Posted by & filed under Food Philosophy, organic produce, tips & tricks.

We’re willing to bet that many people don’t even realize that the pickle is actually a CUCUMBER. That’s right. In fact, pickling is its own brand of processing for food with a specific flavor. You can pickle just about anything — beans, carrots, beets, lemons, peaches, peppers — and, of course, cucumbers, and we then call them PICKLES, and you can find them just about in any grocery store.

The Thing Is — You Don’t Need to Buy Those ‘Pickles’ at Any Grocery Storehow to make pickles-1

You can actually make them yourself. And it won’t take so long either. At best, it’ll take you 30 minutes, and one of the secrets here can make it so the “shelf life” of your jar of pickles will last a really long time (read more below). Buy cucumbers in bulk and get to work with these three top secrets on how to make pickles on your own. Without help. Without driving to a grocery store.

It’s so easy that you’ll be blown away. Then you can practically jar your pickles and have them with sandwiches literally every week and you didn’t even have to buy the Vlasics to do it. Simple.

The Sad Thing Is No One Ever Wants to Do the Legwork

But it’s so worth it in the long run. And once you’ve got this down pat, it’ll be a no-brainer for you. In many ways, it’s honestly much healthier to go the natural homemade route versus driving to the grocery store. And you know we like healthy at Golden Gate.

Check out the tips for yourself. You’ll see it’s a whole lot easier than you think!

Posted by & filed under Food Philosophy, organic produce, tips & tricks.

Who knew that you should be selective when pickling cucumbers? As if there were certain secrets to effective pickling, right? The truth is this: the process is easy, but the product needs to be the best for it to have a lasting effect on you. Taste, seasoning, longevity: sometimes when you make your own pickles, they come out a little weird — and it just might be because you don’t necessarily have the best cucumbers out there. Quality matters.

How to Make Pickles Should Be All About How to Pick the Best Cucumberhow to make pickles-2

And this is the best advice you can get from any organic food website out there: Kirby Cucumbers tend to be the best. They hold up better than even those English cucumbers given the firmness and crunchiness. Some of the misfires end up a bit soft, flaccid, and rather blah, which comes with the territory associated with pickling. Don’t fret. That’s often the case when you soak a cucumber in a brine that’s designed to completely soften up the flesh.

So you need a cucumber that can hold up.

Persian cucumbers also can handle the brine quite well. The best part of those types of cucumbers is the fact that they have thinner skins, making them perfect for jarring in the pint sizes. Better storage. Here’s the best advice, though, when picking your ideal cucumber from the organics produce market: look for ripe and firm. Not ‘limp’ and ‘wrinkly’. You’ll be regretting the efforts over the latter, wasting your brine and your time.

One More Thing: Definitely Wash Those Cucumbers Up Good

You’d think it wouldn’t matter since you’re soaking those cukes. But it does. Wash them. And cut away any blemishes found, as well as any bruises on the veggies before pickling. Then you’ll be good as gold. The cool thing about pickling is the fact that you can do the same to just about any vegetable out there. Once you have a flavor you like, go with it. Run with it. Heck, you can even market the stuff on your own!

 

Posted by & filed under Food Philosophy, organic, organic produce, tips & tricks.

Ever noticed how those grocery store jarred pickles can come in a variety of flavors? That’s no accident. Pickling is a versatile way to inject flavor into your favorite cucumbers. However…. You have to be a bit careful with what you try to do for several reasons. There are some mainstays for the type of brine combination you want to use as well as the herbs you want to infuse with it.

Think Dill Seed for Pickling — But There Are Other Flavors, Toohow to make pickles-3

Dill seed is the most common. In fact, many can’t help but think of pickled cucumbers when they smell dill! However, you can do some pretty nifty pickling when throwing in other stuff to round out the flavor and make for something so robust that you blow all the other supposed competition out of the water —

  • Garlic
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Mustard Seed
  • Celery Seed
  • Black Peppercorn

Actually just about anything (except for sugary additives, of course) could work well with pickling cucumbers, so feel free to experiment. Chances are good you should always stick with your base dill seed flavoring, but you know what’s even more important?

