Spinach and other Magnesium Rich Veggies That Have Too Many Pesticides

Spinach has magnesium... and pesticides?I believe organic is a highly over-rated label, especially in this day and age when USDA regulations are written to favor major food industries. Organic can mean almost anything, and it is not necessarily either healthier or more sustainable. That said, there are some times when organic may be a good idea.

When we know that pesticides are likely to have been heavily used on a certain produce, we may choose to go organic. According to the Environmental Working Group, which recently published a survey of fresh foods that were most exposed to pesticides and those that were least expose to pesticides, some interesting things came up. Celery took the dubious honor of being the most exposed of the group in the study. Celery was followed by peaches and strawberries,and then apples and blueberries. Worse, for those of us who love it for its high magnesium levels, is that spinach made it onto the pesticide baddy list, in position number 8.

This doesn’t mean you can’t eat spinach, simply that you might want to buy organic spinach when you can. If you can’t, make sure you wash it with more than the usual thoroughness.

This should be no surprise, as one of the vegetables I had the most trouble with in shipping from China to Japan was spinach, both frozen and fresh. The leaves just seem to absorb so much, and if they are exposed to pesticides and pollution, they’ll pick it up. So eat your spinach, but lean organic for both the fresh and frozen (please tell me you’re not still eating canned, Popeye).

For the food that got the least exposure to pesticides, they were topped by the humble onion. It were followed by avocado, sweet corn, pineapple and mangoes.

In any case, you should already be washing your leafy vegetables well – whether they are organic or not.

The full list for each is reproduced below.

Pesticide heavy (buy organic):

  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Blueberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Bell peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Cherries
  10. Kale/Collard greens
  11. Potatoes
  12. Grapes

Relatively pesticide free:

  1. Onions
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mangoes
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet potato
  15. Honeydew melon

Magnesium Rich Artichokes

Artichoke is a magnesium rich flower bud.The prickly cactus flowers known as artichokes are one of the food high in magnesium that everyone should be acquainted with. Though artichokes can be imposing to the novice, they are easy to handle, easier to cook and wonderful top eat. Magnesium rich foods rarely come in a more elegant package.

The artichoke is a good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium as well. With little sodium and no fat, the artichoke is a luxurious way to diet – a medium artichoke is about 25 calories.

It looks unusual because it is actually a kind of thistle, and the the artichoke (or the part we eat) is in fact the flower bud of a beautiful purple thistle flower. That said, as beautiful as it is when it flowers, a flowering artichoke is one that we can no longer eat!

First things first, when you buy artichokes look for a nice clean and green color, and check to see that the petals (leaves) allow you to wiggle them a bit. I prefer larger sizes, but some recipes may call for smaller sizes or even baby artichokes. Try to avoid those with many brown spots, which are caused by frost or simply by not being very fresh.

When you get the artichoke home, use a knife to cut the stem – the same as you would do for fresh cut flowers. You want to expose the still living part of the stem and stand the artichoke in a dish with a bit of water in it. Be sure to cut well enough that the artichoke can stand on its own. This will allow the artichoke to soak up a bit more water and plump out a bit – something that can make a great difference in taste when you are planning to boil them.

Now, when you are ready, the simplest and most elegant way to enjoy an artichoke is to boil it in salted water until tender. Once it’s tender, remove from the water and give it a chance to cool down. During the summer, you may wish to chill it.

To eat the artichoke, simply use your fingers to pull off one petal at a time, put the end that was attached to the stem in your mouth, and use your teeth to pull off the soft pulp at the moist end of the petal. The restArtichoke cutaway view of the petal can be tossed in a dish set to the side. Continue eating this way, and you’ll eventually reach the tender heart. This can be eaten by hand as well, but may be a bit messier. The whole experience of eating this way is one of luxury. Now who says getting magnesium rich foods in your diet can’t be fun?

Speaking of diets…. if you’re not on one, you might like to prepare a dip into which you can dip the petals before eating each one. The most popular is (surprise) mayonnaise, or mayonnaise mixed with mustard. if you are counting calories, then you may want to experiment with a little fresh lemon juice, or vinegar. Or better yet just keep the mayo to a minimum on each bite.

As you get closer to the heart, the magnesium in the artichoke increases, so be sure to eat it to the end.

Of course, though the above is the most popular way to enjoy an artichoke, it’s far from the only way. Keep reading to get a few ideas and great recipes so you can enjoy magnesium rich artichokes without getting bored. (Is getting bored with artichokes even possible??)

Visit our artichoke recipe page, or try one of the recipes below…

Artichoke Recipes

Artichokes and lima beans are super rich in magnesium

Artichoke and Lima Bean Garlic Saute

Ingredients:

Baby artichokes

Garlic

Lima Beans

Parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Lima beans are a famously magnesium rich food. Combined with the artichokes you can have a gourmet side dish that is high in magnesium and memorable. This very simple dish can be made by slowly cooking the artichokes and garlic in a pan with a bit of olive oil. As the garlic turns brown, finally add the cooked lima beans and the chopped parsley. Season as needed.

Deep Fried Artichokes

This delectable treat comes from the California Artichoke Advisory Board . Do pay them a visit for more artichoke info, and other recipes including some great Italian dishes.

Deep fried artichokes

From the California Artichoke Advisory Board website.

1 cup fish batter mix
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup water
¼ cup beer
2 pounds baby artichokes, prepared as directed and quartered*
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
solid all vegetable shortening for frying, about 1 inch deep

Heat shortening to 350 degrees F. Mix together the batter mix, baking powder, water and beer. Dip artichokes in batter mix, then roll in bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese. Fry 2 or 3 minutes or until light golden brown.

*For preparation of baby artichokes, trim to hearts, quarter, and place in water with lemon juice to prevent browning. Drain well before dipping in batter.