TIT EATING on the WILD SIDE THE MISSING LINK T O O P T I M U M H E A LT H i JO ROBINSON Lit tle, Brown and Company New York B os t on L ondonRobinson_design 1.indd 2-3 1/7/13 11:20 AM
FMH CO NTE NTS TOC_FMH Wild Nutrients—Lost and Found TOC_PN/PT PA R T O N E : V EG E TA B LE S chapter 1: From Wild Greens to Iceberg Lettuce 0 TOC_CN chapter 2: Alliums—All Things to All Good People 0 chapter 3: Corn on the Cob—How Supersweet It Is! 00 chapter 4: Potatoes—From Wild to Fries 00 chapter 5: The Other Root Crops—Carrots, Beets, and Sweet Potatoes 00 chapter 6: Tomatoes—Bringing Back Their Flavor and Nutrients 00 chapter 7: The Incredible Crucifers—Tame Their Bitterness and Reap the Rewards 000 chapter 8: Legumes—Beans, Peas, and Lentils 000 chapter 9: Artichokes, Asparagus, and Avocados —Indulge! 000 PA R T T WO : FR U IT S chapter 10: Apples—From Potent Medicine to Mild- Mannered Clones 000Robinson_design 1.indd 6-7 1/7/13 11:20 AM
CN Introduction CT WILD N UTRIENTS CST Lost and Found % W here do our fruits and vegetables come from? Not from the supermarket, of course. That’s just where they are sold. Nor do they come from large commercial farms, local farms, or even our backyard gardens. That’s where they are planted, tended, COTX and harvested. The fruits and vegetables themselves came from wild plants that grow in widely separated areas around the globe. Most of our blueberries came from wild “swamp huckleberries” that are native to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. The wild ancestor of our beefsteak tomato is a berry-sized fruit that grows on the flanks of the Andes Mountains. Our hefty orange carrots came from a wild plant with purple roots that grows in Afghanistan. When our long-ago ancestors invented farming 10,000 or so years ago, they began altering these and other wild plants to make them more productive, easier to grow and harvest, and more pleasing to their palates. To date, 400 generations of farmers have played a role in redesigning native plants. The combined changes are so monumental that our present-day fruits and vegetables seem like modern creations. Consider the banana, our most popular fruit. The wild ancestor of the banana grows in Malaysia and parts of Southeast Asia. The bananas come in a multitude of shapes, colors, and sizes. Most of them are chock full of large, hard seeds. Their skins are so firmly attached that you have to cut them off with a knife. Take a bite of the dry, astringent flesh and you’d wonder why you went to the trouble. Over several thousand years, we clever humans have 11Robinson_design 1.indd 10-11 1/7/13 11:20 AM
14 | JO ROBINSONTX etables available today, along with advice on how to identify them and where you can find them. I have gleaned this information from more than 1,000 research journals published in the U.S. and abroad. These discoveries are so new and come from such a multitude of scientific disciplines that few of the varietal names have become public knowl- PN edge until now. PA R T I You will find many highly nutritious varieties in a conventional supermarket. Still more are available in farmers markets, farm stands, natural food stores, and ethnic markets. When you buy your produce V E GE TA BLE S PT directly from a farmer, you get to enjoy fresh-picked flavor as well as added health benefits. The most uncommon varieties of produce must be grown from seed. This is no hardship if you are one of the nation’s 35 million home gardeners. Growing the most delectable and nutritious fruits and vegetables in your own backyard or nearby com- munity garden is the wave of the future. Next you will learn new ways to store, prepare, and cook the fruits and vegetables to enhance their flavor and retain or increase their health benefits. Most of the new techniques are simple and easy to remember. Each chapter concludes with a summary to help you recall key points. The information in this book is useful to anyone who eats fruits and vegetables. Whether you are an omnivore, vegetarian, or vegan, you will discover new ways to make your diet more flavorful and nu- tritious. If you’re on a specific regimen to lose weight, control al- lergies, or curb inflammation, choosing the varieties recommended in this book will further your goals. If you cook for young children, insert ill. #1 picky eaters, an older person with a flagging appetite, or people who swear by fast food or meat and potatoes, you will learn how to make “stealth” substitutions that will improve their chances of enjoying ro- bust good health. Finally, if you or someone you know is struggling with a serious condition or disease, eating on the wild side will swell your medicine chest with new plant-based remedies. Hippocrates’ famous saying— ”Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”—will be more than inspirational words; they will become your daily reality. Robinson_design 1.indd 14-15 1/7/13 11:20 AM
CN Chapter 1 2-LINE CT FROM WILD GREENS TO ICEB ERG LET TUCE T oday, we can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables twelve months of the year. When they are out of season in one region of the country, they are shipped in from another or imported from as far COTX away as Chile or China. This seamless supply allows us to forget the seasonal cycle of plants and their brief harvest seasons. We can buy fresh greens in December, apples in April, and grapes all-year round. The people who first inhabited this land did not have this luxury. During the winter months, hunter-gatherers had to make do with their caches of dried meat, fish, roots, fruit, and herbs. When spring finally arrived, they were hungry for fresh food. Even then, however, their choices were limited. The wild berry bushes and fruit trees had yet to blossom. The roots of the Camas lilies, wild carrots, onions, and ground nuts were too small to be harvested. The wild grasses andRobinson_design 1.indd 16-17 1/7/13 11:20 AM
