Monthly Archives: July 2016

Cucumber Recipe

Be Cool this Summer with Cucumber Facts: The Basics on Preparing and Storing Cucumbers

 

When shopping at your local farmers market this summer with your EBT SNAP benefits, impress your friends and family with your cucumber knowledge. Read below to become an expert on everything cucumbers, from preparing them to storing them.

What is a Cucumber?

Cucumbers are the fourth most widely cultivated “vegetable” in the world. Technically, cucumbers are fruits because they grow from the ovaries of flowering plants, but most people still refer to them as vegetables. Cucumbers can come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. They fall into two main categories: slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. Slicing cucumbers are intended for fresh consumption and pickling cucumbers are intended to be pickled.

Health Benefits of Cucumbers

Cucumbers are 90% water and contain multiple health benefits. They contain vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B5 and valuable minerals including manganese, potassium, and magnesium. Three types of phytonutrients (flavonoids, lignans, and triterpenes) can also be found in cucumbers which provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

Picking the Perfect Cucumber

When looking for the perfect cucumber at the farmers market, check for firmness. A cucumber should be firm, rounded on the edges, and medium to dark green in color. Stay away from yellow puffy cucumbers or ones with bruised areas. If you’re not a fan of seeds in your cucumbers, look for thin-skinned cucumbers which have less seeds.

Preparing Cucumbers

Slicing cucumbers are best served fresh and raw, but they can also be sautéed, fried, or even mixed in drinks. Cucumbers contain most of their nutrients in their seeds and their skin. It is advised, from a nutritional standpoint, to eat cucumbers with both. However, cucumbers have wax coatings on their skin. Organically grown cucumbers have non-synthetic waxes where conventionally grown cucumbers may have synthetic waxes and pesticides. If you choose to eat the skin, buy organic cucumbers to eliminate the risk of synthetic wax consumption. If buying organic is not an option, then thoroughly wash each cucumber with a brush or simply remove the skin before eating.

Pickling Cucumbers

Pickling cucumbers are designed to be pickled. Pickling refers to a method of preserving goods by soaking them in a liquid. The basic type of pickling is fermenting which is when cucumbers soak in varying solutions for an extended period of time. It is very easy to pickle your cucumbers at home. Pickling kits are typically sold at grocery stores.

Storing Cucumbers

To maximize your cucumbers’ freshness, store them at room temperature. Cucumbers are very sensitive to the sun so keep them out of direct sunlight or heat. Cucumbers are also highly reactive to ethylene, a plant hormone which initiates ripening in fruits and vegetables. To prevent this process from affecting your cucumbers, store them away from bananas, melons and tomatoes.

Check out what is being picked this week*:

Rhubarb, Beets, Cabbage, Kale, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Onions, Broccoli, Beans, Zucchini, Cherries, Raspberries, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Herbs, Blackberries, Peppers, Lima Beans, Eggplant, Potatoes, Peaches & Nectarines

 

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

Recipe of the Week:

Go Greek with this cucumber summer salad recipe!

 

 

Clinton Farmers Market

New York State Farmers Market Profile: Clinton Farmers Market

The Clinton Farmers Market is one of the largest markets in the Mohawk Valley region. It started twenty years ago with only a few vendors and now has over seventy! The location of the Clinton Farmers Market provides the picturesque farmers market setting for visitors. It’s bustling activity and occasional live music make it a great place to spend the day with family and friends. Learn more about about this spotlight farmers market and how you can use your EBT SNAP benefits.

When is it open?

The market runs on Thursdays from May 23 through October 6 from 10am – 4pm with extended hours on the third Thursday of each month from 10am – 6pm.

Where is it?

The market is located in the historic center of Clinton, NY on the Village Green. It central location is walking distance from many areas in town including the Clinton Central High School. A shuttle is provided by LutheranCare from Clinton Elementary School in July from 11 am-1pm. Hamilton College provides a Jitney Service from campus to the Village Green from 11am-1pm.

Does the market accept EBT SNAP Benefits?

The Clinton Farmers Market accepts EBT SNAP benefits. Look for the information tent at the market under the “Use Your SNAP Benefits Card to Get Tokens Here” banner. Shoppers can use their EBT SNAP benefits to purchase tokens at the manager’s booth. Tokens can be used farmers’ stands Your tokens can buy fruits, vegetables, plants that produce food, breads, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, maple and honey products, seeds for plants that produce food, baked goods intended for home consumption, jams, sauces, and soups. 

What is for sale at the market?

The market has over 70 vendors from across the Mohawk Valley. They sell locally grown fruits, vegetables, fresh-cut and dried flowers, jams, jellies, meats and cheeses, maple syrup, honey, baked goods, and much more.  There is also a selection of handmade arts & crafts items including beautiful watercolor paintings, jewelry, clothing, and many other interesting items for sale.

What makes the Clinton Farmers Market so special?

The Clinton Farmers Market is a very community oriented and family friendly market. It welcomes all visitors, locally and those from out-of-town. It’s upbeat atmosphere and live music in the gazebo make it the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Clinton Farmers Market also offers free booth space to non-profit, charitable organizations to support the local Clinton community.

For more information on the Clinton Farmers Market, visit their website at http://clintonnychamber.org/farmers-market.html.

Check out what is being picked this week*:

Potatoes, Rhubarb, Beets, Cabbage, Kale, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Onions, Snap Peas, Broccoli, Beans, Zucchini, Cherries, Raspberries, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Herbs, Blackberries & Peppers

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

Recipe of the week:

Try this healthy twist on a traditional Italian dish: Eggplant Parmesan!

