Ingredient of the Month Archives

2017

December 2017 - Cardamom

Cardamom is known as the “the queen of spices,” and is the world’s third most-expensive spice. It has a pungent, slightly lemony flavor with a hint of sweetness and is filled with minerals and essential oils. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEHQuiz to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

November 2017 - Jackfruit

Jackfruit is an exotic fruit with an oblong shape and spiny, green skin that turns yellow as it ripens. Inside, the jackfruit has orange-yellow fleshy bulbs between thin bands of fiber. Immature jackfruit has a meat-like texture and is often used as a vegetarian substitute. Mature jackfruit has a sweet flavor and is used as a fruit. It is considered a super fruit, full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients with antioxidant properties. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEHQuiz to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification. Sponsored by The Jackfruit Company.

October 2017 - Winter Squash

Winter squash comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors. Full of nutrients, It is grows during the summer and is harvested in fall and winter. Still need an activity for Childhood Nutrition Day? Make a squash bar or play squash throw in an after-school program. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEHQuiz to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

September 2017 - Onions

Onions add abundant flavor to a wide variety of foods. In addition to their nutritional value, onions have a unique combination of compounds believe to have valuable effects on human health. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEHQuiz to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification. Sponsored by the National Onion Association.

August 2017 - Watermelon

Watermelon is a great ingredient to boost nutrition and a sweet, refreshing flavor to dishes. It is 100% usable and compostable from the rind to the seeds. For recipes, visit www.watermelon.org/recipes. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEHQuiz to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification. Sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

July 2017 - Dolphinfish

Dolphinfish, also known as mahi mahi or dorado, is a saltwater roundfish with bluish-green scales that fade to light yellow on the underside. The lighter flesh sections have a delicate, almost sweet flavor; the darker sections have a stronger fish flavor. Dolphinfish have significant health benefits and are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and protein. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEHQuiz to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

June 2017 - Beets

Beets have a sweet, earthy flavor and a crunchy texture that becomes soft when cooked. They can be added raw to salads or cooked in a variety of dishes. Beets are full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEHQuiz to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

May 2017 - Fava Beans

These plump beans vary in shape, size and color, depending on variety, and have a sweet, mildly grassy flavor. Immature beans are tender with a buttery texture and can be eaten with the skin on. As the beans mature, they develop a stronger flavor and starchier texture, and the skins must be removed. Full of nutrients, fava beans are a good plant-based source of protein. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEHQuiz to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

April 2017 - American Lamb

American lamb is a popular menu item thanks to the larger cut sizes, its distinctive flavor profile, freshness and tenderness. It is naturally nutrient rich and is an excellent source of high-quality protein. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification. Sponsored by the American Lamb Board. www.americanlamb.com/chefs-corner/curriculamb/

March 2017 - Tarragon

Tarragon has a strong, sweet, licorice-like flavor and adds great flavor to many dishes. It is packed with flavonoids, essential oils, and other nutrients to support good health. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

February 2017 - Mangos

Mangos are considered a super fruit with a range of health promoting nutrients. They have golden-orange flesh that is sweet and juicy with a texture that varies from creamy and smooth to firm and fibrous. Mangos add sweetness to salads, chutneys and stir-fry dishes and complements fish, chicken and pork dishes. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification. Sponsored by the National Mango Board. Learn more at www.mango.org.

January 2017 - Fennel

All parts of the fennel plant can be consumed - the seeds, the bulb, the celery-like stalks and the feathery leaves – and have a distinctive flavor similar to licorice. Fennel contains many vitamins and minerals that have antioxidant properties. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

2016

November 2016 - Cranberries

Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines. They are low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 7 feet long and 2 to 8 inches in height. They have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves. The flowers that bloom from these plants are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens exposed and pointing forward. Cranberry shrubs and vines are pollinated by bees. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

October 2016 - Cheese

Cheese is a food product that is created from milk that is produced in a wide array of flavors and textures by the thickening of the milk protein casein, which is a protein precipitated from milk, and forms the basis of cheese. It comprises proteins and fat from cows’ milk predominantly, but other types of milk are used as well, such as buffalo, goat or sheep’s milk. During production, milk is acidified and an enzyme called rennet is added to cause coagulation. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

September 2016 - Coconuts

Coconuts are technically considered a drupe, or a fruit with a central stone surrounded by a husk. Depending on the variety, the husk turns from green, red or yellow to brown as the coconut ripens. The coconut flesh is covered by a hairy hard brown shell. The hollow part inside the shell is filled with coconut water. The sweet-tasting coconut flesh goes from juicy and tender to slightly tough and fibrous as the fruit ripens. Young coconut water is refreshing and sweet with a slightly acidic taste. Coconut is available year-round with a peak season from October to December. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

August 2016 - Blackberries

Blackberries are typically a dark shade of purple and have a sweet, slightly tart and earthy flavor. Depending on the variety, they come in oval, round and elongated shapes. Blackberries can be enjoyed raw or cooked and are in season in the summer. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

July 2016 - Prickly Pear

Prickly pear is an oval-shaped fruit that ranges in skin color from yellow to purple. It has soft, spongy flesh that can be found in many different colors—white, green, yellow, red or purple—with edible black seeds. It has a sweet flavor similar to a blend of tropical fruits and is considered a superfruit. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

June 2016 - Asparagus

Asparagus is a nutrient-dense vegetable that comes from the early shoot of a plant in the lily family. The spears are commonly 6–8 inches tall and range in diameter from pencil-thin to jumbo-thick, depending on variety. They have a succulent taste and tender texture, and come in green and purple varieties. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

