Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

The Olive Oil Hunter News #113

Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe, Spotlight on Broccoli, Immersion Blender 101, How to Overcome Excuses for Not Exercising and Mastering Functional Fitness

Winter is a time of year when a thick and hearty broccoli soup can easily be dinner. Make a large batch, and you’ll have enough for a lunch or two as well. Winter is also when most of us need a little extra motivation to exercise. I’m sharing ideas as well as one aspect of fitness that may be new to you.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • Brocoli Cheddar Soup Broccoli Cheddar Soup

    This is a popular item at restaurants and the soup station at supermarkets, yet so often tastes gummy. My recipe is chunky and creamy at the same time, thanks to a simple roux technique and not over-blending.  


    • 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
    • 1 large sweet onion, about 12 ounces, finely chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • Coarse salt 
    • 2 pounds broccoli, trimmed and cut into small florets (slice stems into discs)
    • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
    • 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
    • 2 cups milk
    • 10 ounces sharp or very sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


    Step 1

    Heat a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat. When hot, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the onions, and garlic. Add a pinch of salt to help the onions sweat. Sauté until soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook until it turns a brighter green, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer all the veggies to a large bowl next to your cooktop.  

    Step 2

    Add the rest of the olive oil to the pot along with the flour and stir vigorously for 2 minutes to make a roux and cook the flour. Whisk in the broth, a half-cup at a time, letting the mixture come to a boil before adding the next half-cup. Repeat the technique with the milk and then stir in 8 ounces of the cheese. When smooth, add back in the vegetables. Continue to cook, partly covered, at a low simmer for 30 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. Stir occasionally to make sure all the broccoli gets submerged.

    Step 3

    Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a standard blender, blend the soup, stopping short of a full purée. Taste and season as desired with salt and pepper. Garnish servings with the rest of the grated cheddar and a drizzle of olive oil.

    Yields 8 to 10 servings

Food Pairings: The Power of Purple Potatoes

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight

Broccoli’s Bounty

Broccoli is on nearly every top 10 list of healthy foods, and science is still uncovering more of its benefits. Beyond its impressive list of vitamins and minerals, broccoli, like other cruciferous vegetables, has a phytochemical—or plant-based compound—called sulforaphane. Since the early 1990s, over 3,000 lab studies and over 50 clinical trials have looked at sulforaphane’s role in cancer prevention and even in cancer treatment. According to a review of research on broccoli and broccoli sprouts published in the journal Molecules, sulforaphane’s anti-inflammatory properties also show promise for easing arthritis and asthma, managing diabetes more effectively, and improving fatty liver disease. 

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Sweet spices for savory dishes

Quick Kitchen Nugget

Immersion Blender 101

I love a handheld cordless immersion blender for puréeing foods without having to transfer them to a standing blender or food processor. But not all models have the same power as those countertop workhorses. To make yours more effective, try these tips:

  • Precut any solid foods you’ll be blending into 2″ pieces or smaller.
  • Be sure any cooked foods are tender before blending.
  • The food to be blended should come at least an inch above the blade, and the blade should always be submerged, even when working it up and down. 
  • When using the immersion blender to homogenize small amounts of liquids for salad dressings or sauces, use a tall measuring cup if your appliance didn’t come with a special container.
Healthy Kitchen Nugget: The Truth About Nondairy Milks

For Your Best Health

How to Overcome Excuses for Not Exercising 

As many benefits as exercise has, people find even more excuses for not working out. Here’s some motivation from NIH’s National Institute on Aging:

No time? Get up a few minutes earlier and exercise first thing or combine physical activity with a task that’s already part of your day, like starting to walk to work.

Too boring? The only way to stick with a plan is to do activities you really enjoy. Also, try new types of exercise to keep it interesting.

Too expensive? All you need is a pair of comfortable, nonskid shoes to start walking and, for upper body strength training, your own body weight for moves like pushups or a pair of filled water bottles.

Too tired? That’s another reason to exercise early in the day when you have more energy. Plus, regular, moderate physical activity can help reduce fatigue.

