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Food Literacy Blog

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Food Literacy Blog

Article Erika Nunley

5 Easy Ways to Feel Good This Holiday Season

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Giving during the holidays is a tradition that feels good for everyone! According to recent studies, when you give to an organization like Food Literacy Center, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up as if you were the recipient of the good deed - you feel happier, healthier, and more connected to others!

Because we know you feel good when you support Food Literacy Center, we’ve provided Five ways to support our mission this holiday season! 

Recipe Bella Karragiannidis of Ful-filled
Roasted Red Pepper Sweet Potato Soup

Roasted Red Pepper Sweet Potato Soup
with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Food Literacy Hero
Food Literacy Hero - Diane Flores

Diana Flores
Food Literacy Hero

Recipe Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella
Cherry Tomato Barley Salad

Cherry Tomato Barley Salad

Post

2017 Veggie of the Year!
dragonfruit drum roll, please.....

Last week, local elementary students in food literacy class tasted and voted on the 2017 Veggie of the Year.

The fifth annual Veggie of the Year Competition began on September 13 when the public voted for their favorites.

Last week, the top five semi-finalists were brought into the elementary classroom at 5 local schools, where a team of local restaurant chefs & culinary students presented the veggies to students to taste and vote.

The ballots have been cast, and the kids have voted for…

Article Erika Nunley
Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids

5 Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids

Coming up with healthy breakfast ideas doesn’t have to be complicated. When you’re thinking about what to make, consider what you might enjoy – and your kid will probably like it too. To help you get started, here are five healthy breakfast recipes your kids will love to make with you.

Kid story
Food Literacy Students, Matthew & Pear

Food Literacy Students – Then & Now

This is the story of our work: kids building the habit of eating vegetables, so that as they grow older, adults don’t have to nudge them to do it. It’s something they do because they enjoy it! 

Recipe Food Literacy Center
Chili Lime Street Corn

Chile Lime Street Corn

Article
One way to reduce food waste is to cook with drought-tolerant foods - like cactus! Photo by Amber Stott

4 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

Nearly 40% of the food in the United States goes to waste, which costs Americans $161.6 billion annually (about $640 per individual).

Many of us want to do something to help, but how? Here are a few easy tips for reducing waste in your home. 

Recipe Beth Lee
Israeli Chopped Salad

Israeli Chopped Salad

Form

2017 Veggie of the Year
Voting starts Sept 13!

Unfortunately, you cannot participate in this poll, because your browser is not enabled for Javascript and/or cookies.
Recipe Annelies Zijderveld

Nopales Scramble

Recipe Food Literacy Center

Vegetable Spring Rolls & Sun Butter Dipping Sauce

Recipe Food Literacy Center

Soba Noodle Salad and Dressing

Recipe

Brussels Sprout Salad

Recipe By: Erin Alderson

Sunflower Butter Yogurt Dip

Recipe By: Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver’s Squash it Sandwich

Recipe

Rainbow Soup

Recipe By: Sabrina Modelle

Ginger & Tamarind Glazed Carrots

Recipe

Locro de Papas

Recipe Tess Masters

Grapefruit-Fennel Fix Smoothie

Recipe By: Erin Alderson

Baked Sweet Potato and Black Bean Taquitos

Recipe Tess Masters

Pomegranate Slam it! Smoothie

Recipe

Green Gazpacho

Recipe

Hanoi Grilled Chicken

Recipe

Citrus Mint Water

Recipe By: Jillena Hernandez

Egg in the Nest: French Toast in a Bread Hole

Recipe By: Eat Well, Live Free

Celery Root and Hazelnut Soup

Article

Kids Recipe Contest Features the Veggie of the Year — Sweet Potato

The kids have voted and we’ve just crowned the 2013 Veggie of the Year – the nutritous and delicious sweet potato! This root vegetable will be the star of our Kids Recipe Contest that will run until Sept 30.

Recipe By: Joanne Neft

Prawn and Mandarin Stir Fry Recipe

Article Annelies Zijderveld
Removing thorns from nopales

Food Genius: Removing Thorns from Nopales

Have you ever tried nopales? We like them so much at Food Literacy Center that they were voted our 2016-2017 Veggie of the Year! They’re an ingredient staple in Mexico and are eaten in salads, with shrimp or in a Cactus and Corn Salsa that we love to eat with corn chips. Also known as cactus paddles, there’s one prickly point you have to first overcome before you can eat them. You don’t have to be a Food Genius to remove thorns from nopales, but you will feel like one after learning how easy it is to de-thorn the nopales yourself.

