The fall is a busy time as our thoughts and activities revolve around harvesting and preserving. This year we are aware of more and more canning classes being offered in community kitchen settings. While canning has its’ valued spot in food preservation there are many other forms of food preservation that are as important and relevant to consider.
For the past 10 years Fresh Choice Kitchens has focused primarily on the two canning methods for food preservation. We are now making plans to incorporate others preservation methods into our training workshops to encourage individuals and communities to be open to and select a food preservation method that best suits their needs, budget, access and timeframe. We aim to facilitate a broader offering for up-to-date and safe food preservation methods in a community setting. Stay tuned for our Train the Trainer food preservation workshops in Spring 2012.
Enjoy the recipes from Chef Karen Barnaby included in this issue and the relevant information contributed by HealthLink BC about one of the year’s biggest and tastiest harvests, root vegetables.
at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society
Here's an updated version of an article we had in last year's newsletter (Vol 3, Issue 5).
This new version was prepared by
HealthLink BC Dietitians, Lori Bryce and Stephanie Bertani
Beets, turnips, potatoes, carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes are some of the more common root vegetables. ‘Yams,’ an orange variety of sweet potatoes, are also a popular choice. Many of these root vegetables are grown locally in BC. Local growing seasons are:
- Beets: July-October
- Carrots: July-November
- Parsnips: August-April
- Potatoes: June-October
- Turnips: May-February
Some ideas for preparing root vegetables:
- Mash together cooked carrots, parsnips and turnips – add a little minced garlic or garlic powder and a dab of butter or non-hydrogenated margarine.
- Toss root vegetables in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add dried rosemary and roast in a 400° F oven.
- Make oven fries by cutting sweet or white potatoes into coins or strips, toss with a little olive oil and bake in a 400° degree F oven.
- Add raw grated carrots or carrot coins to salads such as coleslaw or tossed salads.
- Add carrots, parsnips, potatoes and turnips to fall and winter soups.
- Use colourful beets in soups (such as borscht), salads, pickles, or eat them roasted or glazed.
Root Vegetable Nutrition
Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating a variety of vegetables and fruit including at least one dark green and one orange vegetable (such as carrots or sweet potatoes) everyday. One cup of root vegetables at a meal is a good portion size for most adults.
Root vegetables contain carbohydrate, fibre and certain vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates in root vegetables provide us with energy. Some examples of the vitamins and minerals contained in root vegetables and their functions include:
- Vitamin C which is found in potatoes, turnips and sweet potatoes. It is an antioxidant that may help keep your immune system healthy.
- Beta-carotene is found in sweet potatoes and carrots. It is a precursor of vitamin A, and is an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.
- Niacin is found in potatoes and sweet potatoes. It helps your body get energy from the food you eat.
- Potassium is found in sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips, beets, carrots and turnips. It is important for the health of your nerves and muscles, and may help lower blood pressure.
Storing Root Vegetables
Proper storage of root vegetables is needed to prevent spoilage and to maintain quality. See the chart below for storage information. See chart in the printer-friendly version of this article
|Vegetable||How to Store||Tips|
|Beets||3-4 weeks in the fridge||Cut off tops before storing|
|Carrots (young)||2 weeks covered in the fridge||Cut off tops before storing|
|Carrots (mature)||3-4 weeks covered in the fridge||Cut off tops before storing|
|Parsnips||3-4 weeks in the fridge|
|Turnips||1 week in the fridge|
|Sweet Potatoes||1 week uncovered in a cool, dry, dark area, or 3-4 weeks if it is stored at an ideal temperature of 13-16 °C|
|Potatoes (new)||1 week in the fridge||Cut off any green area before cooking|
1-2 weeks in a paper bag at room temperature; 2-3 months in a cool
(7-10 °C), dry, dark area
|Cut off any green area before cooking|
The taste and nutrition of these vegetables can decline if they are stored longer than the times shown in the chart, but they can still be safe to eat. Vegetables are not safe when they show signs of spoilage such as being moldy, mushy or having black spots. Discard spoiled vegetables.
Root vegetables have a natural protective coating and should not be washed before storing. Before preparing or eating root vegetables, wash them under cold running water, even if you plan to peel them. Use a clean produce brush to scrub vegetables with a hard surface. Discard cut vegetables that have been held at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
It is important to store potatoes away from natural and artificial light to reduce the production of glycoalkaloid toxin. Greening, sprouting or bruising can indicate that the potato has an increased amount of the toxin. Cutting away green parts, bruises, sprouts, eyes and flowers, and peeling the potato helps reduce the level of toxin. Do not eat a potato that tastes bitter or causes a burning sensation in the mouth. Throw away the potato if it is too green.
Storing mature potatoes at cold temperatures, such as in the refrigerator, causes the starch in the potato to change to sugar. During cooking, the sugar can caramelize, giving the potatoes an unpleasant sweet flavour and brown discoloration. These potatoes are still safe to eat.
Using the basement, garage or cupboard in your home may be suitable for storage of potatoes if it is cool (7-10 °C), dark and dry. Root cellars and cold rooms are also suitable.
For food safety information about buying, storing and washing fresh fruits and vegetables, refer to this link: Handling Produce Safely (Health Canada) http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/kitchen-cuisine/safety-salubrite/handling-manipulation-eng.php
For more information about Canada’s Food Guide To Healthy Eating (Health Canada) view the link at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php
Where can I get more information?
