• judy

New for the New Year

Try some new foods in the New Year. You’ll benefit personally, and the larger environment will benefit. That is because eating a variety of good foods is usually healthy, you’ll discover new and great tastes, and you’ll be helping our food supply to diversify. With more hot and extreme weather some of our current staples like traditional wheat and corn might not be as affordable or available. Try alternatives.


For example, if you haven’t tried plantains fried or microwaved (make sure to prick the top of the plantain with a fork or knife like a potato if you’re microwaving it) you’re missing a great snack, side, or dessert dish. For use as a dessert you can sprinkle it with some cinnamon or slightly sweetened chocolate.


Later today I am planning to use several traditional foods of Indian and native people of the American continents for a celebration meal with family. The dinner will feature the tepary bean, and faro grain stuffed in winter squash. While people living in the southwest U.S. may already be familiar with tepary beans, I was not. I read about them in a New York Times food article (11/6/2019) by Sean Sherman, an Indian chef. The picture was too pretty to resist, so I sent off for some tepary beans to www.ramonafarms.com (find them also at www.nativeseeds.org.) These beans are much cheaper if you can shop directly in Arizona or New Mexico, but I live in Florida. I have since learned tepary beans are high in protein, iron, and calcium, and low on the glycemic index. The grower claims they are easier to digest and cause less gas than other beans. They grow well in hot, dry climates because they produce crops quickly, and thus need less water, and grow deep roots. I will find out later whether they have a rich, nutty flavor, as claimed by the grower. I will use Sean Sherman’s recipe and top the beans with caramelized onion and turnips. Those will be commercial rather than the wild turnips that foragers on the prairies might gather. Ah well…


On my list of new (to me) but actually old (ancient) foods to try are jicama, nopal, and boniato. Jicama looks like a fat, lumpy potato. It can be used raw, sprinkled with some lime juice and chili powder, or cooked. Boniato looks like a purplish sweet potato. Nopal is the flat, oval shaped leaf/stem of the prickly pear cactus plant. It is often sliced into strips and cooked. It is said to taste like green beans. The fruit of the plant can be eaten like a fruit.


Explore new options! Best wishes for your health and happiness in the New Year, and also the joy of discovery of healthy, sustainable food.




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