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National food month

Vegan Facts & Fiction

Did you know November is World Vegan Month? If you’ve ever thought about becoming vegan, or at least eating less meat and more plant-based foods, there are some important things you need to know before you dive in. These are some common misconceptions about the vegan diet.

X MYTH: Vegans don’t get enough protein.
In actuality, we all pretty much get enough protein. It’s not one of the nutrients we really need to worry about since we have so many sources for it. And a proper vegan diet incorporates plant proteins from sources such as nuts, beans, soy foods, and quinoa. Even athletes, who have particular protein needs, can meet their protein requirement by choosing a variety of plant protein sources.

And although most plant proteins are considered “incomplete” proteins (they don’t have all nine essential amino acids that animal proteins do), as long as you eat a variety of protein sources on a given day, you should be covered.

  • FACT: Vegans never eat meat, fish, dairy, or eggs.
    Strict vegans only eat food from plants. Vegetarians may eat dairy and eggs, vegans don’t eat any animal by-products, including honey. While the reasons may vary (animal welfare concerns, environmental reasons, health/weight loss, wellness beliefs), vegans only consume foods and products made from plants.

X MYTH: Going vegan always leads to weight loss.
Vegan diets may prompt weight loss, but it is not guaranteed. You should still pay attention to the nutritional value of the vegan foods you consume. For example, Oreos and French fries are vegan-friendly, but may not be helpful when it comes to weight loss. You should focus on consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans for an increased fiber intake, which can help you lose weight over time.

  • FACT: You need to supplement a vegan diet.
    Vitamin B12 (critical in cell division and the maintenance of nerve cells) is only found in animal products and not plant foods, which means vegans are susceptible to a deficiency. Vegans should supplement with vitamin B12 pill or fortified cereal. But when it comes to fortified cereal, it is important to read to label to be sure vitamin B12 is covered.

Vegans at risk for falling short on other nutrients (calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids) should meet with a registered dietician who can either suggest how to meet your needs with foods or recommend a quality vegan supplement.

X MYTH: Meat alternatives are healthier than meat.
Unfortunately, many meat alternatives contain lots of sodium, which can increase blood pressure. Ideally, we should be consuming no more than 1500mg of sodium per day (as recommended by the American Heart Association). However, some frozen veggie burgers can contain up to 600mg of sodium per burger. Even more concerning, not all meat impersonators are vegan so be sure to read the fine print.

Vegan or not, we should be choosing whole foods over hyper-processed ones. Vegans should focus on animal-free whole food staples (beans, nuts, whole grains, fruits & veggies) for a nutritious and balanced diet.

Overall Benefits
Aside from the environmental and animal welfare benefits, there are also great health benefits associated with a vegan diet. Studies show that these diets can lower the risk of cancer, most likely due to an increased consumption of antioxidant- and fiber-rich foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes).

Food can be healing as well, and the foods included in a vegan diet are associated with improved blood pressure, reductions in heart disease, and a lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

Not ready to jump in? You can benefit from a more flexible approach. Make it a point to consume less meat and more plant-based foods by adjusting your diet. For example, you can designate a day or two during the week in which you consume vegan friendly meals and snacks.

Have you tried to go vegan? Share your stories with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Did you know our vegetarian sandwiches can be made vegan? Simply let our staff know and we will gladly prepare a vegan friendly meal for you! Visit us weekdays from 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.

Make Healthier Sandwiches

National Sandwich Month is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the lunchtime favorite. We all know the basic ingredients to a sandwich include bread and protein plus your toppings and condiments of choice. But sometimes, our choice ingredients, although delicious, are not always the healthiest. If you are looking to make a better-for-you sandwich, review these simple healthy sandwich do’s and don’ts.

Do’s

  • Fruits & Veggies

These are often secondary to meat and cheese, but they don’t have to be. Whether you’re adding to your meat and cheese, or making a vegetarian sandwich, you can load up on your favorites. Cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant are just some of the many veggies you can add to your sandwich. It may sound taboo, but fruits can add a new flavor and texture to your sandwich. Think thinly sliced pears, apples, watermelon or honeydew to add a slightly sweet touch to an otherwise savory sandwich. However, when you go to restaurants, be wary of their veggie sandwiches. From afar they may seem like a healthy choice, but upon further inspection, they are often loaded with high calorie condiments or excessive cheese portions.

