Weekly Fig

A Private Membership Association

Category: Education (page 1 of 3)

Vegucation: Sage

Sage is technically an herb, but its benefits were too important to not include in this series. It’s actually closely related to rosemary, so the two share many properties. Sage was used thousands of years ago as medicine, but now is used to season dishes across the world. 

Why is it beneficial?

Research has shown that eating sage can boost memory, decrease inflammation (like arthritis), and protect against free radicals. It also helps maintain bone density because of its high amount of vitamin K. 

When is it in season?

Sage can be grown year round in Tennessee depending on weather and if farmers choose to grow it. Always buy organic sage whenever possible to avoid consuming extra chemicals and toxins. 

How long will it keep?sage plant

Fresh sage won’t last but a few days. Keep in the refrigerator in loose packaging if you plan to use soon. If you want to make it last longer, you can dry or freeze your herbs. (See below)

How can I prepare it?

You can eat sage fresh or cooked. Usually savory foods go best with sage’s peppery flavor, but feel free to get creative. Check out the ideas listed below:

  • Add it as a garnish before serving.
  • Add it to vegetables before roasting for a deeper flavor. 
  • Learn how to dry your herbs here.
  • Learn how to freeze them here with a simple ice cube tray.
  • Add it to marinades for grilling meat. 
  • If you are vegetarian, sage also goes great with lentils or chickpeas. 

 

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

Is Fat Good for Us?

Fat is possibly the most controversial nutrient out there. Years ago we believed too much fat directly caused heart disease, but now studies are showing that it can be good for us. So, what’s the deal? Here are the basics:

What does fat do?

Fat helps absorb vitamins, clot blood, balance hormone production, maintain healthy skin and hair, and supports a working brain (especially those omega-3s). Extremely low-fat diets are missing out on these important functions. Adding healthy fats to your meals also helps you feel more satisfied and can reduce snacking which might help some lose weight. 

So, which fats are healthy?

The “good” fats–the unsaturated fats–are found in fish, avocados, olive oil, canola oil, and nuts and seeds like walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. These help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Your daily fat intake should consist of mostly unsaturated fats. A handful of walnuts, two tablespoons of chia seeds, or one tablespoon of olive oil are great portions of healthy fats. healthy fats, nuts and seeds

Saturated fats can raise LDL cholesterol, but are fine in moderation along with unsaturated fats. Butter, cheese, yogurt, and most animal derived fat is saturated fat. Coconut oil actually contains both unsaturated and saturated fats, but is still best in moderation. These should not be your primary source of fat. It is important to note that grass-fed meat and dairy contain more beneficial omega-3s  than grain-fed, so this is a healthier option. 

Try to avoid trans fats at all costs. Trans fats are hydrogenated (hardened) vegetable oils, and are usually used to preserve processed food. These hardened oils are more likely to clog arteries than the other two kinds of fats which leads to a higher risk of heart disease. Using whole, real ingredients ensures you won’t be consuming these fats. 

 

Take-Away

There is no single amount of fat intake for everyone. Some people need more fat in their diet, like nursing or pregnant women. Some people need less, like those with a high risk of heart attack. Always talk to your doctor for a more personalized amount. Generally, a well balanced diet with plenty of protein, “good” fat, and fresh vegetables ensures a healthy mind and body. 

 

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

Vegucation: Cayenne Pepper

If you love spicy foods, you’re probably familiar with the cayenne pepper. It can be eaten fresh or dried, and its flavor goes with many different cuisines. Some people even make a health tonic with apple cider vinegar, cayenne, and lemon juice to boost immunity.  

Why is it beneficial?

Cayenne peppers are a great source of vitamin A and can help digestion because it supports enzyme production. The capsaicin in cayenne peppers prevents blood clots by stimulating  circulation. These peppers are also an anti-irritant which can help things like ulcers, upset stomachs, and even diarrhea. Eating cayenne on a regular basis allows you to reap these benefits. 

How long will it keep?cayenne peppers

Fresh cayenne peppers can last a few days, or you can dry or can your peppers to make them last longer. Here’s how to dry them, and here’s how to can them. 

How can I prepare them?

Always wash your peppers before using to get all the dirt off. Whether you eat them fresh or dried, here’s a few ideas:

  • If you have fresh peppers, blend them in a salsa or add them  to stir fries for extra heat. 
  • If you dry your peppers whole, crush them and add to pizza or salad dressing. 
  • You can even make your own hot sauce with this recipe using fresh cayenne peppers. 

 

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

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Vegucation: Kale

Kale is one of the most talked about healthy foods, and people either love it or hate it. It’s a unique leafy green with a distinct flavor that is extremely versatile. 

Why is it beneficial?

