Top chefs find inspiration close to home

(BPT) – Celebrated chefs Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Silverton, Gerald Hirigoyen and Martin Yan are known and active the world over, but they all call California home. For their award-winning restaurants, product lines, cookbooks and TV shows, they draw inspiration from the bountiful fresh ingredients the Golden State has to offer.

“California is my favorite place in the world to cook,” said Puck. “The climate is such that we can get the best ingredients — the freshest produce, fish, nuts — with so much flavor.”

It’s this same culinary opportunity that drew French-born Hirigoyen, the chef and owner of Piperade in San Francisco, to California. “The food revolution — knowing where food comes from, how nutritious it is, and supporting the people who grow it — was happening in California, so I came to progress, and with all we have available, continue to progress.”

One California crop that has captured these chefs’ collective imagination of late? Pistachios.

“I find their flavor and crunch irresistible and I love the color,” said L.A.-based chef Silverton. “It’s really easy to add pistachios to almost anything you make. Their flavor enhances other ingredients so well, but they can also be the star of a dish.”

“The great thing about pistachios is they are just the right size, and they add flavor, color and texture to your dish, on top of all the nutritional benefits,” said Yan.

Long a popular snack, the trend of using pistachios for cooking appears to be spreading beyond California. American Pistachio Growers, the trade organization of pistachio farmers in the western United States, reports the sale of pistachio kernels, or unshelled nuts, domestically has risen 14%, and represents 22% of all pistachio sales. Representatives cite the reason as a combination of the increase in people preparing meals at home since the outbreak of COVID-19, and the desire for healthy ingredients.

Pistachios are nutrient-dense and high in protein. Earlier this year, pistachios earned the status of being a “complete protein,” making them popular among people following a plant-based diet. In July, a university study underscored the importance of pistachios as part of weight-loss programs.

With the world’s top chefs adding more pistachio-inspired dishes to their menus, the little green nut is suddenly red hot. But don’t worry about there being a shortage. This year’s American pistachio harvest yielded a record-setting one billion pounds.

Wolfgang Puck’s Roasted Rack of Lamb with Pistachio Sate Sauce

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Pistachio Sate Sauce:

1 cup / 230 g coconut milk
1/4 cup / 60 g lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup / 60 g pistachio butter*
1 tbsp. / 16 g soy sauce
1/4 cup / 5 g cilantro
1/4 cup / 13 g green onions, minced
2 tsp. / 30 g Aleppo chiles, or another mild citrussy chile

Method:

In a small saucepan combine coconut milk and lime juice. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly until coconut milk is hot and aromatic. Transfer to a blender and add remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste and set aside.

Rack of Lamb:

2 each lamb racks, frenched
Olive oil, as needed
Kosher salt, as needed
Black pepper, freshly ground, as needed
1/2 cup / 170 g pomegranate syrup

Method:

Rub all sides of lamb racks with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle pomegranate syrup across the top of each rack and even out across surface with a pastry brush.
Roast in a preheated 450°F (232°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes for rare/medium rare, or longer depending on preferred doneness. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Assembly:

Cut lamb racks between the bones into individual chops. You can plate the lamb on individual plates or a platter. Using your own presentation style, fan sweet potatoes or other vegetable on both sides of plates or platter, arrange 2 chops per person, drizzle Pistachio Sate onto plate, drizzle pomegranate syrup on top of the vegetable and sprinkle with a generous amount of pistachios, finish with a few sprigs of fresh cilantro.

*Pistachio Butter:

2 cups / 250 g pistachios, roasted
1/4 to 1/2 cup / 55 g – 110 g grapeseed oil
1/4 tsp. / 1 g sea salt, optional

Method:

Scoop pistachios into a food processor and run for 60 to 90 seconds. Open the processor and scrape the sides. Run for another 60 to 90 seconds. Scrape down the sides and continue processing. Slowly drizzle oil as needed into the butter as it’s processing until you achieve the texture and consistency you prefer. Add optional sea salt and pulse to combine.

Transfer butter to a container with a snap-on lid. Refrigerate if holding the butter for more than a few days.

Equipment Needed: Blender, baking sheets, small saucepan, whisk and pastry brush.

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Find Pistachios on Amazon.

Oats & Flax Rolls

Remember in the spring when everyone was baking sourdough bread at home? I tried it myself but admit that after baking a loaf of bread and a pizza crust, I tired of maintaining the starter. Plus I don’t have the patience or cookware to get the precise and delicious crust of true sourdough bread.

