Fruit at dinner?
Big, beautiful, vibrantly colored salads are our familiy's specialty. They are pleasing to the eye and have our guests eager to taste from first sight. And then, they look more closely and discover that the vibrant colors are from fruit. Strawberries, and/or blueberries often grace our salads along with grated carrot, red onion, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and avocado don our beds of arugal and/or baby kale. We've even use persimmon, pommegranate and kiwi from time to time (seasonally). Looks of curioisity often overtake their inital looks of wonder. What started on a whim after seeing a steak salad with strawberries years ago, has become a "normalcy" in our home. If it's not blueberries and strawberries then it's oranges or pommelo over spinnach with much of the above included as well. I'm so glad we've made this our thing.
As a child my mom and grandparents prepared salads with tomatoes and cucumber, maybe zucchini or peas, onion, etc. over a bed of iceberg lettuce. The dressing was thousand island or ranch. And I needed a lot of dressing to eat my salad. I was never a fan of tomatoes or cucumbers. In fact I still don't love them. Well, I do enjoy Israeli salat (tomatoes, cucumbers with olive oil, salt pepper and lemon), but that is different. And, ok, I enjoy a nice plate of caprese salad. On a hot summers eve with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden not much could be better. Or tomatoes on the avocado toast from my favorite Paleo restaurant, Primal Santa Cruz? Perfect. But in general a salad with tomatoes isn't my thing. To say that I hated salad as a child would not be an understatement. The combination of flavors and textures I didn't enjoy just made it difficult to eat.
Now, I love salads. I could eat them 3 times a day which is a great thing. Fills me with good fiber, something which is sorely missing from most people's diets. But it's more than just fiber. It's also about the magnesium from the leafy greens we choose (arugala, kale, spinach). And magnesium, like zinc, is a mineral that most people are deficient in without knowing. Blame it on our diet or the quality of our food sources... either way, we just aren't getting enough of these crucial minerals.
I digress, though... back to the fruit on our dinner plate. Did you know that strawberries have more vitamin c than oranges. In fact... "A 3.5-ounce serving of fresh strawberries, or about five large berries, provides 32 calories and almost 59 milligrams of vitamin C, or 98 percent of the daily value. As such, ounce for ounce, strawberries are slightly higher in vitamin C — and lower in calories — than oranges. By weight, a serving of 10 large strawberries is roughly equal to one large orange. The serving of strawberries has 60 calories, almost 30 percent fewer than the orange, while providing almost 177 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, or 14 percent more than that found in the orange. The average pint of fresh strawberries contains about 350 percent of the daily value for vitamin C, according to the USDA." 1
"Blueberries are among the most nutrient-dense berries. A 1-cup (148-gram) serving of blueberries contains (1):
Fiber: 4 grams Vitamin C: 24% of the RDI Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI Manganese: 25% of the RDI" 2
Lets' not forget all about those ever important antioxidants that berries contain.
Don't even get me started on the nutrients in nuts and seeds that can be added to salad. Pumpkin, sunflower, almond, pecan, walnut, just to name a few.
You're probably wondering how our guests feel about the salads once they've tasted one. Well, I'd say about 98% of our guests love our salads. There are always going to be some diehards that enjoy, lettuce, tomato and cucumber. There will also always be those that just can't fathom fruit at dinner. I say let there be fruit at dinner! My kids whole heartedly agree.
What about you?