Article Mitchel Davis

Summer of Food Literacy
Join us - it'll be peachy!

School may be out for summer, but like arugula, food literacy is in season year-round!  Whether you crave the outdoors, or prefer the air-conditioned cool of Sacramento’s various libraries, Food Literacy Center has something for you.  Join us―it’ll be peachy!

Article Mitchel Davis

Food Literacy & the Importance of the First Bite

Within the last six months, students at several Sacramento schools have noticed a few changes. Namely, that their favorite Food Geniuses from after-school began showing up at lunch and recess, offering bites of tasty produce. This can mean only one thing: it’s FEAST tasting thyme!

Article Melissa A. Granville

Food Literacy Center Celebrates 5 Years of Inspiring Kids to Eat their Veggies!

This week marks our last week of food literacy class for the 2016-2017 school year – and a mango monumental year it has been.

Food Literacy Hero

Ashlei Hurst
Food Literacy Hero

Article

Six Things You Didn’t Know About Nopales – Like What They Are

No-what? You may be more familiar with the term cacti than nopales, but this succulent plant is flourishing as a tasty, inventive ingredient in kitchens from coast-to-coast. Nopales are versatile, healthy and can be easily paired with many different dishes.

Photos

2017 Sacramento Food Film Festival Sustainable Event Photos
April 4, 2017

Photos courtesy of Amy Nicole Photography

Photos

2017 Sacramento Food Film Festival Premiere Event Photos
April 1, 2017

Photos courtesy of Amy Nicole Photography. 

Article Amber K. Stott

The Rhubarb Revolution is Here.
Kids are a brutally honest audience.

On January 18, 2012, 120 kids watched anxiously. Dressed in a colorful apron, I waved carrots, broccoli, grapefruits and other produce eagerly in front of them as I explained the difference between fruits and vegetables. We were starting a rhubarb revolution.

Article Cindy Yang

There and Back Again

I was an 11-year-old Hmong kid living in South Sacramento when college became real for me. I remember how students from UC Davis and Sac State came to the school I was attending — Susan B. Anthony Elementary School. They encouraged us to go to college and gave us awesome swag! I took that message to heart. I wanted to go to college, achieve big stuff, and become an example for my family and for my community.

Photos

Students Learn Knife Skills in Food Literacy Class

In class this week, food literacy students learned how to use a knife while making a Black Eyed Pea salad! Look at that tomatillo technique!

Food Literacy Hero

Danielle Nierenberg
Food Literacy Hero

Article Ana Marie Aguas

Cooking with Kids!
10 Things Kids Can Do in the Kitchen

There’s something particularly special about cooking with kids.  Kids that help in the kitchen learn the “how” and “why” their meals are prepared.  For them it’s fascinating, engaging and above all, a lot of fun! Also, kids are more likely to eat veggies when they prepare them.

Here are our top 10 Kid-friendly kitchen duties to get your culinary protégé acting as your new sous chef.

Food Literacy Hero

Amanda Ryan
Food Literacy Hero

Surrounded by good food, good friends and an amazing attitude towards life and health, Amanda Ryan lives and breathes food literacy at work and at home.

Article

Upcoming July Events

We are doing tomato toe-touches of joy for all of the fun community events we have in store for the month of July. Mark your calendars!

Recipe

Memorial Day Recipes
5 recipes to make your Memorial Day delicious

Whether you are having a picnic or hosting a party in your backyard, celebrate Memorial Day weekend with one (or all) of these healthy and delicious recipes! 

Food Wiki

Apriums
The Lesser Known Stone Fruit

Apriums are a stone fruit similar to plums, apricots and peaches. With the exterior appearance of an apricot, apriums have an orange, juicy flesh and a slight fuzzy exterior. They taste like a sweet apricot that contains a hint of plum. At the farmers market or grocery store, look for apriums that are firm with a little give and have a fragrant aroma.

