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Cooking Oil Smoke Point

Have you ever wondered if you are using the best oil when you are cooking? An important thing to consider is the oil smoke point. 

The smoke point is when an oil will begin to burn or smoke. Avoiding this is important because it both negatively affects flavor and studies show it likely carries health risk. High oil smoke points are 400°F or higher. Low oil smoke points are 395°F and below. 

Oils with high smoke points are best to use for cooking anything hotter than low heat cooking. Oils with low smoke points are generally best used for seasoning or dressing by adding them at the end of or after cooking. They can also be used for marinades and low-temp cooking methods such as confit.

520-570°F: Avocado Oil

Avocado oil’s smoke point is quite high at 520-570°F (271-299°C). This is a great oil to keep on hand for cooking because of its health benefits and high smoke. 

510°F: Safflower Oil

Safflower oil is another great cooking oil with a high smoke point of 510°F (265°C) making this a reliable oil to keep on hand for all cooking methods.

450°F: Clarified Butter

Clarified butter has a high smoke point because of the milk fats being removed (these burn first). This gives clarified butter a smoke point of 450°F (230°C). It works great for almost all cooking methods including high heat cooking as well as emulsified sauces such as hollandaise.

450°F: Sunflower Oil 

The smoke point of sunflower oil is right around 450°F (230°C). Sunflower oil has a light flavor, but it has a richness that is nice for rounding out the flavor of a dish.

440°F: Peanut Oil

The smoke point of peanut oil is around 440°F (227°C) which accommodates all high heat cooking methods. It also provides a prominent and rich flavor to your dishes.

425-465°F: Refined Olive Oil

Unlike fresh olive oil, refined olive oil has a smoke point that works well for most cooking processes. Refined olive oil has a smoke point around 425-465°F (218-241°C).

390°F: Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil has a smoke point around 390°F (195°C) which accommodates even more cooking methods than lard. Most cooking methods are achievable with grapeseed oil excluding searing and grilling.

370°F: Lard

Lard has a smoke point around 370°F (188°C). It will work well with most cooking methods from medium to medium-high heat

350-385°F: Coconut Oil 

Coconut Oil can be effective for roasting, baking, and pan-roasting. It has a smoke point between 350-385°F (175-196°C) which makes it suitable for moderate heat cooking methods.

350-410°F: Sesame Oil

This oil has a smoke point around 350-410°F (175-210°C). It is better when sesame oil is added towards the end of the cooking process. If sautéing or glazing, add sesame oil 1-2 minutes before adding the soy sauce or other glazing liquids. Sesame oil is also great for flavoring sauces. 

325-410°F: Olive Oil/EVOO

Olive oil’s smoke point is around 325-410°F (163-210°C) based upon how filtered it is. It can be used to cook at lower temperatures or added to fresh food at the end of cooking. When using especially aromatic olive oils like single origin or freshly processed olive oil, the subtle flavors come through best when the olive oil avoids temperatures above 200°F (93°C). The best uses include dressing salads, tomato toast, and freshly roasted chicken and beets.

300-350°F: Butter

Butter has a slightly lower smoke point than other fats, but it is a commonly used cooking fat for those who consume dairy. The smoke point of butter that has not been clarified is 300-350°F

Brandon Beins
Culinary Educator and Human, Plant, & Soil Health Advocate

“My food journey began in high school when culinary classes brought me into the world of creating food. I continued on to culinary school before completing a two year apprenticeship with a local sushi chef. This apprenticeship was really where 

I learned to care for ingredients; how to prepare them in a way that shows them respect. In order to really take care of your ingredients you need to start with the soil. I haven’t had many memorable meals that were prepared with unhealthy produce from depleted soils,and most of the memorable meals from my life were simple meals made from ingredients that had themselves been nourished lovingly and prepared the same way. I believe high quality food can be prepared by anyone, and it starts with the soil.” 

Do you have a favorite cooking oil? Share your cooking tips with us and our readers!

Your 7 Step Food Preservation System

Turn your garden harvests into meals!

GYOV founder Stacey Murphy developed our Harvest-into-Meals food preservation system that gives you strategies for eating fresh year-round, whether it’s out of your garden or from the farmer’s market.

Having a food preservation system helps you:

  • • Manage the harvest you have coming in without overwhelm or waste

  • • Enjoy garden-fresh nutrition year round

  • • Take the guesswork out of meal planning

  • • Plan to preserve your favorite staple foods

  • • Open up time and energy to enjoy other activities

Like any new skill, learning to manage harvest takes time and energy upfront. But as you incorporate a food preservation system into your routine, it becomes second nature with time.

>>> Want to learn about your food preservation options? Check out our “5 Methods to Preserve Vegetables at Home” blog post.

Step 1: Set food preservation goals

The first step in creating a food preservation system that works for you is setting goals. Goals that work for you and your lifestyle are all about…YOU! So put away those “shoulds” and focus on what you actually want.

