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Fresh Market: Is there fruit after August?

AWE-fresh-marketBy Vicky Babcock

 

 

Now that the kids are settled back into school and we are pushing into October, it’s time to address a few misconceptions. I’m frequently asked how long the (Solon) Market runs. People are quite often surprised when I tell them we are open through October. The question most commonly asked is this, “What kind of fruit (or vegetables) can you get in October?” Our minds take a turn once school starts. Our lives are consumed by back-to-school chores and football. For teachers, principals and other school staff, it is back to work. It’s like turning a switch. We forget that summer is not defined by the school schedule. Is there fruit (or vegetables) after August? I’m glad you asked.

Our state enjoys a fairly long growing season, spanning early May through late October and into November. Some of the most nutritious (and delicious) vegetables and fruits come late to the plate. Tomatoes are a popular fruit that can be harvested until the first frost. Most root vegetables enjoy a long sojourn into the fall season. Potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, parsnips and horseradish are some of the more common choices for fall roots. Winter squash—which should be harvested before the frost—will keep throughout much of the winter when stored properly.

Brussels Sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and peppers are other examples of fall favorites. Kohlrabi and rutabaga are less common, but equally delicious.

It’s not just about pumpkins. Apples and pears, both popular Michigan fruits, make their debut in October. And cranberries are just beginning their bid to maturity. Cackleberries (produced by happy hens) are available year round. With the variety of produce yet available, there’s no excuse not to eat fresh.

Easy as—well, pie—Crustless Cranberry Pie

1 cup flour

½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

1 cup sugar

½ cup melted butter

¼ tsp. salt

2 beaten eggs

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 tsp. almond extract

 

Preheat oven to 350◦. In a medium to large bowl, combine first three ingredients. Gently stir in cranberries and nuts. Add butter, eggs and almond extract; combine. Spread in a 9-inch pie plate. Bake about 40 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in center is clean.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Fresh Market: Horseradish

 

By Vicky Babcock

 

AWE-horseradishWelcome to the American Bottoms, a Mississippi River basin carved out by glaciers during the ice age.  The soil here is rich in potash, a nutrient on which horseradish thrives. According to promoters, it is here where 60 percent of the world’s supply of horseradish is grown. It is home to the International Horseradish Festival in Collinsville, Illinois. Celebrated the first weekend in June each year, events include root tossing, recipe contests and horseradish eating contests. Please see more information at www.horseradishfestival.com. Yet horseradish is not native to the U.S. and was probably introduced to the Americas during European colonization. Horseradish is happy where winters are cold and has a wide range from zones 2 to 9.

Horseradish is not for horses. In fact, both the leaves and roots are toxic to livestock, including horses. It does, however belong to the Brassicaceae family, which includes mustard, broccoli, cabbage and yes, radish. The name, “horse” likely stems from its archaic form, meaning strong, coarse or large.

Horseradish is not for everyone. It is most often used as a condiment with beef and is closely related to wasabi. However, it gives a lovely bite to a jar of pickles and Blue Diamond™ makes a wonderful Wasabi Almond, one of my favorites. The leaves can be used in salads and have the same—though much less—bite as the root. It is often used as one of the bitter herbs eaten in observance of Passover.

The bite associated with horseradish occurs when the plant is oxidized by chopping the root. Chopping or grating the plant releases isothiocyanate, a volatile compound that when combined with oxygen, provides the heat. The plant itself uses this as protection from insects and animals and few critters are likely to taste it twice. It is nature’s own chemical warfare, but used for protection only. It is interesting to note that at least one U.S. facility uses gas masks in processing this bitter herb.

Once the root is chopped, it must be stabilized in vinegar to preserve the heat. Horseradish does not have a long shelf life, as it loses its heat rather quickly and can become bitter.  Store bought sauces are likely to be more mild than you will get if you make your own.

Fresh horseradish has antibacterial properties and it is high in vitamin C. Both its leaves and root were used medicinally in ancient times and were considered useful for urinary tract infections, kidney stones, fluid retention, cough, bronchitis, achy joints, gallbladder disorders, gout and colic.  I do not advise self-medicating, however. As always, check with your doctor before using in any sense other than culinary.

According to Greek mythology, the Delphi Oracle informed Apollo that horseradish was worth its weight in gold. It was prized in Egypt as early as 1500 BCE.

