Eat Well for Winter

I associate holidays and other times of the year with delicious in-season produce that I am excited to see on my plate.  In the US, I look forward to the spring asparagus, summer cherries, and autumn squash varieties.  Eating seasonal produce provides us with the freshest and healthiest foods to protect our bodies during the cold and flu season.  Eating seasonal vegetables and fruits is also environmentally friendly as it reduces the miles from farm to table.  Lastly, it helps to support local providers like Rosa Grange Farm in my previous blog post.

Colorful fruits and vegetables
Colorful fruits and vegetables

Eating local produce will ensure that a variety of nutrient-dense, colorful foods ends up on our meal plate. The yellow, orange, red, white and deep green colors of fall and winter can provide the nutrition needed to avoid racking up the sick days.  We all know  people who swear by tonics or supplements that act as a cure-all remedy.  A magic potion would be amazing, but society has yet to invent one (if you find it, please let me know!).  While there are many factors at work and many approaches to get through flu season unscathed, eating well and sleeping well, together with exercise and stress reduction will always help.

While we may be familiar with what’s seasonal at home, what about seasonal produce here in Shanghai?  Look for these foods at the market or in your online store to help keep your defenses up against cold or flu during the coming months.  Add a variety, to ensure you are getting the required vitamins A, C & E, folate (folic acid) and antioxidants.

Fall

Fall Fruits: Grapes, Apples, Pomegranates, Dates, Pears, Guava.

Fall Vegetables: Potato, Okra, Taro, Chinese yam, Winter Melon, Indian bean, Snap Peas.

Fall Nuts / Spices: Chestnuts, Almonds, Ginger.

Winter

Winter Fruits: Grapefruit, Pumpkins, Passion fruit, Tangerines.

Winter Vegetables: Bok Choy, Yams, Cabbage, Carrots, Mushrooms, Leeks, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Turnips, Radish, Soybean, Chinese Pumpkin, Butternut Squash.

Winter Nuts/Spices: garlic, chestnuts.

All Seasons

All Varieties: Avocados, Lemons, Oranges, Cabbage, Lettuce (all leafy greens), Bananas, Celery, Cherry Tomatoes, Papayas, Parsnips, Rutabaga, Dragon Fruit, Bitter Melon, Daikon.

Be adventurous, expand your boundaries in the fruit and veg store……and Eat Well Shanghai! 😉

Jessica W.

Go Green this Fall

One of my favorite things about Shanghai in  September is the appearance of  green tangerines. If you have been walking the streets of Shanghai , you can not have missed the tempting piles of green tangerines that are starting to pop up on the street side fruit carts and in the markets.  These sensational seasonal fruits are mostly grown down south in Jiangxi  Province, so they don’t have to travel too far to get to Shanghai.

Don’t be put off by the green color , inside you will find the same sweet tangerine taste that you experience with the orange variety but in my opinion, the Shanghai fruit has a  far sweeter tang on the tongue.When buying a bunch to take home ( you can’t buy just one or two tangerines), look for fruit that is heavy in your hand and has a deep color.

Feel free to indulge yourself and your family  with this fruit. For about 50 calories per tangerine you get a powerful nutritional boost to your day. Like any citrus fruit, the green tangerine provides 87% of your daily vitamin C requirement and meets one quarter of your vitamin A needs. Remember that both these vitamins are vital to the health of your skin and immune system as well as being considered powerful antioxidants,  helpful chemicals that reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Along with vitamins this fruit  has a decent amount of fiber (think healthy intestinal tract) and generous amounts of potassium,calcium and magnesium.  All three of these minerals are factors in good bone growth and retention.

Finally but no less important is what  is NOT in these thirst quenching snacks,. The green tangerines, like all fruits, do not have any fat or sodium, two food ingredients that you want to reduce for a healthy heart.

This is what eating seasonally is all about. So go load up on green tangerines and enjoy autumn in Shanghai !

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun !

Snake Fruit

People always ask me if I ever left Shanghai, what would I miss.  That one is easy , I love the variety of fresh fruit available here. Bananas and apples are fine but there isn’t anything in the northeast United States that can compare with the seasonal fruits in Shanghai, especially at this time of the year.The lychees, rambutan, Dragon eye, mangos and mangosteens  turning up in the market these days are delightful to eat and chock full of nutrition.

One of the guiding principles here at EWS is that eating a variety of food is more nutritious and more fun, so in the interest of trying something new and fun, I ordered some Indonesian snake fruit or salak. I have to admit I was most intrigued by the look of the fruit. The peel really does look like brown snake skin.

I think this fruit would be really fun to show to children, especially those interested in reptiles and dinosaurs.  It has a prehistoric feel to it.

The fruit , or pod, is about the size and shape of a fresh fig. It is a very firm, I would even say hard fruit. It can be peeled by pinching the pointy end and removing the skin. You can also just make a small cut and start peeling. I found that once you had a piece of the skin removed the rest came off pretty easily.

The fruit inside is the texture and color of peeled garlic. The mild citrus flavor  and firm flesh make it a nice addition to a fruit salad. The flavor is a bit bland to eat by itself so I suggest serving it with other fruit and cheese.

Snake fruit is from the palm family and has traditionally been used in Indonesia to treat diarrhea. The fruit  has a good amount of vitamin C, some iron and a variety of flavonoids which are quite helpful in promoting a healthy immune system.

I am not sure snake fruit will be a regular on the table but it made a very interesting snack and reminded me that there is whole lot more food out there taste!

Snake fruit is available from Kate and Kimi (www.kateandkimi.com)

Looking for something exotic?  Check out the Jiashan weekend market this Saturday from a 11am-4 pm. Down the alley at #37 Lane 550 Shaanxi Lu near Shaoxing Lu.

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!

 

 

 

 

 

A Passion for Fruit

Seems like the longer I live here the less often I go away. For some reason every time my neighbor travels on a Golden Week, I am left here watching the local fireworks.  Generally before she leaves she cleans out the fridge and brings over all her perishables to me. A couple of holidays ago she brought over a stash and among the usual random assortment were two dusty brown, wrinkled balls. I took one look and said to myself, “great, now she wants me to take out her trash too.” But knowing how thoughtful my neighbor usually is I quickly decided there must be something of value here.

What the heck, I gave the dusty balls a good wash and split one open down the middle.  As soon as I saw the seed-filled yellow liquid ooze out on to the cutting board I knew what I had…passion fruit. Being from the northeast of the United States I had never seen a real live passion fruit. I had always had it mixed with something else.  What a surprising treat!

If you have never eaten a fresh passion fruit I highly recommend it. The yellow liquid that fills the inside has a lovely sweet-tart flavor. Some have described the flavor as similar to guava, but I am not fond of guava, and find the flavor far more distinctive. Swirl passion fruit through your yogurt or drizzle it over a light sponge cake. You can add the fruit  to smoothies or try a high protein passion fruit curd.

Passion Fruit  is not as rich in vitamins and minerals as other tropical fruits but it is a great source of fiber and a good source of vitamins A and C .  Full of flavor, passion fruit is low in calories, a mere 17/ one fruit and is also a low GL ( glycemic load) food, so it can fit easily into a weight-loss diet or as part of a diet for people with diabetes.

The actual message of this blog is that sometimes it pays to stay home during a vacation week. If it hadn’t been for my neighbor’s holiday, I might have never have discovered  how delicious fresh passion fruit can be.

Whether you are at home this week or traveling to some exotic local be sure to eat something you have never eaten before.  You just might be deliciously surprised.

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!