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Food Literacy Blog

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Food Literacy Blog

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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.

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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! 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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 Sabrina Modelle of The Tomato Tart

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 Alexandra Fitchener of 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 Executive 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

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 Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella

Black-eyed Peas & Dill Potato Skillet

Recipe Alexandra Fitchener of Girasole Creation

Winter Fruit Salad

Recipe Amber K. Stott

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 Alexandra Fitchener of Girasole Creation

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 Alexandra Fitchener of Girasole Creation

White Bean Salad

Recipe Food Literacy Center

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 Food Literacy Center

Bean Dip

Food Wiki
Photo courtesy of SimplyRecipes.com

Asparagus

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 Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Malaysian Spice Paste (Rempah) Recipe

Food Wiki

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

Endive

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.

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 Amber K. Stott

Healthy Breakfast Burrito

Recipe Blogger Round-Up

8 Recipes for the Lunar New Year

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.

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.”

Food Wiki
Photo by Heather Teoh

Artichoke

Recipe Jillena Hernández

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.

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.

Recipe Elena Moorhead

Elena Moorhead’s Sandwich

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 Madelene Silva-Sciortino, Age 9
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.

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 Executive Chef Kurt Spataro

Gazpacho

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 Executive Chef Kurt Spataro

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

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.

Recipe Whole Foods Market

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad

Food Wiki

Cactus Pads

Recipe Executive Chef Kurt Spataro

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 Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Berry Muffins

Food Wiki

Chard

Recipe Amber K. Stott

Lemon Dill Green Popcorn

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 Jillena Hernández

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 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.

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.

Recipe Whole Foods Market

Three-Bean Salad with Quinoa

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 Jillena Hernández

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 Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind
Photo Courtesy: Heather Teoh

Homemade Pasta

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 Jillena Hernández

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.

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 Amber Stott

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.

Recipe Food Literacy Center

California Ranch Pasta Salad

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.

Recipe Food Literacy Center
Making Ranch Dressing

Ranch Dressing

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 of What's Gaby Cooking

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 Amber K. Stott
Sunbutter sandwich

Sunbutter

Food Wiki

Couscous

Originated from North Africa, couscous is a staple in the North African diet and its popularity has spread worldwide.

Food Wiki

Durian

Love it or hate it, the spiky and pungent durian certainly leaves an impression. It has a spiky and hard exterior that has to be cut and pried open by a sharp knife, revealing pale yellow edible flesh surrounding its seeds. The flesh is soft and creamy, and emits an extremely strong odor.

Food Wiki

Truffles

Truffles are a type of subterranean mushroom found in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America but only a few species are commercially valuable. Truffle season falls between September and May and their fruiting bodies grow underground near the roots of specific trees. It takes around seven years for truffles to grow and  a truffle-bearing tree will only produce for around 15 to 30 years. Truffles are irregular in shape and they range from a size of a walnut to that of a man’s fist.

Recipe Amber K. Stott

Grandma Betty’s Carrot & Raisin Citrus Salad

Food Wiki

Tamarind

A part of the pea and bean family, tamarind is the brown, tart flesh from the seed pods of the tamarind tree. The tamarind tree is native to tropical Africa where it grows wild. It was also popular in ancient Egypt and Greece in 4th Century B.C. It was introduced to tropical America, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and India. In fact, India is now the top producer of tamarind for domestic use and export.

Food Literacy Hero

Food Literacy Advocates
Food Literacy Heroes

This month, we celebrate our inaugural Food Literacy Academy class as they graduate and become Food Literacy Advocates! These men and women are our heroes for dedicating their time, talents, passion, and brainpower for the past 10 weeks learning and discussing how to teach food literacy.

Recipe Jillena Hernández

Farro Porridge with Pecans & Currants

Food Wiki

Century Eggs

A Chinese delicacy, century eggs are duck eggs that have been preserved in a saline solution of ash, lime, salt, clay and rice for weeks or even months. When preservation is complete, the shell of the egg will become speckled, giving it an aged appearance. The yolk will become dark green, creamy and cheese-like, and the whites will turn into a dark-colored jelly.

