Storing Produce

Have you ever brought home beautiful bunches of greens and herbs only to have them wilt away in your fridge?

Save your money and stop wasting food with simple storage tips!

For our complete A-Z produce storage guide click here.

Greens and Herbs:

Trim the stem ends, place in a jar of fresh water, and place the entire jar in the fridge.

This allows the veggies to re-hydrate and will stay fresh much longer this way.

Use this method for greens like kale and chard, fresh herbs like basil and cilantro, and even vegetables like asparagus!

Vegetables:

Most veggies store best in the fridge.

Storing in a plastic bag or within the crisper drawer in your fridge will help keep in moisture and prevent your veggies from getting soft and drying out.

Some veggies such as tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, onion, and hard squashes are actually best stored outside of the fridge in a cool, dry place. 

Tip: Vegetables should be stored away from fruit in order to prevent them from ripening too fast!

Fruit:

When it comes to fruit most varieties will keep fresh longest if stored in the fridge, but when it comes to ripening they ripen best outside of the fridge.

Berries, lemons, and apples will all last much longer if stored in the fridge whereas tropical fruits like bananas and mangoes store best on the counter top. 

Tip: Some fruits, such as apples and bananas, produce ethylene gas and can be used to help ripen other fruits! 


More >>

Natural Teeth Whitener

Simple, effective, and affordable!
Made with only 3 ingredients…

Looking for a way to brighten your smile without the harsh chemicals? Well we have a great natural solution for you!

Turmeric

Turmeric is a bright orange root vegetable closely related to ginger. When dried and ground into a powder it becomes an earthy spice that is popular in Middle Eastern, Asian, and Indian cuisine.

The bright color compounds found in turmeric are responsible for the whitening effect and with consistent usage it’s been shown to have results similar to using activated charcoal.

In addition turmeric is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and truly stands out when it comes to oral health.

Studies have shown that brushing your teeth with turmeric is comparable to using mouthwash when it comes to removing plaque building, killing bacteria, and reducing inflammation! Turmeric has also been shown to prevent gum disease and relieve oral pain.  

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is known for its versatility, popularly used in everything from lotions and lip balms to baked goods and popcorn, so it’s not much of a surprise that it is also amazing for oral care.

Coconut oil is rich in anti-microbial fatty acids, such as lauric acid. Studies have shown that lauric acid attacks harmful bacteria that cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.

By preventing plaque build-up and improving gum health coconut oil helps to keep your teeth white. 

Baking soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is generally used as a leavening agent in baking and is  popular as a deodorizer due to its ability to absorb smelly food particles. You may have also seen baking soda listed as an ingredient in some toothpastes as it is well known for its oral care benefits, specifically teeth whitening!

When brushing with baking soda it acts as a mild abrasive that can help remove stains. Some may worry that this abrasion could damage tooth enamel but according to the American Dental Association, silica particles commonly used in toothpaste as an abrasive agent are actually much harder than baking soda particles.

Baking soda also acts as a mild base which helps to alkalize your mouth, creating an environment that is hard for bacteria to grow in.  

All three of these ingredients have their own oral health benefits and when combined they make for an extremely effective teeth whitener that’s affordable, all natural, and easy to make!

To Make:

Only 3 ingredients needed:

  • 2 tbsp Coconut Oil 
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2-3 drops of essential oil (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together in a glass jar.

It helps to use slightly softened, but not melted, coconut oil.

Turmeric is also notorious for staining anything and everything yellow (except your teeth!) so be cautious when measuring and mixing it.

For less coconut taste opt for a refined coconut oil which will have a much more mild coconut flavor compared to unrefined.

You can also add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to make the mix more pleasant tasting!

To Use:

After brushing your teeth with regular toothpaste and rinsing, scoop a pea-sized amount of the homemade teeth whitener onto your toothbrush and use it just like you would toothpaste.

You may want to use a separate toothbrush from your regular one as the turmeric will most likely stain the brush.

Store in a sealed jar at room temperature. 

Use up to once a day or every other day for best results.

More >>

Beans and Grains

What exactly is a grain?
What’s the difference between wholegrain and multigrain?
Which is better, dried or canned beans?
Read along to find out the answers to these questions but recipes, cooking tips, and more!

Both beans and grains are food staples around the world and can be found in every single cuisine! Recently beans and grains have been gaining popularity due to the affordability, versatility and nutrition that they offer. From the familiar corn cob and pinto bean to the avant garde anasazi and quinoa, there is a grain and bean out there for everyone. That being said there’s often confusion about which bean and grain options are the best.