The best kind of goals create habits, especially if it’s a daily habit or a weekly habit. Habits make accomplishing your goals automatic, just like brushing your teeth.

Be realistic about your time and energy

Whatever kind of garden space, time, and energy levels you’re working with, be realistic about what kind of food preservation system will work for your lifestyle. If you have a busy life with lots of priorities, your plan should be enjoyable and easy to execute in the time you have. If your time is flexible and you’re looking to take on a new project, be realistic about how much you can take on at once without burning out.

Set a variety of goals

  • • Set some small goals that you know you can accomplish (ex: I want to learn how to lacto-ferment vegetables). Easy wins create momentum!

  • • Set some stretch goals so that if you manage the small goals, you have something to stretch for (ex: I want to lacto-ferment 20 quarts of sauerkraut from my own cabbage).

  • • Differentiate between rate-based goals (ex: I want to can two quarts of tomatoes per week) and overall goals (ex: I want to can all of the pasta sauce I need for a year).

Set Questions for reflection

How many hours per week can you commit to preparing and preserving food?

  • • Do you have friends or family who can help with prep work?

  • • What materials or supplies do you need to get started?

  • • What kind of preserved food excites you?

  • • In your garden, do you want to grow food specifically for preservation? Or do you want to grow easy foods you enjoy and figure out how to preserve them later?

Step 2: Quantify your goals

After you’ve set realistic goals for your food preservation system that align with your values and lifestyle, it’s time to do the math. If you plan to grow vegetables in your garden specifically for preservation, this step is crucial for your crop plan.

For example, if your overall goal is to grow and preserve all of your own tomatoes for pasta sauce for a year, you need to figure out:

  • • How much pasta sauce you eat in a year (in quart jars)

  • • How many tomatoes it will take to make that much pasta sauce

  • • How many tomato plants you need to grow that many tomatoes (tip: overestimate here to account for loss)

It’s okay to estimate in the beginning! You’ll use what you learn this year to create a more specific plan next year.

Step 3: Track your garden harvests

The third step of your Harvest-into-Meals food preservation system is to create or adjust your crop plan for the next growing season so that you’re growing for preservation. To do that effectively, you’ll need to create a harvest log.

Keep a harvest log

A harvest log is a list of crops you’re growng. Every time you harvest, you note the amount of each crop by weight or by bunch. This empirical data comes straight from your garden and gives you a clear picture of how much harvest you can expect from your plants and your space. Start simple with one or two of your staple crops.

Harvest once a week & batch tasks

Make it a weekly event: harvest your produce, log your harvest, and plan what to do with it. You can see everything that’s available for the week (see Step 4) and create your meal plan (see Step 5) in just a couple of hours.

A note for the farmer’s market

Even if you don’t have your own garden, you can note when different crops become available at the farmer’s market. And look for sales. For example, at the end of a tomato season, farmers may have discounted boxes of tomatoes perfect for preservation.

Step 4: Divide up your harvest

You want to use or preserve all of your harvest each week. Naturally, some may end up in the compost bin, but dividing up your harvest will help you reduce waste.

What you preserve:

First, separate out all of the best-looking produce. That’s what you’re going to preserve! When you preserve food, it has to be blemish-free. Blemishes increase nutrient loss and can introduce bad bacteria.

What you eat:

Those tomatoes with blemishes? Those are what you’re going to cook or eat raw this week! Just cut away bad sections and incorporate the good bits into your meal plan for the week.

What you compost:

If anything is blemished and damaged beyond edibility, or if it has mold growing on it, that goes into the compost. When you compost, yucky vegetables go back into your garden as nutrients.

Don’t have a compost bin yet? Toss food scraps outside instead of putting them in the trash. Food scraps don’t biodegrade in landfills–but they do contribute to methane emissions and climate change.

Using scraps:

You might want to keep certain food scraps and do something with them. You can make apple cider vinegar out of apple cores and peels. As long as they look good and aren’t moldy, you can also cook vegetable scraps into stock for soups.

Step 5: Plan meals for the week

Could you commit two hours to meal prep each week? This little bit of structure could lead to lots of creativity. Plus, strategically planning your meals ahead saves you time and energy in the long run.

If you can successfully plan one week of meals at a time, you can conquer the whole year.
-Stacey Murphy

Questions for reflection:

  • • What does a well rounded meal look like for you?

  • • What do you eat when you are in a hurry?

  • • How many meals are you eating on the run?

  • • How can your loved ones help?

Step 6: Preserve according to your goals

Step six is the preservation step, so you’re going to spend some time here. This is where you take all the planning that you’ve done and you actually do each process.

>>> Need some ideas? Check out…

Step 7: Create a preservation log

Then the seventh step in your preservation system is to create a preservation log. A good preservation log is going to tell you:

  • • What you preserved and when

  • • How much you have on hand vs what you already ate

  • • Progress on your rate-based goals

The most important goal of your preservation system is to make everything visible. Things disappear quickly in the back of your refrigerator or shelves, and you forget about them.