Then it was summer and baking was far from my mind. Late spring is when I started dehydrating and that became (and still is) my passion. I’ve dehydrated just about anything I could think of: in addition to vegetables and fruit, I’ve dehydrated tomato sauce, beans, and even tried salmon jerky (more recipes for dehydrated foods to come soon).

But as the weather has begun to change and the days get colder, the desire to bake has returned. I love the nutty flavor of flax, the oatyness of oats, and the nutritional profile of both, so decided to experiment with an Oats & Flax Rolls recipe.

I think I found the perfect combo! These rolls had just the right balance of crispy crust and soft interior. The flavor was perfect too. If you too are starting to get the urge to bake, give these a try and then let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments.

Oats & Flax Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (if you prefer, you can use half wheat / half white flours)
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup  whole or ground flax meal
  • 1 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 cup oil or 2 T. butter, melted
  • 1 large egg yolk, reserved egg white for topping
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing until a soft dough forms.  Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 6-8 minutes, until smooth and the dough bounces back when poked.  
  2. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until nearly doubled.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 pieces for dinner rolls. Roll into a ball and place on a lightly greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper). Spray the rolls with olive oil or spray the plastic wrap and cover gently. Let rise for about 90 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Whisk egg white with 2 T. water and brush onto tops of rolls. Sprinkle with oats or flax (or both) and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on racks.

** If you prefer a ready-to-prepare mix, order my pre-mixed Oats & Flax Rolls mix at WellPreservedShop. Each package makes 8 rolls for $4.25, or 2 packages / $8.

Beef Stroganoff

Today I put together a new meal kit for beef stroganoff. This savory and delicious mix works well as a side dish, or add meat to make it a meal.

The sour cream is already included so all you need to do is just add water. These meal kits are great for camping and hiking, prepping, anytime meal prep, or to have a stocked pantry.

Beef Stroganoff

As a Side dish: Add contents of the package to 4 cups water in a pan. Stir to combine and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir and let sit for a few minutes to thicken. Salt to taste.

As a side dish.

As a Meal: Brown sirloin steak strips or ground beef before adding ingredients. Or add leftover roast beef.

Add leftover roast beef to make it a meal.

4 servings

Ingredients: pasta, dehydrated mushrooms, whole milk powder, cornstarch, potato flakes, sour cream powder, beef bouillon, parsley, onion, garlic, pepper.

Buy it here. Or view all my dehydrated meal kits at my WellPreservedShop.

Fresh ideas for making cooking at home easier

(BPT) – With family members on different schedules, virtual learning in full swing and working from home showing no signs of slowing, it’s challenging to have meals and snacks ready when hunger strikes. And when time is short and your crew is tired, the last thing you need to be doing is spending ages in the kitchen.

Here are some solutions for making cooking at home easy — and delicious. All it takes is a little planning, a few kitchen tools, and a few family-friendly recipes.

1. Use your air fryer

It’s time to pull that air fryer out from the back of the pantry. Many people own this unique tool, but it can sometimes feel overwhelming to use it. The key to getting the most out of your kitchen equipment is planning ahead. Preheat your air fryer before adding your food. Simply turn the air fryer on to the temperature that you need and set the timer for 2 or 3 minutes. When the timer goes off, the air fryer has preheated and is ready for your food.

A pro tip we like to share: Don’t overcrowd the basket of your air fryer or else you’ll prevent foods from crisping and browning evenly.

You can easily convert some of your favorite meals from conventional cooking to air fryer usage. The good news? You can make an air fryer meal for any time of day and enjoy a meal without getting any dishes dirty.

Editor’s note: I use the Megachef Halogen Oven Air Fryer. If you purchase through my Amazon link I may receive a commission.

2. Schedule meal prep for the weekend

If you have the time, you will certainly be happy to find your casseroles, stews, pasta dishes and other meals completely ready to eat each evening. Just cooking up some make-ahead dishes like a Cheesy Shrimp Bake or a Crab Quiche during the weekend could free you from kitchen duty a night or two during the week.

If you don’t have time to prep entire meals beforehand, there are still some little things you can do to help reduce your daily cooking time. For example:

  • Marinate proteins a day or two ahead of time.
  • Peel and cut veggies and store them in your refrigerator.
  • Mix up any spices or sauces you might need, labeling them clearly.

