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Tag: vegetables

Red Spinach Variety Released

USDA Red, a true red spinach

Traditionally, spinach is the color green. There are some leafy greens called red spinach, but only the veins are red and they are not true spinach. Now, a true red spinach variety has been traditionally bred to give consumers a new outlook on spinach.

Since 2006, when an E. coli outbreak occurred, spinach consumption has dropped from 2.3 pounds per person to 1.6 pounds. Growers are hopeful this new color will bring consumers back.

The red color comes from betacyanin, a phytonutrient that has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in patients and could help prevent chronic disease, inflammation, and cancer.

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Have A Plant™

What’s your “veggie vessel?” How do you “finish with fruit?” Learn more at

The Produce for Better Health Foundation is an organization that links public health and industry, government agencies and non-profit organizations. They have been known as “Fruits & Veggies—More Matters.” This year they changed their brand name to “Have A Plant™ to better reflect consumer research about eating a certain daily amount of fruits and vegetables.

Their website,, has information on a variety of produce items, recipes, expert advice and educational series on a variety of topics.


Using Yellow Split Peas

Yellow split peas are pulses which are the edible dried seed of legume crops. The word “pulse” comes from the Latin word “puls” which means thick soup or potage. Beside split peas, pulses also include dry beans, lentils, and chickpeas and have virtually no fat content. They are, however, high in fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates.

For those on gluten free diets, pulses are beneficial. Many products are now made with pulse foods such as yellow and green pea flour. For diabetics, pulses are beneficial for blood glucose management and have a lower glycemic index. For vegetarians, pulses have eight essential amino acids which offers beneficial protein quality.

Split peas are easy to prepare. No overnight soaking is needed. Heat two cups water for each cup of dry split peas. Simmer for 30 minutes to desired tenderness. Add them to chili, spaghetti sauce, soup, salsa, hummus or in many other dishes.



Give Kohlrabi a Taste!

It looks like a turnip or even a mini-cabbage, but it’s not! It’s kohlrabi! The flavor is a mix of cucumber and mild broccoli. The texture is crunchy and juicy like an apple. This fat free, cholesterol free, low sodium, high fiber and high in vitamin C vegetable can be eaten raw or cooked.

Kohlrabi is German for “cabbage turnip”. It is a cousin to cole crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and mustard. It contains glucosinolates, which may help fight cancer. A one cup serving contains 100 percent daily amount of vitamin C which helps the body easily absorb iron.


Kohlrabi is either purple, white, or light green. The leaves are also edible.


Add Crunch with Celery!

The original form of celery, called smallage, was bitter and very stringy.

Do you like celery? It is often used as an ingredient in many recipes from soup, salad, main dish, snacks and more. It is available throughout the year which makes it an affordable addition to many meals.

Select celery that is light green, with fresh leaves, and free of bruises and discoloration. A bunch of celery should feel heavy and when you squeeze the bunch of celery, it should “squeak.” Avoid celery that is limp, easily bends and spreads out.

Separate each stalk, trim ends and damaged spots, and wash under running water with a scrub brush. Store celery in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper drawer of the refrigerator. It is best used in 1-2 weeks. It can be frozen, but will lose its crunch due to high water content.

Celery is a low calorie vegetable but high in vitamin C, A, and K, folate and potassium.

Sources:$ense_2012-04pr.pdf and

Give Acorn Squash a Try!

September 7 is designated Acorn squash day. So give it a try! It can be served as a main dish, a side, or even dessert.

Roast or steam for easy preparation. Then add it to pasta, puree into a soup, or stuff with your favorite meatloaf mix or apple mixture.

Save the seeds and toast them like pumpkin seeds for a snack.

The shells are useful as a serving bowl or soup bowl.

Acorn squash come in a variety of colors such as yellow, dark green, tan, and orange.

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Spinach and Kidney Stones

Spinach is a nutritious and economically important vegetable in our diet. But, many varieties contain high amounts of oxalate, a natural compound in the plant, that can lead to kidney stone formation.

Researchers have now identified eight spinach varieties with low oxalate levels. They analyzed the genetic code of 310 spinach varieties and identified six DNA markers that contribute to oxalate levels. Knowing the amount of oxalate concentrations in these varieties can help breeders reduce oxalate concentrations.

Spinach contains higher concentrations of oxalate than most crops, but it is an economically important vegetable crop worldwide and it’s considered healthful because of its high concentration of a number of key nutrients. Foods such as beets, rhubarb, strawberries, nuts, chocolate, tea, wheat bran, and almost all dry beans also are known to increase oxalate in the urine and may contribute to kidney stone formation.



Fire Up the Grill for Vegetables!

A rainbow of veggies

While you have the grill hot for the main dish, throw on some vegetables to compliment the meal. Here are some tips:

  • Grill larger pieces and chop them up when ready to serve.
  • For most vegetables, toss them with a light coating of vegetable oil before grilling. An exception is husked ears of corn.
  • Use skewers to hold small vegetables like mushrooms, chunks of summer squash or peppers, and small tomatoes.
  • Place skinny, long vegetables perpendicular to the grate so they don’t fall through.
  • Use a vegetable basket to toss together a mix of vegetables and for easy transfer from grill to table.

Chop up grilled vegetables and add to pasta!

Source: Fine Cooking, June/July 2017


Defining Clean Eating

A rainbow of veggies

Lots of conflicting information about eating healthy can leave anyone confused. So the American Heart Association is trying to help clear the confusion.

To start, eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This is a common message from many health organizations and educators. Lean meats, low-fat and non-fat dairy, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds are also beneficial.

A healthy, clean diet can also include frozen, canned, and dried foods. Select low-sodium canned foods and fruits canned in water or 100% juice. Choose frozen and dried foods without added salt or sodium.

Some say to avoid the middle aisles of the grocery store. The truth is, many foods in the middle aisles can be a part of a healthy diet.



Go Green!

Lettuce in Colander

Spring is almost here! So it’s time to think green for your menu. Green produce can help reduce some cancer risks, build bone and teeth health, and improve vision health.

Challenge yourself to eat more green foods. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • All leafy greens including lettuce, spinach, kale and more.
  • Edamame adds protein to snacks and meals.
  • Avocados can be added to sandwiches, salads and dips.
  • Broccoli and broccolini can be steamed, roasted, or sautéed for a side dish.
  • Green fruits such as kiwi, honeydew melon and apples add sweetness and crunch.
  • Asparagus just screams spring!

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