Article

Leataata Floyd celebrates first year of food literacy

Food Literacy Center’s first year at Leataata Floyd Elementary School, sponsored by Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, has come to a cauliflower close for summer break. During the past 13 weeks the kids became food adventurers, cooking new recipes and tasting new fruits and vegetables like kumquats and rainbow chard. 

Kid story

Mario’s Story

Favorite part of the program: “Trying new food. I’ve been very brave!”

Kid story

Katie’s Story

Food Literacy Superhero: Katie

Age: 10

Grade: 5th

Years in food literacy class: 3

Favorite part of program:
“Trying things I haven’t tried before and seeing if we like it.”

Kid story

Angela’s Story

“I’ve been taking the recipes home. My whole family makes them for other families. I include the food literacy recipes because they inspire me, and I want others to have a healthy life.”

Article Matthew J. Blackburn

Food & Film Pairings—Growing the Food Movement Through Food Film Festivals

Since the beginning of the century, an influx of food-focused films have been cooked up by film producers, creating a food-conscious public movement around food issues similar to that of Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book “The Jungle” about Chicago’s meatpacking industry, which eventually led to the establishment of the Food and Drug Administration.

Recipe

5 Recipes for a Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home

“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” —Alan D. Wolfelt

What better way to show the ones you love how much they mean to you on Valentine’s Day than with a home cooked meal. 

Article

Community’s Generosity Sets Record for Holiday Produce Drive
Happy Kids Go Home with 30 pieces of Produce for the Holidays

Carrot Cartwheels! With the help of Sacramento area residents, we raised 7,200 fresh fruits and vegetables to send students home with the recommended daily serving of fruits & vegetables during the long holiday break.

Food Literacy Hero

Evonne Fisher
Food Literacy Hero

We can’t successfully teach food literacy without the unwavering support of wonderful parents. We’d like to shine a strawberry spotlight on Food Literacy Supermom Evonne Fisher who has gone above and beyond in ensuring her aptly-nicknamed daughter, Pear, gets the best food literacy experience.

Kid story

Marisol’s Story

Marisol is in 5th grade taking her third year of food literacy classes. Before she started the program, she ate a lot of fast food.

“I didn’t eat soup or salad,” she tells us. “But now, it’s my favorite to try things I’ve never tried before.”

Article

Food Literacy Center Awarded Farm-to-School Grant
Amber K. Stott

We’re pomegranate proud to announce that Food Literacy Center has been awarded a highly competitive and prestigious federal Farm-to-School Grant! 

Video
Building Broccoli Habits

Building Broccoli Habits

Post

One Book Sacramento a Shishito Pepper Success!

From chefs and farmers to librarians and business leaders, the room was filled with people committed to changing our local food system and creating a healthier community for our kids. The enthusiasm for this work was palpable by the joyful energy.

Video
Food Literacy Month

Food Literacy Month

Recipe Hana Lee

5 Recipes for Father’s Day

Celebrate Dad and kick-off your summer with these seasonal and delicious recipes. Fire up the grill, gather your veggies, and ask Dad to step away from the grill! 

Post

Food Literacy Fun for the Kids This Weekend

Looking for something to do this weekend with the whole family?

Food Literacy Center has you covered! From community gatherings to kids’ activities to cooking classes, there is something for everyone.

Food Wiki

Daikon Radish

Food Wiki

Peaches

Food Literacy Hero

Greg Berger
Food Literacy Hero

May’s Food Literacy Hero, Gregory (Greg) Berger combines his passion for design and good food in a seamless and brilliant way.

Video
Food Literacy Center New Logo

Food Literacy Center New Logo

Find out what the vegetables think of our new name and logo. 

Food Literacy Hero

Mark Casale
Food Literacy Hero

This month’s Food Literacy Hero is Mark Casale, Executive Chef of Dos Coyotes Border Cafe. 

Video
Food Literacy Program

Food Literacy Program

We believe that good food should be fun! We focus on the positive side of food, sharing practical, affordable, and approachable ways to eat well, rather than harping on what foods people should avoid or eliminate. We aim to engage rather than frighten.

Recipe

Green Tea Granola

Makes 2 quarts

I serve these with lychee chunks, crisp Asian pear, and labneh, with a wake-up grating of fresh ginger to pull it all together. You can make your own labneh, or use store-bought (my favorite brand is Karoun), or Greek yogurt instead.

Post

Sacramento Food Film Festival 2015 – A Celery Success!

