Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Sing A Ballad to the Salad

So now that we all know how to make the perfect soup…

Now what?

 

 

Well, since my goal is to work my way through the Raw Foods pyramid in an effort to learn how to cook more healthy for the sake of my newly-diagnosed diabetic husband,

and the base of the Raw Foods yramid is leafy greens…

 

It only goes to reason that eventually we’d talk about salad, right?

 

…but salad can get so very boring…especially when you are constantly eating  bagged salad night after night after night.

 

So let’s see what’s required to make a salad actually worth eating, and then sing ordinary baggad salad a farewell ballad.

In the next few posts, we’ll be taking a look at…

  • Leafy green
  • Vegetables
  • Add-ins
  • Dressing your salads
  •  

So let’s get ready to all raise the bar on our at-home salad bar, ready?

 

 

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The What Else—Star Anise

Star anise is another spice to look for on your journey through an Asian market or website.

Star anise comes from the seed pod from the fruit of the Illicium verum plant, a small evergreen shrub which is native to Southwest China and northeast Vietnam.

As far as shape, the star anise that comes from this tree has a unique dark brown star shape with six to eight points, each of the points containing a single pea-sized seed.

As far as taste, star anise has a very strong, distinct licorice-like flavor that is both sweet and spicy.

 

Star Anise—The Why

Star anise is an awesome addition to not only your adventures in Asian cooking, but also for your health.

Star anise provides powerful antioxidants that can prevent cell death and DNA damage.

Star anise can be steam-distilled to produce a pale yellow essential oil with a highly fragrant, licorice-like aroma that is often added to such products as soaps,  perfumes, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and skin creams.

Star anise can be beneficial to your body by helping with…

  • abdominal cramps
  • arthritis
  • bronchitis
  • calming nerves
  • colds
  • colic
  • cough
  • digestion
  • digestive problems and complaints—such as gas, indigestion, bloating, constipation
  • immune system function
  • influenza
  • painful muscles
  • sleep disorders
  • sore throat

 

Buying/Storing                      

Star anise can be found either whole or ground into a powder…and of course you could also make ground star anise by grinding whole star anise with your coffee mill.

Whole star anise will maintain its flavor for about a year.

Ground star anise powder will maintain its flavor for about six months.

Regardless, all spices that you buy should be stored in an airtight container in a cool and dark place that isn’t exposed to heat, moisture or sunlight.

 

Tips for Using Star Anise

  • Grund star anise is much easier to work with, but the flavor diminishes faster.
  • Toasting the ground spice sometimes heightens the flavor.
  • Use it sparingly…a little goes a long way.
  • Whole pods are best for simmering—such as in sauces, marinades, and soups—and then removing before serving.

 

Recipes for Using Star Anise

Baking…Star anise is often seen in recipes also calling for cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Beverages…Bring water to a boil in a stove-top pan.Add 2 whole star anise pods per cup of water, along with any additional other spices—such as cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks, ginger root, solomon seal root, and cloves—that you like. Steep for 15 minutes.Strain away any large chunks.

Eggs…Star anise is commonly incorporated in egg recipes. I particularly liked this recie for Star Anise Tea Eggs from Nest Fresh.

Fruits and Vegetables…Stay on the lookout for star anise to be used in recipes that also contain citrus, leeks, onions, pears, and pumpkin.

Garam masala...Star anise is used to make this Indian spice blend that can be then used to make countless traditional Indian dishes.

Meats…Star anise is used to add a licorice flavor to beef, shrimp, duck, fish, pork, and poultry.

Soup…Star anise is commonly used in soup, such as this recipe from Martha Stewart.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The What Else—Gochujang

Another well-known Korean specialty ingredient to look for while surfing Korean websites or walking through an Asian market is gochujang.

Gochujang is a dark red chili paste with a savory, sweet, and spicy flavor and a thick and sticky texture.

