Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘green vegetables’

Too Bitter To Swallow

Posted by terrepruitt on May 10, 2012

I have a friend on FB who works really hard to feed her family healthy things.  I think there are food allergies and intolerances involved so she has to be very particular with what she feeds her family.  Often times she posts some pretty creative cooking ideas.  One thing she is always asking about is greens.  How do you cook your greens?  She usually states which green she is working with but she always comes back with, “It is so bitter.”  Now some of the greens she says are bitter taste a little bitter to me, but with olive oil, salt, garlic, and onion the flavor is masked.  Some of them she claims are bitter aren’t bitter to me.  I really think that the bitter taste has less to do with which vegetable than with our genes.

Back in 1931 a chemist (Arthur Fox) was pouring a powdered chemical (PTC) and some of its dust got in the air.  His assistant said the dust tasted bitter, while he couldn’t taste anything.  The chemist proceeded to experiment with PTC and the taste on his friends and family.  Some could taste a strong bitter taste, while some could taste a mild bitter taste, while some could taste nothing at all.  Seventy-two years later in 2003 the gene that is responsible for this was discovered.  They call it the PTC gene or TAS2R38.  This gene has seven forms, five of which are rare, and two of which are common.  The two common forms are the ones that allow for tasting bitter and one that does not.  Since all genes come in pairs we can end up with both being the tasting gene, or both being the non-tasting gene, or one of each.

If an individual ends up with both of the genes that allow for them to taste PTC then they will be able to taste bitter things more strongly than others.  If an individual has the genes that are the “non-tasting” genes then they don’t taste bitter.  Then there are the individuals that have one of each. It has been found that there is a familial link, if some family members can taste the PTC than other can too.

I would imagine that if an individual has a set of bitter-taste genes then it would be almost impossible to cover up the bitter taste of many vegetables.  I am thinking that my friend and her family must have a set of those genes because she says she has cooked some veggies a multitude of ways and her comment is still, “It is so bitter.”  Probably the only way to deal with the bitter is to cover it up entirely in a sauce but then that would somewhat defeat the purpose of trying to eat a nice green healthy vegetable.  Plus I would bet that most of the sauces contain ingredients she is trying to avoid.  She is determined though.  She knows that the bitter vegetables have really good stuff in them so she keeps trying.  In the meantime her family is still getting the nutrients even though it is bitter and doesn’t taste good.

There are test strips that can be purchased to see which gene you have.  I found some on Amazon.  Interesting, huh?

Do you have a good sense of taste?  Do you taste bitter really strongly?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

My Experiment with Collard Greens

Posted by terrepruitt on March 3, 2011

I always hear about collard greens and how nutritious they are.  I was in the store the other day shopping after my Nia class.  I always feel energetic after Nia.  Sometimes even a little adventuresome, so I decided to buy some collard greens.  I was hoping I could cook some mushrooms and throw the greens in and let them steam a little bit.  I looked up how to cook collard greens and what I found was boil with ham hock.  Uh-oh.  The two things I read talked of cooking the bitter out or disguising it with bacon or ham.  I looked at the pictures of dull green soggy veggies piled on a plate and realized why I had never eaten collard greens.  Ewwww.  It looks like a soggy pile of spinach.

I decided to go ahead with my plan.  I minced a shallot and cooked the mushrooms.  I didn’t salt the mushrooms because I was thinking that I would need all the salt I could use on the collard greens AND I would need to sweat the greens.  Right as the mushrooms were done cooking I put a little butter in the pan, I was thinking this would help counter-act the bitter I had read about.

I put some wine in the pan.  I was thinking in addition to the salt sweat I was going to have to somewhat steam the greens because I had also read something about the greens being tough.  I put the greens in and put a spoonful of minced garlic on it.  Then salted it a bit.  They cooked much faster than I thought considering what a heart leaf it is.

So, my hubby was happy.  It tasted like the mushrooms I usually cook or like all the other veggies except there was a slight sourness to it.  So, now that I know they don’t taste horrible and they can be cooked and enjoyed without boiling them with  ham hock, I can step away from the normal flavoring and try other flavors.  Ones that will compliment the strong flavor of the leaf.

Do you cook collard greens?  Do you boil them with the ham hock?  How do you cook them?  Give me some ideas because I think I will be making them a lot more because it really made my husband happy.

Posted in "Recipes", Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »