What are the best foods to eat? Part 4

In part 4 of  the best foods we should be eating…let’s start off by discussing the best place to buy our superfoods…

Our Local Farmers Market

Farmers market season is in full swing and they’re sprouting up all over.  Some people call them the breeding ground for fresh food.  You can find anything from fresh organic fruits and vegetables to fresh cut flowers, homemade baked goods to locally harvested raw honey.  Please read Part 3 of  “What are the best foods to eat?” where I discuss the health benefits of adding honey to your diet. Then, I hope you will check out my subsequent post entitled “A Honey of a Retraction”, an eye opening and heart wrenching read on the plight of the honey bee and honey production.  You’ll be glad you took the time…trust me.honey-bee

Why shop at the farmers market?

You’ll find that most of the produce is grown organically by local farmers. That means no pesticides or chemicals.  If you can’t or wish not to have your own garden – this is the next best thing AND the vegetables you buy today at the farmers market have more nutrients than the same vegetables available at the supermarket.  Who knows where they came from or how long they’ve been sitting there.

Farmers markets come in all different sizes.  One little market I visit on a regular basis during the summer months is a one-man-show. It may be small, but it boasts the freshest and best tasting corn I have ever enjoyed and his vegetables are picked that morning.

Some of the larger farmers markets do offer more variety.  You may decide to stop and pick up a dozen ears of fresh corn on the cob but end up pleasantly surprised at what you discover. There could be live music…anything from an acoustic or blues guitarist to a fiddler or two. This sort of entertainment just keeps people coming back again and again…supporting local farmers.  It’s a win win situation for everyone.

Make it a family experience.

Farmers markets in larger towns even offer activities for children. One market here in New England has popular events such as scavenger hunts for the kids or they can learn about planting vegetables. Everything is provided for them like pots, soil and seeds. The children even get to take their projects home. What a fantastic learning experience for young children. And…there’s always events taking place where market goers can enter their pumpkins, or giant zucchini plants dressed in costumes. Oh yea…it happens.  I’m not sure how these contests work or what the trophies look like BUT…it sounds like fun for the entire family.

Your bigger farmers markets could have vendors offering arts and crafts, all natural skin care products and soaps. You may even see vendors selling homemade clothing items and beautiful jewelery. Browse around and you can find homemade relishes, pickles, fruit butters and spreads. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh local eggs.  And in the fall before the markets close for the season, you may see vendors selling hand-spun yarns and books to get you through the winter months.

So…get your fill of fresh organic fruits and vegetables while you can and support your local farmers.

red-orange-and-yellow-bell-peppers-capsicum

One superfood that is readily available at the farmers market is Sweet Peppers.  Sweet peppers come in beautiful colors of dark green, yellow, orange and my favorite…fire engine red.

Why a superfood?

Peppers are a good example of a powerhouse food, packed with nutrients that have been shown to fight cataracts as well as heart disease. Loaded with potent antioxidants, peppers are among the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can buy. They fight tissue-damaging oxygen molecules known as free radicals. They’re packed with generous amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene. In fact, the darkest of the red sweet peppers contain the most beta-carotene. Just one red pepper provides 4 milligrams of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body which, in turn, is vital in keeping the immune system healthy. It’s this combination of vitamin C and beta-carotene that can provide potent protection against cataracts.

 

Did you know…Christopher Columbus first brought sweet peppers back with him to Spain after discovering the world wasn’t flat. The rest is history.

Eat ’em raw or with a little heat.

Because Vitamin C is fragile, it can be quickly destroyed during cooking.  Eating sweet peppers raw insures you are getting the most nutrients. Give them a good wash, slice them up and add them to your next garden salad or do as I do and enjoy them with Ranch Dip. The dip actually helps beta-carotene get absorbed into the bloodstream.

Beta-carotene requires a little heat to release it from the fiber cells of the pepper. So, to get the most out of your pepper experience,  just steam them or do as I do…sauté them with a little olive oil until done but still with a crunch. Drizzling peppers with a bit of olive oil while cooking helps the beta-carotene absorb into the bloodstream. Or…again…eat ’em raw with a bit of dip. Yum

Mix ’em up…

Add sweet peppers to your next garden salad, pasta dish, tuna, chicken or turkey salad…they will add a sweet punch of flavor.  The next time you take out your juicer, try this supercharged antioxidant cocktail:  4-5 carrots and 2 green bell peppers. Delicious

Please check out my product review on the Breville JE98XL Juicer. It’s extremely affordable and you’ll find yourself using it every day…I do.