Horseradish is harvested in the spring and fall and will last for up to six weeks if properly processed, although some sources claim success up to one year. You might want to try freezing small quantities for later use. Enjoy!

To process your own horseradish, wash and peel an eight to ten inch root. Chop into pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor.* Add one to two tablespoons water and pulse until desired consistency. Add a pinch of salt and one tablespoon white vinegar.  Or try our cream sauce. Recipe follows:

Horseradish Sauce

1 cup sour cream

¼ cup grated or finely chopped fresh horseradish

1 T. Dijon style mustard

1 tsp. white vinegar

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

Whisk ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Refrigerate for at least four hours to allow flavors to blend. Store in an air-tight container for up to three weeks. Use as a condiment with roast beef. Try with a red wine to balance the flavor.

*Always use care when cutting or handling fresh horseradish. While the intact root has little odor, cutting the root releases a potent compound that can irritate the eyes and nose. Use in a well ventilated area and avoid touching your eyes.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718. Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

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Score a Touchdown This Football Season

(Family Features) Football season can only mean one thing – time to grab the best seat in the house, and we’re not talking about at the stadium. In fact, 77 percent of Americans think the best seat in the house is at home in front of an HDTV, according to a recent survey by McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco brand products. Instead of heading to the stadium, keep the tailgate at home and throw a “homegating” party.

The ultimate homegate is not only about the football game, it’s about the food. No matter what’s happening on the field, the spread can be the real game-changer. In fact, the survey found the following:

78 percent of American adults think good food can make up for a bad game.

Americans spend, on average, 42 percent of the game eating or drinking.

Over half of Americans (57 percent) voted the grill as the most important appliance when hosting a homegate.

For a homegate touchdown, banish the boring and serve beer-infused chili, which is sure to please all your family, friends and football fans. For other ways to spice up game day, visit www.tabasco.com.

 

Super Good Chili

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 (12 ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 (16 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (12 ounce) can or bottle beer

1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies

1 tablespoon TABASCO brand Original Red Sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese,

optional

Heat oil in 5-quart saucepot over medium heat. Add beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove to bowl.

Add onion and garlic to drippings remaining in skillet; cook over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes.

Return meat to saucepot; stir in cumin. Cook 1 minute. Stir in diced tomatoes with liquid, pinto beans, red kidney beans, beer, green chilies, Tabasco Sauce and salt. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally.

Serve with cheese, if desired.

 

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Fresh Market: Beets

AWE-Beets

By Vicky Babcock

 

Favored by Aphrodite, these miniature powerhouses deserve a second look. Beets are older than dirt, a pre-historic root vegetable that grew wild along the African coastline and the coastlines of Europe and Asia as well, although at this time only the beet greens were consumed. It is commonly believed that ancient Romans began the practice of eating the root. What we refer to as beets are actually beetroot and both parts of the plant are edible.  The goddess was said to have consumed beetroots to retain her beauty and women used beetroot to color their cheeks. Beetroot was considered an aphrodisiac and was a popular offering to Apollo, god of the sun. The Oracle of Delphi proclaimed beets to be worth their weight in silver and second only to horseradish in mystic potency. Folklore holds that if a man and woman eat from the same beetroot, they will fall in love.

The natural components of beetroot offer a multitude of health benefits. Beets can help improve blood flow, increasing oxygen (and thus, stamina) and lowering blood pressure. Components provide anti-inflammatory properties and studies show a likely use to help ward off cancers. Beets are high in vitamin C, an immune booster, and fiber, potassium (heart, nerve and muscle) and manganese (bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas).  Beets contain the B vitamin folate, which can help reduce the risk of birth defects.  They have been used in detoxification programs and to help purify the blood and liver.

It has been used to color foods such as tomato paste and sauces as well as ice cream, jams, jellies and cereals; as fodder for animals; as a substitute for cane sugar (sugar beets); and to enhance the effectiveness of road salt. Both the greens and the root have medicinal value and were used as such by the ancients and by holistic practitioners today.

Beet greens are excellent sources of vitamins A, K and C, 220%, 821% and 60% RDA per 1 cup serving respectively. They are a very good source of potassium and manganese and a good source of magnesium and calcium. Per volume, beet greens are as high—if not higher—in iron than spinach and can be used in cooking much the same way.