This Sunday marked the finale of the 2015 Sacramento Food Film Festival, a 10-day celebration of food and films.

Post

Announcing the 2015 Short Film Contest Winners

 Sacramento Food Film Festival Announces Winners of 2015 Short Film Contest

SACRAMENTO — March 10, 2015 — A wonderful range of food and agricultural stories win top marks in the Sacramento Food Film Festival’s first annual Short Film Contest. All under 10 minutes, the winning films showcased our food system’s joy and desire for healthy food and lasting change.

Recipe By: Sabrina Modelle

Roasted Romanesco

Recipe

OPB Rosemary Brewers Grain Crackers

When brewers make beer, they’re left with massive amounts of leftover “spent” grain. Craft breweries all over the country have devised innovative ways to prevent their spent grain from going to waste – Oak Park Brewing Co. is no exception. Known for their zero-waste approach to brewing, Oak Park Brewing Company uses the spent brewer’s barley, wheat, corn and rye in cooking, composting, and as animal feed.

Food Literacy Hero

Catherine Enfield
Food Literacy Hero

Our Food Literacy Hero for March has been a champion and advocate for food education in Sacramento for years! Catherine Enfield founded the Sacramento Food Film Festival in 2011, and since then it has featured enlightening food documentaries, kids’ movies and food dramas, all paired with amazing food served by local restaurants. She also named Food Literacy Center as the beneficiary of the film festival and has been such a strong advocate for us since our inception.

Recipe Amber Stott

Green Kale Smoothie

Recipe By: Girasole Creation

Forbidden Rice Casserole

Food Wiki

Romanesco

Romanesco is one of the most far out and edible flowers. It is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family that was originated in Italy. Superficially, it is a fractal of buds structurally similar to cauliflower but with a green hue.

When eaten raw it is crunchy, but the texture can be altered by sautéing, roasting, or to retain the most nutrients, steaming them to your liking. The taste, however, is much like cauliflower but considerably lighter and more nutty. It is commonly eaten alongside meat, starches, and even in salads.

Recipe By: Chef Kurt Spataro

Baked Pasta with Winter Squash, Greens & Gruyere

Recipe

Endive Salad with Blue Cheese, Pears and Walnuts

Enjoy this tasty salad in the winter time when endive is in season!

Food Literacy Hero

Payam Fardanesh
Food Literacy Hero

Jumping jujubes! We are delighted to name Payam Fardanesh this month’s Food Literacy Hero. Payam is the founder of Silk Road Soda and a Food Literacy Genius from our inaugural class. He not only volunteers his time teaching kids about fruits and vegetables, he’s also hosting a very special fundraising dinner, Silk Road Persian Night at Formoli’s for Food Literacy Center on Feb 2 at 6 p.m.

Recipe

Hearty Banana-Carrot Muffin Recipe

Whip up a batch of these muffins for a wholesome breakfast or treat that is packed full of fiber and vitamins! With whole-wheat flour and lots of shredded carrots, they’re hearty and filling. To top it off, they have a lightly sweet flavor which will make these muffins an instant favorite in your house.

Recipe By: Elaine Baker

Rhubarb, Strawberry & Raspberry Cobbler

Recipe

Ginger & Tamarind Glazed Carrots

This week’s recipe highlights the Veggie of the Year – Carrot – and is packed full of beta carotene! The crunchy and sweet carrot and the tangy tamarind are a tasty combination. For a healthy and colorful twist – use multi-color rainbow carrots for a wide range of antioxidants.

Recipe

Locro de Papas

This creamy soup is simple and inexpensive to make, filling to eat. It’s a staple soup in Ecuador. A silky potato base is studded with freshly ground black pepper, the pop of fresh corn kernels and garnished with velvety avocado bites and crumbled cotija cheese.

Ingredients

Food Literacy Hero

Jamie Oliver, Alice Waters, & Ann Cooper
Food Literacy Heroes

Citrus cartwheels! We are excited to present January’s Food Literacy Heroes: Jamie Oliver, Ann Cooper and Alice Waters.

Recipe By: Alexander Fitchener

Winter Fruit Salad

Recipe

Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

Food Literacy Hero

Jillena Hernández
Food Literacy Hero

Jumping jujubes! We’re excited to bestow a long overdue Food Literacy Hero recognition to someone who has worked tirelessly with us for years, our very own president, Jillena Hernández.

