Join Me for a Tea Party — May 5, 2021

Join Me for a Tea Party

Hard to believe that school will soon be out and it will be officially summer…amd summer family-friendly parties, poolside get-togethers and other fun afternoon treats…

And along with these, the dreaded summer heat…especially here in Texas.

Being from Mississippi, there is one thing required on such hot summer days—

ICED TEA!!!!!

But for years, every time I tried to make my own iced tea, I was sorely disappointed and homesick.

So I started asking my Southern counterparts and doing reseach as to how to make my own iced tea taste as good as the iced tea I so enjoyed when I was growing up.

And I learned that there are four basics methods for preparing the perfect iced tea—the how brew method, the cold brew method, tea concentrate, and sun tea…and about a billion different ways that you can sweeten it or flavor it or both.

So let’s take a step back in time and put a foot back in the Deep South…and make some sweet iced tea.

By the way, where I’m from, we’d probably laugh if you asked whether we want out tea sweet or unsweet…I didn’t even know that unsweetened tea exist until my husband joined the military and we left our roots in Mississippi…

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Health Benefits

There are four basic types of tea—green, black, oolong and white. Let’s take a look at the specific advantages of each type of tea…

Black Tea…Black tea is probably the tea that is most popular and most consumed…as in such varieties as English breakfast, Darjeeling, and Earl Gray among others. Black tea contains catechins and polyphenols that have many health benefits…including making it easier for asthmatics to breathe by expanding the air passage, keeping kidney stones from forming, preventing breast cancer, and reducing cholesterol levels.

Green Tea…Green tea contains the highest levels of the antioxidant known as EGCG…meaning that green tea helps burn fat, discourages the growth of cancer cells, encourages the growth of healthy skin cells, helps prevent clogged arteries, improves cholesterol levels, minimizes your risk of stroke, reduces stress on the brain, and regenerates skin cells.

Oolong Tea…Oolong is the best tea to grab if your main objective is to lose weight because it helps dissolve triglycerides, dietary fat that’s stored in cells.

White Tea…White tea has the mildest flavor of the four traditional teas…and can help prevent cancer properties, boosting glucose tolerance in diabetics, and reduce LDL cholesterol levels.

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What’s Next

Now that we have a basic understanding of the four main tea types, let’s dig a little deeper by looking at the different methods that can be used to make the perfect tea…as well more fun and exciting teas that are available—such as herbal and flavored teas as well as some recipes that you can make with tea…(never thought about the fact that you can not only drink tea, but also eat it, have you?!)

Mango…The Why — April 29, 2021

Mango…The Why

  • Mangos are not only delicious and low in calories, but they also have contain lots of nutrients…such as vitamin K, which is important for helping your blood clot effectively, helping to prevent anemia, and helping to strengthen your bones…vitamin C, which is important for forming blood vessels, producing healthy collagen, and helping you heal…In addition,
  • One cup sliced mango provides…
  • Calories: 99
  • Protein: 1.4 grams
  • Carbs: 24.7 grams
  • Fat: 0.6 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 2.6 gram
  • Vitamin C: 67%DV
  • Copper: 20%DV
  • Folate: 18%DV
  • Vitamin B6: 11.6%DV
  • Vitamin A: 10%DV
  • Vitamin E: 9.7%DV
  • Vitamin B5: 6.5%DV
  • Vitamin K: 6%DV
  • Niacin: 7%DV
  • Potassium: 6%DV
  • Riboflavin: 5%DV
  • Manganese: 4.5%DV
  • Thiamine: 4%DV
  • Magnesium: 4%DV

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Health Benefits

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Mangos also provide important health benefits, such as…

CancerMangos contain many antioxidants…including polyphenols and beta-carotene, the antioxidant that is responsible for giving the mango its yellow-orange color. Antioxidants are important for fighting off any free radicals that could which potentially could lead to cancer—including leukemia and cancer of the colon, bone, lung, prostate and breast cancer. These antioxidants can also stop the growth or destroy cancer cells.