Yet, like Rodney (Dangerfield) beets get no respect. Aside from the Russians, who love their borsht (beet soup) few people have a liking for the flavor of beets. Some describe it as earthy. Most red beets find their way into jars and cans as pickled beets.

Beet sugar from the sugar beet became popular after sugar cane was restricted by the British during the Napoleonic Wars and Napoleon decreed the beet be used as the primary source of sugar.  It was around this time that the beets were first introduced to the New World. By 1837, France had become the largest sugar beet producer in the world, a position it held until 2011 when it was eclipsed by Russia.  he U.S. ranks third in the world in sugar beet production.

Michigan’s beet sugar production centers around the Bay City thumb area. Michigan Sugar Company is the third leading producer of beet sugar in the United States, selling under the names Pioneer Sugar® and Big Chief®.

Beets can be baked, steamed or boiled—or they can be shredded and consumed raw in salads. Cooking greatly diminishes the nutritional value of beetroots so cook lightly—15 minutes or less to sauté and less than an hour of baking. Cooking times can be reduced by cutting beets into quarters. Wash gently before cooking and leave the “tail” and  a bit of the green end.  Remove the skin after the cooking process by rubbing with a paper towel. Gloves can be worn to prevent stained hands or use a little lemon juice to remove stains from hands. Salt will dull a beet’s color so only add salt at the end of the cooking process.

A few more interesting facts you may not know about beets:

•In England, mangel-wurzel (a beetroot used for animal fodder) hurling has become a team sport.

•Beetroot can be used as a measure of acidity.  When added to an acidic solution it will turn pink, whereas if it is added to an alkali solution, it will turn yellow.

•Beetroot contains “betaine” which is used in other forms to help treat depression and “tryptophan,” the feel-good chemical in chocolate.

•Beet juice is being used today to replace brine in loading tractor tires. It does not corrode like brine and does not freeze. However, if you get a flat tire, you will have to fight the wasps for control of the tractor.

 

Mama (In-Law)’s Harvard Beets

¾ cup sugar

4 cups cooked beets*

2 tsp. cornstarch

3 T. butter

1/3 cup vinegar

¼ tsp. salt

1/3 cup water

1/8 tsp. pepper

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.  Add vinegar and water; bring to boil and cook 5 minutes. Add cooked beets and simmer ½ hour.  Add butter, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

*Remember—the less cooking the better to retain nutritional value.  For this reason we recommend steaming the beets prior to making the Harvard Beets

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Fresh Market: Plums

Photo from michiganplum.org. Check out their website for more info on plums grown in Michigan and to find recipes.

Photo from michiganplum.org. Check out their website for more info on plums grown in Michigan and to find recipes.

By Vicky Babcock

Plums may have been one of the first fruits cultivated by humans. It appears to have several origins and varieties. Prunus domestica has been traced to East European and Caucasian mountains, while Prunus salicina and Prunus simonii originated in Asia. The remnants of plums were discovered in archaeological digs dating to the Neolihic age (Wikipedia).

A relative to peaches, nectarines and almonds, the plum is a member of the rose family. It is considered a drupe—a fruit with a stone pit surrounding their seeds. Plum trees blossom in the spring and a healthy tree will produce an abundant crop in late summer to early fall. Asian varieties can be harvested much earlier, sometimes as early as May.  China is the leading producer of plums, with the U.S. lagging a distant sixth. Of the 50 states, California leads in plum production.

The plum tree is featured significantly in Chinese mythology. It is associated with wisdom and longevity, and blossoms from the plum tree are frequently carved in jade to symbolize resurrection. It is often represented in Asian art and is included among “the three friends of winter” and “the four gentlemen,” traditional groupings of plants which often appear in artworks. The three friends—pine, bamboo and plum—are associated with strength and endurance during the cold winter months, while the four gentlemen—plum, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum—represent the seasons, as well as noble virtues.

Plum varieties range from sweet to tart and the skin can be somewhat tart. They are featured heavily in much Asian cuisine, while Americans are more likely to consume them in their natural state. Plums are a good source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin K, copper, fiber and potassium. With about 30 calories per fruit, plums are an excellent choice to round out your diet.

