Dessert Delight

Dessert Delight

Take Your Pick

You know that fruits and vegetables are an important part of a well balanced diet. But which form? canned, fresh or frozen. Which packs the biggest nutritional punch? Most people would answer fresh, and this is true, if you're picking from your own backyard or purchasing produce that is native to your area from a local farmer's market. But, if you are purchasing from a grocery-store chain or buying produce that is not currently in season, the fruits and vegetables have likely traveled across country (or farther) to arrive in your produce section.  When vegetables travel great distances, they are exposed to extreme temperatures which release their key nutrients, like vitamins A and C.  Often, these vegetables also have been harvested before they are ripe (before the vitamins and nutrients have a chance to fully develop within the vegetable).

If you can't find fresh vegetables or are looking for produce that is not in season, frozen is a good alternative. Frozen vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness, then blanched and flash-frozen to remove bacteria and lock in their essential vitamins and nutrients.  The faster they are frozen after picking, the more nutrients they will retain. Plus, while fresh veggies have a lifespan of only a week to two at best, frozen veggies can last much longer in the safety of your freezer. For the most nutritious frozen fruits and veggies, select varieties prepared with little or no added salt, sugar or syrup and avoid choices with breading and sauces.

Canned vegetables can lose some of their vitamin C in the heating process during canning but when they are handled and canned quickly, much like frozen foods, the majority of nutrients are locked in and retained. If you opt for canned, do not purchase or use cans with dents, cracks, rust, punctures, or bulges, these are signs that the food inside could be unsafe. Immediately discard a canned product if it shows signs of swelling or it there's leaking from the can.

Country Ham Steak with Red Eyed Gravy

Ingredients Add to grocery list
1   beef bouillon cube (optional)
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup coffee
1   3-pound Country Ham, store bought (sliced)

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fat from the ham and render. When the fat is rendered, add the ham steaks and pan-fry until golden brown on both sides.

Remove the ham from the pan and set aside on a plate and keep warm. To the pan, add the coffee and water and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the butter and the bouillon cube and stir to incorporate. Serve the gravy over the ham steaks on grits or mash potatoes.