Superfood of the Month: Ground Cherries

Gooseberries | thewellnessscientist.com

 

Available all over the United States, ground cherries are from the Solanaceae or nightshade family sometimes found growing along roadsides. You may spy these cherry tomato-like fruits at farmer’s markets or as part of your CSA haul in the month of September.

Also known as: Gooseberries, husk cherries, Physalis peruviana

Storage and Prep: For best results, keep ground cherries in their husks until you are ready to eat them. Husked fruits can be stored in the refrigerator for five to seven days. Rinse with water before eating.

How to Use Them: You can pop them in your mouth and enjoy like cherry tomatoes, or try a new recipe. These are a little sweeter to the taste than cherry tomatoes (almost more of a tropical flavor). I love using them in homemade salsas and salads. You can also throw these in with fruits to make a delicious pie or tart.

Superfood properties: Ground cherries are loaded with fiber, as well as immune-boosting vitamin C. They are also a good source of vitamin A — a vitamin that plays a important role in bone growth. Vitamin A is also essential in maintaining healthy vision and slows down declining retinal function in people with an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa.

Have you tried ground cherries? What is your favorite way to eat them?

Things I love to help keep my fruits and veggies fresh longer:

fresh-n-crisp

Fresh Crisp Fruit and Vegetable Freshness Extender, 3-Pack

Spring Superfoods You Need To Eat

Spring is in the air, and it is time to go green — literally!

Take a walk through the produce section, and you’ll see green everywhere. Seasonal eats available in spring go a long way to helping you detox from the cold winter months, provide you with many a nutritional boost, and lean you down in no time. Here are three greens to pile on your plate this spring.

Spring-Superfoods| www.thewellnessscientist.com

 

Asparagus

asparagus| thewellnessscientist.com

You can find asparagus almost all year-round thanks to the lengths grocers go to in order to keep these greens in stock, but nothing beats the flavor-rich freshness of locally-grown asparagus during the spring. A cup of asparagus boasts a healthy dose of vitamin K (essential for your bones to absorb calcium) and immune-boosting vitamin A.

Asparagus is also know to de-bloat your tummy, so eat up before you hit the beach for a lean & defined physique!

Artichokes

Artichoke | thewellnessscientist.com

Artichokes contain a compound called cynarin, which are not to stimulate your taste buds & make bland food taste better. They are also rich in inulin, which promotes growth of good bacteria in your gut.

Also a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and folate, these tasty veggies are a nutritional powerhouse that are hard to beat!

Ramps

Wild-Leeks

Ramps, also known as wild leeks are a spring delicacy available only for a few weeks in spring, beginning mid-April. If you haven’t tried ramps, hit the supermarket or farmer’s market for this delightful veg you can use in any recipe that calls for leeks.

In addition to vitamins A and C, you’ll get a dose of iron as well as immune-boosting selenium.

 

 

 

Five Foods You Need to Try This February

Five-Foods-You-Need-To-Try

If you are interested in getting the most nutritional bang for your buck, look no further than superfoods. What’s so super about them, you ask? Basicially, superfoods are simply those that are plentiful in multiple nutrients and have been shown through scientific research to offer health benefits.

You are no doubt already eating a superfood-rich diet — broccoli and blueberries to name a couple — but there are lots that you probably aren’t eating. Here are 5 healthy superfoods to get your hands on this February.

Chicory

Types of Lettuce | thewellnessscientist.com

Photo courtesy of keithcr

I grew up in Louisiana, and I was a huge fan of the local Community brand coffee with chicory. I couldn’t imagine that the same chicory I used to drink in my coffee was the same chicory I now see offered as a seasonal green in fancy restaurant salads — but it was (one was the root and the other was the leafy greens, but still the same plant!)

Chicory root is known to detoxify the liver, as well as to aid digestion — both of which would come in handy after a weekend in the Big Easy 🙂 

The greens, on the other hand, pack a punch of vitamin A, vitamin K, and choline to name a few.  Cruise by your favorite farmer’s markets in February and pick up a head of chicory to serve up in your salads or to saute and serve under your favorite protein.

Kumquats

Kumquats | thewellnessscientist.com

Photo courtesy of jeltovsk

This was not intended to be a post about Louisiana, but again I am struck by a memory of numerous kumquat trees that lined the neighboring fence of my elementary school’s playground. We had no idea what these little orange globes were until a teacher told us, but burned countless hours picking these sweet little beauties as kids.

The peak of the growing season is in the winter lasting until about March, so now is an ideal time to try this citrus fruit that is high in potassium, as well as vitamins C and A.

To eat, rinse & toss the whole thing in your mouth – be careful with the seeds!

Maca

Superfood Smoothie | thewellnessscientist.com

Photo courtesy of Alvimann

Maca is a root originating in South America which has been shown in clinical studies to boost libido. Maca is also known to improve stamina in athletes, regulate hormonal imbalances, and even help with fatigue.

Maca is available in powder form, which is great for adding to smoothies and protein shakes. Don’t go overboard, though … the powder can be quite bitter in large doses.

There are a variety of teas, energy bars, and even chocolates that contain maca — a super convenient way to taste test this superfood.

Parsnips

Parsnips | thewellnessscientist.com

Photo courtesy of MaxStraeten

I love parsnips and include them in one of my favorite winter comfort dishes, Winter Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie, a recipe I found in Food & Wine magazine. 

Parsnips are high in fiber, which we need to aid in the prevention of heart disease, and some types of cancer. They also contain a healthy dose of folate, a nutrient necessary in energy metabolism and essential for women planning to become pregnant.

When you go on a hunt for parsnips, they look like a big white carrot. They’ll probably be hiding next to the radishes and other root veggies in almost any produce section of a any supermarket during the winter months.

Passion fruit

Passion Fruit | thewellnessscientist.com

Last but not least … passion fruit … you can’t leave this seasonal fruit off the list in February because of its name alone!

Passion fruit is a great source of vitamins A and C, and don’t be afraid to eat the seeds for an extra dose of fiber.

These exotic beauties are also a good source of plant-based iron, a perfect healthy snack for vegetarians who may need an iron boost.