Fermented Foods: Good or Gross?

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

Food has been fermented for centuries. It started out as a necessity for our ancestors, who had no way of keeping food fresh, but has since turned into a health revolution. Fermentation started back sometime around 6000 B.C, or maybe even earlier, when ingredients were taken and fermented into beer and wine. Slowly other things began to be fermented, and different cultures started fermenting ingredients only available in their regions, which led to all the crazy fermented foods available to us today!


Fermented foods have recently become all the rage in the health world, and it’s all thanks to the probiotics that they contain. Probiotics, if you haven’t heard, are live bacteria that are good for your gut. You already have naturally occurring bacteria in your body, some good and some bad, and probiotics are there for some extra support when you need it. According to WebMD, probiotics can help you gain back good bacteria that you’ve lost, they can help rid your body of bad bacteria that is making you sick, and they can help to keep your body’s bacteria levels in check. Health care professionals recommend the use of probiotics in food to calm upset stomachs and to relieve symptoms like diarrhea. Probiotic rich foods are also great for aiding digestion, which is why many fermented foods were created to be side dishes or drinks that accompany meals.

All over the globe there are different fermented foods and drinks that certain cultures and peoples have been including in their diets for a long time. For example, sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, is attributed to the Germans because it was and still is widely popular there, but sauerkraut was actually first concocted by the Chinese over 2,000 years ago. It was adopted by the German’s and is now popular worldwide.

Another example of a popular fermented food is kimchi. Kimchi is a Korean side dish that has been around since before the 1400s. Like sauerkraut, it is also made with cabbage. In its beginnings, it was a simple side to Korean cuisine, and helped to aid with digestion. Now it is popular as a side for its taste and cultural significance.

One last fermented food that most people eat quite often is yogurt. One usually wouldn’t think of yogurt as ‘fermented’ necessarily, but technically with its live and active cultures, it is!  Yogurt has been around since almost 10,000 B.C, and today it continues to be a well-known digestive aid, and tasty snack!

So, with our new found knowledge, we can definitely say fermented foods are good, not gross! They are helpful with digestion, upset tummies and an array of other stomach problems, and they don’t taste too bad either! For recipes and more information don’t forget to check out fillyourplate.org!

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Fill Your Plate is Mobile!

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

I got on my phone earlier today to show my friend a recipe on fillyourplate.org, and to my surprise, it had become mobile-friendly! I knew it was in the works to launch a mobile-friendly site sometime soon, but I wasn’t sure when it was going live. Well it’s live all right, and it’s awesome!


First of all, when you pull Fill Your Plate up on your browser, you can immediately click on one of the following tabs to lead you to the most popular pages on the site: Find a Farm Product, Find a Farmers Market, and Find Recipes. Each one of these buttons will take you to pages with tons of information about Arizona farms that you can buy fresh ingredients from, where the closest farmers market is for you, and recipes you can use to create healthy and tasty dishes.

Right under those buttons, are links to Fill Your Plate’s most recent blog articles, and with just one click you can discover tips, tricks, recipes, helpful hints, and more about everything and anything from health to holiday decorating!

If you scroll down just past the blog, you can browse through all of Fill Your Plate’s fun and educational videos. These videos feature many faces of Arizona agriculture, and spotlight produce that is in season, crops grown in Arizona, Arizona livestock, and tasty recipes, among many other topics. If you want to know about Arizona agriculture, these videos are a must-see!

At the bottom of the new mobile-friendly page, there is a link to Arizona Farm Bureau’s Friday Food Facts, which are aired on 99.9 KEZ. Here, you can listen to already aired clips that feature fun facts about Arizona agriculture!

If you look back to the top of the page, there is a little tab in the upper right corner that will take you anywhere else you need to go within Fill Your Plate. You can get info about Fill Your Plate in the ‘About Us’ section, check out the celebrity Q & A, find out what Arizona produce is in season, read up on nutritious news, and there is even a tab labeled ‘Contacts Us’, where you will find directions to the Arizona Farm Bureau, and a phone number you can call to get information.

At the top of the main page you will also find links to all of Fill Your Plate’s social media including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

The new layout of Fill Your Plate is super easy to use, and gets you where you need to go effortlessly. I’m so excited to start sharing this mobile version with my friends and family so they can use Fill Your Plate on the go just like I do!