  • Lighter Spread

You might want to rethink your condiments. While your sandwich may contain healthy ingredients, you may be sabotaging it by using high-calorie spreads such as full-fat mayo. Instead, try low-fat mayo or salad dressing, mustard, hummus, or even avocado slices.

  • Lean Protein

Opt for healthier proteins like sliced chicken breast, fish, or turkey, or even canned tuna or salmon. Great plant-based options include tofu, tempeh or lentils.

  • Whole Wheat Bread

Choosing the right bread is crucial. Breads higher in fiber, like whole wheat bread, are nutritious and will help to keep you fuller longer.

  • Downsize

Simply put – make a smaller sandwich. Keep portion sizes in mind and be moderate with toppings. For example, instead of having afoot long sub, opt for half and save the rest for later.

Don’ts

    X Cold Cuts

While prepackaged sandwich meats and cold cuts can save time, they are not the best option for your health. They can be loaded with fats, sodium and preservatives. Fresh slices of cooked chicken, turkey, or seafood are all leaner options.

    X Cheese

Cheese is great and tastes delicious in sandwiches, but they can pack on the fat and calories. Be mindful of cheese portions, opt for low-fat cheeses, or, if you can, ditch it all together. Add more flavor with a smear of hummus or more fruits and vegetables.

    X White Bread

Unfortunately, white bread is filled with preservatives and processed flours and offers very little nutrition. As mentioned, whole wheat and other whole grain breads are better options. You can even try a healthy wrap made of whole grains or skip the bread all together and use lettuce.

    X Grilled Sandwiches

The secret to that delicious grilled, crusty texture is often lots of oils or butter. If you’re looking for a crusty, crunchy texture, choose toasted bread instead.

    X Prepackaged Sandwiches

Avoid these if at all possible. You can’t be sure of their freshness and they are usually made with white bread and cheap meats, cheeses and spreads. In addition, they are loaded with preservatives and sodium. You are better off making yourself a sandwich at home, where you can control the ingredients and portions.

If you don’t have time to make yourself a sandwich, come on down to the Brick and we’ll make your favorite sandwich fresh to order. You can visit us weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm for yummy sandwiches and breakfast food (served until 10:30am). Feel free to connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Improve Your Grilled Cheese Skills

There’s nothing quite like the classic Grilled Cheese sandwich. Warm toasty bread, melted cheese goodness – what’s not to love? While the grilled cheese purists may protest, here are a few tips and tricks to upgrade your grilled cheese sandwiches.

  • Mayo

Instead of (or in addition to) buttering the outside of the sandwich, add a little mayo. Not only will it enhance the flavor of your sandwich, but it can help prevent the sandwich from burning.

  • Oven

Before you grill your sandwich, start it open-faced in the oven. This allows the cheese to get gooey all the way through and creates a nice, crispy toast.

  • Shredded Cheese

Not only does shredded cheese melt more evenly and faster, it also allows you to combine multiple cheeses for epic flavor combinations.

  • Get Creative

Speaking of, aside from trying different cheese combinations, you can also add unique ingredients. For example, try apple slices, pesto sauce, or bacon to create your own special version.

  • Rest

While it may be tempting to eat your grilled cheese fresh off the grill, for your own safety, please let it rest first. You want to give it enough time to rest so that you don’t burn your tongue and to ensure that the melted cheese stays in your sandwich rather than pouring out. But, don’t wait too long – you still want to enjoy that gooey goodness, just at a cooler temperature.

Share your own Grilled Cheese sandwich tips with us! Find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Let us make our delicious Three-Cheese Grilled Cheese sandwich for you. Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli on the corner of East Arrow Highway and Garey Ave. We’re open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm (closed Sundays).

Best Breads For Sandwiches

As National Sandwich Month rolls on, we set our sights on the foundation of the sandwich. We may focus on the various ingredients we can put into a sandwich to make it bold and unique, but the bread is often overlooked and underestimated. The bread plays a very important part of your sandwich. Not only does it hold the ingredients together, but it also contributes important texture and flavor to enhance your sandwich.

With that said, here are some common bread types and the sandwiches for which they are best suited.

Brioches & Challahs
For the ultimate soft and squishy bread, challah and its sweeter French cousin brioche take top billing. These breads work with almost everything. The fluffy texture and sweetness balance salty flavors, such as savory prosciutto, umami-packed condiments and even lobster salad. On the other hand, you may play up the sweetness with nut butter, chocolate spread, and/or fluff.

