• 03Nov

    Today’s post was contributed by Alissa Palladino, RD, LD.

    fall eats fruits header

    Don’t fret the disappearance of Georgia peaches– there are still plenty of delicious fruits to enjoy this fall!

    Pears: High in fiber and vitamin C, many varieties of pears are in season in the fall. For traditional pears, keep them in a paper bag at room temp to ripen, then store in the fridge. Consume when slightly soft for best flavor. For Asian pears, select a fragrant fruit without blemishes or brown spots, and note they are ready to eat when purchased and will not soften like other pears. Store for 1 week at room temp or up to 3 months in the fridge. Pears are delicious sliced with cheese, chopped into salads, baked into desserts, or enjoyed raw.

    Apples: An apple a day may indeed help keep the doctor away! High in fiber, apples contain a phytochemical called quercetin, which has been linked to a range of potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. As fruits go, apples are pretty convenient– they can be kept at room temp or in the fridge, can last for weeks after purchase, and travel well, making them a great on-the-go snack! Pair apple slices with your favorite nut butter or cheese for a perfect afternoon snack; sprinkle with cinnamon, oats, and honey and bake for a healthy dessert reminiscent of apple pie; chop and add to oatmeal, salad or stuffing for a boost of flavor and nutrition. Or just bite into one whole!

    Pomegranates: These gems take a bit of work to extract, but it’s worth it! High in fiber, vitamins C and K, potassium, folate and copper, pomegranate seeds pack a nutritional punch. They are also a rich source of flavonoids, which help protect your heart, boost your memory and prevent diseases such as cancer. For less mess, try cutting the fruit in quarters and placing it in a large bowl of water to remove the seeds. Choose plump, round, heavy fruit and store in a cool, dry area for up to 1 month, or 2 months in the fridge. Juicy and crunchy at the same time, pomegranate seeds are a delicious addition to Greek yogurt or as salad topping. (See below for recipe.)

    Cranberries: A good source of vitamin C and fiber, cranberries are available dried all year long, but can be found – and enjoyed – fresh in the fall! Choose firm cranberries and keep in the fridge for up to 2 months, or freeze for later use. Skip the canned version and make fresh cranberry sauce and enjoy with roast turkey for a Thanksgiving inspired sandwich all season long! (See recipe below.) Add fresh cranberries to your favorite baked apple recipe for a burst of tart flavor and color. Dried cranberries are super versatile – great for making your own trail mix, adding to salads, and in grain salads.

    pomegranatePomegranate Protein Parfait
    Ingredients:
    • ½ cup Pomegranate seeds
    • 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
    • 2 tbs. dark chocolate chips
    Directions:
    • Extract seeds from pomegranate
    • Layer half the yogurt, half the pomegranate seeds and half the chocolate chips in a tall, clear glass.
    • Repeat layers. Enjoy!

    cranberry sauceHealthy Homemade Cranberry Sauce*
    Ingredients:
    • 3 cups fresh cranberries
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
    • 1 tsp orange zest
    • ½ cup honey, maple syrup or your choice of sweetener
    Directions:
    • Combine cranberries, water, cinnamon, and orange zest in a pot.
    • Add sweetener
    • Cook over medium-high heat until most of the liquid is gone (about 30-45 minutes), stirring more frequently towards the end.
    • Allow to cool and enjoy!

    *Recipe from the gracious pantry

  • 21Nov

    Wondering what to do with pears this season?   If you are trying to eat seasonally, pears are a great choice now!

    Growing up in Ohio, I never ate fresh pears.  They were always canned, gritty and pretty flavorless.  I never understood why anyone would like them.  Canned pears rank about as low as canned asparagus in my book.  If you’ve ever had canned asparagus, you know what I mean.

    Then I was introduced to fresh pears…

    As is often the situation, a fresh, seasonal pear is entirely different from a pear half in a can.  If you have never tried one, give it a shot now while they are in season.  Here’s what to try:

    Anjou Pears are the second-most recognizable pear in the US.  This egg-shaped pear is the most plentiful variety, which means you’ll find Anjou pears in the US during most of the year.  There are two varieties – red and green.

    Bartlett Pears are the most common variety in the US.  Bartletts can be yellow or red and have a true pear shape – wide at the bottom, narrow at the top.

    Bosc Pears have a brown skin and are considered a more elegant pear.  They are more firm and dense than other pears and despite what you may think, their brown skin is edible!

    No matter which pear variety you enjoy most, make sure they are ripe for the best flavor and texture!

    According to the Pear Bureau Northwest, you can use the Check the Neck for Ripeness™ daily by gently pressing your thumb near the stem end of the pear. When it gives slightly, the pear is ripe.

    Why “Check the Neck?”  Pears ripen from the inside out and the neck is the narrowest part of the pear.  If you wait until the bottom half becomes soft, the pear will be over-ripe.  When that happens, you won’t want to eat the pear raw, but it could make a great addition to a fruit smoothie or other recipe.

    Ashley and I made poached pears for our recent cooking demo at the Cancer Support Community Atlanta.  Check out her recipe below for a healthy dessert!

    1 vanilla bean

    6 firm pears such as Bosc or Barlett

    1.5 cups of low fat vanilla yogurt

    1/2 cup chopped walnuts

    6 cups water

    3 cups sugar

    2 cinnamon sticks

    Zest of 1 lemon

    Combine the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and add both the seeds and the pod to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Peel the pears. Reduce the poaching liquid to a simmer and add the pears. Cook until      tender (the tip of a knife will go through the flesh of a pear with just a little resistance), about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the pears in the poaching liquid, until completely cooled, about 45 minutes. Serve the pears with some vanilla yogurt topped with walnuts and a little pear-poaching liquid.