Fill your grocery sack with delicious root vegetables. How about some roasted carrots, potatoes, onions, beets and/or rutabagas?
Vegetables provide fiber, vitamins A, C (and others), and minerals such as selenium and potassium. In general, adults and kids need about 2½ cups of vegetables daily. Selecting vegetables at their best and storing them properly can help you get the best value for your money – and colorful, delicious food on your plate!
When you select vegetables, which of these tips do you already use? (Answering “yes, I do” means you are taking steps for high-quality, safe food. If not, consider doing these things.)
- I buy in season. Vegetables that are purchased in season usually will be the best quality and give you the best buy.
- I consider the storage available, and I buy only what I can store and use within the recommended time.
- I handle produce gently because the bruised parts are most likely to spoil.
- I choose high-quality vegetables without bruises.
- I pick frozen vegetables that are frozen solid and get them to my freezer as quickly as possible.
- I buy canned vegetables in cans without sharp dents in the seams.
- I buy dried vegetables in tightly sealed, undamaged packages.
When you store vegetables, which of these tips do you already use? (Answering “yes, I do” means you are taking steps for high-quality, safe food. If not, consider doing these things.)
- I store vegetables properly. Most fresh vegetables should be kept cold and humid.
- To increase storage humidity, I keep vegetables in a plastic bag or in the hydrator (crisper) compartment of the refrigerator, or both.
- I do not refrigerate potatoes, sweet potatoes and hard-shell (winter) squash. Cold temperatures convert the starch into sugar, which affects the flavor. Store them at cool room temperatures; about 50 degrees Fahrenheit is best. Potatoes should be kept in a dark, dry place.
- I sort vegetables before storing and remove any with bruises or soft spots.
- I store frozen vegetables at 0 F or lower; they can be stored for eight to 12 months.
- I store canned vegetables in a cool, dry place.
- I store dried vegetables in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. I use them within a few months.
See www.ag.ndsu.edu/food for recipes more information.
Here’s a recipe courtesy of Colorado State University Extension to enjoy the delicious veggies of fall.
Roasted Root Vegetables
1 onion, quartered and layers separated
1 medium-size white potato, peeled (optional) and diced into ½-inch cubes
1 medium-size sweet potato, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
3 to 4 medium-size fresh beets, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
Nonstick vegetable spray
4 tsp. olive oil, canola oil or other salad oil, divided
1 tsp. salt, divided
(Note: You can substitute equal amounts of your favorite vegetables, such as squash, if you see a vegetable that is not your favorite.)
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Line a large baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick vegetable spray. With an extra piece of foil, create a separate foil boat to hold the diced beets. Coat with nonstick spray and place it on top of the baking sheet.
- Peel off dry outer onion layers. Quarter and separate the onion layers.
- Toss onion pieces with 1 tsp. oil and ¼ tsp. salt. Place on baking sheet.
- Wash, scrub, peel and dice white and sweet potatoes.
- Toss white and sweet potatoes with 2 tsp. oil and ½ tsp. salt. Place on baking sheet.
- Wash, peel and dice beets. Caution: Beet juice can stain your hands, cutting board and the counter.
- Toss beets with 1 tsp. oil and ¼ tsp. salt. Place in foil boat on baking sheet.
- Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and the edges are a light brown.
Makes six servings. Each serving has 90 calories, 3.5 grams (g) fat, 2 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 420 milligrams sodium.
Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a professor and food and nutrition specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service.