This fermented condiment is made from the following ingredients…

  1. Red Chili Powder…This chili powder is made from Korean chili peppers that are spicy yet sweet, providing a healthy amount of lingering heat that’s not burn-your-mouth spicy.
  2. Glutinous Rice Powder…This is what gives gochuchang its touch of sweetness. This rice powder can also be substituted with normal short-grain rice, barley, whole wheat kernels, jujubes, pumpkin, and sweet potato. A small amount of sweetener—such as sugar, syrup, or honey—is also sometimes added.
  3. Meju (fermented soybean) powder
  4. Yeotgireum (barley malt powder)
  5. Salt

Making gochuchang is a long and arduous task that involves fermenting the mixture for years in earthenware vessels called “jangdok” on an elevated stone platform, called a “jangdokdae” in the backyard. That’s the reason that I’m not adding a recipe for it.

Instead buy it from reputable sources such as Chung Jung One or Momofuku.

Tips For Choosing Gochujang

  • Add a teaspoonful at a time. A little goes a long way because of its spiciness.
  • Check the package before purchasing to see how hot it is, kinda like buying salsa.
  • Keep an eye open when searing or grilling meats that have been marinated with gochujang that contains sugar because the meat will have a tendency to burn easily.
  • Look for gochujang that only contains the above ingredients…no corn syrup, starch syrup or hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
  • Look for it to be  sold in small, red square tubs.
  • Store in the fridge once you open it.
  • Thin your gochujang with a liquid of some sort–such as sesame oil, crushed garlic, sugar, soy sauce—because the thick texture of gochujang makes it a bit difficult to use straight up.
  • Unlike sriracha or Tabasco, gochujang is too aggressive to be used as a finishing sauce.

Uses for Gochujang

Butter…Gochuchang can be paired with “everyday” foods—such as steak, tacos, and burgers. One way of doing this is to make your own gochuchang butter.

Marinade…Another common use is as a marinade for meat…such as this bulgogi recipe from Crazy Korean Cooking.

Sauces…Gochuchang can also be used in condiments, salad dressings, and dipping sauces…such as Ssamjang, a thick, spicy paste made from gochujang, sesame oil, onion, garlic, green onions, and optionally brown sugar….as in this recipe from Fine Cooking.

Stews and Soups…One of the most common uses of gochujang is by the spoonful to add depth to stews and soups and stews…such as this Gochuchang Soup from Little Corner of Mine.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The What Else—Spices—Dried Chiles

fn the last post I gave a list of sites where you could buy kimchee…

But some of these sites I found quite interesting.

So being the foodie that I am, I did some research on other spices and ingredients that you might be interested in so that browing through these Korean sites might not seem so overwhelming…

Let’s begin this shopping trip through the Asian market or Korean website by discovering the spices commonly used in Asian cuisine, beginning with dried chilies.

Chile peppers are a key ingredient in Asian cuisine.

But there are literally hundreds of varieties of chile peppers available, so how do you know which chile to use for what recipe?

Here are a few of the most common varieties typically found in Asian markets and on websites.

 Aleppo

  • Character…sweet and fragrant, fresh and fiery on the nose, but they’re not too hot
  • Country Most Relate….Syria and Turkey
  • Form…only available ground
  • Uses…great on pizza

Ancho

  • Taste…mild, smoldering heat
  • Same as…dried Poblanos
  • Texture…meaty texture
  • Flavor…rich
  • Uses…sauces

Árbol:

  • Also called ..Kung pao chiles
  • Form…usually found and used dried
  • Size…small, short, thin, and needle-like
  • Taste…intensely hot chiles
  • Uses…homemade hot sauces and spice mixes

Bird

  • Color…either red or green
  • Shape…very small and slender
  • Size…usually less than 1″ long
  • Taste…incredibly spicy

Guajillo

  • Form…:long and thin
  • Color…dark-red
  • Taste…hotter than anchos

Japanese

  • Color…rusty orange-red color with a bright sheen
  • Shape…slender and narrow with a pointed tip
  • Size…about 2″ long

Morita

  • Color…dark
  • Texture…like raisins
  • Flavor…-rich, sweet, and smoky

Pasilla

  • Shape…long and thin
  • Color…dark to the point of being jet-black
  • Taste…spicier than anchos, with a more brooding, chocolate-like character
  • Uses..moles and with beef

Urfa

  • Flavor…not-too-hot
  • Source…Turkey
  • Taste…dark, smoky, and redolent of prune and raisin
  • Uses…kebab mixes and with yogurt

 

Here are a few tips to remember when buying dried chiles…

  • Avoid peppers that are totally dry or look old or shriveled.
  • Buy small amounts when trying differenyt kinds of peppers to not only see which type of pepper you like best, but also to make sure that they stay fresh before you use them.  Note that chile actually have a much shorter shelf life than the eight months to a year stated on the package.
  • Darker colors—such as black and purple—typically mean richer flavors, as opposed to the more fiery red-hued specimens.
  • Look for dried chile that are floppy and moist, like raisins and other dried fruit in the market.
  • Make sure that you can bend and flex the peppers without breaking them.

