NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665
April 20, 2000
I presume many people would not think of me if they were asked to pick a person they know who embraces change. The fact that my wife Nicki and I bought our first microwave only a few years ago does make a statement, but it doesn't tell the complete story.
First of all, my shunning of a microwave was more of a quality consideration--the poor quality of much of the food coming out of these contraptions. But I'm not a Luddite. I do appreciate technology that immediately benefits me without requiring much effort on my part. Take my electric knife sharpener for example.
Likewise, I favor all types of natural change--seasonal change, that is--because without it, life could become a bowl of perpetual cherries. In other words: a frozen state of repetition, giving way to blandness and then utter tastelessness.
Every Northern Hemisphere gardener who raises tomatoes is no doubt motivated by the vine-ripened perfection arriving first in July (hopefully) and no doubt infuriated by those out-of-season cardboard caricatures arriving on the scene after the sun has made its second annual trek across the equator. Green peppers reflecting the January fluorescence of the produce section have a completely different "personality"--sour and somewhat somber--compared to the brighter, perkier fruits I can pluck from plants growing in the full August sun of my backyard.
In our quest for seasonal freshness, most of us probably track the growing cycles of our backyard varieties more closely than we do those for "foreigners," such as citrus fruit and kiwi. But should we? Shouldn't we also be arming ourselves with information that can help us predict peak-of-season succulence for the fruits and vegetables we ship in?
One case in point involves limes: Even though Persian limes are available year-round in the United States, the peak season for Persian limes extends only from May through August. The beverage recipe that follows offers a refreshing way to enjoy the zing of lime. Drink up while toasting another season of change.
Adapted from SOAR--the Searchable Online Archive of Recipes, University of California, Berkeley (http://soar.Berkeley.EDU/recipes/)
Yield: 2 servings
1 large ripe banana
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 ice cubes
1½ cups skim (fat-free) milk
½ cup vanilla-flavored non-fat yogurt
Peel kiwi and banana and cut into large chunks. Place fruit, lime juice and ice cubes in food processor or blender. Process until blended. Add milk and yogurt and process for another five to 10 seconds, scraping down sides of container with rubber spatula. Pour shake into two glasses and serve.
What's Your Take on This, Julie?
Here's a cool, nutritious shake with an exotic twist. A generous serving (half the recipe) contains 200 calories, 1.2 grams of fat, more than 4 grams of fiber, a full day's supply of vitamin C and one-third of the daily calcium recommendation. So, why not try a Kiwi-Lime Shake or another type of fruit smoothie for a quick breakfast or snack?
Kiwis were originally called "Chinese gooseberries" due to their Asian origin, but later they were renamed after a small flightless bird native to New Zealand. Perhaps bird-like in appearance, these small oval fruits with fuzzy brown skins and green flesh are nonetheless nutrient dense and rich in antioxidants and other plant chemicals that may reduce our risk for cancer and heart disease. One kiwi contains about 45 calories and 2.5 grams of fiber, and it provides a full day's recommendation for vitamin C--all this and less than a gram of fat. Plus kiwis taste good.
Compared to many beverages, a refreshing Kiwi-Lime Shake is calcium rich. Research continues to show that Americans of all ages are in a calcium crisis. On average, those in their 20s consume only 700 milligrams (mg), which is 300 mg short of the 1,000-mg daily goal for that age group. People older than age 65 consume, on average, only 600 mg--half their daily recommendation of 1,200 mg. Among teens, only 35 percent of boys and 14 percent of girls meet the 1,300-mg goal for their age group. The average teen guzzles about a quart of soda each day but sips less than 1.5 cups of milk.
Why is calcium such an issue? Not only does calcium help maintain the strength of our bones and teeth, it also plays a role in the functioning of muscles (including the heart), nerves and blood clotting. Recent research also is showing its role in reducing the risk of colon cancer, high blood pressure, kidney stones and lead toxicity. Bone is the body's reserve source or "bank" of calcium; if you continue to make withdrawals from your calcium bank, you'll end up with an overdraft: porous or "holey" bones, and possibly even the debilitating disease osteoporosis in later years.
The good news is there are many good sources of calcium available, and you don't necessarily need to take a supplement to meet your needs. Any type of milk--skim (fat-free), low-fat, whole, even chocolate--provides about 300 milligrams per cup. Most nutrition professionals recommend plain or flavored fat-free or low-fat milk to reduce the level of calories and fat in the overall diet. The bonus with milk is that it's fortified with vitamin D, which helps your body use calcium.
Yogurt contains about 415 mg of calcium per cup, cheddar cheese contains about 200 mg per ounce and broccoli contains about 70 mg per half-cup. Plus there's a vast assortment of calcium-fortified foods in supermarkets, including cereals and orange juice, which are fairly well absorbed.
Some people have an inability to digest the sugar in milk (lactose intolerance), which leads to bloating, gas and diarrhea after eating dairy products. But recent studies are showing that even those diagnosed with lactose intolerance can drink 1 or 2 cups of milk a day without suffering the consequences if they drink the milk when eating a meal or snack.
So, set down your soda pop can or coffee cup and try something a little different--and calcium-containing. You just may enjoy the change.
Sources: Dean Hulse (701) 231-6136
Julie Garden-Robinson (701) 231-7187
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