Not convinced? Take a few seconds to read this list of exercise benefits whenever you need a little impetus to get going:

  • A lower risk of chronic conditions, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers
  • Easier weight control
  • Better cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness
  • A lower risk of falling and better bone density
  • A lower risk of depression
  • Improved cognitive function and sleep quality
Healthy Kitchen Nugget: The Value of Variety

Fitness Flash

Mastering Functional Fitness

Your fitness and mobility levels are important signs of independence. They’re often assessed by what’s called functional fitness, the ability to carry out activities of daily living, or ADLs—being able to care for yourself, go shopping, get on and off the sofa with ease, and so on. Building and maintaining functional fitness is key to moving with ease now and staying mobile as you age. 

There are seven important movements we all draw on for those ADLs: pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging, hinging, rotating, and balancing. Doing exercises that use those movements will make it easier to handle all your daily tasks. Many common strength training moves, like pushups and chest presses, pullups and rows, squats, wall sits, and lunges, replicate them exactly. Kettlebell swings and twists mimic hinging. Some core exercises, like the woodchopper and working with a medicine ball, help with rotation. And there are many moves to improve balance, like sidestepping and heel-to-toe walking. If you’re new to any of these exercises or want tailored guidance, consider scheduling a session with a personal trainer.

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The Olive Oil Hunter News #91

Herb-Marinated Beef Tenderloin Recipe, How to Store Fresh Herbs, No-mess Marinating, The Link Between Diet and Eye Health, Plus the Benefits of Walking to Manage Osteoarthritis

Looking for a showstopper for your dinner party? Beef tenderloin fits the bill, especially when cooked to perfection with the reverse searing method. I’m also sharing a tip to keep fresh herbs fresh longer. Plus, find out why eye health could play a role in overall health and longevity. 

Herb-Marinated Beef Tenderloin

  • The Olive Oil Hunter News #98 Herb-Marinated Beef Tenderloin

    Tenderloin is one of the most elegant cuts of meat, wonderful for romantic dinners and other festive occasions. This recipe features the two-step process called “reverse searing.” It yields meat that is uniformly pink from edge to edge. You can make it an hour ahead of time and serve it at room temperature—it’s perfect as the centerpiece of a buffet.


    • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
    • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish 
    • 1 sprig fresh basil, stems and leaves
    • 1 sprig fresh sage, stems and leaves
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus more for seasoning
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning 
    • 1/4 cup red wine, such as a Shiraz 
    • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for serving 
    • 2-pound center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed 


    Step 1

    Strip the thyme and rosemary sprigs, placing the leaves/needles on a cutting board along with the basil, sage, garlic, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt; coarsely chop everything together. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the black pepper and the wine. Slowly whisk in 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  

    Step 2

    Place the tenderloin in a large resealable plastic bag, pour in the marinade, and seal the bag. Refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours (or overnight), turning the bag occasionally to redistribute the marinade.  

    Step 3

    When ready to cook, drain the meat and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper, place on a rack in a roasting pan, and let it come to room temperature for up to an hour. Preheat your oven to 250°F. If you have one, insert a remote temperature probe in the thickest part of the meat. Roast the meat until the internal temperature reaches 110°F. If you don’t have a probe, use an instant-read meat thermometer and start checking after an hour. Remove the meat from the oven and tent with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes. 

    Step 4

    Meanwhile, preheat a cast-iron grill pan or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. (You can also finish the tenderloin on a grill.) Rub the tenderloin with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then sear on all sides until the outside is deeply browned and caramelized and the internal temperature is 125°F for rare or 135°F for medium rare. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and loosely tent with foil again. Let rest for 5 minutes. 

    Step 5

    Carve into 1/2-inch-thick slices, reserving the juices. Shingle the slices on a warmed platter. Drizzle with the juices and additional olive oil and garnish with thyme and rosemary sprigs. 

    Yields 6 servings

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: How to Store Fresh Herbs

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight

How to Store Fresh Herbs

When you buy herbs from the store or farmers’ market for a recipe, how you store them matters so that leftovers don’t go to waste. 

Start by rinsing the herbs under cool water to wash away any dirt and debris. Shake off excess water and place the herbs on paper towels or a dish cloth. Remove any questionable leaves and stems and blot the herbs dry with more paper towels. 

