Category Archives: fruits and vegetables

The Nutrition Benefits of Fall Fruits and Vegetables

Interestingly, consumption of fall vegetables has fallen in this country. It makes sense that if you believe in eating locally and in season, incorporating as many of these into your cooking as possible is a practical idea that our grandparents knew well. Many fall vegetables store for a long time.

At our house we love to eat curried squash soup and also roasted root vegetables tossed in oil and herbs such as rosemary. And, I appreciate cooking with onions more with each passing year. I can appreciate it that Indian’s riot over a lack of onions.

Eating fall vegetables is NOT a punishment and will help combat food waste, too.

From the USDA:

Americans consumed 49.7 pounds per person of traditional fall vegetables in their fresh form in 2012. Despite many of these traditional fall vegetables now being grown year-round in parts of the United States and eaten throughout the year, consumption has fallen 13.1 pounds per person since 1970.

Much of this decline is due to consumption of fresh potatoes falling from 46.6 pounds per person in 1970 to 26.8 pounds in 2012. Per person consumption of potatoes in all forms (fresh, frozen, canned, dehydrated, etc.) has also fallen—by 10.8 pounds over the last 40 years.

However, consumption of most of the other traditional fall vegetables in their fresh form has grown, including fresh onions, which were the second most consumed fresh fall vegetable at 8 pounds per person.

Consumption of fresh pumpkins and sweet potatoes combined was 1.5 pounds per person in 2012.

Which States Produce the Most Pumpkins? Illinois is Number 1.

I consider this good news, to find out that the fourth-top corn producing state of Illinois produces way more pumpkins than any other state. Next comes California, followed by Ohio and Michigan.

See the following chart and information about pumpkin growing from the USDA:

In 2013, the top 6 U.S. pumpkin producing states supplied over 1.13 billion pounds of pumpkins. Pumpkin production is widely dispersed, with crop conditions varying greatly by region.

Illinois remains the leading producer of pumpkins, with a majority of the state’s production processed into pie filling and other uses.

Supplies from the remaining top five pumpkin producing states are targeted primarily towards the seasonal fresh market for ornamental uses, as well as home processing.

Demand for specialty pumpkins continues to expand as consumers look for new and interesting variations. In addition to the traditional jack-o-lantern market, there is an increase in pumpkins available in alternative colors (white, blue, striped), shapes (oblong, upright), skin (deep veins, warts) and sizes.

Ten Basic Rules for Following the Mediterranean Diet


Still Life with Mackerels, Lemons and Tomatoes – Vincent van Gogh, 1886

Obesity is one of the world’s top health problems and the problem is growing worse each year. We, believe it or not, are in control of what we eat. No one is force-feeding us. Because the Mediterranean diet is both healthy and flavorful, it is possible to lose weight and control our weight without being deprived of delicious comfort foods.

As we northern hemisphere populations are entering our short, dark, winter days of the year during which people often put on some extra pounds, let’s take a look at the simple guidelines for following the Mediterranean Diet. Following this diet is not expensive, and the cooking required by it is simple. It allows for a great amount of flexibility and customization, too.

This diet also fits the smart adage “everything in moderation”. And don’t forget that the bottom line for the success of any diet is the portion size.

Keep yourself moving, too, and Bon appétit!

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1. Meals should be primarily vegetarian and include whole grains, legumes such as cooked dry beans, peas, or lentils, and vegetables. Use lots of herbs and seasonings for flavor.

2. Eat fruits and vegetables every day, several times a day. Good choices are tomatoes, grapes, broccoli, olives, spinach, eggplant, beans, peppers, and berries. Try to eat fresh, local, in season, or from your own garden. Include fermented olives and capers.

3. For dietary fat, use olive oil. Use it on breads, vegetables, and for cooking. Nuts are also good, especially walnuts.

4. Eat whole grains daily such as whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, oats, brown rice, and couscous.

5. Fish should be eaten a few times a week, especially oily fish like mackerel, tuna, salmon, trout, herring and sardines.

6. Dairy should only be eaten about once a week. Eat cheese and yogurt occasionally. Eggs should be limited to four per week.

7. Red Meat should be eaten only once every week or two, in a small portion size about equal to a deck of playing cards. Small portions of poultry, lamb or pork can also be eaten once a week, or so.

8. Dessert should be eaten only once a week. Ideas for fruit as dessert include broiled grapefruit with brown sugar, pears with honey, or baked apples with brown sugar and raisins.

9. A glass of red wine with one meal each day is fine. Drink plenty of water.

10. One of the healthy lifestyle secrets of the Mediterranean is to do moderate movement throughout the day such as noble work like sweeping the floor, gardening, or hanging out laundry, and walking or biking instead of driving to do errands and visit friends and family. Frequent social interactions and connections are also important, including dining with friends, family, and neighbors.

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This diet is a heart healthy diet and its environmental impacts are gentler on the land.