Fresh Produce Delivers the Most Nutritional Value
Seasonal and local produce, fish, and meat is a concept that has become very popular on cooking networks, in trendy restaurants, and amongst foodies. It may seem a little trendy, but in truth, is a trend that dates back to everyone, including the professional chefs before the Middle Ages. It is such an important concept, in fact, that the professional chefs of the popes during the Renaissance left detailed notes about the fish, meat, and produce of their region for their apprentices.
There's a lot of reason for this, but the two main reasons are, fresh meat and produce is easier to prepare, and it contains more nutritional value. This might sound strange, but in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, chefs were the main source of easily accessible medical knowledge in the house. They were responsible for “balancing the humors” and they did so using food in a similar fashion to the custom of serving chicken soup to someone with a cold.
In modern times, lots of our produce is available year-round in reasonably fresh conditions. Some of it is hydroponically grown, such as fresh lettuce, but other produce is simply shipped across the country, or across countries, in order to make it to the market. Some vegetables will stand up to that kind of shipping, some really don't, so it's good to know what is being grown locally so that the time between the harvest of the vegetables to its delivery to one's plate is the smallest possible time. The palate will be grateful, as will the rest of the body.
Fresh produce delivers the most in nutritional value, both in water soluble vitamins, and in antioxidants and phytochemicals, the importance of which is only just now being investigated. Late summer and early fall produce can include artichokes, Brussels sprouts, burdock, cardoons, corn, eggplant, endive, hearts of palm, jalapenos, kohlrabi, parsnips, rutabagas, salsify, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, tatsuoi, yakon, sunchokes, and winter squash, to name just a few.
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