Shopping the Farmers’ Market
During the cold-weather months, it can be more challenging to find fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market, when options are limited. We asked Chef Elliott Prag, Chef-Instructor at Natural Gourmet Institute to give us his top 10 tips on how to make the most out of the market and eat healthily during the winter. Even if you are a raw foodist, you may feel drawn to add a few warming foods to your repertoire this time of year, like Chef’s delicious recipe for Roasted Root Vegetables, below.
1. Eating “warming” foods. Winter is a good time to eat more root vegetables (carrots, ginger, parsnips, beets, burdock, sweet potatoes, fennel, radishes, turnips) and winter squashes (butternut, acorn, Kabocha) that have a warming energy.
2. Go for Grains. Grains that grow in colder regions also warm the body (millet, kasha, rye, oats).
3. Eat less tropical fruit; eat more pears and apples. Pineapple, kiwi, mango, and papaya have a cooling energy. That’s why they grow in the tropics. Eat them in summer.
4. Maximize the benefit of winter “superfoods.” Winter’s bounty of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts) are not only warming but rich is phytochemicals, vitamin C, and cancer-fighting compounds. Winter squashes are rich in beta-carotenes.
5. Eat more cooked food. Cooked food warms and fortifies the body in cold weather; raw food cools it. While raw foods are rich in vitamins and live enzymes, cooked food provides different but complementary nutrients.
6. Emphasize “warming” cooking techniques. Stewing, braising, roasting and pressure-cooking will heat the food and create more warming energy in the body. Winter is also the time to warm up with more fat (of good quality, of course – extra virgin olive oil or organic coconut oil).
7. Use what you’ve preserved. All those vegetables and fruits from your garden, farmers market, or CSA that you pickled, jarred, and canned – now’s the time to crack them open. They will add more variety to your seasonal fare.
8. Keep it seasonal. Food that nature provides, in season, will be the best tasting, most nutritious, and most appropriate for you to adapt to the challenges of winter.
9. Keep it local. What grows in your region will, likewise, taste better, be more nutritious, and help you adapt to the season.
10. Support your local organic farmer. Eating local and seasonal in winter is your opportunity
to support and thank a hard-working organic farmer in your area for growing the cleanest,
Roasted Root Vegetables
1. Buy your favorite organic root vegetables at the market. I like to use carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, leeks and celery root.
2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
4. Combine vegetables in a roasting pan or large casserole dish.
5. Coat lightly in organic extra virgin olive oil.
6. Season with sea salt, cracked pepper and your favorite dried herbs, such as rosemary,
thyme or sage.
7. Roast uncovered for approximately 45 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and golden brown.
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