 

 

De-Seeding…Before you can use your chilies in a recipe, you must de-seed them in order to make them less intensely hot.

The hottest parts of the pepper are closer to the stem, in the seeds,  and along the white membrane on the inside of the pepper

To de-seed the peppers, cut the stem off of the pepper and then simply remove these areas.

 

 

Other Forms…You may also find chile in other forms, in addition to these chiles that we’ve been talking about that can be found in packets or in the dried fruit section.

A few of these other options that will probably be available are chile flakes, chile paste, and chile oil.

 

Chile Flakes...Chile pepper flakes allow you to control the amount of heat in your dish and add small doses of pure heat.

To make your own chile flakes, toast árbol or pequin peppers over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, for about a minute and then pound them into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle.

 

Chili Oil…To make your own chili oil, heat canola oil unti it’s almost smoking, then add whole árbol chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, and ginger. Remove it from the heat. Set the oil in a jar once it cools.

Heat and add more oil and more chilies whenever the jar starts to run low.

 

 

Chili Paste...Chili paste is a spicy concoction consisting of chiles, garlic, oil, and salt. The paste is mor versatile than actual chiles, as well as more convenient because it is ready to be used without any chopping or heating.

Chili paste allows you to get more flavor and heat in every mouthful without any ground-chili grit.

To make your own chili paste, soak dried chilies until they’re soft, and then blend them into a paste.

 

 

Chile Salsa…Soak chiles in a bit of hot water and blend them up into a salsa or hot sauce. Adding inegar or citrus juice extends shelf life.

 

Chile Vinegar...Add a few whole árbols or pequin chiles into your favorite bottle of vinegar. Let sit a week or two before using

 

 

 

Tips on Using Chiles in Cooking…

  • Add them to the oil before adding the other ingredients.
  • Be careful how many dried chiles you add. The more dried chiles you use, the hotter your food will be.
  • Chiles are usually not meant to be eaten whole, just to add flavor…kinda like bay leaves…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The Where

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Okay, so now we all know how to make our own kimchee…

But how many of us actually have time, especially during this crazy holiday season, to actually make our own kimchee.

Sure you could just go to Walmart and order whatever kimchee they happen to have in stock…

Or even take advantage of the convenience of online grocery delivery services such as Instacart…

But if you want to make the best Korean food, you would be better off ordering from an authentic Korean website that carries authentic Korean brands and products—not only kimchee and other cooking spices and ingredients—but also Korean fashion, cosmetics, and clothes.

Here are a few Korean online stores where you find Korean stuff…

Just in time for last-minute Christmas shopping.

  1. 11 Street
  2. Amazon
  3. H Mart
  4. http://www.koamart.com/kimchipickledrefrigerated-foods-c-60.html?uid=fq3skf8kmeg6isg8u7n3citt80
  5. Koamart
  6. Korean Mall
  7. SF Mart
  8. The Mala Market

(Disclaimer…Honestly when I first began writing this post I intended to do much more than make such a simple list and find our that I have been spelling the word “kimchee” wrong all along…but this will come in handy in future posts, so be patient.)

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchee—The Why

But perhaps the biggest advantage of adding kimchee to your diet is the fact that is has been fermented.

Fermenting foods involves converting a carbohydrate into an acid or an alcohol, Food that has been fermented has a high content of lactobacilli, “good” bacteria also known as probiotics.

Probiotics are important to our overall health in many ways, including…

Health benefits of fermentation include…

  • helping you lose weight by helping to control your appetite
  • keeping our digestive systems healthy
  • preventing stomach ulcers
  • preventing yeast infections
  • reducing inflammation
  • reducing your blood sugar levels 
  • treating various skin conditions

Kimchee and Vitamins/Minerals

Kimchi is a rich source of vitamins and minerals.

