June 2nd, 2010 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
That sounds like the bizzaro world version of “contains 100 daily servings of vitamins and minerals.”
But it’s true. The Environmental Working Group claims non-organic celery – i.e. the stuff billions of people buy willy-nilly everyday – has 67 different kinds of pesticides.
Celery was fingered as containing the most pesticides because of its structure; soft skin makes it very prone to absorption of things it touches.
Have you ever stuck a stalk of celery in a glass of food coloring? Same idea.
The scary part is the testing of vegetables, like celery, takes place after the United States Food & Drug Administration uses high-power pressure water systems to wash the produce. Fail.
The Environmental Working Group released this information to help educate consumers about what they’re eating. Good idea, I doubt most people putting peanut butter and ants – err, raisins – on a stalk of celery know about its pesticide content.
Other filthy dirty fruits and vegetables include cherries, nectarines, collard greens, and potatoes. On the other hand, corn, onions, avocados, and mangoes are among the cleanest produce. Hooray!
Image credit: webshots
Read More:Non-Organic Celery Packed with 67 Pesticides
December 26th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Have 2 cups of leftover mashed sweet potatoes?
Turn them into an amazing salad dressing with today’s recipe, a unique take on the traditional Waldorf Salad.
It’s the brainchild of Aysha Schurman, from Ammon, ID, who took top honors in the Side Dish Category at last year’s Annual Sweet Rewards Recipe Contest (sponsored by the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission and Louisiana Cookin’ magazine).
All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
For another winning Sweet Rewards recipe, check out Ginger Thai Sweet Potato Bisque.
Sweet Onion Salad with Sweet Potato-Raspberry Dressing
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple juice
1 teaspoon dark molasses
1 tablespoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon fresh pressed garlic
1/2 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
1½ cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 cup chopped red onion, 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion, 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup finely chopped, fresh chives
1/2 cup peeled and sliced cucumber, 1/2-inch thick
1/3 cup chopped celery, 1/2-inch dice
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1 Granny Smith apple, quartered, cored and sliced
- Pour all ingredients for the dressing into a food processor or blender. Blend together until dressing is creamy and a uniform color.
- Place all salad ingredients, except for blue cheese and apple, in large mixing bowl. Gently toss salad until well mixed.
- Pour dressing over salad, toss again, and serve on salad plate. Garnish with crumbled blue cheese and apple slices.
Recipe and photo courtesy of the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission
Read More:Sweet Onion Salad with Sweet Potato-Raspberry Dressing
December 12th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
To eat green onions or not to eat green onions? With apologies to Hamlet, that has been the question as another E. coli outbreak makes the news. But scallions may not be the culprit, as the first wave of headlines reported.
As of Monday, 64 cases of E. coli associated with the Taco Bell restaurant outbreak have been reported to the CDC. Five states are affected: New Jersey (28 cases), New York (22), Pennsylvania (11), Delaware (2) and South Carolina (1, but the patient ate at a Pennsylvania Taco Bell). Other cases are still under investigation. And while green onions have been blamed for the outbreak, “no specific food has been implicated yet,” the CDC notes.
Taco Bell, however, has voluntarily removed green onions from its U.S. restaurants. Preliminary tests had revealed the possible presence of E. coli O157:H7 in green onion samples, but the results have not been confirmed by government tests. A sample of chopped white onions collected on Dec. 4 from an open bin in a Taco Bell restaurant in Nassau County, NY, tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, but it appears to be a different strain from the one that has caused illness. The FDA is exploring the possibility of other tainted ingredients, including cilantro, cheddar cheese, blended cheese, yellow onions, tomatoes and lettuce, and green onions will undergo additional tests.
Meanwhile, Taco Bell has changed its produce supplier, pulling orders from Oxnard, Calif.-based Boskovich Farms. The grower defends its practices, noting that “the safety of consumers is our top priority, and we are committed to continued cooperation with all agencies as they try to determine the cause of this tragic situation. Other packs of green onions sold for retail, wholesale and foodservice packages, bunched and iceless, are grown in a different region and are not in question regarding the recent illnesses.”
So, welcome to the brave new world of feeding yourself, where grocery shopping and dining out occasionally feel like a game of Russian roulette. For me, buying locally grown organic produce and fresh artisanal cheese never looked better.
Read More:Crying Over Onions?
November 15th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
One of the main ingredients in yesterday’s Moist & Savory Stuffing recipe is onions. As Jeff Cox notes in the highly recommended The Organic Cook’s Bible, “A wise cook once said that every good meal begins by chopping an onion.”
Onions are a member of the allium family, which includes shallots, garlic, leeks, chives and ramps (wild leeks). According to Cox, onions fall into two primary categories: pungent and mild. Pungent onions are best used in cooking, as opposed to being eaten raw. Mild onions (Vidalia or Maui) are erroneously thought by many to have a higher sugar content. In truth, their mildness “allows their sugar content to register on the palate, whereas the bite of the pungent types obliterates the sensation of sweetness,” Cox explains.
When buying organic onions, select firm, well-shaped bulbs with thin necks and no soft or moldy spots, Cox advises. The outer papery skins should be dry. For holiday stuffing, I prefer to use yellow onions, but I’ve occasionally substituted their white cousins (often labeled “Bermuda onions”). Avoid using frozen chopped onions, which are less flavorful.
You may be surprised to learn that organic onions often cause your eyes to tear more, as they have a higher sulfur content than their nonorganic peers, courtesy of soil enriched by compost, Cox notes. Cutting an onion releases the allicin compound, which is responsible for any culinary crying fits. The solution? Peel your onions under cool water, and splash your eyes with water (and clean, onion-free hands) to stem the teary tidal wave.
There’s one added bonus when you buy organic onions: Because they are grown without pesticides or synthetic chemicals, you can throw their skins into broths—a step that adds color and flavor. Be sure to strain the broth before serving.
Read More:Organic Onions