Stock your pantry the Mediterranean way

The Mediterranean way of eating emphasizes a lot of fruits and vegetables. There are a variety of options to achieve this goal.

Fresh fruits and vegetables choices change throughout the year based on growing season. But, many of these same foods are available in frozen, canned or dried forms year around. Look for plain frozen fruits and vegetables without added flavors or sauces. Choose canned products without added salt for vegetables or canned in their own juice for fruit. Dried fruits can be eaten as is or can be rehydrated.

Fresh or frozen fish options are few in some locations. But canned tuna or salmon, packed in water or olive oil, are good choices.

Don’t have fresh herbs? There are many dried herbs available to use instead. A general substitution is 1/4 dried ground equals one teaspoon dried whole/crumbled equals one tablespoon fresh chopped.

If certain foods are not available in your local grocery store, ask the manager to order the item. You may not be the only person looking for it and it could become a regular item on the shelf.

Bitter Taste Could Be in Your Genes

While we encourage consumers to eat healthy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts, to some, the bitterness will turn up their nose.

Turns out, this could be genetic. Researchers at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine discovered that we all inherit two copies of the TAS2R38 taste gene. There are two variants of this gene, the AVI and PAV variants. If you have two copies of the AVI variant, you are not as sensitive to bitter flavors in those foods. If you have one of each variant, you perceive bitter flavors in the same foods. If you have two PAV variants, you are a “super-taster” and those foods will be very bitter and inedible.


Cindy Williams45 Posts

Cindy Williams is the Meadowlark Extension District agent in the areas of food and nutrition.


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