On a cautionary note, plums contain measurable amounts of oxalates. In heavy concentrations, these can crystallize and create health problems. Individuals with kidney or gallbladder conditions probably should avoid eating plums. If you have any concerns, please speak with your doctor.

Nana’s Plum Bread

1 to 1 ½ cups pitted, chopped plums

1 T. flour1 ½ cups flour

½ cup butter, softened½ tsp. salt

¾ cup sugar½ tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. vanilla extract¼ tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. orange extract2 T. sour cream

2 large eggs2 T. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan and dust with about 1 tablespoon of white sugar. In a small bowl, sprinkle plums with 1 tablespoon flour. Toss lightly to coat; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, ¾ cup sugar and extracts. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. In a separate bowl, stir together remaining dry ingredients except for brown sugar. Add to egg mixture, stirring until mixture is smooth and dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in sour cream. Fold plums into batter, then pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 50-55 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5-10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool on a wire rack.

Note: Baking times are approximate.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

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Fresh Market—Sage

 

Bloom-FreshSageBy Vicky Babcock

 

Sage, considered a panacea among herbalists, has been prized as such for thousands of years. This is reflected in its official name, Salivia officinalis, which derives from the Latin salvere, “to be saved.”

Native to the Mediterranean, this super-herb has been used for everything from improving memory to controlling night sweats. Its list of medicinal uses is long and varied, earning it—along with its culinary uses—the title, “Herb of the Year,” from the International Herb Association in 2001. Ancients believed the herb would ward off evil and 14th century Europeans used it as a protection against witchcraft. Arab physicians in the 10th century believed it could promote immortality. Sage was used to treat typhoid and is one of the herbs contained in “Four Thieves Vinegar,” which is said to be a concoction derived to ward off the plague.

Studies have had some success in treating mild cases of Alzheimer’s with sage; it is well documented in its use to reduce menopausal sweats and was used as a treatment for night sweats in TB patients as well. It has been used to aid patients with type 2 diabetes. Research suggests that the presence of volatile oil in this herb is largely responsible for most of its therapeutic properties, especially its anti-septic, astringent and relaxing properties. Sage is used internally in the treatment of anxiety and depression. It has been used externally to treat insect bites, skin, throat, mouth and gum infections. It was thought to promote strength and longevity and believed to cure warts.  American Indians used it as a toothbrush.

And let’s not forget its culinary uses: although in the States sage is mostly associated with turkey and stuffing, its possibilities are endless. Try using sage in soups and sauces, especially tomato-based. Use it in omelets, as a flavoring for chicken or fish or add it to homemade breads or biscuits. Or try a brew of sage tea. As with all herbs, it is best to add towards the end of your baking, as excessive cooking reduces the flavor.

If you choose only one herb for your garden, choose sage.  Add it to your diet; your body will thank you.

Scarborough Potato Bread

Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme…

Makes: 2 small loaves

Ingredients

1 medium potato, cooked and mashed, 1 cup liquid reserved

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons lukewarm water

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 1/2-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Drizzle mashed potato with oil. If cold, heat potato and liquid to lukewarm.

Dissolve sugar in water in a large bowl. Stir in yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add potato and 1 cup reserved cooking liquid. Gradually beat in whole-wheat flour. Beat for 1 minute. Stir in parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage and salt. Gradually beat in enough white flour until the dough is stiff. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding just enough flour to prevent sticking,. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn to coat and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Punch the dough down. Turn out onto work surface and knead several times. Divide dough in half and shape each piece into a ball. Place loaves several inches apart on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.

Half an hour before baking, place a baking stone or inverted baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Place a small baking pan on the rack below. Preheat oven to 450°F.

Pour 1 cup water into the baking pan in the oven. Place the baking sheet on the baking stone (or inverted baking sheet) and bake the loaves for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° and bake until the loaves are golden and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before slicing.

Try these toasted with butter and honey!

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Fresh Market: Zucchini

 

BLOOM-ZucchiniBy Vicky Babcock

 

Save your grocery bags.  Practice your stealth.  It’s nearly upon us!  August 8 is “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbors porch day”.   Non-growing neighbors are likely to appreciate the shared largess—-that first time.  Okay, maybe the second.  Wait!  They’re locking the car and leaving the light on.  And they’ve just acquired a big dog.