Rolls & Thick-Cut Slices
For a hearty sandwich, you are going to need some hearty bread. For example, pulled pork or meatball sandwiches require more support, and thus, go better with a bun or roll. However, if you prefer sliced bread, remember that fillings that are more likely to get soggy (think marinated steak or tomatoes for bruschetta) are best paired with thick-cut bread slices.

Baguettes
Baguettes are great for nearly any sandwich since they are so versatile and light. They can be sliced thin to better highlight ingredients, and can handle more serious toppings for feeding crowds. Their versatility lends to open-faced sandwiches and tartine.

Wraps
Despite the argument that wraps are not sandwiches, they are worth mentioning. Lavash is great for a breakfast scramble or veggie wrap, while pita bread is an ideal home for kefta and falafel. The key is to make sure your fillings are malleable enough for a proper wrap.

Oil-Based Loaves
Mediterranean-influenced sandwiches are best with olive oil based bread like focaccia or ciabatta. Olive bread is a great option as well, as its flavor will complement your feta, pickles and capers.

Whole-Grain Breads
Earthy, multi-textured loaves are best matched with healthy fillings such as leafy greens, sprouts, spreads, tofu or tempeh. Or you can use it to balance your peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Sourdoughs
This classic bread is great for classic sandwiches, such as the BLT or a grilled cheese. Sourdough offers great textures with its soft and chewy center and crunchy crust along with the slight tang, which help to showcase the sandwich fillings. For those who enjoy a little savory with their sweets, sourdough is great for making dessert sandwiches.

Share your favorite sandwich breads with us! Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Did you know we have a wide selection of breads for you to choose from? We even offer a Gluten-Free option! Visit us in store weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00-4:30pm to get your yummy sandwich fix.

Around The World In Sandwiches

In honor of National Sandwich Month and our undying love for sandwiches, we decided to take a tour of the signature sandwiches from around the world.

Grilled Cheese // America
There’s nothing quite like a good Grilled Cheese sandwich. Sure, there are plenty of American sandwiches to choose from, but the grilled cheese is a classic.

The traditional recipes calls for sliced cheese layered between two slices of white bread smeared with butter on either side. The sandwich is then grilled until the bread is crisp and the cheese is gooey. However, you can find a multitude of variations on this, for example, our 3-Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Smørrebrød // Denmark
The translation of smørrebrød is simply “buttered bread,” but there’s more than that to this Scandinavian sandwich. It starts with a very dense and thick slice of rye bread that is slathered with butter, sour cream, or some sort of horseradish schmear. Traditionally, toppings include pickled or smoked fish, liver pate, sliced cold cuts, and boiled eggs, but this open faced sandwich can be topped with whatever your heart desires.

The different texture and flavor combinations are endless and reason enough to try this unconventional sandwich.

Falafel // Egypt
Falafel is made of ground chickpeas, finely chopped onions, fresh herbs, and Middle Eastern spices mixed together then shaped into 1.5 inch balls. These are then deep fried until golden. The falafel balls are stuffed into warm pita and served with different fillings, such as shepherd’s salad (cucumber, tomato, and green peppers) and brightly colored pickles, such as hot pink turnips, green cucumbers, and deep red beets. You may also find a delicious spread of hummus, baba ganoush, white sauce (yogurt or tahini based), or spicy harissa pepper sauce.

Tramezzini // Italy
Tramezzini are iconic Italian finger sandwiches, which are very similar to English tea sandwiches. These small triangular sandwiches are made with crust-less, soft white bread and homemade mayonnaise. You can purchase and enjoy these between breakfast and lunch at many restaurants and bars in Venice, Italy.

Though the filling options are endless, good, homemade mayonnaise and soft, crust-less white bread are essential.

Croque Monsieur // France
The Croque Monsieur contains sliced ham, Dijon mustard and gruyere (or sometimes Swiss) cheese between two thick slices of buttered bread. Next, the sandwich gets fried, like a grilled cheese, and covered with a rich and creamy béchamel sauce. Lastly, the entire sandwich with sauce goes under the broiler until the top is crispy. Top this with a fried or poached egg and you get a Croque Madame.

Cemita // Mexico
The Cemita comes from the Puebla region of Mexico and these sandwiches are typically stuffed with a variety of fried meats, avocado, queso, chipotles and red sauce. So what is the difference between a cemita and a torta? While the recipes are similar and versatile, they differ in their city of origin. Regardless of which one you order, you are sure to enjoy a great blend of flavors and textures.

