Food of the Month

Food of the Month: Super Sprouts

Care of Amy Symington  Sprouting has become a tremendously popular pastime and is right up there hobby-wise with growing your own herbs. They are as versatile as herbs and fortunate for us, have a whole lot more to offer in terms of nutrients too. Sprouts can come from a variety of different legumes and grains; anything from mung beans to lentils to barley is fair game; the most popular and illustrious sprout of course being the alfalfa. Be warned though that some legumes or grains aren’t meant for sprouting and can be hazardous to your health, such as kidney beans. Thankfully instructional guides come with at-home sprouting devices that can lead you to blissfully safe sprouting. However, if the parental duty of sprouting your own doesn’t sound like a walk in the garden to you, then hit up your local market or grocery store and they will more than likely have a few tasty types to select from. Why eat your sprouts? Nutritionally speaking sprouts are bursting with goodness, packed with digestible fibre, proteins, amino acids, Vitamin A, C, D and E, B vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals, most of which help with damaged cell repair and protect us from illnesses… Read More


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Food of the Month: Cherries

Care of Amy Symington  Good old July – ‘tis the season for cherry picking by the barrel, so get them while they’re ripe! From the chokecherry to the black cherry to the sour cherry to the wild and crazy cherry, cherries are often overlooked in terms of their versatility and amazing nutritional value. It ain’t just about the sweet cherry pie! Nutritionally speaking cherries are bursting with antioxidants (particularly the red berry fan favourite anthocyanin), they are rich in fibre, and vitamins – all of which aid in preventing very scary ailments such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. If we’re talking vitamin and mineral content, cherries are blasted full of folate, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Its vitamin A (or beta carotene) content is out of this world high, almost 20 times more than its comrade the blueberry, which is great for maintaining excellent eyesight. The sour cherry is particularly potent with vitamin C and the more face puckering the cherry, the higher the vitamin C content. Although they are exploding with goodness, remember not to over cook your cherries as vitamins and minerals are lost (particularly vitamin C) the more you heat them. Culinary wise, their uses are as… Read More


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The Illustrious Coconut

Care of Amy Symington  You don’t have to live in the South Pacific or get stranded in deserted paradise to enjoy and benefit from this tasty fruit. The coconut is considered to be in the drupe fruit category and comes from the coconut palm or “tree of life”, as it is often referred to for all its parts’ versatile uses. Its uses are nuts. If we are chit-chatting about the coconut’s nutritional goods you may be pleasantly surprised. It is relatively high in fibre, iron, phosphorus and zinc. It has fewer calories than other oils, supports nutrient absorption and is full of antioxidants and antibacterial agents. However, the white flesh does contain approximately 90% saturated fat. Coconut contains fat and although it does have some great health benefits it should be treated and used as a fat, in moderation, until conclusive evidence proves otherwise. In addition, be sure to avoid coconut products that contain hydrogenated oil as they are then classified as a trans fat, which is not friendly for the old ticker. For either the practical or indulgent culinary use, this “nut” can be cracked so many different ways, we would be listing them until Gilligan returned from his… Read More


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Food of the Month: Parsley

Care of Amy Symington  There are much worse things to have stuck in your teeth. According to our green biennial friend’s statistics, you should be kissing the chef who sprinkled your pasta primavera with this fresh, peppery and mild majestic herb. There are three main varieties of parsley. Curly and flat leaf (or Italian) parsley are two types that are leafy green herbs and are internationally used, while Hamburg parsley is a root vegetable and is the lesser known sibling. Curly or flat leaf parsley is a staple for any of those herb garden junkies out there and can be grown year round provided you bring them indoors when the snow starts to blow. Leafy parsley will stay green up until as late as late fall. Before winter shoos us and our herbs indoors, parsley plants should be kept in a lightly shaded area whether it be in your large luscious garden in the country or in a pot on your quaint urban bungalow’s balcony. Wherever your parsley may be planted you can rest assured because not only is parsley tasty, it will also save the rest of your garden’s goodness by attracting pesky flies, wasps and other insects to… Read More


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Food of the Month: Pumpkin

Care of Amy Symington  Orange you glad it’s fall? It’s that time of year again for all vegetables orange – from sweet potatoes, to carrots to a litany of squash varieties. However, when it comes to the fall season, winter squash or more commonly pumpkin, in particular is the Cinderella of the vegetable ball. What is autumn without thirds of pumpkin pie and doorways chocked full of jubilant jack o’ lanterns? Not one that most Canadians celebrate that is for certain. With that said, and succulent desserts and carving fun aside, pumpkins are a versatile and healthy reason to raid a pumpkin patch this fall. Their nutritional benefits are scarily high. Pumpkin flesh isn’t just for carving blood chilling faces into, it is high in potassium, phytosterols, fibre, vitamin A and C, which in turn helps to reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood and reduce hypertension, aid in digestion, reduce free radicals in the body and promote superb eye health. And don’t even think about throwing the seeds out with the innards! Pumpkin seeds contain essential omega 3 fatty acids that help to maintain healthy blood vessels and nerves as well as lubricate vital bodily tissues, like the skin… Read More


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Food of the Month: Daikon-licious!

