All posts by Jessica Jaithoo

Pumpkin Perfection

Produce of the Week

As the weather gets colder, sweaters get thicker and leaves turn golder– perhaps, your stomach is craving something bolder. The big, bold, and beautiful pumpkin.

Source: decoradventures.com

This gorgeous gourd is a staple food in October, from pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving to those ghoulish Jack O’Laterns for Halloween. Beyond that,  the pumpkin has much more to offer, it is incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins.

Fun Fact: The largest pumpkin ever grown was 1,502 pounds on October 7, 2006.

 

Eating pumpkins fits well into a health-conscious diet. Pumpkins are low in calories and high in fiber. They are also low in sodium. The seeds are high in protein, iron, and the B vitamins.

Researchers believe pumpkins may reduce the risk of heart disease, some cancers and is also believed to delay aging. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Source: the-girl-who-ate-everything.com

Source: All about Pumpkins

Pumpkins do best when the seeds are directly planted in the ground. If your growing season is very short, seed indoors in peat pots about 2 to 4 weeks before last spring frost.

Source: offbeathome.com

Almost all the parts of the pumpkin plant; fruit, leaves, flowers and seeds, are edible. Pumpkins can be used in a variety of delicious recipes either baked, stewed, fried; however, it is best eaten after steamed in order to get maximum nutrients.

Pumpkin dishes are popular around the world, in China pumpkin leaves are consumed as cooked greens or in soups. In India, pumpkins are used in sweet desserts, soups, and curries.

Source: Nutrition Facts

Source: thewickednoodle.com

Check out our Produce of the Week Pinterest board for more recipe ideas, gardening tips, and fun tidbits!

Tasty Tomatoes

Produce of the Week

Some think of the tomato as a fruit and others think of it as a vegetable, but one thing is certain with this “produce-fluid” plant is that it is packed to the max with nutrition. The tomato has been referred to as a “functional food”–meaning it goes beyond basic health benefits and is part of a group of food that can actually prevent chronic disease.

Source: simply-delicious.co.za

FUN FACT: only 200 years ago the tomato was thought to be poisonous in the U.S

Nutrients found in tomatoes can help with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline is abundant in tomatoes, and can also help maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.

Source: MNT

Source: productionparadise.com

The tomato is very popular around the world, and is so versatile that it comes in over a thousand different varieties that vary in shape, size, and colour. There are small cherry tomatoes, bright yellow tomatoes, Italian pear-shaped tomatoes, and the green tomato, famous for its fried preparation in Southern American cuisine.

Tomatoes are fruits in a botanical sense, but they don’t have the dessert quality sweetness of other fruits. Instead they have a subtle sweetness that is complemented by a slightly bitter and acidic taste, that is why they are often prepared and served like other vegetables.

Source: World’s Healthiest Foods

CUTE FACT: The French sometimes refer to the tomato as pomme d’amour, meaning “love apple.”

Farmers produce close to a million metric tons of tomatoes in Canada every year. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, have added scientists to their team to find better ways to grow tomatoes in the field or greenhouse.

Source: Agriculture Canada

Source: Grow Calgary

Tomatoes can be easily incorporated into your daily diet by using them in sauces and soups. Add a slice to your sandwich or wrap. Or to rice and beans, quesadillas or tacos. My favourite is adding them to your omelets or scrambles for breakfast.

Check out our Produce of the Week Pinterest board for more recipe ideas, gardening tips and fun tidbits!

Berry Nice!

Produce of the Week

Berries are a much loved fruit in the food universe.  It even has the sweet moniker of, “the candies of the fruit world.” This week we wanted to feature the delicious raspberry, a common fruit in most Canadian households.

Source: noelbarnhurstblog.com
There are over 200 species of raspberries, all belonging to the scientific genus called Rubus.

Scientists don’t know where raspberries originated from. Some speculate that certain native species are from Alaska, North Asia, Russia, Europe, and North America. In terms of domestication, researchers believe that Europeans have been cultivating raspberries for over 2000 years.