The Brine: the Basis for Great Pickling All Depends on It

Among the many secrets on how to make a pickle, knowing how to make the brine itself is 101 right there. The traditional way to do it is to make it with equal parts cider vinegar with salted water. Simple as that. Rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, and other vinegars could also work. You then soak the cucumbers in the brine for a while. As in you wait before eating. Sure, that would be agony, because you love those brined pickles and the rich taste. But it’s well worth the wait.

Like we said…. It’s an art form. Give it a shot. Those cucumbers will be happy when you do.

 

Posted by & filed under Food Philosophy, organic, organic produce, tips & tricks.

It’s a choice, though — or, better yet, an option out of the steps to take in pickling cucumbers. How to make pickles is easy when you get the hang of of it, but if you want to store your jarred pickles and have them last a long time, PROCESSING is the way to do it. The thing is you get a trade-off with processing. Processed pickles tend to lose their crunchiness a bit, but they’ll last a lot longer in the jar. Want to know how long?

Pickle Processing Will Increase the Freshness of Your Pickles by About a YEARhow to make pickles-4

That means you can jar all your pickles, store them (not fridge ’em), and they’ll be good by 2018. No joke. And it doesn’t even take that long to process them.

The trick to processing newly pickled cucumbers is to bathe them in hot water for five minutes. That alone will ensure they last for that long in the jars. However, the downside is the hot water processing you put them through will actually cook the cucumbers just a little, enough for them to get that softer texture you might be familiar with.

Ever wonder why some of those jarred grocery store pickles tend to be a bit ‘softer’ — more flaccid? That’s why. They’ve been processed, so they last longer. It might be something you want to do if you’re interested in stocking up. However, if you don’t mind just eating them within a month or so, skip the whole processing process!

All You Need to Do Is Keep Your Jarred in the Fridge

They’ll keep for about a few weeks before going bad. Should give you plenty of time to eat them (ideally with a sub or sandwich). Some people like the fact that they keep so well in a fridge, but let’s say you like having them in stock for a very long time — pickle processing might be the option for you.

Either way, you’re golden with pickles, for sure. And for more information about Golden Gate Organics, simply read our blog! That will have an unlimited shelf life; we guarantee it.

 

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The crazy thing is this seems to be contrary to the point of vegetarianism: as in, vegetarians only eat vegetables. After all, it’s in the label! However, as lifestyles evolve and the whole point behind vegetarianism advances, it becomes clear — vegetarians don’t just eat vegetables. They actually eat a lot more! And they should…. So then why do vegetarians eat fish? After all, a fish is an animal. You’ve seen plenty of vegetarians say that they’re happy with cod or trout, and a lot won’t feel guilty about peeling open a can of sardines.

The Question of Why Do Vegetarians Eat Fish Does Have Three Answers, do-vegetarians-eat-fish-1Though

And they’re great answers. Undisputed even. We can’t call them hypocrites for good reason. The fact is there’s real science behind the study of “pescetarianism” (a form of vegetarianism supplemented by the consumption of fish), and it makes you wonder — you can have your cake (or in this case, tuna steak on the grill) and eat it, too!

These three reasons alone will ensure you, the vegetarian, will never feel guilty cutting into a healthy trout glazed with honey lemon sauce. Overall, though, we at Golden Gate Organics want to make one thing clear:

Health Ultimately Matters the Most

Arguably, fish may be the most “organic” meat known to man. You can’t really genetically improve it. You can’t beef it up with hormones. You can’t do any of that. They’re caught, iced, chopped, packaged, and shipped out to all our stores and restaurants. The fresh picks are always the best.

And here’s the best part: you can pair that fish with some lovely organic vegetables and fruit.

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Yep. That’s the story. And they’re sticking to it. Of course, there’s a lot of science backing that up among other facts proving that vegetarians can, indeed, say that they eat fish without being blasphemers. Of course, many reading this want the proof. Can fish feel pain?

That Is the MO of a Vegetarian, Seeing That Killing Animals for Food Is Cruel

We get it. Believe us. We’re only into organics, after all. Fish are animals, though — so how can it be possible that fish can’t feelvegetarians-1 any pain? It’s simple, actually — It’s all about the biology.

Fish brains structurally differ. Looking like beans, really, the genetic makeup of fish brains lack the neocortex typically present in mammals. The neocortex is what’s responsible for pain receptors, and it turns out fish literally have NONE of them. That literally means they can’t feel any pain. At all. Not even a little bit. Even sharks don’t feel pain!