Digestive Health…Mangos contain enzymes that help break down large food molecules so that they can help stabilize your digestive system—such as helping to convert difficult starches and complex carbs into into glucose and maltose…as well as the water and dietary fiber needed to help with digestive problems—such as constipation and diarrhea. In fact, eating a mango a day keep chronic constipation away more effectively than taking a fiber supplement with the same amount of fiber.

Eye Health…Mango contains nutrients that are important for maintaining your vision…such as two very important antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are important for helping your eyes to not absorb excess light and shielding your eyes from both the sun and harmful blue light. Mangos also contain vitamin A, which is important for preventing dry eyes, nighttime blindness, and even more serious issues, such as corneal scarring.

Hair and Skin Health…Mangos contain several nutrients that are important for promoting healthy hair and skin…such as vitamin C which is important for making collagen, a protein that gives elasticity and structure to your skin and hair, gives your skin its bounce and combats sagging and wrinkles…as well as vitamin A, which encourages hair growth and the production of sebum, liquid that helps moisturize your scalp as well as protect your skin and hair from the sun…and the antioxidants called polyphenols, which help protect hair follicles against damage from oxidative stress .

Immunity…Mango contains nutrients that can boost your immune system…including vitamin A and vitamin C…both of which help your body produce more disease-fighting white blood cells, help these cells work more effectively.

Breadfruit…The What and the Why — January 17, 2021

Breadfruit…The What and the Why

sliced fruits on tray
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com
Honestly before starting our quest to switch from the typical Southern meal regimen—chicken fried steak, fried chicken, fried whatever…after all, isn’t the Texas State Fair notorious for frying anything and everything… I had never heard of many of the fruits and veggies that I am including in this blog about raw foods and clean eating. But recently I joined a food co-op that delivered breadfruit. At first I was kinda scared of the interesting little green things in my basket, but I am not one to waste ingredients and also someone who dares to try new recipes, so I started figuring out what to do with the darn thing….what recipes I could use it in and what nutritional goodness it had to offer.

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The Where

Breadfruit are another tropical fruit…native to the South Pacific and very popular throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

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The Breadfruit Tree

As far as how it’s grown, the breadfruit grows on trees that can grow as tall as eighty-five feet high. The breadfruit tree is a member of the fig family and one tree alone can produce a massive 450 pounds of breadfruit each year for decades. One single breadfruit tree is capable of yielding up to two hundred breadfruits per season. The leaves of the breadfruit tree are large ovals that are long and skinny, and glossy green.

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The Fruit

One breadfruit can weigh up to twelve pounds in weight and have a diameter of twelve inches. The breadfruit is typically round, oval or oblong The skin of the breadfruit is a green and prickly. The flesh is hard and green. The flesh of a fully ripe breadfruit will be creamy yellow with oval seeds or a cylindrical core, depending on which particular variety of breadfruit you have purchased. A single breadfruit can weigh as much as twelve pounds and is capable of feeding a family of four.

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Nutritional Value

Breadfruit is an excellent source of the following nutrients…
  • antioxidants
  • calcium
  • carbohydrates
  • carotenoids
  • copper
  • fiber…½C provides 25%RDA
  • iron
  • magnesium…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • niacin
  • omega 3
  • omega 6
  • phosphorus
  • potassium…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • protein…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • thiamin…10%DV
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B
  • vitamin C…35%DV

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Health Benefits

Breadfruit can be beneficial to your health in many ways, especially for fighting or preventing…
  • asthma
  • blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • heart diseases and heart attacks
  • risk of developing colon cancer
So now that we’ve gotten the facts about breadfruit and its nutritional/health benefits, let’s get to the fun part—what to do with it the next time the local co-op or one of those imperfect food subscription boxes sends it your way…(because if you’re like me, you probably wouldn’t have ever put it into your grocery cart or instacart order yourself)…
Orange You Glad You Bought An Orange — October 10, 2020

Orange You Glad You Bought An Orange

Pretty much all of us already know what the citrus fruits are…lemons, limes, and oranges…duh…

But do you know why you should be sticking them in your grocery cart and actually eating them instead of simply setting them out on your counter because they look pretty.