Dietitian Services at HealthLink BC provides free nutrition information and resources for BC residents and health professionals. Go to. www.healthlinkbc.ca or call 8-1-1.
Disclaimer: Dietitian Services at HealthLinkBC cannot be held responsible for information published or broadcasted or posted more than one month after the date submitted. Text supplied by Dietitian Services at HealthLinkBC can only be used in its entirety unless specific permission is given.
UPDATE ON THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE COMMUNITY KITCHEN PROJECT (DECK)
We are sad to say goodbye to Pedro Ramirez, a community kitchen coordinator for DECK. We thank him for his wonderful contribution to DECK and wish him all the best in the future. Please take a look at our recent job posting for this part time community kitchen coordinator position. We’d also like to thank the management and residents of the Stanley, Beacon, Tamura and Sakura-So hotels for stepping up and running their own community kitchens while we fill the DECK position. You guys rock!
We recently had an appreciation luncheon for the sponsors, volunteers & partners of DECK. Representatives from SoleFood, Arctic Meats, Neighbourhoold Helpers came as did representatives from 27 W. Pender, Flint, 666 Powell, Oasis, Antoinette Lodge, Lookout Society and Vancouver Native Housing (see photo in sidebar). Thank you all for your assistance. Visit our website for an updated list of DECK kitchens and DECK sponsors .
These resources have recently been added to our website's Tools and Resources database. Remember to search our database for more handy websites, fact sheets, handouts for your community kitchen!
Click on the titles below to see more information about the resource..
TAKE A BITE OF BC
Take a Bite of BC was developed by BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation in partnership with the BC Culinary Arts Association, BC agricultural commodity groups and BC producers. BC grown products are donated to the program and delivered to participating school teaching kitchens over a four-month period. The program provides an opportunity for Chef Instructors to feature locally grown product in secondary school teaching kitchens. Students gain experience working with fresh products and begin to develop an appreciation for farmers in their community as they connect with the foods that are grown around them and learn about the benefits of eating healthy, fresh and local.
THE STATE OF FOOD INSECURITY IN THE WORLD 2011
This report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) highlights the differential impacts that the world food crisis of 2006-08 had on different countries, with the poorest being most affected. While some large countries were able to deal with the worst of the crisis, people in many small import-dependent countries experienced large price increases that, even when only temporary, can have permanent effects on their future earnings capacity and ability to escape poverty. This year’s report focuses on the costs of food price volatility, as well as the dangers and opportunities presented by high food prices. Climate change and an increased frequency of weather shocks, increased linkages between energy and agricultural markets due to growing demand for biofuels, and increased financialization of food and agricultural commodities all suggest that price volatility is here to stay. The report describes the effects of price volatility on food security and presents policy options to reduce volatility in a cost-effective manner and to manage it when it cannot be avoided.
FOOD SAFETY: CANADIA's AWARENESS, ATTITUDES & BEHAVIOURS - FULL REPORT (109 pages) and EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. July 20, 2011.
Submitted to Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Prepared by Leger Marketing (Report POR 048-10) The core objective of this research report was to assess changes in the perceptions, attitudes andrnbehaviours of Canadians as it relates to food safety. A two-pronged methodology was devised for this research. A quantitative survey was used to measure public opinions on food safety and provide data for comparison with researchrnconducted previously by the CFIA while qualitative focus groups were also used to provide a deeper understanding behind the quantitative findings.
The NUU-CHAH-NULTH TRADITIONAL FOODS TOOLKIT
A six-booklet collection now available online—teaches that food security begins at home. Developed by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council fisheries department (Uu-a-thluk), the booklets contain exclusive content for harvesting, preparing and eating traditional foods found on Vancouver Island’s west coast. These foods include sockeye salmon, herring spawn, goose barnacles, sea urchins, chitons, wild roots, and eelgrass.
Dietitians of Canada and GS1 Canada have teamed up to make it easier for Canadians to get the ‘nutrition facts’ on the foods they eat. Eatwise.ca lets you look up common foods and view the nutrients they contain. Nutrition information is provided for the nutrients listed on the Nutrition Facts table found on food labels including: calories, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fibre, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. You can search for food items within a brand or within a food category (e.g. grains, baked products, fast food, fruit and fruit juices, vegetables and vegetable products, fats and oils, legumes, dairy and egg products, beef products, etc.).
FARMERS' MARKET NUTRITION AND COUPON PROJECT (FMNCP) RESOURCE KIT
This tool designed by the BC Association of Farmers' Markets was created to help communities launch and sustain their own community-based coupon programs. The FMNCP Resource Kit is a step-by-step guide for farmers' markets and community groups, with tips, templates and resources from four grass roots community-run FMNCPs (Fort St. James, Revelstoke, Squamish and Surrey).
Cost: First Run Pricing is $25/CD plus HST for members and $35/CD plus HST for non-members. For information call 604-734-9797 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
VANCOUVER COASTAL HEALTH (VCH) COMMUNITY FOOD ACTION INITIATIVE (CFAI) EVALUATION REPORT and
This report presents the findings of an external evaluation of VCH CFAI, a Provincially funded, health promotion initiative that supports community-led solutions to improve food security in VCH communities. The VCH CFAI used a supported community development approach to improving food security in VCH communities with a focus on vulnerable populations since 2005.