All kidding aside, this prolific grower is a tasty and nutritious treat.   One medium fruit provides about 58% of your daily requirements of Vitamin C and about 14% of potassium.

Small, tender squash are best and can be consumed uncooked in salads and cut into sticks for dips.  Or skip the dip—it’s not needed.  And one medium fruit contains only 33 calories, a dieter’s dream!  Leave the skin intact for a healthy snack—much of the nutrition is concentrated within the peel.  It can be sliced and stir-fried for a tasty side.  (I use salt, pepper and garlic)  But pick often.  Larger fruit are only good shredded for breads, cakes and soups, as the skin becomes tough and the fruit seedy.

Zucchini fruit is more versatile than most people realize.  It can be fried, baked, broiled or consumed raw.  Try zucchini fries or quiche, cookies or pancakes.  Zucchini fritters are another way to use up the squash.  For some tasty zucchini recipes, check out www.MomOnTimeout (Google zucchini recipes)

Zucchini is Native American and was cultivated by the Indians long before Columbus set sail on his monumental voyage.  Much lore abounds with its medicinal value.  Toothache suffers could chew on a piece to find relief and it was said that a paste of the boiled fruit could sooth the sting of running eyes.  Consumption of great quantities, it was said, would prevent the deadly consequences of snakebite.  To remove a troublesome wart, touch the affliction with the cut end of a zucchini by the light of a full moon and bury the squash in a field that faces north.  While we can’t guarantee the results, you’re likely to get a good crop of zucchini!  Linda Jean Morris— The Times Weds. 9-2-1987.

That excess of squash can be shredded and frozen for later use.  Or maybe its time to start a new tradition.  How about, “bring some zucchini to work, day.”

Easy Garden Lasagna

1 lb. Italian bulk sausage

3 1/2 cups chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped onion

2/3 cup chopped carrot

1 cup corn kernels

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

1/4 cup flour

3 cups skim milk

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

8 or 9- no-boil lasagna noodles (such as Barilla)

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. In a large skillet, cook bulk sausage until browned through.  Pour off excess grease—remove sausage and set aside.  Add zucchini, onion, and carrot to the pan; sauté over med-high heat about 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from heat; stir in reserved sausage, corn, basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

3. In a large saucepan, combine flour, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in ricotta cheese, Parmesan and nutmeg.

4. Spread 1/3 of the sausage mixture in the bottom of an 11×7-inch baking pan.  Layer half the noodles, 1/3 sausage, ½ white sauce, remaining noodles, remaining sausage and remaining white sauce.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with mozzarella, and bake an additional 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

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Fresh Market: The Peach

 

By Vicky Babcock

 

BLOOM-fresh-market-peachesWho can resist the lure of a ripe peach on a summer afternoon? Not I, and certainly not my three-year-old grandson, who gorged himself on peaches while helping me pick and suffered not a whit. The sight of a peach still brings to mind that perfect summer day—Bryce’s face with bulging cheeks, the fragrant juice dripping slowly down his chin. He must have thought he was in candy heaven! He’s not alone—peaches are prized throughout the world.

Alexander the Great is credited with bringing the fruit to Europe after conquering Persia. Although peaches get their name from ancient Persia, they almost certainly originated in China, where they are highly prized. Peaches were brought to America by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, although they were not commercially grown until the 19th century.

The Chinese held the peach tree in awe. It was considered a ward against evil spirits and an aid to immortality.

In Korea, the peach is seen as the fruit of happiness, riches, honors and longevity. The rare peach with double seeds is seen as a favorable omen of a mild winter. It is one in ten of the immortal plants and animals. (Wikipedia)

In Vietnam, where it is recognized as a sign of spring, it plays a part in their celebration of Tet.

Peaches are a low calorie choice, providing about 30 calories per medium fruit. A medium peach provides eight percent of RDA for vitamin c and about 140 mg. of potassium. If you can tolerate the fuzz, leave these lovely treats with the skin intact, as much of the nutritional value is contained in the peel.

All parts of the peach have their place in American folklore and folk medicine. It was thought that a baby that refuses to be birthed could be brought at once if the mother drinks tea made from bark scraped downward from a young peach tree. Peach tree bark scraped upwards is said to be a cure for vomiting and/or diarrhea.

A magical cure for warts involved cutting as many notches in a peach tree branch as one has warts. Peach tree wood is a favorite of many for making dowsing rods.

