My Rouses Everyday, May & June 2018
Buying from local farms and businesses supports locals and can reduce environmental impacts, decreasing the distance between producer and customer and cutting fuel and greenhouse gas emissions. Did you know reduced processing and travel time may also mean local foods have more nutrients and better flavor?
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Watermelons
Allen Eubanks of Lucedale, Mississippi, has been farming for a quarter of a century. He’s the fourth generation in his family to work the soil, and watermelon is one of his sweetest crops. Since a whole one is 92% water, it offers a great way to stay hydrated in the summer. All that water also makes this fruit low in calories — a two-cup serving has just 80 calories and is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Look for a firm, symmetrical fruit free from bruises, cuts or dents. It should be heavy for its size. Whole watermelons at room temperature keep for up to 10 days; cut watermelon stays fresh in the fridge for up to four days.
Louisiana and Mississippi Blueberries
Blueberries prove that big things come in small packages. Straight from the farm of John Aust in Brooklyn, Mississippi, these tiny berries are bursting with benefits; they’re an excellent source of manganese, which helps the body process cholesterol and carbohydrates and aids in bone development. Store fresh unwashed blueberries in their packaging on the middle shelf of your refrigerator for seven to 10 days. They’ll last longer if you don’t wash them until you’re ready to use.
This season’s cucumbers are from Joey Liuzza in Amite, Louisiana — one farmer in a family of farmers across Louisiana. A little-known benefit of cucumbers? They’re rich in potassium. Potassium helps with blood pressure, heart health and nerve function. The average cucumber contains 442 mg of potassium but only has 45 calories, so it’s a great snack to help you meet the daily recommended 4,700 mg. Choose cucumbers that are firm and dark green. Rinse them, then wrap in paper towels and store them in an unsealed plastic bag in the refrigerator, where they should last for up to 10 days.
Okra may be fuzzy, but it’s also full of fiber, which keeps you full longer; it can also help lower cholesterol and aid in digestion. If you’re looking for stronger bones, okra just might help. One cup provides 66% of your Daily Value (DV) of vitamin K, which is important in blood clotting and essential in building bones. It also provides 50% of your DV of manganese, which research suggests may also be involved in bone formation. Pick okra that is crisp and bright green, and store it in the fridge.
Yellow Squash and Zucchini Squash
Louisiana has plenty of squash this summer — it’s coming from Matt Ranatza and Ben Becnel in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, and from Joey Liuzza in Amite. If you’re trying to eat light, squash is a good summer option — one medium-sized squash is roughly 30 calories and very low in carbohydrates, making it a good substitute for starchy vegetables like potatoes. Plus, it’s a rich source of vitamin C, which helps keep skin healthy. Squash will keep for about a week when stored in a cool, dry place.