Recipe By: Alexander Kathol

Veggie Pancakes

Article Matthew Blackburn

Cooking is Fastest Method to Teach Kids to Love Fruits and Vegetables

Amidst a bombardment of TV ads that convince kids to crave calorie dense and nutritionally deficient foods, it can be challenging to raise healthy eaters.

What’s the fastest method to teach kids to love their fruits and vegetables? Gardening? Shopping the farmers market?

Recipe By: GiraSole Creation

White Bean Salad

Recipe

Strawberry Salad

Food Wiki

Dry Farming

Dry farming seems like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Especially given California’s current looming drought, one would think that dry farming was a problem and not a productive strategy of yielding the desired harvest.

Dry farming is done successfully contingent on the soil’s ability to retain the moisture it does receive, even if it’s not very much. Essentially nature will determine which crops are sustainable in a particular environment. The soil should be manipulated when it is at its peak of moistness, and sealed with a layer of dry soil to prevent evaporation. 

Food Wiki

Rhubarb

When you think of rhubarb, is the first thing that comes to mind rhubarb pie?

Rhubarb is best grown in cool climates of the Northern United States and Canada. Rhubarb season is from April to September. However, the crop should not be harvested within the first year because the stems will not be strong enough. Once ready, rhubarb resembles celery with a reddish-purple coloring. 

Recipe

Bean Dip

Food Wiki
Photo courtesy of SimplyRecipes.com

Asparagus

Do you remember being a kid, and only eating the head of the asparagus leaving the stem to roll around your plate? Or maybe you still do that now.

Recipe

Chilaquiles Casserole Recipe

Happy Cesar Chavez Day!

Food Wiki
Local Food Procurement

Local Food Procurement

You may make an effort to satisfy a healthy diet by buying produce locally, but what about the businesses and institutions we frequent?

Imagine the impact if our schools, hospitals, and restaurants adopted the practice of purchasing produce locally. Local food economies would have large scale support, food would be fresher, and this practice can improve the environment.

Recipe By: Heather Teoh

Malaysian Spice Paste (Rempah) Recipe

Food Wiki

What is uni?

Uni is sushi made with meat harvested from sea urchins. Now, if you Google a picture o f a sea urchin, it may not strike you as something edible. But in fact, it is considered a delicacy.

Food Wiki

What is an Endive?

Let’s start with the pronunciation: on- deeve. Actually, if “n-dive” is the pronunciation you had in mind you’re not completely off the mark. An endive (n-dive) is the leafy, lettuce-resembling crop that is related to endive (on-deeve). But they aren’t the same plant.

Recipe

Tres Hermanas Salsa

Food Wiki

Three Sisters Planting Technique

This planting technique is ingenious! Developed by Native Americans, this technique allows maize, squash, and beans to be planted with strategic proximity to support one another’s growth.

Recipe

Healthy Breakfast Burrito

Food Wiki

Limes

Limes are small, round citrus fruits that are green to yellow in color. Its evergreen tree is in the Rue family which also includes lemons, oranges and kumquats. 

Food Wiki

Fennel

Fennel is a vegetable with a white or pale green bulb topped with feathery green leaves. Belonging to the Umbellifereae family, it is closely related to carrots, parsley and coriander. It’s available year-round but is freshest from fall through early spring.

Recipe Amber K. Stott
Persimmon Pomegranate Salsa

Persimmon Pomegranate Salsa

Food Wiki

Rosemary

Originally from the Mediterranean region, rosemary is an evergreen herb that is available fresh year-round. Known for its unique pine-like flavor, it’s used extensively in Italian, French and Spanish cuisines.

Rosemary grows on a shrub that belongs to the Labiatae family which also includes mint. It grows throughout temperate regions in Europe and America, and many home gardeners have a ready supply of rosemary in their backyards.

Recipe By: Jillena Hernandez

Cuban yam, black bean & garlic rice stack with mojo

Food Wiki
Photo by Heather Teoh

Longan

Logans are small, round fruits with a soft shell and a juicy center that are native to southern China, India, Burma and Ceylon. The logan tree is a member of the Soapberry Family and its fruit is a close cousin of the lychee and the rambutan.

