5 Tips for Cooking Market Fresh Vegetables
You’ve made the wise choice to buy fresh, local produce from City Market or from your local farm stand. That’s wonderful! You’ve taken a first, and extremely important step toward improving your health and supporting your community.
However, it doesn’t stop there. what you do with your farm-fresh fruits and vegetables when you get them home can have a pretty sizeable impact on your nutritional intake, as well as on the taste of those foods.
Here are 5 tips to help get the most from your market purchase:
1. Add some aromatics.
Garlic, onions and shallots are wonderfully complementary foods. You don’t probably want to eat them whole, but they bring an additional level of taste to other produce. This is largely due to their smell. A significant portion of your taste buds come from your noes, rather than your mouth. Add these intense-smelling veggies to enhance just about any dish.
2. Go raw.
Even if you’re not following a paleo diet, the truth is that you can benefit greatly from produce that isn’t cooked, or isn’t cooked at a high temperature. When you reach 116 degrees, some of the nutritional enzymes tend to break down. Consider dehydrating kale chips, for example, to maintain the highest level of nutrition.
3. Hand-craft your own sauces and dressings.
Dressings and sauces off the shelf tend to be filled with preservatives and other ingredients your body may not need. Making your own salad dressing can be as simple as assembling half a dozen ingredients and tossing them into the blender.
4. Try something new.
Many of us have somewhat negative feelings about certain veggies. Spinach, for example, gets a bad rap. Many people automatically think of processed, canned spinach, rather than farm-fresh spinach. Try a few leaves of raw arugula, or take the plunge like Popeye and enjoy some raw spinach.
5. Make sure your produce is truly local.
Many farm markets feature produce wholesalers. This is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. Some products don’t grow in some locations; for example, good luck trying to get a pineapple tree to grow in Bay City, Michigan. Yet, many of the non-local produce choices can be a bit over-ripe, or may be full of harmful chemicals. Try to choose organic, and look for signs of freshness.
Just a few easy principles can help you get the most from your City Market produce.