Volume 1; Issue 11 August 17, 2009
You’ve got to love “technical difficulties”! I think we finally got it all worked out. So, now on to better news. Things are going great here – everything is soooo green! Rain is wonderful. Tomatoes are turning red quickly. Let us know if you will want “extras” for canning. Even the peppers are picking up. Salsa season – here we come!
Thanks so much for returning the CSA boxes. It really helps us to know what our count is on the boxes. Hope you enjoy the boxes this week.
So from our house to yours,
Dan & Donna Moe
ITEM OF THE WEEK – GARDEN SALSA PEPPERS
The ‘Garden Salsa’ is a hot pepper that has just the right amount of “heat” for most people. It is not too mild, not too hot – but just right! They start out green and then turn bright red when mature. These can be used green for a milder flavor or wait for them to turn red for full flavor. This unique pepper is a hybrid that is considered the best for salsa with its’ mild heat and zingy flavor.
Considered part of the chili pepper family, this pepper has many of the same healthy qualities as it hotter relatives. There are hundreds of different types of chili peppers that vary in size, shape, color, flavor and “hotness.” This fleshy berry features many seeds inside a potent package that can range from less than one inch to six inches in length, and approximately one-half to one inch in diameter. Chili peppers are usually red or green in color. Cayenne, habañero, chipotle, jalapeño, anaheim and ancho are just some of the popular varieties available. Ground chili peppers are used to make chili powder, cayenne powder and paprika. Chili peppers are used as a food and seasoning and revered for their medicinal qualities.
Chili peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic taste, producing mild to intense spice when eaten. Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. Capsaicin is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. Studies have shown that a diet that contains capsaicin can help delay the onset of arthritis, and also significantly reduce inflammation.
Topical capsaicin is now a recognized treatment option for osteoarthritis pain. Several studies of pain management for diabetic neuropathy have listed the benefits of topical capsaicin to alleviate disabling pain associated with this condition. Psoriasis patients who were given topical capsaicin reported significant improvement based on a severity score which traced symptoms associated with psoriasis.
Red chili peppers also have great cardiovascular benefits. Red chili peppers, such as cayenne, have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body’s ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. Cultures where hot pepper is used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism. Spicing your meals with chili peppers may also protect the fats in your blood from damage by free radicals—a first step in the development of atherosclerosis. Eating freshly chopped chili has been found to increase the resistance of blood fats, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, to oxidation (free radical injury).
Eating a freshly chopped chili blend (30 grams/day, about 1 ounce), consisting of 55% cayenne, can make a significant change in your risk factor in as little as 4 weeks. This chili blend can significantly lower the rate of oxidation – free radical damage cholesterol and triglycerides). In addition, women show a longer lag time before any damage to cholesterol was seen compared to the lag time seen after eating a diet lacking the chili blend. In men, the chili-blend seems to lower the resting heart rate and increase the amount of blood reaching the heart.
Often called the anti-infection vitamin, vitamin A is essential for healthy mucous membranes, which line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract and serve as the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens. Chili peppers’ bright red color signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Just two teaspoons of red chili peppers provide about 6% of the daily value for vitamin C coupled with more than 10% of the daily value for vitamin A.
One last thought, chili peppers added to your diet could help reduce your risk of hyperinsulinemia – high blood levels of insulin – a disorder associated with type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar after a meal is reduced if the meal contains chili pepper. Chili’s beneficial effects on insulin needs get even better as body mass index (BMI, a measure of obesity) increases. In overweight people, not only do chili-containing meals significantly lower the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar levels after a meal, but chili-containing meals also result in a lower ratio of C-peptide/insulin, an indication that the rate at which the liver is clearing insulin has increased. The amount of C-peptide in the blood also shows how much insulin is being produced by the pancreas. Besides capsaicin, chilies contain antioxidants, including vitamin C and carotenoids, which might also help improve insulin regulation.
A little chili pepper can really perk up an omelet, add heat to a black bean/sweet potato soup, or transform an ordinary salad dressing. So, spice up your meals with chili peppers. Your body will need to make less insulin and will use it more effectively. No need to go overboard though. Population studies in India and Mexico suggest that loading up on hot chilies at every meal may actually be an unhealthy thing – finding that it may be linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer. So remember a little – 1 ounce a day – goes a long way towards good health.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
Add them to salsas, sauces and soups; pickle, stir-fry or roast them.
The next time you make healthy sautéed vegetables; add some garden salsa peppers to turn up the spice volume.
Add garden salsa peppers to your favorite corn bread recipe to give it an extra spark.
Add minced garden salsa peppers to yogurt and use as a condiment or dip.
Spicy Chicken and Rice
- 1 1/3 cups Chicken broth
- 1-1/3 cups water
- 3/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice
- 2 cups fresh vegetable (any combination you like)
- 1 small onion – diced
- 3-4 garden salsa peppers – diced (more if you want it hotter)
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- ½ cup shredded Mexican cheese
- Stir chicken broth, water, rice, vegetables, onions and peppers in a 12”x8” shallow baking dish.
- Top with chicken. Season chicken with the salt (we prefer sea salt)
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until done.
- Top with cheese.
Simple and Quick
- 1 lbs. Hamburger
- 1 small to medium chopped onion
- 3 to 4 garden salsa pepper, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ tsp. salt (we prefer sea salt)
- In medium sized bowl, slightly beat 1 egg.
- Add chopped onions and garden salsa peppers and salt, mix.
- Add 1 lb. hamburger. Mix meat and egg blend together.
- Make patties – should make 4 to 5.
- Cook them up any way you like.
This Week’s Items:
- Garden Salsa Pepper
- Swiss Chard
- Red Potatoes