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Food Wiki

Saffron

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. Native to the Mediterranean, saffron is the dried yellow stigmas from small purple crocuses, commonly known as the Rose of Saffron. Each flower produces only three stigmas, and they must be carefully hand-picked and dried, making it a highly labor intensive process. A pound of saffron is made from 225,000 stigmas from 75,000 flowers!

Recipe Deborah Madison

Chard, Ricotta, and Saffron Cakes

Food Wiki

Harissa

Harissa is a Tunisian spicy paste made of smoked chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and may include cilantro, cumin, mint, caraway seeds, tomatoes or rose petals. The ingredients are pounded into a paste and set aside to develop its flavors for more than 12 hours. The various ingredients give it a complex flavor that most other hot sauces don’t have.

Harissa is used liberally in Tunisia in stews, couscous, soups, added to vinaigrette for salads, and mixed with olive oil as a dipping sauce for bread.

Food Literacy Hero

Kristin Thébaud
Food Literacy Hero

Public relations expert and budding home cook Kristin Thébaud can add another title to her name – Food Literacy Hero.

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Huevos Rancheros

Food Wiki

Miso

Miso is a Japanese paste made of a mixture of soybeans and a grain such as rice, combined with salt and a mold culture, and aged in cedar vats for one to three years.

There are many variations of miso due to the addition of different ingredients and the length of time it is aged. It will vary in texture, color, fragrance, and taste.

In Japan, miso is used to make soup, sauces, marinades, and dressings. It is high in sodium and therefore can be used as a substitute for salt or soy sauce.

Recipe Food Literacy Center

Peruvian Green Dip

Food Wiki

Ghee

Ghee, typically used in Indian cuisine, is clarified butter that’s made from buffalo milk. Ghee is made by melting butter over low heat and allowed to simmer until all the water is evaporated. When the simmered butter is cooled, the top layer is skimmed off and that layer becomes ghee.

Ghee has a high smoke point and can be used in high heat cooking. It uses a natural process to maintain stability without refrigeration, and some studies suggest that it is healthier than lard and processed margarine.

Food Wiki

Food Forest

A food forest is a land management system that is designed to mimic the ecosystem of a natural forest with the goal of producing high yields of food with little maintenance. A food forest features edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals that are thoughtfully grown to enhance biodiversity and productivity.

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Stir Fried Japanese Noodles

Food Wiki
Garlic

Allicin

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Chicken & Vegetable Steamed Wontons

Food Wiki

Quinoa

Quinoa is a grain-like crop that is grown for its edible seeds. It is often mistaken for a type of cereal or grain but it is actually a member of the family that contains Swiss chard, spinach and beets. Researchers refer to quinoa as a “pseudocereal” as it is not a grass but can still be ground into flour.

Food Wiki

Kimchi

Kimchi is a Korean dish made of cabbage or radish fermented with a mix of salt, vinegar, garlic, chili peppers and other spices, resulting in a spicy, salty, and sour flavor.

Kimchi has been eaten in Korea for thousands of years and its popularity has not wavered. In fact, the fermented dish is so popular in Korea that 40 pounds of it is eaten per person each year!

Food Wiki

Scoville Heat Scale

The Scoville heat scale is used to measure the spiciness of chili peppers and products made from chili peppers such as hot sauce. The scale measures the concentration of the chemical compound capsaicin which produces the heat sensation when eaten.

Recipe

Orange Honey Dessert

Food Wiki

Umami

When it comes to the sense of taste, we typically recognize four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter.  However, there is a fifth taste called “umami” (delicious in Japanese). Umami is a savory taste imparted by glutamate (a type of amino acid) which occurs naturally in various types of food including fish, meat, vegetables, and dairy products. The umami taste occurs when the glutamate molecule breaks down and it becomes L-glutamate. This happens when meat is being cooked on the stove, when parmesan cheese is being aged, or when soy sauce is being fermented.

