vegetables http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4501/all en-US 10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_son_gardening.jpg" alt="family gardening" title="family gardening" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I had given up and admitted defeat. Gardening, I assumed, just wasn't for me. Plants either withered, were destroyed by bugs, or devoured by deer. Anything that lived was tiny and barely edible. I definitely fit the &quot;black thumb&quot; description, and assumed I was doomed to forever forage at the grocery store for produce.</p> <p>And then, we moved. The climate was different. All around me, people were growing fruits and vegetables. Why not give it another shot, I wondered? And so I did. First, I did some research and talked to neighbors. This was followed by years of keeping a garden journal to see what grew, and what did not. Here are my 10 guaranteed successes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way?ref=seealso">10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a>)</p> <h2>1. Radishes</h2> <p>If you cannot <a href="http://www.kiddiegardens.com/growing_radishes.html">grow radishes</a>, just give up gardening. Oh, sorry, that's a little harsh. My point is, they <em>will</em> grow unless you just don't water them. If you are an apartment-dweller, they fit nicely in pots.</p> <p>Favorite use? Slice good bread, butter it, and slice radishes over the top. Sprinkle with salt. This is known as a &quot;tartine&quot; in France. While it sounds a little odd, it's really good.</p> <h2>2. Herbs</h2> <p>Coming in at number two are herbs. Grow them indoors, outdoors, in pots, on your fire escape, wherever &mdash; they are programmed to grow, and grow they will. Try chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, basil, and rosemary. Fresh herbs in your cooking (even just tossed into your morning scrambled eggs) makes a huge difference in flavor, and are very inexpensive. I have yet to encounter an herb that refused to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better?ref=seealso">How to Keep Herbs Fresh Longer</a>)</p> <p>Favorite uses? With basil, make pesto. Chives are great in rolls and scrambled eggs. Parsley, I love in Italian food, and of course cilantro in Asian and Mexican dishes. Dill is good with potatoes or salmon, while rosemary is a natural in a pork roast. I keep herbs going year-round. They can also be frozen or dried if you get carried away and plant too many. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-delicious-cheap-recipes-that-use-up-your-herb-garden?ref=seealso">Delicious Recipes to Use Up Your Herbs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Squash</h2> <p>Of course, zucchini has become a joke (poor zucchini). Open a door in California in September, and you might find a bag of zucchini that someone has kindly &quot;shared&quot; with you. I have indeed made that mistake of planting too much of it. My father-in-law razzed me for years about my massive zucchini plantings. Well, live and learn, right? If you plant zucchini, my mother-in-law made one of my favorite things, ever. She let the zucchinis grow until they were very large. She then thinly sliced them, dipped them in an egg wash, then cracker crumbs, and fried them in butter. It is one of the best things on the planet.</p> <p>There are many varieties of squash, and they are easy to grow. My main problem with squash are bugs, so I have learned to be vigilant. I currently have starts for kabocha squash going, which are very sweet and versatile. My favorite use of kabocha squash is in a <a href="http://www.chow.com/recipes/30268-thai-red-curry-with-kabocha-squash">Thai red curry</a>. This recipe is very good (add some chicken, if you like), but you may want to dial back the red curry paste.</p> <p>Squash also takes a lot of space. A neighbor solved this problem by showing me how to grow it near a fence. They climb! Squash hanging off of a fence are sort of funny, but it also discourages the bugs, which get to them when they are on the ground.</p> <h2>4. Eggplant</h2> <p>It is a shame that so many people associate this vegetable with soggy, overly-greasy eggplant parmigiana. After reading about some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes">tasty eggplant recipes</a>, I planted more of it and it's really the gift that keeps on giving. I have had nearly five months' production from my plants and they show no signs of slowing down. I planted three varieties as an experiment; all are thriving. I never have staked mine, as they are very sturdy and no fruit hangs on the ground, but that is recommended.</p> <p>What to do with an eggplant? See the article above. Some people recommend salting the slices to get rid of the bitterness before cooking, but I have not done that and have not noticed any problems. You can make a much <a href="http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/recipe-makeovers/healthy-eggplant-parmesan-recipes">healthier eggplant parmigiana</a> that isn't so oily, but my favorite use is this <a href="http://www.tillysnest.com/2012/09/crock-pot-ratatouille.html">Crock-Pot ratatouille</a>.</p> <h2>5. Green Beans</h2> <p>My husband built a trellis in the garden area, and so I planted pole beans. It was important to me to have a garden area that is aesthetically pleasing. Pole beans are pretty, and once the beans get going, need to be picked frequently. If the beans get too big, they aren't as tasty. Pole beans take a little bit longer than other green bean varieties, but I think they are worth the wait. I love <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/green-beans-and-bacon-recipe.html">green beans with bacon</a>, served alongside some corn bread and stewed tomatoes.</p> <h2>6. Beets</h2> <p>Scarred by bad childhood beets memories, I didn't try them again until I was in my 30s. Now, I love them. I still like the canned ones, but a freshly roasted or boiled beet is a different matter. Roasting especially brings out their sweetness.</p> <p>If you like kale or spinach, do yourself a favor and cook some <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-and-delicious-beet-greens/">beet greens</a> (or &quot;tops,&quot; as they are also termed). It is a shame that many grocery stores cut off the tops. Beets are also a very pretty vegetable because of their deep purples and golds. There is even a variety that is deep pink and white. My favorite roasted beet recipe uses <a href="http://www.sloatgardens.com/recipes/oven-roasted-beets-goat-cheese-balsamic-vinegar/">goat cheese and balsamic vinegar</a>. Be diligent about thinning them in the garden, because they will need room to grow. They also like mulch.</p> <h2>7. Lettuces</h2> <p>I have had the best luck with Boston lettuce, and it is so easy. You will want to make sure your soil has plenty of nitrogen, and that you have partial shade. After your first harvest (in about 30 days), you can look forward to a second round in a few weeks. Don't get carried away planting &mdash; a small seed packet will produce about 50 pounds of leaf lettuce!</p> <p>Your main issue with lettuce will be bugs. Try spraying with a solution of dish soap (just a couple of drops) and water. You will have to repeat after a heavy rain. Fresh lettuce from your garden, or container, is so nice to have on hand.</p> <h2>8. Rainbow Chard</h2> <p>Not only does this vegetable grow easily, but it looks just beautiful in your garden with its stems of vibrant hues. I am looking at mine right now and I can see gold, purple, red, orange, and pink. It is almost too pretty to eat, but not quite. They prefer full sun, but I have grown chard in partial shade. They like grass-clipping compost. My favorite preparation of rainbow chard is to chop off the tough stems, sauté, and drizzle with red-wine vinegar. I think it's also really good in a <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/crustless-swiss-chard-quiche-311434">chard quiche</a>.</p> <h2>9. Carrots</h2> <p>Successful carrots took me a few years, but that is because I learn things the hard way. They love compost and loose soil; I had too many rocks and tough soil. They grew, but in very strange shapes. I also tended to sow too thickly, which did not give them enough room. Although they take a long time to grow (95 to 100 days), they are much sweeter than grocery-store carrots and you'll quickly become spoiled. You will need to weed around the plants, because weeds just really like to hang out with carrots.</p> <p>How to eat? A German friend taught me this method. Melt butter into a saucepan, and add carrots. Sauté for about four minutes, then add &frac14; cup of beer and cover the saucepan. Cook until just tender and add fresh dill. Delicious!</p> <h2>10. Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage</h2> <p>My best bok choy year was also my best carrot year, which was no coincidence. Bok choy also enjoys rich, loose soil. It is best grown in spring or fall, because it doesn't like hot sun beating down upon it. As with the carrots, though, be prepared to weed around the plants. I like bok choy at its simplest: Sauteed in a little oil, with garlic.</p> <h2>To Ensure Success</h2> <p>Before planting, we had a soil analysis done at the local university. These can also be done at your local agricultural extension. This was very helpful, and told us just what we needed to add to our soil. We took our print-out to a farm store, where we could pick up bags of recommended nutrients. Our print-out also recommended the best plants to try (which proved completely correct, although I did experiment with others).</p> <p>If you plan to do a big garden, you might as well start a compost bin, since you will need it. I do end up buying cinders and chicken manure every year, but that's not terribly expensive. If you are container-gardening, just be sure to get a good brand of potting soil.</p> <p>My garden journal has also been very helpful. Each year I sketch out what I want to plant, and where. I keep notes about how long things took to grow, and how successful (or not) they were. I also kept photos in the journal so I could have a visual reminder of where plants did particularly well.</p> <p><em>Gardener-readers, with what plants have you had the best luck?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green">How to Turn Your Black Thumb Green</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs">The Only 4 Things a Vegetable Garden Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation">Xeriscaping to Promote Water Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-native-landscaping-for-your-climate">Going Native: Landscaping for Your Climate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home gardening green thumb recipes vegetables Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Marla Walters 1345644 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Easy Ways to Sneak More Nutrition Into Your Food http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-sneak-more-nutrition-into-your-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-easy-ways-to-sneak-more-nutrition-into-your-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/honey-muffins-481912187-small.jpg" alt="honey muffins" title="honey muffins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting the best nutrition possible is a no-brainer, but eating nutrient-dense food on a regular basis can be harder than it sounds. Even if you are eating the right foods, you can often still add an extra boost to snacks and meals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multivitamins-arent-as-good-as-you-think-eat-these-real-foods-instead?ref=seealso">Multivitamins Aren't as Good for You as You Think: Eat These Real Foods Instead</a>)</p> <p>Read on for tips on hiding extra nutrients in the foods you already love without changing the reasons you love them.</p> <h2>1. Flax</h2> <p>Flax seed packs a surprising nutritional punch. It's loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and studies suggest it can positively affect your cholesterol levels. Flax is not easily digestible in whole seed form, so be sure to buy it ground or, even better, grind it yourself with a coffee grinder before using. The oil in flax can go rancid, so store it in the refrigerator.</p> <p>Adding a tablespoon or two to baked goods like muffins and pancakes won't noticeably affect the taste or the texture. It's perfect mixed into homemade granola or simply stirred into oatmeal. If you're into cooking vegan, you can also use flax as an egg replacer. Just swap an egg for some ground flax and water and boom! You have a <a href="http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes.php?recipe=7157">healthy egg replacer</a>.</p> <h2>2. White Whole Wheat Flour</h2> <p>We all know we're supposed to eat whole wheat, but sometimes the homemade version doesn't please picky eaters. In comes <em>white</em> whole wheat flour. A lighter and milder tasting flour with all of the benefits of whole wheat, it more seamlessly swaps for all-purpose flour in <a href="http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/tasting-is-believing-whole-grain-brownies-recipe">your favorite recipes</a>. Some ideas include pancakes, breads, pizza dough, muffins, and cookies. If you're really put off by the taste of whole wheat, try substituting for half of the flour called for in the recipe.</p> <h2>3. Leafy Greens</h2> <p>Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, so why aren't we eating them all of the time? If you're tired of salad, sneaking them into different dishes makes getting your dose of greens easy. Add chopped greens to soups like chili and all broth-based soups when they are almost done cooking. Add thawed and chopped frozen spinach to <a href="http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/turkey-spinach-meatballs">meatballs</a> and meatloaf. Include a handful of kale or spinach in your smoothie, and other than changing the drink's color, you won't even notice it.</p> <h2>4. Chia Seeds</h2> <p>Many vegans and vegetarians have discovered the magic of chia seeds, and you should too! The tiny seeds offer high-quality protein and much-sought-after omega-3 fatty acids. They are tiny in size, have a mild taste, and are an easy addition to smoothies and baked goods. They also <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/1016254/chia-seed-breakfast-pudding.html">magically create pudding</a> when combined with milk or nondairy milk.</p> <h2>5. Yogurt</h2> <p>There's a good chance you're already eating yogurt. It's a great source of calcium and probiotics &mdash; and everyone knows it. But did you know that you can incorporate yogurt into your cooking, and in the process replace excess fats? <a href="http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/french-yogurt-cake">Yogurt is great for baking</a>, as it adds a nice flavor and moistness to recipes. You can even use it in place of buttermilk: just use a mixture of &frac12; yogurt and &frac12; milk. Plain Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream for items like tzatziki-style sauces, which makes a great replacement for ranch dressing. And don't forget to add some to your smoothies. Just beware of flavored and sweetened yogurts, as they tend to be full of sugar.</p> <h2>6. Carrots and Zucchini</h2> <p>Moms across America have been hiding carrots and zucchini in kid's meals for years. That's because once cooked and blended, they add fiber and vitamins without greatly affecting taste. For adults, it's just a good way of adding a serving of vegetables to that spaghetti you were craving. Add these veggies to sauces, casseroles, and <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/10-ways-to-eat-your-vegetables-for-dessert-177912">shred them raw into baked goods</a>.</p> <h2>7. Tofu</h2> <p>Tofu offers protein, calcium, and vitamins without the unhealthy fats of meat. Not everyone loves eating a big piece of steamed tofu, but you can still incorporate this healthful item into your diet. Add crumbled, firm tofu to burgers, meatballs, and other recipes using ground meat to lessen the guilt. Silken tofu blends seamlessly into smoothies and can be transformed into desserts like pudding and <a href="http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2013/04/11/secretly-healthy-cappuccino-cloud-cheesecake/">cheesecake</a>.</p> <h2>8. Raw Honey</h2> <p>Honey has long been seen as a natural alternative to refined sugar, but switching to raw honey is even better for you. Raw honey has not been processed like most mainstream honey, and as a result contains more vitamins and minerals. If you're going to sweeten up that coffee or tea, you might as well get a little dose of vitamins, too. Honey can be used in place of sugar in many baking recipes, as long as <a href="http://www.homebaking.org/foreducators/askexperts/bakinghoney.html">you keep a few things in mind</a>.</p> <h2>9. Whole Wheat Pasta</h2> <p>If you're going to eat a bowl of pasta, at least make it whole wheat. Recent studies suggest that <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/09/01/344315405/cutting-back-on-carbs-not-fat-may-lead-to-more-weight-loss">refined carbohydrates can cause more weight gain than dietary fat</a>, so making the switch to whole wheat can make a real difference in your diet. The explosion of whole wheat pasta onto market shelves in the past few years means more options and better texture and taste. It's now easy to swap the more fiber-rich whole wheat pasta in all your favorite dishes without anyone being the wiser.</p> <h2>10. Olive Oil</h2> <p>Olive oil may seem obvious, but many people are still cooking with the healthy oil in a very limited way. Instead of using olive oil just for sauteing, use it whenever a recipe calls for oil (unless you are frying or cooking at high heat). You can use olive oil in all dressings and sauces, and, as long as the recipe doesn't call for more than half a cup, when baking in place of vegetable oil. If your cake recipe calls for a large dose of oil, replace a portion of the oil so the olive oil doesn't overwhelm the flavor.</p> <h2>11. Broccoli and Cauliflower</h2> <p>Cruciferous vegetables contain vitamins, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Too bad everyone isn't in love with the &quot;little trees&quot; broccoli and cauliflower. Luckily, you can utilize these vegetables in interesting ways to add a boost to your favorite dishes.</p> <p><a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/tortellini-broccoli-pesto-00100000116113/">Steamed broccoli makes a delicious pesto</a>,and is a great addition to <a href="http://diethood.com/cream-broccoli-potato-soup-kitchenaid-stand-mixer-giveaway">potato soup</a>.