Cucumber Tea Sandwich // England
Again, there were many sandwich options to choose from, including the chip butty, the Ploughman’s Lunch, and the Christmas Leftover sandwich. However, the English Tea sandwich reigns supreme as the traditional staple of the United Kingdom. And much like the tramezzini, there are endless varieties, but the most classic has to be the cucumber, cream cheese, and white bread tea sandwich.

Gyro // Greece
In Greece, street vendors can be seen shaving meat off of vertical grills and stuffing them into fresh pitas filled with tzatziki, French fries, and fresh vegetables. And there, gyros are more commonly filled with chicken or pork, rather than shaved lamb like we are accustomed to in America.

Choripan // Argentina
If you guessed that choripan is made with grilled chorizo and crusty bread, you are correct. A combination of beef and pork ground together in a sausage-like form  is then split down the middle and griddled until crispy. That is then placed on some crusty bread and topped with chimichurri sauce and fresh salsa. Sometimes you may see it served with fried shoestring potatoes.

Arepa // Colombia
This popular Colombian food is eaten daily. Although arepas are often prepared for immediate consumption and the recipe calls for fresh, handmade dough, you can find pre-prepared arepas at grocery stores in the U.S. and South America.

Much like the other sandwiches on this list, and sandwiches in general, filling options are endless. A common and beloved favorite includes a sweet corn arepa stuffed with black beans, plantains, crumbled queso fresco cheese and avocado.

Steamed Buns // China
These Taiwanese mouth-shaped buns are also known as gua bao, and are gaining traction thanks to Chef David Chang of Momofuku. If you haven’t already, you will see more steamed buns dishes being added to different menus.

Typically, a light and fluffy steamed bun is filled with meats, pickles, fresh herbs, crushed peanuts, and hot sauce. But again, there are numerous filling variations, such as BBQ pork belly with pickles to deep fried tofu with crushed peanuts and everything in between.

Medianoche // Cuba
Nearly identical to the Cuban sandwich found here, the Medianoche contains roasted pork, Swiss cheese, mustard and dill pickles, but on a pressed, sweet, yolky bread similar to challah. The bread is the distinctive factor so be sure to skip the Cuban bread and find the sweet Medianoche bread at most Latin American grocery stores.

Bánh Mì // Vietnam
The bánh mì is made with a Vietnamese baguette (similar to a French baguette) stuffed with some kind of grilled meat (ex. pork belly), pate, pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeños, cucumbers, French mayonnaise, Sriracha, fresh cilantro, and fresh mint. Talk about a mouthful of flavor!

Doner Kebab // Turkey
This Turkish delight is served a as street food around Eastern Europe. Similar to a gyro, seasoned meat is skewered onto a spear and them slow roasted on a vertical flame. The meat is then shaved off with an electric razor, and drops down to a griddle to crisp up. The meat, fresh vegetables and a variety of sauces are then stuffed into a warm piece of lavash flat bread and, as the finishing touch, the whole thing is grilled.

Smoked Meat Sandwich // Canada
Imagine a combination of pastrami and corned beef and you can get a general idea of Canada’s smoked meat sandwich.

For the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich, Kosher brisket is brined and corned for over a week, then gets hot-smoked and steamed until it melts in your mouth. The meat is stacked high (around 4-5 inches) between two slices of soft rye seedless bread with a smear of yellow mustard.

Fun Fact: The little bits of meat left after slicing the brisket are saved and used for other delicious Montreal specialties such as poutine.

Share your own favorite sandwiches from around the world! Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

At the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli, we serve a variety of signature sandwiches made to order. Add one of our craft sodas, a deli salad or chips, and one of our baked goods to round out your meal. Explore our menu online or visit us in store weekdays from 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays from 8:00am-4:30pm.

Packing Sandwiches

No one likes a soggy sandwich, or a sandwich that just falls apart. Luckily there are smart ways to pack your sandwiches to avoid any potential lunchtime disasters. Whether you’re headed to work, a picnic, or the beach, we have the tips to help you pack your sandwich properly for the most enjoyable meal at your destination.

Choosing Your Sandwich
There are important things to consider when it comes to choosing the sandwich you make.

  • Timing: When will you eat the sandwich? How long will it be sitting around?
  • Temperature: Will it be travelling in heat? Will there be ice packs or refrigeration?

