Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Really Fresh Produce

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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Really Fresh Produce

Date: 04/11/11

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Really Fresh Produce

If you don't have a green thumb and a garden with rows of healthy vegetables growing, don't  despair. It is the season to head to the farmer's market for great fresh and locally grown produce.

With Montana’s relatively short growing season, it makes those locally grown vegetables or berries even more delicious at this time of the year.

Support local farmers by buying locally–grown produce is not only nutritious but is the “green” thing to do. Remember locallly–grown foods are fresher and better for the environment because of the fewer miles shipped. Buying local foods also keeps dollars in the community. In addition to supporting local growers, eating the fruits of the land will also provide a wide array of nutrients.

Using an outdoor grill can be a great way to prepare fresh vegetables and meats. Barbecuing meats on the grill not only adds a delicious smoky flavor, but foods are cooked without adding excessive amounts of unhealthy fats and oils. (Wouldn’t a seasoned grilled chicken breast be delicious served with a greens and berries salad or foil–wrapped grilled vegetables!)

Take care when grilling, because careless use can be bad for your health. Cooking meat at high temperatures (charring them) causes the formation of chemicals called "polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons" and "hetrocyclic amines"—both of which are linked to a higher risk of some cancers.

Enjoy healthy foods without risking your health with these tips:

  • Keep your outdoor grill clean and well-maintained.
  • Wash the grate each time you use your grill
  • Cook meats to the proper temperature. Use a meat thermometer to be sure.
  • Don’t overcook your meats and remove any charred black portions.
  • Trim excess fat before cooking to reduce the risk of flare-ups that burn the meat.
  • Choose leaner cuts of beef, fish, poultry or game meats
  • Marinate meats before grilling to reduce the formation of hetrocyclic amines
  • Add sauces at the end of the cooking time to prevent burning.
  • Grill your vegetables such as potatoes, zucchini, peppers and egg-plant.

Don't let another week go by without a trip to the garden or farmers market for local vegetables for a salad or to grill.

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