</p> <p>Cauliflower is <a href="http://www.yummyinspirations.net/2013/04/12-unique-ways-to-get-your-kids-to-eat">especially versatile</a> and can substitute for rice, pizza crust, and is undetectable when added to mashed potatoes.</p> <h2>12. Avocado</h2> <p>Avocado is a versatile fruit full of heart-healthy fat. Even if you are not an avocado fanatic, you can incorporate it into your diet in surprising ways, often replacing unhealthy saturated fat. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/23/avocado-smoothies_n_5193023.html">Avocados make surprisingly good smoothies</a> that often taste more like milkshakes. You can <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/substitute-this-avocado-for-butter-when-baking-174382">incorporate avocado into your baking</a> and decrease the fat by up to 40%. Incorporating avocado into your diet can also be as easy as using mashed, smooth avocado in place of mayo on sandwiches.</p> <p><em>How do you like to add nutrients to your favorite dishes? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laurel-randolph">Laurel Randolph</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-sneak-more-nutrition-into-your-food">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-scientifically-proven-to-make-you-more-beautiful">7 Foods Scientifically Proven to Make You (More) Beautiful</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-supposedly-unhealthy-foods-that-are-actually-good-for-you">8 Supposedly Unhealthy Foods That Are Actually Good for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-health-foods-not-worth-the-money">11 Health Foods Not Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turbo-charge-your-diet-with-superfoods">Turbo-Charge Your Nutrition With Superfoods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-health-foods-that-are-actually-making-you-fatter">10 Health Foods That Are Actually Making You Fatter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty diet healthy food nutrients nutrition vegetables Fri, 10 Oct 2014 15:00:07 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1229406 at http://www.wisebread.com Wise Bread Reloaded: Is Eating More Produce the Secret to Happiness and Wellbeing? http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-eating-fruit-salad-467006431-small.jpg" alt="woman eating fruit salad" title="woman eating fruit salad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An apple a day keeps the psychiatrist away?</p> <p>That's what medical researchers in the UK have learned.</p> <p>In a recent survey of 14,000 individuals, <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140923085945.htm">33.5% of participants with &quot;good mental wellbeing&quot;</a> consumed five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. In contrast, only 6.8% of participants with good mental wellbeing consumed less than one serving of fruits or vegetables per day. Other health-related behaviors such as alcohol intake and obesity were looked at, but only smoking and fruit and vegetable consumption were the &quot;behaviors most consistently associated with both low and high mental wellbeing.&quot;</p> <p>Getting your daily five (or more!) servings has obvious benefits for your physical health. And now it may be a boost to mental health, too.</p> <p>Need some ideas to help you get more fruits and vege into your body and your brain? Let's see what Wise Bread's writers have suggested over the years.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies?ref=classicwb">25 Delicious Recipes for 25 Delicious Veggies</a> &mdash; From Artichokes to Zucchini, Ashley Marcin shares one favorite recipe for each of her 25 favorite vegetables.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables?ref=classicwb">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a> &mdash; Frozen vegetables are a great frugal choice &mdash; almost as nutritious as fresh, often way cheaper, and always convenient. Rebecca Lieb shares a long list of easy, delicious recipes.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables?ref=classicwb">The Produce Worker's Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a> &mdash; You're sold on the idea of getting more fruits and vegetables, but you're unsure about how to choose the freshest, most flavorful ones from the bin. No problem. Ashley Watson used to be a produce stocker at her local grocery, and she learned a lot about ripe produce.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce?ref=classicwb">7 Ways to Use Subpar Produce</a> &mdash; Linsey Knerl shows you what to do with a mushy banana or some wilted celery or a flat of overripe strawberries.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor?ref=classicwb">Fridge or Counter: Where to Store Fresh Fruit for Best Flavor </a>&mdash; Now that you have it home, where do you store it? Ashley Marcin tells you.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-incredible-but-true-facts-about-eating-fruits-and-vegetables?ref=classicwb">10 Incredible But True Facts About Eating Fruits and Vegetables</a> &mdash; Finally, Beth Buczynski uncovers 10 more astounding facts about fruits and veggies, giving you even more reason to fill your cart in the produce section.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-is-eating-more-produce-the-secret-to-happiness-and-wellbeing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink brain food fruit happiness mental health produce vegetables Sat, 27 Sep 2014 11:00:06 +0000 Lars Peterson 1222771 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Fresh Veggies You Can Grow From Kitchen Scraps http://www.wisebread.com/7-fresh-veggies-you-can-grow-from-kitchen-scraps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-fresh-veggies-you-can-grow-from-kitchen-scraps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gardener-vegetables-470660623-small.jpg" alt="gardener vegetables" title="gardener vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A funny thing happened at our house this spring.</p> <p>We bid on our house in October, closed in December, and moved in January. In Colorado. So, while we knew that the house seemed to be well-landscaped and we could see the general outlines of how things would grow, we had no idea if some of the beds had anything at all planted in them, let alone what might be there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/urban-composting-it-can-be-done?ref=seealso">Urban Composting: It Can Be Done</a>)</p> <p>So super early this spring, about the time that the tulips and daffodils started blooming, something shot up out of one bed, and then another something, and then another. I waited for them to bloom, but, when they didn't, I went ahead and pulled one up, just to see what it was. As I pulled, I got a whiff of something.</p> <p>Onion?</p> <p>Sure enough, someone had planted green onion ends in the garden bed, and they were coming up as the weather warmed.</p> <p>When I researched it, I found that there are actually a good number of vegetables that you can plant from kitchen scraps, so you can regrow them over and over and over again. Here are some of my favorites.</p> <h2>Lettuce and Celery</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/lettuce-496516601-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I grouped these together because <a href="http://wakeup-world.com/2012/10/15/16-foods-thatll-re-grow-from-kitchen-scraps/">their re-growth process is similar</a>. Cut off all the stalks but leave the whitish part at the bottom intact. Place this in a bowl of water and wait a few days, being sure to spray or flick water onto the top so it stays moist, too. Within a week, you should start seeing baby leaves and roots growing out of the old white part. Plant it with just the new leaves above the soil line, and water. Pretty soon you'll have a whole new vegetable!</p> <p>I have found that some heads, especially of lettuce, just don't seem to sprout. I'm not sure why this is, but I usually just buy another vegetable and try again. I've read that this whole process works with cabbage and bok choy, too, but I haven't tried either of those.</p> <h2>Avocado</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/avocado-179226644-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The process here is <a href="http://www.diyncrafts.com/4732/repurpose/25-foods-can-re-grow-kitchen-scraps">more involved</a> than for almost everything else.</p> <p>To re-grow an avocado, wash the seed and poke toothpicks into its sides until you can use them to suspend it, wide part down, over a glass of water. Fill the glass until the water comes to &frac34;&quot;-1&quot; above the bottom of the seed. Keep it warm and remember to add water if the levels drop. After about six weeks, you should see a stem. When that gets to 6&quot;, trim it back to approximately 3&quot;. Once you see leaves (usually about the same time as the trim), plant the whole thing in your garden, with the top half of the seed peeking out of the ground.</p> <p>We love that these are re-growable, because we used to live in California, where they're much cheaper than they are here. The process feels very slow, but having fresh avocados is so worth it!</p> <h2>Ginger</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/ginger-462332883-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The full name for &quot;ginger&quot; is &quot;ginger root,&quot; and the part you buy in a store is exactly that. <a href="http://blackthumbgardener.com/1-plants-you-grow-from-kitchen-scraps/">You can simply plant it</a>, either in a pot or directly into your garden. Everything I've read says to plant it with the most recent buds facing up, but I can never tell which those are, and mine has regrown fine. Simply plant it and water it like any other plant.</p> <p>The only problem with ginger is that it is awkward to harvest. You have to get down to the roots, either by digging or pulling the whole thing up, and then replant it again. Still, if you use ginger a lot, it's probably worth the time and energy that takes.</p> <h2>Pineapple</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/pineapple-151567443-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>To get started <a href="http://www.earth911.com/home-garden/grow-food-from-scraps/7/">re-growing a pineapple</a>, you need to separate the top from the fruit. Consensus seems to say that the best way to do this is to cut it about &frac14;&quot; down and dig out the fruit. Then let the top dry for a few days, before you plant it directly into moist soil, potting or otherwise. Be sure to keep it warm and damp, since the pineapple grows best in tropical areas. It can take up to two years for the plant to produce fruit but, hey, we have all the time in the world.</p> <p>I honestly haven't tried this one, because no one here likes pineapple, but I included it because it sounds like so much fun. Let me know how it goes if you try it!</p> <h2>Potatoes (and Sweet Potatoes, Too!)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/potatoes-476705637-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Chop a regular potato into sections that each have at least two eyes. Plant these in a pot and water them well until you see shoots and leaves appearing. Sweet potatoes are similar, except that most of the eyes tend to cluster around one end. You can plant the whole thing, or just cut off this &quot;top&quot; of the potato and plant that. Once you see the shoots and leaves, you can take cuttings, and start new plants and/or transplant them into your garden.</p> <p>Later this summer, after we found green onions growing all over the place, we discovered that some of our larger &quot;weeds&quot; were actually potato plants! We haven't harvested them yet (except for the few that we accidentally dug up when we thought they were pests), but they look promising.</p> <h2>Mushrooms</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/mushrooms-464081987-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>These tend to be <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/20/grow-vegeables-food-scraps_n_2909396.html#slide=2238372">a particular challenge to re-grow</a>, but it's fun to try. Separate the top part from the bottom part. Then plant the bottom part in soil that's as nutrient-dense as you can get it, with just the very tip showing. If you keep it cool at night and in filtered light (think light that a mushroom might get while under a tree) during the day, you just might top your pizza with your own mushrooms next time!</p> <p>I haven't had much success with this, but it hasn't stopped me from trying. It seems hard to get these just the right amount of water at the right time. Mine keep looking like they are doing well, and then dying all-of-a-sudden.</p> <h2>Onions</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/onions-474411711-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>In addition to the green onions I found growing in my yard, <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/growing-onions-cutting-67280.html">you can re-grow full-size onions</a>, too. Usually, an onion has an end that seems to have small roots attached. Cut this off, with just &frac14;&quot; or so of the flesh of the onion still attached. Plant this, roots down, in a pot or directly in your garden.</p> <p>My onions have been ready in two-three months, when the stalk starts to get yellow, though it can take up to four months, depending on where you live and where you plant them. Remember to note where you plant which types of onions, so you can be sure to harvest the type you need!</p> <p><em>Have you re-grown any vegetables from kitchen scraps? Did it work for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fresh-veggies-you-can-grow-from-kitchen-scraps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself">The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-good-food-goes-bad-part-iii-the-crisper-from-hell">Delicious Way to Use Up All the Vegetables in Your Crisper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink compost gardens leftovers scraps vegetables Wed, 03 Sep 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1202639 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Worst Things to Grow in Your Garden http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garderner-carrots-450799137-small.jpg" alt="gardener carrots" title="gardener carrots" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A garden can be an amazing investment for the home cook, foodie, or family provider. Most plants can be grown and harvested for a small fraction of what it would cost to buy even a couple meals' worth of produce in the store. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself?ref=seealso">The Only Fruits and Vegetables Worth Growing Yourself</a>)</p> <p>There are other types of plants, however, that offer a weak return on your investment. Here are the vegetables I tend to shy away from, and why you may not want them occupying your precious garden space, either.</p> <h2>Cauliflower</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/cauliflower.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Cauliflower is a fickle plant in that it has a long growing season before it matures, but also likes it cool. If your part of the country gets hot early, this vegetable may have a hard time. In addition, it needs a little &quot;pampering&quot; to do well. The outer leaves must be grown so that they can be brought up over the head of the cauliflower and tied into place. Assuming you do everything right, they are still prone to beetles and insect damage, which can be hard to deal with in a veggie that is literally hiding away until it is ready. And when you're done with the process, you usually have just the one head to show for all your work anyway.</p> <h2>Carrots</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/carrot%20plant_0.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I have had luck with growing these beauties at least once in my long gardening life, but it required a ton of work.</p> <p>Carrots need an almost perfect soil bed to give them the right Ph level to grow, as well as a completely unobstructed path downward; if they run into anything on their way south, they can stunt or branch off. Two-pronged carrots, while still tasty, are not the goal of the gardener, and it isn't uncommon to dig up spindly or dwarfed produce after a long season of tending to them. Fresh carrots have a flavor that some may find off, depending on the nutrients in the soil you grow them in. Considering that a bag of carrots is usually less than $1 a pound, they are a cheap commodity best purchased in the store or farmer's market. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/baby-carrots-the-frugal-idea-that-isnt?ref=seealso">Baby Carrots: The Frugal Idea That Isn't</a>)</p> <h2>Celery</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Celery%20plant.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>What goes best with carrots? Celery, of course! And this also-affordable veggie can be equally painful to grow at home. It's notorious for requiring water and cool temps, but needs a very long time to mature. If you can keep up with the moisture demands and have a soil type that holds moisture, you will be waiting quite a while for your celery.</p> <h2>Head Lettuce</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/head%20lettuce.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Leaf lettuce is one of the easiest plants to grow in your garden. You simply plant the seed, water, and watch it grow. Head lettuce, on the other hand, requires a watchful wait for the lettuce to grow large enough to create the round ball we are used to seeing in the store. In the meantime, steady watering and temps are necessary to keep the plant from creating flowers &mdash; or bolting. Most gardeners we know stay away from head lettuce, as the Midwest gets so hot, and the premature flowering of the plants make them taste bitter. Going with a leaf lettuce blend isn't just easier, your salads will be more colorful, too!</p> <h2>Corn</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/corn2.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you have a large area to work with, sweet corn can be an easy crop to raise. For the average backyard gardener, however, the amount of ground needed for a substantial crop is more than available.