Not only does kimchee provide over 50% RDA of vitamin C, kimchee is also rich in vitamin A, vitamins B1 and B2, calcium, and iron.

The vitamins and minerals in vitamin C specifically help with anti-aging, increasing longevity, lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels, preventing plaque buildup in the artery walls, helping your immune system, and reducing the risk of cardiac disorders—such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, or stroke.

Kimchee and Fiber…The high concentration of dietary fiber found in kimchee can help by…

  • cleaning out the intestines
  • helping to lower their body fat and body mass index
  • helping to prevent a drop in blood sugar
  • keeping you satisfied and full for a more extended period
  • lowering your chance of developing metabolic syndrome.
  • preventing constipation
  • promoting digestion
  • slowing down carbohydrate metabolism 
  • stimulating the body to absorb nutrients better

Kimchee and Antioxidants…The antioxidants found in kimchee protect your body against harmful free radicals and oxidative stress. These antioxidants also hel give you better looking and stronger hair and nails.

But enough about the health benefits of kimchee, let’s move on the more fun and functional stuff—like how to make our own, where to buy our own, and what to do with it once we do buy or make it…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchee-The What?

Forget cigarettes…Give me kimchee.

Forget making cookies in the weeks before Christmas…Let’s all make kimchee.

Forget quilting bees and craft nights…Let’s all get together to make kimchee.

Forget cheese…We want kimchee.

Supposedly this can all be said of the Korean nation, where the average person consumes about fotty pounds of kimchee per year. To put that in better perspective, that’s more than the typical American consumes of coffee or cocoa or nuts. cheese, eggs, shellfish, or fish.

ve-american-average-food-consumption1

Why even bring up the topic of kimchee at this point?

Because we’re talking about cabbage and refrigeration, and I always seem to have at least one jar of kimchee in my fridge at all times…and found some yesterday as I was cleaning out my fridge.

So what exactly is kimchee?

Kimchee, the traditional Korean dish, is a condiment of salted and fermented vegetables such as napa cabbage and daikon radish, sices such as chili powder and ginger, and salted seafood.

Kimchee, the national dish of both North and South Korea, is do revered by Koreans that during the Vietnam War, negotiations were made by the Korean and American government to ensure that kimchee was available to the Korean troops.

Koreans have been eating kimchee in some sort of fashion way back since 37 BC.

During this timeframe Buddhism, and the related vegetarian lifestyle, became important factors in the Korean lifestyle.

These ancient Koreans were highly skilled in the art of fermenting and pickling  vegetables in order to help preserve the lifespan of certain foods.

Koreans can, and do, actually make kimchee out of anything edible.

This fact leads to infinite possibilities and preferences depending on what region you may be and what season it is and what ingredients you have close at hand.

In fact, today there are over 180 recognized varieties of kimchee available.

The most typical type of kimchee available today is “mak kimchi,” or simple kimchee…a type of kimchee typically made with cut cabbage, radish, and scallions and a seasoned paste of red pepper, garlic, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce, salted shrimp, or kelp powder.

More than 70% of the kimchee sold on the market today is mak kimchee.

But here are a few more ingredients to consider as you would like to make kimchee yourself…

Vegetables...Even though napa cabbage is the vegetable most commonly used to make modern versions of kimchee, the cabbage was only introduced to Korea at the end of 19th century.

Other vegetables used to make kimchee can include…

  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Mustard greens
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Radishes (Korean radishes, ponytail radishes, gegeol radishes, yeolmu radishes)
  • Scallions
  • Soybean sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Sugar beets
  • Sweet potato vines
  • Tomatoes

Spices…

Chili Pepper…Even though chili pepper is now the expected spice in kimchee, chili pepper was not used until much later than the early days of kimchee. In fact, chili peppers were introduced to the Korean people around the year 1614 by Portuguese traders.

Gochugaru, or red pepper powder…This spice gives kimchee its expected spicy flavor. You can find this spice in Korean grocery stores and online…and in different grades of coarseness and spiciness…more on this later…

Other spices used to make kimchee include garlic and ginger. Garlic wasn’t used as a spice to make kimchee until the early seventeenth century.

Fish…

The most common fish used to give kimchee its authentic flavor is saeujeot, Korean salted shrimp. These shrimp are very small and naturally fermented.

You can find these shrimp in the refrigerator case of Korean markets….more on this later.

Two more options as far as the “fishy” part of kimchee would be kelp powder and salted anchovies.

But First…

But before we go and buy the first jar of kimchee that we see and look at recipes for making our own kimchee and finding ways to kee it from rotting in the back of our fridge, let’s see why we should eat kimchee…and all fermented foods…in the first place.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Bok Choy—The Which?

So now that we have learned more about what bok choy actually is and why bok choy can be an important food for us, how do we know that we are choosing the best bok choy that we could possibly buy?First of all, bok choy should be found in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle because warm temperatures cause the leaves to wilt and negatively affect its flavor.

In fact, bok choy is one of the few vegetables that, even though available throughout the year, reaches its peak availability from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring.

Seems kind of obvious that we never want to purchase any type of produce that has wilted leaves, but what else should we look for when buying bok choy?

Leaves…The leaves of bok choy should be firm and brightly colored. Check the bok choy for any signs of browning, yellowing, and small holes.

Stems…The stems of bok choy should be moist and hardy.

Organic…Buying produce that is certified organic can greatly reduce the likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals. To make sure that you are buying organic produce, always look for the USDA organic logo.

Bok choy can stay fresh in the refrigerator for about one week if stored properly. Store bok choy in a plastic storage bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Bok Choy…The What?!

Another leafy green vegetable that type 2 diabetics should consider adding to their diets is bok choy.

Bok choy has been cultivated in China for more than five thousand years and has played a large part not only in its cuisine, but also in traditional Chinese medicine.

Bok choy is a common ingredient in the foods cooked in the Philippines and Vietnam, even though most other countries rarely even use it as an ingredient, if at all.

Bok choy—sometimes referred to as white cabbage, mustard cabbage, celery cabbage, Chinese white cabbage, Chinese mustard, and white celery mustard—-is in fact a member of the cabbage family. In fact, the name “bok choy” is derived from the Cantonese words “bai cai,” which means “white cabbage.”

However, bok choy doesn’t look like a typical cabbage at all. Bok choy more closely resembles celery.

Nor does bok choy look like any other cruciferous vegetables—such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts—which form “heads” in their more mature plant stages.

Instead bok choy has smooth, dark green leaf blades that form a cluster similar to mustard greens or celery—resembling Romaine lettuce on top and a large celery on the bottom.

Even though we usually only envision the typical variety of bok choy found in local grocery stores, there are over twenty varieties of bok choy available.

A few of these varieties are…

  • Baby bok choy…a miniaturized version of bok choy that can often be found in Asian and Chinese supermarkets
  • Chinensis bok choy…do not form heads and have smooth, dark green leaf blades, much like mustard greens or celery
  • Choy sum…also known as “Chinese flowering cabbage,” has light green leaves and tiny yellow flowers, typically sold as trimmed leaves and stalks of choy sum instead of the whole plant, more expensive variety of bok choy
  • Mibuna Early, Canton, and Ching Chang—bok choy varieties that feature green spoon-shaped leaves and slightly flattened white stalks
  • Purple Hybrid—variety of bok choy with purple leaves
  • Shanghai Green and Green Boy—variety of bok choy that have stalks that are various shades of green

This leafy vegetable has a light, sweet flavor and a crispy, crunchy texture.

Bok choy is slowly becoming more and more popular here in American cuisine.

Bok choy can be used in many different ways—such as salads, soups and stir-fries.

So keep reading to learn what the nutritional benefits of bok choy are and for recipes to help you enjoy adding bok choy to your grocery list.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Arguments in Favor of Arugula

The first “leafy green” that we will consider adding to our grocery list as newly-nutritional-conscientious type 2 diabetics is…

ARUGULA

Arugula has been used since the first century by the ancient Romans and Egyptians  for many different purposes. Not only did ancient civilizations eat the leaves, but they also thought arugula to be an awesome aphrodisiac and used the seeds of the arugula plant to make aphrodisiac and medicinal oils and compounds.

The leaves on this “leafy green” look like oakleaves and are typically 3″ to 8″ long dark green leaves, depending on the maturity of the leaf.