First of all, what makes a citrus fruit a citrus fruit.

Citrus fruits are those fruits that have a thick rind and a soft juicy interior flesh that is filled with tiny liquid-filled carpels—such as

As far as nutritional value, citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients.

As far as health benefits, the benefits of eating citrus include…

  • helping to prevent cancer
  • helping you to lose weight and control your appetite
  • killing off free radicals
  • protecting cardiovascular health
  • helping to fight inflammation conditions

As far as uses, citrus fruits are not only used as food and beverages, but also to make essential oils.

The list of citrus fruits includes…

  • bergamot
  • clementine
  • grapefruits
  • kaffir limes
  • kumquats
  • lemons
  • limes
  • oranges
  • pomelo
  • yuzu

We will be looking at each of these fruits in later posts…but for right now our goal is to simply finish making out our grocery list so that we can get out of the door and out of Whole Foods or Sprouts as quickly as possible.

And while you’re in the citrus aisle, you might want to go over to the kitchen gadge aisle and grab you a lemon zester so that you can use the entire orange…except the seeds…actually perhaps you could even thinking about planting them yourself and growing your very own.

 

 

Fish…The What — January 19, 2020

Fish…The What

  1. Fish is another food high in antioxidants and other nutritional value, but it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed at the fish counter.

    You want to buy the tastiest, healthiest, and most sustainable choice…but truth is, they all look the same to the normal grocery shopper, right?!

    First we’re going to take a look at the types of fish typically found in a large grocery store.

    Then we’re going to look at the nutritional value of fish.

    And finally some recipes to make with each option…

    So let’s get started…

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    Catfish
    Being from Mississippi, I grew up eating catfish at least twice a month…since most of the catfish sold in the United States are farmed in the Mississippi Delta.
    But this was typically “wild” catfish, which often has a more muddy and stronger flavor than farmed catfish.
    Best for…sautéing or frying

     

     

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    Cod

    Cod has a mild flavor, making it great for a variety of cooking methods—such as sautéing, poaching, steaming, and baking.

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    Haddock
    Haddock…firm, mild flesh that is especially popular in Scotland….and is best for frying and deep frying—(fish n chips, go figure)…

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Halibut

Halibut is typically cut into filets that are firm, meaty, and mild with a low fat content….best for baking.

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Salmon

There are two different types of salmon—Atlantic and Pacific. You will usually find Atlantic salmon at your local grocery store because it is farmed and is available year-round. Atlantic salmon has a meaty texture and mild flavor that is best for grilling, roasting, or broiling.

Pacific salmon—such as sockeye or king salmon—are caught in the wild….making fresh Pacific salmon only available between late spring and early fall (although frozen can be found year-round). Pacific salmon has a stronger flavor than Atlantic salmon and is best for grilling, broiling, or roasting.

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Snapper

Typically you will only find red snapper when you are shopping for snapper…even though there are many different types of snapper that have not been recognized by the FDA.

Snapper can be served either whole or as filets. Be careful when ordering snapper at a restaurant, it will probably be served tail and perhaps head in tow.

Snapper is best for roasting or grilling.

 

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Swordfish

Fresh swordfish is available fresh and typically sold in steaks. It has a slightly sweet flavor and meaty texture that is best for grilling.

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Tilapia

Tilapia has an oily texture and muddy flavor that is bland enough that even those who hate the taste of fish can endure.

Tilapia is best for baking, braising, or poaching.

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Tuna

Most of us have been eating canned tuna since we were born…so I really don’t feel a need to elaborate here.