If you know you cannot keep the sandwich cold on a hot day, avoid highly perishable ingredients such as egg salad, mayonnaise, or fresh cheese packed in water (ex. mozzarella). If you will be eating your sandwich soon after making it, your options are virtually endless.

Construct
Once you’ve decided on a sandwich, here are tips on how to best construct it:

  • Bread: To avoid soggy bread, choose rolls or crusty bread. For sliced sandwich bread, you may want to toast it to keep moisture out.
  • Condiments: Another way to keep your bread from getting soggy is to spread condiments into the middle of the sandwich, between the slices of meat or cheese.
  • Produce: Lettuce should be nice and dry, and tomatoes or other juicy produce should be placed in the center.
  • Chicken, Egg, or Tuna Salads: For these sandwiches, you may want to consider constructing these on site by packing the bread and the salads and other ingredients in separate containers. If you prefer to make them ahead of time, be sure to use a layer of lettuce as a barrier between the bread and salad.

Wrap

  • Foil: Best for warm or pressed sandwiches (ex. paninis). The foil will keep the sandwich warm, and can also be thrown in the oven to warm up at a later time.
  • Parchment paper: Keeps sandwiches tight and secure – like at the deli counter. The paper also helps to keep the sandwich together when being cut.
  • Resealable Plastic Bag: This works for most sandwiches, and is especially beneficial for fragrant sandwiches. If you want to be sure that no leakage or moisture comes in contact with your sandwich, you may want to use this in addition to foil or paper wrapped sandwiches.
  • Cloth Napkin: If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly option, a cloth napkin secured with a string or ribbon works. You can even use the napkin while you enjoy your sandwich.
  • Label: Labeling is helpful if you are packing sandwiches for a crowd. This is especially important if there are people with dietary restrictions or allergies.

Pack
Most sandwiches need to be handled carefully, so packing them up is equally important as constructing and wrapping them. To ensure that they don’t get crushed by heavier items, pack them on top. For added protection, place them in a hard-sided container.

Share your own sandwich tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Let us do the constructing, wrapping, and packing for you! Order our sandwiches in store, online or have them delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS. We also provide catering for business lunches, special events and parties. Call 909-596-5225 to learn more!

Did You Know? Hot Dog Fun Facts

Did you know that July is National Hot Dog Month? We won’t get into the hot dog/sandwich debate, but we will share some fun facts about the beloved summer staple.

  • Hot Dog Origins

Hot dogs are essentially a modern-day twist on the humble sausage. Did you know sausages were mention in Homer’s The Odyssey? And Emperor Nero’s chef, Gaius, is said to have prepared sausages for his ruler. Still, no one knows who got the idea to put it on a bun centuries later. While we cannot pinpoint who “invented” the popular food, most agree that they likely originated in Vienna, Austria or Frankfurt, Germany.

According to the Austrian city of Vienna, two Austro-Hungarian immigrants, Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany, are the hot dog inventors. When the two men left Europe for Chicago, they took the recipe with them, and sold hot dogs at the 1893 World’s Fair. Later, Reichel and Ladany founded a famous beef production company that’s still producing hot dogs today.

Meanwhile, officials in Frankfurt, Germany, say that hot dogs were invented in their city in 1487. And according to a third tale, a butcher named Johann Georghehner, who lived in Coburg, Germany, invented the hot dog during the late 1600s, and traveled to Frankfurt to promote his new food.

  • There’s A “Right” and “Wrong” Way To Eat Hot Dogs

According to one American meat trade association’s official etiquette guide for hot dog-eating (you read that right), it’s “tacky” to top your hot dog with ketchup if you’re over 18 years old, and “pretentious” to consume it with utensils.

Other don’ts  include placing the dog on a fancy bun (think sun-dried tomato or basil) and serving it on anything fancier than a paper plate or everyday dishes. Do’s include eating every part of the hot dog, including the leftover bun bits, pairing it with simple drinks and sides, and always licking off any condiments that get on your fingers.

  • Mustard Is The Most Popular Hot Dog Topping

According to a survey in 2014, 71% of Americans said they liked to garnish their hot dogs with mustard. However, an overwhelming 52% of respondents said they preferred to smother their dogs with ketchup (despite the aforementioned etiquette).

  • Hot Dogs Have Been To Space

Astronauts may have disliked the freeze-dried ice cream they were served, but both astronauts and crewmembers did enjoy hot dogs very much.

