Weekly Fig

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Category: Education (page 1 of 4)

Vegucation: Bell Pepper

Bell peppers are actually a fruit, but widely considered a vegetable. Although they are called peppers, they contain no capsaicin, which is what gives peppers their spice. Their array of different colors and flavors make it one versatile food that fits into many different cuisines. 

Why are they beneficial?

Bell peppers are full of immune boosting vitamins like A and C. Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers have the most vitamin A content. They are also high in B vitamins that will give you energy. One bell pepper only contains about 37 calories and 8 percent of your daily fiber intake, so they make a great food for weight loss. 

When are they in season?

You can find bell peppers in the summer and fall. The length of the season depends on weather, but they are around for a good portion of the year. 

How long will they keep?

Bell peppers will last a few days in the refrigerator. You can also slice them up and freeze them to use in cooking. Freezing preserves the nutritional value in the peppers. 

How do I prepare them?

You can eat bell peppers raw or cooked. Raw peppers make a great snack with hummus or tzatziki dip or on a sandwich. Here are some ways to eat them cooked:

  • Stuff them with ricotta and spinach or ground beef, tomatoes, and lettuce. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees. You could even crack an egg in the pepper for a healthy breakfast.
  • Slice them and sauté with chicken and taco seasoning for a fajita style dinner. 
  • Sauté sliced pepper with broccoli and serve with a poached egg and brown rice. 

 

Weekly Fig is a private membership association for local sustainable foods. 

Vegucation: Pumpkin

Pumpkins aren’t just for carving. Eating the flesh and the seeds can be very beneficial to you. Read on for more information about this season’s trendiest vegetable and ways to eat it that aren’t in pie form. 

Why is it beneficial?

Pumpkins are a vibrant orange which means they contain beta carotene. This is good for your eye health and for preventing cancer. They’re also plentiful in fiber which is why you get so full eating it! This fiber will help keep your gut happy and can help you reduce snacking by keeping you full longer. A pumpkin’s vitamin C will help your immune system this season, and it’s seeds have healthy fats to keep your skin glowing. Eating pumpkin seeds can also protect your heart health with their phytosterols. 

When are they in season?

Fall, of course! Pumpkins are the epitome of fall festivities. You can find pumpkins from September to November.

How long will they keep?

Pumpkins will last for weeks uncarved and stored in a dry, cool place out of direct sunlight. Once cut, you will want to cook it right away to maintain its flavor. You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for about 3 days. 

How can I prepare it?

Pumpkin can be very versatile. Many pumpkin baked goods require pumpkin puree. Learn how to make your own here. Using a pie or sugar pumpkin for baking and cooking is generally better than large carving pumpkins. They have more flesh and are smaller and easier to work with. Here are some healthy pumpkin recipes to inspire you:

  • Cut the pumpkin into cubes. Cover with oil and season with salt, pepper, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with feta cheese before serving. 
  • Roast the pumpkin like above, but with just salt and pepper. Blend the pumpkin with a clove of garlic, thyme, and milk to make a creamy pumpkin soup. 
  • Make this easy pumpkin loaf.
  • Or these healthy pumpkin scones.

 

You can always add your pumpkin puree to oatmeal, protein shakes, smoothies, pancake batter, etc. The possibilities are endless! Share your pumpkin creations with us on Facebook or tag us in your photos on Instagram, @weeklyfig.

 

Weekly Fig is a private membership association for local sustainable foods. 

Why Eating in Season is Good For You

Before we had modern farming practices, humans ate whatever was available for scavenging, and nature dictated what was fresh. Mass transportation and the ability for us to grow whatever we want under synthetic conditions has changed the way we eat today. But what does this mean? The benefits of changing what you eat with the season may surprise you. 

Nutrition

In-season produce is at its peak of freshness. The plant has perfect conditions for developing, which means all of its nutrients have developed as well. For example, broccoli that was grown in season will have higher levels antioxidants and vitamins than out of season broccoli. 

Health 

Produce grows in a certain season for a reason. Fall fruits like apples and figs give us fiber and antioxidants to prepare for the colder months ahead. The bright orange winter squashes give us vitamin C and beta-carotene (precursor for vitamin A) to help fight off cold and flu season. Spring greens help us detox and shed weight from the winter. Summer berries and veggies like cucumbers help us stay hydrated in the heat. Everything in nature has its place, and eating in season allows us to reap the benefits.

Variety

Eating in season also gives us a variety of foods to cook with and a chance to try new things we might not be aware of. Have you ever tried a purple sweet potato? How about a roselle bud or a lemon drop pepper? Do you know the different varieties of apples and when their peak season is? Eating locally and in season lets you try new things and experience food in a different way.