To store in the fridge, stand them up in a tall glass filled with a scant inch of water. Change the water every two days.

For longer storage, freezing is a great option. Spread out the herbs on a rimmed baking sheet, pop into the freezer, and once frozen, transfer the herbs to a freezer-safe resealable bag labeled with the name of the herb. When thawed, the herbs can be used in recipes, but because they’ll be limp, they won’t work as a garnish.

Another freezing technique that’s great when a recipe calls for minced or finely chopped herbs is to puree the fresh herb in a small amount of olive oil and freeze in the compartments of an ice cube tray. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe resealable bag labeled with the name of the herb and put the bag back in the freezer to use as needed. 

Healthy Kitchen Nugget: No-mess Marinating

Healthy Kitchen Nugget

No-mess Marinating

When marinating a large cut of meat or brining a turkey, using oversized resealable food-safe plastic bags makes the job easier and cleaner—when you take the meat out of its marinade, just seal the bag again and toss it. A useful size is 5 gallons with a 2-mil thickness. If your local stores don’t carry them, you’ll find many options to choose from on Amazon.

For Your Best Health: Eye Health

For Your Best Health

The Eyes Have It

Researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California have demonstrated for the first time a link between diet, circadian rhythms, eye health, and life span in the fruit fly. The fruit fly has been used for research purposes for over 100 years, even more so after it was discovered that many of its genes are homologous to those involved in human development and disease. The study, published on June 7, 2022, in Nature Communications, also found, quite unexpectedly, that processes in the fly eye are actually driving the aging process. 

It’s already known that, for people, there’s an association between eye disorders and poor health. “Our study argues that it is more than correlation: dysfunction of the eye can actually drive problems in other tissues,” said senior author and Buck Institute Professor Pankaj Kapahi, PhD, whose lab has demonstrated for years that fasting and caloric restriction can improve many functions of the body. “We are now showing that not only does fasting improve eyesight, but the eye actually plays a role in influencing life span.”

According to lead author Brian Hodge, PhD, the explanation for this connection lies in circadian clocks, the molecular machinery within every cell of every organism, which have evolved to adapt to daily stresses, such as changes in light and temperature caused by the rising and setting of the sun. These 24-hour oscillations, or circadian rhythms, affect complex animal behaviors, such as predator-prey interactions and sleep-wake cycles.

Dr. Hodge noticed numerous fruit-fly genes that were diet-responsive and exhibited rhythmic ups and downs at different time points. He then discovered that the rhythmic genes that were activated the most with dietary restriction all seemed to be coming from the eye, specifically from photoreceptors, specialized neurons in the retina that respond to light.

“We always think of the eye as something that serves us, to provide vision. We don’t think of it as something that must be protected to protect the whole organism,” says Dr. Kapahi. Since the eyes are exposed to the outside world, he explains, the immune defenses there are critically active. This can lead to inflammation, which, when present for long periods of time, can cause or worsen a variety of common chronic diseases. Additionally, light in itself can cause photoreceptor degeneration, which can cause inflammation.

“Staring at computer and phone screens, and being exposed to light pollution well into the night, are conditions very disturbing for circadian clocks,” Kapahi says. “It messes up protection for the eye and that could have consequences beyond just the vision, damaging the rest of the body and the brain.”

Of course, there’s a lot more to be learned when it comes to people than what was seen with the fruit fly. Says Dr. Hodge, “The stronger link I would argue is the role that circadian function plays in neurons in general, especially with dietary restrictions, and how these can be harnessed to maintain neuronal function throughout aging.”

Once researchers understand how these processes are working, they can begin to target the molecular clock to decelerate aging, says Dr. Hodge, adding that we could possibly help maintain our vision by activating the clocks within our eyes.

Fitness Flash: Walking to Manage Osteoarthritis

Fitness Flash

Walk This Way

It’s a Catch-22—exercise can help arthritis, but arthritis can make it harder to exercise once pain sets in. A study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology and led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found an effective form of prevention: walking.

For this study, the researchers examined the results of the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a multiyear observational study in which participants self-reported the amount of time and frequency they walked for exercise. Participants who reported 10 or more instances of exercise from the age of 50 years or later were classified as “walkers” and those who reported less were classified as “non-walkers.” Those who reported walking for exercise had 40 percent decreased odds of new frequent knee pain compared to non-walkers.

