Eat Your Greens - and Oranges! - by Ibti Vincent
Is it just us, or is this a more intense cold and flu season than usual? Well, if you were to have a conversation with a student after Ms. Dawkins’ second grade class yesterday, you'd hear all about things you can eat to lower your chances of getting sick or improve your odds of getting better. Because yesterday, Tyler students learned all about the critical nutrients that bright green and orange fruits and vegetables contain: antioxidants.
An antioxidant is a natural substance that repairs the cells of living things, protecting us from diseases and cancers. Some examples of antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene. Bright green and orange fruits and vegetables are an especially abundant source of antioxidants.
Today in class, we brainstormed a list of our favorite bright green and orange fruits and veggies, then prepared and enjoyed some mashed sweet potatoes and a big pot of dark leafy greens with lemon and garlic. These are the very same sweet potatoes that were growing out in our school’s vegetable garden throughout the summer and harvested in the fall! We have kale growing, too, but ours is still recovering from the winter freeze, so today's kale came from the farmers' market.
If you want to bulk up on antioxidants at home, try out this simple, tasty recipe.
Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
You can skip using the food processor and just mash potatoes with a fork or potato masher, but they are especially creamy when you process them.
4 pounds whole sweet potatoes (about 4 large potatoes)
2-4 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup (or less, if your sweet potatoes are really sweet)
2 large sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only – compost your stems!
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Wash unpeeled sweet potatoes well, then use a fork to make a series of punctures all around. Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven until soft when poked with a fork (about 2 hours). Cool til at least room temperature.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until fragrant. Whisk in maple syrup and thyme.
Peel sweet potatoes. Discard (compost!) the peels, then put the sweet potato flesh into a food processor. Add the butter-maple mixture and puree. Process until smooth and creamy.
Rewarm if needed and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Written by Ibti Vincent, FoodPrints Teacher at Tyler and Watkins