought one home to cook Eggplant Parmesan, I was stumped at the first step. The recipe didn’t say whether to peel the eggplant, slice it, treat it like a gourd, or just how to proceed. How rude. Luckily, Joy of Cooking© came to my rescue.

I thought I was just trying a new recipe, but there are hidden benefits to chowing on this deep purple fruit, or as the French say; ‘aubergine’. Inside that glossy skin are vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants (phytonutrients), such as nasunin; a brain lipid protector and iron chelator (prevents iron accumulation). Chlorogenic acid, which is a potent free-radical scavenger (anti-cancer, anti-microbial, anti-LDL (the bad cholesterol) as well as anti-viral). Eggplant juice can lower cholesterol, too.

Eggplant (1 cup raw) is full of fiber (yay!) 2g per ½ cup, as well as;
Vitamin B3 .53mg
Vitamin B6 .07mg
Vitamin C 1.80mg
Vitamin K 2.87mg
Copper .07mg
Folate 18.04mcg
Molybdenum 4.10mcg
Magnesium 11.48mg
Manganese .20mg
Potassium 188.6mg
Tryptophan .01g

One variety to take note of; “Black Magic”, contains nearly three times the anti-oxidant phenolics compared to other eggplant types. Phenolics are what make the flesh turn brown after being cut (like apples). Other varieties come in shades of lavender, jade green, orange, and cream, ranging from golf balls shapes to watermelon sizes.

Choose firm, vivid colored eggplants with bright green caps and stems. If ripe, a gentle press will spring back. If unripe, the indentation will remain. Store around 50 degrees – but don’t pre-cut, as they perish rapidly. When ready to eat, wash and then cut off the ends. Cut with stainless steel knife (carbon steel will turn the flesh black). Larger or whiter varieties have bitter skins, so peel, or scoop out flesh after baking. Some recipes call for ‘sweating’ which tenderizes and reduces bitterness. Sprinkle salt on eggplant slices and let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse before using in recipe.

Peak season August through October.

Energetics: Cooling, sweet flavor, reduces swelling, clears stagnant blood (by dissolving congealed blood, specifically uterus), reduces bleeding (hemorrhoids, bloody urine), rich in bioflavonoids (renews arteries, prevents strokes, hemorrhages). Treats dysentery, diarrhea with heat, snake and scorpion bites (apply raw eggplant poultice), frostbite (apply room temperature eggplant tea). Helps resolve repressed emotions influencing liver and uterus. Avoid during pregnancy.

 

Grilled Eggplant in Packets
Ingredients
• 1 eggplant, peeled and halved lengthwise
• 1 tomato, sliced
• 1 garlic clove minced
• 2 Basil leaves (or herb(s) of choice)
• Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 2 sheets heavy duty aluminum foil
Directions
1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat.
2. Place one eggplant half and half the tomato slices on each sheet of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with garlic, basil (herb(s) of choice), salt and black pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil. Fold the foil up to form packets.
3. Grill the packets until the eggplant and tomato are very tender, about 15 minutes.
Footnotes
• Small eggplants don’t have to be peeled. Peel larger ones to avoid bitter skin. No need to salt-sweat the eggplant for this recipe. Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com

 

© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness

Energetics of Plum

As a baby I wouldn’t leave my blanket if it was on the lawn.  I didn’t like grass apparently.  It worked well … up to a point.  One day I was parked on a blanket in the shade of a tree for my nap while the adults were repairing a stone wall nearby.  The next morning whoever was changing my diaper exclaimed, “Whoa!  The baby really likes plums!  Her diaper is full of plum pits!”  I still love plums, to this day.

 

Plums come in almost 2,000 varieties, with more than 100 in the US.  Plums divide into roughly six categories:  American, Damson, European/Garden, Japanese,  Ornamental and Wild.  With a variety of shapes; round, oval or heart-shaped, and colors ranging from purple, red, amber, yellow and green to blue-black.  The flesh inside is also colorful; pink, orange, yellow or green.  Dried plums are called prunes.

Plums are full of Vitamin C, a wonderful antioxidant that also helps with iron absorption.  Consuming fruit daily protects eyesight from age related macular degeneration.  Plums provide Vitamin A, Vitamin K, potassium and fiber.

 

In season late May to early October.  Select blemish-free plums with a powdery bloom – showing they’ve not been handled much.  The flesh should be firm and give slightly under gentle pressure.  Remove the pit easily by cutting in half (lengthwise) and then twisting each half in opposite directions.

 

Energetics:  Purple plums are slightly cooling while yellow varieties are usually neutral; sweet-and-sour flavor; builds body fluids.  Good for liver diseases and diabetes; stewed prunes treat constipation; beneficial for excess liver and heat signs.

Caution: Not for people with delicate digestion or gastrointestinal ulcers or inflammations.  Rich in oxalic acid, plums in abundance can deplete calcium.

Umeboshi Salt plums (very sour and salty) are highly alkalizing, and sometimes called “Japanese Alka-Selter” because of their use in treating digestive upset.

 

Plum Perfect Pizza 

3-6 plums, sliced

Goat cheese, crumbled

Walnuts, chopped coarsely

Sage, to taste

Pepper, (optional) to taste

Pita bread, or pizza crust of choice

Spread plums on crust of choice, followed by walnuts, sage, and optional pepper, then cover with crumbled goat cheese.  Broil until cheese starts to sag and crust turns golden on edges.  Recipe idea courtesy of www.whfoods.com.

© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness