Tarragon is for more than fish. This overlooked but deliciously sweet, rich herb offers major flavor and health benefits. Tarragon has a strong fragrance and a slight licorice taste, but it also has subtle earthy notes – it’s a bit fuller in flavor than basil, and not quite as sharp, either. You can interchange tarragon for basil in recipes for a slightly mellower, sweeter taste and a softer, more velvety texture. Is your mouth watering yet? Tarragon, a perennial, is easy to grow, too. It’s really only good fresh.
Tarragon is very low in calories, like most greens and herbs, and like purslane, contains some Omega-3’s. It has natural antimicrobial properties and contains generous amounts of many nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium and trace minerals. The primary benefit of tarragon is the fiber, but we think the aromatherapeutic benefit is a close second!
This week’s Smart Fuel: Acorn Squash
Winter is a wonderful time to enjoy drier, more dense vegetables, seeds, nuts and squashes. This week we’re highlighting acorn squash.
Acorn squash is considered a winter squash, but it’s actually classified with zucchini and other summer squashes. No matter; it is delicious no matter what you call it. Try it baked or stuffed; you can also fry it up with onions, meats, garlic and other savory additions. One acorn squash is usually less costly than an artichoke and can either serve as a delicious light dinner for one or a versatile, hearty side dish for 2.
Acorn squash is rich in beta carotene, though not as much as other winter squashes. However, acorn squash has generous amounts of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and magnesium. Plus, halved and hulled, acorn squash makes a perfect easy portion.
This week’s Smart Fuel: Pumpkin
Pumpkin is one of nature’s richest sources of the antioxidant beta carotene. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A by the body and plays an important role in many vital functions. This plant carotenoid is what gives pumpkins their lush orange coloring. Compelling current research suggests that beta carotene is a powerful tool against cancer and heart disease. Today we’re featuring pumpkin as our smart fuel of choice because of its combined antioxidant value and low sugar content. At only 49 calories and 9 net carbs per generous cup, this vitamin-rich squash is high in fiber, as well. Pumpkin contains many trace minerals, including over 560 milligrams of potassium. A banana contains roughly 450 milligrams. (In other words, you can go bananas for pumpkin.)
Look out for a healthy and savory pumpkin recipe from Aaron this afternoon!
Cranberries. We’re not talking about the aluminum can hunk of gel on your grandmother’s Thanksgiving table. We’re talking about fresh cranberries, one of nature’s most powerful antioxidant sources! Fresh, tart cranberries are in season right now and can be found at great prices in many stores.
Cranberries promote urinary tract health, but they are also good for the gastrointestinal tract and the mouth. Recent studies have shown they may play a role in helping to reduce the risk of kidney stones, as well as lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. Not too shabby for this sour little fruit!
Cranberries contain anthocyanadins, potent antioxidants also found in blueberries and pomegranates. As you know, antioxidants fight inflammation and free radical oxidation in your body. Translation: they help prevent aging, disease, and health problems! Cranberries also contain plenty of vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. You can stew fresh berries, or pit them and dice them up into salads, or reduce them into a delicious topping for pork, duck, turkey or other meats. Aaron will be bringing you a cranberry recipe later today, so stay tuned!
Purslane belongs in your diet! This abundant “weed” is a deliciously sour green that makes a wonderful addition to salads, stir fries, vegetable dishes, soups, and salsas. It pairs nicely with citrus and melon. It’s a tasty complement to pork, fish, and protein-rich beans such as lentils.
Purslane is the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids of any green, leafy vegetable. Interestingly, purslane contains the EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) form of Omega-3, which is rare for a plant source of fatty acids. Purslane is also naturally high in magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and iron. Pretty incredible, isn’t it!
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