“Until this finding, there has been a lack of credible treatments that provide benefit for both limiting damage and pain in osteoarthritis,” says Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, MD, assistant professor of immunology, allergy, and rheumatology at Baylor, chief of rheumatology at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, and first author of the paper.

“These findings are particularly useful for people who have radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis but don’t have pain every day in their knees,” says Dr. Lo. “This study supports the possibility that walking for exercise can help to prevent the onset of daily knee pain. It might also slow down the worsening of damage inside the joint from osteoarthritis…If you already have daily knee pain, there still might be a benefit, especially if you have the kind of arthritis where your knees are bow-legged.”

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The Olive Oil Hunter News #86

Endive with Pears and Gorgonzola Recipe, Spotlight on Endive, How to Vet Vinegar, Improving Your Emotional Outlook and Exercise and Knee Arthritis

I love creating dishes that have distinctive flavors yet are easy and quick to assemble. Pairing endive and mild Gorgonzola with pears is just that. I’m also sharing important news about exercise—often called “free medicine”—which studies show has even more wide-ranging benefits than we thought!

Endive with Pears and Gorgonzola

  • The Olive Oil Hunter News #91 Endive with Pears and Gorgonzola

    If you’ve shied away from strong blue cheeses in the past, Gorgonzola dolce, sweeter than regular Gorgonzola, is a great introduction! The walnuts and pears add to the sweetness, a great counterbalance to the endive


    • 1/2 cup walnut halves
    • 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
    • 6 ripe Seckel pears or another small variety, halved through the stem ends 
    • 1/2 cup pear nectar
    • 1/4 cup pear balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
    • 2 teaspoons honey, or more to taste
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 6 heads endive or radicchio di Treviso, or 3 of each
    • Six 1-ounce wedges of Gorgonzola dolce or your favorite blue cheese


    Step 1

    Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts until fragrant, and then transfer them to a small bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat the oil. Use a small melon baller to remove any seeds from the pears and then place them, cut sides down, in the oil and cook until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and reserve. 

    Step 2

    To make the vinaigrette for the salad, use the same pan, increasing the heat to medium high. Add the pear nectar and vinegar and bring to a boil. Boil until the mixture is reduced by half, then whisk in the honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool slightly, then whisk in the 1/3 cup of olive oil. Taste, adding more vinegar, honey, salt, and/or pepper as needed. 

    Step 3

    Trim the endive and remove the leaves from two of the heads; arrange them on 6 salad plates. Slice the 4 remaining heads crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces and divide among the plates. On each plate, arrange 2 pear halves, a wedge of Gorgonzola, and a few of the walnuts. Lightly drizzle each dish with the vinaigrette. 

    Yields 6 servings

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Endive

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight

Excellent Endive

Native to Belgium and typically referred to as Belgian endive, this slightly bitter green is now cultivated in the US, notably in California. Its unique growing process makes it available almost year round. 

Endive is part of the chicory family of greens and actually starts from chicory seeds under typical field conditions. But once it grows into a plant, the leafy part is cut off and the deep roots are dug up and put in cold storage for a dormant period. Those roots then undergo forcing in a dark environment, somewhat like mushrooms, during which the oval-shaped heads with yellow-tipped leaves are formed.

Other relatives in the chicory group include red-purple radicchio, which can either be a small cabbage-shaped head or the endive-shaped radicchio di Treviso with distinctive color striations along the leaves; escarole, which has broad leaves with wavy edges; and curly endive or frisée.

When you’re selecting endive, the heads should be tight and feel heavy in your hand for their size. The leaves should be crisp and white at the base, with pale yellow edges and tips. Store them in your fridge’s crisper drawer for up to a week. 

When lightly brushed with extra virgin olive oil and grilled, whole endive make a great accompaniment to any protein. Besides using the leaves raw in salads, you can gently separate them and use them instead of chips to scoop up dips. The leaves also make a healthy alternative to crackers and bread slices when you’re making canapés—just pipe or spoon your favorite fillings down the center of each leaf. 

