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ARE PICKLES HEALTHY TO EAT?

Cucumbers are staples in the average American diet, with large cucumbers typically eaten raw and small cucumbers pickled for long-term storage. Even though pickles are made from cucumber, they differ slightly from raw cucumber with respect to their nutrient content. Pickles generally offer more vitamins and fiber than cucumber but also contain sugar or sodium that lowers their nutritional value.

Calories and Fiber

Cucumbers and dill pickles are both low in calories — a cup of sliced cucumber contains 16 calories, while an equivalent serving of dill pickles contains 19. Sweet pickles are higher in calories, at 139 calories per cup because of their sugar content. Reaching for either cucumbers or pickles boosts your fiber intake. This fiber helps speed the movement of food through your digestive tract, combating constipation, and also helps reduce the level of cholesterol in your bloodstream. A 1-cup serving of sliced cucumber provides 0.5 grams of fiber, while dill pickles offer 1.7 grams of fiber per cup and sweet pickles provide 1.5 grams of fiber.

Vitamin K Content

Pickles offer more vitamin K per serving than cucumber. Your body uses vitamin K to activate enzymes responsible for cell growth and development, as well as bone and cartilage health. It also plays a central role in blood coagulation, which protects against blood loss. A 1-cup serving of sweet pickles contains 72.1 micrograms of vitamin K — 58 percent of the recommended daily vitamin K intake for men and 80 percent for women. An equivalent serving of sliced cucumber provides 17.1 micrograms of vitamin K, while a cup of dill pickles offers 60.4 micrograms.

Vitamin A Content

Reach for pickles over cucumber as a source of vitamin A. Sweet pickles, in particular, come loaded with vitamin A. Each cup provides 1,169 international units of vitamin A, which is 39 percent of the daily vitamin A needs for men and 50 percent for women. A cup of sliced dill pickles offers 284 international units of vitamin A, while cucumbers contain 109 international units per cup. The vitamin A abundant in pickles aids in the development of new blood cells, regulates thyroid gland function and supports healthy vision.

Sodium and Sugar Content

Cucumbers offer major health advantages over pickles because they’re naturally low in sugar and sodium. Each cup of sliced cucumber contains just 1.7 grams of naturally occurring sugar and 2 milligrams of sodium — less than 1 percent of your daily sodium limit. Dill pickles, on the other hand, contain a whopping 1,356 milligrams of sodium per serving, or 59 percent of your daily limit. A a result, you should limit your dill pickle intake, or you risk the high blood pressure and heart disease associated with a high-sodium diet. Sweet pickles are also high in sodium, at 699 milligrams per cup, and also contain 28 grams of sugar per serving. This sugar offers no nutritional value but boosts your calorie intake and contributes to tooth decay.

Beetroot — Super Food

Beetroot, also known as beet, has been gaining in popularity as a new super food due to recent studies claiming that beets and beetroot juice can improve athletic performance, lower blood pressure, and increase blood flow.

Benefits

beetroot on a white background

Beetroot has been gaining in popularity as a new super food.

Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.

Many studies indicate that eating more plant foods, like beetroot, decreases the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes, and heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Dementia: Researchers at Wake Forest University have found that drinking juice from beetroot can improve oxygenation to the brain, slowing the progression of dementia in older adults.

Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown a decrease in symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy in people with diabetes.

Diabetes: Beets contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which may help lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.

Digestion and regularity: Because of its high fiber content, beetroot helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Inflammation: Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in beetroot that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.

BeetsBeets, boiled

Amount Per 1 beet (2″ dia) (82 g)100 grams1 cup (136 g)1 cup (136 g)
Calories 59
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.2 g0%
Saturated fat 0 g0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0%
Sodium 106 mg4%
Potassium 442 mg12%
Total Carbohydrate 13 g4%
Dietary fiber 3.8 g15%
Sugar 9 g
Protein 2.2 g4%
Vitamin A0%Vitamin C11%
Calcium2%Iron6%
Vitamin D0%Vitamin B-65%
Cobalamin0%Magnesium7%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

OKRA – Interesting Facts about the plant

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Okra is a member of the Mallow family, related to cotton, hibiscus and hollyhock. It is a tall (6 ft) annual tropical herb cultivated for its edible green seed pod (there is also a red pod variety, which turns green when cooked). It has heart shaped leaves (one species is cultivated for its edible leaves), and large, yellow, hibiscus-like flowers. The seed pods are 3 – 10 inches long, tapering, usually with ribs down its length. These tender, unripe seed pods are used as a vegetable, and have a unique texture and sweet flavor. The pods, when cut, exude a mucilaginous juice that is used to thicken stews (see Gumbo), and have a flavor somewhat like a cross between asparagus and eggplant.

Lady’s fingers. Just one of the many names given to okra pods in English-speaking countries (Great Britain first and foremost). In fact, the slender, delicately tapered pods recall the shape of a woman’s fingers.

Nutrition. Largely made up of water (90%), with a fair content of carbohydrates (7%) and proteins (2%), okra befriends the figure-conscious because it is low in calories (100 g add up to just 33 kcal) and fats, but at the same time it is rich in fibre, vitamins A, C and K; it is also an excellent source of folic acid, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Quality. When buying okra, choose medium-small pods because they are more tender and less stringy. Okra is generally green – make sure it is a nice bright even shade, with no blemishes or colour alterations – but on some markets it is also possible to find the red and burgundy coloured varieties. Top quality okra must be firm and springy when you handle it. Only the pods are sold on our markets but in the countries where it is grown and picked, the leaves are also consumed: they are excellent for eating raw in salads and may also be boiled or pan tossed, in the same way as spinach leaves.