Kale has tons of fiber for very few calories, which means you can eat a large portion to feel full without consuming empty calories. Kale also offers a wide variety of nutrients, mainly vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, magnesium, folate, and iron. In fact, kale has more iron than beef per calorie and more calcium than milk per calorie. Plus, all of those vitamins maintain a healthy immune system and blood. 

When is it in season?

You can usually find local kale during early and late summer in Tennessee. Weather conditions usually determine when it comes and goes. Always try to buy organic kale whenever possible. 

How long will it keep? kale variety

Kale will last about five days in the refrigerator if kept in a plastic bag. Do not wash the kale before storing it. The flavor will be better when eaten fresh. 

How can I prepare it?

You can eat kale raw or cooked, steamed or sautéed, baked or roasted. Just remember to remove the stems before preparing. Here are a few fun ways to eat more kale:

  • Saute chopped kale then add scrambled eggs for breakfast or pasta and parmesan for dinner. 
  • Make your own kale chips.
  • Add it to a blender with banana and pineapple for a detox smoothie.
  • Steam it in a pan with diced sweet potato or mushrooms for an easy side dish. Season with garlic and rosemary or thyme. 

 

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

Vegucation: Cucumbers

Cucumbers have many refreshing and nutritional properties that many people don’t know about. They are actually in the same  family as melons, squash, and pumpkins. Cucumbers can help reduce puffiness under the eyes, give you energy, and more!

Why are they beneficial?

Cucumbers contain many of the B vitamins which help convert carbs to energy. This is why eating more cucumbers can help you stay awake throughout the day. They are also 95% water, so they make the perfect summer snack. They have plenty of fiber, too, for a healthy digestive system. 

cucumber sliced

When are they in season?

You can usually find cucumbers from mid-June until September in Tennessee. There are a few varieties that might be available at different times, like pickling cucumbers and slicing cucumbers. Always try to buy local and organic when possible. 

How long will they keep?

Cucumbers do not last a very long time before they begin to get squishy. Eat them as soon as possible to get that good crunch. If you must store them, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap individually and keep in the refrigerator. 

How can I prepare them?

Here are a few ideas besides topping your salads with them:

  • Slice them and use them as crackers with tuna or chicken salad. 
  • Add cucumber and strawberry slices to a pitcher of water with some fresh squeezed lime juice for a healthy drink this summer. 
  • Make a greek Quinoa salad with diced cucumber, diced tomato, red onion, olives, and feta cheese.
  • Make cucumber mango salsa to put on grilled fish or chicken.

 

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

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Vegucation: Delicata Squash

The delicata squash is named for its delicate skin, which is edible just like yellow squash or zucchini. It has beautiful green stripes that make it stand out among others in its family. 

Why is it beneficial?

Delicata squash is low calorie and low carb, but has plenty of fiber to keep you full. Similar to other squashes, delicata has vitamins A and C which are two important antioxidants. It also has iron and calcium to support healthy bones and blood. Leaving the skin on increases your intake of these nutrients. Delicata is a great substitute for those who are gluten free because it is filling and can be spiralized into pasta.

When is it in season?

You can usually find local delicata beginning into winter and into spring or early summer. The season varies depending on weather. Be sure to buy organic since the skin is edible and very thin.

How long will it keep?delicata squash

Your delicata squash will last a few weeks if it isn’t quite ripe yet. Ripe squashes will be yellow with green stripes, while unripe squashes will be light green with darker green stripes. Keep it in a cool dry place and avoid refrigerating. Try to eat it when it’s fully ripe to receive all of its benefits. 

How do I prepare it?

Always wash it if you plan on eating the skin, and be sure to scoop the seeds out of the  middle after cutting into it. Here are a few recipe ideas to get you started:

  • Slice the squash into half-moon shapes. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary. Roast at 425 degrees for 16 minutes, flipping halfway through. 
  • Slice lengthwise and stuff the squash with whatever you like. Quinoa, spinach and ricotta, or ground turkey and diced tomato are good options. Then roast in the oven. 
  • Puree cooked squash to make a soup.
  • Add roasted squash to salads, tacos, or quesadillas. 

 

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

Vegucation: Green Beans

Did you know that there are over 130 varieties of green beans? And not all of them are green! Keep reading to learn more about this staple vegetable.

Why are they beneficial?

Green beans are high in vitamins A, C, and K. Vitamin K is especially important for bone health, while vitamins A and C are both antioxidants. Green beans also have folate and fiber which are two important nutrients. Folate promotes growth, so it’s especially important for pregnant women and young children. Fiber keeps our digestive systems functioning properly. Fresh green beans have way less sodium and higher amounts of nutrients than canned varieties. 

When are they in season?

You can usually find local green beans between mid-May and mid-July in Tennessee. Fresh green beans have way less sodium and higher amounts of nutrients than canned varieties, so choose fresh whenever you can.