Fun Fact: The flowers from a raspberry bush can be a major nectar source for honeybees.

Raspberries are grown for the fresh fruit market and commercially as frozen fruit, juice or as dried fruit. Typically, raspberries were a midsummer crop, but with new technology, cultivation methods and imports, they can now be obtained all year-round.

Raspberries are very perishable, they should only be purchased one or two days prior to use. Choose berries that are firm, plump, and deep in colour. If you are buying berries prepackaged in a container, make sure that they are not packed too tightly, since this may cause them to become crushed and damaged.

 

Source: WH Foods

Raspberries have tons of health benefits!

Since raspberries are so readily available, they are often consumed as drinks, in pastries, in salads as well as fresh and raw.

Check out our Produce of the Week Pinterest board for more recipe ideas and tidbits!

 

The Wonder of Carrots!

Produce of the Week

Carrots aren’t just for the rabbits anymore. This vibrant root vegetable is chocked filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Carrots offer several health benefits and are particularly beneficial for organs like the eyes, skin, digestive system and teeth. As one food guru puts it,  “No doubt, it is a favorite of Bugs Bunny and accounts for his swiftness, energy and intelligence.”

Carrots were  first domesticated in Afghanistan about 5000 years ago. They looked quite different than its modern day orange ancestor. The Afghani carrot had purple exteriors with yellow flesh. Bright orange carrots were developed by the Dutch in the middle ages and today, are the most common ones.

Source: burpee.com

Fun Fact: The biggest carrot recorded is more than 19 pounds and the longest is over 19 feet!

The delicious root vegetables are of the most widely used and enjoyed vegetables in the world. Mainly because they grow relatively easily in different environments.

Carrots are very versatile in a number of dishes across and many different cuisines.   It can be enjoyed raw or cooked or in juices and smoothies.

Check out our Produce of the Week  pinterest board for more recipe ideas and tidbits!

Source: Style Craze: Health

Potatoes gonna potate!

Produce of the Week

In all shapes and forms, the potato is the most recognized veggie  and a fan favourite around the world.

Researchers believe that potatoes have been harvested since 1400 BCE in Peru– which remains to be the potato capital of the world today!

source: http://www.idrc.ca/

The potato gets a bad reputation for being a fatty, starchy carbohydrate when in fact it is actually a very healthy source of fibre, potassium, and vitamin C. Studies have shown that the potato is a great source for weight loss and can help maintain a lean body– if we go easy on the butter and sour cream :)

FUN FACT: Potatoes are TOTALLY gluten-free.

ANOTHER FUN FACT: The potato is about 80% water and 20% solid.

What makes potatoes so popular?

  • They grow everywhere! And are found in 125 countries worldwide.
  • Potatoes are available year-round as they are harvested somewhere every month of the year.
  • They’re the perfect comfort food. Some polls have shown that potatoes are the most popular side dish beating pasta and rice.
  • Potatoes have a neutral flavour– that’s why they complement so many different dishes.
  • You can colour coordinate your potatoes! They come in brown, red, yellow and violet.
  • Canada has natural advantages when growing potatoes. Our harsh winters, temperate summers and fertile soils make the perfect breeding ground for potatoes.
  •  Canada is a world leader in potato production, and we grow over 150 different varieties.

Check out our Produce of the Week pinterest board for more recipe ideas and tidbits!

 

I couldn’t resist :)

More like Dandy-lion!

Produce of the Week

I thought it would be fun to explore the world of dandelions. Often a pain in the butt for many gardeners in North America, this pesky plant is revered in Asia and Europe for its healing properties  and nutritious rewards.

FUN FACT:

The dandelion is believed to have evolved over 30 million years ago! 

 Dandelions are rich in vitamin A, C, iron, and calcium. Its extract or derived ingredients are commonly found in medicine.

Common health benefits for the consumption of dandelions include: relief from liver disorders, diabetes, urinary disorders, acne, jaundice, cancer, and anemia.

It also helps in maintaining bone health, skin care and is beneficial  for weight loss.