Tons of research has done little to settle the debate over whether it’s better to reach for full-fat, fat-free, or something in between when it comes to dairy. What we do know is that dairy has many important nutrients and that yogurt is especially good for you, thanks to its beneficial bacteria. 

Healthy Kitchen Nugget: How to Vet Vinegar

Healthy Kitchen Nugget

How to Vet Vinegar 

As with extra virgin olive oil, you have to do your due diligence before buying vinegar, especially flavored types. You want to avoid commercial brands that have been produced on a mass scale. They’re likely to be nothing more than artificially flavored distilled vinegar and contain a host of ingredients that you’d never find in finely made and often well-aged varieties. 

Fruit vinegars in particular should have as their base the actual fruit in their name, fruit that has been allowed to ferment and turn into alcohol before special bacteria are added to turn it into vinegar. Such artisanal vinegars typically cost more, but to be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for, always read the fine print to know exactly what’s in the bottle. (The first vinegar selection from the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club was so well received that we’ll be announcing the second one in late summer!)

I love using vinegar to enhance a primary ingredient in a recipe, which is why I suggest pear balsamic for the endive and pear salad above. 

For Your Best Health: Improving Your Emotional Outlook

For Your Best Health

Improving Your Emotional Outlook

It’s no secret that depression rates soared during the pandemic. Among Americans adults, they tripled from 8.5 percent before the pandemic to a staggering 27.8 percent in 2020. Research done at the Boston University School of Public Health showed that this high rate not only persisted into 2021, but even worsened, climbing to 32.8 percent. The truth is that depression can affect people for any number of reasons and at any time, and it’s a challenge to treat. That’s why taking lifestyle steps that help prevent it is so important. 

Research has already shown that exercise reduces depression risk, one of the many reasons it’s called free medicine. Recently, an international team of scientists sought to identify the right dose to get the strongest protection. They reviewed 15 different studies and found that the greatest preventive effect was seen in people who get the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise every week—they lowered their depression risk by 25 percent. Their analysis, published in JAMA Psychiatry, also found thatthere are benefits even for people who exercise lessFor instance, those who got half the recommended amount of exercise had an 18 percent lower risk of depression. The researchers deemed these results as significant mental health benefits and concluded that “health practitioners should therefore encourage any increase in physical activity to improve mental health.”

Fitness Flash: Exercise and Knee Arthritis

Fitness Flash

Exercise and Knee Arthritis

Researchers in Denmark have added to what we know about the benefits of exercising to improve the symptoms of arthritis. Their study, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, looked at knee osteoarthritis in particular and the advantages of following an 8-week program of exercises and education. Program participants reported less pain on the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score questionnaire compared to a group of participants who had a placebo treatment. 

According to the American College of Rheumatology, exercise is an important part of osteoarthritis treatment because it can ease joint pain and improve function. If you’re in pain and unsure how to get started, or have let an exercise program lapse, work with your doctor to get moving again.

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The Olive Oil Hunter News #34

Asian Slaw Recipe, Spotlight on Cabbage and Ginger, How to Ease Symptoms of Insomnia, and Moving to Combat Arthritis

Asian Slaw

  • The Olive Oil Hunter News #34 Asian Slaw

    As we finally get the OK to get back to normal, a fun first step is a backyard get-together—great food, great friends, great fun! It’s one of the things I’ve missed the most. When I’m menu planning, I love to include one of my favorite sides, boldly flavored Asian slaw, easy to prepare but so intensely delicious. It also goes with everything, from burgers to pulled pork. And you can make it a few hours in advance—that’s enough time for the flavors to meld, while the slaw still remains crisp. Enjoy!


    For the dressing:

    • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 2 teaspoons fresh lime zest
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons peeled and finely minced fresh ginger
    • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
    • 1/2 to 1 red jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and finely minced

    For the slaw:

    • 1 medium head Napa or Savoy cabbage, cored and shredded
    • 2 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into matchsticks
    • 3 scallions, trimmed; white and green parts thinly sliced on a sharp diagonal
    • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped (optional)


    Step 1

    For the dressing, whisk together the rice wine vinegar, lime juice and zest, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the olive oil and sesame oil. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and jalapeño—half of it for mild heat, all of it for more heat.