3. Keep quick, tasty options at-the-ready

Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite between Zoom meetings, creating a home-gating spread to watch the game, or just having a fun date night in, frozen seafood is a great option to keep on-hand. Luckily, the frozen seafood aisle has so many products to choose from. Some products that deliver on quality, taste and convenience are SeaPak’s Budweiser Beer Battered Shrimp, Budweiser Beer Battered Cod and Budweiser Beer Battered Crab Poppers.

For a restaurant-inspired experience at home, try making these Budweiser Beer Battered Shrimp Lettuce Cups with Mango Avocado Salsa. For this recipe, you could also try making the shrimp in the air fryer since you have it out of storage already. The good news is you do not need to defrost the frozen shrimp before you start cooking them. You can just pull them straight from the freezer and pour them out of the bag into the air fryer basket!

Ingredients

1/2 of 12-ounce package SeaPak Budweiser Beer Battered Shrimp
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeds removed and jalapeño finely diced
1/2 mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 avocado, chopped
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste
8-12 leaves of bibb or other butter lettuce

Directions

  1. Cook Budweiser Beer Battered Shrimp in air fryer or according to any of the other package directions and keep shrimp warm.
  2. In medium bowl, combine Roma tomato, jalapeño, mango, avocado, cilantro and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To assemble each lettuce cup, place Budweiser Beer Battered Shrimp in center of lettuce leaf and top with the mango avocado salsa.
  4. Serve immediately.

For more recipe inspiration, visit SeaPak.com/recipes.

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One easy meal prep is to utilize packaged meal kits. Serve as a side dish, or just add chicken to make this tasty Chicken Pasta Rice a meal.

Visit my WellPReservedShop for more meal ideas.

How To Make Dried Cranberries Using A Dehydrator

If you’re like me, you stock up on cranberries when they’re in season and on sale. After buying, cooking, and canning multiple jars of cranberry sauce, you’d think when I went to the grocery store again just before Thanksgiving that I’d leave them be. I had enough, right? Well I couldn’t pass up the sale price so I bought a few more bags and decided to dehydrate these.

Tip: in addition to eating the cranberry sauce as a side dish, or slathering it on pancakes as a preserve, my favorite use for the canned whole cranberry sauce is to place a large dollop in a glass, then top with club soda and maybe a squeeze of orange or lemon. It’s a delightful mocktail!

But back to dehydrating cranberries…

I personally don’t like the high amount of sugar in most cranberry recipes so I use less than called for in my recipes. For the dehydrated cranberries, I made two trays, one lightly sprinkled with sugar, the other sprinkled with a monkfruit/erythritol blend sugar substitute. They’re both delicious!

Here are both trays about 8 hours into the dehydration process. The monkfruit sweetened berries are on the top row and you can see they have gotten more granular but less dehydrated than the ones with sugar.

Although I started with a Nesco dehydrator — I loved the price and it was perfect for getting started — I now use the ChefWave model with 10 racks, temperature control, and timer.

If you decide to make a purchase through my link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free, so thank you!

Dehydrating Cranberries

Ingredients:

1 bag cranberries

1/8-1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute

Instructions:

1: Rinse and drain cranberries in a colander. Bring 2 quarts water to boil. Add cranberries, turn off heat, and let sit for 7-10 minutes until skins pop.

2: Drain cranberries in colander then sprinkle lightly with preferred sweetener. Let sit for a few minutes so the sugar can help dry the berries. Spread on dehydrator racks, well dispersed with space between them.

3: Place racks in dehydrator. Set temperature to 140 degrees. Rotate occasionally for even drying. Dry for 14-24 hours until the consistency of raisins. Pack in airtight jar or baggie, or freeze.

Uses:

Dried cranberries are great in trail mix, served on oatmeal, added to chicken salad, and mixed into a cheese ball. Or try Taste of Home’s Cranberry Blue Cheese Salad recipe.

Benefits of Cranberries:

High in antioxidants, and loaded with fiber, these powerhouse berries also have numerous health benefits.

Here’s another article about dehydrating cranberries written by a friend who visited cranberry growers in Wisconsin.

Check out these 4 pound packages of dried cranberries from Traverse Bay Fruit.

Don’t want to bother with dehydrating foods yourself? Check out my new Etsy store. I’ll be adding additional products, but for now, choose from Taco Seasoning or Salsa Mix.

How to shake up mealtime: 10 creative kitchen ideas

(BPT) – Due to quarantine and social distancing measures, Americans have found themselves cooking at home more than ever. However, after creating some of the same meals week after week, you might be hitting a home-cooking rut. To shake things up in the kitchen, consider these 10 ways to add excitement and creativity to your dishes.