Ideas for keeping your preserved items visible

  • • Keep a dry erase board on your fridge for reminders

  • • We read left to right, so orient your “eat by” food dates left to right

  • • Add drawers and label lids

  • • Tiered shelving

Your log might be your pantry itself, where you just have everything labeled very clearly. Or you might want to create a paper log or a digital log. However you track so that you can follow along. You can improve your system for next year so that you can reset your goals.

Let’s do this!

Learning to preserve your own food can be a big project or just a few simple steps–it all depends on your lifestyle! Either way, having a food preservation system in place will simplify your process and turn new skills into lifelong habits.

Share your biggest take-a-ways from your preservation log!

5 Methods to Preserve Vegetables at Home

It’s easier than you think to preserve vegetables at home. 

When it comes to preserving food, many of us think of Granny canning tomatoes late into the night. But there are lots of other options! Whatever kind of experience, space, and tools you have, you can preserve your garden harvests, as well as fruits and vegetables you pick up at your local farmer’s market or grocery store.

Harvesting & Storing for Preservation

To make sure your preserved vegetables are safe, delicious, and packed with nutrients, it starts with how you harvest and store them.

Use the freshest produce possible. Vegetable texture and nutrition begin to degrade within just a few hours of harvest, so going directly from harvest into canning is best. Using the farmer’s market? Make a plan to preserve your haul the day you shop. 

Use fruits and vegetables that do not have blemishes. Use those fresh in salads or cook them up that week. 

Some vegetables like garlic, onions, winter squash, and sweet potatoes need to be cured before storage. But if you harvest and cure them correctly, many can store for months on end. These cold weather staples become hearty winter soup for a reason. If your goal is to grow food for yourself for the entire year, consider adding some of these to your crop plan. 

Dehydrating

Properly dehydrated food is the closest thing to raw in terms of nutrients. 

Dehydrating preserves vegetable enzymes. Enzymes are most susceptible to damage when food is wet, and they can withstand drying temperatures up to 140ºF (60ºC). Once most of the moisture is removed, enzymes become stable and dormant until re-hydrated in your gut or in a recipe.

To dehydrate your veggies, you can use your oven, purchase a food dehydrator appliance, or build your own solar dehydrator (like Tom Bartels uses to preserve his abundance of kale!). There are lots of options based on your budget, space, and DIY skills, so a bit of research will help you find or create a food dehydrating system that fits your needs. 

Tips to preserve vegetables at home by dehydrating:

Air circulation is key! Moving air prohibits microbial growth. Spread your food in a single layer with a little room to “breathe,” and keep that breeze blowing throughout the dehydration process.
Keep it even: Consistently slice your veggies so they dry at the same rate. Remember that edges always dry faster than the center, and note that the back of your dehydrator may become warmer faster. For an even batch, keep an eye on your veggies and rotate them.
Get that moisture out! Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if something is completely dehydrated. When in doubt, put it in an airtight container overnight. If there is fog in the container or the food is softer the next day, either there was humidity in the container to begin with or the food was not totally dehydrated. 

Freezing Vegetables

Almost everything that comes out of your garden can be frozen! Freezing is a quick and accessible way to preserve vegetables at home, even in small amounts. 

There are only five vegetables that don’t like to be frozen: Radish, cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, and celery. They lose their flavor and texture. For every other vegetable, there’s a way to make sure that you retain everything that makes it delicious.

You can chop and directly freeze peppers, onions, and mushrooms. 

Other vegetables require blanching before you freeze them. “Blanching” is just a fancy name for heating your veggies in boiling water for a certain amount of time, then quenching those vegetables in an ice bath for the same amount of time. Blanching times are different for different crops, so look it up before you get started.

Benefits of freezing your veggies: 

• Freezing takes less time than drying, canning, and fermenting.
• You can preserve the texture of that vegetable, as well as the flavor and nutrient profile.
• Chopping and freezing a whole bunch of your harvest all at once can reduce prep for future meals.
• You control the size you cut your veggies and the size of the portion. Create little serving size packets in your freezer so that you just pull out what you need for each meal.
• Did you know you can freeze tomatoes, and they store for at least 3-4 months? Freezing is a fast method to preserve all those tomatoes.
• Freezing involves simple procedures that you can do with household items.

Why you may not want to freeze your harvest: 

• You have to have freezer space and the power to keep the freezer cold. If you have a big family, you might not have enough freezer space to store all that garden harvest.
• If you freeze your vegetables incorrectly, you can actually speed up the loss of texture, flavor, and nutrients and make your food really unappetizing.

Lacto-Fermentation 

Lacto-fermentation happens when friendly bacteria, called lactobacili, convert the natural sugars in your vegetables and fruits into lactic acid. The proliferation of lactobacilli in your fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and the bioavailability of their nutrients.

Which vegetables can you lacto-ferment? Basically all of them. It’s just a matter of taste. The flavor of leafy greens, for example, can become very strong in the fermentation process. “Tougher” vegetables also hold up better through fermentation and storage. The more fibrous the cell wall, the longer they’re going to last. 

