Monday, 18 February 2013

Colour... It's SO Important!

Here's a few tips for making the most of your edible purchases at the market:

Zebra tomatoes are my favourite tomatoes. Their flavour is incredibly
intense, and they have such an amazing chewiness to them.
1. I always try to remember variety when cooking for my family: to provide them with as much nutrition in the foods they eat as I possibly can. Variety is the best way I know to ensure that they are getting the micro and macro nutrients that they need to stay healthy, to think well, to have bodies that are ready to embrace the activities that they love to do, and to sleep well at night. Really, it equips them to make the most out of life. Yup, variety is key. No supplements are needed. Just ensure that they are getting variety in their diets, and food in the form in which we were meant to eat it... fresh and satisfying (as opposed to packaged and processed)... and you will be doing them a gigantic favour! An easy way to do this is to shop at farmers' markets... and when you are there, make sure that you buy a lot of differently coloured items.

Purple Beans, when picked young and slender, are one of my favourite vegetables.
2. The brighter, the deeper, the more intense the colour of the fruit or vegetable, the more of a nutritional punch it packs (cauliflower is an exception to this rule). Think of the deep oranges of sweet carrots or miniscule jabeñero peppers or golden beets, the vivid reds of tomatoes ripened on the vine or apples sun-kissed on the tree, the rainbow of colours in a bag of hot house peppers, the intense green of a jalepeno pepper, and the startling deep purples of a red cabbage or a traditional beet. Add intense colour to your meals, and your salads and the foods you set on your table will look far more beautiful.

Romanesco Broccoli always makes me think of
the landscapes in Dr. Suess illustrations!
3. Colour can very easily add surprise and delight, visually, to your meals. Try out purple potatoes and purple beans. Green and dark red Zebra striped heirloom tomatoes... or even chocolate coloured tomatoes! There are so many fun foods to try. Try the light green, Dr. Suess-looking romanesco broccolis that have such queer, conical shapes to them. Go for a taste adventure. Make meal times an exploration to delight the senses. The farmers' market season is a brief one, so try some of the unique and unusual things there and have fun while you can.

Purple potatoes taste the same as red potatoes. They just look far more fun!
4. Don't peel your apples or pears, your carrots, cucumbers or potatoes. Often, the best nutrients are in the skins and peels. Just wash them carefully and use or serve. When you shop at a farmers' market, the produce you buy has been freshly picked, so their skins are not tough and hardened by excessive exposure to the air or by being picked before they are truly ripe, and they are not dipped in protective waxes to ensure that they last longer through the shipping and packaging process that happens in our large grocery chain stores. So shop at the market, wash up the fruits & veggies that you purchase there, taste the difference on your tongue and feel the difference in your mouth that a fruit or vegetable, eaten fresh picked and untainted, can make on your palate.
Habenero peppers are wee little things, no larger than a small
radish, and pack more heat than any pepper I know! Don't be
fooled: these are like little bombs in your kitchen!

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Contributed by Sheri Hendsbee

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