    Step 2

    To assemble the slaw, toss the cabbage, carrots, and scallions in a large bowl. Add the dressing, and toss to lightly coat. Top with the cilantro leaves and peanuts if you’re using them.

    Yields 4 to 6 servings.

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Cabbage

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight


I love the light crunch of Napa, or Chinese, cabbage. Oblong rather than round like traditional green and red cabbage, it’s so easy to shred by making half-inch crossways slices as though you were slicing a loaf of bread. It seems to turn into ribbons for slaw just like that, but you can also cut each tranche into smaller sections for a finer slaw. Napa cabbage is also ideal for a stir-fry because it cooks quickly. And it’s the main ingredient in kimchi, the fermented condiment that, like kefir and kombucha, can boost gut health.

Savoy cabbage looks like a frilly and deeper-green version of traditional cabbage, but like Napa cabbage, it has a lighter taste. If you’ve never had it before, Asian slaw is a great way to try it. Both these cabbage varieties are good sources of vitamins A and C plus fiber.

Healthy Kitchen Tip: Ginger

Healthy Kitchen Nugget


Ginger is an essential in many Asian cuisines. Its knobby appearance can leave you wondering how to choose a good piece and then how to cut into it! Fortunately, the answers to both dilemmas are surprisingly simple. Overall, the peel should be smooth, not wrinkled, and there shouldn’t be any mold growth—two signs that it’s past its prime. Ginger will keep in the fridge, wrapped in a paper towel and placed in an open plastic bag, for a few weeks, so don’t worry about hunting through a ginger display for a small piece. If a knob does develop mold or becomes shriveled, just cut off and discard that part.

Chances are you’ll need a two-inch knob for most recipes. Use the edge of a spoon to shave the peel from the section you want to use. Mincing ginger by hand can be slow going, so I prefer to run the exposed knob of ginger over a microplane grater. Do the grating over a bowl to catch the ginger “juice” as well as the flesh. The microplane also does a great job of separating out the unwanted fibrous threads. Best of all, this method helps you distribute ginger flavor throughout a dish rather than in bits and pieces that can taste overly pungent if you bite into one.

For Your Best Health: How to Ease Symptoms of Insomnia

For Your Best Health

How to Ease Symptoms of Insomnia

We all know how important fruits and vegetables are for health, thanks to their plant-based phytonutrients. Now a team from the University of Michigan School of Public Health has found that fruits and vegetables can help ease symptoms of insomnia. Their study involved adults between the ages of 21 and 30 who reported eating fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day—over a third also said they had trouble falling or staying sleep at least three times a week for three months or more. The study found that participants who increased daily fruit and vegetable intake by at least three servings over a three-month period had some improvements in the time it took to fall asleep and in insomnia symptoms, with women getting the most benefits. “What is unique about our study is that we were able to see that as fruit and vegetable intake changed, insomnia-related sleep characteristics also changed,” said lead author Erica Jansen, research assistant professor of nutritional sciences. The researchers hope the findings will become part of other sleep hygiene principles, like maintaining a consistent bedtime and wake time; turning off screens an hour or more before going to sleep; sleeping in a dark, cool environment; and not drinking alcohol or ingesting caffeine before bed.

Fitness Flash: Moving to Combat Arthritis

Fitness Flash

Moving to Combat Arthritis

It sounds counterintuitive, but the way to combat the pain and stiffness of arthritis is to move. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), skipping physical activity will make you weaker and stiffer and make joint pain worse. But how should you get started when moving is the last thing your joints say they want? You don’t have to run a marathon—just focus on sitting less and moving more, even if it’s standing up once an hour and walking to another room and back. Then build from there.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that people with knee osteoarthritis responded well to a web-based exercise program, and many health organizations have videos of exercises online you can follow. But it makes sense to talk to your doctor about the best exercises for you and possibly about setting up a program with a physical therapist. A PT can also show you how to move in ways that won’t cause pain. It also helps to engage in activities that you really like so that they won’t feel like work and to partner with an exercise buddy—you’ll keep each other on track. Get more ideas from ACSM here.

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