Foods Native to the Americas
The rich and colorful harvest of foods that we enjoy in this
country reflects on the tremendous creativity of the native cultures of
the Americas. Many staple foods that we take for granted are indigenous
to this continent.
You may know that Maize (corn) and most familiar varieties of beans are
among these native foods. What you might not know about these two, is that
together, they provide a complete protein. Also at Sundance we offer both
organic yellow corn meal & organic pinto beans at the super low prices
of our Sundance Staples Program.
Corn (Maize): derived from a wild Central American grass called teosinte,
maize has been cultivated for more than 7000 years.
Blue corn contains a more complete protein and more manganese than does
yellow corn. Pueblo Indians grow different colored corn for each of the
sacred directions for ceremonial uses. White corn is for the east and every
morning a pinch of white cornmeal is offered to the Sun Father. Blue corn
is for the north. Red is for the south. Yellow is for the west, and black
corn for the sky.
Peppers: Columbus, in search of Indian black pepper, named this New
World food after his goal. Peppers originated 9000 years ago in Central
Tomatoes: a South American Native, true vine-ripened tomatoes are
rare, as ripe tomatoes are almost impossible to transport. Expect local
vine ripened tomatoes about two or at most three months out of the year.
Sunflower: This relative of the daisy originated in North America.
Its seeds were an important food for native tribes. Sunflower seeds contain
more protein than beef, and only 20 percent fat, mostly unsaturated. Most
sunflowers are grown in Minnesota, North Dakota, and California.
Pumpkin Seeds: not from a pumpkin at all, these are the seeds of
a South/Central American squash called the pepito. Crunchy, green, and with
a nutty flavor, they are high in protein (29%).
Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke): not from Jerusalem, and not related
to artichokes, this North American sunflower grows a tuber with white flesh
and a mild, sweet taste. It was a popular staple among numerous native north
American tribes. Crisp and tasty, it makes a great addition to salads and
Cool Summer Menu Using Native Foods
- Preheat oven to 400°. Sift together 1 1/2 cups cornmeal,
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder,
1/2 tsp. salt. In a bowl, beat 1 egg (or substitute 2 tsp.
tapioca flour dissolved in a little water for the egg), add 1/4 cup vegetable
oil, 1/8 to 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup and 1 cup milk
(or substitute soymilk or tomato juice).
- Stir in the dry ingredients and any additions (1 cup minced, briefly
sautéed vegetables, about 1/4 cup fresh herbs,
up to 1 cup fresh berries or 1/2 cup cooked and drained beans)
and mix briefly. Pour into a greased standard loaf pan or muffin tin and
bake for about 30 minutes or 20 minutes for muffins.
- adapted from Cooking from the Garden by Rosalind Creasy
- Rub a large bowl with 1 cut garlic clove. Peel 3lbs. tomatoes,
remove seeds and chop into small pieces. Be sure not to lose any of their
juice; put the tomatoes along with juice into garlic rubbed bowl. Chop 2
medium sized cucumbers. Combine with 1 green pepper and 2
minced green onions. Add to chopped tomatoes. Next add the tomato
juice. Combine 1/3 cup olive oil,3 tbs.
natural cider vinegar, dash of salt and 2 tsp. paprika.
Season to taste. Chill thoroughly before serving.
- adapted from Dr. Jensen's Real Soup & Salad Book by Dr.
Pinto Bean Salad w/Corn & Red Pepper
- Rinse 1 cup dried pinto beans. Place them in a medium saucepan
with 1 quart water, 1 bay leaf and 1 garlic clove.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook for 1 hour or until the beans
are tender. Drain, discarding bay leaf and garlic.
Dressing: Combine 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive
oil, 2 Tbs. shoyu or tamari, 3 Tbs. fresh lemon
juice, 1 Tbs. prepared whole-grain mustard.
- Steam 2 ears corn and allow to cool. Slice the corn kernels
off the cob. Dice 1 sweet red pepper. Slice 2 whole scallions
- Add the corn kernels, red pepper, scallions, 1/4 cup chopped parsley
and 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts to the beans. Toss, and chill
for 1 hour. Serve on a bed of watercress or lettuce leaves.
- adapted from The Natural Gourmet by Annemarie Colbin
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Natural Foods, Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
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ResSeguie Last update: June 14, 1996