Fun Asparagus facts...
It boosts your mood~
Asparagus is full of folate, a B vitamin that could lift your spirits and help ward off irritability. Researchers have found a connection between low levels of folate and vitamin B12 in people who are suffering from depression, leading some docs to prescribe daily doses of both vitamins to patients with depression. Asparagus also contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that has been similarly linked to improved mood.There are three varieties of asparagus~
American and British, which is green; French, which is purple; and Spanish and Dutch, which is white. The most common type of asparagus is green; the white asparagus is more delicate and is difficult to harvest; the purple asparagus is smaller and fruitier in flavor.
Fruit or Vegetable?
Vegetable. Asparagus was once classified in the lily family, along with onions and garlic, but it’s now considered part of the Asparagaceae family. Asparagus thrives in any area where the ground freezes during winter or goes through dry seasons, and it’s difficult to grow the crop in mild or wet areas.
Basic nutritional facts~
Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food that is high in folic acid and is also a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and vitamin C, and thiamine. Extensive research into asparagus nutrition has resulted in this funny-looking vegetable being ranked among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to reduce the effect of cell-damaging free radicals.
Why does Asparagus make your urine smell?
~ It's totally normal. In fact, the effect of asparagus on urine odor has been observed for centuries. French novelist Marcel Proust famously wrote in 1913 that asparagus "transforms my chamber-pot into a flask of perfume." And one British men's club is said to have put up a sign reading, "During the asparagus season, members are requested not to relieve themselves in the hat stand."
Depending on which study you read, between 22% and 50% of the population report having pungent pee after eating asparagus. But that doesn't mean only some people's bodies generate that smell. Researchers believe that, during digestion, the vegetable's sulfurous amino acids break down into smelly chemical components in all people. And because those components are "volatile," meaning airborne, the odor wafts upward as the urine leaves the body and can be detected as soon as 15 minutes after you eat this spring delicacy.
But only about one-quarter of the population appears to have the special gene that allows them to smell those compounds. So the issue isn't whether or not your pee is smelly; it's whether you're able to smell it. If you smell a funny fragrance in your urine after you eat asparagus, you're not only normal, you have a good nose.
- Beets are always a lot of fun!There are so many things to do with them.
- Beets are an extremely nutritious food source for your family. They also happen to be really tasty and delicious. Beets are packed with vitamins and minerals: vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C, choline, folic acid, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, iron, calcium, copper and phosphorus.
- Easy to eat: Beets can be purchased from the market and stored for days in the refrigerator. Simply, slice couple of beets and store them in the refrigerator. Every time you feel hungry or feel the need to munch something, have the beets you saved earlier. No cooking required and cold beets taste good as well.
- Beets fight cancer. Studies show beet juice inhibits the formation of cancer-causing compounds, particularly in the colon and stomach.
- They prevent heart and vascular diseases. Beet greens and roots contain the phytochemical betacyanin, which reduces levels of the homocysteine, an amino acid related to heart and vascular diseases. Plus, compounds in beets dissolve inorganic calcium deposits that cause arteries to harden.
- Beets guard against Alzheimer's and dementia. Nitrates in beets open the blood vessels and increase blood flow to the brain, which can help prevent cognitive disorders in older adults.
- Beets are good for your eyes. The lutein and zeaxanthin in beets support macular and retinal health.
- They help lower blood pressure — and prevent clotting and inflammation.
- They help you exercise longer. Researchers at the University of Exeter in the U.K. published a study in theJournal of Applied Physiology (Aug. 6, 2010), reporting that a nitrate in beet juice increases stamina and makes exercise less tiring, allowing people to exercise 16 percent longer.
- Beets are good for your skin. Beets contain vitamin A, which maintains healthy skin and mucus membranes as well as protects against lung and mouth cancers.
- You can have beets in the raw form as well as boiled, steamed or sautéed forms. You can also have the juice of fresh beets. However the juice of beet has a very strong taste and may not be like by all, but beet juice is an excellent health tonic. You can mix beet juice with carrot juice and apple juice to reduce the strong taste.
- Beets are natural blood cleanser and colon cleanser.
How to Make a Beet Stamp
- 1 dark red beet
- pairing knife
- blank cards
- Trim the top + bottom of the beet off.
- Wash and dry the beet.
- Slice the beet in half from the stem end to the bottom.
- With a pairing knife, carefully draw a heart into the cut side of the beet.
- Carefully carve away around the drawn heart so the heart stands out about 1/8 – 1/4 inch.
- Lightly wet the heart with a damp paper towel and press onto your card.
- Re-wet lightly as needed and let your card fully dry.
- I found it worked best to place the bottom tip of the heart on the paper first and then continue to press the rest down. This worked better than simply pressing it down flat.
- If you’re not getting the full shape of the heart to show up, try scraping the surface of the heart carefully with a pairing knife to help smooth it out. If it’s still not working, you may want to try again on the other half of the beet.
- Cutting the heart out this way worked much better than cutting the beet-half into the shape of a heart as shown in the 3rd photo of this post.
Taste testing beets:
Roast different colors of beets, and see which is the favorite.
- Painting with pomegranates. You only need a few seeds to make juice.
- To Deseed a Pomegranate:
- Step 1
Score the fruit around the midline. Cut deep enough to pierce the skin, but shallow enough that you don’t cut into the seeds inside.
Pull apart the two halves. (Put your thumbs into the cuts and yank the pomegranate open, if need be.)
Submerge the two halves in a bowl of water and gently push the edges down and away to open the fruit. The water will soften the pith (the white tissue under the skin of the fruit).
