4 Hidden Heroes of the Produce Section

Hidden Supermarket Gems

“This is a guest post written and approved for RandiRagan.com. Enjoy the holistic wellness experience of the community.”

It’s tough in the fruit and vegetable world. We definitely live in an era of over marketed produce that can get bored with (apples, carrots, broccoli, spinach), or feel  we’re hopelessly out of touch if  we haven’t already jumped on the kale-acai berry-passion fruit-ramps bandwagon. However, some fruits and vegetables have it tougher than others. Perhaps you saw the tweet I had about marketing avocados. Once upon a time, companies had to work overtime to get the large berry to become the popular cash crop it is today!

This is a nod to all the unappreciated fruits and vegetables out there that have been overlooked. I went to my local supermarket and found the smallest sectioned off areas. Massive cartons of apples, tomatoes, and yams filled the glossy floor, while other  completely worthy and healthy eats were pushed off into corners. Some of these sections were so small, perennial herbs took up more space.  But I came up with four finds that I think you’ll agree could stand a little more attention and TLC.

Food goes in and out of season and also changes from location to location. Food choices even change culture to culture. While these foods may seem mundane to you they top the list of highly nutritious and beneficial choices.  Hopefully my experiment will inspire you to take to the aisles of your own grocery store to find other hidden jewels of the produce section. Take a second look at your shopping list and add some new recipes to feature them.  You won’t be sorry!

Beet Greens for Braising  Beet Greens

Beet greens are the tops of greens that so often get thrown away. These tops are actually extremely healthy. They are high in protein, calcium, Vitamins A, K, B2, E and C. They are just as potent as kale and just as nutritiously effective as other dark green leafy vegetables.

Add to your green smoothies, salads, or sauté like spinach (making them great for omelettes and quiches). You can get health benefits from whatever fits your style.

 

9258819642_f58cf83a95_h  Dates

Not as sweet as going on a date with a loved one, but close. These are like nature’s candy.  The amount of health benefits reaped from this fruit is extensive. Dates can:

  • Reduce risk of stroke
  • Strengthen bones
  • Good source of energy
  • Play a part in preventing abdominal cancer
  • Help lower night blindness

They can be eaten raw and on-the-go like other dried fruits, or they can be  mashed into a paste and spread on toast and crackers with almond or peanut butter, or dropped into a smoothie to sweeten it.

 

4395775358_0a0657f333_z  Rutabaga

The rutabaga is only known by that name in the United States. Everywhere else it is known as a ‘swede’. It is also known sometimes as a yellow turnip. This purple and white root vegetable is actually a botanical cross between a cabbage and a turnip, very rich in antioxidants, high in fiber, potassium and zinc.  It is also a ‘cruciferous’ veggie like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cabbages, meaning this class of vegetables contain phytochemicals which eliminate carcinogens and help the liver to detox. The national cancer institute suggests increasing intake of all cruciferous veggies for their cancer-fighting properties.

Rutabaga can be eaten in any method similar to cabbage or turnips.  Try slicing raw and adding to salads for great crunch, or cutting into cubes and adding to soups (like a potato).  It’s like two vegetables in one!

 

11302341456_51b6693c5a_z  Daikon Radish

This plain, white, unassuming root vegetable is renowned in Traditional Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years.  Sweet and crunchy, Daikon is high in Vitamins B and C, has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, is an anti-inflammatory, a natural diuretic (helps kidneys functioning), is used in TCM to heal respiratory illness by eliminating phlegm.  Raw daikon juice is also effective as a digestive aim because of its abundance of beneficial enzymes, and is full of calcium for bone health.  Any way you slice it, this is a superstar veggie!

Daikon can be grated or sliced up into salads, steamed or boiled like carrots and potatoes, or juiced and combined with other blender ingredients such as fruit or greens since it has a very mild flavor.

Though not getting all the attention as their more headline grabbing brethren, these four plants have been cultivated around the world by many cultures for their nutritional value and healing properties.  They are inexpensive and easy to find in any grocery or farmer’s market.  Try going for the organic version, for better taste and no exposure to harmful pesticides.

Perhaps it’s time you moved them to the forefront of your meal planning efforts for a change of pace and some new variety of taste.

 

Happy eating!

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