Getting Kids To Eat Their Vegetables

Getting Your Kids to Eat Vegetable

As an adult, going to the farmers market and picking out fresh and local vegetables with your EBT SNAP benefits card is exciting. Unfortunately, your children may not be as enthused. If your child is a picky eater, it can be challenge to get them to eat healthy. Make the most of your farmers market produce and try these tips and recipes to get your kids to eat healthy foods!

  1. Get them cooking

If your children are involved in the food preparation process, from start to finish, they will be more inclined to eat the healthy dish. Take them to the farmers market and help them pick out the produce. Cooking together will not only be a quality experience but it will make your child feel involved and proud of the finished product.

  1. Pair vegetables with their favorite foods

Children will be more willing to try a new vegetable if it’s paired with their favorite food. Try adding vegetable toppings to a pizza or taco or mix in vegetables with a pasta dish. If your child is resistant, don’t give up. Your child’s taste preferences will change as they grow. It could be helpful to serve a familiar vegetable with a new one so your child will be more likely to eat them.

  1. Don’t force your child to eat vegetables

Although it is frustrating when your child will not eat their vegetables, it is not productive to yell or make ultimatums. DO NOT force your child to eat any food. This can cause emotional trauma surrounding the food and have them avoid eating it, even as adults. The best strategy is to ask them to eat small portions of the food to try, not clean their plate.

  1. Put them everywhere

When children are hungry, they usually pick what is easy and accessible. Your job as a parent is to make fruits and vegetables reachable snacks. Cut them up and put them in containers on low shelves in the fridge. If healthy snacks are already cut and ready to eat, your children will be more likely to choose them. Also, have snack-sized dips like hummus or ranch available to pair with raw vegetables.

  1. Set a good example

Children mimic their parents’ behavior. If they see you eating healthy foods, they will eat them as well. Eat the foods you are asking them to eat and be a role model for them. Teach them about healthy foods and nutrition and they will most likely adopt your ways.

If none of these tips work on your picky eater, try hiding vegetables in plain sight. Check out this website with over 100+ recipes kids will enjoy but secretly contain vegetables.

Check out what is being picked this week*:

Tomatoes, Herbs, Blackberries, Peppers, Lima Beans, Rhubarb, Beets, Cabbage, Kale, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Onions, Snap Peas, Broccoli, Beans, Zucchini, Cherries, Raspberries & Cucumbers

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

Recipe of the Week:

If your child is a chicken nugget fanatic, try this recipe for veggie nuggets. It may just get them to eat their vegetables.

Grilling Vegetables

Summer Time is Grilling Time: Tips to Grill Vegetables to Perfection

Once you’ve purchased your locally grown vegetables with your EBT SNAP card, the question becomes how should you cook them? The best way to eat vegetables in the summer is to grill them. Not only can you enjoy the summer weather and cook outside, but it can be done in less than 30 minutes. To grill to perfection this summer follow these tips:

  1. Know them.

Some vegetables are grown for the grill, while others do not fare so well. It is important to know which vegetables are best for the grill and how long they take to cook. Asparagus, corn, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, onions and cabbage are great grilling vegetables. Squash, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, and even romaine work well on the grill as well but beware of their cooking times. Denser vegetables like potatoes will take much longer where tomatoes grill quickly. Make sure to avoid grilling cucumbers, celery, and most leafy greens. Their high water content makes them hard to grill.

  1. Coat them.

When grilling vegetables, it is important to always coat them in cooking oil or marinade. Without oil, the vegetables will dry up when heated. Before grilling, make sure to toss your vegetables lightly in cooking oil or marinade and add some seasoning for flavor. Avoid adding too much because dripping oil can cause flare-ups and off flavors. The correct amount of cooking oil or marinade will keep your vegetables tender and help the seasoning stick.

  1. Cut them.

To minimize grill time, you want to make sure your vegetables have the most surface area touching the grill. Cut your larger vegetables in decent-sized chunks to maximize surface area. You don’t want to cut them too small or they will fall through the grill. Cutting your vegetables to similar thicknesses will also help them cook more evenly. Another tip to cooking vegetables more evenly is to separate your dense and delicate vegetables. Individually, sear each grouping over high heat then move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking.

  1. Kabob them.

Sometimes you can’t cut your vegetables into decent-sized pieces. Small vegetables like cherry tomatoes are prone to rolling around on the grill. To prevent them from falling, use a skewer and make kabobs with other small vegetables. Smaller pieces cook must faster than larger pieces on the grill. Placing your vegetables on a skewer is the best way to grill vegetables quick.

  1. Place them.

If your vegetables are too big for a skewer, use a grilling pan. A grilling pan is the perfect tool to keep vegetables from burning. Separate your dense and delicate vegetables in individual pans to account for varying cooking times. Watch each pan closely until the desired tenderness is reached. Remember, denser vegetables will take much longer to cook. If you do not have a grilling pan, aluminum foil can work as well to form small grilling baskets.

Now you’re ready to get grilling! Put your grilling skills to the test and try this recipe for Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad.

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Check out what is being picked this week*:

Broccoli, Beans, Zucchini, Cherries, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Beets, Cabbage, Cucumbers, Kale, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Scallions & Snap Peas

*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.

Recipe of the week:

Cherries are more than an Ice Cream Sundae Topper. Check out this cherry-filled sweet summer snack!