Enjoying Sweet Potatoes All Over the Country

A few years ago, our office purchased a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share from a local farm. In one weekly box, there was a sweet potato. A huge one! As tall as a plastic water bottle, weighing between 2 and 3 pounds. While Illinois is not a top commercial sweet potato producer, varieties do grow here.

Every Season Recipes for Cabbage

There are three things I appreciate about cabbage. One, a single cabbage gives a lot of cut or shredded pieces. Two, it has great shelf life. If I only need part of a cabbage for a recipe, the remaining cabbage seems to last for weeks in my fridge. (Yes, there are varieties of cabbage that are exceptions to this long shelf life.) Three, as I will share later in the post, cabbage is economical (read: cheap).

Sweet and savory pumpkin recipes with tips on shopping, storing, and cooking

Fun fact I think many people have started to learn over the years: the cans of pumpkin puree on grocery store shelves are from "processing pumpkins" or "canning pumpkins," while the pumpkins we decorate with and carve are "ornamental pumpkins."

Fun fact number two: Illinois is a top state for processing of edible pumpkins. Check out more details from the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Three apples on wood background

Visualize the experience of eating an apple. Hear the crunch. Feel the juice dripping on your chin. Taste the sweet and tart flavors. Ah, it feels like fall!

Nutritionally, 1 medium apple (around 3-inches across) contains around 95 calories, 25g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, and is a source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Like other fruits, apples are not a significant source of fat, protein, or sodium.

Fresh beets with leaves and stems on granite background

My CSA (community supported agriculture) farmer offered me a bundle of small beets. For this CSA, I can pick from a variety of available foods each week. Beets are not a go-to food for me, but the registered dietitian in me enjoys learning about foods, so I took the beets home.

Bok choy on marbled background

Cabbage comes in many more shapes than light green or dark purple globes. Bok choy – or pak choi – is one of the looser leaf styles of cabbage, and one of the foods in my CSA (community supported agriculture) share for late spring this year.

Like other cabbages, bok choy is a source of vitamins and minerals, including several B-vitamins, calcium, and iron. It does not have much in the way of macronutrients. In fact, 1 cup of shredded raw bok choy contains just 10 calories, 2g carbohydrates, 1g protein, and very little fat.

Picture of a lemon, lime, and orange on white background

Winter is the season for citrus fruits. Today, let's look at citrus that are available almost all year round in grocery stores: limes, lemons, and orange juice. For a long list naming other citrus fruits, along with shopping and storage tips for citrus fruits, check out How Many Citrus Fruits Can You Name?

Dill coated white fish and asparagus on white plate and blue background

Dill is an interesting plant. In the kitchen, cooks have a choice of fresh and dried dill weed (the leaves) or dill seed for their recipes. Each provide their own flavors and preferred applications. Dill weed is generally more mild than the seeds, adds color to dishes, and provides better flavor when added towards the end of cooking. Dill seeds can stand up to long cooking times and tend to have a stronger flavor. From pickles to soups and salads to dips, dill is one versatile plant.

Nutrition

Three strips of jerky on white plate with blue background

Jerky is a dried meat product that comes in as many different flavors and uses as many different meats as you can probably think of. While jerky can be made at home, this post will focus on prepared jerky.

Nutrition

The nutrition of jerky will vary based on the type of protein used and any flavorings. For nutrition information on your specific jerky, check the food label.

Check out Parts 1 and 2 of this series for more. Part 1 covers an introduction to deer meat and flavors. Part 2 shares information on cooking with venison. And check out the recipes videos on social media.

Venison & Root Vegetable Stew (Serves 8)

Chimichurri sauce over sliced venison

Partnerships are a big part of Illinois Extension programs.  This one started with a conversation about deer hunting and turned into recipe videos and a blog series.  So many ‘thank you’s to Sara Wade, MS, RD, LDN, with Kirby Medical Center for sharing her experiences.

Cooked chicken wing, leg, and thigh

Where do you often see paprika? Sprinkled on egg salad or cottage cheese? Added to a recipe like chicken paprikash for that red color?

Paprika is made by drying and grinding varieties of mild red peppers. This powdered spice can be used to garnish foods and add color and unique flavors. A blend of different peppers creates the varieties, flavors, and heat levels of paprika you see on shelves, such as sweet paprika, Hungarian paprika, Spanish paprika, and smoked paprika.

Nutrition

Garlic scape on gray background

Last summer, our office bought a share of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Each week of the season, we got a box of local fruits, veggies, and herbs. Garlic scapes were a unique addition one week.

In his article, fellow UI Extension educator, Grant McCarty, shares that "garlic scapes are the immature, flowering stems of hardneck garlic." Scapes have a milder flavor than cloves of garlic, and can be used in place of garlic.

Nutrition