How long will they keep?green beans and almonds

Green beans are best when they snap in half when bent. Bendy green beans are still okay to eat, but they won’t have the best flavor. Keep your unwashed green beans in a loosely sealed container in the refrigerator, and they should last 3-5 days. 

How do I prepare them?

Always trim the ends of your green beans and wash them before cooking. Here are some quick ideas:

  • Roast them in the oven with olive oil, sliced almonds, garlic, and parmesan cheese.
  • Eat them raw with sliced cherry tomatoes and feta drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
  • Stir fry them in soy sauce and ginger with some sliced mushrooms.
  • Make a three bean salad.

Green beans go great with other summer veggies like yellow squash, heirloom tomatoes, and sweet corn. Make use of them while you can!

 

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

Why Choose Local?

Our Mission

At Weekly Fig, we strive to bring our members the best quality food we can find. We always try to source locally first. In fact, the majority of our products are local. Admittedly, in Tennessee it is difficult to grow every single food people like to eat, but we do everything we can to make supporting local as easy and convenient as possible. That’s why we include some non-local items like bananas and avocados that are still top quality, so you can find everything you need in one place and have it delivered to your home or office. Our main goal is to support local first, then find our remaining products from other sustainable and responsible sources.

The Impact of Eating Local

Did you know that if everyone in the Chattanooga area spent 5% of their weekly food budget on local products, we would increase the local economy by 100 million dollars? That 5% is about one meal per week. When you shop local, you are supporting farmers and their families, local artisans, the local economy, and the environment. Farmers and artisans bring their products to Weekly Fig because they’ve already done the hard part–making it. All we do is make it easier to reach our community for those who need to shop on their own time.

Not only would our economy be booming if everyone supported local, but our environment would too. The transportation required to ship produce all over the country is astounding. The distance that food from local farmers has to travel is much shorter in comparison, not to mention you are supporting green space and farmland in your own community. We also partner with farms that practice sustainability. By making small individual changes together, we can all make a huge impact, one veggie at a time.

To Learn More

Check out our about page.

Read about the people who supply our products here.

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

Vegucation: Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is in the same family as spinach and beets because of their leaf similarities. You might hear it referred to as Roman Kale. This is because it’s mostly found in the Mediterranean, but Swiss Chard is not a kind of kale. Its stems come in a variety of colors like yellow, green, white, and red, which add color and variety to any meal. 

Why is it beneficial?

Swiss Chard is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s especially a good source of vitamin K, but avoid if you are prone to kidney stones. A lot of vitamin K can affect how much calcium you absorb, causing the stones. Swiss Chard is also a great source of vitamins A and C–both are great for skin–and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and iron. Because of these nutrients, swiss chard benefits blood health, immune health, and tissue health. 

When is it in season?

You can usually find local swiss chard anytime between mid-May and mid-July depending on the farm and the weather. Try to buy organic whenever possible. 

How long will it keep?red swiss chard

If stored properly, your swiss chard should last about five days. Keep it in an airtight container or bag, unwashed. It will taste better and offer the most benefits when really fresh.

How can I prepare it?

You can use swiss chard just like any other green. Its flavor goes best with hearty or savory dishes. Always rinse your chard really well to get rid of any dirt or debris. Here are a few recipe ideas to get you started:

  • Sauté it with garlic, salt, and pepper until wilted. Top with fresh lemon juice and parmesan.
  • Add it to a quiche or frittata with some sliced mushrooms for a healthy breakfast. 
  • Add it to soups, pastas, or stir fries. 
  • Use the whole leaves for lettuce wraps.

 

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

Vegucation: Cauliflower

Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable family along with arugula, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and of course broccoli. Although it is almost identical to broccoli, cauliflower has a less bitter taste. This is why cauliflower recipes have gained popularity. 

Why is it beneficial?

Because it’s a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower has many cancer fighting properties. A sulphur compound in the veggie kills cancerous cells. This same compound helps regulate blood pressure, so your heart stays healthy too. The fiber in cauliflower helps your digestive system runs smoothly. Overall, cauliflower is a super beneficial food. 

When is it in season?

You can usually find local cauliflower in the month of May in Tennessee. How long the season lasts depends on the year. Buying organic cauliflower isn’t always necessary since it’s part of the Clean 15. 

How long will it keep?chopped cauliflower

A whole head of cauliflower will last about 5 days if stored properly. Keep it in a loosely sealed plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb any moisture. 

How do I prepare cauliflower?

Cauliflower is super versatile. Here are a few fun ways to cook it:

  • Make mashed cauliflower for a healthy twist on mashed potatoes.
  • Pulse cooked cauliflower in a food processor to make “rice”.
  • Make cauliflower pizza crust.
  • Roast it in the oven and season with turmeric and garlic.
  • Grill large slices to make cauliflower steaks.

No matter how you make it, anyone can reap the benefits of this veggie.

 

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

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