Care of Amy Symington  Often referred to as a Japanese radish, daikon, although widely renowned for its role in Japanese cuisine, is far from restricted to the far East. “Radish,” however, is properly used in describing this pungent root vegetable. It has a mild, yet sharp and slightly spicy flavour. Its long, leafy green tops are followed by a shiny yellowish-white flesh. Its shape is that of a large, plump carrot. Eaten cooked, raw or pickled to perfection, good quality daikon should have a firm and smooth skin. Although most commonly known as a traditional Japanese ingredient, daikon is becoming more and more main stream. It frequents the Asian fusion scene as well as making repeated appearances on the plate of health conscious noshers. Used in sushi, soups, stews, spring rolls, slaws and salads – say that 10 times fast – daikon is very low in caloric value yet high in nutritional value, which means bulking up on vitamins and minerals without growing a daikonic belly. It’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol and is a good source of Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus. It’s also a very good source of dietary fibre and Vitamin C as well… Read More


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Food of the Month: Glorioius Gooseberries

Care of Amy Symington What the hey is a gooseberry?  It is none other than a tart, tangy type of fruit that luckily for us, inhabits our great province. It is often bitter in taste and has a grape-like size, flavour, and texture, with only a slightly more fibrous mouthfeel.  In terms of taste, some say it’s what you would get if a grape met a kiwi and well, the rest is gooseberry history.  There are various colours and kinds depending upon your locale on the old globe. Focusing on the North American types you are most likely to find either a red or green variety. These include: The Pixwell gooseberry, which is a variety that produces round, 1/2” berries. They are light green in colour and if permitted will mature to a soft pink. The Welcome gooseberry also yield 1/2” berries, but are a variety that produces a much sweeter and darker red fruit than the Pixwell. They are much more astringent in flavour than the green variety. Both are tasty. Speaking of tasty…  Gooseberries are well known for their use in desserts like tarts, pies, crumbles or crisps. Gooseberries are often preserved by drying, jamming, pickling or storing… Read More


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Food of the Month: Rhubarb

Care of Andrea Gourgy We’re in the throes of rhubarb season here in Ontario, where fresh rhubarb is available anywhere from January through June. And it’s well worth getting better acquainted with rhubarb this season—it’s a good source of potassium, vitamin C and calcium, and contains only 27 calories per one-cup serving. But long before rhubarb became a staple in our pies, cakes and muffins, it was actually used as a medicinal ingredient. It is one of the most common plants used in Chinese medicine, and is said to balance the digestive system, neutralize stomach acid and relieve constipation.  A little more than 200 years ago, rhubarb finally made its way from the medicine cabinet to the kitchen, and people began to look forward to eating rhubarb at a time of year when most produce was not in season yet. When choosing rhubarb, look for a bright colour and crisp stalks. Rhubarb grown in greenhouses (“hothouse” rhubarb) tends to have a pink or light reddish colour and is milder in taste. Field-grown rhubarb tends to have a deeper red colour and a stronger flavour; field-grown rhubarb also tends to be a bit stringier and may require peeling. Rhubarb should be… Read More


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Food of the Month: Kamut

Care of Andrea Gourgy Also known as Khorasan wheat, Kamut is an ancient grain; so ancient, in fact, that legend has it that Kamut was the very same variety of grain that Noah took with him on the ark. Of course, no one can be sure if Kamut actually has a place in biblical history, but it still has a very interesting story behind it. The Kamut that we buy in stores here in North America descends from grains that made their way from Egypt to Montana back in the 1940s. A U.S. airman who travelled to Egypt happened to pick up some of the grains and passed them on to a fellow airman in Portugal. From there, they were sent to Montana, where the first North American crops of these grains began to be harvested. Interestingly, Kamut is not the name of a type of wheat–it it is actually a word that Montana farmers took from an Egyptian hieroglyphic dictionary and is registered as a trademark to market Khorasan wheat. The trademark, or brand, of Kamut is a means of guaranteeing a certain level of quality and the particular attributes of the product. Kamut is always organic and is… Read More


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Food of the Month: Cinnamonful

Care of Amy Symington  Surely something this good must be bad for you? Not in this super spice’s case. Smoothies, pancakes, nuts, curry, Moroccan stew, jerked tofu, rolls, sticky buns, puddings, and tea – cinnamon is the master of all things spiced. It has a sharp and spicy, but woody, sweet aroma and flavour that is used worldwide in almost every culture on our great planet. Whether it is sweet or savoury cuisine, cinnamon plays no favourites and can star in or simply enhance appetizers, entrees, sides or dismal desserts alike. Besides being the most infamous spice for its potent characteristics, cinnamon has a grocery list long of health benefits. It is filled to the brim with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and weight loss powers.  Ka-pow! One teeny teaspoon of this ground glory has the equivalent antioxidant level to that of ½ cup of nutritiously acclaimed blueberries, helping to keep evil diseases at bay. Its anti-inflammatory properties also ward off serious ailments such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease while simultaneously combating annoyances like pesky allergies and pain or stiffness in muscles and joints. Studies have shown cinnamon and other super spices in a heroic light, testifying that they promote satiety and the… Read More


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