It is a well known fact that eating fresh is good for your health. There are the natural nutrients and vitamins that come with the fresh and raw nature of produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables (and herbs) decrease your risk for heart disease, eye problems and many forms of cancer, but did you know that eating raw foods is also better for the environment? Consider only the consumption of less fuel to just cook these foods! Now I am not saying to eat raw meat, what I mean is that not cooking these fruits and veggies leaves the essential parts intact. There is even a whole diet – lifestyle based around this principal. Personally this is not for me, and I doubt that you will receive vegan powers for sticking to this diet, but the concept is an interesting one nonetheless.
Something else to consider about these seasonal fruits and vegetables is that they are available locally. Not only could you step out this weekend and go to your local farmer’s market to find any of the above listed comestibles, but you can also likely go out this evening to a local pick-it-yourself farm and do just that. Pick those fruits or veggies yourself. Again better for the environment by consuming less fuel to get the food to and from mass farming industries world wide to your table. Farmers markets are essential for another way of life as well. Consider this, a 100-mile diet. This is where you would eat only food produced locally within 100 miles of your own home. Again this is certainly a lifestyle thing that is not my personal cup of tea, and it may not be yours either, but what a concept.
A 100-mile diet promotes healthful eating, and consists of only locally grown foods. No more processed, boxed or fast foods. This is a concept that will help the environment, and support your local growers, farmers and workers. Most of these foods are organic, so you would be paying equal to what you would, if not less, for “organic” foods at the grocery store. Buying in bulk and canning or freezing these local fresh treasures is essential to maintaining this lifestyle year round, but imagine all the amazing things you could do and prepare. Fresh tomato sauce or chili, pickles, preserves like strawberry and rhubarb jams. And if you like fresh herbs, they can be frozen too. Just remove the leaves after washing, chop them up and in a bowl and add just enough water that they form a paste. Put your paste into an ice cube tray and let them freeze, then store the herb cubes in a freezer bag, in the freezer until needed.
Like I said; a raw food diet and the 100-mile diet are extremes of a healthful way of life, but do have some good points. If either seems way too out there you, why not start small? Have a 100-mile meal with family and friends and another night have a Raw meal – essentially a salad, but it’s a start. Here is some more information about the 100-mile diet and a Raw-Foods diet.
Now what can you do with the list on the left? You tell me! I want to know what you can do with your local farmer’s market fare.
Here are some ideas to get you started though…
Foil-Steamed Asparagus with Blue Cheese
Steam the asparagus on the grill with your favorite herbs, pepper and a dollop of butter, serve garnished with crumbled blue cheese.
Red Beet Salad
Slice beets thinly, grill until tender, add onion, orange segments, fresh herbs and pepper. Serve with an orange-honey-olive oil dressing.
Wash your broccoli, coat with oil, salt, seasonings, grill until desired done-ness
Wash and toss in a tin-foil pouch or onto a grill topper and cook to desired done-ness
Green and wax beans
Toss with butter in a wok topper and grill. When about half way done, add minced garlic, cook until done.
See green and wax beans suggestion. Add peas to that or do the same thing to just peas. Try adding onion to the mix.
Rhubarb and Strawberries Grilled Shortcake
Prep strawberries and rhubarb, toss onto grill skillet to cook, when nearly done, put shortcakes cup-side-down on grill to brown a little. Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream.
Although most of these recipes do not follow the tenant of the 100-mile diet, many of the ingredients can be found at your local farmer’s market. Do a quick Google to find one near you and try living fresh with your seasonal produce.
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