Though many of us associate maple syrup with the autumn months, it’s actually early spring when the sap begins to flow. So all this month, maple trees throughout the Northeastern states are being tapped to cultivate the thick, sweet goodness that we call maple syrup.
The process will continue over the next few weeks when the sap is boiled until most of the water evaporates, and it eventually becomes the concentrated syrup we know. During this time, the chemical changes that occur will develop the color, flavor, and nutritional benefits of the syrup.
First discovered by the Native Americans and early European settlers in the mid 1500’s, maple syrup has come to be an American household staple. Best known for being drizzled over a hot stack of pancakes, or used to naturally sweeten baked goods, maple syrup can be found in pantries throughout the country.
In the United States, maple syrup is divided into two major grades, Grade A and Grade B, and Grade A is further divided into three subgrades: Continue reading
This month March, is National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” While of course, it is important to eat foods that are nutritious, taste is a key reason why people choose to eat what they do. Pairing good nutrition with great taste creates a win-win situation. National Nutrition Month, created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is a nutrition education campaign which focuses on the importance of making good food choices.
One way to “put your best fork forward” is to include a colorful diet. My suggestion, when choosing fruits and vegetables, is that you choose a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables as different antioxidants exist in the different color spectrums. The deep orange color found in cantaloupe and sweet potatoes contains beta carotene. The dark blue color of blueberries contains polyphenols which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The deep red pigment found in tomatoes and watermelon contains the antioxidant lycopene.
Below (in alphabetical order) are several nutrition powerhouses, of varying colors and nutrients that I love to include in my diet and highly recommend. Continue reading