Monday, January 28, 2013

Pomegranates > buy at Christmas and enjoy POMS for months ever after! #GardenCuizine

Pomegranate Seeds

Did you know Pomegranates
(Punica granatum L.) have incredible keeping quality and storage capacity? According to Purdue University, the pomegranate is similar to an apple in having a long storage life. They say pomegranates can be stored up to 7 months without shrinking or going bad and if maintained at a temperature of 32º to 41º F (0º-5º C), the fruits actually improve in storage - becoming juicier and even more flavorful. 

We discovered that this indeed is true. The pomegranates that we had from Christmas stored in our refrigerator are still just as juicy, if not even more juicy, then the day we bought them! So next year stock up on pomegranates so you have plenty of POMS for your sweet Valentine

To extract the seeds, simply wash the pomegranate and cut it in half. Then get a small bowl of water and dip the fruit into the water and gently squeeze it. For the most part, the seeds will fall into the water. You may have to poke and pluck out a few. Then, pick out any big membrane pieces that may have fallen into the water. Strain the seeds and save the liquid and the seeds to use in recipes. I haven't tried it yet, but according to POM Wonderful, the seeds (Arils) can be frozen for even longer storage.

Pomegranate seeds are an acquired taste. Some people are not too thrilled with them (like my husband, Harry). But they are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. And a few here and there make for a lovely gourmet food presentation. We use them atop salads; tonight we are tossing some in to a side dish of cous cous.

GardenCuizine Pomegranate Seed Nutrition data
Good Source: dietary Fiber and Vitamin C
Pomegranate seeds 1/2 cup arils (87g): 72 calories; dietary Fiber 3.4g (14% DV); Vitamin C 9 mg (15% DV); Folate 33 mcg (8% DV) 

Related Links
Pomegranate Purdue University 

Pomegranate Recipes 
Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Pomegranates
Blog post and photo Copyright (C)2013 Wind. All rights reserved. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

ALMONDS = great choice for a Nutritious snack or in your next healthy recipe! #GardenCuizine

Heart Healthy
Great Choice for a Nutritious Snack!
Fruits, Vegetables, NUTS, and Seeds are good sources of PLANT STEROLS that have been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Scientific evidence also suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. (See nutrition information for fat content).

Almonds harvested from Prunus dulcis trees grow well in California and Utah according to the USDA. The US is among the top world producers of almonds, with California producing over 80%. Spain, Iran, Morocco and Italy are among other almond producers. It was exciting to see almond trees growing in Sicily. The blooms are beautiful like peach blooms. Most species require pollination to yield the almonds.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports good evidence that daily consumption of 2 to 3 g plant sterols* lowers total cholesterol concentrations in a dose dependent manner by 4 to 11% and LDL cholesterol concentrations by 7 to 15% without changing HDL cholesterol or triacylglycerol concentrations.
Eat almonds as a healthy snack or add them to your favorite recipes.

* plant sterols are also added to some margarines, low-fat yogurts, orange juice, breads, and cereals - read the labels and look for the health claim "lowers cholesterol"

  ALMONDS Nutrition:
calculated by Diana Wind, RD using USDA Nutrient Reference Data

Excellent Source: Vitamin E
Good Source: Protein; dietary Fiber; Riboflavin; Magnesium

1 oz (28g): 161 calories; Sodium 0 mg; dietary Fiber 3.4g (14% DV); Protein 6g (12% DV); Potassium 197 mg (6% DV); Calcium 74 mg (7% DV); Magnesium 75mg (19% DV); Vitamin E 7.3 mg (37% DV); Iron 1 mg (6%DV); Monounsaturated Fat 9g; Polyunsaturated fat 3.4g; Saturated Fat 1g; Riboflavin 0.3 mg (17% DV); Beta-sitosterol 37 mg 
Related Links
All About Almonds
Life Cycle of an Almond
Blog post Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Our feral feline "Tango, the Garden Cat" goes to the vet... @awanj @alleycatallies @HumaneSociety

Help Feral Garden Cats
Those of you who know me, know I am a cat lover since meeting my husband - the cat man. We never thought of the plight of feral cats until some arrived in our backyard. Now we try to help educate those we can to help in their survival. Anyone who has ever owned a domestic pet, knows how individual and special their animal personalities are and that they become part of the family.

All cats both domestic and feral are in abundance on our planet. Sadly, over 70% of cats taken to shelters (including domestic cats) get euthanized each year. Felines need your help for food, shelter and neutering to cut down on overpopulation and deaths. Donations to your local shelter or organizations like The Humane Society,  Animal Welfare Association or Alley Cat Allies help to make a difference.

Alley Cat Allies and others say that feral cats can not be adopted. I'm glad I didn't hear or think that before we adopted our sweet feral cat family. Some feral cats can be adopted into domestic homes. Our Tango, Zina and Cali are living proof. Doing this however, does not mean the cat(s) will become socialized to the point of allowing humans to pet and hold them. After years of love, food and security, our Tango and Cali only let me touch their noses - that is their limit. They eat, play with their toys, use their litter, and sleep happily in their beds. Zina on the other hand - our bravest feral cat - allows human touch, but she is still by no means a lap cat. At least not yet anyway.

Having feral cats live indoors may present a dilemma. The good news is they have food, safety, shelter and toys. The bad news is that if and when something goes wrong with their health it can be a challenge to take them to the vet since they probably won't allow you to pick them up. For us, the inevitable happened last night. We had to set a trap inside our house to catch Tango, the Garden Cat. Tango has what looks like some sort of tumor in his mouth. 

The vet did not find any tumors or masses. Tango was a cooperative patient, got his nails clipped, shots updated, a clean bill of health and is ready to come home from his second ever vet visit - his first was at AWANJ after being initially trapped and neutered. 

Tango and his furry friends were the subject of a 
short 3-part garden cat story that you can read on Dave's Garden.
Related Links
Tango, the Garden Cat part 1: Tango Arrives
Tango, the Garden Cat part 2: Tango's Garden Adventure
Tango, the Garden Cat part 3: Home for Christmas

Caring for Feral Cats in Winter 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

International Year of Quinoa 2013 #GardenCuizine @QuinoaCorp @aiq2013 @IYQ2013

  • Quinoa, also spelled Quinua, gets the honor of being in the international spotlight this year. Quinoa is an ancient grain, not a newcomer by any means. Have you ever tried it? My family has been enjoying whole grain quinoa for years now. I first had quinoa that was sold by Ancient Harvest Quinoa Corporation back in the 1980's when it was being offered in my health food store. Today, quinoa products are available in common grocery stores, not just in specialty food markets.
  • Quinoa cooks up quickly and has a pleasant light and fluffy texture. Like rice, it works well in soups or cooked with added flavors from veggies, fruits, nuts and herbal seasonings.  
  • Quinoa provides such exceptional nutrition that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations wants us all to celebrate quinoa and quinoa farmers for providing such a nutritious functional food in the fight against malnutrition and world hunger.
  • And, if you enjoy gardening, you may want to try quinoa in your garden. Quinoa grows similar to amaranth, adding rich colors and texture to yard and garden landscapes.
Read more about Quinoa 
in my Dave's Garden article
"The International Year of Quinoa"
Related Links 
International Year of Quinoa 2013 
Quinoa Recipes