Food Wiki

Cranberries

One of the few fruits native to North America, the cranberry was used extensively by Native Americans as food, medicine and natural dye long before the arrival of the Pilgrims. It was called different names by different tribes and it wasn’t until the arrival of the Dutch and German settlers that the name “crane berry” was introduced. They named it so because the vine blossoms of the cranberry plant resembles the neck, head and bill of a crane, and the name evolved to what we know today as “cranberry.”

Recipe By: Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord, Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

Pumpkin Stuffed with Fontina, Italian Sausage, and Macaroni Recipe

Food Wiki
Photo by Heather Teoh

Artichoke

Native to the Mediterranean, artichokes are technically plants even though we consider them vegetables. The edible part of the plant is the flower bud and stem which is harvested prior to blooming.

The largest global producer of artichokes is Italy, while in the United States, California produces 100% of artichoke crop. One plant can produce more than 20 artichokes a year, harvesting in Spring and again in the Fall.

Recipe By: Jillena Hernandez

Roasted Cauliflower & Tomato Salad with Feta

Food Wiki

Kabocha Squash

Winter squash is in season and the farmers’ market is awash in a large variety of squash in many sizes, shapes and colors. One such variety is kabocha squash, also known as the Japanese pumpkin. They typically have bumpy green skins with orange spots but there also are orange and yellow varieties as well.

Recipe Amber K. Stott
Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Food Wiki

Feijoa

Feijoa is a fruit from an evergreen, perennial shrub that’s grown as an ornamental tree. The fruit resembles a pear or guava, with a skin that’s dull green in color and rough in texture. Its juicy flesh is divided into a clear gelatinous seed pulp and a firmer opaque flesh. Each fruit has about 20 to 30 small seeds.

The fruit is native to southern Brazil, northern Argentina, western Paraguay and Uruguay where it grows wild in the mountains. Feijoa is nicknamed pineapple guava, Brazilian guava, fig guava, guavasteen in Hawaii and New Zealand banana.

Recipe By: Pat Harbison, Harbison Wines

Slow baked Salmon with Red Wine and Honey

Food Wiki

Olives

One of the oldest foods in the world, olives originated in Crete, an island in Greece, and were being grown there as far back as 2,500 B.C. From Crete, the fruit spread to Greece, Rome and other parts of the Mediterranean. Today, olives are commercially grown in California, Australia and South Africa.

Food Wiki

Turnips

A member of the cabbage family, turnips are a root vegetable that is creamy white with a beautiful purple, red or green hue on the upper area where it has been exposed to sunlight.

Before potatoes were cultivated, turnips were one of the main sources of nourishment for the English peasantry in the Middle Ages. Grown in temperate climates, turnips thrive in cold, damp conditions.

Food Wiki
Photo by Heather Teoh

Pomegranates

The pomegranate is an incredibly healthy fruit with a deep red leathery skin encompassing juicy edible red seeds wrapped in a spongy white membrane. The red seeds are called arils and they are actually juice sacs with one seed in each sac.

Recipe By: Madelene Silva-Sciortino

Love Shishkebab

Food Wiki

Kumquat

Affectionately known as “the little gems of the citrus family,” the kumquat is native to China and its name means “gold orange” in Chinese. Shaped like a small oval orange, the kumquat is seen as a lucky symbol for Lunar New Year symbolizing gold and wealth. Families will decorate their house with kumquat trees to invite luck into the home.

Kumquats have been growing in North America, particularly in California, Florida and Texas, since the mid-19th Century.

Food Wiki

Beets

Food Wiki

Eggplant

Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, and it’s related to the potato and tomato. Often mistaken for a vegetable, eggplant is actually a fruit, and to be more precise, it’s a berry.

It’s typically large and dark purple, but eggplants come in a variety of sizes (from two to 12 inches), oblong and round shapes, and white, green and purple colors. The name “eggplant” came from how the first varieties of the fruit were actually egg-shaped. It’s known as aubergine in France, and brinjal in India, Malaysia, Singapore, the West Indies and South Africa.

Recipe By: Pastry Chef Laurel Malchor

Apple Spice Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Food Wiki

Jujubes

Jujubes, also known as Chinese dates, are a round or oval-shaped fruit with a thin edible skin, white flesh and a seed pod. They vary in size from that of a cherry to a plum.

