Give your dish, drink or dessert a squeeze of fresh lime for an added sense of freshness and a pop of tartness. Limes grow on trees in warm climates. Similar to lemons, limes are a citrus fruit with a low pH; this means limes are very acidic, making them an influential cooking ingredient.
Fresh ginger is one of the most common spices used in the world. It’s believed that Indians and Chinese were the first to produce ginger root where it was primarily used to treat many ailments. While not really a root, ginger is in the same family as turmeric, both of which are grown for their rhizomes, an underground stem that sends out roots or shoots. The rhizome is the part you eat.
I recently ordered some pumpkin seeds online, but when I opened up the package, I realized that they were not the pumpkin seeds I had in mind. I was expecting to see cream-colored, oval-shaped seeds, like the ones you’d dig out of a jack-o-lantern, but instead I received greenish, small seeds without a cream-colored hull. They resembled a sunflower seed only a tad bigger. It dawned on me that I had actually ordered pepitas.
One of the most popular foods in the fall is named for a different season: winter squash, particularly acorn squash. While still a popular pick in the winter, acorn squash in Illinois is generally harvested in late summer to early November. It’s the first fall food I go for after decorating my house with pumpkins and fall décor.
Along with the Keto and Whole 30 diets, the Paleo diet is currently trending in popularity. Also called the “caveman” or “stone-age” diet, it’s based on the idea that today’s farming practices are not what they were when our ancestors ate 10,000 years ago. Paleo diet supporters believe in the hypothesis that our bodies have not been able to adapt to a modern diet, and thus is a contributing factor to the prevalence of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. However, there is no scientific evidence supporting these claims.
Pumpkin season is in full swing, and while great for decorating and carving, pumpkins are also considered a superfood, offering many health benefits. In fact, the seeds, fruit and greens have each been known to be used in herbal medicines. The pumpkin flesh is a valuable source of both vitamin A and fiber, which will help to boost immunity, support weight loss and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer and arthritis. Just one-half cup of canned pumpkin provides 200% of daily vitamin A needs.
As many people are realizing the health benefits of plant-based diets, plant-rich proteins are becoming more popular. While tofu is more widely known as a meat substitute, tempeh is not far behind. Tempeh, like tofu, is made from soybeans. The soybeans are cooked, fermented and then formed into a firm block that resembles a nougat. While tempeh may not sound or look very appetizing, fans of this tofu cousin enjoy it for its versatility and nutrient density.
Turning fresh fall veggies into fabulous favorites can happen with roasting, a simple cooking technique. Roasting allows vegetables or other foods to develop a crispy crust on the outside while creating a subtle sweetness. This is due to the magic of caramelization.
Sour cream has so many uses that it’s often a refrigerator staple from January to December. It adds richness and acidity to both savory and sweet dishes. It’s similar to it’s substitutes, yogurt or crème fraiche, yet remains a distinctive ingredient.
The holidays come with much anticipation and excitement, as well as a little dread. The dozens of holiday cookies, the variations of fabulous fudge, and the finest candies around, are sure to excite the taste buds. But when these goodies have you surrounded each day from November to January, the dread of the holiday pounds weighs you down. Here are some holiday tips to help you gain control.
Elderberries have been used in folk medicine for centuries as a remedy for influenza and colds, but only recently have they become popular in the United States. The common elderberry (Sambucus var. canadensis) is a beautiful native shrub with white flowers and dark purple berries. It can be planted as a tall hedge in a beautifully decorated lawn, but can also be found growing wild in Illinois along roadsides. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is native to Europe and is generally the berry used in elderberry products found on store shelves.
If you enjoy Asian cuisine, you likely are a fan of soy sauce. This condiment originated in China over 2,000 years ago and is a staple ingredient in many Asian countries. This salty liquid is made from fermented soybeans, roasted wheat, and of course, lots of salt.
While a persimmon will probably never be as popular as an apple in the U.S., this lesser known fruit packs a punch of sweet flavor. If you’ve ever seen a persimmon, you may have mistaken it for an unripe tomato, as they look and feel somewhat similar. A ripe persimmon is dense with waxy skin and jelly-like flesh.
Brown sugar can give a rich caramel flavor to sweeten so many foods. As it sits in your pantry next to the canister of white granulated sugar, you may have wondered, “What makes brown sugar brown?”
As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may find yourself reflecting on relationships. Positive relationships, whether with a partner, child, parent or friend, can be strengthened by doing activities together. This holiday, consider cooking a meal with your loved one, which can be just as nourishing for the relationship as it is for the body.
Puff pastry and phyllo (or filo) dough produce amazing appetizers, breakfast pastries, and decadent desserts. While you can get out your French rolling pin and make them yourself, you can also settle for the convenience of grabbing a package from the frozen food aisle. Both doughs are flaky and delicious, but they shouldn’t be used interchangeably.
Paprika is the dash of red color that usually tops deviled eggs. It’s a spice that some cooks would consider more of a garnish than a powerful flavoring agent. However, paprika comes in three different types, each with its own tasty purpose.
It looks like a burger. It tastes like a burger. It even “bleeds” like a burger. However, this burger is not made of meat. Plant-based burgers and meat alternatives are the trendy new food that have hit the market in response to consumer’s eco-friendly demands.
This blog post is written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Alyssa Laing.