</p> <p>Since corn requires many factors to pollinate, including air movement, one single row of corn will not easily produce. Tall corn can easily blow over in the wind or bad weather, as well, making it difficult for anything less than 20 plants to stay upright. Corn usually only puts on two ears or so per plant, giving a lower yield than most garden plants. In the end, it might be easier to stop at that roadside stand and invest in their five for a dollar sale.</p> <p>As with any article on gardening, your mileage will vary by your location, experience, and luck. Even the most seasoned growers have bad years &mdash; and favorite plants!</p> <p><em>What veggie have you sworn off growing? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-worst-things-to-grow-in-your-garden">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">10 Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Lifestyle fruit gardens vegetables Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1180565 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/growing vegetables-450798673-small.jpg" alt="growing vegetables" title="growing vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not everyone has a green thumb, and growing a garden can often be a tiring &mdash; and expensive &mdash; endeavor for anyone to tackle. While it can be easy to spend hundreds of dollars on seeds, plants, additives, and water, you can make gardening worth your investment by growing the fruits and veggies that cost the most in stores today.</p> <p>Starting a plant as a seed (for veggies) or a sapling (for a fruit tree) is the best way to realize savings, although it takes longer for your harvest to come, and there is more risk. Seed packets usually run no more than $2 a packet, even for heirloom varieties. (Heirloom is original, non-hybrid, non-GMO seed stock.) With between 20 and 100 seeds per packet, if even a handful of the seeds grow into fruit-producing adult plants, you've earned much of your investment back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies?ref=seealso">25 Simple Recipes for 25 Delicious Veggies</a>)</p> <p>Most gardeners hope to go far beyond &quot;breaking even,&quot; however. Considering that the recent California drought, rising gas prices, and overall food inflation will make fresh fruits and veggies even more expensive this year, it may be easier than ever to earn back what you spend on even the most modest garden.</p> <p>Here are my favorites for reaping what you sow.</p> <h2>Artichokes</h2> <p>These delicious veggies are actually cousins to the thistle, and preparing them for eating is a process way more complicated than growing them. Since they are also one of the most expensive items to buy in the store, however, any success you have in growing them will be much appreciated! They can be started from seed, shoots, or the cuttings of other adult artichokes; they do well in most any climate, and can be replanted new each year in those areas that are too cold to survive the winters.</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: Many people aren't sure <a href="http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/4796/how-to-grow-artichokes/page/all">how to harvest them</a> once their artichokes are ready; by cutting them before they get too big, you can ensure energy is devoted to creating more &quot;fruits&quot; than flowers.</p> <h2>Brussels Sprouts</h2> <p>The hated Brussels sprout has become a popular choice of chefs across the country, and more people are creating delicious dishes with the veggie in their own kitchens. By growing your own, however, you can choose &mdash; among other things &mdash; how big, how tender, and how flavorful your sprout becomes. You can also grow hundreds for the price of a pound of store-bought. Starting from seed can be difficult, which is why many sprout lovers get plants from their nursery. Hot summers can kill these plants, so it is recommended to grow them for a &quot;fall garden&quot; when the chance of high temps has passed for the year.</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: Looking for the best flavor in your Brussels sprouts? Experts suggest is it a good idea to harvest <a href="http://cedarcirclefarm.org/tips/entry/brussels-sprouts-tips-from-seed-to-harvest">after the first mild frost</a> each fall. The cold weather give them a delicious note that you just can't buy in the store!</p> <h2>Tomatoes</h2> <p>You really have to have some bad luck to get nothing from a tomato plant. While veteran gardeners can take a packet of seeds and get a dozen or more healthy plants, you can expect to get amazing results from even one adult plant ready to transplant to your own garden. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-with-100-tomatoes?ref=seealso">What to Do With 100 Tomatoes</a>)</p> <p>Tomatoes all offer varying degrees of yield, but the cherry or grape tomato plants seem to give and give and give. Varieties such as Romas are great for cooking and making sauce, and with more meaty pulp than water and seeds, you can expect to get gallons of sauce from just one plant. Hard-core canners with a dozen or more plants can put up hundreds of jars of sauce at the end of the season, giving you a great return on your initial investment.</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: If you have too many green tomatoes at the end of a season, with no chance to ripen before frost, consider any one of these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-tomatoes-autumn-tips-to-prolong-the-growing-season">delicious green tomato recipes</a>!</p> <h2>Zucchini</h2> <p>This very productive plant is the butt of many garden jokes, and people go quickly from appreciating their bounty to wondering &quot;what the heck can I do with all this zucchini?&quot; Luckily, this makes it a sure-fire way to get a little back on the light maintenance zucchini plants require. Whether you eat them small, sliced thin for stir-fry, or let them grow large and bake with them, there is a zucchini recipe guaranteed to help you use up your surplus. Since zucchini actually start best as seeds planted directly in the garden, their cost to get started is minimal, too!</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: If you grow tired of eating them yourself, here are some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gadzukes-10-ways-to-use-up-your-zucchini-bounty">unique ways to get rid of all that zucchini</a>.</p> <h2>Mint</h2> <p>While not exactly something to make much of a meal out of, the humble mint plant is a fantastic addition to any garden and one that will literally take over if you aren't careful.</p> <p>Mint comes in many varieties, including chocolate, pineapple, apple, and spearmint. Use it to make jellies, jams, teas, and salves. One small plant from your nursery usually runs no more than $4, and can quickly cover several square feet of raised bed within weeks of planting. (Plus, it comes back every year stronger than the previous year. You may find yourself digging much of it up to give away.)</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: Annoyed with how well your mint is doing? Consider pulling up all but a few plants each year and donating the surplus to the kitchen or garden of your favorite non-profit.</p> <h2>Kale</h2> <p>This salad must-have is nutritious and versatile. While it does best in cooler weather, once established, it can be kept in the shady part of a garden for almost the entire spring through fall time period. Cutting just the top leaves off when they are young can help keep the flavors mild and leaves tender, plus it will encourage growth. Started as seed, it's similar to lettuce or spinach, but is much more resistant to bugs, cold, and heat. Kale in the store can run $4 or more for a bag; having a single row in your garden can keep you in free salad for many months!</p> <p><strong>Production Tip</strong>: If you see your kale plants starting to get tough or &quot;prickly,&quot; it's time to start anew. Sow new seeds in between older plants and pull up the old plants when the new ones are producing. Rotating fresher stock every few weeks ensures you will always have the most tender leaves possible!</p> <h2>Other Smart Choices</h2> <p>Depending on your soil and growing season, there are a few other plants that tend to do well in most climate zones; squash, peppers, and radishes all grow well most years and either cost very little to start (like the radishes) or produce many fruits per plant (like the peppers and squash).</p> <p>As with any endeavor, it's best to plant no more than what you can reasonably maintain, care for, and harvest. Wasted produce does not count on the plus side of your ROI formula! It's also fun to factor in just how much you are earning back with your garden. Homegrown isn't just valued higher because it's fresh and free from strange growing and handling procedures. Food you grow yourself is tax-free, too! It takes far less effort to grow a tomato than to work to earn the money to buy that same tomato &mdash; after you pay income taxes, that is!</p> <p><em>What fruits and vegetables in your garden have given you the best ROI? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">What NOT to Buy at a Farmers Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/foods-you-can-grow-in-the-comfort-of-your-home">Foods You Can Grow in the Comfort of Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">Getting by without a job, part 4--get free stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/waste-not-want-not-stop-throwing-away-your-food">Waste Not, Want Not: Stop Throwing Away Your Food!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fresh-veggies-you-can-grow-from-kitchen-scraps">7 Fresh Veggies You Can Grow From Kitchen Scraps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Food and Drink Green Living fresh food gardens homegrown vegetables Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1149042 at http://www.wisebread.com The New Kale: How to Cook This Summer's 8 Most Popular Vegetables http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-kale-how-to-cook-this-summers-8-most-popular-vegetables <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-new-kale-how-to-cook-this-summers-8-most-popular-vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/vegetables-178360406.jpg" alt="radishes" title="radishes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>During my last journey through the produce department at my grocery store, I noticed something odd. The kale section had shrunk. Coincidentally, I had just read a less-than-enthusiastic food writer's review of kale cupcakes. Was the magic over? Were we kale-lovers passe? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-with-kale-easy-recipes-for-real-people?ref=seealso">Easy Kale Recipes</a>)</p> <p>Feeling curious, I did some research. What's hot these days? Cauliflower, beets, parsnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, radishes, and broccoli sprouts. And I have decided to be part of the &quot;in&quot; crowd &mdash; as least as far as vegetables are concerned. Here are some recipes for you if you'd like to join.</p> <h2>1. Cruciferous Cauliflower</h2> <p>I had been so intrigued by &quot;cauliflower steaks&quot; that I just had to try them, and I was sort of curious to see what my husband's reaction would be. Could I make a satisfying, &quot;meaty&quot; dish out of cauliflower?</p> <p>There are many recipes out there. I settled on this <a href="http://whatscookingamerica.net/Vegetables/CauliflowerSteaks-Roasted.htm">Roasted Cauliflower Steaks</a> method, because I found the photos to be very helpful. Then I used this <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/portobello_gravy.html">Portobello Mushroom Gravy</a> to top the &quot;steaks.&quot; I don't think you will fool anyone's palate by pretending cauliflower is steak-like, but this is absolutely delicious and the meal was filling.</p> <p>Because I had the rest of the cauliflower to use up after carving steaks from the centers, I went hunting for a side dish recipe. This <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/cauliflower-goat-cheese-gratin-recipe.html">Cauliflower-Goat Cheese Gratin</a> was irresistible! It is very rich, so consider yourself warned. However, if you want to talk about comfort food, go no further. This can easily be turned into a main-dish casserole with the addition of some chopped ham or chicken breast.</p> <h3>Why Eat Cauliflower?</h3> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/cauliflower-health-boost">Cauliflower</a> has lots of soluble fiber (which helps with low cholesterol and keeps blood sugar levels steady, plus potassium and folic acid.</p> </li> <li> <p>It is a good source of vitamin C.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>2. Beets, Beautiful Beets</h2> <p>Many of you have eaten Julia Child's wonderful Beef Bourguignon, a classic. It would never have occurred to me to leave out the meat and substitute beets, as done in this <a href="http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/beet-bourguignon/">Beet Bourguignon</a>.The lentils suggested are probably more authentically French, but I really liked it with crusty sourdough bread. I also prefer cornstarch as a thickener for broths and stews. The flavors here are true to the classic &mdash; do not leave out the thyme. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-add-big-flavor-to-your-food?ref=seealso">Cheap Ways to Add Big Flavor</a>)</p> <p>Also, nobody told me that you could put beets in pasta. It turns out you can, and should. Check out this <a href="http://lovebeets.com/beet_recipes/detail.asp?ItemID=2105">Creamy Pasta Bake With Beets and Smoked Ham</a>. I used gruyere cheese, rather than cheddar, and wow&hellip; something about the combination of the cheese, beets, chives, and smoked ham was just killer. We have been avoiding cured meats so I used uncured, smoked ham, and I doubt the flavor suffered. The next time I make this, I will experiment with adding some bleu cheese crumbles, which I think would go well with the flavors, too.</p> <h3>Why Eat Beets?</h3> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2349/2">Beets</a> contain potassium, fiber, and folate.</p> </li> <li> <p>Research is indicative that beets may protect against development of kidney <a href="http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/top-4-anti-cancer-superfoods">cancer cells</a>.</p> </li> </ul> <h3>3. Radishes Rave</h3> <p>Honestly, I have never given much thought to radishes. Slice 'em, toss 'em into a salad. Whoop-dee, right? Did you know you can <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/roasted-radishes-with-radish-greens"><em>roast</em></a> radishes? We are roasting all kinds of vegetables these days, and this is the best way to eat a radish, ever. OK, yes, it involves butter.</p> <p>The radish excitement did not stop at roasting, though. Check out this <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/popular-ingredients/radish-recipes-00100000099069/index.html#8">Pesto, Radish, and Sea Salt Crostini</a>. Not only visually appealing, the flavor combination is dazzling. It's a great appetizer, sure, but these are also delicious with a bowl of soup (roasted red pepper and tomato was good).</p> <h3>Why Eat Radishes?</h3> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2606/2">Radishes</a> contain potassium, folate, calcium, and minerals.</p> </li> <li> <p>They are a good source of vitamin C.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>4. Rutabagas? Really?</h2> <p>I don't think I had ever even purchased a rutabaga before. They weren't easy to find. And what would I do with them? Well, a little research showed that they are usually mashed, but could be roasted. Those both sounded fine. However, I could combine several trendy vegetables (rutabagas, carrots, and parsnips) <em>and</em> sausage, and make this delicious <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Hearty-Rutabaga-Carrot-Parsnip-and-Sausage-Soup-2744">hearty and rooty soup</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies?ref=seealso">25 Simple Recipes for 25 Veggies</a>)</p> <p>In all honesty, I was not that intrigued by rutabaga recipes, until I saw this one for <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/autumn-recipe-creamy-smoky-whi-157478">Creamy, Smoky Whipped Rutabagas</a>. Wow! I could not find smoked olive oil, but I keep a bottle of smoke flavor in my refrigerator, and just added a few drops of that. This is so good, it has a &quot;holiday&quot; feeling to me.</p> <h3>Why Eat Rutabagas?</h3> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/health-benefits-of-rutabaga/">Rutabagas</a> are a good source of vitamin C.</p> </li> <li> <p>They have plenty of zinc.</p> </li> <li> <p>They are a good source of fiber.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. One Potato, Two</h2> <p>It's hard to not be filled with admiration for the nutritional value of a sweet potato. I am happy to eat them with a pat of butter, but I knew we could do better. This blogger gave her <a href="http://whatsgabycooking.com/healthy-loaded-sweetpotatoes/">Healthy Loaded Sweet Potatoes</a> a sort of a taco treatment, which is both easy and delicious. Recipes like this are also kid-friendly &mdash; they can add their own toppings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/45-special-sweet-potato-dishes?ref=seealso">45 Ways to Eat Sweet Potatoes</a>)</p> <p>I don't know about you, but I am always looking for interesting things to eat for breakfast. Check out these <a href="http://www.thedailybalance.com/2010/03/29/daily-delish-an-eggcellent-baked-sweet-potato/">eggs in sweet potatoes</a>! The combination of oven plus microwave speeds things up (do not reverse the directions &mdash; I have blown up potatoes in the microwave after heating in the oven).</p> <h3>Why Eat Sweet Potatoes?</h3> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2667/2">Sweet potatoes</a> are a good source of vitamins C, B6, and A.</p> </li> <li> <p>They are also rich in magnesium.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>6. Perplexed by Parsnips</h2> <p>My entire knowledge of parsnips, prior to being educated about how trendy they are, was that they are good in lamb stew. End of story. They really threw the checker at the grocery store, too (&quot;Are these daikon radishes?&quot;). I wasn't smug about my vegetable knowledge because I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them.