You might have grown up hearing “Eat your broccoli! I see where you hid those peas! Finish those peaches!” Sound familiar? For many, it felt like our mothers might be punishing us at dinner, with a heaping spoonful of stinky brussel sprouts or some other potentially creamed, unrecognizable vegetable. Perhaps you thought fruit only came inside a green Jell-o mold. In actuality, mothers did know best, and what you thought was torture, was her knowledge and love; as those fruits and veggies had more body saving benefits than Batman’s toolbelt.
So here are some fruits and vegetables we tend to take for granted, which you might be growing in your garden, mixing in your smoothie or feeding your picky-eating-veggie-challenged-off-spring.
Tuscan Melons aka Cantaloupes:
Do not let the small size of the Tuscan melon fool you, much like the sibling cantaloupe these babies are packed with vitamin A, beta-carotenes (anti-oxidant) which are 30 x higher than in oranges, potassium, folate and are known as an anti-inflammatory fruit. One cup has about 55 calories which make snacking on them sinless.
Capsicum annuum in Latin equals a wide variety of sweet, hot and colorful peppers full of Vitamin C, lutein (which helps eye health), lycopene (strong antioxidant which protects cell damage), vitamin B6, E, A and low in fat. Super in soups, stews, meat, rice and pasta dishes, they are never boring and add a pop of color to any dish.
If you don’t understand the fuss about apple cider vinegar, then you just don’t get the many benefits of the apple. With over 2,500 types grown in the U.S. and 7,500 throughout the world, the apple is the alpha of fruit. High in water-soluble fiber, known to lower blood fats, and stave off hunger, these gems are fabulous in pies, cakes, breads, well just about anything becomes better with apples.
From the nightshade family, relative of the pepper, eggplant and tomato, potatoes are a staple, with the ability to morph into a frittata, soup, casserole, fry, mash, hidden inside Italian gnocchi, Russian piroshki and even into a martini. One cup contains 32% of RDAs worth of vitamin B6, with plenty of potassium, copper and vitamin C. Store them in a cool dry place. The refrigerator is a no-no, cold changes the potatoes starch content into sugar, which makes the taste less than desirable.
Things which are without seeds, roots, leaves or flowers are a fungus and mushrooms of any kind fall into this grouping. Though varieties, especially the Shitake have been used in Asian medicine for thousands of years, portobellos are just the adult version of the crimino or crimini type. Loaded with B6, niacin, zinc and copper this fungus can add serious flavor to most anything it touches.
Related to the lily, onions in their adolescent stage are green or scallions, and in adult frame are the round, papery-skinned type. Research has shown one green onion stalk has about 20 micrograms of vitamin K and 1.6 milligrams of vitamin C, which is crucial for bone health and maintenance. With phytochemicals aiding in the body’s ability to boost immune support, these stalks from Mother Earth are truly a blessing.
I call grapes “Heaven’s sugar cubes.” These delectable morsels are not only 10,000 varieties strong, but a great many of those are aged, liquified on your dinner table in a bottle. Reservatrol has been coined as a “longevity gene”, which is found inside grapes and their skin. This being a low glycemic index winner, providing better blood sugar balance, which in turn provides better insulin regulation, grapes are well…great!