Shopping the farmers' market with Christina Pirello
Radishes are rich in vitamin C, folate, riboflavin, fiber and vitamin B6.
Shopping the farmers' market with Christina Pirello
|Radishes are rich in vitamin C, folate, riboflavin, fiber and vitamin B6.|
Emmy Award-winning host of Christina Cooks and nutrition expert Christina Pirello's latest book, This Crazy Vegan Life (Penguin Group, 2008), is packed with more than 100 recipes based on fresh plant ingredients, offering a road map for those eliminating or reducing meat, fish and dairy in their diet.
The bounty of Pennsylvania and New Jersey's farmland is pouring into the city right now, making it even easier to fill your plate with locally grown, nutrient-dense and seriously sexy produce. Pirello celebrates this most wonderful time of the year and complements her book with a seasonal guide to shopping farmers' markets, shared after the jump.
Get to your favorite market now for bright organic strawberries, healthful chives, sweet peas and just-picked spinach ï¿½ peep Pat Rapa's May 6 cover story The Freshmakers for a completely handy 2009 Philly farmer's market guide.
Click through for Pirello's spring-early summer picks for wild flavor and good health.
Christina Pirelloï¿½s Farmersï¿½ Market Shopping List
This is a special time of year, one that is even more near and dear to my heart than Christmas: the season of farmersï¿½ markets. ï¿½We are especially lucky in this region of the country, where we are surrounded by some of the most lush and abundant farm land in the nation.
So why should you be shopping at a farm market? A better question is, why wouldnï¿½t you?
I know what youï¿½re thinking: ï¿½In these economic times, can we afford to be elitist and run off to the oh-so-trendy outdoor market for designer veggies?ï¿½ In these economic times, you canï¿½t afford not to buy local. ï¿½One of the biggest misconceptions about farm markets is that they are unaffordable and only for foodies. And while you will see latte-sipping chic urban types strolling around eating freshly baked croissants, most of what you will experience at the market are local farmers and shoppers looking to create synergy between the city experience of food and the rural production of it.
Farm markets offer the best bang for your buck on many levels. With truly fresh produce (like, picked this morning fresh) at truly affordable prices, the local outdoor market gives you the chance to experience food on another level. Since itï¿½s so fresh, the flavors are off the charts and the nutrients are at their most dense. Perhaps best of all, you get to connect with the person responsible for growing your food. You create relationships when you shop regularly at a farm market, building a sense of community.
But if nutrients are all you care about, well, the market is still for you. Check out these incredible powerhouses of nutrition, all available at your local farmersï¿½ market right now!
With 134 calories in a whole cup of peas, these seasonal beauties are delicious examples of why we eat veggies. A great source of calcium (43% of your daily requirements!), potassium, magnesium and phosphorus, fresh peas contribute fiber to our diets, folic acid for strong blood and immune-boosting vitamins A, C and K for all you antioxidant lovers out there.
This antioxidant-rich tender green is an amazing source of vitamins A, C and E, as well as calcium, iron and protein (Yes, protein!). With only 7 calories per 30 grams of baby spinach, this is green you can binge on until your heartï¿½s content. Satisfying and nutritious, baby spinach will keep you sated and never land on your hips.
Just a garnish, you say? Not so fast. With just one calorie in each tablespoon, chives are dense with essential nutrients and can do so much more than just make a dish look lovely. A rich source of niacin and thiamine, which help to regulate metabolism, this delicate herb can aid in the battle of the bulge ï¿½ so pile them on. Oh, and the vitamins (A, K, C, B6), as well as calcium, iron and folate, make them all the more beautiful ï¿½ you, too!
Not just the colorful bits in a salad, radishes offer great nutrition. With 16 calories in a cup, radishes are jam-packed with nutrients like vitamin C and folate, both essential to strong red blood. Great sources of fiber and riboflavin, radishes help to regulate digestion, particularly of fatsï¿½ Meanwhile, vitamin B6 levels off your nervous system making you (and everyone around you) less stressed and happier.
Baby Bok Choy
Part of the cabbage family, these sweet and tender beauties are not only delicious, but are one of the greatest anti-inflammatory foods on the planet. And since they contain the cancer-fighting compounds common to other cruciferous veggies, as well as beta carotene and calcium, can you think of a reason not to add them to your veggie repertoire?
With a harvest season that can seem like just minutes, when you see local strawberries at a farm market, grab them ï¿½ especially if they are not sprayed or are organic! Their sweet-tart flavor is just one bit of their allure. With only 49 calories in a cup, these vitamin C-rich berries give us all the immune-boosting power we need, in a delicious way. A great source of fiber, magnesium and potassium, strawberries go a long way towards helping us feel balanced. And once you have tried locally grown, youï¿½ll understand: they are worlds away from the flat-tasting, out of season, ripened-under-grow-lights versions you find at the supermarket.
I know, I knowï¿½seriously, turnips? Yup. A member of the cruciferous family, turnips are cancer-fighting powerhouses with a mild flavor that lends itself to roasting or braising, not to mention boiling, perhaps to add to a potato salad. This time of year, you can get turnips as Mother Nature intended, with their tops intact, and get the added benefit of the vitamin C in those bright green leaves. In natural medicine, turnips are used to help lower blood pressure and regulate blood sugar, as well as cardiovascular disease. ï¿½Are you still rolling your eyes?
The epitome of summer, lettuce is more than the delicate leaves that serve as the base of your salad. ï¿½Low in calories (try eight per cup) and high in fiber, folate, vitamins C and K and lutein for eye health, romaine lettuce aids in digestion and is said to aid in prevention of heart disease, stroke and even cataracts ï¿½ helping you see your salad in a whole new light.
Local, Whole Grain Breads
There is nothing like freshly baked artisan bread, and most farm markets include a local baker. Look for the loaves that are dark in color and made from whole grain flours, nuts and seeds. ï¿½High in digestible iron, bread is more than just fun to eat. Whole grain breads provide fiber, antioxidants, protein, essential amino acids and other nutrients. And since these were baked by a local artisanal baker, you wonï¿½t find anything in your bread that you canï¿½t pronounce (and certainly wouldnï¿½t want to eat!).
Collected from a wide variety of flowers, honey is an ingredient that has more than yummy flavor going for it. Being a bit lower in calories than white sugar and not turning to fat in the body in the same way, honey is not as damaging to your waistline as other sweeteners. Used as a digestive aid and to relieve respiratory irritations, honey also has antibacterial properties. It reduces the amount of acid in the mouth, aiding in oral health. It even has antiseptic qualities, making it a great way to treat minor burns and scratches. A rich source of iron, honey is used in many cultures to treat anemia. Finally, because it comes from flowers, it can be effective in calming allergy symptoms. ï¿½And you thought it was just delicious!
ï¿½ Hey, who says you canï¿½t eat your way to health?
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