</p> <p>Enter: <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/354231/carrot-and-parsnip-fries?czone=food%2Fproduce-guide-cnt%2Fproduce-guide-fall&amp;gallery=275724&amp;slide=354231&amp;center=276955">Carrot and Parsnip Fries</a>. Fries? Yes! Yes, they are really just roasted carrots and parsnips, but they are delicious. I roasted mine for closer to a half-hour, because the parsnips took a while to get tender-crisp. I really love the look of these, but must admit all the slicing was a bit tedious. They are very nice alongside a turkey burger.</p> <p>My second parsnip experiment was a soup. Knowing that 'snips are good in soups, as mentioned earlier, I wanted to try something more interesting than a stew. I found this <a href="http://dishbytrish.com/vegan-recipes/parsnip-sweet-potato-bisque-giveaway">Parsnip and Sweet Potato Bisque,</a> which totally fit the bill (sweet potatoes being another trendy vegetable). This is a vegan recipe, and I am not a vegan, so I modified by using olive oil, a cup of chicken broth, and 2% milk. I also put a dollop of sour cream on top. The sweet potatoes make the soup a pretty color, and because we eat first with eyes, that was important to me. This is very tasty with a toasted-cheese sandwich.</p> <h3>Why Eat Parsnips?</h3> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2515/2">Parsnips</a> are a good source of folate.</p> </li> <li> <p>They have plenty of potassium.</p> </li> <li> <p>They also provide lots of fiber.</p> </li> <li> <p>And parsnips are a good source of vitamin C.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>7. Super Sprouts</h2> <p>To me, broccoli sprouts taste considerably better than alfalfa sprouts. Well, for one thing, they <em>have</em> flavor. Some describe it as a radish-like favor. The little sprouts are also touted for their <a href="http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/dietandnutrition/broccoli">anti-cancer benefits</a>. Broccoli sprouts' zippiness really adds to this easy <a href="http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/spicy-broccoli-sprout-sushi/">vegetarian sushi</a>. I substituted some leftover salmon to these rolls in the place of tofu. I also like to drizzle some Sriracha mayonnaise on the plate, for dipping. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-use-sriracha-aka-awesome-sauce?ref=seealso">20+ Ways to Use Sriracha</a>)</p> <p>Add the sprouts to your hamburger toppings, to a burrito, a salad, or a sandwich. If you cannot find them at your grocery store, check online, where you can easily find sprouting kits. The kits are fun to do with your kids, too. They grow quickly and are a great beginning gardening project.</p> <h3>Why Eat Broccoli Sprouts?</h3> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/advantages-broccoli-sprouts-4629.html">Broccoli sprouts</a> contain up to fifty times the antioxidant (and anti-cancer) <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulforaphane">sulforaphane</a> than mature broccoli.</p> </li> <li> <p>The are a good source of fiber.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>8. I'm Not Kicking Kale</h2> <p>Kale, you may be soooo &quot;yesterday,&quot; but we still love you, and I love this <a href="http://kristineskitchenblog.com/2013/10/16/massaged-kale-salad-with-pepitas-cranberries-and-goat-cheese/">Massaged Kale Salad With Pepitas, Cranberries, and Goat Cheese</a>.</p> <h3>And You Should Keep Eating Kale Because...</h3> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2">Kale</a> is full of fiber.</p> </li> <li> <p>It's a good source of iron.</p> </li> <li> <p>It's also a good source of vitamins A and K.</p> </li> </ul> <p><em>What are your favorite &quot;trendy&quot; vegetables? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-kale-how-to-cook-this-summers-8-most-popular-vegetables">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies">25 Simple Recipes for 25 Delicious Veggies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-use-canned-salmon">50 Ways to Use Canned Salmon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap recipes root vegetables trendy veggies vegetables Wed, 30 Apr 2014 08:36:31 +0000 Marla Walters 1137334 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Simple Recipes for 25 Delicious Veggies http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food-168345034.jpg" alt="vegetables" title="vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A sure sign you've crossed that invisible line into full-fledged adulthood is that you actually start enjoying vegetables. Even those really yucky ones, like Brussels sprouts, start looking appealing in the right light. If you haven't reached this milestone, adding variety to your vegetable routine might help you come around. Here 25 recipes that work to highlight &mdash; not hide &mdash; a vegetable's unique flavor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables?ref=seealso">The Produce Worker's Guide to Fruits and Veggies</a>)</p> <h2>1. Broccoli</h2> <p>With just five ingredients, this <a href="http://foodnfemininity.blogspot.com/2014/01/roasted-broccoli-soup-recipe.html">Roasted Broccoli Soup</a> is both simple and satisfying. The author mentions that adding homemade croutons or even tossing in some cheddar cheese takes this bowl to the next level.</p> <h2>2. Cauliflower</h2> <p>Home cooks are doing just about everything with cauliflower these days. This <a href="http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/mac-and-cheese-style-cauliflower/">Mac and Cheese Style Cauliflower</a> dish is one I've made and tested myself. If you're in the mood for comfort food, it's a fantastically healthy alternative. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-cruciferous-vegetables-for-health-conscious-cooks?ref=seealso">6 Cheap and Healthy Cruciferous Vegetables</a>)</p> <h2>3. Eggplant</h2> <p>The cook behind this delicious <a href="http://yummilyyours.com/bharli-vangi-stuffed-eggplant-curry/">Stuffed Eggplant Curry</a> recipe asserts that those who don't like eggplant just haven't tried the right recipe. While eggplant can be somewhat bland on its own, the spices in this dish enhance its natural flavor and &quot;meaty&quot; texture. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes?ref=seealso">Tasty and Frugal Eggplant Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>4. Carrots</h2> <p>My favorite carrot recipes are rather basic &mdash; I even like eating them raw. For example, these <a href="http://highgatehillkitchen.com/2014/01/16/roasted-carrots-with-tahini-drizzle-middle-eastern-feast-cont/">Roasted Carrots With Tahini Drizzle</a> take little kitchen skill, but are an impressive and inexpensive palate-pleaser.</p> <h2>5. Celery</h2> <p>Though often added to flavor <em>other</em> dishes, celery can hold its own when given the chance. This tasty <a href="http://gourmandeinthekitchen.com/2013/celery-root-and-apple-salad/">Celery Root Salad</a> features both celery and celery root, along with apples for extra crunch. It's finished off with a sophisticated lemon-mustard vinaigrette.</p> <h2>6. Parsnips</h2> <p>These baked <a href="http://ohsheglows.com/2010/04/16/these-fries-will-change-your-life/">Parsnip Fries</a> (coated in nut butter) changed my whole world when I discovered them a few years ago. I made them every single night for two straight weeks. And now I'm craving them again.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/vegrec-93596887-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <h2>7. Kohlrabi</h2> <p>If you have a CSA share, you're bound to end up with this strange looking vegetable. Don't be afraid, though&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;it tastes like broccoli. This</span> <a style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;" href="http://rosajackson.blogspot.com/2008/03/celeriac-and-kohlrabi-rsti.html">Kohlrabi Rosti</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">looks a lot like fritters and showcases the familiar flavor wonderfully.</span></p> <h2>8. Kale</h2> <p>One of my favorite vegetables &mdash; kale &mdash; just so happens to be a superfood. I try to incorporate it into many meals, including our weekly pizza night. This <a href="http://karyosmond.com/kale-pizza/">Kale-Topped Pizza</a> can easily be made with packaged dough. If you'd like to toss a healthier, from-scratch crust, try this <a href="http://www.farmfreshfeasts.com/2013/06/basic-kale-pizza-dough-pizza-night.html">Kale Pizza Crust</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home?ref=seealso">Make Restaurant Quality Pizza at Home</a>)</p> <h2>9. Bell Peppers</h2> <p>Although technically a fruit, bell peppers are a hit at our dinner table. To showcase them, I like to make easy stuffed peppers. You can use most any mix of veggies, beans, rice, etc. This <a href="http://sundaymorningbananapancakes.yummly.com/2012/08/mexican-quinoa-stuffed-green-peppers.html">Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers</a> recipe is a great place to start if you're curious.</p> <h2>10. Spinach</h2> <p>Traditionally made with aromatic basil leaves, pesto can be used to flavor many dishes and eaten on its own. This <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2013/05/spinach-pesto.html">Spinach Pesto</a> recipe, on the other hand, blends the nutrition of spinach with nutty pumpkin seeds and can even be made vegan by using nutritional yeast in place of Parmesan cheese. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list?ref=seealso">Frugal Items for Your Organic Vegan Grocery List</a>)</p> <h2>11. Collard Greens</h2> <p>Collards can take some getting used to, and I'll be the first to admit it. Regardless, they are good for you! If you'd like to make them the centerpiece of your meal, try out this <a href="http://blog.seasonwithspice.com/2013/12/skillet-collard-greens-mushroom-recipe.html">Skillet Collard Greens</a> recipe with eggs and mushrooms.</p> <h2>12. Brussels Sprouts</h2> <p>I avoided Brussels sprouts for the longest time (they get a bad reputation, don't they?). When I finally caved and gave them a try, I was surprised to discover how delicious they can be. Now I make <a href="http://www.spachethespatula.com/simply-roasted-brussels-sprouts/">Roasted Brussels Sprouts</a> as a side or snack at least once a week.</p> <h2>13. Swiss Chard</h2> <p>Greens and eggs is one of my go-to combinations. So, this <a href="http://palatablepastime.com/2014/01/08/quiche-with-swiss-chard-and-mushroom/">Quiche With Swiss Chard and Mushroom</a> looks absolutely incredible. The best part of quiche? The cheese! And this recipe uses an exotic Prima Donna, but you can also substitute Gouda.</p> <p><img width="605" height="302" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/vegrec-462959243-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <h2>14. Bok Choy</h2> <p>If you're after a fast meal, this <a href="http://www.borrowedsalt.com/blog/2014/1/21/twenty-minute-miso-noodle-bowls">Miso Noodle Soup With Bok Choy</a> comes together in just 20 minutes. The light, brightly flavored broth goes famously with those delicate bok choy leaves.</p> <h2>15. Zucchini</h2> <p>Here's another one of those grey-area produce items. Zucchini, though actually a fruit, is treated as a vegetable in the culinary context. That's good news for you, because this <a href="http://simply-delicious.co.za/2013/11/12/zucchinibruschetta/">Zucchini Bruschetta</a> with goat cheese is absolutely divine!</p> <h2>16. Cabbage</h2> <p>I'm already planning to add the ingredients for this next dish to my weekly grocery list. This <a href="http://www.blueapron.com/recipes/stuffed-cabbage-with-sweet-and-sour-tomato-sauce">Stuffed Cabbage With Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce</a> is a triple threat! It's healthy, wholesome, <em>and</em> substantial. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage?ref=seealso">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare Cabbage</a>)</p> <h2>17. Rutabaga</h2> <p>Vegetable-based dishes aren't always savory. Try this <a href="http://thefreshmethod.com/2013/12/15/mashed-rutabagas-with-ginger-roasted-pears/">Rutabaga Mash With Ginger Roasted Pears</a> for a sweeter side. The author writes that, though rutabagas seem ugly and rough on the outside, all you need is a &quot;vegetable peeler and an open mind&quot; to enjoy them to the fullest.</p> <h2>18. Onion</h2> <p>A classic way to enjoy onions is to simmer up a <a href="http://killingthyme.net/2014/01/19/french-onion-soup/">French Onion Soup</a>. Topped with crusty bread and a nice layer of melted Gruyere, this recipe can also be made vegetarian with a simple swap of veggie for beef broth.</p> <h2>19. Radishes</h2> <p>Want color? These <a href="http://www.aroundmyfamilytable.com/2013/05/oven-roasted-radishes-with-peas-and-dill/">Oven Roasted Radishes With Peas and Dill</a> are about as vibrant as you can get. I don't often cook radishes, but this recipe has piqued my interest enough &mdash; I might just have to grab a bunch at the store to try.</p> <h2>20. Squash</h2> <p>What I appreciate most about squash is its shelf-life. If stored correctly, many varieties can last months on end. Whether delicatta, acorn, butternut, spaghetti, or some other more obscure type, like opo, there are many squash entrees from which to choose. Here are <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/popular-ingredients/squash-recipes-00100000066892/">16 Squash Recipes</a> that are well worth a read-through on Real Simple. And if you don't want to sort through all of those, just remember that simply roasting, with a little salt and pepper, makes any squash delicious. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-storing-25-common-fruits-and-veggies?ref=seealso">Guide to Storing Fruits and Veggies</a>)</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/vegrec-157823334-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>21. Asparagus</h2> <p>Want to try something a little new and different? This <a href="http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/2013/05/recipe-asparagus-and-leek-flan-with-escarole-and-potato-hash.html">Asparagus and Leek Flan</a> is served with escarole and potato hash. For those of you who are unfamiliar, flan is just a fancy name for an open sponge-like cake with either a sweet or, as in this case, savory filling.</p> <h2>22. Sweet Potatoes</h2> <p>Thick cubed sweet potatoes steal the show in this healthy <a href="http://www.cookingquinoa.net/quinoa-sweet-potato-chili">Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili</a>. This recipe is vegan, but the author promises it's packed with enough amazing flavor and meaty textures that it will satisfy even the most discerning of carnivores in your family.</p> <h2>23. Beets</h2> <p>If you're getting bored of the same old veggie burger recipe, give these <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2013/02/we-heart-beet-burgers.html">Beet Burgers</a> a try. Blended with beans, red peppers, and a mix of spices, those sweet-but-earthy beets give the standard vegetarian fare a refreshing twist. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians?ref=seealso">Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>24. Leeks</h2> <p>The author promises that these <a href="http://cookingontheweekends.com/2013/09/lemon-sherry-braised-leeks-recipe/">Belgian Style Leeks</a> are like nothing you have ever had. Braised in lemon juice and healthy splash of Sherry, these leeks taste great on their own or as a simple side dish.</p> <h2>25. Artichokes</h2> <p>Beyond roasting with a spritz of lemon juice and olive oil, I've never done anything creative with artichokes. This <a href="http://teczcape.blogspot.com/2013/07/artichoke-lavash-flatbread-pizza.html">Lavash Flatbread Pizza</a> has me thinking outside the box. It's topped with a heaping helping of artichoke hearts, which is the author divulges can be found in your grocer's freezer section. Who knew?</p> <p>There are many vegetables to try, and the ones above are just some of the more common on the market.</p> <p><em>We'd love to hear some of your go-to recipes for these &mdash; and other, more exotic &mdash; veggies. Please leave a note for us to check out in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-5-ingredient-recipes-that-save-time-and-money">25 Easy 5-Ingredient Recipes That Save Time and Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-kale-how-to-cook-this-summers-8-most-popular-vegetables">The New Kale: How to Cook This Summer&#039;s 8 Most Popular Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-use-canned-salmon">50 Ways to Use Canned Salmon</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap recipes simple recipes vegetables Wed, 19 Feb 2014 11:36:25 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1126571 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/vegetables-165250208.jpg" alt="frozen vegetables" title="frozen vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to healthy eating options on the cheap, frozen veggies are king! Still, bags of chilled vegetables don&#39;t often inspire culinary genius. When money&#39;s especially tight, the creative use of frozen veggies might be your nutritional salvation, so it&#39;s important to find innovative ways to use and enjoy! Here, we&#39;ve given you 25 tasty ways to use frozen mixed vegetables. Bon appetit! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-frozen-broccoli?ref=seealso">Delicious Ways to Prepare Frozen Broccoli</a>)</p> <h2>1. Spicy Carrot Hummus</h2> <p>Have an excess of frozen carrots? Try this amazingly innovative <a href="http://www.greengiant.com/recipes/detail/spicy-carrot-hummus">spicy carrot hummus</a> recipe. It calls for four ingredients aside from carrots, but you can add other sweeter or milder frozen veggies (like peas or Edamame) to give the dish a wider flavor profile. Trust me, it tastes amazing and will leave your guests impressed!</p> <h2>2. Veggie Fritters</h2> <p>With this awesome recipe, you can make <a href="http://www.earthyfeast.com/recipe/vegetable-fritters-3-ways-vegan-vegetarian-gluten-free/">tasty vegetable fritters vegan</a>, vegetarian, or gluten free. Use any combination of frozen veggies to serve as the fritter&#39;s vegetable base, and with a delicate combination of spices, you&#39;ll love what results!</p> <h2>3. Creamy Chicken With Veggies</h2> <p>In 15 minutes, you can take some frozen vegetables and chicken and make them into a delicious meal. This super sophisticated but simple <a href="http://www.recipe.com/creamy-chicken-and-vegetables-with-noodles/">creamy chicken with vegetables</a> recipe is delightful, and uses pasta to complete the dish. With or without pasta, you&#39;ll have a great dinner in no time.