Arizona is blessed with an abundance of date palms, and its fruit often goes to waste. Dates are easily digestible, single pit fruits that taste almost of molasses or brown sugar. If you’re looking for fiber, potassium, or copper, look no further than dates. They contain a lot of dietary fiber and are an excellent substitute for sugar such as in smoothies. Dates are a fancy addition to your favorite pizza or cheese board. They can also be stuffed with sausage, cheese, or almond butter for a sweet and savory appetizer.
2. Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs not only add flavor and color to dishes, they are also extremely healthy. Herbs contain vitamins and minerals, as well as disease-protecting flavonoids. Add minced basil to soups and stir-fries, add parley to grain salads and rice pilafs, and add rosemary to stuffing and gravy. Herbs are especially easy to grow in containers near a window so you always have them fresh on hand.
Of all the vegetables, squash may be the most versatile with as many unique and different varieties it has. Different varieties of squash have the ability to improve the quality of your sight, boost skin health, strengthen the immune system, prevent cancer, manage symptoms of diabetes, build strong bones, protect heart health, prevent inflammatory conditions, and reduces blood pressure. Experiment roasting, sauteing, steaming, and grilling different summer and winter squashes. Squash also makes a surprisingly good addition to your favorite veggie lasagna.
One green chile contains as much Vitamin C as six oranges! Chiles are also great for digestion and may help prevent stomach ulcers and cancer. Chili peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic pungence, producing mild to intense spice when eaten. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. Add chiles to fresh pickled onions and cucumbers, to soups and salad dressings, and to roasted broccoli and garlic with a splash of lemon.
Pomegranates have been enjoyed for thousands of years and are a symbol of hope and abundance in many cultures. Arizona has several of its own species special to this region including the beautiful white pomegranate. In addition to high amounts of vitamins A and C, pomegranates contain three types of antioxidant polyphenols that help neutralize free radicals. Toss pomegranate seeds on roasted brussels sprouts, your favorite salad, or on oatmeal topped with nuts, seeds, and yogurt.
2016 is the International Year of Pulses with the goal to spread awareness about the important benefits of beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas and other pulses as primary sources of protein. In addition, pulses are abundant in fiber and essential nutrients, making them a healthy addition to your diet. Experiment with heirloom varieties to add texture and flavor to salads, soups, and curries.