Monday, March 17, 2014

Selecting Vegetables and Fruit with Chef Joe

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? Sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the goal of this month-long campaign is to educate consumers on the importance of nutrition and making informed food choices daily.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore.

Did you know that dark chocolate, before it has been sweetened and processed is actually good for you? It is filled with iron, magnesium and fiber. Furthermore, it is loaded with antioxidants that can improve your mood and make you happy.

A glass of red wine is also filled with antioxidants that make you feel good, and pink grapefruit and apples are not only delicious, but great for your overall health.

Meritus Health also does its part to promote healthy eating. Though it is not quite spring, spring is right around the corner, and this is a great time to talk about the Farmers’ Market.

Since 2009, a weekly Farmer’s Market has been held at the Atrium of Meritus Medical Center. The Farmer’s Market operates every Tuesday, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., beginning on the Tuesday following Mother’s Day through December 20th. There are usually five to six vendors present, selling everything from fruits and vegetables to baked goods, and on occasion, seafood. This is an opportunity for Meritus Health employees and the community to purchase fresh, local produce and support local farmers.

In the above video, Joe Fleischman, head chef at Meritus Medical Center, gives tips on selecting fruits and vegetables- not just at the Farmer’s Market, but also at the grocery store. Chef Joe gives the following tips for produce:

Selecting tomatoes:

There are three types:
  • Globe
    • For slicing and sandwiches
  • Grape or Cherry
    • For salad use
  • Roma 
    • For sauces ,soups, and stews
Check for the following:
1. Skin is smooth and free of blemishes.

2. Tomato is bright red.

3. Stems are embedded into the tomato.

4. Heavy for its size.

Selecting melons:
1. Flip the melon and look for the side that is yellowish in color, compared to the rest of the melon that is green.

2. Flip the melon, turn it around, place the green part of the melon next to your ear, and tap the yellow spot.

3. If you hear the sound resonate from one side of the melon to the other side, then the melon is ripe and ready for use.

4. If you hear a dull “thud” and the sound does not resonate, then the melon is not ready for use.

Selecting cantaloupe:
1. Look for the end where the stem was connected to the melon. At this point, the stem will be removed. If the area is recessed into the melon, or has a dent, then the melon is ripe. If the area sticks out, the stem was forcibly removed and the melon is not ripe.

2. Cantaloupe should be “creamish” in color.

Selecting vine vegetables:
1. Be sure the vegetables are smooth and free of blemishes.

2. Make sure that the vegetables are heavy for their size.

3. Eggplant should be deep purplish or blackish color.

4. Make sure that the stem that connects to the fruit is bright green.

5. Small amount of discoloration on the stem is okay, a large amount of discoloration may indicate that it was picked a while before you are actually buying the fruit or vegetable.

By: Mark Russ

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