Practical, healthful eating and living.

Fresh Strawberries May 11, 2013

sliced strawberriesStrawberries are in season and the bright red berries have been greeting me at every grocery store the last few weeks. Sometimes I’ll go through a container right away, but most of the time I’d rather have just a couple as a quick snack, or one or two sliced over my breakfast oatmeal.

Strawberries tend to spoil quickly. Here are some tips to help them last 3-4 days.

1. If the weather is generally cool; below 70 degrees, don’t refrigerate. Just let them sit in the container they came in on your counter, but keep them out of sunlight.

Serving suggestion:

  • Slice a few over a fresh spinach salad. Use a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Complementary ingredients: sliced boiled eggs, walnuts, sliced red onion, sliced mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, dried cranberries or raisins, feta, Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles.Strawberries in bowl

2. If the weather is warm; over 70 degrees for most of the day, then I recommend slicing and adding a little sugar. The sugar helps preserve the berries. You don’t need a lot –only about a tablespoon or two for a pint of berries. It depends on how sweet you like them. Be sure to use a glass or ceramic bowl (metal may alter the berries’ flavor). Mix well, then cover the dish and store in the fridge.

Serving suggestions:

  • Mix into plain yogurt topped with granola.
  • Spoon over hot or cold cereal.
  • Top a scoop of frozen yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
  • Top fresh pancakes.

3. Freezing is also an option. Again, slice and sugar the berries. Use a freezer-friendly container, but not metal. Cover and freeze. When defrosted, the berries may be a little softer, but will have lots of flavor.

Serving suggestions:

  • Blend into smoothies, yogurt or into home-made ice cream mix.
  • Mix into hot cereal.
  • Top fresh pancakes.


February Favorites January 28, 2011

Salt on the roads.  Salty stews. I can’t take it anymore! By the looks of the searches bringing readers here, it seems I am not alone.

This week, my favorite foods were fresh avocado, fresh ruby-red grapefruit, and frozen mango chucks from Trader Joe’s.

Sweet relief.  They are restoring.  The avocado I ate straight out of the shell, although it would be perfect on a salad of Romaine lettuce, grapefruit sections, red onion, feta cheese and balsamic dressing.  To the grapefruit I added honey and warmed it in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  Alternately, you could put it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes.

The mango? Heavenly.  Briefly thawed with the help of a microwave, then topped with plain, whole-fat yogurt, it made my day.  When fresh produce looks like it could be better, don’t hesitate to go with frozen.  The flash freezing techniques in use today keep berries, mangoes and vegetables nutrient rich.   They are a great shortcut when you want to maximize flavor yet get food without additives.


A Treasure Trove of Shortcuts January 22, 2011

I am all about fresh AND easy.  The freezer is my friend.  Check out these “secret ingredient” freezer shortcuts from Edward Schneider’s column and accompanying comments in The New York Times.  A few I’d like to try:

  • Onions, tomatoes and garlic cooked down into a paste.  Freeze in small containers and use as a base for paella.
  • Home-made pesto frozen into ice cube trays.  Thaw and toss with pasta.
  • Chopped garlic and ginger frozen together.  Use as a base for stir fry.

Grandma’s Cucumber Salad July 12, 2009

Filed under: Easy food prep,Recipes,What I'm eating now — beansandyoga @ 11:33 am
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Cucumbers 7_09My grandma used to make this almost every day.  We never tired of it.  I think her secret was in using ultra-fresh ingredients.  She had a marvelous vegetable garden, and once you’ve had produce that’s been picked only moments before it’s been served, you are forever changed.  I credit this with giving me a sense of what is and isn’t good produce.  It trained my body to know.

Splurge and make this with organic cucumbers.  It’s completely worth it.  Organic dairy makes a huge difference, too.


1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon dillweed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large cucumber sliced.  Up to you whether it’s peeled or not.

1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings, or about 2 tablespoons of green onion, sliced thin.

Gently mix all the ingredients but the cucumber and onion.  Pour over the cucumber and onion.  Refrigerate 20 minutes before serving.  Stores in fridge for about a day.