The pumpkin is a large fruit that is so versatile that it can be used in many sweet and savoury dishes. Pumpkin is packed with vitamins and minerals. Of note, it is very high in vitamin A and C, potassium and the minerals copper and phosphorous. Pumpkin is also very low in calories.
NPK fertilizer is often used to grow pumpkin. NPK stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. One study from 2012 evaluated the influence of NPK fertilizer on protein, fibre, fat and carbohydrates, which collectively are called proximate content. The main focus of the study was to assess the effect of NPK fertiliser on antioxidant activities and antioxidant phenolic compounds in immature and mature fruits of pumpkin. It was found that ‘Between the control and the highest fertilizer rate, proximate compositions decreased by 7–62% while the antioxidant profile decreased by 13–79% for both immature and mature fruits. Across all the measured parameters, mature fruit had higher proximate contents and higher antioxidant concentrations.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 135, Issue 2, 15 November 2012, Pages 460-463) It seems like buying very ripe pumpkin is a good idea. The conclusion made was ‘ For the high health value of pumpkin fruits to be maintained, little or no NPK fertilizer should be applied.’ Unfortunately, considering NPK can be organic fertilizer, how do we know how much of it was used in the pumpkin we buy?
Here it is my version of pumpkin soup that can convert anyone into becoming a pumpkin soup lover.
In Australia, Blueberries are my favourite berries. Every year I organise Blueberry picking trip to one of the local organic blueberry farms.
Magic Tablecloth. My daughter and a friend are picking blueberries in December 2015.
The blueberries can be stored fresh very well at low temperatures for up to 1 month. They don’t just stay fresh but they also retain all their qualities that provide health benefits. There is research just on that, and ‘The results suggested that sufficient available energy status and a stable enzymatic system in blueberries collectively contribute to improve chilling tolerance, thereby alleviating pitting and maintaining quality of blueberry fruit in long-term cold storage.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 164, 1 December 2014, Pages 493-501).
What do you think of biostatistics? I think it tells us that we are not unique and we are all part of statistics. Results of useful research studies can give us an opportunity to be proactive and prevent diseases that some of us may get eventually. So, I decided to dedicate my next posts to Osteoporosis, because sadly a few friends of mine have been diagnosed with it recently.
Osteoporosis translates from Greek as ‘porous bones’, or ‘bones with holes’. Osteoporosis can occur in anyone, but it is most common in older women. Small and thin women get it more often. Also, white and Asian women are at a highest risk, whereas black and Hispanic women have a lower risk. Family history can play a role too.
If Red Lentils are good for soups, Brown Lentils are good for salads. By using sprouted Brown Lentils you could create a very exquisite one.
Sprouted Brown Lentils can be stored in a refrigerator very well, for a week if needed. To sprout lentils you just need to keep them wet for a few days at the room temperature. Initially soak the lentils in the water overnight, then transfer into the shallow container to make a layer up to 1 cm then regularly rinse the lentils or spray them with water.
Once you are happy with what is achieved, pack the sprouts into a tight container and store in a refrigerator. From 1 cup of dry Brown Lentils you will get 2 cups of sprouts.
If you search the Internet you can find many interesting articles on Kale. Recently, there have been claims that eating Kale may suppress thyroid function, or in medical terms cause hypothyroidism. DrFuhrman.com writes in his article “Do Cruciferious vegetables Harm the Thyroid?” that some studies indicate that Glucosinolates (GSLs) breakdown products may “interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis or compete with iodine for uptake by the thyroid.” However, it is important to note that “the scientific consensus is that cruciferous vegetables could only be detrimental to thyroid function in cases of iodine deficiency or insufficient iodine intake.” It seems that in the majority of the population who do not suffer from iodine deficiency, Kale is probably harmless.
I love Kale because it is a very challenging ingredient to cook. As Kale is best complimented by poducts rich in iodine, I searched the web to compile a list of such products. This is a short list: seafood, sea vegetables, asparagus, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, and egg yolks. The idea behind this Kale Fritata recipe was to create a dish with lots of Kale and lots of iodine containing products.
Over the weekend I posted a Kale Pudding recipe where I recommended to use Cod, Mackerel or Sardines. This is because they contain a higher level of iodine compared with other fish.