You can get started with lacto-fermentation using items you most likely already have in your kitchen, like glass jars. There is special equipment you can purchase that can make your life a little easier, like fermentation crocks, seals for jars, and weights specifically designed for fermentation. 

Benefits of lacto-fermentation: 

• The biggest benefit of lacto-fermentation is for your health. Lacto-fermented foods are not only preserved–-they are nutrient dense, enzyme rich, and chock-full of probiotics.
• Store-bought fermented foods are expensive, so you’re going to save a lot of money fermenting your own.
• Lacto-fermentation is a simple and fast way to process lots of your harvest. A quick wash and chop will get your ferment started, and then it’s just a waiting game.
• Fermentation is a fun science experiment and learning experience for all ages!

Disadvantages of lacto-fermentation:

• Lacto-fermentation is vulnerable to contamination, so it definitely requires monitoring.
• Full fermentation can take up to eight weeks.
• Some people find a disadvantage in that lacto-fermentation requires salt.

Water Bath Canning:

Water bath canning is for highly acidic foods that have a pH of 4.6 or lower. Many unwanted bacteria, including botulism, cannot survive at such a low pH. That list of high-acid foods includes fruits, pickles, sauerkraut, jams, salsas, and hot sauces. Tomatoes are close enough, too, as long as you add a little extra acidity.

There are two types of water bath canning: 

1. Raw packing. Take your raw fruits or vegetables, put them in the jars, and then pour some sort of brine or sugar fluid over the top. The advantage to raw packing is that it’s easy and saves time. The disadvantage is that not as much gets preserved per jar, so you can eat up shelf space quickly. There will be a lot of extra space in each jar, so you’ll need to use a lot of fluid. 

2. Hot packing. With hot packing, you pre-cook a recipe and put that into the jars. This process reduces the air inside of the jar and it improves the quality of the product. It does take a little extra time to pre-cook the recipe, but hot packing maximizes jar space. 

There are three ways to kill off unwanted bacteria in the canning process: heat, sugar, natural acids, or a combination of them. Following your canning recipe closely ensures the food you’re preserving is safe. 

One disadvantage of water bath canning is that it is fairly time consuming to heat up a lot of water and do all the cleaning necessary for the process. If possible, make a day of it, and can a lot of things all at once.   

Pressure Canning: 

For fruits and vegetables that have a pH greater than 4.6, pressure canning utilizes pressurized steam to heat water above its boiling point (212 °F). Low acid foods must be canned at 240 °F or higher and held there for the time specified in the recipe in order to destroy unwanted bacteria.

Pressurized steam creates superheated temperatures, hotter than boiling water. The rest is the same as water bath canning. As the jars cool down, a vacuum is formed, and it seals the food into the jars and prevents any new microorganisms from entering, which could spoil the food.  

There are two types of pressure canners: weighted gauge and dial gauge. If you’re purchasing a new pressure canner, make sure to do your research and find one that fits your needs. Understanding how to use and maintain your pressure canner is crucial for safe canning. 

Pressure canning safety: 

• Wash, rinse, and dry canner to remove all the foreign matter after each use.
• Prevent odors from forming in the canner by thoroughly airing it.
• Store the can in a dry place to prevent rust.
• Do not use your pressure cooker to pressure can. A pressure canner is considered a pressure canner if it holds a minimum of four quart jars. Most pressure cookers cannot. The recipes that are in the USDA guidelines for canning are based on empirical data from things that have been tested. And what’s been tested are pressure canners that hold at least a minimum of four quart jars.
• Don’t add grains, bread, noodles, eggs, thickeners, package mixes, avocado, or coconut milk. 

Some fruits and vegetables don’t can well. Eggplant, celery, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, and zucchini get really mushy, and you’re not going to enjoy the results of pressure canning those vegetables. 

Let’s do this!

Want to learn more about how you can preserve vegetables at home in a way that fits your lifestyle? Check out our Preserve the Harvest course here!

Share your favorite method of preserving your harvest!

Eat the Rainbow: Why Is it Important to Eat a Colorful Variety of Fruits and Vegetables?

Ocean Robbins
Food Revolution Network

Ocean is presenting at the 2022 Superfood Garden Summit airing June 22-25 2022.

He will be sharing about superfoods that are super easy and fun to grow. Be sure to register here:

Ocean Robbins is co-founder & CEO of the 700,000 member Food Revolution Network. He is author of the bestseller, 31-Day Food Revolution: Heal Your Body, Feel Great, and Transform Your World. Ocean founded Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!) at age 16, and directed it for the next 20 years. He has spoken in person to more than 200,000 people, organized online seminars and events reaching more than a million, and facilitated leadership development events for leaders from 65 nations. He has served as adjunct professor for Chapman University, and is a recipient of the national Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service, the Freedom’s Flame Award, the Harmon Wilkinson Award, and many other honors.

