Living this conflicting era is a challenge. With news broadcasts telling us that pollinators are declining, the availability of food is threatened, budgets are getting tighter while prices of food climb and all the while experts tell us obtain nutrition from food. Getting the most out of the budget we are spending on food has fast become a priority. Cooking with nutrition in mind is the focus of our cookbook: From One Small Garden – Over 300 Delicious Nutritious Recipes. Despite common belief, it can be pretty simple to provide a healthy menu plan without a lot of extra shopping and spending. In fact, you can save quite a bit of money simply by being a little craftier and less wasteful.
Let’s start with the most common mistake, over-cooking. Over-cooking vegetables or any food for that matter dramatically reduces the nutrients. Therefore, choose to steam vegetables, rather than boiling them, and cook gently, so that the veggies still have texture and are a little stiff.
Avoid microwaving food – it is very simple to cover, and gradually warm leftover food; cover loosely with a sheet of foil and bake in a 300-325Ë oven for 20 min or so. The food will have the same texture as if it was freshly made and it will retain the flavours. If you do have to use a microwave, heat only to the point of being warm enough, but not piping hot.
Skins and seeds are packed with fibre and nutrients, so removing them is counterproductive. For tomato sauces, utilize a blender to make the skins and seeds smooth. If you make your own juice you are left with some pulp after the juice is extracted. Buy a food dehydrator for yourself so you can now use the dehydrated the pulp in a few different ways. In the case of vegetable pulp, dry and blend into a powder that you can then use to thicken soups, stews and casseroles. Fruit pulp can be sweetened with honey and made into a delicious fruit leather – or dry the pulp and blend into a powder to use in smoothies.
Humans are not the only ones to benefit from these powder mixes either. Dogs happen to love these dehydrated mixes, we simply scoop a half tablespoon of the powder on their meals, add some hot water and allow to cool before feeding them.
Foods will lose nutrients as soon as they are harvested and continue to lose nutrients as they age. Growing your own food in soil you have built and amended, is a great way to ensure your food has the optimum amount of nutrients. However, shopping locally at farmers markets can give you almost the same value. For centres where neither of these are options, there are always retail outlets that purchase locally grown food. Choosing these options ensures that your food is as fresh as possible.