Jujubes originated in southern China and there are now more than 400 varieties of the fruit. They grow especially well in Southern California during its hot summers. The jujube tree grows easily and does not need much maintenance other than occasional deep watering. It can withstand cold and drought, and can produce a lot of fruits.

Recipe By: Chef Kurt Spataro, Cafe Bernardo

Gazpacho Recipe

Food Wiki
Photo by Pat Soberanis

Garlic

Garlic, also known as the stinking rose, is a part of the lily, or alium family, of which the onion is also a part of. Originally from Central Asia, the garlic plant spread across the world as food, flavoring and medicine in ancient times. Garlic was introduced to the New World by Spanish, Portuguese and French explorers.

Recipe By: Executive Chef Kurt Spataro, Cafe Bernardo

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad Recipe

Food Wiki
Photo by Heather Teoh

Okra

Okra is an annual vegetable that grows in warm seasons and come from the same family as hibiscus, rose of Sharon and hollyhock.  It’s also known as gumbo, which is the Swahili word for okra, and as lady’s finger in other English-speaking countries.

Okra originated in the Abyssinian center of origin of cultivated plants which covers Ethiopia, the mountainous areas of Eritrea and eastern Sudan.

Food Wiki

Cactus Pads

Recipe By: Executive Chef Kurt Spataro, Cafe Bernardo

Watermelon & Cherry Tomato Salad

Food Wiki

Plums

Sweet, delectable and juicy, plums are relatives of the peach, almond and nectarine. There are more than 2,000 varieties of prunes from six general categories—American, Damson, Japanese, Ornamental, Wild and European. More than 100 varieties of plums are available in the United States.

Recipe

Berry Muffins Recipe

Food Wiki

Chard

Food Wiki
Photo by Heather Teoh

Star Anise

Star anise is the star-shaped fruit of a small evergreen plant, scientifically named Illicium verum, that is native to southwest China. It is a dark brown pod that contains a pea-sized seeds in each segment and has a slightly bitter licorice flavor.

Recipe By: Eat Well, Live Free

Polenta, Cannellini Beans and Spinach Stack

Food Wiki
Photo by Heather Teoh

Lotus Root

Lotus root is the edible rhizome (the subterranean stem) of the lotus plant, a perennial aquatic plant that grows beautiful pink-hued or white flowers.

Native to Asia, Australia, New Guinea and parts of the Middle east, lotus plants grow in the mud of shallow ponds, marshes, lagoons, and flooded fields. Lotus roots are harvested from the beginning of August until fall. The traditional farming method consists of farmers feeling for the rhizome using their toes and then digging them out with their hands. Almost every part of the lotus plant is edible.

Recipe By: Whole Foods Market

Greens with Carrots, Feta Cheese and Brown Rice

Food Wiki

Pluot

A pluot is a hybrid stone fruit that is 3/4 plum and 1/4 apricot, bearing the best qualities of both fruits. It was developed by a California fruit breeder named Floyd Zaiger of Zaiger Genetics in 1989. Instead of genetic modification, he painstakingly created the original pluot by hand pollination – under extreme temperature control, he transferred pollen from one fruit to the next with tweezers.

Recipe By: Whole Foods Market

Banana Nice Cream Recipe

Food Wiki

Purslane

Purslane is a broad-leaved weed that is also an edible plant. Native to India and Persia, this edible weed grows worldwide and is a popular vegetable in China, Greece and Mexico.  It has plump luscious leaves and stems with yellow flowers, and can grow just about anywhere in various soil conditions from fertile to arid soil.

Food Wiki

New Zealand Spinach

New Zealand spinach is a summer vegetable that’s also used as edible landscaping for borders and beds because of its attractive appearance.

It was first grown and consumed by the Maori in New Zealand, but popularized by Captain Cook who used the nutritious vegetable on his journeys to fight scurvy.  It’s native to New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Chile, and Japan, and flourishes in sunny California in summer months. New Zealand spinach is also known as everbearing spinach, everlasting spinach, perpetual spinach, Cook’s cabbage, and tetragon.