We know what you’re thinking: those fish don’t look so good when chased by a predator or cut open by a knife. It’s true: their brains are designed to react to injury for obvious reasons. Fight or flight. Survival. It’s a necessity. The problem is that the mechanics don’t match up with the emotion and drive to avoid pain and suffering. Think of it as programming. Like a computer. When fish are programmed to twitch after being cut open, it’s perceived as pain (and, in fact, we interpret it as pain), but fish don’t feel it the way we do. They can’t.

They don’t have the emotion. The fear. The self-consciousness. Mammals, to a certain extent (especially us humans), however, can.

An Interesting Hypothesis Having NOTHING to Do With Food

But it’s still compelling to realize the facts. Eating a fish is no different than eating oregano. Plants live and breathe. Yet we eat them. They exist as part of nature, but not of their own choice or volition. And that makes them the delights we all enjoy with our organic food.

Mmmmm, now I feel like grabbing some whitefish at the local market.

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Who knew that this ‘meat’ was SO good for you? Ridiculously good, in fact. Fish is good for you in a lot of ways, but we’re willing to bet none of you know just how good, and aside from the fact that there are several reasons why vegetarians make a great case for eating fish (even though it’s technically meat from a “live animal”), this particular reason might take the cake for ending the argument altogether.

A Mediterranean Diet Can Actually Reduce Mortality — That’s Why Fish Is Good mediterranean-1for You

Even more so, the pescetarian benefits with reductions in cancer — and even degenerative brain disease — by almost 10%. All from eating fish as part of your diet. The prospects of a fish diet go even farther when we talk about losing weight and even living longer. Would you like to know?

Fish is good for you in the sense that it’ll protect your heart. Those omega-3’s, man. They’re your secret weapon, plain and simple. Ultimately a fish diet will prevent erectile dysfunction, too. So we’re not just talking about a healthy heart; we’re talking about a happy heart.

To put it in perspective, know this: Americans face the worst of epidemics when it comes to health: OBESITY and TYPE 2 DIABETES. And would you like to know just what is the main cause of those two calamities? An unhealthy diet. The conditions can ultimately lead to all sorts of cancer, too, so this is a serious subject: if you want to avoid the worst of your health problems, it might just be as simple as eating a good ol’ Red Snapper.

The Good News Is Fish Go Quite Well With Organics

Makes for a great meal. And it’s a 1-2 punch unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Explore Golden Gate Organics for even more goodies of information. And don’t forget to catch that trout.

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Everyone knows that a pescetarian diet’s a good one — and we’re pretty sure you’ve heard of those vegetarians touting the whole fish diet as well (making a good case for it even, given the fact that fish are live animals). Some don’t even realize, though, that vegetarians do eat fish not only for the fact that it’s good for them — but also good for the world, and here’s why:

Aquaculture May Be the Wave of the Future of Food

That’s a bold statement given the culture we’ve monopolized, what with agriculture making millions — crops, beef, poultry. You name it. Our very economy is funded by it. But aquaculture? Can that be the answer?

It can be when satellite photos of cow feedlots show up looking like manure oceans of waste management efforts cluttered with clusters of methane gas and the like. Makes you think that the whole agriculture thing just isn’t good for the environment. And, truthfully, what farmers do does have an impact on the overall health of the planet.

Aquaculture’s different, although there are some issues with leveraging the “last wild food” to its peak consumption. Overfishing, for example, can cause major issues. The bluefin tuna, in fact — currently endangered — could end up extinct within our lifetime. We manage aquaculture and leverage the overall health benefits of fish, and we might be looking at a full-on sustainable industry worth literally $220MM to the country — nay, to the world.

Will Farms Be Managing Vats and Tubs Over Coops and Pens?

We’re going to be honest here: they just might be some day soon. After all, 50% of the world’s fish supply are actually raised on farms. Not in the oceans. Food for thought there. Pretty soon you might end up seeing grocery stores only selling tilapia over ground beef. It’ll be an interesting future.

Posted by & filed under organic produce.

Collard Greens

Kale has become a vegetable superstar in the past handful of years, and it’s certainly considered a King of Greens. However, there are a whole family of greens that are just as good for you – and equally as versatile as the celebrated Kale  – and collard greens are a prime example.

What Are Collard Greens?

