The taste of homegrown and organic vegetables is off the hook

Saturday December 20, 2008
I spent the morning walking through several farmer’s markets and buying a few days worth of vegetables.  I’ve been eating a big salad each day for lunch, sometimes with a clear soup, and then making a vegetable “fried” rice for dinner.  I’ve always eaten vegetables, because I was told I should, but I never noticed they didn’t have much taste until after I discovered home grown and organic fruits and vegetables.

Until 2004, I ate so much fried foods and beef and pork that my taste buds were pretty flatlined unless there was a tablespoon of butter on each bite.  I didn’t know that, however, until I had the gallstone pancreatitis health scare in 2004 and changed my diet dramatically to low fats.  I began to discipline myself to enjoy light broths, as opposed to beef stews; to enjoy tart and spicy flavors rather than creamy, rich sauces.  Now the thought of my former foods just feels heavy on my tongue, and I’ve gained a new craving for fresh vegetables.

Everyone can taste the difference between a grocery store tomato and a home grown or organic tomato.  But most people stop there.  They don’t think to bring home some organic baby carrots or spinach or berries, because the price is higher.  So like me, they may be 50 before they discover a whole new world of flavor in home grown and organic fruits and vegetables.  The flavor is off the hook compared to the produce in their local grocery chain.

Just the other night I made a salad of simply fresh parsley chopped fine, fresh tomato, red onion, fresh green papaya chopped fine, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and coarse ground black pepper.  The flavor was amazing.  The next morning I had a fresh parsley and tomato salad with a scrambled egg, topped with capers.   And I’ve been eating those Honey Crisp apples – they are huge, sweet, juicy and delicious.

I’m definitely more encouraged to eat vegetables and fruits now that I can tell they have a taste.  Especially now that I can taste the difference between commercially grown and homegrown or organic.   Often I make a dish that ends up looking pretty sad, and am surprised when it tastes really good.  I am really into different kinds of chopped vegetables, maybe chopped fine in certain combinations for like a salsa, or chopped chunkier for a salad or in strips for a stirfry.  I try to encourage my current fascination with different salad combinations, since it can only be an upgrade to my healthy lifestyle.  And if it’s simply a fad, then at least I’ll have thrown myself into  it while the interest lasted 🙂

I picked up some corn and sweet potatoes today,  I like to cook them in my sundown fire.  I know just how much wood it takes to give me an hour’s small fire in the pit, and I water the nearby oak at the same time.  Sometime the raccoon youngsters will poke their little faces out and start to waddle up close.   I toss sticks to scare them away, they are happier kept wild, I think.  I do have one butternut squash left, I think that will be tonight’s dinner, maybe with a baked apple for dessert!

I don’t do too much social eating these days.  I never thought I’d turn into a cooking person, but it’s just easier to cook most times.  Even when I would buy a sandwich, I would have them leave off lettuce and tomato since I would add those at home with my homegrown versions.  I’d usually also take half the meat off the sandwich and save it for another sandwich later, since I don’t like to eat that much meat anymore.  So even ordering a sandwich out in public becomes a hassle unless I want to compromise what I put in my body for the sake of being socially polite.

I’m enjoying the shopping for fresh vegetables and the looking up of recipes online for them at  I enjoy discovering new ways to cut my vegetables for a salad: strips, slivers, tiny dices, chunks, larger dices… I enjoy discovering new vinegar and herb combinations.  I enjoy discovering new protein sources, or just remembering I can concoct a totally awesome ‘devilled” egg as a meal using lots of fresh greens.

So I’m glad for this surge of interest in healthy cooking.  And, if nothing else, the more time I spend planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning up, the less time I spend eating hehehe


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