Explore cultural dishes: Look to other cultures for food inspiration. Whether inspired by a book you read, a movie you watched or a place you have visited (or want to visit), there are a lot of dishes that can open your eyes to the way people all around the world eat and enjoy food.

Use a new ingredient: “Try a new ingredient you’ve never cooked with before to expand your palate,” says Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Jordan Andino. “Experimenting with a new ingredient like SPAM® Classic is great because the product is flavorful, versatile, quick to cook, and when added to a dish, it can give your favorite recipe a whole new twist.”

Host a virtual theme night: Invite friends for a virtual dinner party where everyone shows off their homemade creations. To add a little excitement to the virtual party, pick a different theme to create a meal around — a luau, a crawfish boil or decades night are a few examples. Don’t forget to add some fun decor to make the virtual mealtime extra special.

Get inspired online: With cooking classes going virtual across countless social media platforms, look to some of your favorite foodie influencers and celebrity chefs for inspiration in the kitchen. Your favorite cooking brands, restaurants and chefs are probably hosting online cooking classes where you can learn some new tips and simple tricks to make a tasty new dish.

Get the gadgets and tools: Turn your culinary world upside down with a new kitchen gadget. Try out a vegetable spiralizer that’ll help you make zoodles (zucchini noodles) or a dressing mixer to create homemade dressings, marinades and sauces. Pick up a sushi kit for a fun family dinner activity.

Try trending recipes: Try your hand at one of the latest food trends for more motivation in the kitchen. A few recipes that are gaining popularity include bread making, cooking flavored gnocchi or eating the iconic Hawaiian snack SPAM® Musubi.

Add new spices: An easy way to enhance any dish is by adding spices. Try a new spice or make your own blend. Whether you’re going for some heat or want to add a savory element, a spice you’ve never had before may do the trick. Furthermore, a new spice might even inspire new dishes you’ll love.

Embrace backward day: Try shaking things up and eat breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast. Flipping around the traditional awakens palates and is a simple way to keep meals interesting. Plus, what kid doesn’t love waffles or egg bakes for dinner?

Share a favorite, find a favorite: Organize a virtual or old-fashioned recipe swap with friends and family. Discover new meal options and walk away with a pile of fresh recipes to cook at home.

Make your own bowls: Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, make a “build your own bowl bar,” where your family can choose their own base and toppings for their custom creations. For example, try a smoothie bowl by pairing yogurt, fresh fruit and extras like grains and nuts for a nutrient-filled breakfast. For dinner, try rice bowls that can be customized to your liking, such as a bibimbap bowl.

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Stock your pantry with Freeze-Dried Crisps
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Winter wellness: 3 expert tips to boost overall health

(BPT) – As we head into the chillier months, the winter season brings simple pleasures such as hot cocoa, holiday music and cozy nights by the fireplace. However, the hustle and bustle of the season can also take a toll on your well-being. Stress and unhealthy eating associated with seasonal celebrations are paired with colder weather that makes many people want to curl up inside with a blanket. Plus, the ongoing challenges of virtual learning, remote working and staying home can also impact overall health.

Fortunately, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner has three simple tips to boost your overall health and immunity this winter:

Get active daily

With so many people working and studying remotely, physical activity is already lower. With the addition of colder weather, people of all ages may not be getting enough exercise. It’s important to make time to be active at a moderate level for 20-30 minutes a day. You can stay safe working out at home by following free online workout videos, practicing stretching and yoga independently, playing actively with your kids, or doing another activity that gets you up and moving. Whatever you like, just make sure to carve out time daily to be active to ensure the most benefits.

Soak up the sun whenever possible

Fresh air and being outside is great for supporting mental health, but it has physical benefits as well. Being outside for 10-15 minutes each day helps your body absorb adequate vitamin D from the sun. So even if the weather is chilly, it’s worth putting on a few layers and going outside on your patio or taking a walk around the block. You’ll be amazed how refreshed you feel! Remember, if you’re going to be outside longer than 15 minutes, you’ll want to wear sunscreen because even during cool or cloudy days, sunburn is a possibility.