  • Americans Eat (And Buy) A Lot Of Hot Dogs

Did you eat a hot dog (or two) on Independence Day this year? You may have contributed to the 150 million hot dogs consumed on the Fourth of July. In addition, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs. And in 2015, U.S. supermarket customers spent more than $2.5 billion on hot dogs.

  • A Hot Dog Once Sold For $169

This happened in 2014 in Seattle, Washington. The decadent dog consisted of a cheese bratwurst topped with butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, wagyu beef, foie gras, shaved black truffles, caviar, and Japanese mayonnaise on a brioche bun.

  • A Competitive Eater Consumed 62 Hot Dogs In 10 Minutes

This record-breaking feat was accomplished in 2015.

Did we miss anything? Share your fun facts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

We don’t have hot dogs, but we do have a variety of yummy sandwiches and salads for you to choose from. Explore our menu online at BrickMarketDeli.com. Visit us in store, order online, or have our delicious food delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS!

Freezing Your Fruits & Vegetables

National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables is coming to a close, so what better way to end it than to share tips on how to properly freeze your delicious produce to better preserve flavors and nutrients. First things first, let’s go over some basic rules.

  • Go For Ripe: Even after freezing, quality decreases over time, so it’s best to choose blemish-free produce at peak ripeness.
  • Pack It Up: Resealable freezer bags are your best bet, as they’re designed for freezing foods and are sturdier, decreasing the likeliness of tears or leaks (which causes freezer burn). If your only options are plastic wrap or standard resealable options, double up on layers or bags for extra protection.
  • Seal Out Air: Oxygen is the enemy. Consider investing in a vacuum sealer, which locks out air and potentially extends the shelf life for up to a year or longer. Alternately, you can stick a straw in a corner of the seal to suck out air before closing.
  • Mark It: To minimize food waste, be sure to list and date the contents of your bags. This helps you recognize what they are, prompting you to use the older stuff first. A good rule of thumb – You have six to twelve months to use frozen goods. If foods are covered in ice crystals or smell “off,” ditch them.

The Process
Some foods are ready to freeze, others need to be prepared first.

Ready To Go:

  • Berries – Remove any stems, then freeze whole.
  • Chili Peppers – Ideal for freezing as is. For less heat, scrape out the seeds beforehand.
  • Cherries – Some prefer to pit cherries before freezing, but it’s actually easier after. When they defrost, the flesh surrounding the pit weakens.
  • Corn – Cobs and kernels can be frozen, as long as you’ll be eating them within a month or two.
  • Figs – Freeze whole.
  • Tomatoes – Freeze whole; the skins slip right off after defrosting. If space is limited, you can chop first, then freeze in a bag.

Prep First:

  • Bell Peppers – Thinly slice or chop before freezing. For stuffed peppers, remove stems and scrape our seeds of halved bell peppers before freezing; stuff them while frozen.
  • Cucumbers – Thinly slice or chop before freezing. While the texture is compromised once frozen, but the flavor is not. Use these for drinks (DIY spa water), juicing, or smoothies.
  • Herbs – Chop herbs and divide among an empty ice cube tray. Top off each cube with olive oil so it fills the crevices and forces out any air, then freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a bag.
  • Melons – Cut melons into cubes or slices, removing the rind, then freeze on a baking sheet.
  • Stone Fruit (apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums) – Slice and remove the pit. For smoothies, leave the peel on. For pies or tarts, peel and slice before freezing.
  • Bananas – Peel then freeze whole or chopped into chunks.

Cook First:
The enzymes in some fruits and veggies will continue to break down even when frozen, but heat can halt this process.

  • Eggplant – These can be sliced into rounds (eggplant parm) or cut into smaller shapes (pastas and stir-fries); roast before freezing. Cooked eggplant can also be pureed then frozen.
  • Green Beans – Prepare the pods the way you’ll most likely use them – whole or cut into bitesize pieces. Blanch then freeze. These can be added straight to soup or stir-fries without defrosting.
  • Okra – Blanch the pods whole for three to four minutes, then freeze whole or in rounds.
  • Summer Squash/Zucchini – Cut squash into rounds and blanch for three minutes. For baked goods, grate and steam for one to two minutes. Thoroughly drain, then freeze and pack for storage. For grated squash, defrost completely, and then blot away excess moisture pre-use.