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Not Another Pumpkin Pie!

By Angela C Torrence, ASU Nutrition student

Warmth, fall, pumpkins, Thanksgiving and Christmas all come to mind when thinking of November and December in Arizona. The pumpkin patches overflow and we have to wonder, whatever should we do when we have such an abundance of pumpkins? I like to consider pumpkins for their original purpose = food. And, here in Arizona, we grow lots of wonderful pumpkins.


Pumpkin pie is an amazing display of bright orange-gourd paired with perfectly chosen seasonings for one rich and creamy dessert.

Over the last few Thanksgivings, I have enjoyed giving my family and friends a different “take” on the pumpkin pie they are so familiar with. My raw pumpkin pie has all of the familiar attributes, but it is not cooked at all! Everyone who tries the pie wonders how I got it so smooth and has a hard time believing the fact that it is raw. In addition, this recipe has no sugar and is really, overall good for you!! Talk about a guilt-free Thanksgiving or Christmas this year!

Raw Pumpkin Pie


2 c. pecans or walnuts

½ c. soaked dates (about 15 minutes in hot water)

Pinch of salt


  • Squeeze out excess water from the dates. In a food processor, pulse and then blend the ingredients and press into your pie plate.
  • Note: I like to place the pie crust into my dehydrator at 118 degrees for at least 1 hour to help dry the nuts and dates. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can put the crust into the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes to help dry the nuts. This step is not necessary.



2 ½ c. shredded pumpkin

¾ c. soaked dates

1 quarter size round of fresh ginger (about 2 tsp.)

1 Tbs. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

Pinch of turmeric

¼ c. almond milk (or milk of your choice) to help blend

1 Tbs. coconut oil


  • Place all of the ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You might need to use a tamper or periodically stop to scrape the sides of your blender. You might need to add more liquid to help blend, but be careful not to add too much so your filling doesn’t become runny.
  • Pour filling into crust and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.


Note: This pie is not too sweet…perfect for me, but if you like yours sweeter, you can add ¼ c. soaked dates.


Editor’s Note: Cooking is one of Angela Torrence’s passions. A Nutrition Communications major at Arizona State University and registered dental hygienist, she is motivated to help people reach optimal oral health and overall body health. Nutrition enthusiast and promoter of a plant-based diet, Angela brings the research to you, helping break the science down into bite-sized pieces.

Ang's face


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Snacking Right During Football Season

By Veronica De Lira, Arizona State University Nutrition Student

We’re in the thick of football season, which means one thing: snacks!  Everyone knows football and snacks go hand in hand.  Unfortunately, with so many games it can lead us to eating too many unhealthy snacks and forming bad habits.


Research points out that this can lead to bigger health problems, and facts.randomhistory.com states, “junk food has been directly associated with obesity, heart disease, higher blood pressure, and other diseases.”  Whereas eating healthy snacks offers plenty of health benefits according to healthyeating.sfgate.com, “a nutritious snack ups your intake of essential nutrients, fiber intake, and antioxidants.”


Here is a list of snacks that both kids and adults can enjoy during the game!



Tostitos Multi Grain Chips

Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese

Add black beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and black olives

You can even add lean ground beef or jalapenos for a little kick


Multi Grain Tostitos Chips and Avocado Dip or Bean Dip:

For a quick guacamole

Cut 1 avocado and mash it

Add salt and lemon to taste

Slice 1 tomato and add

Depending on the party size, you may need more avocados


Whole grain or whole wheat crackers:

With low fat cheddar cheese or low fat mozzarella cheese


Multi grain chips with homemade salsa:  

Salsa ingredients:

3 large tomatoes

½ onion minced

Cilantro (bush)

3 jalapeno peppers, fresh

1 lemon

1 avocado



Take 3 large tomatoes and dice them into small cubes

Mince ½ onion

De-seed 3 jalapenos and cut them into extremely small pieces

Take 5 cilantro stems, cut off stem and leave the leaf, take the leaf and dice it

Slice avocado into small pieces

Mix all ingredients together

Add a pinch of salt

½ a pinch of pepper

Take ½ a lemon and squeeze it into salsa

Disclaimer for salsa: Add salt and lemon to taste, and depending on the amount of people at your party, you may have to increase the ingredient amounts.