SUMMARY

Research has shown that a colorful diet is a great way to boost your health and vitality. But how can you be sure that you’re getting all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs to thrive? In this article, we’ll look at the whole spectrum of rainbow nutrition to show how adding color to your plate could add years to your life (and life to your years!). There’s also a shareable rainbow foods infographic that can help you choose a diversity of colorful fruits and vegetables.

“Eat the rainbow” is a fundamental healthy eating tip. (And no, we don’t mean artificially colored foods like Skittles or M&Ms!)

But what does it mean? Why is it important to get a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet?

You may be tempted to find a few foods you or your kids or family members like and focus on eating those. And it can be easy to fall into routines. But the truth is: Our bodies thrive on variety — a rainbow of nutrients.

In fact, the variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables may be more powerful for your health than any pill.

Eating a diversity of colorful foods can be an easy way to get the complete range of nutrients your body needs to thrive.

Eating the Rainbow Is Important for Everyone — Kids and Adults!

A varied, balanced diet gives your body the nutrition it needs to work properly. And without good nutrition, your body will be more likely to suffer from disease, illness, and poor performance.

Advice to eat the rainbow is often used with kids. And while kids especially need a diversity of foods in their diets, so do adults.

Why Are Fruits and Vegetables Full of so Many Colors?

rainbow food

Each color in fruits and vegetables is created by specific phytonutrients, which are natural compounds that help protect plants from germs, bugs, the sun, and other threats.

And each color indicates an abundance of specific nutrients.

Phytonutrients aren’t essential to keep you alive (unlike vitamins and minerals). But they may help prevent certain lifestyle diseases and keep your body working as it should.

Most Americans Aren’t Getting the Range of Colorful Foods They Need

A 2015 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the CDC states that “the percentage of the adult population meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendation is low. In 2013, 13.1% of respondents met fruit intake recommendations and 8.9% met vegetable recommendations.”

And, according to an older 2009 report about phytonutrients8 out of 10 people in the US are falling short in virtually every color category of phytonutrients.

Based on the report:

• 69% of Americans are falling short in green phytonutrients
• 78% of Americans are falling short in red phytonutrients
• 86% of Americans are falling short in white phytonutrients
• 88% of Americans are falling short in purple and blue phytonutrients
• 79% of Americans are falling short in yellow and orange phytonutrients

Now, let’s take a look at what the color of your food can tell you about its nutrition. And how you can get more of a colorful range of phytonutrients to help your body function at its best. After exploring all the different colors and their corresponding foods and phytochemicals, stick around for a helpful rainbow food chart that you can share or print at home.

Healthy Red Foods Help Fight Cancer, Reduce the Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease, Improve Skin Quality, and More

red foods

Red fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals including lycopene and ellagic acid. These powerful nutrients have been studied for their cancer-fighting effects and other health benefits.

For example, regular consumption of tomatoes and tomato products (like cooked tomatoes and tomato sauce) has been shown to reduce the risk for prostate cancer.  Watermelon is even higher in lycopene than tomatoes, and the lycopene may be more bioavailable, too.

Watermelon is also rich in a phytonutrient called citrulline, which may work as a treatment for mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.

And red vegetables, like beets, have been shown to affect the nitric oxide pathway, helping blood vessels dilate. This improves circulation and helps reduce the risk of heart disease.

Also, strawberries have been found to prevent and even reverse the progression of esophageal cancer. Berries, in general, are rich in bioactive compounds that protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Getting your phytonutrients from whole foods is best. In fact, some studies show that taking phytonutrients, like lycopene and beta-carotene, in supplement form may actually increase the risk of cancer. But consuming these phytonutrients in whole food form, like tomato sauce, may help decrease the risk of cancer.

There’s plenty of evidence that eating an abundance of colorful fruits and vegetables offers protective effects for heart health, and may even help lengthen your lifespan.

Your skin benefits from eating red foods, too. The polyphenols and antioxidants in red fruits and veggies may help prevent skin cancer and offer skin protection against damaging effects from sunlight, excessive inflammation, and wounds.

Examples of Healthy Red Foods to Try

• Red peppers
• Tomatoes
• Strawberries
• Raspberries
• Watermelon
Apples
Cranberries
• Kidney beans
Cherries
• Grapes
• Red onions
Pomegranate
Beets

Yellow and Orange Fruits and Vegetables Improve Immune Function, Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease, Promote Eye Health, and More

orange fruits

Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, including beta-carotene. Some carotenoids, most notably beta-carotene, convert to vitamin A within the body, which helps promote healthy vision and cell growth.

Citrus fruits, like oranges, contain a unique phytonutrient called hesperidin, which helps to increase blood flow. This has important health ramifications. If you tend to get cold hands and feet, eating an orange a day may help to keep your hands and feet warm. Even more importantly, consuming citrus may also reduce your risk of stroke.