Do you have any other tips to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Visit us for the best sandwiches made from the finest and freshest ingredients available. We are located at 105 E Arrow Hwy in Pomona (northeast corner of Garey Ave and E Arrow Hwy – next to Johnny’s) and are open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. You can also get our yummy sandwiches delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS!

National Fresh Fruits & Veggies Month – The Benefits Of Fruit

Since it’s National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month, and we discussed the benefits of vegetables last week, it’s only fitting that we move on to fruits. Aside from being delicious and refreshing, fruits offer excellent health benefits. While it is recommended to get 2-3.5 cups of veggies, the daily goal for fruit is 1.5-2 cups. And during summer, this can be relatively easy as a variety of sweet produce is in season.

Here are some great reasons why you should incorporate fruits into your daily diet.

  • Won’t Make You Fat

Fruits contain natural sugars, and while most diet plans often recommend avoiding them, they are not as damaging as high-fructose corn syrup and other added sugars in some foods. This is because the natural sugars in whole fruit are processed differently thanks to the fiber, phytochemicals and micronutrients you are also taking in.

Fiber slows the rate that the natural sugars are released into the bloodstream and also helps to fill you up and aid in weight loss. For low-calorie fruits, opt for blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

The phytochemicals in fruits may also aid in weight loss. A 2016 study found that participants who are the most flavonoids (healthy compounds found in fruits and vegetables) were better able to maintain their weight as they got older. It appeared that anthocyanins (the phytochemicals that give difference berries their color) have the most powerful effect.

Lastly, people with diabetes should incorporate fruits into their diet, but be mindful of portion sizes and count them in their carbohydrate intake.

  • Full Of Nutrients

Fruits are high in fiber and potassium, and most are good sources of vitamins A and C, folate, and a wide variety of phytochemicals.

The Department of Agriculture states that when the recommended amount of fruit is consumed, it contributes 16% of the recommended fiber intake and 17% of the recommended potassium intake, both of which American diets are often low in.

As mentioned, fiber helps weight management, but it can also improve cholesterol levels, and keeps your digestive system running smoothly.

Potassium relaxes blood vessel walls, thus, is important for lowering blood pressure and also helps to offset the negative effects of a high sodium diet.

Remember, the type of fruit you eat and how you consume it makes a difference. You want to eat as many fruits as possible in their whole form (i.e. skin on). The protective skin and the area just beneath it is where the antioxidants are, which are used by the fruit to protect itself from pests. However, if you must, frozen and canned fruits are fine options. Just be sure there are no added sugars and canned fruit is packed in its own juice, not syrup.

  • Good For Your Heart

Fruit intake has been linked to lowering the risk for obesity and high blood pressure, both of which are the main risk factors for heart disease. As an example, trials have shown that by replacing two servings of starchy vegetables or refined carbohydrates with two servings of fruit a day, you can get a 20-25% reduction in risk of heart disease.

And, as discussed, the potassium in fruit helps explain the strong association between increased fruit intake and a lower risk of high blood pressure.

However, it’s not just one nutrient that makes the difference. A 14 year study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who consumed the most anthocyanins over time had and 8-12% reduction in the risk for hypertension. These compounds have been shown to improve vascular function by reducing inflammation in the vessels and improving blood flow.

  • Brainpower Boost With Berries

Anthocyanins may also be why fruit (namely, berries) has gained a reputation for keeping your memory sharp. Anthocyanins may play a role in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation (both of which can negatively affect brain function and memory). For example, according to a Harvard study from 2012, participants who ate one or more servings of blueberries or two or more servings of strawberries per week delayed cognitive aging by 2.5 years compared to those who ate the fewest berries.

  • Lowers Cancer Risk

The link between high fruit intake and lower body weight can also attribute to the lowered cancer risk. The phytochemicals and nutrients (carotenoids, vitamin C, folate) found in fruit may also affect cancer risk.

According to the latest report by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund, there is probable evidence that a higher intake of fruit may be protective against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, lung, and stomach. Further evidence also suggests that more fruit may help reduce the risk of pancreatic, liver, and colorectal cancer.

  • Explore More

According to the USDA, apples and bananas are Americans’ favorites. And while these are great fruits, it’s time to branch out and see what other delicious fruits are out there and what kind of benefits they can provide.

Papaya – Rich in vitamin C & Folate and makes a great addition to a tropical fruit salad.

Passion Fruit – Although the rind is tough, it holds sweet-tart pulp and seeds inside that is high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin A.