Whole grain pretzels with reduced fat cheddar cheese


Whole grain crackers with hummus


Sliced celery sticks and carrots with hummus or ranch


Mixed nuts

*Sometimes you can find nut platters that have a variety of choices



Orville Redenbacher has a great whole grain choice!


Vegetable Platter


Carrots sticks


Celery sticks

Add dipping sauce

* Some stores sell vegetable platters pre-made.

If you liked this post, make sure to check out Fill Your Plate’s 10 Delicious Game Day Recipes for more crowd pleasing dishes!


38 Interesting Facts About…Junk Food. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2015. http://facts.randomhistory.com/interesting-facts-about-junk-food.html

Campbell, M. (n.d.). Bad Effects of Snacking. Retrieved September 14, 2015. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/bad-effects-snacking-3832.html


Veronica De Lira is currently a student at Arizona State University and is majoring in Nutrition Communication. She enjoys cooking and trying out recipe modifications, as she is an enthusiastic foodie. When not in the kitchen you can find her cheering on her favorite sports teams, going for walks, or catching up on her favorite shows.

Veronica De Lira Portrait Shot

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Thanksgiving Recipes to Thrill Your Guests

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

It’s no big secret that being the family’s Thanksgiving host for the year can get a little hectic. Between the family being in town and having the weight of an entire meal on your shoulders, your life will definitely be a bit busier than normal. There are often times when people’s Thanksgiving Day is ruined by the craziness that is preparing Thanksgiving dinner.


For a holiday that has its roots so deeply embedded in a foundation of being thankful, spending time with family, and giving back, I have never heard people complain more. I do understand where they are coming from, though. The preparation can be grueling but there are ways, of course, to cut down on the stress of being this year’s host or hostess while still providing your friends and family with an amazing atmosphere and meal. To do this we are going to need to take Thanksgiving back to the traditions of our grandparents with these tasty recipes guaranteed to thrill even the pickiest of dinner guests!

First up, we have some fabulous turkey recipes, as well as a twist if you are up for breaking tradition this year and trying a delicious prime rib recipe! You can’t go wrong with these three different ways to cook up your Thanksgiving dinner’s most important component, the main dish.

Citrus Marinated Grilled Turkey

Lentils and Smoked Turkey

Arizona Rancher’s Prime Rib

Here are two ways to create the dish that holds Thanksgiving dinner together. With its tangy taste and ability to be paired with any side dishes, cranberry sauce is a must have for your dinner.

Cosmo Cranberry Sauce

Popping Cranberry Sauce

We all know that everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish is homemade stuffing. You can’t beat the comfort-food-feel of this special dish that only comes around once a year. This recipe will give you that same home style taste of grandma’s famous stuffing, with a twist that will leave people thinking you’ve just graduated from culinary school.

Dru’s Special Holiday Stuffing

Another staple of many people’s Thanksgiving tables is yams or sweet potatoes; and although it seem like there aren’t many ways to prepare these yummy vegetables, here is one that will surely delight!

Orange Coated Yams

One last side dish to try this season is stuffed pumpkin. Not something typically served at Thanksgiving dinner, stuffed pumpkin will add an autumn feel to your table and add tastiness to your spread!

Stuffed Pumpkin

Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without the desserts, and pie has always been a go-to for all dinner hosts. Nothing is better than the smell of a freshly baked pie. Actually, I take that back. Eating that freshly baked pie is the only thing that can top the sweet smell they create. Here for you are two family favorite, tried and true recipes for the best kinds of pie to concoct for your meal!

Grandma Gertie’s Pumpkin Pie

Grandma Howard’s Apple Pie

Thanksgiving is a time of joy that should be spent with family and friends celebrating all that we are thankful for. It should NOT be a time of stress. So this Thanksgiving sit back, relax, and let these wonderful recipes do all the work for you!

And remember, Fill Your Plate has an endless number of recipes, including holiday ones! For Thanksgiving, we even have an entire category called “Recipes for Thanksgiving Dinner.”



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