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spring recipe

Pineapple-Mango Salsa

Buying a whole pineapple is not an unnecessary challenge if you have a plan for it.  When you cut up a pineapple you will have at least 3 cups of cubed pineapple.  Plan for a variety of uses.  Keep some fresh for an after dinner treat or fruit salad and use the rest to add to a main meal.  This is such a refreshing summer dish and easy to toss together.  Serve with grilled chicken, pork, or tuna.  Yields 4 servings. 1 cup diced peeled ripe mango

1 cup diced fresh pineapple

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeno pepper

1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1 ½ teaspoons fresh lime juice

dash of salt

dash of black pepper

Combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Adapted from a cooking light recipe.

In Season: Pineapple

Although pineapple is available year-round, it’s peak season runs from March through July.  Aside from the irresistible taste, there are some healthy reasons to indulge in this flavorful fruit.  It’s a great source of vitamin C, which protects from heart disease, cancer, and cataracts: it contains manganese, which helps keep your bones strong.  Pineapple is also a good source of bromelian, a natural anti-inflammatory that is helpful for addressing the symptoms of sinusitis, gout, arthritis, swelling and bruising.  Plus, pineapple contains an enzyme that helps relieve indigestion; making it a dessert your tummy will appreciate. One cup of raw pieces weighs in at 76 calories, 1.9 grams of fiber, .6 grams of protein, .7 grams of fat (none of it saturated), 2.0 milligrams of sodium, and no cholesterol.

For both flavor and health benefits, fresh is best when it comes to pineapples.  Select one that is heavy for its size and a sweet tropical aroma at the stem end.  It should have a strong color and be slightly soft to the touch, with crisp, dark green leaves.  Signs of over ripeness are yellow or brown tipped leaves as well as soft or dark areas on the skin.

Cut it up and store in an airtight container with some of its own juice for a healthy treat.  If you are unable to use it within 3 days, freeze for use in blended drinks.

Suggestions for eating:

Eat it plain.

Kebob it:  Thread fresh pineapple chunks on skewers with meat and veggies for grilling.

Add wedges or chinks to all types of salads- fruit, tossed green, chicken, and tuna to name just a few.

Grill or broil pineapple slices for a great burger topping or dessert.

Use it in relishes and serve with simply prepared chicken and pork dishes.  See my Mango Pineapple Salsa Recipe.

Take leftover rice or other hearty grain and pan fry with pineapple

Detoxifying Spring Seasonal Food: Millet

Millet is a grain that is fairly high in protein.  It is a gluten free wheat alternative excellent for consuming in the spring.  It has a sweet and salty flavor; is a diuretic; strengthens the kidneys; is beneficial to stomach and spleen-pancreas; moistens dryness; is alkalizing; and is anti-fungal- one of the best grains for those with Candida overgrowth. This simple spicy dish is versatile and is a hearty accompaniment to wIld salmon, a green salad, or steamed vegetables.  You can toast millet in a little oil before cooking to bring out the flavors.  For softer millet, add more water.  You can find this in boxes in the grain section of gourmet grocery stores or health food stores.  If the store has a bulk section it can often be found there as well.

Herbed Millet with Steamed Vegetables

1 cup millet

2 cups vegetable broth or water

½ onion finely chopped

3 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage.

Rinse millet well.  Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat.  Cook for 30-40 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Serve warm with steamed vegetables, chopped raw vegetables, fish or a salad.  Makes 4 servings.