Serving Up Vermont
If you are like me, the first time you heard the word aquafaba, you probably did a double take. Aqua-what? Perhaps this is your first time hearing the word and you are wondering what in the world it is. Aquafaba is the word that has been given to the cooking liquid from cooking legumes (the liquid leftover when you boil beans, for example, or the liquid that is included in canned beans). Aquafaba has been found to be a good vegan substitute for eggs. Why the name? “Aqua” is Latin for “water” and “faba” is Latin for “bean.” The term was coined, and the technique of using aquafaba was established, in early 2015.
We had a beautiful Saturday for a Crop Mob with Jericho Settlers Farm. A big thank you to Christa and Diane from Jericho Settlers Farm and to all our wonderful Member Workers and volunteers who spent 3 hours with us transplanting onion starts!
Hydration 101 is a pretty simple concept: drink more water. Period. It’s easy in theory, but only 22% of American adults drink the recommended 8 cups of water a day. Recommendations can vary on the ideal amount to drink, and we get hydration from some other beverages and from water contained in our food. (Watermelon, anyone?) But it’s important to stay on top of your water intake early and throughout the day. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already partially dehydrated.
Springtime in Vermont is a long-anticipated season. After long months in the bitter cold and the wintry snow, it’s a happy sight to find the colors of nature bloom out from underneath. My favorite sight? The bright green springy coils of fiddleheads! Move over root veggie stew, it’s time to add some springtime flavors to the menu. My favorite spring recipes feature the addition of this ingredient and the taste always reminds me of the warm weather to come. Fiddleheads are a tasty vegetable, they’re easy to use, and they pack a nutritional punch to boot.
Ramps, or wild leeks, are incredibly popular this time of year. After living through a winter full of root crops and squash, people are excited to eat something green, fresh, and foraged from the land. This excitement is also historical – ramps were traditionally an exciting spring addition to plates of Native Americans and early colonists as well. You or your parents may also remember their parents and grandparents going out to harvest ramps and bring home buckets full. In the American South, you can still find festivals celebrating the arrival of ramps to this day. The popularity of the ramp is not abating, but is in fact growing. Due to a rapid increase in popularity throughout the country starting in the 1990s as chefs began to highlight this local ingredient, there has been disagreement over best management practices to ensure that ramp populations are protected and not overharvested.
I was surprised to see a few yellow dandelions blooming close the ground just over a week ago when the days were still quite chilly. These plants are hardy! While some people may be annoyed by pesky dandelions growing in their lawns and gardens, these healthful plants are actually one of the first spring foods you can forage from the land (if picking, be sure to harvest plants that are in an unsprayed area, at least 20 feet from a road, and not near sidewalks or trails).
Adaptogens are herbal remedies that increase our abilities to resist the effects of stress on our bodies and help restore our bodies to normal functioning by regulating the adrenal stress response. Adaptogens also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that help protect cells from damage. Adaptogens are generally non-toxic, even with prolonged use (but of course, be sure to check with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns).
If you’ve wandered through the Bulk department or the baking section in Aisle 1, you know there are a plethora of sweet, sugary options to choose from. So many options, it may seem, that it can get difficult to choose! From white sugar to confectioners’ to turbinado, what’s the difference between them all?
Like carotenoids, flavonoids are another reason to “eat the rainbow.” Flavonoids are plant pigments that help plants attract pollinators, fight environmental stress, and regulate cell growth. But they are good for humans too!
You know how they say you should “eat the rainbow”? The reason is carotenoids. Carotenoids are the pigments that give food their vibrant colors of orange, yellow, and red. Think carrots, sweet potato, purple cabbage, tomatoes, kale, etc. Some varieties of carotenoids that you might be familiar with are beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein.