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Think harvest for holiday meals

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November 21, 2012 - Joan Donnay, owner of Essence on Main, hopes you'll think local and organic when you prepare your holiday meals. Not only will local, seasonal foods have health benefits, but Donnay says they offer other advantages.

"You want to cook with seasonality," she said while chopping up sweet potatoes.

In other words, she suggests cooking with the ingredients harvested recently such as sweet potatoes, squash, onions, and garlic.

Choosing to cook with foods near the time they are harvested allows you to save money and stay healthy, said Donnay.

"If you go to your farmers markets and even if you go to your regular grocery store, there are certain items that are in abundance and on sale. They are going to be the most affordable and nutrient-dense," she said. Choosing vegetables at their ripest means, "they have their utmost number of vitamins and essential minerals," Donnay pointed out.

While eating foods when they are in season offers a cost savings and ensures higher nutrition, why choose organic foods?

According to Donnay, cooking with vegetables, grains, milk, eggs, and meat that haven't been altered by hormones, fertilizers, or pesticides offers better nutritional value. "It keeps us healthier because then we're not full of all those pesticides, chemicals, and hormones. So, organic is really the best way to go," she explained.

It even tastes better, Donnay said. "There is a purer flavor for sure."

Donnay admits, "making your food at home takes a little bit more effort, but it's worth it. At the end of a very long, busy day, there's nothing more calming than peeling your locally grown veggies, knowing that what you're buying is good for you and good for your family."

Watch Joan Donnay prepare a recipe for roasted vegetables on "Seeing Green" on www.clarkstontv.com.

Clarkston News reporter
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