Seeds. The dried seeds may be roasted and ground for use as a coffee substitute. In fact, when coffee imports were impeded by the American Civil War (1861), the Austin State Gazette reported that “one hectare of okra plants is able to produce sufficient seeds to replace those of fifty coffee plants, with a product that is identical to the coffee imported from Rio”.

Emeril Lagasse. Stewed and spiced, but also marinated in buttermilk before being fried and served with a Creole sauce, the famous bayou blast; or alternatively, okra is fried and served with shrimps or crabmeat, as in gumbo with shrimps, or with chicken and smoked sausage. These are just some of the recipes containing okra presented by Emeril Lagasse, a celebrity US chef who, in recent years, has become the number one authority on Creole and Cajun cuisine.

Gumbo. In this unchallenged icon of Louisiana’s Cajun cuisine, okra appears as one of the most widely used thickeners, on a par with filé powder (sassafras) or roux (flour and butter). It is the opinion of food archaeologists that this tasty recipe dates back to the XVIII century as a variation on a stew common among the Cochtaw Indians (from the territories of what is now Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana), who used to thicken it with “kombo”, today’s filé powder obtained from dried and ground sassafras leaves.

Vocabulary. Okra, gombo, lady’s fingers, bhindi, bāmiyā; but also krajiab kheaw (Thailand); okura or kiku kimo (Japan); gambô, quibombô or quiabo in Portuguese; oh k’u ra (Korea), grønsakhibisk (Norway); bomiyon in Uzbek… It would be a massive job to list all the names for okra used throughout the world: a full list can be found here.

Why we should eat local

Did you know that when you buy locally grown produce, you’re making a choice to do something that’s better for you and your family, but that also benefits your community and the environment? Well it’s true. Not only do you prevent the negative consequences that come from shipping, trucking and flying produce long distances, but you also boost the health and economic and cultural vitality of your community in ways you might not have thought about. Here are ten ways, both direct and indirect, that buying locally grown produce like Plenty’s benefits everyone.

Local means more genetic diversity. 
Modern large-scale farming favors plant varieties that produce high yields, can withstand packing, shipping and storage, and ripen uniformly for efficient harvesting. Over time, this has narrowed the options available to both consumers and farmers, which is why you see the same type of broccoli, the same three varieties of lettuce, and the same two varieties of nectarines (“white” and “yellow”) wherever you go. Local farmers do just the opposite; they seek out heirloom and other specialty varieties in a rainbow of hues and distinct flavors, extending their growing season with varying times to harvest.

Local is supporting your community.

Local leads to less waste.

Local is more nutritious.

Local contributes to cleaner air.

Local is safer.

The longer food is stored, the greater the risk it will rot or become contaminated. That’s why so many fruits and vegetables are treated with fungicides, disinfectants, gas, fumigants, coatings, and other chemicals. Buy local and you won’t have to worry about what’s been done to your food in the name of preservation.

Local brings people together.

Red Russian Kale

Kale

Its sweet flavor is particularly pronounced as a baby leaf, but that sweetness remains even at full maturity. Its long stems are reddish-purple with flat, toothed, dark green leaves, and is surprisingly tender.

RED RUSSIAN KALE WITH GARLIC AND LEMON 

PREP TIME 10 mins – COOK TIME 15 mins – TOTAL TIME 25 mins 

Serves: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large bunch of red Russian kale, washed, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup water
  • Juice of half a lemon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute or until it turns just golden.
  2. Add kale and stir until kale is fully coated with oil. Add salt, pepper and water. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until kale is soft and tender. Adjust seasonings and drizzle with lemon juice.
  3. Serve with your favorite meat.

You can order Red Russian Kale at the Arkansas Local Food Network from Arkansas Natural Produce.

Edible Flowers are the New Rage

After falling out of favor for many years, cooking and garnishing with flowers is back in vogue once again.  Flower cookery has been traced back to Roman times, and to the Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures.  Edible flowers were especially popular in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria’s reign.

You can find edible flowers right here in Arkansas!!!

Arkansas Natural Produce: Malvern, AR

We have a year-round greenhouse facility that specializes in salad greens, with other vegetables in season. We use natural farming practices and have been in business since 1988. No synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or preservatives are used in the growing or packaging of our products.


This is our blend of edible flowers. They will include nasturtiums (which actually taste good) and other flowers to garnish your salads, entrees and desserts for those special occasions when an extra splash of color would be perfect for your dinner party.


Arkansas Dessert: Peaches, Pecans, & Honey

0EDB4F20-5A1A-43B6-B345-AD055F0D38EFWhat’s better than Arkansas peaches, spiced Arkansas pecans, and Arkansas honey? Well…nothing really! Grab them from our online market before they’re gone, and try out this delicious recipe from Woman & Home:

Ingredients:
4 peaches, halves and stones removed
4 TBS butter
2 TBS honey
A handful of spiced pecans

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the peaches cut side up on a baking sheet, and place half a tablespoon of better in the center of each peach
  • Drizzle honey over peaches
  • Crush pecans and scatter over peaches
  • Roast for 10-15 minutes. Try serving with creme fraiche or ice cream!