The smaller, paler leaves typically have a mild flavor that is good for fresh dishes like salad and pesto…while the older, darker leaves have more zing, making them better for making soup and topping off your pizza/

 

Okay, so now that we know what “arugula” is, and the fact that it was once considered an “aphrodisiac,”…why should the over-fifty crowd be adding more aphrodisiacal argula to our diets?

Given the fact that all “Leafy Greens” are a good source of vitamins, folate, calcium, magnesium, carotenoids, minerals—such as potassium, manganese, iron, and calcium—, antioxidants, and phytochemicals…all the A’s, B’s, and C’s of general nutrition that so many of us are not even aware that we need and why we need them…why choose arugula?

 

Arugula and the “Food Label”…Let’s first look at the nutritional value of 1/2C arugula…
Calories…25
Calories from Fat…6
Total Fat…1 g…1%
Cholesterol…0 mg…0%
Sodium…27 mg…1%
Total Carbohydrates…4 g…1%
Dietary Fiber…1.6 g…6%
Sugar…2.1 g
Protein…2.6 g
Vitamin A…47%
Vitamin C…25%
Calcium…16%
Iron…8%
Agugula and the ANDI…0One of the terms that I have learned at this phase of my journey is “nutritarian.”

A “nutritarian” is a person who chooses what he or she eats based on what foods have the highest ratio of micronutrients per calorie….a person who adopts a longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.

This term was coined by Dr. Fuhrman. Furhman is a board-certified family physician, six-time New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, Fuhrman specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods.

Fuhrman created a scale known as the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index that shows the nutritional density of many common foods based on 34 important nutrients, including…

  • fiber
    calcium
    iron
    magnesium
    phosphorus
    potassium
    zinc
    copper
    manganese
    selenium
    vitamin A
    beta carotene
    alpha carotene
    lycopene
    lutein
    zeaxanthin
    vitamin E
    vitamin C
    thiamin
    riboflavin
    niacin
    pantothenic acid
    vitamin B6
    folate
    vitamin B12
    choline
    vitamin K
    phytosterols
    glucosinolates
    angiogenesis inhibitors
    organosulfides
    aromatase inhibitors
    resistant starch
    resveratrol
    ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), a measurement of the antioxidant capacity of that particular food.

Nutritarians can use the ANDI Scores to compare foods and see which foods are the most health-promoting and nutrient dense.

The foods included in this index are given a score of 1-1000, with 1 being the lowest and 1000 being the highest.

Leafy green vegetables in general score the highest on this index.

Arugula has an ANDI score of 604.

Arugula and Potassium...Two cups of arugula contain about 150mg of potassium, roughly 3% percent of the 4,700 mg of the potassium recommended for healthy adults. Although arugula isn’t a top source of potassium, it does boost your intake of the nutrient.

Arugula and Calcium…Two cups of arugula contain 6%DV of calcium.

Arugula and Flavonoids…The “flavonoids” in arugula have been shown to have anti-cancer — as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties.

Arugula and Folate...Two cups of arugula contain 10%DV of folate, the natural form of folic acid. Folate is important during pregnancy because it helps prevent birth defects and also important for lowering your risk of heart disease.

Arugula and Vitamin K...Not getting enough vitamin K in your diet increases your risk of fracturing a bone because vitamin K keeps your bones healthy by improving calcium absorption and reducing urinary excretion of calcium.

Arugula and Antioxidants…Arugula contain certain antioxidants, more specifically alpha-lipoic acid. This acid has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.

Arugula and Calcium...Arugula is a surprisingly good source of calcium—it has more of this bone-builder than the other greens on this list.

Arugula and Nitrates…The nitrates found in arugula are believed to enhance exercise tolerance during long-term endurance exercise. These nitrates also can be beneficial to people with cardiovascular, respiratory, or metabolic diseases who find the activities of daily life are physically difficult because of lack of oxygen.

Arugula and Vitamin A…Two cups of arugula contains 19%DVof vitamin A. This is important for helping you have good vision, particularly at night or in low light environments.

Arugula and Magnesium...Two cups of arugula contain 5%DV of magnesium.

Arugula and Copper....The copper found in arugula increases your immunity to disease because it createa white blood cells.

Arugula and Vitamin C….Vitamin C is one of the best defenses for your body to seek out dangerous, inflammatory free radicals and eliminate them from your body before they can cause real damage, helps prevent cancer, and maintain good health.