Recipe Food Literacy Center

Spicy Sweet Pumpkin Orange Vinaigrette

Food Wiki

Freeganism

Freeganism, a combination of the words “free” and “vegan,” is a movement in which extremely environmentally-conscious citizens strive to meet their everyday needs with minimal impact to the environment. Although not all freegans are vegans, freeganism shares the ideology of veganism.

Recipe Food Literacy Center

English Muffin Veggie Pizzas

Food Wiki

Mulch

Mulch is used in gardens to help maintain the health of the soil and the appearance of the landscaping. There are two types of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic mulches include formerly living substance like leaves, straw, grass clippings, compost, wood chips, sawdust, pine needles, paper, and shredded bark. Inorganic mulches include stones, black plastic, gravel, and landscape fabrics.

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Pasta with Chicken Marinara Sauce

Food Wiki

Raw Foodism

Raw foodism is a culinary lifestyle in which ingredients are not heated above 118°F (48°C). Although raw foods can consist of raw fish and carpaccio, many raw food practitioners are vegetarian or vegan, consuming only uncooked and unprocessed plant foods, legumes, nuts, seaweed, sprouts, and soy. They believe that raw food provides optimal nutrition and health benefits since the foods’ enzymes and vitamins are not cooked away by heat. The American Dietetic Association, however, notes that food cooked below 118 degrees may not kill harmful, food-borne bacteria.

Recipe Shannon Guimond

Butternut Squash Soup with Walnuts and Gorgonzola

Recipe Jillena Hernández
Photo Courtesy: Jillena Hernández

Coconut Mashed Yams

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Flexitarian

A flexitarian is a person who eats mostly vegetarian food but may sporadically eat meat and/or animal products due to health, cultural, social or pragmatic reasons. There also are a growing number of people who are eating fewer meat dishes because of health or economic reasons, or that there are more meatless dishes to choose from.

Recipe Food Literacy Center

Homemade “Fast Food” Bean Burrito

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Wildcrafting

Wildcrafting is the ancient practice of collecting plant materials in their natural environment for nourishment, medicine, or craft. Prior to the invention of agriculture, people would harvest items from nature to sustain their families.

In contemporary times, people still practice wildcrafting by harvesting moss, ginseng, berries, roots, herbs, and mushrooms from either the wilderness or wherever they might be found. Endangered species are taken into consideration and care is taken to ensure that there is enough supply.

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Goji Berries

Goji berries or wolfberries are delicate bright orange-red berries grown in the Himalayan valleys of China, Mongolia and Tibet.  These berries are featured in traditional Chinese medicine to cure various ailments and also used in various Asian dishes including soups and stews.

Recipe Amber K. Stott

Date Cocoa-Nut Candy

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MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer and food additive frequently added to canned vegetables and soups, food in some Chinese restaurants, and processed meats.  MSG is derived from the amino acid glutamic acid.  For the past 1,000 years, Japanese cooks have prepared soup stock made from a type of seaweed called Laminaria japonica.  In 1908, Japanese scientists identified the element (glutamate) in the seaweed that was enhancing the savory flavor of food and created MSG.

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Tempeh

Originally from Indonesia where it has been eaten for more than 2,000 years, tempeh (pronounced TEM-pay) is slowly gaining popularity in the United States. It is made of fermented soybeans or legumes that are bound together into a solid cake by a culturing agent like Rhizopus oligosporus (a type of fungus). Usually sold in blocks, tempeh is sliced thinly and can be steamed, fried or baked.  It has a nougat-like texture and nutty flavor, and absorbs the flavor of whatever food it is being cooked with.