Two of the most notable carotenoids in orange and yellow foods are lutein and zeaxanthin. These fat-soluble antioxidants have been heavily studied for their ability to help protect the health of your eyes. In fact, they accumulate in the retina of your eyes, where they help prevent cataracts and diseases like age-related macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness around the world. They also protect your eyes from damage caused by blue light emitted from phone, computer, and television screens.

Examples of Healthy Orange and Yellow Foods to Try

• Oranges
• Grapefruit
Lemons
Mangoes
• Papayas
Carrots
Sweet potatoes
Winter squash (butternut, kabocha, delicata, acorn)
• Yellow summer squash
Corn
• Cantaloupe
• Orange and yellow peppers
• Golden beets
Pineapple
• Peaches
Bananas

Green Fruits and Vegetables Boost the Immune System, Help Detoxify the Body, Restore Energy and Vitality, and More

green foods

Greens are some of the healthiest foods we can eat. Green fruits and vegetables are rich in lutein, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, and vitamin K — which is essential for blood and bone health.

Green vegetables are also rich in folate — a nutrient especially important for pregnant women to consume to help prevent congenital disabilities.

Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage, have been shown to enhance immune function, while dark leafy greens like kale may improve mood.

Research has even shown that eating leafy greens is associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline. One study among 960 participants aged 58–99 years old found that those who consumed at least 1.3 servings per day of leafy greens for nearly five years experienced cognitive improvement likened to being 11 years younger in age, compared to those who consumed fewer greens.

Greens are also a highly bioavailable source of calcium and vitamin K1, which have a positive impact on bone metabolism.

And kiwi fruit has been shown to help alleviate a wide array of maladies, from the common cold to IBS to insomnia, and it may even help repair DNA damage.

Examples of Healthy Green Foods to Try

• Broccoli
• Kale
• Romaine lettuce
Collard greens
Brussels sprouts
Green cabbage
• Green grapes
• Asparagus
Spinach
• Swiss chard
• Arugula
Green beans
Peas
Zucchini
• Kiwi fruit
Avocado
• Green apples
• Edamame

Purple and Blue Fruits and Vegetables May Reduce the Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease, Support Cognition, Decrease Inflammation, and Improve Skin Health

Purple foods

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are rich in anthocyanins and resveratrol and have been studied extensively for their anticancer and antiaging properties.

Studies show that the bioactive phytochemicals in berries work to repair damage from oxidative stress and inflammation.

The anthocyanins in blueberries and red grapes may help reduce the risk for heart disease, cognitive decline, and type 2 diabetes, as well as support healthy weight maintenance and a normal inflammatory response.

Red grapes are also full of polyphenol compounds and antioxidants. One of these is resveratrol, which has been associated with increased nitric oxide production and better heart health outcomes.

And red cabbage, which is really more of a purple color, is one of the best superfood bargains and has the highest level of antioxidants per dollar.

Blue and Purple Fruits and Veggies to Try

• Blueberries
• Blackberries
• Red (purple) grapes
• Red (purple) cabbage
• Plums
• Prunes
• Red (purple) onions
• Eggplant
• Purple potatoes and sweet potatoes
• Purple cauliflower
• Figs
• Raisins

Brown and White Colored Foods Protect Against Certain Cancers, Keep Bones Strong, and Are a Heart-Healthy Choice

mushrooms

Though they aren’t as brightly colored as other foods, white and brown produce are still great healthy choices.

Like broccoli, cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable rich in an anticancer compound called sulforaphane.

Garlic and onions are in the allium family of vegetables and contain the powerful health-promoting compounds allicin and quercetin. Aged garlic has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and anti-allergic effects, even more so than raw garlic.

And phytonutrients in white button mushrooms have been found to inhibit aromatase activity and breast cancer cell proliferation. This common mushroom variety also has antimicrobial activity.

Healthy White and Brown Fruits and Veggies List

Cauliflower
Garlic
• Onions
Mushrooms
Potatoes
• Parsnips
• Daikon radish
Jicama

A Visual List of Phytochemicals

Whew! That’s a lot of colorful foods and nutrients to remember. Luckily, we’ve made it easier than ever to get a healthy dose of antioxidants with this rainbow chart of nutrients. In this nutritional infographic, you’ll see what color foods correspond to what phytochemicals, so you can create beautiful and health-fulfilling rainbow meals.

Color_Chart_Nutrients_Infographic

Tips to Help You Eat the Rainbow Every Day

Tacos

Now you hopefully see why eating a variety of colorful foods is good for your health. But how do you make that happen? Here are some tips you can use when creating your meals:

• Eat a beautiful breakfast. Instead of drab bagels, eggs, or yogurt, start your day with a green smoothie, oatmeal topped with red berries, or a tofu scramble filled with red peppers, mushrooms, carrots, or other colorful veggies.

• Enjoy exciting salads. Large, colorful salads topped with beans and a diverse selection of vegetables are the perfect way to incorporate lots of colorful veggies (and fruits!) into your diet. Eat them for lunch or dinner. And try to have at least one per day.