Recipe By: Jillena Hernandez

Lentil Salad

Food Wiki
Photo by Heather Teoh

Mangosteen

Known affectionately as the “queen of fruits,” the mangosteen is native to Southeast Asia and bears fruits the same time as the “king of fruits,” the durian. It has a round purple, woody shell that, when carefully squeezed open, will reveal segments of white juicy and sweet flesh. Be careful when opening the mangosteen. The juice of the skin can stain your clothes for good!

Food Wiki

Tayberries

Tayberries were first grown at the Scottish Horticultural Research Institute in 1980 by Derek Jennings who crossed the Aurora blackberry with a European raspberry. He named the berries after Scotland’s River Tay. They range in color from red to purple, with the purple ones being the ripest and sweetest. Tayberries have the seeds and juice of a blackberry but the shape and color of a raspberry.

Recipe By: Heather Teoh

Homemade Pasta Recipe

Food Wiki
Photo by Heather Teoh

Rambutan

A close relative of the lychee, the rambutan is a tropical fruit that’s sweet, juicy and nutritious.

Recipe By: Jillena Hernandez

Fiery Chinese Green Beans

Food Wiki

Lambsquarters

Lambsquarters is a hardy edible weed that grows wild in summer throughout California and other cities in the U.S. and Canada. It grows near streams and rivers, and in gardens and forest clearings. Its diamond-shaped leaves are light green on top and whitish underneath, and has a unique feature of dusty looking leaves.

It has a mineral-rich and earthy flavor, similar to chard, and can be enjoyed in salads or added to juices and smoothies. Lambsquarters can be steamed, sauteed, or added to soups as well. The leaves can be blanched and frozen to be enjoyed in winter.

Food Literacy Hero

Ronit Ridberg
Food Literacy Hero

This month’s Food Literacy Hero, Ronit Ridberg, has been contributing to the food literacy cause for years through her documentary work, academic research and currently as a food systems consultant and Market Director at Azoti, a partner of California Food Literacy Center. Our Food Literacy Advocates join Azoti on CSA (community supported agriculture) delivery days, giving patrons tips about how to cook and eat the vegetables in their box. Azoti also invites us to teach cooking demos and nutrition classes at the businesses participating in the CSA program.

Recipe Kurt Spataro

Corn Tacos

Food Wiki

Dulse

Dulse is an edible red or purple algae that grows wild along the shorelines of the Atlantic coast of Canada, Norway, and Ireland. The months of June through September are prime harvesting months for dulse.

Harvested as food for thousands of years, dulse is considered a superfood because it’s rich in iodine, potassium, fiber, micronutrients and phytochemicals. It has been traditionally used to treat scurvy, improve thyroid function and control parasites, and is eaten as a plant protein.

Recipe

Trail Mix

Food Wiki

Yard-long Beans

Yard-long beans, also known as Chinese snake beans, string-beans and asparagus beans, are closely related to the black-eyed peas. They grow rapidly on climbing vines in warm climates, and can grow many inches in one day. The average length yard-long beans is between one and 1.5 feet long.

Originally grown in the Yunnan province in China, yard-long beans are one of the most popular greens in the Philippines, Southeast Asia and East Asia. They’re also grown in North America, Mediterranean regions and the West Indies.

Food Wiki

Kiwano

The kiwano melon is a member of the gourd family, and is related to cucumbers and melon. Shaped like a short stout cucumber, its bright yellow and orange spiky shell encases its bright green soft flesh.

Also known as the African horned cucumber, jelly melon, horned melon, hedged gourd, and English tomato, the ornamental fruit used to grow only in New Zealand but is now grown in California as well. The kiwano melon has a long shelf life and should not be stored in the refrigerator.

Food Wiki

Soursop

Soursop, also known as guanabana in most Spanish-speaking countries, is a large, oval or heart-shaped tropical fruit. It only grows in hot tropical weather in places like southern India, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Hawaii, and Florida.

Recipe Gaby Dalkin

Avocado, Burrata and Tomato Tartine

Food Wiki

Fiddleheads

Its name may sound like a musical instrument, but fiddleheads are the curly tips of a baby fern that can only be foraged from the wild in the Northeast and Great Lakes states.

Fiddleheads emerge only in Spring, pushing their way from the forest floor as they uncurl slowly. Right before they uncurl, they are harvested by expert foragers as not all ferns are edible and some are poisonous. They look like the green letter “P” with a scale-like covering on the uncoiled fern.

Recipe

Sun Butter Recipe

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