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

Meatless Monday Recipe: Edamame Wontons

I love edamame, and I love potstickers.  Most potstickers are made with pork, which I don’t eat.  But these Edamame Wontons look like just the thing to tame a potsticker craving, with far fewer fat & calories.

Edamame are a great protein source and have powerful superfood properties since they are antioxidant-rich and contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  In short, they are a perfect Meatless Monday appetizer or meal.

Edamame Wontons

Photo courtesy of myrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups shelled frozen edamame (10 oz. package)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 30 round wonton wrappers (3 1/2 in. diameter)
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Soy sauce, for serving

Preparation

1. Cook edamame according to package instructions.
2. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain edamame and set 3/4 cup aside.
3. In a blender, whirl remaining 1 cup edamame with ginger, lemon juice, salt, and about 1/3 to 1/2 cup reserved cooking water.
4. Transfer edamame paste to a bowl, mix with whole edamame and chives.
5. Bring a large, deep pot of salted water to a gentle boil and add vegetable oil.
6. Fill wonton wrappers with 1 tsp. edamame filling and top filling with a cilantro leaf (cover unfilled wrappers with a moist towel). Moisten wrapper edges with water, fold over filling, and press to seal. Boil wontons in batches until they float to surface, 2 minutes. Serve with soy sauce.

The recipe is originally from Sunset Magazine‘s December 2007 issue.

Looking for other meatless recipes?  Try these:

Spicy Veggie Frittata

Spicy Veggie Frittata

Quinoa Shiitake Mushroom Recipe

Quinoa with Shiitake Mushrooms

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The Asian Superfood Series, Part Two

If you read my blog last week, then you know I started a series of posts about Asian superfoods – some with great healing benefits that we might not think about here in the US.  If you missed my first post, you can read it here.

This week, I’m going to give you the lowdown on four more Asian superfoods that are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and huge disease-healing and prevention powers.

First on the list is seaweed.  I know what you are thinking… it doesn’t sound very appetizing.  However, not all seaweed is created equal 🙂  There are edible types of seaweed used in soup stocks, Asian salads, and of course in sushi.  You might recognize the names nori, wakame, and kombu from Japanese menus.  One of my favorite things to order in a sushi restaurant is a wakame salad.  Honestly it didn’t look very edible the first time I tried it, but the flavors were delicious and kept me going back for more.  Nori is the type of seaweed that you’ll see wrapped around your sushi.  While likely an acquired taste for some, I find it provides a nice salty flavor.  A few months ago, I saw a toddler being pushed in a stroller eating what looked to me like dried seaweed.  I asked the mom, and that is exactly what it was.  I was shocked that a toddler would find that a suitable snack!  I easily found this snack on the shelves the next time I went to Trader Joe’s (who knew?!), and now I’m addicted.

Photo courtesy of Club Trader Joe's

It’s kind’ve like eating chips, but not as crunchy & without all of the fat & calories.  I definitely recommend giving it a try!  As for the benefits, seaweed is rich in iodine (good for the thyroid) and also contains vitamins A & E.  It also contains folate, which is necessary for repairing damaged DNA and forming healthy blood cells.

Next on the list is coriander.  I became very confused by the difference between coriander and cilantro while I was in Japan, so I had to do some research.  As it turns out, they are actually the same herb — however, when the leaves are used it is referred to as cilantro.  The seeds of the plant are called coriander.  Coriander is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C — two antioxidants that protect against age-related eye disease such as macular degeneration.  It also removes excess heavy metals from the body, such as mercury contained in the fish we are eating, other metals in our drinking water, and those we get from daily exposure to our environment.  Coriander is used in making curries, so if you are a curry fan then look no further!  I discovered something just this week that is a new favorite!  I am a huge fan of dark chocolate infused with spices.  I started out eating dark chocolate with cinnamon & chili peppers, and now I try it with any kind of spice.  This week, my local market had some new chocolate bars on offer.  I picked up this one.

It did NOT disappoint!  This is my new favorite after-dinner treat!!  Eating a square or two of dark chocolate every day is totally allowed.  Dark chocolate also has its share of antioxidants, so as long as you stick to a small portion it is good for you 🙂

Next on the list is almonds.  You might not think of almonds as an Asian superfood, but they are incorporated into Asian desserts more than I see here in the US.  Almonds are rich in vitamin E.  They are great for your skin and help lower HDL (bad cholesterol).  Almonds are also high in potassium, manganese, and riboflavin.  Raw unsalted almonds best, but when I eat them alone as a snack, I prefer them roasted.

Last on the list for today’s post is sesame seeds.  Sesame seeds are high in vitamin E like almonds, and keep your skin & heart healthy. Black sesame seeds are high in calcium.  These can be found in most Asian food markets, and are really good in marinades or sprinkled on top of plain rice.  Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds makes great dips and salad dressings.  Try this delicious recipe from Whole Living magazine that I have tried using tahini as a garnish for fruit salad.

Photo courtesy of Whole Living magazine

Stay tuned for next week, part 3 of 3 in the Asian Superfood series.  Don’t forget… if you missed last week, you can check it out here.

Leave me a comment below if you have any recipes or great snack ideas using these superfoods!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Asian Superfood Series – Part 1

If you have been following me over the last couple of weeks, you will have seen me eating my way across Asia 🙂

I have eaten some incredibly delicious foods, many of them containing Asian superfoods with surprising healing properties.

One such superfood is wasabi!  I have to admit that I’m not usually a fan of wasabi.  However, when in Rome (or Tokyo, as it were…).  I’ve enjoyed wasabi in sushi on this trip, as well as in marinades in dressings.  You can use a little wasabi in recipes that call for mustard.  With it’s richness in cancer-fighting antioxidants, why not give it ia try?

Another great Asian superfood that I order any time I see on ANY menu is the shitake mushroom.  Shitakes are rich in vitamin B2, zinc, and selenium — which makes them a great anti-cancer food.  They also contain a compound called ergothioneine.  Ergothioneine has many benefits, some of which include, conserving levels of other antioxidants (like vitamin C and vitamin E), as well as protecting against damage from UV radiation.  Try shitake mushrooms in recipes that call for portabello mushroom.  My favorite way to eat them is right off the grill with just a touch of sea salt!

El Scrapeo enjoying shitake mushrooms off a charcoal grillKaren enjoying grilled shitake mushrooms in Tokyo

Karen enjoying grilled shitake mushrooms in Tokyo

I’m off to try new foods now :-))

Join me next week to learn about more Asian superfoods!  If you have any favorites, please share them with me below.  Happy healthy eating!