 

Eating this way also allows you to get back to nature before humankind intervened. Luckily, Weekly Fig makes this easy for you by delivering local, in-season produce every week. Our meal plans also give you some recipe inspiration. 

Vegucation: Turnips

Turnips are part of the cruciferous vegetable family, along with brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli to name a few. The turnip greens are probably more commonly used than the root of the vegetable, but both offer plenty of health benefits and flavor!

Why are they beneficial?

Cruciferous veggies have been known to decrease the risk of cancer because of their antioxidants and phytochemicals. Turnips also have a lot of vitamin K which supports a healthy heart and healthy blood. They are also high in folate, which is important for development and the cardiovascular system. Overall, turnips are a very heart-healthy vegetable.

When are they in season?

Turnips’ peak season is in the fall. Although they are a root vegetable, their leaves can still be sprayed with pesticides, so always try to buy organic when possible. 

How long will they keep?turnips in ground

Once you get your turnips, cut the greens off the root and store them separately. The unwashed greens will last a few days in the refrigerator, while the roots will last a couple weeks in the refrigerator. 

How can I prepare them?

You can use turnips just like any other root vegetable. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Chop the roots up and boil them. Then mash them and season them for an alternative to mashed potatoes.
  • Roughly chop the greens and add them to soups or stews. 
  • Roast the roots with other fall veggies like carrots or butternut squash.
  • Add the diced root to a beef stew. 
  • Make classic southern turnip greens.

 

Weekly Fig is a private membership association for local sustainable foods. 

Vegucation: Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is almost the definition of fall. It’s sweetness comes out when cooked which goes well with seasonal savory dishes. This veggie is technically a fruit and is a member of the gourd family, along with pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers. 

Why is it beneficial?

Butternut is high in fiber which makes it a heart healthy choice for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. It is high in folate which is essential for a healthy pregnancy and contains the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C. These nutrients protect your immune system which is perfect during cold and flu season. 

When is it in season?

Butternut squash can be found throughout the fall. Look for a squash that is matte on the outside. A glossy exterior can mean it was picked too early and won’t have a developed flavor. 

How long will it keep?

Whole butternut squash will keep for a couple weeks if kept in a cool, dark place with ventilation (not in the refrigerator). Peeled and cut squash will last a few days in the refrigerator. 

How can I prepare it?butternut squash soup

Butternut squash is a pretty versatile veggie to cook with. It goes with many flavors and moods. The only downside is it can take a while to cook since it is so dense. If you want a quick dinner, cook your squash when you have time and eat it with various meals throughout the week. You can:

  • halve it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, roast it, then stuff it.
  • peel it and cut into cubes. Season and roast it, then eat as a side dish or puree for an easy soup.
  • or boil the cubes for a veggie boost in your smoothies.
  • boil the cubed squash, mash it, and stuff large pasta shells or ravioli with it. 

 

No matter how you fix it, you’ll enjoy this yummy taste of fall!

 

Weekly Fig is a private membership association for local sustainable foods 

Vegucation: Roselle Hibiscus

Roselle is a type of hibiscus flower bud that has a beautiful hot pink color. However, this flower has more to offer then just its beauty.

Why is it Beneficial?

Roselle has many nutrients including vitamins A, B2, B3, and C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Because of these nutrients, roselle can help lower blood pressure to protect your heart. The calcium builds strong bones and teeth. Vitamin C protects your immune system and fights cancer-causing free radicals. Roselle is safe to consume for adults and children. 

How long will it keep?

Fresh roselle buds only lasts a few days, but dried buds will last weeks to months if stored in an air tight container. Learn how to dry your buds here

How can I prepare it?roselle tea

You can use dried roselle hibiscus in many ways. Here are a few ideas:

  • Steep it for a few minutes in boiling water to make your own hibiscus tea. Add lemon juice and honey for a health tonic. 
  • Add it to lemonade.
  • Turn your tea into popsicles with freezer molds or paper cups and popsicle sticks. 
  • Chop the dried buds and add them to muffins or cakes. 

 

Weekly Fig is a private membership association for local sustainable foods. 

Bison Meat: Better Than Beef?

Bison used to freely roam the United States until they were over hunted. After many years, the bison population has sprung back and is now a popular grocery item. Many people believe it’s healthier than beef, but is that true?

Benefits of Bison

Bison is generally lower in saturated fat than beef, which has led many to decide that it’s overall healthier. Because of the low amounts of fat, bison meat is generally very lean in all cuts. Bison also has a large amount of vitamin B12 which is important for brain health and red blood cell formation. The B vitamins also work together to convert carbs into usable energy. Other nutrients bison has include iron, zinc, and selenium. Bison is more commonly found grass-fed than beef, simply because it is not as industrialized as the beef industry. 

