Strawberries

“Many foods commonly consumed in the U.S. are valuable sources of antioxidants. But researchers have recently ranked the 50 best antioxidant sources among commonly eaten foods and found strawberries to be quite exceptional. When total antioxidant capacity was measured against a uniform amount of food (100 grams, or about 3.5 ounces), strawberries ranked 27th best among U.S. foods. In addition, when only fruits were considered, strawberries came out 4th among all fruits (behind blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries).

However, since many foods (for example, spices and seasonings) are seldom consumed in amounts as large as 3.5 ounces, researchers also looked at common serving sizes for all foods and their total antioxidant capacity. In this evaluation based on common serving sizes, strawberries came out 3rd among all U.S. foods including spices, seasonings, fruits, and vegetables! (In this analysis based on serving size, only blackberries and walnuts scored higher in total antioxidant capacity.) When we hear the word “strawberry,” we might think about a very commonplace fruit. But the antioxidant capacity of strawberry is anything but common!”

(Excerpts from The World’s Healthiest Foods  http://www.whfoods.com)

Erica Vaughn
Produce Manager

photo credit: *clairity* via photo pin cc

Calcium Squares and Calcium Milk

In the last year I have broken or cracked bones in my right toe, left foot, and right rib.  Menopause kicked in full gear last summer and realizing the results of weakening bones, I decided, among other things, to find ways to include more calcium into my diet.

Based on my stature, weight, and age, I figured I needed about 1000 mg of calcium per day. So I did some research on all the plant foods highest in calcium.  Here are my findings:

White Beans 889mg (per 100g); Sesame Seeds 980mg (per 100g); Chia Seeds  400mg (per 100g); Black-strap Molasses 344mg (2 Tbsp); Almonds 248mg  (per 100g); Flax Seeds 160mg (per 100g); Qiunoa 80mg (1 cup cooked); Dried Figs 160mg (6 figs); Orange Juice 72mg (1 cup); Broccoli 74mg (1 cup cooked); Spinach 56mg (1 cup cooked).

Taking some of the items in the list above, I came up with a recipe for Calcium Squares.  None of the ingredients in this recipe are found in the produce department, but all the ingredients can be found in the Co-op.  One batch of this recipe contains a whopping 980mg of calcium and each small square holds   122 mg of calcium.  These may be a little “strong” for some, but my husband and I love these little extra treats of nourishment.  Give them a try and see what you think!

Erica’s Calcium Squares

1/3 cup sesame seeds, finely ground
1/3 cup almonds, finely ground
1 Tbsp chia seeds, finely ground
5 dried figs
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses

1. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
2. Form into 8 balls or squares.
3. Store in the refrigerator.

If the recipe above is too strong or heavy for you, try the calcium milk recipe below:

Erica’s Calcium Milk (contains 610mg calcium)
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp almonds
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 cups water

1. Blend 1 cup water with the seeds, nuts, and molasses in blender until smooth.
2. Add second cup of water and blend well.
3. Strain through a bread towel for a really smooth drink.

For a shake and more fiber, just don’t strain the mixture; add a banana, figs or other fruit while blending in the last cup of water!  This recipe contains 610mg of calcium or 305mg of calcium per cup!  So, between the Calcium Squares, Calcium Milk, and other plant foods, I am now getting all the calcium my body needs!  And it’s all YUMMY!

Erica Vaughn, Produce Manager