September is National Fruit & Veggie – More Matters Month

Did you know that September is National Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Month? I didn’t know that until a few days ago. If you know anything about me, one thing you must know is that I LOVE fruits and vegetables. One time a friend of mine challenged me to pick one vegetable or fruit that I had never tried before each time I went grocery shopping. This allowed me to experienced a wide variety of new produce.

Does anyone know what these little beauties are? They are called pluots, a hybrid mix of plum and apricot. Although I was not impressed with pluots, this did not deter me from expanding my horizons in the future.

My next step into the farm produce unknown was my first experience with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share. While many CSAs provide their shareholders with popular produce picks, the one I happened to choose was filled with a variety of lesser-known garden items. This one decision forced me to figure out ways to cook fruits and vegetables I had never used before or perhaps never even heard of. It definitely made me a more adventurous cook.

For example, ever eat purslane? Me either. If you think it looks like a weed in your garden or yard you are correct. It is a weed. However, you can make a wonderful Tomato, Cucumber and Purslane Salad with this recipe and now is the time to get the best garden fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. Just don’t eat the purslane if you have sprayed or fertilized your yard. That could be toxic, but I am sure you realized that.

How about elderberries or ground cherries? I made a wonderful elderberry pie and simply ate the ground cherries by the handful. Elderberries will also boost your immune system function.

As we start out this month, take a trip to your local farmer’s market and sample something you may never have eaten before. Let your kids help you pick out produce for dinner that night or for the week, and increase your fruit and vegetable intake to improve the health of your family.