214 | JO ROBINSON E AT I N G O N T H E W I L D S I D E | 2 1 5 TX H1 When you harvest cherries or bring them home from the store, refrigerate them right away. Place them in a sealed plastic bag that PLUMS AND PRUNES TX1 you have pricked with 20 pin holes to allow a slow exchange of gas. The wild Indian plum (Osmaronia cerasiformis) grows west of the Cas- Store the fruit in the produce bin of your refrigerator and eat as soon cade Mountains from Northern California to British Columbia. The as possible. fruit is remarkably sweet but it is so small that it is more stone than fruit. Native Americans gathered the plums despite their small size BOX_T because of their high sugar content. The Tolowa Tribe of Northern It Doesn’t Get Any Fresher Than This! California gathered large quantities of the fruit, but they had one com- plaint. The trees bloomed in February, which raised their hopes of an Lord Ludovica Sforza, the Duke of Milan from 1489-1508, is early feast, but the plums don’t ripen until summer, long after other BOX best known for commissioning The Last Supper, Leonardo da fruits had been harvested. The Tolowa considered this false advertis- Vinci’s world-famous painting. ing. Their name for wild plum trees is “the tree that lies.” Although Sforza’s taste in art is renowned, few know The Indian plum and all other wild plums are highly nutritious. about his love of great food. The Duke ordered the creation of The Australian “Kakadu” plum has more vitamin C than any other extensive fruit and vegetable gardens in the area surrounding food analyzed to date—3,000 milligrams per serving, which is fifty his Milan castle. The gardens were so productive that they times more than the same amount of oranges. It has five times more supplied much of the fresh produce for the castle and nearby antioxidants than blueberries. households. H2 The fruit that was served to Sforza and his intimates, Shopping for Plums in the Supermarket TX1 however, came from a more rarified source. The Duke had a Our modern varieties of plums cannot match the phytonutrient con- private garden of fruit trees and bushes that was planted in tent of wild plums, but some varieties are very nutritious. Red, pur- large wheeled carts. When the Duke wanted to eat some fruit, ple, blue, or black-skinned plums are your best choices. Some of these his moveable feast was brought to his private chamber or the deeply pigmented fruits have even more antioxidant activity than red dining table so he could reach out and pluck a perfect specimen cabbage, spinach, onions, or leeks. Plums with yellow, rose, or green from a living plant. skins are less nutritious due to their lower anthocyanin content. Chronicle of America, A New History for a New World, Volume XII, by Plums, like all stone fruits, are vulnerable to chilling injury. YouBOX_EXT Fernandez de Oviedo (1478-1557) can avoid this problem by buying ripe plums. Press them between your palms and they will give a slight amount. If you wait until July to buy them, the plums are likely to be riper and more flavorful. For U.S. cherries have three times more pesticides than imported the best quality fruit, buy tree-ripened fruit from local orchards or cherries, according to data from the FDA and the Environmental Pro- farmers markets. tection As many as sixteen different pesticides have been found on a When shopping in farmers markets or buying a plum tree for your single batch of U.S. fruit. In a recent year, only 2 percent of imported yard, look for the recommended varieties on page . “Beltsville cherries had more than one pesticide. Buy organic cherries to reduce Elite,” “Cacek Best, “French Damson,” “Italian Prune,” and “Stanley” your exposure to these noxious chemicals. are among the most nutritious. Robinson_design 1.indd 214-215 1/7/13 11:20 AM
208 | JO ROBINSON E AT I N G O N T H E W I L D S I D E | 2 0 9H3 5. Extra-virgin olive oil is one of the best oils to use in a salad i Sautéed LeeksN¶ dressing. Fat-free dressings limit your absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins 2-LINE RT in salad greens. Extra-virgin olive oil is an excellent oil to use because it makes the nutrients in the greens more bioavailable. Unfiltered ex- with Mustard and Cumin tra-virgin olive oil is even better because it has more antioxidants and will stay fresh longer. prep time: 10 to 15 minutes RHN 6. Tame the bold flavors of bitter greens. cook time: 10 minutes Many of the healthiest salad vegetables are high in beneficial but total time: 20 to 25 minutes Yield: 2 cups RY bitter-tasting phytonutrients. If you are extra-sensitive to bitterness, mix small amounts of bitter greens with milder tasting lettuce. Add 2 medium-sized leeks avocados or dried or fresh fruit. A honey-mustard salad dressing fur- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil RIL ther masks the bitterness. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 2 tablespoons prepared mustard 1 teaspoon honey H1 LEEKS Chop off the roots of the leeks. Chop off the tops, leaving RDTX1 Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum) are tall, mild-flavored alliums three inches of the dark green leaves. Cut the leeks into quarters with one slender bulb. They look like scallions on growth hormones. lengthwise, then rinse well to remove any dirt. Beginning at Despite their mild flavor, they are rich in beneficial phytonutrients. the stem end, slice the leeks crosswise into ¼ -inch slices; slice The nutrients are most concentrated in the leaves and the green por- the green leaves into narrower, 1/8th-inch slices. tions of the stalk, parts that most people discard. To use the greens in Put the oil, cumin seeds, and the green portions of the leeks a stir fry or other sautéed dish, cut them into one-eighth-inch slices into a medium-sized frying pan. Sauté on medium to low heat and sauté for a few minutes before adding the rest of the leek. Unlike for two minutes, then add the white portions and cook for onions and garlic, leeks lose most of their antioxidant benefits after another 8 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the mustard and honey spending just a few days in your refrigerator. Cook them as soon as and sauté on low for another two minutes. Serve hot or cold. you buy or harvest them. Many people don’t know what to do with leeks once they get them home. Apart from one classic dish—leek and potato soup—they draw ÿŸ a blank. The following quick and easy recipe provides a tasty alterna- tive. You can serve the sautéed leeks as a side dish, add them to soups and pot roasts, or pile them on sandwiches or hamburgers. Use them in omelets, frittatas, poultry stuffing, or serve over fish, beef, pork, poultry, or lamb. I make a large quantity and freeze some in pint-size freezer bags to have them on hand. Robinson_design 1.indd 208-209 1/7/13 11:20 AM
V E G E TA B L E S T O M AT O E S FA R M E R S M A R K E T S , S P EC I A LT Y M A R K E TS , C A N TA LO U P E COMMENTS IN THE GARDENTSH A N D S E E D C ATA LO G S VA R I E T I E S TCHTCG A sweet, small French heirloom 75-90 days. Can be direct sown WAT E R M E LO N COMMENTS IN THE GARDEN heirloom dark orange flesh. with very with very dark 75-90 days. Can be direct sown in warm climates when soil VA R I E T I E S “Charentais” orange flesh. Great flavor. Great flavor. Not available in in warm climates when soil temperatures reach 70 degrees. TAB 90 days from transplanting 90 days from transplanting Not markets because of its mostavailable in most markets temperatures reach 70 degrees. to maturity. Zones 5-9. to maturity. Zones 5-9. because fragility. of its fragility. Very large (up to 30 pounds), Watermelons require aalong, hot- Watermelons require long, Firm, dark orange flesh. Extra- 90 days. Does better in cooler 90 days. Does better in coolerTAB seeded, heirloom variety that “Durango” “Dixie Lee” growing season to mature and hot-growing season to mature high in beta-carotene. conditions than some varieties. conditions than some varieties. has more lycopene than most to develop the best flavor. Look and to develop the best flavor. old-fashioned melons. 90-100 days. Zones 4-11. Does 90-100 days. Zones 4-11. Does for seeds in catalogs featuring Look for seeds in catalogs An heirloom cantaloupe with heirlooms varieties.. varieties. featuring heirlooms “Orange Bleinham” best in warm to hot growing best in warm to hot growing deep orange flesh. conditions conditions. Small, round, seedless 90 days from transplanting to watermelon with dark red maturity. Sweet, firm, and crisp flesh. 90-95 days. Mid-season variety. 90-95 days. Mid-season variety. flesh. 6-7 pounds. The skin 90 days from transplanting to High in beta-carotene, but F1 Hybrid. F1 Hybrid. “Extazy” “Oro Rico” “Oro Rico” has light stripes on a dark maturity. not as high as Durango. A green background. Highest in California standby. lycopene in a recent review. VA R I E T I E S O F COMMENTS IN THE GARDEN A round, dark-red, seedless 98 days from transplanting. HONEYDEW watermelon with dark green F1 hybrid. A vigorous vine with “Lycosweet” 98 days from transplanting. skin. 6-7 pounds. Developed to Hybrid honeydew with the good yield potential. Does well in be high in lycopene. “Honey Gold” dark orange flesh color. humid, southern conditions and 85 days from transplanting. 85 days from transplanting. hot, dry conditions in the West. A seedless hybrid melon. Zones 5-9. F1 hybrid. (See Zones 5-9. F1 hybrid. (See Sweet, distinct flavor. 6-pound 105 days. 9-11 pounds. Dark-green skin general comments above.) general comments above.) melons. Darker flesh than “Millennium” without stripes and dark red “Orange Dew” Needs aaseeded pollinator. Seeds Needs seeded pollinator. Orange Delight and slightly flesh. Higher in lycopene than are available from large seed Seeds are available from large higher in beta-carotene. Dixie Lee. companies. seed companies. Not as sweet as Orange Dew 100 days. A small, round, seedless 85 days. Needs a seeded “Orange Delight” nor as high in beta-carotene. watermelon about 7 inches in pollinator. diameter. Indistinct stripes on 85 days. Needs a seeded “Mohican” a medium-green background. pollinator. High in lycopene. Noted for its excellent flavor and tender flesh. Large, great-flavored, dark-red 80-90 days. Does not need a melon with seeds. Can reach pollinator. 30 pounds. Light-green skin “Summer Flavor #710” with darker-green stripes. Second highest in lycopene of the recommended varieties. 218 219
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