With so many benefits and with it being so readily available, it seems odd that dandelions are not part of our everyday food lifestyle.

Source: Organic Facts 

source: blog.getnarrative.com

Every part of the dandelion is edible and can be use in several different ways.

The easiest way to think about dandelions is like a veggie. You can toss it in with salad, cook it like you do with spinach, and even deep fry it like a cauliflower.

The Prairie Homestead blog did a really great  job of putting a list of recipes together. I encourage you to check them out

You can also drink it!

Dandelion Tea:

Dandelion tea is becoming more popular. If you’re not feeling adventurous to make your own tea you can buy it in stores

 Dandelion Smoothie:

Source: blog.freepeople.com

The key with the smoothie is to find the right balance of sweetness to offset the bitterness of the dandelions.

Dandelion flowers make great wine… who knew that?

Source: klaudynahebda.pl/dandelion-wine-recipe/

Maybe the next time you see dandelions, you’ll see it for its perks rather than as a pest.

But if you’re still having troubles chewing on the idea of dandelions being edible, there are many effective ways to get rid of them organically.

Try mixing:

  • 1 Gallon White Vinegar
  • 2 Cups Epson Salt
  • 1/4 Cup  Dish Soap

Put the mix in a spray bottle and squirt. Try not to get it on the lawn and other plants because this concoction is an effective herbicide.

Check out our Produce of the Week pinterest board for more recipe ideas and tidbits! 

 

The Mighty Zucchini

Produce of the Week

The gourd family is a huge, diverse world in the veggie universe. Ranging from melons to squashes and, even, the cucumber. The most popular squash is probably the pumpkin.  Celebrated in the fall with lattes and jack o’lanterns, but little is known about its cousin– the zucchini.

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Zucchinis from Grow Calgary!

The zucchini is a summer squash. And technically, is a fruit! It is actually a part of the zucchini flower. However, it is prepared and eaten like a vegetable– which is probably why we think it is a vegetable.

Hold up, I think they think I’m a vegetable.

Zucchinis will grow in our temperate climate, and is found throughout the world. It can grow to be about 3 feet! Generally, the smaller it is, the sweet it will taste. You can harvest it about 45 – 60 days after planting or about a week after flowering. It is recommended to cut off the zucchini with a sharp knife or scissors rather than breaking them off the vine.

The zucchini and other summer squashes have thin edible skin and soft seeds, and the flesh of summer squash is tender and very perishable. Summer squashes are generally harvested and eaten as immature fruit and should be used within a few days of harvesting.

Zucchinis can be stored in the refrigerator for up to ten days. If you have more than you can possibly eat in ten days, cut off the ends, slice, cube or shred and freeze in food-grade freezer bags.

So why should you eat it? Because there are so many benefits such as:

Visit our farm to harvest a zucchini today! Or check us out on Pinterest for more zucchini facts, gardening tips and recipes.

Source: Canadian Gardener

The Seeds Have Been Planted.

The grass can be greener, beans stalkier, and bellies fuller.

I originally heard about Grow Calgary at the Social Media Breakfast last month. Grow Calgary is a 100% volunteer-run organization whose mission is to make donations to the Calgary Food Bank by living up to the motto that “all Calgarians should have access to fresh, local food.”

I was hooked on the concept. As I learned more about the stunning statistics I couldn’t sleep at night.

Source: Calgary Food Bank

There is not a single profile of who uses the food banks– from single parents to families with unexpected emergencies. Many factors come into play, but one fact does stand out. Every single person deserves the right to food dignity. That is, the right to the access to food, fresh produce and healthy food sources.

I wanted to do something to help. I thought to myself what can I do? I’m not a farmer. The closest thing I have to a ‘green thumb’ is wearing green polish. So, I decided to visit the Grow Calgary Farm with my sister, Jane. Together, we are going to blog, post, tweet, IG, Pin and do everything we can to raise awareness of the extraordinary organization that is Grow Calgary.

To learn more and to volunteer visit growcalgary.ca today!

Grow Calgary