Guest Author - Reshma Vyas
Summertime is all about outdoor activities and savoring the bountiful harvest of fresh fruit and vegetables. By maximizing the full potential of small kitchen appliances you already have such as a blender, food processor and juicer, you can enjoy the convenience of eating fresh, wholesome snacks whenever you want. Meal planning and preparation is a breeze because you can make many refrigerated side dishes and entrees ahead of time with the added benefit of incorporating a wider variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet. This also frees up your valuable time so you can take full advantage of the always too short summer season.
Blenders are for more than just chilled coffee drinks, malts, milkshakes, protein drinks and smoothies. You can use your blender to make a variety of dishes using seasonal fruits and vegetables. Make batter for cheesecakes, cornmeal crepes and lowfat quick breads. Prepare delicious chilled pudding and trifle desserts, cold soups, dips and spreads, fruit sorbets, refreshing party coolers and other beverages, salad dressings, sandwich fillings, sauces/marinades, slushy drinks and soft ice cream.
If there is one small kitchen appliance that is definitely a summer essential, it is a juicer. Juicers always generate tremendous excitement among consumers. We look at the advertisements or watch the infomercials and can't wait to buy one. Once we get the juicer, we use it a few times. As the initial excitement fades, we may store it in the basement or relegate it to a lonely place on a kitchen counter where it will serve a decorative purpose. This is sad because a juicer is an amazing kitchen appliance and a powerful tool for unleashing our food creativity. Now is the perfect time to get reacquainted with this wonderful friend! Commercial juices contain high fructose corn syrup and other additives. They also do not offer much in the way of variety, aside from the standard choices of apple juice, grape juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, pineapple juice and assorted citrus blends. Specialty fruit blends can be pricey. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables in bulk from a farmers' market to save money. Look for daily or weekly supermarket sales on fresh produce. Research the nutrients and antioxidants contained in various fruits and vegetables. This can help you prepare customized fruit and vegetable juice blends that contain a broad array of vitamins and nutrients. Experimenting with different fruits and vegetables to create your own one-of-a-kind blends is a real joy! Leftover vegetable pulp can be incorporated in cakes, casseroles, chilled and hot soups, ground meat, muffins and quick breads, sauces and condiments. Fruit pulp can be included in other homemade foods such as breakfast bars, fruit preserves, fruit soups, fruit toppings, ice cream, frozen yogurt, pastries and smoothies. Or, use the pulp as compost for your garden.
Like juicers, food processors are often underutilized and underappreciated. You can use your food processor to prepare hearty, ready-to-eat appetizers, hot and cold entrees which require minimal preparation and/or cooking time, frozen yogurts, fruit sherbets, ice cream, nut butters and a variety of seasonal fruit desserts. As with juicers, food processors offer limitless opportunity to experiment with different fruit and vegetable textures and flavors.
Although blenders, juicers and food processors are staple kitchen appliances, it is somewhat surprising that their use is so often limited to only basic tasks and food items. The spring and summer seasons always bring forth a renewed interest in "healthy living" and nature. By harnessing the full potential of these "commonplace" kitchen appliances on a regular basis, you can create nutritious, creative dishes that draw from the entire spectrum of summer fruits and vegetables.
For informational purposes only and not intended as consumer, health or nutrition advice.