Grow Your Own Organic

Sweet peppers are very easy to grow and by growing your own, you’ll feel confidant that you are eating the best and freshest. If you don’t have space for a garden, grow them in large pots on your deck or patio. If you don’t have the space, the next best thing is to pick up a few at the farmers market.  I’m growing my own red and green organic peppers and it’s a thrill to observe how fast they grow in size each day. Right now, my little peppers range from the size of a pea to a small marble….so cute.

⇒Please check out my delicious recipe, Stuffed Sweet Peppers and serve up some good summer flavors… from the garden to the table.

Stay Tuned…

Part 5 of “What are the best foods to eat?” will continue my focus on this summer’s bounty and the freshest of the fresh.

Skål

 As always, I welcome your feedback and questions.  Is there a particular food you’d like researched? Have a favorite “superfood” you’d like to share? Please share below or leave your comments. In addition, I’ll do my best to help you find an answer to your question or request.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27 comments to What are the best foods to eat? Part 4

  • Anke

    Hi Karen,
    I do agree with you. Farmers Markets are the best place to shop for fresh fruit and vegetables but also all different kind of foods.
    I am glad that farmers markets are more and more common here in New Zealand. Its a great way of spending the morning with the family.

    My personal superfood? I do love Avocado. This is my favorite fruit; next in line are Apricots (got a tree in my garden) and Feijoas (got four trees) – you can never have enough!!! But I also like red and yellow pepper, roasted and then put in oil with garlic and some herbs. It tastes delicious. I think that is the Italian way of making Antipasti.
    I am looking forward to reading Part 5.

    Thanks for your awesome article. Cheers Anke

    • Karen

      Hello, Anke…Thank you for your comments and feedback. I’ve never heard of Feijoas. With four trees, they must be delicious. Can you describe the taste or is there a comparable fruit with a similar flavor?

      Thanks for visiting and I hope you’ll come back often.

      • Anke Hohaia

        Hi Karen, the taste of a feijoa is hard to describe; aromatic and sweet but also a bit tart. It depends on the variety. Here in New Zealand, it is hugely popular. It is easy to gro, and you can eat it by just scooping out the pulp with a spoon or stew it to make cakes, feijoa crumble or jam. All the best Anke

  • Tar

    I see it’s a trend that there are more business set up in farmers’ market.

    Must be the great mixtures and various business that are available in one place.

    About live music, just realise how significant it is that can impact the popularity.

    I mean, I always walk past Portobello Market in England everyday.

    It’s famous and I notice people stop by, giving coins as a gratitude.

    A superb information you got here. Cheers, Karen.

    Tar.

    • Karen

      Thank you for your feedback and great comments,Tar. Farmers’ Markets are cropping up all over the place here in the states. It’s quite sad to see disappear in late fall…not to be seen again until Spring. But then, what a welcome sight.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you read my other blogs and enjoy a few great recipes while you’re at it.

      Wishing you a happy and successful 2016.

  • Marty

    My grandfather was crazy about the roasted peppers with just some olive oil and salt. Thanks for letting me remember about it.

  • Samantha

    I didn’t know that peppers were considered a superfood! I’m actually not a fan of green peppers, but I swear that yellow peppers taste better. Am I crazy, or is there really a taste difference between the three colours?

    My favourite superfood is blueberries. I get so excited when blueberry season rolls around and I can get my hands on delicious local wild blueberries.

    • Karen

      Hi, Samantha…you and me both! I love love love blueberries.

      Peppers do have different tastes depending on the color. As they ripen…first they are green. Then they turn yellow, orange and finally to red. The ones I’m growing this summer went straight from green to red. And, as they turn to red they taste sweeter. This is probably why you enjoy yellow over green. I like to use a variety in some recipes to add color. For example, a pasta salad with yellow, orange and red peppers is so much prettier to the eye than just one color.

      I even prepare stuffed peppers with two different colored peppers.

  • Rick

    I absolutely love our local farmers market. I get all my tomatoes, carrots, berries (black, raspberry, strawberries), onions, asparagus, peaches, and the list goes on. If they are organic so much the better. I agree that sweet peppers are one of the best foods to eat. I grow several varieties in my small garden for my family. I use them in everything. Besides stuffing and baking them, I roast, grill, steam, and use them in stir fry. Eating them raw is probably my favorite. Thanks for sharing this post.