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Orzo with Chicken & Tomatoes

Recipe Dianne Frehlich

Spinach, Kale & Strawberry Salad

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Kids Write Essays About their Food Literacy Sandwiches

The humble sandwich can be a powerful tool to help kids learn about and become aware of the food they are eating. For our Kids’ Food Literacy Sandwich recipe contest, we asked participants to write a short essay about why they believe their sandwich represents food literacy. Here are some excellent essays:

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Curried Chicken Salad

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Salmorejo Cordobés (Chilled Tomato Bread Soup)

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Artisanal Food

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Antioxidants

Recipe Food Literacy Center
Minted Watermelon Cucumber Salad

Minted Watermelon Cucumber Salad

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Agar-Agar

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Vietnamese Fresh Rolls with Tofu

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Soluble Fiber

Soluble fibers help our bodies slow down digestion by attracting water and forming a gel. It delays the stomach from emptying its contents and thus makes us feel full. Slower stomach emptying may also have positive effects on blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, which may help control diabetes.  Soluble fibers can also help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by inhibiting with the absorption of dietary cholesterol.

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Clean Food

The key aspect to the clean food movement is eating foods that are as close to their natural state and point of origin as possible. The movement also adopts “slow foods” lifestyle – foods that are grown, prepared and eaten without the fast food rush. For example, instead of purchasing prepared chicken nuggets from a fast food restaurant or a grocery store, they would cook their own chicken.

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Food Desert

Coined in 1995 by a government work group in Scotland, a food desert refers to urban and rural areas in an industrialized country where there is inadequate access to affordable nutritious foods. Food deserts are most prevalent in lower socioeconomic minority communities where there is a lack of grocery stores in close proximity.

Recipe Joanna Neft
Photo Courtesy: Keith Sutter

Sautéed Summer Squash with Almonds

Food Wiki

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation comprises of splitting the garden into four or more sections and planting a different plant species in each section yearly. With a planned rotating schedule, the gardener can make sure that every section ultimately receives each plant family. Crop rotation prevents the spread of plant diseases, reduces insect invasions, and lowers the risks of erosion and weather damage. It also increases net profits, improves soil fertility, and balances the nutrients in the soil.

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Quinoa Salad with Black Bean & Corn

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Urban Foraging

Urban foraging is the act of gathering edible wild fruits and vegetables that grow freely in cities. It is a growing movement that’s gaining popularity with home cooks and professional chefs alike. Supporters consider urban foraging a way to reconnect with nature and avoid dealing with the industrial food system. They also believe that foraging is a way to save money (free food) and it helps to reduce waste (ripe fruits are not left to rot on the ground).

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Companion Planting

Different plants have natural elements in different parts (roots, leaves and flowers) that can either repel and/or attract insects, and can also help enrich the cultivation and flavor of other plants. Gardeners can plant a variety of flowers and herbs as companion plants to fit their certain needs. For example, companion plants can help to repel pests while still attracting beneficial insects.

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Vietnamese Bun (Noodles) Salad with Tofu

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Pollination

Pollination allows plants to reproduce and fertilize, which results in the bearing of fruits. Flowers have male parts (stamen) that produce pollen and a female part called the pistil with a top part (stigma) that is often sticky. Seeds are made at the base of the pistil, and for the plant to be pollinated, pollen must be moved from the stamen to the stigma. Plants can self-pollinate when its pollen is transferred to its stigma.

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Shade-Grown

Certain crops can be grown in the shade and not in a clear-cut field with full sun. If you are growing the plant for the leaves, stems or buds, they grow well in the shade. Shade-grown crops mature slowly have a more intense flavor, and they include salad greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, and coffee beans. This type of practice also is environmentally friendly as it supports biodiversity and creates less need for fertilizers. These shade grown areas are also small ecosystems that act as an oasis for migratory birds.

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Polyculture

Polyculture is a system of growing a diverse crop of plants that are interrelated and interdependent to one another. This system mimics the complexity of plants found in any natural ecosystem and these symbiotic relationships bring about more stability to the garden or farm.

With the variety of plants, the garden or farm can produce fruits and vegetables almost continually because they are maturing at different times. The thickness of the planting helps to eliminate weeds, and also works to keep the soil moist and cool.