It It Better?

Although bison has gained popularity, it is not a “better” version of beef. They both have important nutrients that should not be overlooked. A well balanced diet that includes both of these sources of protein is best. 

You can get your bison meat from Weekly Fig, thanks to Boundary Line Bison Ranch

 

Weekly Fig is a private membership association for local sustainable foods. 

Vegucation: Muscadine Grapes

Also known as the grape of the south, muscadines have been gathered for centuries for jams, preserves, and homemade wine. They can either be beige or dark purple colored. The beige variety is usually referred to as Scuppernongs.  Besides their history, muscadine grapes have gained popularity for their health benefits, too. 

Why are they beneficial?

Because of their richly colored skin, muscadines have the highest amount of antioxidants in the entire grape family. These antioxidants protect against heart disease and some types of cancer. They also have plenty of fiber and vitamin C which support your digestive and immune systems. 

When are they in season?

Muscadines thrive in hot and humid climates of the southeast, so they are usually in season during late summer. They normally aren’t hard to find locally since they are a popular crop to grow in this region. 

How long will they keep?muscadines

If stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, muscadines will last up to one week. Only wash them before you eat them. Use within a few days for the best nutrition and taste. 

How can I prepare them?

Muscadine grapes have a thick skin and seeds in the middle, so usually just the pulp is eaten raw. If you prefer to cook them, here are a few ideas:

  • Make an easy muscadine jam. (You can make it without pectin. Your jam will just be a little runnier.)
  • Make muscadine sorbet for a healthy, cool dessert. 
  • Make muscadine honey syrup for pancakes or waffles.

 

Weekly Fig is a private membership association for local sustainable foods. 

Vegucation: Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms got their name from their appearance. They grow in layers and look just like oyster shells. These mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine as an immune booster, and for good reason!

Why are they beneficial?

Mushrooms in general have a good amount of antioxidants. The antioxidant that is only found in fungi  is called ergothioneine. Oyster mushrooms also contain iron, potassium, calcium, vitamins B1 and B2, and vitamin C. 

When are they in season?

Oyster mushrooms can be grown year round, but there aren’t many mushroom growers in Tennessee. Thankfully, we have 2 Angels Mushroom Farm right here in Chattanooga! Always buy organic mushrooms since they are so porous. 

How long will they keep?oyster mushroom

Once harvested, mushrooms will last about a week in the refrigerator, but they will have a better flavor and texture when fresh. 

How can I prepare them?

Mushrooms are a great addition to any dish. Here are a few ideas:

  • Saute them with shopped green onions and garlic, then use them to top steak or chicken.
  • Add them to stir fries.
  • Grill them on kebabs.
  • Add them to pasta (especially Alfredo)
  • Top toasted baguette slices with sautéed mushrooms and goat cheese for an appetizer. 

 

Weekly Fig is a private membership association for local sustainable foods. 

Vegucation: Lavender

Lavender is known for its strong floral aroma and beautiful color. The scent can help alleviate stress and headaches, but this herb can be used for more than aromatherapy. This herb has been around for centuries and was even used during the Black Plague to “ward off” the disease. Honeybees are very attracted to the smell of lavender, and so are humans!

Why is it beneficial?

Lavender surprisingly has many important nutrients. It contains calcium and iron, which are important for blood and bone health. It also has some vitamin A which improves eye and skin health. Luckily, you don’t need to consume a lot a lavender to get the benefits. A two ounce serving is more than enough. 

When is it in season?

You can usually find local lavender from April/May through August if a farmer near you grows it. You can also grow a relatively small lavender plant yourself! Find the seeds at any garden center. 

How long will it keep?dried lavender

Fresh picked lavender won’t last very long. To preserve your herbs, you can dry them fairly easily with this tutorial. Dried lavender will last months if stored in a cool, dry place. 

How can I use it?

There are seemingly endless uses for lavender from home goods to baked goods. Here are a few ideas listed below.

  • The flavor of lavender goes best with sweet or decadent. Use it in cookies, scones, or cakes.
  • You can also use it in drinks. Try this lavender lemonade!
  • Make a calming exfoliating scrub. Mix dried or fresh lavender with granulated sugar and melted coconut oil until you reach your desired consistency. Store in an airtight container.
  • Make homemade chamomile lavender latte.

 

The ideas are endless, so get creative! Share with us how you used your lavender on our Facebook page, Weekly Fig, or our members only page, Weekly Fig Think Tank.

 

Weekly Fig is a private membership association for local sustainable foods.

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