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FEBRUARY 2011 E-NEWS theproducelady.org What’s In Season? Apples, Arugula, Beets, Carrots, Green Onions, Leafy Greens, Peanuts, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Winter Squash MATTERS OF THE HEART February is the month of love. Sweet treats, often in the shape of a heart, are available in abundance in honor of St. Valentine’s Day. Before you overindulge, or tempt your sweetheart with sugary treats, consider this: more than one in three American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. A healthy lifestyle, including a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, is one of the keys to reducing your risk for heart disease. With an average daily consumption of less than two servings of fruits and one to two servings of vegetables, there is plenty of room for improvement. This year, show your loved ones how much you care – skip the candy hearts in favor of a healthier option. Fruit paired with healthier dark chocolate is one alternative to less healthy milk chocolate and other candies. Join the Mailing List! The Produce Lady newsletter is distributed monthly! Sign up at www.theproducelady.org. keep it fresh Follow these general storage tips for long-lasting fresh produce: • Chill. Lower the storage temperature to 40 to 45 degrees F. • Cull. Remove damaged or overripe fruits and vegetables. • Curb moisture. Wash produce prior to consuming, not prior to storing. • Consume. Eat it up or preserve it by canning, freezing or dehydrating. The mild winters in most of North Carolina don’t bring garden- ing to a halt, but the variety and availability of fresh produce diminishes through the winter months. More farmers are utilizing protected growing environments such as greenhouses and high tunnels to extend their growing season, so be on the lookout for local products, but recognize that they may carry a premium price. Preserving produce (freezing or canning) when it is in sea- son is the most economical option for winter variety. By February, you may be tiring of the root crops and greens that make up the bulk of “fresh” winter produce. Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, whether home preserved or store bought, are good options when fresh is not available. Be careful to choose products with no added sugar, syrup, cream sauces or other ingredients that will compromise the nutritional value. Consider the cooking technique to further preserve the nutritional advantages. For example, minimize the use of salt and butter, choosing herbs and spices, instead. Opt for steaming rather than The Produce Basket Smart Choices for Winter Produce

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FEBrUArY 2011 E-NEws

theproducelady.org

what’s In season?Apples, Arugula, Beets, Carrots,

Green Onions, Leafy Greens, Peanuts, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard,

Winter Squash

Matters of the heart

February is the month of love. Sweet treats, often in the shape of a heart, are available in abundance in honor of St. Valentine’s Day. Before you overindulge, or tempt your sweetheart with sugary treats, consider this: more than one in three American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. A healthy lifestyle, including a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, is one of the keys to reducing your risk for heart disease. With an average daily consumption of less than two servings of fruits and one to two servings of vegetables, there is plenty of room for improvement. This year, show your loved ones how much you care – skip the candy hearts in favor of a healthier option. Fruit paired with healthier dark chocolate is one alternative to less healthy milk chocolate and other candies.

Join the Mailing List!The Produce Lady newsletter

is distributed monthly! Sign up at www.theproducelady.org.

keep it freshFollow these general storage tips for long-lasting fresh produce:• Chill. Lower the storage temperature to 40 to 45 degrees F.• Cull. Remove damaged or overripe fruits and vegetables.• Curb moisture. Wash produce prior to consuming, not prior to storing.• Consume. Eat it up or preserve it by canning, freezing or dehydrating.

The mild winters in most of North Carolina don’t bring garden-ing to a halt, but the variety and availability of fresh produce diminishes through the winter months. More farmers are utilizing protected growing environments such as greenhouses and high tunnels to extend their growing season, so be on the lookout for local products, but recognize that they may carry a premium price. Preserving produce (freezing or canning) when it is in sea-son is the most economical option for winter variety.

By February, you may be tiring of the root crops and greens that make up the bulk of “fresh” winter produce. Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, whether home preserved or store bought, are good options when fresh is not available. Be careful to choose products with no added sugar, syrup, cream sauces or other ingredients that will compromise the nutritional value. Consider the cooking technique to further preserve the nutritional advantages. For example, minimize the use of salt and butter, choosing herbs and spices, instead. Opt for steaming rather than

The Produce Basket

Smart Choices for Winter Produce

The ProduCe Lady Team

Co-directors Leah Chester-Davis, [email protected] Brenda Sutton (The Produce Lady), [email protected]

WritersMegan Bame and Justin Moore

Videographer/EditorKen Ellzey

The Produce Lady is a program of N.C. MarketReady, an N.C. Cooperative Extension program located at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis. We are part of the N.C. State University Plants for Human Health Institute. Special thanks to the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission for their funding support. 2/11

frying for fewer calories. Rather than drinking fruit juices, eat whole fruit for added fiber.

While fresh produce in season provides peak flavor and good value, research shows that frozen and canned fruits and veg-etables, without added salt or sugar, provide the same essential nutrients and health benefits as fresh. Ultimately, any fruits and vegetables are better than no fruits and vegetables.

GOOD TASTE

Vegetable soup1 tbsp. vegetable oil1/2 cup chopped onion 2 cloves garlic, minced1 16-oz. can tomatoes in juice, chopped 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth1 cup sliced carrots 1 cup sliced celery1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped1 tsp. basil, crushed1/4 tsp. salt1/8 tsp. pepper1/2 cup water1 cup frozen lima beansIn a medium stockpot over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic to hot oil, cooking about three minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes with juice, chicken broth, carrots, celery, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover. Simmer 20 minutes. Add water and lima beans; return to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Serves 6.From: Give Your Heart a Healthy Beat

EATING FOR HEART HEALTH

Reducing fats, cholesterol and calories are important to improv-ing heart health. There are several ways to do this: avoid high fat foods, consume a smaller portion size or modify recipes. While the first two approaches are straightforward, modifying recipes requires further insight. First, you can assess the purpose of the ingredient. Is it a topping that can be left off? Next, you might reduce the amount of certain ingredients. For example, use six tablespoons of butter instead of eight tablespoons. Finally, look for low-fat or no-fat substitutions (skim milk instead of whole milk). Keep your cholesterol in check by increasing the fiber in your diet. Fiber, which helps move cholesterol out of your sys-tem, is found only in plant foods – fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. In some cases, limiting sodium, or salt, can reduce an elevated blood pressure. Fresh fruits and vegetables have very little sodium, so plan your meals around fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, milk and unprocessed meats.

Explore the online guide, Give your heart a healthy Beat, a free

13-week course in healthful living.www.ces.ncsu.edu/hhb

Did You Know?Adults need seven to 13 cups of fruits and vegetables daily to reap all the health benefits. Eat them fresh, frozen, diced, sliced, steamed or raw.