Collards are in the greens family – the same one where we find kale, cabbage, broccoli  and other cruciferous vegetables. They have large, beautiful green leaves on a very thick stalk – visually they look like what you would get if spinach married a rubber plant and had a baby.

Want to get excited about adding a new vegetable to your diet? Take a look at these nutritional facts, brought to you by Medical News Today:

Calories: One cup of cooked collard greens has about 63 calories, 5 grams of protein (yes, plants have protein too!), 1 gram of fat and and 11 grams of carbs (the large majority of which are fiber).

Vitamins and minerals: Here’s what that cup of cooked greens will yield in terms of nutrient content (RDA) – it’s pretty impressive.

  • Vitamin A – 250%
  • Vitamin B6 – 10%
  • Vitamin C – 50%
  • Vitamin K (100+%)
  • Calcium – 26%
  • Magnesium – 10%
  • Iron – 1%

They are also a good source of choline, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorous and potassium.

Collard Greens Are Great For Your Body

In recent studied, collard greens have been associated with facilitating weight loss, and reducing the risk of developing serious, epidemic-esque health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Speaking of the heart, here’s another amazing fact about collards – they reduce bad cholesterol levels. The bile binding acids in your digestive tract “capture” bad cholesterol from the foods you eat. When these acids bind to bile binding acids, they are more easily excreted by your body, preventing them from getting into your vascular system. Steamed collard greens are one of the most effective foods for facilitating bile binding acids, and have been shown to lower cholesterol levels in recent studies.

Collards and other cruciferous greens have repeatedly been associated with lower risks of cancer, specifically lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers, and possibly melanoma, esophageal and pancreatic cancers.

We could go on and on about the health benefits of collard greens but you get the idea. Let’s move on to more important information – like the best ways to prepare them.

Ideas for Preparing Collard Greens

  • Eat them raw. Eating raw veggies is the best way to optimize their nutritional value. Read, Why You Should Be Eating More Raw Foods, to learn more about that topic. While collards can be tough and/or bitter when eaten without any prep, they become delectable when massaged for a few minutes with a little olive oil and lemon juice – or apple cider vinegar – and then thrown into your salads. You can also use them in place of basil (or in addition to) in your favorite pesto recipe.
  • Steam them. If you love greens, then you’ll love collards. Green lovers are happy to keep it simple, removing the tough stems, rough chopping the leaves and throwing them in a steamer for about 5 – 7 minutes, but no more than 10. Like other cruciferous vegetables, all of which contain sulfur (Click Here to read about the health benefits of sulfur), overcooking will yield that sulfurous odor that gives healthy greens a bad rap.Once they’re done, you can eat them tossed with a smidge of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), salt and pepper – and perhaps a little red chili flake. Some people like to sprinkle them with apple cider vinegar.
  • Use them as wraps. Try removing the leaves from the stalks and blanching whole leaves to make them malleable. Now you can use them as a nutritious exterior for your favorite wrap recipe. Or, try one of our favorites – Raw Thai Spring Rolls w/ “Peanut” sauce (actually made with almonds). We’ve yet to have a single bit left over, now matter how many times we’ve doubled or tripled the recipe – they’re that good.

In truth, collards can be substituted for kale in any recipe, so go wild and start experimenting. Look for collards in the green section of your local grocery produce aisles. Let us know what you think!

Posted by & filed under organic produce.

Raw foods have amazing benefits that could be changing your life. And you don’t have to adopt a completely raw diet to see the benefits from adding more raw foods to your daily routine. Even swapping one cooked food for a raw option at each meal can make a difference in how you look, feel and perform in your daily life or special activities!


Some of the benefits of eating more raw foods include:

images-4 raw foods-Increased energy production and mental clarity (getting more daily work done and increased productivity)

-Natural cleansing effects

-More available enzymes to break down your food and absorb nutrients (Check out how raw food can build muscle!)

-Less risk of overeating (eat as many raw fruits and veggies as you like and you’ll still never reach that comatose-full feeling you get from cooked foods)

-Less food packaging (Check out 10 raw foods to change your life!)

-Digestive regularity

-More antioxidants

-Better complexion

organic-78920_960_720 raw foods-Better for the environment (Check out this article about how you can save the world by eating organic!)

 

 

And there are many more! So give raw a shot with Golden Gate Organics