But it was only recently that I cooked a tuna steak…and man, oh man…ditch the can…

Tuna steaks are typically cooked by either grilling or pan frying.

 

Eggplant…The Why — January 9, 2020

Eggplant…The Why

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Brain Power

The skin of the eggplant can make you smsrter and keep you that way by…

  • acting as an antioxidant
  • facilitating blood flow to the brain
  • helping to carry nutrients into your brain cells
  • helping to prevent memory loss and other age-related mental decline
  • moving waste out of your brain cells
  • protecting brain cell membranes from damage
  • serving as an anti-inflammatory

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Cancer

Eggplant contains polyphenols, anthocyanins, and chlorogenic acid….all of which help prevent and fight existing cancer by…

  • acting as a anti-inflammatory
  • blocking the enzymes that help cancer cells spread.
  • preventing new blood vessels from forming in an existing tumor
  • serving as an antioxidant

 

 

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Cholesterol

The fiber found in eggplant…(2.4 grams per 1C) may help control cholesterol levels.

Eggplant also contains chlorogenic acid, a key antioxidant that lowers the levels of “bad” cholesterol and reduces your risk of liver disease.

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Eye Health

Eggplant contains two specific antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin—which are hrlp prevent age-related macular degeneration and vision loss.

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Heart

As far as the heart, eggplants can lower your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease because of the fiber, antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and many other nutrient that it contains

Eggplants…

  • act as an anti-inflammatory
  • help prevent heart-threatening plaque from buildup up around the walls of your arteries.
  • relax artery walls

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Weight Control

Eggplants can contribute to weight management because of their fiber content and low calorie count. The fiber found in eggplant supposedly helps you feel fuller for longer.

 

Dark Chocolate…The Why — January 1, 2020

Dark Chocolate…The Why

Dark chocolate, especially any 70% dark chocolate or higher, contains many nutrients—such as antioxidants, fiber, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium that may help lower your risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, and improve brain function, alleviate stress, and lower your risk of diabetes.

Broccoli…The Why Else — November 25, 2019

Broccoli…The Why Else

Let’s look at some more reasons adding broccoli to your diet is beneficial…

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1. Bones and Joints

Broccoli contains many nutrients that have been shown to keep your bones and fjoints healthy and to help prevent bone-related disorders….

  • calcium …broccoli contains almost as much calcium as whole milk.
  • phosphorus…6% DRV per cup
  • vitamin A…11% RDV, in the form of carotenoids
  • vitamin C…Broccoli is an excellent source of  vitamin C.  In fact, only one-half of a cup of cooked broccoli provides a whopping 84% RDV of vitamin C— more than that foundf in half of an orange.
  • vitamin K…broccoli contains 116% RDI of vitamin K.

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2. Brain Function

Broccoli contains many nutrients and bioactive compounds that can keep your brain and nervous system functioning correctly. In fact, eating only one serving of dark green vegetables , such as broccoli, per day may help resist mental decline.

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3. Cancer

Broccoli contains nutrients that may help fight and even prevent certain types of cancer—including breast, prostate, stomach, and intestinal. Eating two cups of broccoli twice a week is the amount most nutritionists consider adequate to reap the full cancer-fighting benefits of broccoli.

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4. Dental and Oral Health

Broccoli contains many nutrients—such as vitamin C , flavanoids, and calcium,—that have been shown to support oral health and prevent dental diseases—such as periodontitis, oral cancers

Many people also claim that eating raw broccoli helps remove plaque and whiten your teeth

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5. Diabetes

Broccoli may be worth adding to your weekly menu because there has been research showing that broccoli can be beneficial to diabetics…definitely adding it to my own weekly menu, know that my husband has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I don’t want to be a fifty year old widow with a five year old, right?

Anyway, why/how is broccoli helpful for diabetics?

First of all, broccoli has been shown to significantly decrease insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes….perhaps because of broccoli’s high antioxidant content.

Broccoli has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve diabetic control because of its high content of soluble fiber.