Kentucky lore holds that rubbing warts with peach leaves, then burying the leaves, will remove the warts.  Peach leaves were also used in Colonial times as a cure for worms and Hohman recommends the flowers for the same. According to lore, eating a peach that has been pecked by a bird can lead to poisoning. Peach pits were used as a cure for “gravel” (kidney stones), to stimulate hair growth and as a remedy for drunkenness. Charms can be made from the carved stones as well.

Note:  I include the folklore for color only. Consumption of peach pits strikes me as highly risky as peach pits, like many of the rose family seeds, contain traces of cyanide.   If you plan to plant your own trees, you might want to consider this bit of folk wisdom shared by Vance Randolph. “In planting peach trees, it is always well to bury old shoes or boots near the roots.” He goes on to state that not far from Little Rock, Arkansas, he has known farmers to drive into town to search refuse piles for old shoes to bury in their orchards.

Okay, I’m hooked. Does anyone have an old boot?

Peach & sweet onion salad

6 ripe peaches peeled and sliced
1 medium Vidalia onion, cut across the center and sliced thinly
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce

1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
6 cups mixed baby salad greens, rinsed and crisped
2 cups fresh arugula, tough stems removed, rinsed and crisped

In a large bowl, gently combine the peach and onion slices.  In a small cup, whisk together the lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper.  Pour over the peach mixture and toss lightly to coat evenly.   Set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.When ready to serve, combine the baby greens and arugula.  Divide among 6 salad plates and top each portion with the peach and onion slices.  Drizzle with some of the juices from the bowl and serve at once.  Makes 6 Servings.

Per Serving:  66 Cal; 0.0 g Total Fat; 16 g Carb; 0.0 mg Cholesterol; 17 mg Sodium; 449 mg Potassium; 4 g Dietary Fiber; 2 g Protein.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Fresh  Market: Raspberry—Food for the gods

*BLOOM-Raspberries

By Vicky Babcock

 

It’s raspberry season! We can thank the Olympians for this flavorful fruit. Greek mythology credits the Olympians with the discovery while foraging for food on Mount Ida—so named for the nursemaid of Zeus. The nymph is said to be responsible for the rich red color—the berries, once white, were stained by her blood when she pricked her finger picking berries for the young god.

To dream of raspberries is a good sign as it means success in all things, happiness in marriage, fidelity in a sweetheart and good news from abroad (Elsevier’s Dictionary of Plant Lore).

Some European cultures believe that hanging raspberry brambles over windows and doors will offer protection to the house and its occupants. The practice is also used when a death has occurred in the family to prevent any wayward spirits from entering and stealing the soul of the dearly departed.

Raspberry leaves have been used for centuries as an aid to pregnancies. It is said that red raspberry leaves tone the uterus and the muscles of the pelvic region, ease morning sickness, ease the pain of childbirth and aid in the production of breast milk. While I found no scientific evidence to support these claims, red raspberry leaf tea continues to be used in homeopathic medicine today.

Raspberries are high in manganese and vitamin C, providing 62 percent and 51 percent of our RDA per cup respectively, as well as 33 percent of our dietary fiber. Research shows that raspberries are an antioxidant food, containing ellagic acid, which helps to prevent unwanted cell damage by neutralizing free radicals. Research also suggests that raspberries may have the potential to inhibit cancer cell growth and the formation of tumors (Elsevier’s Dictionary of Plant Lore).  A study in the June 2004 issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology suggests that eating three or more servings of raspberries a day may lower age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) by up to 36 percent. ARMD is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults.

Nutrition aside, these little jewels are a treat to eat, sun-warmed fresh off the bush or cold from the fridge. But don’t wait—raspberries are fragile at best and do not keep well. Try them on cereal or salad.  Or try our fresh raspberry pie. To prolong your enjoyment, spread the berries out on a cookie sheet to freeze and then bag them up for the freezer for later consumption.

 

Fresh Raspberry Pie

For crust:  Stir together

1 ½ cups flour

½ cup vegetable oil

2 T. sugar

½ tsp. salt

2 T. milk

Stir ingredients together. Pat into pie plate, prick with fork. Bake in pre-heated 450-degree oven about 10 minutes. Watch carefully, as this burns easily. Cool. Prepare filling.