Choose nutrient-dense foods

Ensuring you get plenty of vitamins is important, especially during winter months, to support health and wellness. One simple swap you can make is adding nutritious Eggland’s Best eggs to your diet. Compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland’s Best eggs are richer in a variety of micronutrients including six times more vitamin D, 10 times more vitamin E, and more than double the vitamin B12 and omega-3s. These micronutrients can only be derived through the foods we eat and can help support a strong immune system throughout the winter. To add even more nutrition, pair your eggs with plenty of colorful vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers and more.

If you’re looking for a nutritious and delicious brunch recipe this winter season, try the Asian Frittata from Eggland’s Best:

Asian Frittata

Ingredients

Sauce

1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic

Frittata

6 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
6 Eggland’s Best Eggs (large)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 (1/2 cup) green onions, thinly sliced
1 small stalk (1 cup) bok choy, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Directions

Heat oven to 350 F. Place oven rack in upper middle position.

Combine all sauce ingredients in bowl; set aside.

Combine chicken, 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in bowl; set aside.

Combine remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil, eggs, pepper and salt in bowl; beat with whisk. Set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling; add chicken strips.

Cook, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken; set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to same skillet; add bell pepper, green onions and bok choy.

Cook over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes or until vegetables just begin to soften. Remove vegetables; set aside.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium heat until butter is sizzling.

Add chicken and vegetables to egg mixture; pour egg mixture into skillet.

Cook, stirring and lifting around bottom edges with spatula, 1-2 minutes or until eggs just begin to set.

Place skillet into oven; bake 8-10 minutes or until eggs are set.

Carefully place large plate over skillet; turn skillet to release frittata onto plate. Serve with reserved sauce.

Looking for more recipe inspiration? Eggland’s Best is calling on fans to vote for the Grand Prize Winner in the America’s Best Family Recipe Contest. Until Nov. 25, you can visit www.americasbestrecipe.com to try out the best recipe from each region of the country and cast your vote. Get the whole family together for a day of cooking and then sit down to sample your creations!

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6 cherry-licious health benefits to preserve year-round

(BPT) – It’s hard to beat summertime and its boon of fresh produce harvested at the peak of flavor, from farm-fresh vegetables to sun-ripened superfruits like sweet cherries. A surge in sweet cherry research in recent years has uncovered six health-promoting benefits packed into these snackable treats, such as combating cancer, promoting sleep and more. Fortunately, some easy preservation tips can help you lock in sweet cherry goodness to enjoy long after your summer tan has faded.

1. Crank up the cancer-fighting compounds

Studies suggest that sweet cherries may help in the fight against cancer, thanks to the presence of ellagic acid and anthocyanins. These compounds appear to help stem the growth of cancer cells. The luscious fruit also contains perillyl alcohol, which has been linked to anti-carcinogenic activity in pancreatic, breast, liver, colon, skin and lung cancers. More research is underway to explore the full cancer-fighting benefits of sweet cherries.

2. Ward off disease with a natural anti-inflammatory

As noted, sweet cherries contain anthocyanins, which are pigments that lend rich red and purple coloring to the fruit. Anthocyanins have a role in reducing tissue inflammation, as they appear to inhibit an enzyme that causes it, similar to how ibuprofen or naproxen work. Increased inflammation is thought to be an underlying cause for a host of chronic human diseases, including arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension. Cherries are also helpful in recovering from exercise-related inflammation.

3. Reduce your bouts with gout

Gout is a painful form of arthritis that can result from elevated levels of uric acid in your blood. Roughly 8.3 million Americans are coping with the disease. Sweet cherries have been shown to provide some sweet relief, as their consumption is associated with lower levels of uric acid in the blood. Additionally, when combined with prescribed medication, cherry consumption can further reduce the chances of an attack.

4. Get a good night’s sleep

Sweet cherries may help you get a night of sweet dreams. With their combination of melatonin, tryptophan and serotonin, sweet cherries are a natural and flavorful aid in improving sleep quality. To experience the best potential results in stabilizing and regulating sleep patterns, enjoy sweet cherries about an hour before bedtime.

5. Keep blood sugar levels on an even keel

If you have a sweet tooth, reach for sweet cherries to satisfy your cravings. Cherries boast a lower glycemic index and glycemic load than many other fruits. Since they release glucose slowly and evenly, your blood sugar levels can stay steady longer.

6. Up your fiber intake to lower health risks

Most Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diets, despite the correlation of a high fiber diet with healthy weight maintenance, improved cardiovascular health, and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Just a cup of sweet cherries delivers about three grams of fiber, or about 12% of the USDA’s daily value recommended for women and 10% for men.