</p> <h2>4. Veggie Casserole</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/mixed-vegetable-casserole-262821">mixed vegetable casserole</a> recipe is a great place to start if you&#39;re in the market for a fun side dish or hearty main plate. Make a lot and freeze it, for a great mixed-veggie dish that keeps on giving! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-terrific-freeze-ahead-casserole-recipes?ref=seealso">10 Freeze-Ahead Casserole Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>5. Spinach and Artichoke Dip</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/frzveg-119839376-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Elevate that frozen spinach or spinach medley with this <a href="http://www.greengiant.com/recipes/detail/slow-cooker-hot-artichoke-and-spinach-dip">scrumptious spinach and artichoke dip</a>! You can even modify the recipe to just include only spinach or spinach and other veggies like corn and mushrooms if you aren&#39;t digging the artichoke component. Either way, this recipe is a tasty, party-friendly favorite. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-tasty-ways-to-use-frozen-spinach?ref=seealso">35 Ways to Use Frozen Spinac</a>h)</p> <h2>6. Samosa-Stuffed Potatoes</h2> <p>I love me some samosas, but often times they aren&#39;t the healthiest. These <a href="http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/vegetarian-recipes/samosa-stuffed-baked-potatoes.php">samosa-stuffed spuds</a> are a great, versatile example of making Samosas more flavorful and adding some nutrition. The recipe calls for separate individual vegetables, but you can definitely use mixed vegetables for the samosa stuffing. Enjoy!</p> <h2>7. Chicken Tortilla Soup</h2> <p>This great <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-V/Detail.aspx?evt19=1">chicken tortilla soup</a> recipe is easy, and the resulting flavors are wonderfully fresh! It calls for corn, but substituting a corn veggie medley gives this soup lots more body. Delicious! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-night-soup-delicious-soup-from-leftovers?ref=seealso">Soup From Leftovers</a>)</p> <h2>8. Tortellini Primavera</h2> <p>For those who don&#39;t like to eat their vegetables, this <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/tortellini_primavera.html">tortellini primavera</a> dish is a genius plate of food! Integrate those essential greens with filled pasta and a cheesy sauce to create a dinner everyone can not only agree on, but love!</p> <h2>9. Artichoke Spinach Lasagna</h2> <p>Need some inspiration for your frozen spinach? This <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/artichoke-spinach-lasagna/detail.aspx?evt19=1&amp;prop24=hn_slide2_Artichoke-Spin">artichoke spinach lasagna</a> is dangerously good, and the moisture from the frozen spinach gives the dish added lightness. Add some other frozen veggies like carrots or peas if you&#39;re feeling especially ambitious!</p> <h2>10. Zucchini Parmesan Bites</h2> <p>Frozen broccoli, spinach, zucchini or cauliflower will work as the veggie for this <a href="http://freerecipenetwork.com/zucchini-bites/">fun little snack;</a> just make sure to squeeze out all moisture so your bites come out perfectly. Pair with a yogurt-based dip or an egg for a side dish or breakfast delight! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-breakfast-for-dinner-meals?ref=seealso">20+ Breakfast-for-Dinner Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>11. Pot Pie</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/frzveg-160565027-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Pot pie is a great way to integrate those mixed veggies into a hearty dinner. This <a href="http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/710">chicken pot pie</a> recipe uses low-fat ingredients that are as easy to prepare as they are to enjoy.</p> <h2>12. Veggie Biryani</h2> <p>Dig the traditional Pakistani/Indian dish but don&#39;t quite have the funds to dine in-house? This <a href="http://www.indianvegetariankitchen.com/2008/09/biriyani-using-frozen-vegetables-ideal.html">frozen veggie biryani</a> recipe will bring Southeast Asia to you, on the cheap.</p> <h2>13. Minestrone Soup</h2> <p>A good Minestrone soup is a beautiful thing, but don&#39;t be nervous about trying to create your own! This recipe for <a href="http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1482780">vegan minestrone soup</a> can be adjusted to suit your freezer&#39;s inventory.</p> <h2>14. Vegetable Curry</h2> <p>This recipe for mixed vegetable <a href="http://cookingsecrets.org/indian/mixed-kofta-tomato-curry.html">Kofta</a> in a tomato curry shows how to take a Middle Eastern meat dish and make it vegetarian, delicious, and perfect for the low-budget cook! Try serving it over rice or with your favorite flat bread. Trust us, it will soon be a favorite way to utilize those frozen mixed veggies!</p> <h2>15. Creamy Egg and Veggie Bake</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.bhg.com/recipe/eggs-cheese/creamy-egg-and-vegetable-bake/">casserole</a> won&#39;t seem low-fat when you feed it to your family! A mixture of frozen vegetables, potatoes, eggs, chicken bouillon, and mustard make this casserole gluten free, healthy, and nutritious.</p> <h2>16. Au Gratin Potato Casserole</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/frzveg-158554059-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 302px;" /></p> <p>If you have some vegetables and hash browns doing serious freezer time, <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/au-gratin-potato-casserole-10000001120169/">au gratin potato casserole</a> is for you! Add the vegetable medley to the casserole recipe to give a heavy meal a bit of a light crunch, and also to add color! You&#39;ll find the casserole is delicious on its own, but even better with some veggies.</p> <h2>17. Southwestern Egg Rolls</h2> <p>Have some time, but not a lot of fresh ingredients? These <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/southwestern-egg-rolls/">southwestern egg rolls</a> can be made with frozen spinach, onions, peppers, and corn as primary ingredients. Create a delicious appetizer that&#39;s restaurant-quality, using the bounty of your freezer! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-but-classy-appetizers?ref=seealso">Frugal-but-Class Appetizers</a>)</p> <h2>18. Curried Veggie Medley</h2> <p>Add some spice to your vegetable medley! This <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf/Recipes/Vegetables/Vegetable-Medley-Recipes.html">curry medley</a> is simple and a great way for the beginning curry connoisseur to integrate some Indian spices into their regular cuisine. It calls for veggies of all kinds, potatoes, yogurt, and salt. It&#39;s gluten-free and vegetarian, and it&#39;s delicious! If you&#39;re feeling extra daring, add some fried or steamed tofu.</p> <h2>19. Vegetable Fried Rice</h2> <p>For a great Asian meal on a budget, this <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/vegetable-fried-rice-10000001909062/">vegetable fried rice</a> is simply the best! A few inexpensive specialty items like sesame oil and ginger will give the rice and veggies a great depth of flavor, and you can skip the eggs to make the dish vegan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list?ref=seealso">20+ Frugal Items for Your Vegan Grocery List</a>)</p> <h2>20. Tomato Sauce</h2> <p>Sneak those frozen vegetables right into a nice cream or tomato-based sauce! This <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/garden_tomato_sauce.html">great garden tomato sauce</a> makes adding a cup or two of your frozen veggies easy. Trust us, once you start adding veggies, you&#39;ll never go back to the pain old canned sauce!</p> <h2>21. Moo Shu Vegetables</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/frzveg-137128057-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Stir fry those veggies into an <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/moo_shu_vegetables.html">easy moo shu</a> and you&#39;ll have dinner in a snap. Once you have the Asian kitchen staples like ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil, making frozen veggies into an Asian culinary experience is easy. The recipe is low fat, but feel free to add proteins like tofu, chicken, or shrimp into the mix!</p> <h2>22. Lemon-Parsley Green Beans</h2> <p>Frozen green beans can be used for this tart and tangy side dish, but don&#39;t feel shy about adding carrots, broccoli, or onions! A healthy, satisfying dish like <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Lemon-Parsley-Green-Beans/Detail.aspx?evt19=1">lemon-parsley green beans</a> is an excellent way to integrate those frozen mixed veggies into your everyday meal planning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-every-day-a-month-of-frugal-meals?ref=seealso">How to Plan a Month of Frugal Meals</a>)</p> <h2>23. Broccoli Soup</h2> <p>A good broccoli soup is a beautiful thing! Use some frozen peas, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, and beans in the medley to make your broccoli soup more veggie-packed! Soups are a great way to use those frozen vegetable medleys, and a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/down-home-with-the-neelys/broccoli-soup-recipe/index.html">cream or broth-based soup</a> will showcase veggie flavors while keeping the dish hearty and filling.</p> <h2>24. Stuffing</h2> <p>Around the holidays, put those frozen veggies straight into your stuffing! This <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/sweet-and-savory-root-vegetable-stuffing-recipe/index.html">recipe</a> calls for carrots, squash and parsnips, but you can cut or replace these ingredients with frozen veggies to cut costs (and not flavor)!</p> <h2>25. Vegetable Couscous</h2> <p>Toss those frozen v&#39;s into a couscous, and you&#39;ve just make yourself a yummy, sophisticated vegetarian entr&eacute;e. This <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/vegetable-couscous-recipe/index.html">vegetable couscous</a> recipe calls for pumpkin and cilantro, but you can pare down or dress up most couscous and veggie recipes to your liking!</p> <p><em>Now that you&#39;ve got some frozen vegetable inspiration, let&#39;s see what other delicious recipes you can dream up.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rebecca-leib">Rebecca Leib</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-recipes-for-25-delicious-veggies">25 Simple Recipes for 25 Delicious Veggies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-kale-how-to-cook-this-summers-8-most-popular-vegetables">The New Kale: How to Cook This Summer&#039;s 8 Most Popular Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-use-canned-salmon">50 Ways to Use Canned Salmon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap recipes frozen vegetables vegetables Thu, 12 Dec 2013 22:25:07 +0000 Rebecca Leib 927852 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only 4 Things a Vegetable Garden Needs http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garden-5094135-small.jpg" alt="seedlings" title="seedlings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite children&#39;s books is &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067983687X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=067983687X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Bear and Bunny Grow Tomatoes</a>.&quot; The two characters are friends and neighbors. Bear plants a garden the right way (preparing the soil, getting rid of rocks, weeding, etc.) while Bunny throws seeds in a plot of dirt and then relaxes by the pool for the rest of the summer. At the end, the diligent gardener gets a great harvest and the slack one gets nothing, until Bear gives Bunny his extras. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way">Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a>)</p> <p>I love the book because I so closely identify with Bunny as a gardener. However, as diligent as I tried to be, none of my own gardening efforts ever yielded results. Trying hard didn&#39;t appear to be the magic ingredient in a successful garden.</p> <p>Last year, I decided to make growing a garden a new year&#39;s goal. When a <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11399177?sid=981709" target="_blank">Living Social</a> offer on a gardening class popped into my inbox, I quickly signed up. The deal was a four-hour class with the promise that I could learn the basics from a real-life gardener. The instructor overturned conventional wisdom that didn&#39;t work in real life. Most importantly, I learned that if you don&#39;t have four simple ingredients, <em>nothing else matters</em>. Here are the basics to growing a garden.</p> <h2>Soil</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gdn-4027293-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Great soil is essential to growing vegetables, fruits, and other plant life. Plants get their nutrients from the soil. So, for plants to thrive, <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/soil-is-the-key-to-successful-gardening/index.html">they need soil with great nutrients</a>. The first step is to evaluate your soil and, if needed, take steps to improve its composition.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.provident-living-today.com/Types-of-Soil.html">three main types of soil are clay, sandy, and silt</a>. To develop loamy soil (the kind you want) from these types, mix in self-made or store-bought organic matter. You can add plant food, just as you can take vitamins and supplements for your body. But the best and cheapest nutrients come from real stuff like grass clippings, dead leaves, chopped-up tree prunings, etc.</p> <p>Soil can also be classified by its pH level, such as acid, alkaline, or neutral. My instructor recommended <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Test-Soil-pH">getting garden soil tested to determine its pH</a>. You can try testing yourself using a commercial device or work with your agricultural extension office or similar resource, which should provide testing services.</p> <p>Most plants thrive at neutral levels although some, like blueberries, benefit from lower or higher levels. After you have received test results, <a href="http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-adjust-soil-ph-for-your-garden.html">make adjustments to the soil pH</a> depending on the types of vegetables you hope to grow. If you need help with this step, visit a full-service garden center or enlist help of your local agricultural extension agent. (Note that I skipped this test because my soil looked good to me.)</p> <h2>Sun</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gdn-5398339-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Plants need lots of sun. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis">The energy from sunlight is converted into chemical energy that fuels growth in a process called photosynthesis</a>. My instructor advised that most vegetables need at least eight hours of sun every day.</p> <p>Based on my experience, the spots on my deck and porch that get about four hours of sun daily do not support vegetable life. However, <a href="http://organicgardening.about.com/od/vegetablesherbs/a/shadeveggies.htm">some folks are able to grow certain vegetables, such as lettuce and beans, with three to six hours of sun per day</a>.</p> <p>There are just a few places in my yard that get enough sun on a regular basis. I chose a sunny location with great soil to plant my garden.</p> <h2>Water</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gdn-4950939-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Plants need water, which <a href="http://www.ask.com/question/why-do-plants-need-water">is useful for gathering nutrients from the ground</a>. Most importantly, I learned that <a href="http://www.kew.org/science-research-data/kew-in-depth/msbp/seed-banking-technology/environmental-conditions-seed-germination/index.htm">seeds need moisture to germinate</a>. So even if you ignore your garden for most of the season, make sure there is water or moisture immediately after you plant the seeds.</p> <p>We had an unusual amount of rain in our area this summer, so I watered my plants just once during the season. My garden got about an inch of rainwater each week, generally enough to grow vegetables. To determine how much water your vegetables need, check a <a href="http://www.burpee.com/gardening-supplies/watering/watering-your-garden-article10365.html">gardening resource</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-native-landscaping-for-your-climate">Landscaping for Your Climate</a>)</p> <h2>Seeds</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gdn-5025837-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>I purchased a seeds-of-the-month subscription from <a href="http://www.averagepersongardening.com/about/#.UkA7FdJt6hW">Mike of Mike the Gardener Enterprises</a>. There are two options for growing from seed: 1) <a href="http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/starting-seeds-indoors?page=0,2">plant indoors</a> or 2) wait for the ground to become amenable to seed growth. I followed instructions on the seed packets and waited until the soil was warm enough to receive my seeds and planted directly into the ground, rather than spend my winter cultivating plants indoors. (See also: F<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/foods-you-can-grow-in-the-comfort-of-your-home">oods You Can Grow in Your Home</a>)</p> <p>I planted my seeds not being sure that they&#39;d actually grow. But they did! My garden grew a nice harvest of tomatoes and peppers along with amaranth. I wasn&#39;t completely successful, as my cauliflower plants looked like they were destroyed by bugs and my zucchini seemed to be drowned by the overabundance of rain; still I was thrilled to grow something.</p> <p>It impresses veteran gardeners when I tell them I grew vegetables from seed. The truth is that all the vegetables I tried to grow from plants never did anything but die. In fact, the vegetables that grew were so abundant I needed to <a href="http://gardening.about.com/od/vegetables/qt/Thinning-Vegetable-Plants.htm">thin my plants</a>. Where I didn&#39;t remove enough tomato plants, for example, they are all tangled up and drooping off the stakes installed to keep them away from each other. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-your-garden">How to Plan Your Garden</a>)</p> <p>Next time, I will improve on my techniques. I will space out my plants. I may even keep a garden journal. But the truth is that I needed to learn how to grow something, anything, before I could advance to the next level. My advice is to start with the simple ingredients and grow from there.