 

 

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6. Digestion

Broccoli may support bowel regularity and healthy gut bacteria because it is rich in both fiber and antioxidants, two nutrients that are important for “bowel regularity” and healthy gut bacteria.

Fiber affects several aspects of our digestive system—the speed that food travels through our digestive system, the consistency of food as it moves through our intestine, bacterial populations in our intestine, the health of your stomach lining.

And for those readers out there who still give a crap…broccoli even makes it easier to take a crap.

 

 

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7. Eye Health

Broccoli contains lutein and eaxanthin, the same antioxidant that have been shown to make carrots so very good for your eyes;.

These antioxidants both help your eyes from eye diseases and problems—such as macular degeneration and cataracts

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8. Heart Health

Broccoli has also been shown to play a role maintaining the health of your heart,  maintaining your LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and keeping your blood vessels strong

First of all, broccoli contains sulforaphane, an anti-inflammatory that has been shown to prevent and reverse damage to blood vessel lining caused by chronic blood sugar problems.

.The fiber found in broccoli may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Finally, B-complex vitamins helps regulate or reduce excessive levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that increases your risk of coronary artery disease.

 

 

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9, Immune System

Broccoli is loaded with vitamin C, possibly one of the most important nutrients for keeping your immune system effectively doing its job of preventing and treating  various illnesses.

The RDV for vitamin C is 100–200 mg….and broccoli contains 78 grams …84% RDI of vitamin C per half-cup serving. of cooked broccoli

 

 

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10. Pregnancy

Broccoli contains many of the vitamins, minerals and protein needed by expectant mothers…especially the B vitamins…and even more specifically the vitamin B9, also known as folate…that are important for the development of the fetal brain and spinal cord.

Eating broccoli and other fiber-rich foods while pregnant can can help ensure healthy pregnancy outcomes and support healthier cognitive development of the newborn.

 

 

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11. Skin

Broccoli, mainly in the form of broccoli extract, contauns nutrients that have been studied as far as protecting you from getting skin cancer and other skin damage that result from exposure to a damaged ozone layer and increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.

 

You Mean There Actually Are Other Leafy Greens Besides Iceberg? — January 22, 2019

You Mean There Actually Are Other Leafy Greens Besides Iceberg?

  • So we’ve decided to raise the bar on our salad bar…
  • And learned that as far as nutrition goes, iceberg lettuce is at the bottom of the totem pole…
  • But what leafy green is out there lurking at the local grocery store or farmer’s market?
  • Below is a list of several varieties that you could use instead…

Arugula

  • Also called…rocket, Italian cress, Mediterranean rocket, rugola, rugula, roquette, rucola
  • Leaves…small, flat, frilly-edged leaves
  • Most Common Uses…salads, wraps, sandwiches, pasta, risotto, and Italian dishes like pesto
  • Nutrition…especially high in vitamin K
  • Originated…the Mediterranean
  • Taste…distinct peppery taste and aroma

Butterhead Lettuce

  • Also called…butter lettuce, Boston, bibb (limestone)
  • Leaves…soft and smooth like buttee

Cos Lettuce

  • Leaves…dark green, long, narrow
  • Taste…..sweet and tangy
  • Texture…crispy and crunchy texture

Cress

  • Leaves…tough, fibrous stem and small green leaves
  • Taste…peppery taste
  • Varieties…watercress, upland cress, curly cress, and land cress

Endive

  • Color…off-white center with loose, lacy, dark green outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Leaves..loose, lacy, dark green outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Taste…slightly bitter
  • Uses…salads and soups

Dandelion Greens

  • Leaves…the green leaves from the so-thought-of “weeds” in your yard…stiff leaves with pointy, fine “teeth.”
  • Taste…sharp bitter flavor
  • Uses…a classic French bistro salad, salads with roasted beets

Endive

  • Leaves…unique oval shape
  • Texture…soft and satiny
  • Taste…slightly bitter
  • Uses…scooplike shape makes for serving small appetizers

Escarole

  • Color…various shades of green
  • Head…loose, elongated heads
  • Leaves…broad, wavy leaves with smooth edges
  • Other Names…Batavian endive, scarole, broad-leaved endive
  • Taste…darker green leaves are lightly bitter and spicy; but the paler interior leaves are milder
  • Uses…soups and beans…popular in Italian cuisine.

