Fresh Food Saved My Life
See how one man revitalized his health (and his outlook) by going back to the fresh-food basics.
Fresh food feeds our lives in
ways that might surprise you.
See how one man revitalized his health (and his outlook) by going back to the fresh-food basics.
Meet an inspiring teenager who turned a single cabbage into a national fresh-food movement.
This South Carolina teen is on a mission to end hunger one garden at a time. Her nonprofit, Katie’s Krops, provides grants to help youngsters 9 to 18 start vegetable gardens and grow fresh food for the needy. They now operate 100 youth-run gardens in 37 states, donating thousands of pounds of fresh produce annually through food pantries, soup kitchens, and direct gifts.
Katie started producing food to help others at age 9, when she grew a 40-pound cabbage for a third-grade homework assignment and donated it to a soup kitchen in her town.
Make a plan to eat fresh, unprocessed food with this popular food blogger and author.
When this wife and mother of two began a quest to cut highly processed food out of her family’s meals, it changed not only their life but the lives of countless others. Her quest led Lisa, her husband, and two daughters to a pledge: no processed food for 100 days. The pledge led to a blog, 100 Days of Real Food, intended for family and friends but that soon exploded into a nationwide phenomenon. A #1 New York Times bestseller, also titled 100 Days of Real Food, followed.
Through her blog and book, Lisa leads her millions of followers step by practical step to adopt not a diet but a real-food lifestyle.
Learn how eating fresh, local seafood has the power to save the local environment too.
These cousins from Virginia never planned to reinvent oyster farming and, in the process, revive the ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay. One was working in finance, the other in publishing when they inherited their grandfather’s oyster leases. As they learned about the critical role of oysters in the environment and how endangered the bay’s native oysters were, their modest plan to revive an old family business took on new life.
Hundreds of farms on the Chesapeake now practice versions of the sustainable aquaculture the Croxtons pioneered, helping restore wild oyster populations while providing cultured shellfish for home and restaurant tables.
Discover how an urban farm revitalized the health of an entire community.
Daron says sheer defiance made him and his neighbors plant their first weedy vegetable patch on a vacant lot in Dallas’ inner-city Bonton neighborhood. Fresh food hadn’t been available there in decades. Shopping at the nearest supermarket cost three hours on the bus. Nutrition-related illness was rife. Miraculously, their hardscrabble garden burgeoned into a full-fledged urban farm, bringing food, jobs, and education to Bonton.
Daron left a career in private equity to move to the inner city and work side by side with his friends there. Bonton – the name comes from the French for “good times”– is seeing better days thanks to their efforts.
Meet a top chef who brought fresh thinking and fresh eating to a public-school cafeteria.
Meet one of the farmers we all support when we shop fresh and local.
Learn from a passionate beekeeper how to protect the bees (and fresh produce).
Take fresh food a little less seriously with this sharp-witted cartoonist.
Learn that the roots of soul food are fresh, seasonal, and surprisingly nutritious.
A self-described “recovering attorney” and former White House staffer, Adrian turned his formidable research skills to matters of culinary history and won a James Beard Award for the resulting book, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time.
Adrian gives talks around the country on topics where the cultural and the culinary intersect, such as chicken and waffles, kosher soul food, and the subject of his latest book: black chefs in the White House.
See his schedule of live appearances at adrianemiller.com.
See how eating vegan enhances the mental and physical performance of this pro surfer.
A lifelong vegetarian and a vegan since age 15, 19-year-old Tia finds that her plant-based diet provides more than enough energy and nutrition for the demands of daily training and competing on the international surfing circuit. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Hawaii and California, Tia learned to surf at age 3 and signed her first professional sponsorship when she was just 12.
Tia enjoys cooking for her family and experimenting with new ways to make vegan dishes delicious, often finding flavor inspiration in the cuisines of South and Southeast Asia.
See how one corporate chef is spreading fresh thinking throughout Sub-Zero and Wolf.
The Washington Post examines the surprising ripple effect of discarded food and suggests ways we can all reduce food waste at Wasted Yet Wanted.
Bok choy is a vegetable with crisp, sweet leafy greens and juicy white stems. This mineral-rich relative of the Chinese cabbage packs an earthy taste and ample nutrients.
Look for crisp, bright-green leaves and a firm white stem. Avoid bok choy with dull, drooping leaves, yellow stems, or brown spots.
Like other leafy greens, store bok choy in crisper in a loose or perforated plastic bag. Do not wash until directly before use.