</p> <p><em>Now that harvest has almost come and gone, what gardening tricks worked for your garden this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-tomatoes-autumn-tips-to-prolong-the-growing-season">Save the Tomatoes! Autumn Tips to Prolong the Growing Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snail-free-gardening">Snail Free Gardening</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">What NOT to Buy at a Farmers Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living garden gardening vegetables Fri, 18 Oct 2013 09:48:04 +0000 Julie Rains 1031607 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food-5172659-small.jpg" alt="cabbage" title="cabbage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cabbage is one of the most underrated vegetables. This humble <em>brassica</em> was a mainstay of frugal diets the world over for the last few thousand years, but in modern days, when we have an abundance of other fruits and vegetables, it tends to fall by the wayside when we prepare meals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-was-on-sale-now-how-do-i-cook-it">It Was on Sale. How Do I Cook It?</a>)</p> <p>Nevertheless, do not underestimate the cabbage, my friends. It is nutritious, lasts forever in the fridge, is one of the most frugal ways to make a meal, and can be incredibly delicious. This cruciferous vegetable has anti-carcinogenic properties which seem to be especially effective against colorectal cancer. And it also happens to <a href="http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php">be low in pesticides</a>, so there's no need to buy organic. Now all you need to know is how to make it into a meal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-apple-dangerous-how-to-eat-fewer-pesticides-and-save-money">How to Eat Fewer Pesticides and Save Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stir-Fried Spicy Cabbage</h2> <p>This is one of my go-to meals when there's nothing in the fridge but a head of cabbage and a few eggs. Basically, you heat a skillet over high heat, pour in some oil, add chopped cabbage, stir-fry it until it is crisp-tender and charred in some spots, and then add soy sauce and chili sauce. Top it with a couple of fried eggs and call it dinner! I first learned about this quick, high-heat <a href="http://orangette.blogspot.com/2009/01/best-we-can-hope-for.html">method of cooking cabbage</a> from Orangette (although I omit the fennel and add garlic), and it has become one of my regular meal options ever since.</p> <h2>2. Braised Red Cabbage</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/food-4420499-small-ggnoads.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <p>Braised red cabbage is one of my favorite sides during the winter holidays and goes well with everything from baked ham to bratwurst. It's comforting, warm, and simple to prepare. Just put oil, cabbage, vinegar, and brown sugar into a pot and let the whole thing simmer until the cabbage is tender, about an hour. Here's a yummy version of <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/939039/braised-red-cabbage">braised red cabbage with bacon</a>.</p> <h2>3. Cabbage Slaw</h2> <p>It doesn't get any simpler. Shredded cabbage, tossed with dressing (I love poppyseed or peanut dressing). You can get a little fancier by adding other shredded fruits and vegetables &mdash; carrots, broccoli, apples &mdash; as well as add-ins such as dried cranberries, pine nuts, and herbs. Here's a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/health/nutrition/broccoli-cabbage-and-kohlrabi-coleslaw-with-quinoa-recipes-for-health.html?_r=0">cabbage and broccoli slaw</a>, and I also like to make an <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spicy-Napa-Cabbage-Slaw-with-Cilantro-Dressing-243168">Asian-style slaw</a> using shredded napa cabbage and a slightly sweet rice vinegar dressing.</p> <h2>4. Cabbage Soup</h2> <p>Throwing cabbage into a soup is a great way to use up the half a head leftover from coleslaw. Here's a hearty <a href="http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/rustic-cabbage-soup-recipe.html">rustic cabbage soup</a> that pairs budget-friendly cabbage with potatoes and white beans for a filling and frugal meal. You could also try a <a href="http://www.thislifeofbliss.com/2013/06/borsch-russian-beef-and-cabbage-soup.html">classic borscht</a>. You can add almost any vegetable to cabbage and stock to make a soup, so use up what's in your fridge! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-night-soup-delicious-soup-from-leftovers">Delicious Soup From Leftovers</a>)</p> <h2>5. Cabbage Rolls</h2> <p>Classic cabbage rolls are delicious, healthy, and a great way to feed a crowd. Meat, rice, and seasonings are wrapped in cabbage and slowly simmered in tomato sauce. Here's an easy version <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cabbage-rolls-ii/">of cabbage rolls for the slow cooker</a>, and here's a <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/classic-cabbage-rolls">simple stove-top version</a>.</p> <h2>6. Cabbage Kimchi</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/food-4893425-small-ggnoads.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <p>Kimchi is one of my favorite condiments. This tangy, spicy, Korean cabbage pickle adds zing as well as nutrients to a slew of dishes. You can find kimchi at Asian markets and larger supermarkets (or have a go at <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-cabbage-kimchi-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-189390">making kimchi yourself</a>). Add it to burgers, tacos, cheese quesadillas (one of my favorites), or make an easy <a href="http://www.kimchichronicles.tv/recipes/kimchi-fried-rice/">kimchi fried rice</a>. Serve it on top of steamed rice with leftovers and a fried egg for a quick meal.</p> <h2>7. Baja Fish Tacos</h2> <p>Authentic <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/baja-fish-tacos-recipe/index.html">Baja-style fish tacos</a> are topped with cabbage instead of lettuce. Just pan-fry a batch of white fish (tilapia is affordable and has a mild flavor), slip them into warm corn or flour tortillas, and add shredded cabbage, salsa, fresh Mexican cheese (queso fresco), and a squeeze of lime. I like to add a yogurt sauce made of plain yogurt, lime juice, salt, and chili powder.</p> <h2>8. Stir-Fried Noodles With Cabbage</h2> <p>A lot of stir-fried noodle dishes include cabbage. This recipe for <a href="http://lifemadesweeter.com/?p=1617">Shanghai-style noodles</a> with Napa cabbage looks especially savory and delicious. You can also make a simple noodle dish using chow mein, cooked ramen noodles, or even cooked spaghetti in a pinch. Stir-fry some meat and cabbage, add the cooked noodles, and add condiments such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt, and sugar. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-cheap-low-cal-condiments-to-brighten-up-boring-food">16 Cheap, Low-Cal Condiments</a>)</p> <h2>9. Cabbage Stew</h2> <p>Cabbage can be a hearty, nutritious, and frugal component in a stew, providing a delicious one-pot meal. Try this <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/italian_sausage_and_cabbage_stew/">Italian sausage and cabbage stew</a>, or this <a href="http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2008/03/irish-potato-cabbage-soup-with-soda.html">gluten-free Irish potato and cabbage stew</a>.</p> <h2>10. Cabbage Hash</h2> <p>If you have leftover corned beef (or just use some bacon) you can easily make <a href="http://fabtasticeats.com/2013/03/18/irish-eggs-benedict-with-corned-beef-and-cabbage-hash/">cabbage hash</a> for brunch. For variety, try making it with chopped Brussels sprouts (or as I like to call them, &quot;mini cabbages&quot;). Serve it with a couple fried eggs for a delicious breakfast.</p> <h2>11. Indian Spicy Cabbage</h2> <p>This simple-to-make, turmeric-spiked <a href="http://www.girlcooksworld.com/2013/04/spicy-yellow-indian-cabbage.html">Indian cabbage dish</a> is a fragrant side dish to accompany curries, Tandoori chicken, or any main dish. With just five ingredients (not including oil and salt), this flavorful dish is easy to put together.</p> <h2>12. Roasted Cabbage Wedges</h2> <p>Almost everything tastes better roasted, so why not cabbage, too? Toss <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/315062/roasted-cabbage-wedges">cabbage wedges</a> with oil, salt and pepper, and some caraway seeds and roast them in the oven. While you're at it, roast some potatoes and perhaps some chicken legs for a hands-off dinner.</p> <h2>13. Sauerkraut</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/food-5074253-small-ggnoads.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <p>Sauerkraut, or fermented, preserved cabbage, has a long history as a frugal way to preserve vegetables for the winter. Germanic and Eastern European peoples would salt down the cabbage in barrels with spices and sometimes wine, creating a tangy dish that is still popular today, especially for traditions like celebrating the New Year. Today, there's no need to <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/sauerkraut-recipe/index.html">ferment your own sauerkraut</a> (though it might be a fun experiment), as it is readily available in jars or at delis. This nutritious side dish goes especially well with grilled sausages and pork. It's also delicious on a hot dog.</p> <h2>14. Red Lentil and Cabbage Dal</h2> <p>Put <a href="http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2013/03/red-lentil-dal-with-cabbage/">lentils and cabbage</a> together and you've got a SUPER frugal, healthy meal. Lentils provide protein without the fat of meat, and they're cheap and tasty, too. Simmer red lentils until soft, then add cabbage cooked with complex spices, and you've got dinner covered. Add salad and perhaps some naan bread for wiping up the flavorful sauce.</p> <h2>15. Colcannon</h2> <p>A traditional Irish dish, colcannon is a mixture of mashed potatoes, cabbage or kale, onions, and spices. I like this <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/colcannon/">recipe for colcannon with kale</a> for an extra punch of color and nutrients. Did you know that kale is a form of wild cabbage? However, you can always substitute cooked cabbage for the kale if you're not a fan.</p> <p>Cabbage is one of the best resources for creating frugal meals from scratch, so give it chance if you don't cook with it often. Getting creative with a few new cabbage recipes just might make you fall in love with this humble vegetable.</p> <p><em>Are you a fan of cabbage? What's your favorite cabbage dish?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-use-canned-salmon">50 Ways to Use Canned Salmon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-delicious-ways-to-use-pineapple">20 Delicious Ways to Use Pineapple</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-chicken-leg-and-thigh-recipes-from-around-the-world">15 Chicken Leg and Thigh Recipes From Around the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-frozen-broccoli">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare Frozen Broccoli</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cabbage cheap recipes frugal dining recipes vegetables Thu, 19 Sep 2013 23:27:25 +0000 Camilla Cheung 2484 at http://www.wisebread.com End Potato Prejudice: 10 Reasons Why You Should Eat Potatoes http://www.wisebread.com/end-potato-prejudice-10-reasons-why-you-should-eat-potatoes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/end-potato-prejudice-10-reasons-why-you-should-eat-potatoes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food-5236685-small.jpg" alt="potatoes" title="potatoes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's easy to forget the health benefits of the potato. The humble tuber has acquired a bad rap over the past decade, and it's high time for a tater comeback.</p> <p>What was once a beloved vegetable &mdash; a staple of family dinners, practically required at holiday meals, and even turned into a series of adorable children's toys &mdash; suddenly became the black sheep of the vegetable arena. Which is a shame, because potatoes are actually one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet, and you should eat more of them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a>)</p> <h2>60 Days of Hot Spuds</h2> <p>In 2010, one man was determined to restore the reputation of the potato. Chris Voigt, Executive Director of the Washington State Potato Commission, ate nothing but potatoes for <a href="http://www.livescience.com/10163-man-eating-potatoes-2-months.html">two months</a>. The results were incredible &mdash; Voigt lowered his cholesterol, blood pressure, and lost 21 pounds.</p> <p><a href="http://20potatoesaday.com">Stats</a> before and after the challenge:</p> <ul> <li>Beginning weight: 197</li> <li>Beginning blood glucose: 104</li> <li>Beginning cholesterol: 214</li> <li>Beginning triglycerides: 135</li> <li>60 day weight: 176</li> <li>60 day blood glucose: 94</li> <li>60 day cholesterol: 147</li> <li>60 day triglycerides: 75</li> </ul> <p>To further demonstrate the merits of the noble potato, below are 10 reasons to eat potatoes with relish (pun intended) and without guilt.</p> <h2>1. Don't Judge a Food by Its Color</h2> <p>Remember when potatoes were vilified and placed on the dreaded &quot;white foods&quot; list?</p> <p>A lot of the &quot;don't eat white foods&quot; hyperbole is a bit of an overreaction. White vegetables are good for you, and potatoes are a shining example.</p> <p>In May 2013, <em>Advances in Nutrition</em> published &quot;<a href="http://advances.nutrition.org/content/4/3/318S.full">White Vegetables: A Forgotten Source of Nutrients</a>.&quot; Data showed that white vegetables (including potatoes) are indeed nutritious, and the color of a vegetable did not predict nutritional value. In fact, many white vegetables provide essential nutrients most Americans lack.</p> <h2>2. Potatoes Are Cost-Effective</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/food-5328428-small-ggnoads.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <p>If you want the most bang for your buck, potatoes offer a great ROI.</p> <p>A new study in <em>PLOS One</em> found that <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0063277">potatoes deliver an excellent nutritional value per penny</a>, second only to beans. Potatoes provide an affordable source for essential nutrients like magnesium, fiber, and Vitamins C, E, and K. And they're the most cost-effective source of potassium out of all food groups.</p> <p>So if you're broke and need cheap, nutritious food, pick up some taters. Use Chris Voigt as inspiration.</p> <h2>3. Potatoes Will Not Make You Obese or Inflamed</h2> <p>The whole &quot;potatoes will make you fat&quot; thing is a half-baked theory.</p> <p>In April 2012, the University of Washington studied the relationship between <a href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/fi-npr042512.php">regularly eating white potatoes and weight gain</a>. Scientists found no association between obesity, diabetes, or levels of C-reactive protein (an inflammation marker) and the amount of white potato consumption. (This contradicts older research, which failed to include important demographic factors.)</p> <p>Summary: White potatoes do not make you obese, cause Type 2 diabetes, or trigger systemic inflammation.</p> <h2>4. Nutrient Powerhouses</h2> <p>White potatoes are among the most nutritious vegetable in the world. Here's a breakdown of the nutritional value for a medium white potato, with skin:</p> <ul> <li>Around 110 calories</li> <li>Has more potassium than a banana or broccoli</li> <li>Provides 35% of the daily value of Vitamin C</li> <li>Has 10% of the daily value of B6</li> <li>Contains two grams of sugar</li> <li>Fat-free</li> <li>Sodium free</li> <li>Cholesterol-free</li> <li>A good source of fiber</li> </ul> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-nutrients-you-need-more-of">Nutrients You Need More Of</a>)</p> <h2>5. Eating Potatoes Helps the Economy</h2> <p>The potato is the fourth most widely consumed vegetable in the world. And it's a moneymaker for U.S. farmers.</p> <p>Potatoes are the <a href="http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/vegetables-pulses/potatoes.aspx#.UjC_LWTF1Vc">leading crop</a> grown in the U.S. In 2010, the U.S. exported $3.8 billion worth of potatoes. Japan, China and Mexico are leading buyers of stateside spuds. Potatoes are grown in 30 U.S. states, with Idaho, Washington, and Wisconsin rounding out the top three.</p> <h2>6. Sweet and Purple Potatoes = Orbs of Awesomeness</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/food-1619989-small-ggnoads.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <p>Sweet potatoes are the Warren Buffets of vegetables, the most nutrient-rich vegetable on Earth. The Center for Science in the Public Interest ranked <a href="http://www.cspinet.org/nah/10foods_bad.html">the sweet potato above all other vegetables </a>in nutritional value. Purple potatoes are chock-full of antioxidants and may help to <a href="http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2012/acs-presspac-february-1-2012/potatoes-lower-blood-pressure-in-people-with-obesity-and-hypertension-without-increasing-weight.html">lower blood pressure</a>. Plus, they look really pretty on a plate.</p> <p>If you want to experiment with a new spud, sweet and purple potatoes are good options.</p> <h2>7. Spuds Support Weight Loss</h2> <p>It turns out eating potatoes can actually help dieters drop pounds. And not just sweet potatoes &mdash; white potatoes, too.</p> <p>In a study conducted by the University of California, Davis, three groups were assigned <a href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-10/fi-ltw100810.php">diets ranging from five to seven servings of potatoes</a> per week. (So, one group was eating potatoes every day.) Subjects were closely monitored for dietary compliance. All three groups lost weight, further disproving that potatoes cause weight gain.</p> <h2>8. They Last Forever</h2> <p>Gigantic bushels of veggies from the farmer's market always seem like a great idea. Then you get home and realize that unless you rapidly eat several pounds of greens, food will go to waste.