Plantain – It may look like a banana, but is often eaten cooked. Sauté or bake them without added fat or sugar for a fiber-rich treat.

Persimmon – The flesh of this fruit is a great source of vitamins A and C.

Kumquat – You can eat the entire fruit, skin and all, meaning you’ll get even more of the nutritional benefits (rich in vitamin C).

What do you love about fruits? Which fruits are your favorites? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Join us for breakfast or lunch, weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. We’re located on the northeast corner of Garey Avenue and East Arrow Highway in Pomona (next to Johnny’s).

National Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month – The Benefits Of Vegetables

Did you know June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month? With the official start of summer just around the corner, we will soon have even more delicious fruits and vegetables to enjoy. As you know, fresh fruits and vegetables boast healthful benefits, but here are a few reasons why you might want to increase your vegetable intake:

  • Do you eat enough vegetables? – Nine out of ten Americans don’t consume an adequate amount of vegetables. At least 2.5 cups a day is good, however, you may want to aim higher and try to cover half your plate with vegetables (and/or fruits). Apply this to all meals and don’t forget that veggies make great snacks, too!
  • Veggies help slash calories – A majority of vegetables are mostly water and average a measly 10-50 calories per serving. Just try to avoid dousing them in dressing, sauce, butter, or oils. A great way to get more veggies is to swap white rice with cauliflower rice or trade pasta for zucchini spirals.
  • Can veggies protect your heart and brain? – Research shows that veggies are efficient in protecting your blood vessels. A recent meta-analysis of up to 20 studies on up to a million people showed that individuals who consumed about 3 cups of vegetables daily had roughly a 30% lower risk of heart disease and stroke in comparison to those who did not.
  • Veggies may lower the risk of breast cancer – Studies lead us to believe that vegetables may help prevent some cancers but not others. For example, a pooled analysis of 20 studies of nearly a million women found that vegetables were not linked to the most common breast tumors (estrogen-positive). In addition, it was noted that the women who ate the most vegetables (at least 14oz/day) had a 15% lower risk of estrogen-negative breast cancer than those who ate only 5 ounces. Because estrogen-negative tumors have lower survival rates, prevention is very important.
  • Veggies may protect your eyes – Many vegetables, namely leafy greens, are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are the only carotenoids in the lens and retina. They absorb damaging light and protect against oxidation. More research is necessary, however, a study of about 100,000 individuals conducted over 25 years showed that those who consumed the most lutein and zeaxanthin had a 40% lower risk of advanced macular degeneration than those who consumed the least. A similar study reported an 18% lower risk of cataracts in women who ate the most lutein.
  • Veggies add additional potassium – In case you don’t get enough potassium (4700mg/day), vegetables can help you meet the requirement. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure and may also make blood vessels less stiff. This may explain why individuals who eat more vegetables have a lower risk of stroke.
  • Leafy greens may help lower your risk of diabetes – More studies are necessary, but magnesium may help with the control of blood sugar. This could be why some studies have shown that people who eat more leafy greens have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Veggies may help to preserve your bones – It may be a bit too early to tell how or if veggies help to keep bones strong, but pooled data on approximately 142,000 Europeans and U.S. residents aged 60 or older who ate no more than one serving of vegetables a day had a 12% higher risk of hip fracture than those who averaged about 2-3 servings.
  • Veggies are delicious – Plain and simple. You can prepare them in various ways, it’s just a matter of finding your preference and increasing your intake.
  • All veggies are good veggies – While some veggies are richer in nutrients than others, they all boast their own individual nutritional benefits. Here are the top veggie sources of these eight different nutrients:
  • Folate: frisee, asparagus, romaine lettuce, spinach, turnip greens
  • Fiber: artichoke, peas, avocado, lima beans, jicama
  • Vitamin C: red bell pepper, broccoli, green bell pepper, green chili pepper, Brussels sprouts
  • Beta-carotene: sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, mustard greens, spinach
  • Lutein: spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, radicchio
  • Magnesium: spinach, Swiss chard, lima beans, artichoke, peas
  • Vitamin K: mustard greens, spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens
  • Potassium: sweet potato, lima beans, Swiss chard, spinach, Portobello mushrooms

What are your favorite vegetables and/or veggie recipes? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Get your veggie fix with our Veggie Sandwich, Lentilicious (Vegetarian) Sandwich, or a Mixed Greens salad! Join us weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. For more information, visit www.BrickMarketDeli.com.