Wash with cold water and cut away the root at the base. Baby bok choy can be cooked whole or eaten raw. For mature bok choy, separate the stalks and leaves before cooking. (NOTE: Leaves cook quickly.) Recipes
This versatile vegetable can go far beyond the ubiquitous crudité platter. While the bright-orange variety is most popular, heirloom carrots range in color from white to yellow to purple.
Look for carrots that are smooth, firm, crisp, and rich in color (a flavor indicator). Avoid any with soft spots, discoloration, or sprouts from the root itself.
Remove any leaves before storing, then place carrots in a perforated plastic bag in crisper. Avoid storing next to ethylene gas-releasing fruits such as apples, apricots, melons, and figs.
Wash thoroughly with cold water, using fingertips or a vegetable brush to remove any surface grit. Spin or pat dry. Peeling is optional (but recommended for older, thicker carrots). Recipes
Cherries come in two main varieties: sweet (which includes Bing and Rainier cherries) and sour (the most popular of which are Early Richmond and Morello). This summer staple is great cooked or raw.
Choose bright, plump, shiny fruit; cherries with stems still attached will keep longer.
Store cherries unwashed in a perforated plastic bag inside the fridge.
Though leaving cherry pits intact will intensify the flavor in cooked dishes, most uses necessitate pitting. Use a cherry pitter, a pastry tip, or a clean, bent paper clip to remove the pits. Recipes
Melons – which are actually a different species from watermelons – come in many varieties, including the smooth-skinned honeydew and the orange-fleshed muskmelon (often mislabeled as a cantaloupe).
Melons should feel heavy for their size and give slightly to pressure at the stem end. While textured melons should smell sweet, smooth-skinned varieties emit aroma only after slicing.
Ripe melons can be kept at room temperature for several days. Store cut melon in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or in a sealed container.
Slice the melon in half, then scoop out seeds with a large spoon. Next, peel off the tough outer skin and cut as needed. Recipes
A relative of the beet, chard is a mellow, earthy green that peaks from June through October. Both the leaves and stems, which are often vibrantly colored, are edible.
Choose bunches with crisp stalks and fresh-looking leaves that are not cracked; avoid wilted or browning leaves.
Wrap in a perforated plastic bag and store in crisper away from ethylene gas-releasing fruits like apples, apricots, melons, and figs. Use within three days.
Remove any browning or wilted leaves. Wash with cold running water or agitate in a bowl of cold water. Spin or pat-dry with kitchen towels. For larger stalks, peel off any tough outer strings before use. Recipes
Prized for the gelatinous substance released from its pods when cooked, okra is a popular thickener for soups and stews. The vegetable is also served braised, baked, breaded, and fried.
Choose firm, springy pods no longer than three to five inches (larger pods can have a woody texture). Look for a rich green color and a fine coat of sticky white hairs.
Uncooked okra should be kept in the refrigerator and used within a few days.
Before cooking, wash the pods and cut off the stem ends. Recipes
Named for the center “stone,” or pit encasing their seeds, peaches, plums, apricots, and nectarines comprise much of the stone fruit family.
To prevent bruising in transport, most stone fruits are picked before they’re fully ripe. Therefore, look for fruit that smells sweet, is firm to the touch, and has no brown spots or wrinkling.
Stone fruits can sit at room temperature for a day or two to ripen. Once ripe (slightly tender to the touch), store in crisper, uncovered and unwashed, for up to five days.
Wash in cold water prior to use. To pit, slice through flesh along the seam and in a full circle around stone. Twist in opposite directions to separate halves. Remove stone with a knife end. Recipes
While the white button mushroom is most familiar to the American palate, many other varieties, such as the cremini, portobello, shiitake, and enoki, make equally delicious additions to raw and cooked dishes.
All varieties should be firm and dry to the touch, with caps slightly open and emitting a pleasant earthy odor. Avoid fungi with slimy spots, wrinkles, or gills with signs of moisture.
If mushrooms are prepackaged, remove immediately from packaging. Store all mushrooms loosely in a paper bag, preferably in layers between damp paper towels. Refrigerate.
Gently brush off dirt with a damp paper towel or soft brush. Dunk varieties like chanterelles, which can collect dirt in their many ridges, in a water-vinegar mixture. Pat dry immediately. Recipes
Though best known for its licorice-scented seeds, the actual fennel bulb boasts a delicate anise flavor while its feathery fronds add an herbaceous note to salads and soups.
