Community Greens

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

Buying Fresh Vegetables

 

I am a gardener and have been lucky enough to enjoy fresh garden grown vegetables for years. Fresh, as in just picked from the garden. Each harvested vegetable bring back memories of my childhood. I learned to garden as a kid in a NYC garden in Crotona Park in the ’60s. My brother and I spent several enjoyable summers growing, picking and eating just about anything that could be grown. The double benefit was I also learned to cook fresh food because of it. In season, we would each come home with two shopping bags full of fresh fruits and vegetables. What wasn’t eaten raw, my grandmother would prepare for dinner so we learned how to shuck, simmer and sauté a whole host of things.

Here are some tips on buying fresh fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, apples and most things are easy, just check for bruises and firmness. Take a good sniff. Does it smell earthy or fragrant? Look at the stem (many places remove them). If the stem appears old or shriveled, it hasn’t been freshly picked. Kiwis past their prime will be bald and dark brown while still being firm. Avocados will be very soft. Mangos will be soft and wrinkled. Greens (mustard/turnip/spinach) will have slimy leaves in the bunch, yellowing leaves, and the stems will be trimmed very short. Lettuces/cabbages (red leaf, green, endive, etc) will have a lot of dark spots on the edges of the leaves, browning on the stems, and the root stump will be trimmed very short.

Always wash your produce no matter where you get it. Even if it’s organic, free range or GMO-free. Wash it and, if appropriate, throw it in your refrigerator.  Some things, like green tomatoes, will continue to ripen on your counter. Unfortunately, my green tomatoes don’t last long  because I love fried green tomatoes, grits and scrambled eggs. Store bought stuff is usually just picked and packed. So you may want to soak it to remove as much bugs and dirt as you can.

Sometimes over-sized produce isn’t always a good buy. Larger produce that’s normally solid inside will become hollow due to the size and when it does, the cavity begins to rot. This is fairly common during a rainier seasons. The two worst offenders are strawberries and potatoes.

CornucopiaSure, you can buy canned but why should you when you can get fresh (frozen clearly a second choice).  There is usually some place in the world  growing what you want, so you can get it at the local market. With that said, be price conscious. Do you really need watermelon in December when it’s half that price in-season. Best to buy local and in-season. Learn to adjust your tastes a bit. It also supports the local economy and you know, a rising tide raises all boats.

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Filed under: CGCooks, CGGrows, Community Green, Food, Healthy Eating,

CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute

The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute is an academic research and action center at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy located in Harlem, NYC. They provide evidence to inform municipal policies that promote equitable access to healthy, affordable food.

They have several informative seminars and discussions coming up. Get on their email list and stay informed.

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Filed under: CGCooks, Community Green, Food, Health, Healthy Eating, , , , ,

Bronx Alehouse Burgers

bx burger.pngEventbrite says they have the Best Burger in the Bronx. Hmm, I’ll have to check this out. . . soon!

Bronx Alehouse
216 W 238th St, Bronx, NY
718.601.0204

On top of a huge local and international beer list (and free popcorn!), this casual neighborhood hangout hosts five types of french fries and eight burger choices. Choose from a simple Original with melty American cheese, or the Drunken Onion Gorgonzola, which is topped with IPA onion jam, blue cheese crumbles, and house-smoked bacon.

Best of all is the price. Their huge namesake Alehouse Burger is topped with pulled pork, spicy slaw, and onion rings, and rings up at… wait for it… only $13. Cross the river and a similar plate would easily be $18 or $20.

 

Filed under: CGCooks, Community Green, Food,

Collard Cool

green-juice5 Leaves Collard Greens
5 Carrots
4 Stalks Celery
2 Small Apples

I qualify this as a green juice even though the carrots muddy the color. They certainly add to the flavor and nutritional value.

I’m not a stickler about green apples over red apples. They have slightly different health benefits and sugar content but not enough to lose sleep over.

The red apples will generally will make it taste a bit sweeter, so you may want to use green apples to balance the carrots, but that’s your call.

Make a smaller portion by cutting everything in half.

I picked up the tip below from the Little Red House blog connected to their Spring Green Juice:

I love when I have pulp from greens like spinach and kale. I juice these first, and then set the green pulp aside. Saute it up in some olive oil with garlic, pine nuts, sundried tomatoes and throw some pasta and parmesan or goat cheese in…..dinner!

Filed under: CGCooks, Community Green, Food, Health, , , , , ,

God Bless Bustelo

img_0198Morning coffee! I’m not sure what I would do without it. I grew up in a predominately tea household and didn’t have my first cup of coffee until I was 27, married, had a daughter under 2 years old, was working two jobs, was a bicycle commuter and beginning racer. Now, coffee is the pillar of my morning ritual.

My diabetic diagnosis a couple of years ago required that I cut back on sugar. I have sacrificed it in my coffee. What an incredible sacrifice! A splash of carnation evaporated milk helps but for me it isn’t a complete cup of coffee. I miss that hint of sweetness.

When having coffee out, I generally add a teaspoon of sugar much like someone who adds a little salt to his/her food. I do taste first, and really good coffee may not need it. When working in community gardens and refereeing basketball games. I generally find the first Spanish restaurant I can and have a cup of cafe con leche.

I can’t abide the taste of artificial sweeteners. A recent study suggested that artificial sweeteners can aide and abet glucose intolerance. What’s the point then, calories?

My favorite fix is expresso albeit not from a machine that costs hundreds of dollars and perfectly steams milk. My Krups gives me a great cup of coffee. I used to microwave 4 ozs. of milk, throw it in a coffee mug with an aerator ball and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. That got tedious. More importantly, I use my microwave less every day. Honestly, I feel I should wear a lead lined apron when I use it.

I’ve used the expresso steamer to froth the milk. I never got that to work for me. I used to heat milk in a small pan. Having to wash the extra stuff wasn’t fun.

I haven’t bought a Keurig. The latest are cool because you can set it for Strong Brew. I have always been skeptical of brewing from a K-cup and expecting the same results over different amounts of water.  Also, I like the smell of coffee and probably hold the can higher than I should when I scoop so I can get a good whiff. SEE COMMENT BELOW.

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Filed under: CGCooks, Community Green, Food, ,

About Community Greens

It takes more than a village to raise a child in today's world. The world is more than flat or round or sun and moon. It's also the village on the other side of the river. The objects in the sky are different from that view. Community Greens, griot-like, tells a story. I invite you to share my view.

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