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Cooperative Extension: Food & Health

Mainely Dish: Garden Skillet Sizzle

There’s something so comforting about walking into a kitchen and being greeted with the smell of vegetables sautéing on the stove. This recipe revamps the concept of salad, with the addition of some heat and in-season vegetables, including squash and zucchini. Buying in-season produce has many benefits, including reducing your food costs! This is especially true if you have the opportunity to shop at a local Farmer’s Market. When shopping at your local farmers market, you:

  • Help support Maine’s agriculture
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions (from reduced food transportation), 
  • You can try a large variety of healthful foods that are locally grown. Luckily, we have a plethora of Farmers’ Markets in Maine – around 115 during the summer! Visit the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets webpage to find out more about Farmers’ Markets in your area; when you go, don’t forget to pick up the ingredients to try out our Garden Skillet Sizzle recipe

Eat the Rainbow!

The Garden Skillet Sizzle has a beautiful assortment of colors that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also nutrient dense. These colors indicate different phytochemicals (pronounced: fī-tō-ˈke-mi-kəls). Phytochemicals are nutrients that aid in disease prevention. Foods that contain phytochemicals, such as all of the produce in this recipe, are also likely to contain other health-promoting nutrients. For instance, this recipe collectively provides our bodies with:

  • Fiber
    • Aids in digestion and can reduce blood pressure
  • Vitamin C
    • An antioxidant that can help repair tissue damage
  • Potassium 
    • A mineral that plays a big role in muscle contraction
  • Folate
    • A mineral that promotes healthy cell growth
  • Vitamin K 
    • A fat-soluble vitamin that helps wounds heal
  • Healthy fats (Omega 6)
    • The oil in this recipe gives us energy and allows fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K) to be more easily absorbed and usable for the body

Wash Prior to Cooking

Remember to wash any produce prior to eating or cooking with. Washing fruits and vegetables before using them with clean, cool to room temperature water is the best way to prevent foodborne illness. You can remove even more bacteria by drying off the produce with a clean paper towel. 

Do not wash your produce with soap or detergent. Also, you do not need to buy special fruit and vegetable sprays, often located in the produce section. Most of the dirt and pesticide residue can be removed simply with water. Commercial sprays have not been proven by the Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) to be more effective than water. Save your money! 

Check out UMaine Cooperative Extension’s publication Best Ways to Wash Fruits and Vegetables for additional tips.


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By Kayla Parsons, MS, LD, Ph.D. Student in Food & Nutrition Sciences