• Liven up your lunch. Veggie sandwiches and wraps (including lettuce wraps) and soups, stews, and chili can help you get a balanced selection of colorful foods for lunch.

• Make vegetables the main dish. Try new recipes for dishes, such as tempeh vegetable stir-fries, vegetable curries, and Buddha bowls.

• Make a rainbow meal. Try creating a meal that uses every color — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, and brown. (If you have kids, they will love this idea.)

Recipe Ideas to Inspire You to Add Color and Variety to Your Meals

Below are several colorful recipes to help you eat the rainbow. In fact, each one of the recipes below includes at least five colors from the rainbow!

Try the Garden Breakfast Wrap for a nourishing savory meal to start your day. Get a burst of flavor with each bite when you enjoy the Rainbow Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing, which is YUMMY! Let the Quinoa, Bean, and Vegetable Soup (any veggies you have on hand go well here!) comfort and satisfy you. And experience a meal that’s almost too pretty to eat when you make (and eat!) the Thai Peanut Rainbow Noodles. Then blend colorful fruits, veggies, and seeds together to create the beautiful Autumn Sunrise Smoothie (yes, indeed, it looks like a stunning sunrise!). Share your colorful, culinary experience with us!

Garden Breakfast Wrap: One of the beautiful things about this wrap is that you can use any veggies from your fridge or growing from your garden to make it your own. Beginning the day with leafy greens, like kale, collards, or romaine, is the perfect way to jump-start your morning with nutrition. Once you spread the hummus on your green wrap, start adding your favorite veggies — and get ready for some creamy crunch to stimulate your palate and a variety of nutrients to energize your body!

Rainbow Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing: One way to uplevel just about any meal is to add a delicious and nutritious plant-based dressing or sauce. Carrot Ginger Dressing is bursting with flavor while adding healing carotenoids from the carrots, gingerol from the ginger, and prebiotic fiber from the shallots. Not to mention, the dressing is over-the-top scrumptious! Drizzle it over dark leafy greens, like kale, then add all of your favorite colorful veggies like radish, cucumber, beets, and avocado. Or, get creative by using any veggies growing in your backyard or that you need to use from the fridge!

Quinoa, Bean, and Vegetable Soup: Yellow onion, red bell pepper, orange carrots, and green spinach add to the rainbow of colors in this comforting and satisfying soup. If you truly want to fulfill all of the colors of the rainbow then swap out either the kidney or white beans for black beans (which are actually purple!) and add organic blue corn to the veggie mix. If you want to wow your family and friends through a colorful table then serve this soup at your next dinner party!

Thai Peanut Rainbow Noodles: Raw, colorful veggie noodles bring this dish to life. What’s more, it can add vitality to your life when you enjoy its nutrient-dense, health-building ingredients! Enjoy the crunch, savor the flavor, and observe all the beauty that plant-based foods offer.

Autumn Sunrise Smoothie: While this smoothie may not be exactly like a rainbow, it certainly looks like a pretty sunrise! Beets, pomegranate, and blood orange give it a beautiful purple-red hue while pineapple, mango, and carrot give it a stunning orange-yellow hue. Stir in a handful of blended blueberries and leafy greens to see all colors of the rainbow in one tasty smoothie. And, if you do, please snap a photo and share it with us!

How to Learn to Love Vegetables and Fruits

If you grew up eating only a few fruits and vegetables, you might not have developed an appreciation for produce. But don’t worry. You can retrain your taste buds to love broccoli, kale, and beets!

Here’s what you can do for yourself and your kids:

Step 1: Avoid processed food with lots of meat, cheese, salt, sugar, and fat. These foods overstimulate your taste buds and put you into the Pleasure Trap, making fresh fruits and vegetables taste boring in comparison.

Step 2: Try new vegetables and fruits over and over again in different ways. It can take 12–18 tastes to acquire a taste for new food. So, if you once hated arugula or mushrooms, that’s OK. Try again in a different recipe. You might surprise yourself.

Share your family’s favorite fruits and vegetables!

Superfoods to Grow in Your Garden

Why spend a fortune on buying organic superfoods from the supermarket if you can grow them yourself? If you are lucky enough to have a garden in your home, make sure you make use of it and grow nutrient-packed crops that will make a healthy and delicious diet! Gardening is good for the body and mind alike – taking care of your plants has several proven mental health benefits, while eating organic fresh food is great to keep your body healthy. So, if you have the chance to grow your own crops, why not choose the ones that are the most beneficial for your health? That is right – it’s time to grow your own superfoods!

First, let’s take a moment to understand what superfoods are – these foods (mostly fruits and vegetables) have a very high concentration of nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins, making them fantastic health boosters. However, there is no set criteria to determine which foods qualify for this status – the term “superfood” is essentially an umbrella term for the foods that carry the most health benefits when consumed as part of an otherwise healthy diet. And what else is healthier than homegrown crops? Plus, you can be sure that your food hasn’t been treated with pesticides, biocides or other harmful chemicals. And the good news is, you can grow a good amount of these superfoods even if you are short on space – as some of them can thrive in pots and containers, without the need for a dedicated spot in your garden.

