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Pairing fruits with vegetables for healthy soups!
Getting a wide range of nutrients can be easily done during the winter months through soups.
While vegetable soup is a great way to load up with vitamins and nutrients, there are a number of other fruits and vegetables that can be paired to give soups unique flavor.
One of the more common fruits used in soups is tomato -- don't forget that tomatoes are actually fruits.
But how about a fruit like a pear?
Try pairing up pears with potatoes and leeks for something different...
Health benefits of leeks
Leeks are a veggie that many of us don't always think about using. When I was young, leeks just weren't common and I never started experimenting with them until recently.
Leeks date back thousands of years and are believed to have originated in Asia. Historically, Greeks and Romans used leeks for their health benefits for the throat.
For history buffs, leeks can be traced back to a battle between the Welsh and Saxons. The Welsh successfully won against that Saxons in 1620, during which the Welsh soldiers placed leeks in their caps to differentiate themselves from their opponents.
Leeks belong to the Allium family of vegetables, which includes onion, chives and garlic. All veggies in this family are believed to lower bad LDL cholesterol levels while raising good HDL levels. Leeks have also been credited for helping stabilize blood sugar levels and research suggests that the nutrients in leeks may fight again colon and ovarian cancer.
Other health related hub to enjoy!
Hidden in some common plant foods that we eat, lignans are cancer-fighting compounds that can easily be added into a daily diet. Find out what foods contain these antioxidants.
Black sesame seeds have been touted as having the ability to prevent or reverse gray hair. Is it true that these little seeds have anti-aging properties?
Seaweed has been found to to be a heart healthy food. It contains compounds that act similarly to ACE inhibitor drugs and it contains essential amino acids that help reduce atherosclerosis.
Health benefits of pears
Pears have been cultivated for more than 3000 years in China and pears, as we know them today, may have originated there. They were also cultivated by the Romans who would not eat them raw, only stewed.
Pears are a great source of fiber and Vitamin C although the vitamin C is most prevalent in the skin of raw pears.
Pears contains the trace element boron. In the body, boron helps retain calcium. Calcium retention helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis in women.
There is something called "hydroxycinnamic acid" found in pears. Hydroxycinnamic acid has been associated lowering the risk of stomach and lung cancer.
Pear, Leek and Chive Soup
- 3 pears
- 3 leeks
- 3 medium potatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 6 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup of light cream
- 2 T butter
- Fresh chopped chives (or dried chives to sprinkle on)
- Sea salt (preferred over iodized salt)
- Pepper (optional)
Remove the dark outer leaves from the leeks and discard. Wash well the remaining part of the leeks well and chop fine. Peel and chop the onions, pears and potatoes.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and gently sauté the onion and leeks until soft.
Add peeled pears, potatoes and vegetable broth (and water), bring to the boil, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Purée all in a blender until smooth (this may need to be done by splitting up the mixture).
Reheat the blended mix in a clean saucepan, then add cream, sea salt and pepper. Thin with milk if necessary.
Garnish with freshly chopped chives.