Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County offers Nutrition Programs along with our produce distribution. Each month a new recipe is presented to participants at various sites throughout Santa Cruz County, educating clients on different nutrition topics.
The objectives of this month’s plan are:
To learn about the different tastes and their influence on our physical, mental and emotional health.
To learn to differentiate the different tastes in foods; to eat healthier and maintain a nutritional balance.
Why are tastes so important?
Taste is the language with which food communicate with us and we communicate with food. Our sense of taste is a natural route map to have the best nutrition. But our sense of taste has a more complex function than just recognizing flavors. It is through different tastes that our body identifies the necessary nutrients to maintain its physical, mental and emotional balance.
Through tastes, we can determine when food is fresh and healthy enough to be consumed. Taste plays an important protective role when we choose what to eat. And of course, through different flavors we can enjoy and taste food in a pleasant and stimulating way. Each of us develops a unique sense of taste, which can be very useful to correct food imbalances.
How are different tastes detected?
Detecting different tastes is possible mainly through the taste buds which are sensory or gustatory receptors found in the tongue. We have approximately 10,000 taste buds. When we consume food, the taste buds detect the different tastes and send the signal to the brain through the nerve cells. The brain registers that signal and returns the message as a taste. As we try new food and flavors, more tastes will be recorded and stored in our brain.
Why does the nose play such an important role with taste?
The nose also plays a very important role when it comes to experimenting with different tastes. There are olfactory receptors in the nose, which also send messages to the brain that it translates returns as a smell. Taste and smell combined with texture and temperature produces the taste we feel when eating food. For example, when we have nasal congestion, either because of flu or any other reason, we feel that the food has less flavor, or we just don’t sense any taste.
Tips to take with you:
The six tastes included in the recipe of the month are: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.
Get familiar with the six tastes, trying to introduce new ones to your palate in your daily diet.
Including different tastes helps reduce cravings.
Incorporate all six flavors into at least one of your daily meals.
Avoid excessive consumption of sweet and salty flavors to keep healthy.
For information about Second Harvest Food Bank’s Nutrition Programs, visit www.thefoodbank.org/programs
Recipe of the Month
Six Taste Salad
1 large bunch Kale (we used Lacinato)
1 beet root cooked (steamed or baked)
2 tbsp. cranberries
2 tbsp. your favorite nuts
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp. Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Dressing: In a dressing bottle, add the lemon juice, mustard, the whole garlic clove slightly crushed and skin removed, salt and pepper to taste. Shake it strongly and add the olive oil, shake it again and reserve.
Remove the large stem from the center of the kale leaves. Chop the leaves in half lengthwise, and then cut into thin ribbons. Toss the kale in the bowl to coat it with dressing, set aside for 10 minutes to mari-nate. Before serving add the beetroot cut in small slices, the cranberries and the nuts.
Serve 6 portions.