June Is National Fruit And Vegetable Month

Published 4:21 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month — what better way to celebrate the first month of summer!

Fresh garden produce is a great way to get a healthy dose of summer — not to mention phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are natural fruit and vegetable compounds that help prevent cancer. When the body absorbs phytochemicals, vitamins, and fiber from plant-based foods they work in different ways, from shielding cell membranes from damage to affecting rates of cell division key to the cancer process.

While many nutritional supplements on the market claim to give the same benefits, researchers believe that fresh fruit and vegetables are more beneficial. “Deodorized garlic, for example, has wiped out at least half of its beneficial sulfur compounds,” stated Dr. John Potter, senior advisor of the Cancer Prevention Research Program.

The federal government has issued new dietary guidelines for Americans to follow in selecting foods that promote good health. Not surprisingly, the fifth edition of the “Dietary Guidelines” emphasizes a balanced, moderate diet that includes a variety of food choices, particularly grains, fruit and vegetables.

Today’s recipes offer a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables: Zucchini & Sugar Snap Peas, Baby Potatoes with Rosemary, Roasted Vegetables, Maine Blueberry Tart.

ZUCCHINI & SUGAR SNAP PEAS

1 T. oil, 3 sm. zucchini, cubed

½ lb. sugar snap peas, 2 green onions, chopped

1 T. fresh oregano, chopped, ¾ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. coarse ground pepper

In nonstick 12-inch skillet in hot oil, cook zucchini, snap peas (stems and strings removed), green onions, oregano, salt, and pepper for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently until vegetables are golden and tender crisp. Serves 6.

BABY POTATOES WITH ROSEMARY

5 lb. new potatoes, ¼ c. olive oil

2 T. fresh parsley, chopped, 1-1/2 tsp. salt

½ tsp. coarse black pepper, rosemary sprigs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place potatoes (halved or quartered, if large) in large roasting pan; toss with olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast potatoes 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally with spatula until golden and fork tender. Garnish with rosemary sprigs. Serves 10.

ROASTED GARDEN VEGETABLES

4 lg. unpeeled potatoes, cubed, 1 med. red onion, cubed

6 oz. baby carrots, ½ lb. yellow squash

½ lb. green beans, stemmed, 2 lg. red peppers

2 lg. yellow peppers, 1 T. thyme, minced

½ tsp. coarse black pepper, 1 lg. lemon, sliced thin

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In large roasting pan toss potatoes and onion with 1 T. oil and ½ tsp. salt. Roast 15 minutes. Add carrots, yellow squash (cut in 2-in. chunks), thyme, black pepper, 2 T. oil, 1 tsp. salt, and half the lemon slices. Continue roasting 45 minutes, turning vegetables with spatula twice until they are golden and tender. Arrange on platter and garnish with remaining lemon slices. Serves 10.

MAINE BLUEBERRY TART

1-1/2 c. flour, ¾ c. flacked coconut, toasted

3 T. sugar, ¼ tsp. salt

1 stick cold butter, cut up, 1-1/2 c. plus 2 T. milk

1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding, ½ c. heavy cream, whipped

1-1/2 pt. blueberries

About 1-1/2 hours before serving preheat oven to 375 degrees. Into bowl measure flour, coconut, sugar and salt. With fingertips blend in margarine or butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With fork mix in 2 T. milk until moistened. Press mixture onto bottom and sides of an 11 x 1-inch round tart pan with removable bottom. With fork, prick tart shell all over to prevent puffing and shrinkage. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Cool tart shell on wire rack. When cool, carefully remove sides of pan. Prepare filling: in medium bowl prepare instant pudding as label directs but only use 1-1/2 cups milk. With spatula fold whipped cream into pudding; evenly spoon into cooled tart shell. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes to set. Just before serving pile blueberries on top of tart. Serves 12.