Bean Breakdown:

Beans add diverse flavors and textures to your cooking while also boosting the nutrition by providing a good balance of fiber, protein and minerals like calcium and iron. Beans are a great kitchen addition that make for a dynamic meal with very little cost. Plus if stored properly dried beans can last for up to 2-3 years without losing significant nutrient value and taste!

Dried:

Dried beans are one of the most affordable ingredients with many types to choose from.

You can easily buy them in bulk which allows you to get exactly the amount you need without excess packaging! 

Most dried beans, excluding lentils, split peas, and adzuki, will require soaking overnight (or at least 8 hours) before cooking in order to properly rehydrate them. After they’ve soaked make sure to drain the soaking water and add fresh water to your cooking pot. Check out the Co-op Central guide for additional details on bean varieties, storage tips, and cooking times.

Canned:

Canned beans are super convenient and great to have on hand for quick meal additions. While there tends to not be as much variety in canned beans as dried, there are still lots of bean types to choose from.

It can be especially handy to have canned garbanzo and soy beans, as these take the longest to prepare from dried.

A nutrition note on canned beans is that many have additional ingredients added such as sugar, salt, and fat and you should always check the ingredient label first before purchasing.

Fresh:

When it comes to fresh beans there are fresh shelling beans, like fava and cranberry beans which require shelling because the pod is inedible, and fresh whole beans, like romano and green beans which can be eaten whole. Fresh shelling beans are typically the same bean varieties that are found dried, while fresh whole beans are typically the same bean varieties that are found canned.

A benefit of fresh beans over dried and canned is that many varieties, like romano beans, can be eaten raw and do not require any cooking preparation. You can find these fresh beans when in season here at the Davis Food Co-op or your local farmers market! 

Takeaway:

When it comes to beans, dried are the most affordable option with the best variety to choose from. However, dried beans require proper storage and more preparation time for soaking and cooking. Canned beans offer the most convenience and are also an affordable option, but they limit the control of nutrients like salt and fat because many canned options have additional ingredients added. And lastly, fresh beans are a great seasonal option that can occasionally even be eaten raw offering unique flavors and textures.

Guide to Grains:

Grains, sometimes referred to as cereals, are small, hard seeds that come from different grass and grass-like plants. Today the most commonly produced grains around the world are rice, corn, and wheat, but there are many different kinds of grains! Whole grains are great sources of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and B vitamins plus they are very satisfying and filling meal additions. Check out the Co-op Central guide for additional information on types of grains, storage tips, and cooking times!

So what’s the difference between whole grain, multigrain, and fortified grains?

Whole Grains:

Whole grain means that all parts of the grain kernel, the bran, endosperm, and germ, are used. This is obvious when cooking rice or quinoa because the grain kernel is still intact, but can become more confusing when buying grain products like bread, pasta, and crackers.

Whole grains are the healthiest option because they offer the full nutrient and fiber content of the grain.

Back in 2005 the Whole Grains Council created a whole grain stamp that makes it easy to identify products made with whole grains! Many but not all products use the whole grain stamp so other good identifiers of whole grains are words like ‘stone ground’ and ‘whole wheat’. 

Fun fact, popcorn is a whole grain!

Multigrain:

Multigrain means that multiple different grains were used but none of them necessarily in their whole form. Due to this, the term multigrain can be deceiving because it is just referring to the number of grains and not the quality of the grains.

Multigrain products such as rice blends can be great options to diversify your cooking but it’s important to check the label because multigrain breads and cereals can sometimes be tricky!

Other names to look out for are numbers placed in front of grain such as ‘seven-grain’ or twelve-grain’. These are still multigrain products and may or may not contain actual whole grains.

Fortified Grains:

Fortification is a process used to restore the nutrient content of grains that have been stripped of their natural nutrients during refining. During refining grain kernels are separated and the bran and germ are removed leaving just the starchy endosperm behind.

This is generally done because the bran and germ impart more earthy flavors that are not also desirable but in doing so the majority of fiber and nutrients are also removed from the grain.

This is why most refined grains are then fortified with essential nutrients such as B vitamins and iron. While fortification has made refined grains much healthier, they still do not compare to their whole grain counterparts and will be lacking in nutrients unique to that grain. 

Takeaway:

When it comes to grains and grain products whole grain is the best option because the grain kernels are still intact leaving all of the nutrients intact as well. Multigrain products can be good options to get a variety of grains into your diet but tend to be misleading as to the processing and quality of the grain so you should always double-check the nutrition label. And lastly, fortified grains are highly processed, do not contain the same nutrients found in whole grains and therefore should be the last option when buying grain products. 

Bean and Grain Recipes

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Chana Masala

Kale and Chickpea Frittatas

Maple Pecan Granola

Peanut Tofu Ramen

More >>