</p> <p>Not so with the potato! Potatoes last a long time if stored in a cool, dark place, about two to three weeks on average. The shelf life of potatoes works for everyone, from plan-ahead foodies to culinary procrastinators.</p> <h2>9. Taters for Tots</h2> <p><a href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-04/fi-pci040811.php">Children benefit</a> from eating potatoes. In fact, it seems to encourage them to eat more veggies. New research indicates eating potatoes doesn't mean kids eat less of other vegetables. On the contrary, the study found that adding potatoes to childrens' meals led to a higher-quality diet.</p> <p>And to get this out of the way &mdash; eating a potato is not the nutritional equivalent of gulping down a soft drink. The idea stems from the glycemic index, but GI isn't an exact science. Potatoes do have a high GI (100), but chocolate cake has a GI of 38. A medium white potato contains 2 grams of sugar; a can of Coke, 39 grams. Just food for thought.</p> <h2>10. Potatoes Are Multi-Talented</h2> <p>A potato can be eaten bare, with nothing but a small pat of butter, or wearing a variety of toppings. There's also potato ice cream and potato vodka. And don't forget household projects &mdash; potatoes are used as stamps, to remove a stuck lightbulb, and more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/potato-ideas-that-pop">Potato Ideas That Pop</a>)</p> <p>Google search results for &quot;potato recipe&quot; numbered over 62 million, so the exact number of ways to prepare potatoes is unknown. Suffice it to say, there may not be a more versatile vegetable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-serve-potatoes-on-st-patricks-day">17 Ways to Serve Potatoes</a>)</p> <p>It's time to give tubers the love and respect they deserve. Take criticism of the potato with a grain of salt&hellip;and then take that grain of salt and sprinkle it on a lovely Yukon gold.</p> <p><em>I'm sure tater haters have their own opinions on this. Potatoes are a controversial topic. What's your opinion on potatoes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/erin-c-oneil">Erin C. O&#039;Neil</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/end-potato-prejudice-10-reasons-why-you-should-eat-potatoes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-nuts-by-nutrition-and-price">The Best and Worst Nuts, by Nutrition and Price</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-with-the-most-bang-for-your-buck">10 Foods With the Most Bang for Your Buck</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/45-special-sweet-potato-dishes">45 Special Sweet Potato Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink healthy eating nutrition potato potatoes vegetables Wed, 18 Sep 2013 10:24:04 +0000 Erin C. O'Neil 987838 at http://www.wisebread.com Foods You Can Grow in the Comfort of Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/foods-you-can-grow-in-the-comfort-of-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/foods-you-can-grow-in-the-comfort-of-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3481285271_caf9aa7f38_z.jpg" alt="tangerines" title="tangerines" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Don't have an outdoor green space where you can grow fresh food? Don&rsquo;t fret. There are plenty of foods that you can grow indoors &mdash; right inside your home, in fact &mdash; that will have you eating healthier and cheaper in no time. Get that green thumb in action and start planting the seeds to produce-stand independence today. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-unique-garden-containers-and-techniques">10 Unique Garden Containers and Techniques</a>)</p> <h2>Tangerines</h2> <p>I know what you&rsquo;re thinking &mdash; I can't fit an orange tree in my house. You&rsquo;re right, you can&rsquo;t. But thanks to technology, you <em>can</em> fit a dwarf citrus tree in your home and grow your own juicy, refreshing tangerines. In a garden these dwarf trees can grow up to 12 feet tall, but when planted in a container, their stature stays decidedly more diminutive. It&rsquo;ll take almost a year for your tree to bear fruit, but you can get the process started by following these instructions on <a href="http://www.pallensmith.com/index.php?id=36">how to grow citrus in containers</a>.</p> <h2>Lemons</h2> <p>These instructions for <a href="http://www.squidoo.com/indoorfruittrees#module7130021">how to grow a Meyer lemon tree indoors</a> detail how to care for the tree during the summer and winter months (just because you&rsquo;re growing it inside doesn&rsquo;t mean it should stay inside all the time) and also suggest that you can own your own lemon tree for less than $20. At that price, the tree will than pay for itself over its lifetime if you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-alternative-uses-for-lemons">use a lot of lemons</a>.</p> <h2>Limes</h2> <p>If you want to grow a lime tree, consult the instructions for lemons above and consider these tips on how to successfully grow indoor fruit trees:</p> <ul> <li>Choose a pot big enough to handle the tree, and make sure it has adequate drainage holes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When choosing the type of soil, read the packaging to make sure it&rsquo;s conducive to what you&rsquo;re planting. In this case, you want a mix that's lightweight and drains well.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Water the tree on a regular basis so the soil stays slightly moist but not saturated.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Provide six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. If direct sunlight isn&rsquo;t available, use an artificial grow light.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When planting, leave the root collar above the soil line and the top of the root crown barely below the soil. Do not cover the trunk with soil.</li> </ul> <h2>Pineapple</h2> <p>Pineapple seems like the kind of fruit that requires a tropical outdoor climate, but it&rsquo;s surprisingly versatile and well suited for growing in pots. The pros of growing fresh pineapples at home are that they don&rsquo;t require much water or soil (they use the moisture stored in their leaves), and while they prefer full sun, they can grow in dappled shade. To get started, all you need is the top of a pineapple you just ate. That&rsquo;s right &mdash; very easy. When you&rsquo;ve got that, follow these <a href="http://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/growing-pineapples.html">easy steps to planting and growing pineapples at home</a>.</p> <h2>Bananas</h2> <p>Dwarf bananas do well indoors because they&rsquo;re self-sufficient &mdash; they don&rsquo;t need a pollinator. Unlike pineapples, however, bananas do require regular watering because of the plant&rsquo;s massive leaves. Other factors to ensure a healthy dwarf banana plant include lots of bright, indirect light, humidity, and adding fertilizer at least once a month. <a href="http://www.weekendgardener.net/fruit/grow-bananas-indoors-011001.htm">Learn how to grow bananas indoors</a> with these tips.</p> <h2>Strawberries</h2> <p>To <a href="http://organicgardening.about.com/od/fruits/a/strawberrypot.htm">grow strawberries at home</a> you&rsquo;ll need a terra-cotta pot, PVC pipe or a cardboard tube (a toilet paper roll will work fine), and soil high in organic matter. The strawberry plant will also need at least six hours of sun per day.</p> <h2>Quinoa</h2> <p>Quinoa is one of the healthiest foods you can eat &mdash; and it&rsquo;s one of the easiest to grow. Unlike most of the other foods on this list, quinoa doesn&rsquo;t need soil at all. It&rsquo;s perfectly happy growing in water, which cuts down on the mess and leaves you with more space. This <a href="http://gomestic.com/gardening/growing-quinoa-in-water/">how-to on growing quinoa</a> suggests using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garbage-into-gold-great-ways-to-recycle-old-containers">empty juice containers</a>, but you can use whatever you&rsquo;d like.</p> <h2>Tomatoes</h2> <p>Red, ripe, juicy tomatoes scream summer, but there&rsquo;s no reason why you can&rsquo;t have fresh tomatoes all year round. According to these <a href="http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/VegFruit/tomatind.htm">instructions on how to grow your own tomatoes</a>, &ldquo;windowsill&rdquo; tomatoes do well in small pots filled with quality soil and given adequate attention.</p> <h2>Hot Peppers</h2> <p>Spice things up this winter with <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_4778077_grow-hot-peppers-indoors.html">fresh hot peppers</a> at your fingertips. Fill a peat pot with potting soil and seeds, and set in a warm area &mdash; preferably about 80 degrees. Keep the soil moist and provide adequate light (about 16 hours a day), and you should see seedlings in two to five weeks.</p> <h2>Cucumbers</h2> <p>You&rsquo;ll need ample space to grow cucumbers indoors. They&rsquo;re vine plants that grow along the ground outside, but indoors you may want to grow them vertically to maximize your space. Something else to consider when <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_8168170_way-grow-cucumbers-indoors.html">growing cucumbers indoors</a> is the right time to harvest. eHow says that you should pick the produce when it&rsquo;s palm size to avoid an overbearing plant.</p> <h2>Mesclun Greens</h2> <p>Keep the weight off this winter by <a href="http://thetrustygardener.com/blog/2011/01/21/grow-great-greens-indoors/">growing mesclun greens</a> in the convenience of your own home. Start with a window box and organic fertilizer, and place the box in a well-lit area for at least six hours a day. Water regularly so the soil is moist but not saturated. It&rsquo;ll take about a month for the plants to reach harvest height, which will be 3&rdquo; to 4&rdquo; tall.</p> <h2>Spinach</h2> <p>Avoid all that E. coli nonsense by <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_8119635_grow-spinach-indoors.html">growing fresh, clean spinach indoors</a> in small pots packed with high-quality soil and time-released fertilizer. After planting the seeds, keep the soil moist until seedlings emerge in about 10 days. Ideal temperatures for growing spinach indoors are between 60 and 85 degrees. Lots of bright sunlight is required.</p> <h2>Carrots</h2> <p>When planted in an outdoor garden, carrots are vulnerable to rodents, but they&rsquo;re perfectly safe from hungry vermin indoors &mdash; and <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_5040278_grow-indoor-carrots.html">surprisingly easy to grow</a>. You&rsquo;ll need a large container &mdash; at least a foot deep &mdash; with drainage holes. Place a tray under the container to catch the water. After planting the seeds, place the container in an area that receives full sunlight. Carrots will be ready to harvest in 65 to 75 days.</p> <h2>Mushrooms</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-magnificent-mushroom-recipes">Mushrooms</a> are one of the <a href="http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/indoor/grow-mushrooms.htm">easiest foods to grow indoors</a> because they require a cool, dark, damp environment &mdash; and most of our basements offer these conditions. Whether you want to grow shiitake, oyster, or white button mushrooms, the first thing you&rsquo;ll need to do is buy the spawns (easier to manage than spores) from a reputable establishment. When you&rsquo;re ready to plant, place the growing medium in a pan and raise the temperature to about 70 degrees using a heating pad and add the spawn. Once the spawn has rooted &mdash; about three weeks later &mdash; cover with an inch of soil and a damp cloth. You&rsquo;ll see the mushrooms appear in about 3 to 4 weeks.</p> <p><em>Do you grown your own food indoors? Something that&rsquo;s not on this list? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/foods-you-can-grow-in-the-comfort-of-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">What NOT to Buy at a Farmers Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself">The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Food and Drink container gardening fresh fruit vegetables Wed, 05 Sep 2012 10:36:43 +0000 Mikey Rox 954296 at http://www.wisebread.com What NOT to Buy at a Farmers Market http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3828796917_84987a4b96_z_1.jpg" alt="Testing the goods" title="Testing the goods" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love farmers markets. I do suffer from &quot;can't get out of bed early enough&quot; syndrome and usually miss the good stuff. But even when I do drag myself out of bed, I find some amazing produce that is tastier and healthier than anything found in the supermarket. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, farmers markets are tough to beat.</p> <p>Now, having said that, I talked to some farmers market regulars who gave me advice on things you shouldn't buy. It's not a long list, and it's by no means a huge expose on shoddy produce or overpriced garbage. No, this is more of a guide to stop you spending a little more than you should on a few items that should, ideally, be bought elsewhere. (See also: <a title="Are Farmers Markets Frugal or a Luxury?" href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-farmers-markets-frugal-or-a-luxury">Are Farmers Markets Frugal or a Luxury?</a>)</p> <p>I should also add that every farmers market is different, so while these guidelines are generally worth following, some may not apply to the markets in your area. I know I'll get a lot of comments pertaining to that, so I thought it best to disclose it first. So here is my list of what NOT to buy at your farmers market.</p> <h3>1. The First Items You See!</h3> <p>I know, bit of a broad one to start the list, but it is applicable to everything at the market. You will be greeted with a plethora of great fruits, veggies, and other items that are both good-looking and nutritious. But don't start loading up your eco-friendly shopping bag right from the get-go. Walk the stalls, note the prices, and come back when you can make a more informed decision. Cherries that are just as succulent but twice the price will leave a bitter taste in your mouth, and these places don't issue refunds.</p> <h3>2. Pristine Fruit and Veggies</h3> <p>We're a strange bunch. We buy based on looks, but eat for the flavor. As such, farmers and other vendors will knock-down the price of fruits and veggies that are odd-shaped, have peck-marks, or are generally just not as good-looking as the cream of the crop. Don't let that put you off. Avoid the perfect-looking stuff and ask for the discounted produce, but do so with one caveat &mdash; make sure you're not buying old, bruised, and rotten merchandise. It's not unknown for some stalls to pass this off as &quot;misshapen&quot; when in actuality they're spoiled and almost inedible. (See also: <a title="7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce" href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-use-of-sub-par-produce">7 Ways to Make Use of Sub-Par Produce</a>)</p> <h3>3. Anything That's Out of Season</h3> <p>This shouldn't be available anyway, as farmers markets pride themselves on fresh, <a title="Fresh Fruits and Vegetables By the Month" href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">seasonal produce</a>. But if you know your calendars, you know what to avoid. If someone is selling asparagus in September, you may be buying something that was previously frozen or bought cheap from a supermarket.</p> <h3>4. Honey</h3> <p>What could be wrong with honey? Well, nothing. The honey sold at these markets is good honey, better than the stuff found in chain supermarkets. However, a lot of the honey being sold at the market is being done through a third party. If you want to save some money, look at the label, find the beekeeper who produced the honey, and buy it direct from the source. Of course, if that beekeeper is miles and miles away, rethink your strategy.</p> <p><img width="500" height="459" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/jar%20of%20honey.jpg" /></p> <h3>5. Clothing</h3> <p>You go to a farmers market to buy produce fresh from the farm. At least, that's the goal. But over time, farmers markets have evolved to offer a little something for everyone. The strategy behind it is simple enough&hellip;people come for the fruits and veggies but invariably bring a family member or friend. And if they don't buy the produce, they may walk away with a nice pair of socks or a woolly hat. Well, it goes without saying that most of the time, these are not good quality items, and they have been marked up as well. Save your money for the incredible produce and leave the clothes shopping for another time.</p> <h3>6. Baked Goods</h3> <p>There's nothing like a home-cooked apple pie or raspberry turnover, but usually the people selling these have a local store somewhere in town. And they not only have to cover the costs of running a store, but renting a booth at the farmers market as well. In turn, that means these items are often marked up from the prices they would usually charge in their local store. It's also a good place to sell produce that is not quite as fresh as the pies that come fresh out of the oven and onto a shelf in their store. Saying that, I do know some bakers who prepare the pies fresh that morning just for the farmers market. It's a good idea to grab their information and pop by their store later in the week. You'll get the same fresh product at a lower price. If you have to drive hours to get there, well, then you may just want to pay extra and save gas money.</p> <h3>7. Chocolate</h3> <p>Chocolatiers would starve if they only sold their wares at the local market, once a week. It's a high-cost item to make, and they need a good return, so they almost always have a store somewhere in town where the chocolate is a little cheaper. Hunt it down and get yourself the same chocolate without paying the middleman. Freshness is not as much of a worry here though; chocolate does not spoil anywhere near as quickly as a baked apple pie or a slab of meat. Which brings us to&hellip;</p> <h3>8. Meat and Seafood</h3> <p>Although it's tempting to buy <a title="Organic Groceries on a Budget" href="http://www.wisebread.com/organic-groceries-on-a-budget">organic</a>, grass-fed beef, wild boar sausages, or fresh salmon, it's difficult to judge how long these items have been sitting in the sun on a bed of melting ice. You probably won't have any sanitation or health issues, but it's better to get the phone number and address of the seller and pick it up direct from them. And if it's frozen, well, you've just eliminated one reason to buy fresh from the farmer's market. Of course, eggs are perfectly fine to buy as they don't need refrigeration (although you will lengthen their life by popping them in the fridge when you get home). And they're usually really tasty when they're fresh from the farm.