May 2016 - Dill

Full of vitamins, minerals and other health-promoting nutrients, dill is an aromatic herb that belongs to the carrot family. Dill leaves have a delicate grassy flavor, while dill seeds have a stronger, slightly bitter flavor. Enhance the flavor of your dishes by adding dill to sauces, potato salads and fish. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

April 2016 - Dragon Fruit

High in antioxidants, dragon fruit is considered a super fruit with vitamins and minerals that keep the body healthy and protect against aging, cancer and disease. The juicy red or white flesh has a mildly sweet flavor and is full of crunchy, edible seeds. Add dragon fruit to fish or shrimp tacos for a healthy, refreshing dish. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

March 2016 - Pecans

Did you know that pecans are technically considered a drupe? The pecan fruit has a green, fleshy outer husks that splits into four sections to reveal a single large seed, or “nut.” They are heart healthy and full of healthy nutrients. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/CEH to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

February 2016 - Black Rice

Black rice, also known as forbidden rice, is similar to brown rice and has a chewy texture with a rich, earthy and nutty flavor. It is considered a superfood and contains one of the highest levels of the antioxidant found in food. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/eculinary to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

January 2016 - Adzuki Beans

Adzuki beans are not well-known in the U.S. market, but they are gaining popularity as an easily digestible bean full of healthy nutrients. The small red/brown beans have a sweet, nutty flavor and can be used as a dry bean, fresh in the pod or as a crunchy sprout. Complete the quiz on www.acfchefs.org/eculinary to earn one hour of continuing-education credits toward ACF certification.

2015

December 2015 - Rutabaga

Rutabagas are thought to be a cross between a wild cabbage and a turnip. They are larger, rounder and denser than turnips and have crisp, juicy flesh with a sweet, slightly bitter flavor. Rutabagas offer a range of nutritional benefits and are a great addition to soups, stews and casseroles. Learn more, including a tasty recipe for Cider Braised Pot Roast with Maple Baked Root Vegetables.

November 2015 - Eggs

We may never know which came first—the chicken or the egg. But we do know that the egg is a versatile and nutritious ingredient that can be incorporated into dishes or prepared on its own. It is a good protein source and contain several vitamins and minerals for optimal health. Learn more, including a delicious recipe for Greek egg soup and Mexican frittatas.

October 2015 - Honey

Sweet and silky, honey is nutritious alternative to sugar for adding sweetness to dishes. It comes in a variety of colors, but the darker the color, the more intense the flavor. Raw honey contains a small amounts of particles with antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties to keep the body healthy. Learn more and try different recipes, including Honey Citrus Salad and Lentil Panna Cotta.

September 2015 - Salmon

Salmon is a fatty fish with a strong, rich flavor, however, farm-raised salmon doesn’t have the same intense flavor as wild-caught salmon. It is an excellent source of selenium and protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Learn more, including a recipe for Pink Salmon Shepherd’s Pie and Grilled Salmon on a Citrus Pistachio Couscous Salad.

July 2015 - Eggplant

Although used as a vegetable in the kitchen, eggplant is botanically classified as a berry. While raw eggplant can taste bitter, when cooked, it becomes tender and sweet with a meaty, spongy quality. Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, eggplant contains vitamins and minerals to improve overall health and enhance resistance to various diseases. Learn more, including a delicious recipe for Eggplant Fiesta Ragout.

June 2015 - Parsley

Parsley is more than just a decorative garnish. It adds a slightly peppery, fresh taste to dishes and is packed with many healthful nutrients. Curly-leaf is bitterer and Italian, or flat-leaf, is slightly sweeter and more pungent. Learn more, including a tasty recipe for Parmesan Malfatti.

May 2015 - Lamb

Lamb is a flavorful and nutrient-rich protein that can be used much like beef in most recipes. It is an excellent source of protein and has a lower total fat content compared to other meats. Lamb is quite common in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, and is gaining popularity in the U.S. Learn more, including a tasty recipe for American Lamb Tacos with Mango/Jicama Slaw.

April 2015 - Ricotta Cheese

Used in both sweet and savory dishes, ricotta cheese is high in health-promoting vitamins and minerals, such as calcium to support bone health and zinc for a healthy immune system. Italian ricottas typically come from sheep’s milk, but can also be made from cow’s, goat’s or Italian water buffalo’s milk. American ricottas are commonly made with a combination of whey and whole or skim milk, which produces a wetter, creamier ricotta than Italian versions. Learn more, including recipes for Italian Pear Cheesecake and Crab Spinach Mousse.

March 2015 - Common Mushrooms

Common mushrooms have a meaty texture with an earthy flavor that intensifies as they mature. Low in fat and cholesterol, they contain nutrients that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and are a good source of energy-producing vitamins and mineral. Learn more, including recipes for Mashed Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms and Middle Eastern Meatballs.

February 2015 - Millet

Millet is a gluten-free, nutrient rich grain packed with vitamins and minerals for optimal health. It has a slightly nutty flavor with a crunchy texture similar to brown rice. Blend cooked millet into a creamy mixture for a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes. Learn more, including a tasty recipe for a Super Salad with with Yuzu Soy Dressing.

January 2015 - Cabbage

Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, cabbage contains an abundance of vitamin K for bone health, as well as high amounts of vitamin C for immune health. Add chopped cabbage to lasagna, shepherd’s pie and other casserole dishes for a sweet, earthy flavor. Learn more, including a delicious recipe for Chop Chae.