Preserve sweet cherries to boost health year-round

Fresh sweet cherries are only around in the summertime, but you can easily preserve their flavor and health benefits for year-round enjoyment. To start, prepare the sweet cherries by destemming; then wash, drain and dry them. Pit the fruit if desired.

For freezing, arrange the sweet cherries in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the fruit to a freezer bag, removing excess air, and you’ll be able to scoop out handfuls for a refreshing snack or to use in your favorite recipes.

If you prefer dried sweet cherries — to sprinkle on granola, in salads, into baked goods and more — you can invest in a food dehydrator or simply use your oven. The trick is to use a low temperature for several hours. Northwest Cherry Growers recommends drying at 140-degrees Fahrenheit for six to 12 hours. Once dry, they can be stored in plastic bags, sealed with excess air removed, and stored in a dark, dry, cool place.

Visit Northwest Cherry Growers for more tips on how to freeze, dry and can sweet cherries to turn your summertime snack into an all-the-time staple of a nutritious diet.

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Celebrate National Avocado Day

July 31 is National Avocado Day

We’ve hand-selected the products below to provide delicious ways to help you celebrate this cherished fruit.

Our editorial team independently selects and reviews each product we feature. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission from affiliate programs.

BetterBody Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil: Takes the Heat – With a high smoke point of 500°F it’s great for stir frying, sautéing and more. A mild, smooth flavor that enhances other foods and takes the place of cooking oils.

Plant Junkie Avocado Oil Spread: A plant-based diet does not have to be bland. Enjoy the creamy, rich taste of chipotle and lime in this avocado plant-based spread with amazing, complex seasoning that you don’t have to make yourself!

Kumana Avocado Sauce, Original Jalapeño. A Keto Friendly Hot Sauce made with Ripe Avocados and Chili Peppers. Ketogenic and Paleo. Sugar Free, Gluten Free and Low Carb. 13.1 Ounce Bottle.

OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer

30 Days to a Zero Waste Life

When I started dehydrating food, one of the main benefits for me — as a single household — was the opportunity to avoid waste. How many times has my enthusiasm over finding a great price on local produce led me to purchase more than I could use before it spoiled? More times than I care to admit. So now, in addition to freezing and canning when the beets or tomatoes are ripening faster than I can eat them, I dehydrate some of the food to keep it for a later date but not take up much space.

Well Preserved participates in affiliate programs with various companies. We may earn a commission when you click on or make purchases via links. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of our content free, so thank you!

Because waste is an important topic, I was interested when I discovered Anita Vandyke’s book, A Zero Waste Life in Thirty Days. Here’s a look at what you’ll find:

When people hear of the conservationist lifestyle, it sounds idealistic and undesirable—a life spent sacrificing conveniences and laboring over smelly compost. Not quite so, according to stylish lifestyle expert, social influencer, and qualified rocket scientist Anita Vandyke, whose popular Instagram (@Rocket_Science) documenting her hip, conservationist lifestyle has amassed more than 82,000 followers, and who is the author of the upcoming, much anticipated, beautifully illustrated, and highly readable guidebook: A Zero Waste Life in Thirty Days (Apollo Publishers; April 22, 2020; Paperback: $17.99/ISBN: 978-1-9480-6260-2). 

A Zero Waste Life in Thirty Days makes it easy—even convenient, fun, and envy producing!—to become a conservationist. Inside, Vandyke elegantly and encouragingly invites readers to follow a simple, manageable plan that will incorporate sustainable techniques into their lives one day at a time over a 30-day period, and leave them with a more intentional, fulfilling, and Earth-friendly lifestyle.

Vandyke focuses on incorporating practical ways to reduce waste, such as with:

  • food and shopping (become a better cook, reduce costs from packaging, and spend less eating out);
  • beauty and cleaning (DIY organic beauty and cleaning products to avoid toxins);
  • and recycling and composting (the basics and why it isn’t as daunting (or smelly!) as it seems).

Vandyke says quitting her corporate job helped her find her path, and that her financial savviness during her “funemployment” is what led to a zero waste lifestyle. “I don’t have all the answers to living a 100% zero waste life,” she says. “It’s a goal, nothing more. I believe we can all be everyday activists and take little steps to reduce our waste.


ANITA VANDYKE, born in China, raised in Australia, and now splits her time between San Francisco, where she lives with her husband and young daughter, and Sydney, where she is finishing medical school.  To learn more about her mission, visit www.anitavandyke.com and follow her Instagram     @rocket_science.

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