Recipe Food Literacy Center
Guacamole

Guacamole

Food Wiki

Fair Trade

A fair trade certification on a product ensures consumers that cooperative farm workers have been paid a living wage and labored under safe conditions. The fair trade premium goes toward a workers’ collective to provide education, healthcare, and pension benefits. In addition, fair trade farming techniques must be sustainable. Through purchasing fair trade certified products, consumers can help revive developing countries, mitigate the exploitation of workers, and promote environmental sustainability.

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Permaculture

Permaculture is based on ethics and design principles that help guide individuals, households and communities toward a sustainable future. Those who practice permaculture grow crops in balance with the environment through planting several species in the same area to complement, nourish and protect one another.

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Spicy Bok Choy Stir Fry

Food Wiki

Food Justice

When communities come together to practice food justice, they are exercising their right to grow, sell, access and eat nutritious food, regardless of race, gender, class or citizenship. Food justice advocates focus their efforts toward a robust local food system, healthy communities and a sustainable environment. They do this through education, community organizing and political action.

Recipe Joanne Neft

Roasted Beet Salad with Cucumber

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Biodynamics

Developed in the early 1920s based on the teachings of Austrian writer and social activist, Dr. Rudolf Steiner, biodynamics refers to an spiritual, ethical and ecological approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition.

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Iodized Salt

It is a known fact that eating too much salt raises blood pressure, however consuming too little salt is bad for health too. Specifically, we need to consume enough iodized salt. An adult needs to consume 150 micrograms of iodine a day and pregnant women need to consume from 200 to 300 micrograms a day.

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Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is when there is limited/uncertain physical and economic access to obtain nutritious and safe foods to maintain a healthy and active life. A lack of basic knowledge on food use (basic nutrition and care) also contributes to food insecurity.

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Factory Farming

Factory farming refers to the process of raising livestock in confinement at high stocking density in farms that operate like factories – producing the highest output at the lowest cost. The main products of factory farming are meat, milk and eggs for human consumption. Factory farming is controversial as it consists of industrialized animal cruelty, widespread environmental destruction, resource depletion, and animal and human health risks.

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Sustainable Agriculture

The principle of sustainable agriculture is that we must meet our present needs without compromising the future generation’s ability to meet their own needs. Integrating the three main goals of environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic justice, sustainable agriculture is the responsibility of farmers, laborers, policymakers, researchers, consumers and retailers.

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Food Security

Food security: when all members of a household have access and ability to acquire nutritionally adequate and safe foods on a regular basis.

Recipe Jillena Hernández

Grandma Kaye’s Matzo Ball Soup

Food Wiki

Glycemic Index

Using a scale of 0 to 100, Glycemic Index (GI) ranks carbohydrates on their rate of conversion to glucose within the body. Higher values are given to foods that cause blood sugar (glucose) levels to rise the most rapidly in the body. Pure glucose is used as a reference point and is given a GI of 100.

Food Wiki

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids) are considered essential fatty acids; they are necessary for the body to function normally but the body can’t produce fatty acids. You can get these fatty acids through eating foods like fish and other seafood such as algae and krill, some vegetables, and nut oils. There are several types of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA are found in certain fish including salmon, sardines, tuna and halibut, and ALA is found in flax seeds and vegetables like kale and collard greens.

Recipe Heather Teoh of Eat the Wind

Spicy Korean Chicken Stew (Dak Bokkumtang)

Food Wiki

Complex Carbohydrates

The main function of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body. There are two types of carbohydrates – complex and simple. Complex carbohydrates are found in vegetables, whole grain bread and cereals, whereas simple carbohydrates are found in table sugar, honey, milk, white flour and fruits.

Recipe Amber K. Stott

Potato & Roasted Garlic Soup

Food Wiki

Trans Fat

Trans fat, also called trans-fatty acids, is the product of adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through hydrogenation, which makes it solid and extends its shelf life.

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