Arugula and Phytochemicals...Arugula contains large quantities of phytochemicalssuch as thiocyanates, sulforaphane, or indoles —that inhibit the activity of cancer-causing cells and lowers your risk of getting certain types of cancer—such as prostate, breast, cervical, colon, and ovarian cancers.

Arugula and Folates…Arugula is rich in folic acid, a fact that is important to pregnant women who want to decrease the risk of their babies being born with certain mental defects.

Arugula and Vitamin B…Arugula contains all eight of the B-Complex vitamins. These viramins are important participantes in cell function—including energy production, fat synthesis, and the production of red blood cells.

Arugula and Carotenoids…,Arugula is a well-known source of carotenoids, naturally occurring pigments that improve your ability to see properly and slows down the process of macular degeneration.

Health Benefits…Finally let’s read through a list of the health benefits of earing arugula. Adding arugula to your diet is an important step in…

  • keeping the mind clear and focused
    preventing cancer
    controlling blood pressure
    reducing the amount of oxygen needed during exercise
    enhancing athletic performance
    helping reduce blood pressure
    improving blood flow to your muscles so that they can work more efficiently, especially when exercising
    helping you achieve or maintain a healthy body weight
    keeping your eyes healthy
    helping prevent age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness among older adults
    normalizing and controlling blood pressure levels
    lowering your risk of having a heart attack or stroke
    helping reduce the risk of colorectal and lung cancers
    slowing the progression of cancer.
    decreasomg the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
    improving your immune system
    decreasing your odds of getting simple illnesses such as the common cold

 

Okay, I’ve just added arugula to my grocery list, but what should I do with it once I get it home…

 

First of all, how do I know which bundle of arugula to stick into my grocery cart?!

Choose arugula that is fresh and crisp, particularly at the stem. Look for plants that have dark green leaves, not yellow. Refrain from buying arugula with leaves that are wilted, have dark or slimy spots, or yellow or brown edges.

 

Next, how do I store it, and how long will it stay fresh in my food rotter?

Arugula leaves will spoil quickly, so some care must be taken to help keep them as fresh as possible for as long as possible.

Wrap the roots of the arugula in a damp paper towel, then store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Another option would be to place the arugula upright in a glass of water, as you would a bouquet of flowers, and then cover the leaves with a plastic bag before storing in the refrigerator.

Another point to remember is to not store arugula beside pears, apples or bananas, as this will cause its leaves to decay faster.

Plan on using within a couple of days after buying them.

 

So what should I make with my arugula?

One thing to remember when deciding how to use the arugula that you have purchased, is that older and larger leaves have a more intense peppery flavor than the younger and smaller leaves.

 

The tenderness and milder taste of the younger leaves make them a great choice for salads such as this one…

Arugula, Avocado, and Olive Salad

  • 3 bunches arugula
  • 1 sliced avocado
  • 1C sliced kalamata olives
  • 1/2C pine nuts

Dressing

  • 1/2C olive oil
  • 2 minced cloves garlic
  • 1tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2Tbsp white wine vinegar

Roast the pine nuts in a shallow pan at 325 degrees F until brown. Combine the arugula, avocado, and olives. Whisk the dressing together. Pour the dressing over the salad. Top with pine nuts.

 

 

The larger, older leaves are better for steaming or using in sauces.

Arugula tends to sauté faster than kale and collard greens, and adds more flavor to a dish than spinach or Swiss chard. Often arugula is used along with milder greens such as watercress and romaine.

 

For example, try making your own version of the following pasta dish…

Sauté arugula in a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil. Season with freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Cook and drain pasta. Combine arugula, pasta, and whatever else you choose, such as grilled chicken.

 

Pesto…great served with pasta, burgers, sandwiches, or roasted and grilled meat

Blend arugula with the following ingredients…

  • 1/2C basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4C walnuts
  • 1/2C grated Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

 

A few more final ideas on how to use arugula…

  • Add a handful of fresh arugula to an omelet or scramble
  • Add arugula to your wrap, sandwich, or flatbread
  • Throw a handful of arugula and blend into a fresh juice or smoothie
  • Top your pizza with fresh arugula…this is very popular in the Mediterranean region.