    • Karen

      Hi, Rick…thanks for your feedback and great comments. This is my first year growing sweet peppers and they’re still quite small. I picked one that had turned red (my favorite) but was disappointed that something had gotten into it…pretty disgusting. But on the flip side…I just picked 14 perfect tomatoes.

      Karen

  • Pete Williams

    Hi Karen.
    I totally agree with you to buy our Superfoods from a farmers market. In fact where I live there are several that sell home and farm produce and toy can be assured they are organic and untreated from harmful pesticides.

    The atmosphere of the Farmers Market is perfectly described in your article and it is a great outing for the family to get there mitts on some lovely Superfoods for the home.

    I always like the idea of supporting our local produce and because we can get the health benefits mass produced fruit & Veg can’t offer us.

    Very best,
    Pete.

  • Cathy

    In my search for healthy raw food, I am glad I came across your article. Sweet pepper is really yummy and it gets even better with cheese dip. I could snack on it the entire day without worrying about that extra calories.

    Now, I have not tried saute yet, but that’s a good idea. Will try it this coming weekend 🙂

    • Karen

      Hi Cathy, I took a few summer days off but am back now. I’d love to hear how you incorporated sweet peppers into a dish this past weekend.

      Karen

  • Sarah

    I’ve always known that it’s best to eat certain foods raw, it’s just so hard for our westernized palates that are so used to cooking things and adding other flavors, etc. What do you suggest for someone just starting out with eating their produce raw? What sorts of combinations can allow foods, especially vegetables, and easier time on someone’s taste buds?

    • Karen

      Hi Sarah, Simple…make a salad! If you’re having a few friends over, slice up some celery, carrots, cauliflower and colorful peppers. Make a dip or purchase a tub of Ranch or onion dip at the grocers and you’re good to go. A little added dip on any raw vegetable is delicious. Try it…you’ll like it.

      Karen

  • Chris

    Interesting information on peppers. Now I would love to eat them regularly! I like the green one better, I put it on home made taco or pizza. What do you think is the right amount to eat in a day? I fear it might cause some stomach acid as I am prone to gastritis.

    I never knew farmer markets have such activities for the family. Definitely a good thing to experience.

    • Karen

      Hi, Chris…

      You can’t overindulge when adding sweet peppers to your diet, but with that being said, you may experience heartburn if you eat too many unripe green peppers. Try dicing up one green, one red and one yellow pepper and add it to your salsa, tacos or pizza.

      Check out my recipe for Homemade Chunky Salsa under the meny “Appetizers”.

  • Marcus

    My town has a farmer’s market every month, and I have to say that they have some really nice products available. It’s definitely a much nicer experience than being in a supermarket, and the food is always local and fresh. We also have a farm shop just on the edge of town, and that’s great too. It’s really nice to be able to get fresh local produce like this. I love going fruit picking there in the summer too.

  • Rick Wilson

    Nice page Karen!! I found myself reading through it as if we were having a conversation. That is a really good way to write. It engages your audience better. I have not seen a website format like your before and it is very clean and easy on the eyes. You used subject headings very well throughout the article.
    A couple of suggestions:
    1. see about getting rid of the Bing Webmaster reference at the top of the page.
    2. include some pictures of what you are talking about to engage the reader even more and break up the page a bit more.

    Best of luck with your endeavors.

    • Karen

      Thank you for your feedback and comments…very much appreciated. Trying to take care of the Bing Webmaster thing and I agree with your other suggestions.

      Thanks again, Karen

  • DSuter

    Hey Karen, I believe in eating as healthy as I can afford to. I love cooking and can’t wait to try some of the recipes I’ve found here especially the Hot Crab Dip YUM.
    I too enjoy gardening and love that I can go out and snip some herbs and/or pick some veggies to have in a meal.
    I look forward to reading about more superfoods, Im always on the look out for something new to grow and eat.

    • Karen

      Thank you for your feedback and comments. Please note that this post was Part 4 of my “superfoods” series so I hope you will check out the earlier ones. Please come back often as I’m always adding new recipes, posts and blogs.

      Thanks again,

      Karen

  • Elizabeth

    I love snacking on peppers! Especially with some fresh guacamole. Great post, can’t wait until part 5 comes!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>