</p> <h3>9. Gift Baskets</h3> <p>Another way to mark up produce, canned goods, and other fineries is to assemble them in a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/36-green-gift-wrapping-ideas" title="36 Green Gift Wrapping Ideas">gift basket</a>, tie a ribbon around the top and sell them for a nice fat profit. Unless you're heading off to a birthday party the second you leave, and have no time to go shopping, this is not a good way to spend your money. As with most gifts that offer convenience, you pay for it. The items in the basket can be bought separately for much less, and you don't have to get any unwanted items in the process.</p> <h3>10. Meals from Food Carts</h3> <p>This last one is a sticking point within my circle of friends. I equate ready-to-eat food available at farmers markets with concession stands at fairgrounds and county fairs. A recent one in my area was charging $5 for a small cup of chili. And that could be washed down with a small $3 cup of iced tea. No refills. I think there are better food deals to be had elsewhere.</p> <p><img width="500" height="375" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hotdog.jpg" /></p> <p>However, a counter argument is that it's all part of the experience, and that you get to taste some great home-cooked food that you know has been made with fresh ingredients. For me, I'll usually pass unless the price is right.</p> <p><em>What would you avoid at farmers markets? And to add a little meat to the discussion, what should you ONLY buy at farmers markets? Share your ideas.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">The Produce Worker&#039;s Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/foods-you-can-grow-in-the-comfort-of-your-home">Foods You Can Grow in the Comfort of Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself">The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/waste-not-want-not-stop-throwing-away-your-food">Waste Not, Want Not: Stop Throwing Away Your Food!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-apple-dangerous-how-to-eat-fewer-pesticides-and-save-money">Is Your Apple Dangerous? How to Eat Fewer Pesticides (and Save Money)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living Shopping farmers market fresh fruit organic groceries vegetables Wed, 21 Sep 2011 10:24:20 +0000 Paul Michael 712768 at http://www.wisebread.com The Produce Worker's Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_with_produce.jpg" alt="Child looking at fresh produce" title="Child looking at fresh produce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've had a few requests lately from readers who want to know more about how to get the most out of their fruits and vegetables. Keeping your produce fresh begins at the store. As a former produce stocker, I can tell you that most grocery stores use a variety of tricks to keep profit margins high and the waste to a minimum. If you know what to look for, then you can be sure to pick fruits and veggies that will have a longer shelf life at home.</p> <p>I put together a list of 25 commonly purchased grocery items and provided some basic purchasing tips based on my experience working in the produce department. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables by the Month</a>)</p> <h3>Avocados</h3> <p>Choosing that perfect avocado can be tricky. Because avocados will only ripen after they are picked, it's really hit or miss in terms of what shape they are in by the time they reach their destination. You can tell if an avo is ripe by the color and how firm it is. If it is bright green and hard, it won't be ready for a few days at least. A ripe avocado will be slightly soft and have a dark green skin, but it shouldn't be too soft. If push your finger into the skin and feel a &quot;space&quot; between the skin and flesh, it is past its prime. If you can't find a ripe avocado at the store, you can always speed up the ripening process by placing it in a brown paper bag, which helps trap the natural <a href="http://www.catalyticgenerators.com/whatisethylene.html">ethylene gas that causes many fruits to ripen</a>. Placing an apple or banana in the bag also helps.</p> <h3>Bananas</h3> <p>Finding ripe bananas is similar to hunting for ready-to-eat avocados &mdash; they are grown in tropical regions, picked early, and shipped to far away places. Customers would often pass up bananas with a few brown spots because they thought they were &quot;overripe.&quot; I would always peel one and let the customer taste, and most people would agree that this is when the banana is at its best. Lastly, from a strictly environmental perspective, you don't have to put your bananas in a plastic bag to bring them to the checkout (same for avocados). I've never understood this phenomenon, since this is one of the only fruits that has an inedible skin. Just be mindful next time you are at the store, and ask yourself, &quot;Do I really need a bag for this?&quot;</p> <h3>Basil</h3> <p>In the summer, many stores will display large bunches of basil in a bucket of water, which tends to look nice for about 24 hours. Make sure you are picking the healthiest bunch; the leaves shouldn't be droopy or shriveled, and they should have a strong aroma. If the basil is bagged, make sure there aren't any black leaves inside. A few spots are okay, but look for the bunch with the greenest leaves. Like most produce, the older items are rotated to the front when the display is restocked, so you may have to dig around a little. If you still can't find healthy-looking basil, ask someone in the department to check in the back. Basil is one of those items that is delivered often, but the new batch may not be on the floor yet.</p> <h3>Beets</h3> <p>Beets, turnips, parsnips, celery root, and other root veggies should never be soft. If your store displays them in a cooler that is too cold or wet, they will tend to get soft faster. Make sure they are hard and colorful, particularly if you plan on making a fresh beet salad or juice. It isn't as much of an issue if you plan to cook root veggies.</p> <h3>Berries</h3> <p>Mold is the biggest issue with berries, particularly the more delicate ones, such as raspberries and blackberries. In the summer, try to buy local berries sold in paper pints. Pick up the pint to check for any wet spots on the bottom, and try to gently shake the berries around to see if there's any hidden mold or broken berries. Mold spreads quickly once it is in the package, particularly plastic packaging. But even in the package, you can often detect bad berries by the smell. It's generally better to buy berries when they are in season since they will have more flavor and cost significantly less. Because they are so delicate and there's a lot of loss, produce departments have to mark up out-of-season berries.</p> <h3>Broccoli</h3> <p>There is some contention over whether it is best to buy crowns or bunches. Crowns tend to be more expensive, but bunches are sold by weight, and if you add the weight of the stalk, it can be just as costly. It really depends on whether or not you will use the stalks. In any case, you want to make sure that the crowns have a dark green hue. If they look pale or have yellow spots, they are on their way out. You can also squeeze the tops to make sure the broccoli is firm. The same goes for cauliflower. Look for a firm head with little to no brown spots.</p> <h3>Carrots</h3> <p>If your store offers bulk carrots, these are your best choice for quality, and they are much cheaper. As a general rule, bagged items have traveled many miles and may have begun to break down. Buying local will guarantee that you are getting the crispest carrots, but if local carrots aren't available, find out the source of the other options (most of the time you can find this information on the bag or ask an employee). Usually, you can find carrots that haven't traveled too far. Carrots should be bright in color and look &quot;alive.&quot; Avoid anything that looks limp, dry, dark, or moldy (similar to other root veggies).</p> <h3>Citrus</h3> <p>A good rule of thumb for citrus is that most varieties <a href="http://www.eatlocalchallenge.com/2006/06/what_is_ripe.html">will not ripen after they are picked</a>. So it is best to buy citrus that is ripe but not rotting. Look for a firm fruit with vibrant colors. Avoid anything that is bruised, wrinkled, or lacking in color.</p> <h3>Corn</h3> <p>Corn will last longer if you buy it with the husk and don't shuck it until you are ready to cook it. The husk keeps the corn moist and fresh. Look for a thick, bright-green husk, and don't buy anything that has dry ends or has too many brown spots. Even if it looks healthy, bugs can still be an issue (particularly with organic corn). Before you buy, peel back the husk without taking too much off, and make sure there aren't any places where the corn is pale, dry, or nibbled on. You can also tell which ears are healthy by weight. The heavier the ear, the more moisture it has retained.</p> <h3>Cucumbers</h3> <p>Cukes should be firm and dark green in color. Pickling cucumbers tend to be lighter in color, but you can always check to see if there are any soft or dark spots. I love Italian cucumbers &mdash; the long, slender ones &mdash; but they don't last as long and are typically sold in plastic wrap, which holds in the moisture and causes more breakdown. For any type of cuke, try to find ones that are not packaged.</p> <h3>Eggplant</h3> <p>Eggplant should be dark purple and firm, though there are <a href="http://www.foodsubs.com/Eggplants.html">many eggplant varieties</a> that have different shapes and colors. All eggplant varieties should have skin that is free of wrinkles and soft spots. Only buy eggplant if you plan to use it soon, since it doesn't store very well. Smaller varieties are less bitter.</p> <h3>Figs</h3> <p>While figs may not be as common as other fruits such as peaches or apricots, they all share the same qualities when they are ripe. Fresh figs are harder to find than dried ones, but they are a real treat if you can buy them when they are ripe. A ripe fig should have the same soft texture as a ripe peach, but it shouldn't be too soft. The skin should be slightly wrinkled but not shriveled. The color depends on the variety, but the most common variety sold in stores is the Brown Turkish Fig, which should have a deep brown color when ripe. But if you ever have the opportunity to eat a fig right of the tree, this is the best way to experience a fresh fig.</p> <h3>Green Beans</h3> <p>You should be able to break a fresh green bean in half without any effort, and it should have a snap to it. Buy green beans in bulk if you can, and put them in paper bags if your store offers them (the paper might absorb some of the moisture, but plastic encourages mold). Like berries, green beans tend to mold quickly, so look for the white furry stuff, especially if the beans are pre-packaged. Avoid anything that looks dark or mushy; a few spots are okay, but don't buy spotty, pale, or limp beans (same goes for snap peas).</p> <h3>Kale</h3> <p>A healthy bunch of kale has a rich color, and the leaves won't droop when you hold the bunch upright. This is true for other leafy greens, such as collards and chard. If you gently squeeze the leaves, they should make a squeaky sound and bounce back immediately. Think about a house plant that hasn't been watered in a while &mdash; don't buy any leafy green that looks like a sad or dying plant.</p> <h3>Lettuce</h3> <p>You can always tell if a head of lettuce is fresh by looking at the bottom where it was cut from the ground. If it is brown and dried out, it hasn't retained any water during its trip from the farm to the grocery shelves. Working in produce in the winter meant a lot more prep work, since we received lettuce from the West coast &mdash; a long distance from Vermont. To revive lettuce, we would trim off the bottom of the heads and soak them it in a sink full of water, which you could do at home, but it is better to pick out the healthiest lettuce at store. Look for lettuce that is crisp, vibrant, and that doesn't have wilted leaves, holes, or dark mushy spots. Avoid pre-packaged lettuce and buy mixed greens in bulk when available. Of course, local is always the best choice when it is in season.</p> <h3>Melons</h3> <p>To halve or not to halve. Forgive the hackneyed cliche, but this was always a debate in the produce department. From my experience, dividing and shrink-wrapping melons was an easy way to help customers see if the fruit was ripe. If a cantaloupe, for instance, had a good color, not too pale but not too dark, and didn't have any dark or pulpy spots, it was ready to eat. Avoid anything that looks too watery or that has a strong musky odor. For an uncut melon, smell the outside, and if you can tell what the fruit is with your eyes closed, it's ripe (this is true for pineapples too).</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unique-ways-to-eat-watermelon">Watermelons</a> are in a slightly different category because they don't smell as strongly, and tapping to see if they sound hollow has never really worked for me. Avoid watermelons that have funky shapes, major discoloration, or anything that feels too light for its size. Heavier watermelons have more water inside and will be juicier. If you aren't sure, you can always compare it to the other ones around the same size and pick the heaviest one. Last word on melons &mdash; be adventurous. There are many types of melons out there, and you never know if one of them might be your new favorite.</p> <h3>Mushrooms</h3> <p>Picking out mushrooms that aren't molded can get dicey, since by definition, they <em>are </em>mold. One of my co-workers grew mushrooms for many years, and he said the best way to tell if a shroom is funky is the smell. Don't buy mushrooms if they smell fishy (not suspicious, but literally like fish). Color and texture are also good indicators. Lots of dark spots, slimy surfaces, and mushrooms that are too spongy are not good signs.</p> <h3>Onions</h3> <p>As with other alliums, such as garlic and shallots, sprouting is a sign that the onion is beginning to break down, but you can always check for wet or dark spots. Although onions have a strong odor to begin with, if the odor is overwhelming, it's probably bad. Look for fruit flies around the bin at the store, and always ask if there are fresher onions in the back since many root veggies are lower on the priority list in terms of restocking.</p> <h3>Pears</h3> <p>Like bananas, pears are actually better if they have brown spots on them. You don't want them to fall apart in your hands, but they should be relatively soft and aromatic. You can always request to taste one if there are many in the bunch that look too ripe. I've found that most people who work in produce are very friendly and generous with sampling, but as a rule, the brown spots on the skin are more of an indication of ripeness than rotting fruit.</p> <h3>Peppers</h3> <p>Smooth skin usually means a healthy pepper; however, wrinkles on jalapenos are okay, but be wary, because this often means that they are extra hot! All peppers should be firm and free of holes or dark spots, and they shouldn't feel like a rubber when you gently squeeze them.</p> <h3>Potatoes</h3> <p>You'll often find that potatoes are sold in plastic bags, which is the worst possible way to store potatoes. I'm assuming this is done so that customers can see the condition of the potatoes, but try to buy potatoes in bulk or sold in paper bags. Again, sprouts and spots are usually good indicators of a bad potato, but wrinkled skin is another one, along with soft flesh. Sometimes you can pick off the sprouts and they are still fine, but always check for green potatoes by scraping away a little of the skin. There's still a debate over <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/03/health/nutrition/03real.html">how toxic green potatoes really are</a>, but it's definitely a sign that the root has begun to break down.</p> <h3>Radishes</h3> <p>If the radishes are sold with the tops, you can tell how fresh they are by the health of the greens. Yellow or wilted leaves are a sign that the radish has been on the shelf for a while; however, always check the actual root. If it is still firm, then it is still fresh.</p> <h3>Tomatoes</h3> <p>Tomatoes have three simple fresh indicators: Color, texture, and fruit flies. Avoid pale tomatoes (heirlooms are exceptions to this rule) and any tomato that has been damaged. Once the skin is broken, they will break down much more quickly. When buying packaged cherry tomatoes, pick up the package. If you see fruit flies buzzing in all directions, put it back. If you aren't sure how to tell if an heirloom is ripe, just ask someone. For the most part, a tomato is ripe when it is soft enough to squeeze without breaking the skin.</p> <h3>Winter Squash</h3> <p>Winter squash will last for quite some time after harvest if stored properly. Whether it's butternut, acorn, or delicata, look for the squash that is heavy for its size (like watermelons), and don't buy winter squash if it is soft or if the rind is shriveled or dark in places.</p> <h3>Zucchini (and Summer Squash)</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-preserve-zucchini">Zucchini</a> and summer squash are very similar, and you will often find them displayed near one another. Like most items on this list, avoid anything with mushy brown spots or that is too pale. Depending on the variety, the color should be bright and consistent. You can tell by the ends as well. Don't buy anything that has dry or squishy tips. The skin should also have a nice sheen and rubbery texture.</p> <p>From avocados to zucchini, you can always rely on color, texture, and size to help ensure freshness and quality when buying produce. Just remember three basic rules to guide you along the way: Ask questions, buy in season and local if possible, and don't be afraid to handle the goods. As long as you are gentle and not causing more damage, you have every right to inspect your produce before you buy it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-produce-workers-guide-to-choosing-fruits-and-vegetables">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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