Turn the half upside down and thwack the bejeezus out of it with the back of a spoon. Seeds will tumble out into your hand and the bowl of water below.
Inspect your handiwork. Look at the pomegranate half and release any stragglers with your hands or another whack of the spoon.
Seeds will sink to the bottom. Scoop any floating pith out of the water with a slotted spoon or sieve.
Drain the water. Now you have pomegranate seeds, ready to eat!
- Health Benefits:
- They are an anti-inflammatory: They could provide relief of chronic inflammatory conditions and have anti-aging effects.
- Research from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing notes that it's a heart-healthy fruit that can help reduce blood pressure.
- Chinese researchers found that a polyphenol in pomegranate might help reduce obesity caused by high-fat diets and protect against metabolic disorders.
- The strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranate might help protect skin against sun-induced damage.
- Pomegranate has been recognized for its antimicrobial effects. For example, the dried powder of pomegranate peel has been shown to strongly inhibit candida and yeast.
- An international team of researchers led by the University of Huddersfield discovered that a natural polyphenol compound found in pomegranate can inhibit inflammation in specialized brain cells, to help prevent or slow down Alzheimer's development.
- Fun Pomegranate Facts:
- The word pomegranate means apple with many seeds.
- Pomegranates are native to the Middle East.
- Pomegranates belong to the berry family.
- Pomegranates are classified as a super fruit.
- Pomegranates can be stored up to 2 months in the refrigerator.
- Pomegranates grown in the United States are typically in season from September to December.
- Pomegranates do not contain cholesterol or saturated fats.
- Pomegranate trees grow in hot and dry climates.
- Pomegranate trees are grown commercially and domestically (in home gardens).
- Pomegranate trees can live for over 200 years.
- Pumpkin bowling or pumpkin toss.This will get kids up and out of seats if needed, to help grab attention.
- Taste testing different flavors of pumpkin seeds.
- Plant a pumpkin in a pumpkin: If you can get your hands on enough mini pumpkins you can give on to each child and have them try this fun activity. -Start with a mini pumpkin, hollow out the inside, set a few of the seeds aside.then place either planting soil or seed starter inside of the small pumpkin, plant the seeds inside, water daily and watch it grow. once the seedlings start sprout and grow roots transfer into the ground.
*Raw spinach tasting is a must, I think kids will be surprised how yummy it is!
*You could also have a variety of dipping sauces for them to try or,
*mini salad bar and have them make their own salads.
*Spinach Fun Facts: You could play a trivia game with these...
- Spinach is a cool season crop and belongs to the goose foot family along with Swiss chard and beets. Spinach is low in calories, and is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and minerals, especially iron.
- Spinach is a native plant of Persia (modern day Iran). It was introduced to China in the 7th century. It was most probably brought to Europe in about the 12th century and to the US in 1806.
- Reflecting its origin, spinach is still widely known in China as “the Persian Green”.
- March 26th is National Spinach Day.
- Spinach is best eaten fresh. It loses nutritional properties with each passing day. Although refrigeration slows the deterioration, half of the major nutrients are lost by the eighth day after harvest. (For long term storage, freeze while fresh.) When fresh, it has crisp leaves. As they deteriorate, the leaves turn limp.
- “Florentine” is a common part of names of recipes where spinach is a significant ingredient. Florence in Italy was the home town of Catherine de Medici, a lover of spinach, who married the King of France in the 16th century.
- In the 1930’s U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption – a welcome boost to an industry during the depression era.
- The spinach growing town of Crystal City, Texas, erected a statue of Popeye in 19317.
- In 2005, the national yield of commercial spinach was approximately 350,000 tons and is growing annually.
- In March 2005, Bon Appetit magazine’s annual survey showed that 56% of respondents said that spinach was their favorite vegetable.
- The U.S. is only the world’s second largest producer of spinach, producing a mere 3% of global production. China is the world’s largest spinach producer with 85% of global production.
- Spinach grows best in cool (not freezing) moist conditions, such as spring and autumn, and grows well in sandy soils.
- Spinach leaves are a mild diuretic and mild laxative.
- Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint.
- Taste testing would be fun with Kiwis.
- Kiwifruit's Potential Protection against Asthma
- Kiwifruit Offers Premier Antioxidant Protection
- Very good source of dietary fiber. The fiber in kiwifruit has also been shown to be useful for a number of conditions. Researchers have found that diets that contain plenty of fiber can reduce high cholesterol levels, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Fiber is also good for binding and removing toxins from the colon, which is helpful for preventing colon cancer. In addition, fiber-rich foods, like kiwifruit, are good for keeping the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients under control.
- Kiwifruit is a Delicious Way to Enjoy Cardiovascular Health
In 1961, Chinese Gooseberries made their first appearance at a restaurant in the United States and were subsequently "discovered" by an American produce distributor who felt that the U.S. market would be very receptive to this uniquely exotic fruit. She initiated the import of these fruits into the United States in 1962, but to meet what was felt to be burgeoning demand, changed its name from Chinese Gooseberry to kiwifruit, in honor of the native bird of New Zealand, the kiwi, whose brown fuzzy coat resembled the skin of this unique fruit. Currently, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, France, Japan and the United States are among the leading commercial producers of kiwifruit.
- Kiwifruits are so delicious that they can be eaten as is. They can be peeled with a paring knife and then sliced or you can cut them in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. You can also enjoy the skins which are very thin like a Bosc pear and are full of nutrients and fiber; the peachlike fuzz can be rubbed off before eating.