So what are you waiting for? With the help of this infographic, you can decide which superfoods suit your gardening skills the most, so all you need to do is get planting! 

The difficulty levels are indicators of how much time and effort is needed to keep the crops thriving, as well as how sensitive they are to certain weather conditions. Some plants, like peas and zucchini, are more forgiving and can grow even in lower-quality soil. However, plants like blueberry bushes are extremely sensitive to the type of soil they are planted in – blueberries require well-drained and acidic soil in order to produce healthy fruit. Some of these plants need to be protected during the winter (lemons and fig trees need shelter from the frost), while others don’t tolerate the heat. It is advised to research your preferred plant thoroughly, so you can be prepared for the possible problems and the ways to solve them.

Don’t forget – anyone can become a gardener, so don’t let the difficulty levels discourage you from attempting to grow a higher-maintenance crop – just make sure you have done your research and are willing to spend time in your garden. Good luck and happy planting!

Guest Article by: Dóra Pista

Dora Pista is a blogger and hobby gardener, with a passion for healthy eating and cooking. She created the infographic above to help beginner gardeners start their journey into superfood growing.

Find Dora on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

Share with us the Superfoods you love to grow!

[Recipe] Pizza Sandwiches!

Curiosity in the kitchen is a fun way to connect with kids and inspire their creativity! Join your favorite young person in the kitchen and start creating!

This fun recipe is both a really tasty treat and a fun experience to share with the whole family. It’s quite simple to prepare, so it’s a great meal to create with family and friends of all ages. In fact, this sandwich is inspired by the first dinner I ever remember making when I was probably six or seven years old, and it has stuck with me long enough to write this for you!

Preparation & Cook Time: Around 30-35 minutes
Yield: Serves 3-4 people

Ingredients:

• Sourdough Baguette
• Pizza Sauce (*Some suggestions for store-bought options are in the notes below)
• Pizza Toppings of your choosing!

• Pepperoni or other cured meats, sweet peppers, parmesan cheese, and basil is a great combination for those who consume meat!
• Sweet and/or hot peppers, basil, parmesan cheese, and tofu or mushrooms is a great meat-free combination for this dish!
• For a vegan combination, my suggestion is sweet and/or hot peppers, basil, and tofu tossed with olive oil, black pepper, and a dash of salt! Plus nutritional yeast, if you would like.

• Olive Oil, 1 Tablespoon
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste (fresh-cracked)

Steps of Preparation:

1. Start by preheating your oven to 350°F – 400°F (or 176°C – 204°C°C°C).

2. Cut the baguette lengthwise into three roughly equal pieces. Cut each of these sections in half like you would for an open faced sandwich.

3. Pour the olive oil onto a plate, and wipe the oil up with the halves of bread until they each have a glaze of oil. Add more oil as you go if necessary. Oil helps toast the bread as it bakes in the oven, but also allows you to toast the inside of your bread in a pan before loading it with toppings if you want extra crunch!

4. We are now ready to load our toppings! Start with the pizza sauce and finish with the cheese, salt, and black pepper. I suggest layering softer herbs like basil under other ingredients that need more cooking, such as sweet peppers, or even adding your soft herbs after the cooking is finished.

5. Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil. Arrange your sandwich halves on the sheet tray with space between each of them.

6. Move this sheet tray to the oven to bake until nice and toasty! Bake for roughly 10-20 minutes based on the ingredients used and your preference for char.

7. Once they are as roasted as you’d like, use an oven mitt to remove the sheet tray from the oven. Set the tray on a heat-safe surface such as the cooking range or a trivet.

8. Next, you can add any seasonings you like. A few examples to choose from include chili flakes, balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, extra virgin olive oil, barbecue sauce, or whatever you like with your pizza!

9. Put the two halves back together, and enjoy your sandwich!

Notes:

• Recommended store-bought brands of pizza sauce:

• Most store bought-brands of pizza sauce will be great for your pizza sandwiches. Explore the options and find your favorite!

• Of course, organic tomato sauces generally will both be better in flavor and nourishment and also come with a slightly higher price point.

• Check your local farmers market!

• Making your own is quite straightforward. I recommend it for the height of tomato season!

• It is also an option to simply slightly cook down spaghetti sauce for a tasty and convenient pizza sauce for those who already have that on hand.

Attention all gardeners! We have a BRAND NEW Kids Micro Course available!

Five reasons to check out the BRAND NEW Micro Course for Kids:

🍅 Introduce veggies to even the pickiest palates
🌽 Build movement skills that will help kids gain strength and confidence
🥕 Help kids get ahead in school–plant knowledge is part of Next Generation Science Standards!
💖 Strengthen your bond with them by sharing what you love
🌍 Develop kids’ respect for the natural world…and help create a better future for our planet