Frisee

  • Color…pale green
  • Leaves…feathery leaves tinged with yellow and green
  • Other Names…curly endive, chicory, chicory endive, curly chicory
  • Taste…bitter

Iceberg

  • Leaves…tightly packed leaves on dense, heavy heads
  • Water Content…contains more water than most other leafy greens

Kale

  • Nutritional Value…high in fiber
  • Taste…earthy, slightly grassy taste
  • Uses…salads, soups, pasta, and smoothies
  • Varieties…include curly, baby, and lacinato

Lacinato Kale (a.k.a. Dino Kale)

  • Other Names…Tuscan kale or black kale
  • Leaves…very dark blue-green or black-green leaves
  • Taste…earthy and  nutty flavor

Leaf Lettuce 

  • Color…can be either green or red
  • Leaves…large, frilly-edged
  • Taste…mildly sweet and delicate taste
  • Uses…sandwiches, burgers, popular lining for hors d’oeuvres platters

Mâche

  • Other Names…Field salad, lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, field lettuce, fetticus
  • Taste…mild and slightly sweet flavor
  • Leaves…very small
  • Notes…expensive, very delicate, will bruise easily

Mizuna

  • Leaves…petite elongated leaves with spiky edges similar to miniature oak leaves
  • Origin…Japan
  • Other Names…Japanese greens, spider mustard, xue cai, kyona, potherb mustard, and California Peppergrass
  • Taste…peppery

Oak Leaf Lettuce

  • Color…reddish-purple
  • Leaves…very similar to leaf lettuce, but with more of an oak leaf shape
  • Taste…super-mellow, sweet

Radicchio

  • Color…burgundy-red leaves with white ribs
  • Other Names…Chioggia, red chicory, red leaf chicory, red Italian chicory
  • Taste…mildly bitter with a subtle spicy undertone
  • Texture…quite firm but still tender
  • Uses…in salads, as a cooked vegetable, and grilled or roasted and mixed with other grilled vegetables

Romaine

  • Nutritional Value…particularly rich in folic acid and vitamin K
  • Taste..light, almost grassy taste
  • Texture…a satisfying crunch
  • Uses..Caesar salads, wraps

Spinach

  • Color…dark green leaves
  • Leaves…smooth, sturdy, deep green
  • Taste…mild, lightly herbal
  • Uses…salads, wraps, and smoothies

Sweet Potato Greens

  • Taste…lovely, almost sweet flavor with no discernible bitterness
  • Uses…soups or stews

Tatsoi

  • Leaves…small and rounded much like little spoons, hence its other name, spoon cabbage
  • Other Names…Tat soi, spoon cabbage, rosette bok choy
  • Taste…mildly peppery and sweet, with only the faintest hint of cabbage flavor.
Let Us Talk About Lettuce — January 18, 2019

Let Us Talk About Lettuce

  • Whether you are a diabetic or on a diet or a vegetarian or raw foods advocate, it might seem like you are eating salad night after night after night…not to mention for lunch also.

  • But the same old salad made the same old lettuce can get extremely boring…extremely…
  • So why not add some variety to your mandatory salad by adding more leafy greens to your instacart order?
  • There is a wide range of leafy green vegetables to choose from other than lettuce…
  • But these can seem to overwhelming, and you’ve only been eating lettuce for how long…
  • So let’s now take a look at the various leafy greens vegetables that are available—starting with the basics of selecting, storing, and using them in salads. ..as well as the nutritional value of different varieties…