Look for bright-white, unblemished, and firm bulbs. The cut bottom of the bulb should not have more than a trace of browning. If available, buy fennel with stalks still attached.
Store loosely wrapped in a perforated plastic bag in crisper. Avoid storing in overly cold temperatures or next to ethylene gas-releasing fruits.
Trim the bottom of the bulb and peel off any wilted or browning layers from the outside. Stalks can be saved for salad ingredients. Fronds can be washed and used as garnishes. Recipes
There are two types of persimmons. Astringent varieties are bitter prior to ripening, but creamy and sweet in their prime. Non-astringent varieties deliver crispy fruit taste for snacking, salads, and stews.
Bright-orange Hachiyas (astringent) should be firm with a touch of softness around the tip. Fuyus (non-astringent) should be firm with a yellowish-orange tinge. Avoid any squishy or brown-spotted specimens.
Allow Hachiyas to ripen on the counter or in a paper bag. Store Fuyus in the refrigerator to help maintain crispness.
Once ripe, the flesh of Hachiyas can be scooped directly out of the skin. Fuyus can be sliced, unpeeled, and added to salads as a substitute for tomatoes or other fruits. Recipes
Related to both garlic and onions, leeks pack a mild, sweet flavor that adds punch to soups and sides without overpowering delicate ingredients.
Look for unblemished, firm stalks with bright-green leaves. Avoid dark-green tops or rounded (rather than flat) bottoms. Smaller, younger leeks are more tender and mild.
Since leeks exude an aroma that can be absorbed by other foods in your fridge, wrap them loosely in a plastic bag before storing them for up to five days. Do not wash until you're ready to use them.
After chopping or slicing according to preference, rinse leeks in cold water, separating the layers to remove any grit. Pat dry with kitchen towels. Save leafy green tops for use in soup stocks. Recipes
With over 7,500 kinds worldwide, apples vary greatly in taste, texture, and size. Many are delicious eaten raw, some are perfect for making applesauce, and others are best-suited for baking.
Choose apples that are firm and unblemished. Apples emit ethylene gas, which accelerates the ripening process of other fruits and vegetables; the riper the apples, the greater the ethylene.
Store in a cool, dark place away from ethylene-sensitive produce. Early-season apples should be eaten right away. Midseason apples will keep for weeks, and late-season fruit can last a few months.
To core apples, cut into quarters and use a paring knife to remove stem and seeds. While cut apples will oxidize quickly, a squeeze of lemon will prevent browning. Recipes
The potato readily absorbs flavors and seasonings. Use high-starch varieties for baking or frying. Choose red, white, or yellow potatoes for salads or gratins. New potatoes can be steamed, boiled, or roasted.
Choose firm potatoes with no spots, cuts, or holes. Decline any with a green-tinged hue (which indicates toxic alkaloids). Avoid old potatoes that have started to sprout.
If purchased in bags, open immediately and discard any rotting potatoes. (One bad potato can spoil the bunch.) Store in a cool, dry space away from sunlight.
Do not wash potatoes until you’re ready to cook them. Scrub well with a vegetable brush under running water, and remove sprout buds or dark spots prior to use. Recipes
From miniscule kumquats to large oranges to heavy, yellow-green pomelos, the myriad species and hybrids in the citrus family are prized for their fruits, juices, and oil-rich peels.
Fruit should feel firm and heavy in the hand, with no soft spots or bruises. If zesting or candying the rind, pick fruits with unblemished skin, preferably organic.
Most fruits keep at room temperature for three to five days. Refrigerating in crisper may extend freshness for a few days but can also dim flavor.
Rinse and scrub rind, making sure to remove any wax. When peeling, remove the pith (the white material between the rind and fruit) as it has an acrid, bitter taste. Peel and separate into segments. Recipes
The term “winter squash” encompasses a staggering array of hard-skinned varieties. Their flesh is usually yellow to deep orange with a starchy consistency that turns creamy and sweet when cooked.
Choose very hard squash that does not give when pressed. Skin should be deeply colored, relatively dull in appearance, and should not be easily nicked or scraped off.
Thanks to its thick, hard skin, whole winter squash can be stored in a cool, dark place for several weeks. Once sliced, raw squash should be refrigerated and will keep for a few days.
If cooking whole, simply wash the vegetable. Otherwise, peel skin and cut the bottom so that it’s level. Then, remove outer layer with a sharp knife, slice in half, scoop out seeds, and cut into cubes. Recipes
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