For filling:

2 T. cornstarch

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

4 cups fresh raspberries

Jello™

Whipped topping

Bring to a boil water, sugar and cornstarch, stir in 1 small box raspberry Jello™. Gently stir in 2 cups fresh raspberries. Spread 2 cups of fresh raspberries into cooled pie crust and pour hot filling over the top.  Cool. Top with Cool Whip™ or other whipped topping.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

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Fresh Market: Cherries

BLOOM-Fresh-market-cherries-webBy Vicky Babcock

 

“Cherries on the ryse,” or on the twigs, was one of the street cries in London during the 15th century. These cherries likely were fruit from the native wild cherry, as the domestic cherry, introduced into Briton around 71 BC, disappeared sometime in the Saxon period.  It was not reintroduced until Henry VIII’s reign in the early 1500’s. Ancient lore holds that the Virgin Mary—prior to the birth of Christ—once wished to taste some cherries that hung high above her head. She asked Joseph to pick them for her but he refused saying, “Let the father of thy child present thee with the cherries.” As the words left his lips the branch of the tree bowed to the Virgin’s hand, allowing her to gather the fruit and thus, silently reproaching Joseph for his surliness. Thus, the cherry is dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics: Embracing the Myths, Traditions, Superstitions, and Folk-Lore of the Plant Kingdom, Richard Folkard, 1884).

The ancient Lithuanians believed the demon, Kirnis, to be the guardian of the Cherry. In Germany and Denmark, tradition holds that evil spirits often hide themselves within old Cherry trees, causing harm to anyone who comes near. Folkard’s book also says that to dream of cherries denotes inconsistency and disappointment in life.

A relative newcomer to the States (1600’s), cherries have likely been consumed since prehistoric times.  Romans and Greeks prized the fruit as did the Chinese. Its royal color and its tart flavor likely earned it a place on the tables of nobles and kings.  The cherry tree probably originated in the territories of Asia Minor near the Black and Caspian Seas.

It turns out the sandy soil along Lake Michigan, as well as the tempering effects of the lake on the arctic air, create an excellent growing environment for cherries in our state.   Michigan has the honor of being the leading producer of the tart cherry crop in the United States, with about 75 percen of the nation’s production, which is almost exclusively centered in the Traverse Bay area. Most of these tart cherries find their way into pies and pie fillings, in addition to preserves, jellies, juice and dried fruit. We are also a big producer of sweet cherries and farmer’s markets and roadside stands are rife with these beauties in July. Peter Dougherty, the first European settler in the Traverse Bay area, is credited with the introduction of the tart cherry tree here. In 1852, he planted a cherry orchard on Old Mission Peninsula. Much to the astonishment of the natives and settlers, the grove thrived.

Consumption of cherries has been linked with reduction of uric acid in the body, bringing great relief from the pain associated with arthritis and gout. In a study done by the USDA, it was discovered that consumption of 2 cups of Bing cherries reduced uric acid by as much as 15 percent. Cherries also help reduce inflammation by reducing the amount of C-reactive protein produced. Powerful antioxidants in cherries—especially the dark sweet variety—help keep cancerous cells from growing out of control. They are an excellent source of potassium, which can help reduce blood pressure by keeping sodium and potassium in balance.  One cup of cherries contains as much potassium as a banana. Trouble sleeping? Tart cherries contain melatonin, a sleep aid, and in studies, two tablespoons of the juice were found to be just as effective as a melatonin supplement.

A cup of cherries comes in at less than a hundred calories, making it an excellent choice for your diet. Cherries contain many B-vitamins as well, which are essential for metabolism. So for a skinny choice, choose cherries!

 

Fruit Crisp

2 tart pie apples such as Granny Smith or Spies, peeled and chopped

2 Anjou pears, peeled and chopped

1 cup pitted dark sweet cherries

¼ cup sugar

3 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/3 cup quick cooking oats

1/3 cup flour

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup butter

½ cup pecan pieces

 

Combine fruits and ¼ cup sugar; spread in buttered 8×8 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients except for pecans. Work together until crumbly. Stir in pecan pieces. Sprinkle mixture over fruit layer.

Bake in pre-heated 350 ◦ oven 50 minutes or until crisp is golden and bubbly.  Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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