Healthy food dishes are amazing to prepare and often much easier than you would expect. The trick is to use the right ingredients. Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are such healthy ingredients. Tom and I always use organic fruits and vegetables which are delicious.
The next step is to know what the specific health benefits are of the food we use in our dishes. Most fruits and vegetables are the healthiest when eaten raw. Steam cooked is also a healthy way to prepare food. We always use as little oil and water as possible. And the oil is always organic and plant-based.
The interesting thing about writing about food from the perspective of its colors is that the different health benefits can be exposed and explained. Our series of colored foods includes a total of six: orange, red, white, green, yellow, and now blue and purple. The series will be concluded by an overall reflection of the tremendously healthy and colorful foods we enjoy.
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Table of contents
- 1 Breakfast with fruits
- 2 Natural and cultivated dark food
- 3 The schizophrenic eggplant
- 4 Easy recipes with the tasty aubergine
- 5 All those difficult words!
- 6 Dye-sensitized solar cells
- 7 Blueberries for brains
- 8 Blackberries for strong bones
- 9 Elderberry is a popular plant medicine
- 10 Plums for ‘the big message’
- 11 Beetroot salad recipe
- 12 Include purple food in your nutrition list
Breakfast with fruits
For the last 40 years, Tom and I have had breakfast with fruits. When we started with our fruity breakfast, we didn’t vary a lot. On the one hand, there wasn’t much available back then. On the other, we were not as much into trying new things as we are nowadays. Apple, orange, and banana – that was about it.
My father had Alzheimer’s, and my father-in-law had a severe stroke, so whenever I read or hear something about preventing these dreadful ailments, I am all eyes and ears. Blueberries are said to benefit your brain immensely, making me include them in my breakfast almost every day now.
There are more reasons to add blue and purple fruits and vegetables to your healthy food dishes.
Natural and cultivated dark food
Nowadays there are several blue and purple vegetables cultivated on purpose, or old vegetables that have become popular again, such as the purple carrot. But a fun fact is that carrots were cultivated orange on purpose. Until the 17th century, they used to be purple! The Dutch are to blame, I am afraid, because of the – in later time royal – House of Orange (Oranje-Nassau).
Purple and blue vegetables:
- Purple cabbage
- Purple cauliflower
- Purple onion
- Purple pepper
- Blue potato
- Purple kohlrabi
- Purple asparagus
- Blue tomato
- Purple carrots
Purple and blue fruits:
- Pitaya (dragon fruit)
- Purple grape (Concord)
- Plum (Damson)
- Black olive
The schizophrenic eggplant
No, I didn’t forget the eggplant. Yes, it is purple, on the outside. But what is it? A fruit or a vegetable? For starters, what is the name? Eggplant? Aubergine? Brinjal?
It’s used as a vegetable in cooking, but botanically it’s a berry, a fruit. As a member of the nightshade family, the aubergine is related to the tomato, the chili pepper, and the potato. How much more schizophrenic can you get as a plant?
Who cares. It grows everywhere in the same fashion. It also has the same purple color everywhere. And it probably tastes the same everywhere. Although this makes the aubergine an interesting fruity vegetable.
Easy recipes with the tasty aubergine
The aubergine is very low in nutrients. In contrast, the spongy, absorbent capacity makes the aubergine ideal for cooking with taste. Try this for instance.
Slowly, and on a low fire, bake fresh rosemary in very fine olive oil. After a couple of minutes, when you can smell the oil of the rosemary mixing with the olive oil, mix the small, one-by-one centimeter aubergine cubes with the rosemary. Let it all simmer long enough until you can easily put your fork in the cubes and pick them up.
Or try this one. Cut the aubergine into one centimeter thick slices. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Put the slices on an oven tray covered with baking paper. Cover the slices with a bit of honey. Place the tray in the oven. Ready in 15 minutes.
All those difficult words!
Blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, red grapes, and plums are stuffed with natural blue-purple pigments, known as anthocyanins. Yet another difficult word with healthy benefits. 🙂
The purple fruit should be as ripe as possible for maximum effect. The anthocyanin content is then at its highest level. Also, these levels increase the darker the color is.
Research has shown that anthocyanins have a positive effect on weight management by increasing metabolism and regulating blood sugar levels.
By adding some purple, blue, or black fruits and vegetables to your diet, you benefit from a great source of anti-free radical substances. They not only look good on a plate but contain antioxidants as their red brothers and sisters do!
Dye-sensitized solar cells
Of course, an article about blue and purple fruits and vegetables is no place to talk about solar cells. However, I could not resist the temptation when I read that the blue-purple pigment anthocyanin is used in solar cells.
Although dye-sensitized solar cells are not that good as silicon ones, they’re flexible, transparent, and much cheaper. Unfortunately, this type of solar cell is not commercially viable yet. So for now, we will just have to eat blue and purple foods to get energized.
Blueberries for brains
Scientists suspect that anthocyanins have a beneficial effect on our brain and memory. Animal studies have shown that anthocyanins end up in the brain, exactly in the area of memory and learning. The higher the level there, the smarter the animals were and aged better.
Blackberries for strong bones
Dark fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamin K. Which is good for your bone structure. Scientists say a lack of vitamin K may contribute to osteoporosis, a condition in which your bones become weak and fragile.
Elderberry is a popular plant medicine
This blue-purple fruit strengthens your immune system thus helping you defend yourself against a cold and flu. It helps people to recover faster from these diseases.
Plums for ‘the big message’
I think this Dutch expression is called going for the number 2 in the States. Or doing a private business on the toilet. However you call it, it can be a real nuisance if you can’t go to the toilet for this at least once a day.
The Damson plums and prunes (the dried version) are the best kinds. These are often used in jams and marmalades. Whenever I travel I make sure to have some with me to get through the first days. 🙂
Beetroot salad recipe
This is simple and at the same time very tasty recipe with two kinds of purple food: beetroot and raisins. We eat it quite often.
Ingredients (all organic of course):
- Depending on the size of the beetroots and the number of people that are served, use between 4 to 8 beetroots. Don’t forget to adjust the following ingredients to the number of beetroots you use;
- ½ a Pineapple (preferably fresh);
- 1 Apple;
- A handful of raisins;
- A handful of roasted cashew nuts;
- 2 to 4 eggs;
- Pickled silverskin onions;
- Pickled cucumber;
- Mayonnaise (vegan or you can also use olive oil and vinegar if you prefer).
- Boil the beetroots. Not too soft;
- Boil the eggs (10 minutes);
- Let the beetroots and eggs cool down. Afterward, cut them into small parts;
- Cut the pineapple and apple into small parts;
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and add the mayonnaise.
Ready. You can add some green color to the plates if you serve the beetroot-mix on green lettuce leaves.
Include purple food in your nutrition list
Overall you may presume that foods with a high anthocyanin content can promote heart health and reduce your risk of overweight, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and other diseases.
Which healthy food dishes do you prefer? Tell us in the comment box below.
Enjoy your meal and stay healthy!
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- Healthy Food Dishes with Blue and Purple Fruits and Vegetables