Montair School

Harvest of the Month

About Harvest of the Month at Montair

Harvest of the Month is a program that began at Montair in 2014. The program was adopted in part from the State wide Harvest of the Month program. California Department of public health adopted this program in 2005.
 

The purpose of Harvest of the Month is to, increase consumption and preference for seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, educate our children in the benefits of a healthy diet, and promote an overall healthy lifestyle. 

 

If you would like more information about California's Harvest of the Month program, please click here. 

 

For questions or suggestions on how we can improve Harvest of the Month at Montair, please contact Robin Clark.

September's Harvest of the Month: Pears

It's September and time for Pears!
There are so many great things about Pears.... here are a few...
 
They taste delicious!!
 
High in Fiber
 
Why is fiber such a big deal?
Soluble fiber helps pull cholesterol out of the body. It also helps control blood sugar levels and keep food in
the stomach longer so that you feel full. Fiber may help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
 
Decreased risk of Type2 diabetes and heart disease in the case of DM2, scientists now know that pear flavonols (including isorhamnetin, quercetin, and kaempferol), flavan-3-ols (especially epicatechin), and the anthocyanins (found in red-skinned varieties including Red Anjou, Red Bartlett, Comice, Seckel, and Starkrimson) all help improve insulin sensitivity. 
 
The ability of pear fibers (and other fruit fibers) to bind bile acids has actually been compared to the cholesterol-lowering drug cholestyramine, with pears showing about 5% of the ability of the drug to accomplish this result
 
High in Vitamin C & K
Benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. :)
 
Without vitamin K, blood coagulation is seriously impaired. Low levels of vitamin K also weaken bones (vit K aids the body with calcium absorption) and promote calcification of arteries and other soft tissues.
 
High in Phytonutrients
Virtually all of these phytonutrients have been shown to provide us with antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. As a result, intake of pears has now been associated with decreased risk of several common chronic diseases that begin with chronic inflammation and excessive oxidative stress.
 
 
 
 
Activity
 
Pears are perfect for taste testing. Bring 3-4 different variety of pears and place a simple graph on the front board. Children can then taste test and decide which is the most popular pear. Prepping your teacher for this ahead of time, may allow them to use this as a teaching tool for graphs as well. 
 
 
 
Recipes
 


Spiced Apple-Pear Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Total Time: 50 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive: 20 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield:4 servings
Level:Easy

Ingredients

3 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar

Directions
  1. Combine the apples, pears, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the apples and pears are very soft but still a bit chunky, 15 to 20 minutes. Taste the mixture and add the remaining tablespoon of sugar if desired.
  2. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir a few times until the sauce is well combined with small chunks. Cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon sticks and serve. (For a smoother sauce, remove from heat, remove the cinnamon sticks and then whisk the mixture until smooth before cooling.)
 
Vanilla Pear Muffins
Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book
Ingredients:
 
For the topping:
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 Tbs. chopped walnuts, ground
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
     
For the muffins:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or walnut oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 or 5 firm, ripe pears, 2 lb. total, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Directions:
 
  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease 14 standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To make the topping, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar, walnuts and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. To make the muffins, in a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla until blended. Add the flour mixture, stirring just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Using a large silicone spatula, gently fold in the pears and walnuts just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. When mixing, take care not to break up the fruit. Do not overmix.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them level with the rim. Sprinkle the muffins with the topping, dividing it evenly. Fill the unused muffin cups one-third full with water to prevent warping. Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan(s) to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then unmold the muffins onto the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 14 muffins.
*Substitute coconut flour, applesauce, and no nuts as needed and desired*
 
 
Pear and Brie Quesadillas
 
Ingredients:
 
2 (10 inch) flour tortillas 2 ounces Brie cheese, sliced 1/2 pear, cored and thinly sliced
1 pinch ground nutmeg
salt to taste
 
Directions
  1. Place slices of Brie cheese over a tortilla. Layer the cheese with pear slices. Sprinkle with nutmeg and salt as desired. Top with the second tortilla. 
  2. Spray a skillet with cooking spray. Place the quesadilla in the skillet over medium heat, and cook until golden brown and Brie melts, about 3 minutes on each side. Cut into four or eight triangles, and serve immediately.

September's Harvest of the Month: Plums and Pluots

Health Benefits of Plums
 
  • Plums are low in calories (46 calories per 100 g) and contain no saturated fats; however, they hold numerous health promoting compounds, minerals, and vitamins.
  • Certain health benefiting compounds present in the plums such as dietary fiber, sorbitol, and isatin has been known to help regulate smooth functioning of the digestive system, and thereby, help relieve constipation problems.
  • Total antioxidant strength of plums measured in terms of ORAC (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity) is 6259 µmol TE/100 g. Fresh berries are a moderate source of vitamin C which is also a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation and scavenge harmful free radicals.
  • Fresh plums, especially yellow Mirabelle type, are a moderate source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Vitamin A is essential for good eye sight. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucusa and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A has found to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • The fruit is also good in health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, cryptoxanthin and zea-xanthin in significant amounts. These compounds help act as scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Zea-xanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV light-filtering functions.
  • Plums are plentiful in minerals like potassium, fluoride and iron. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

 

 

​Recipes ​

 
Plums and pluots may be the perfect "taste test" month. There are so many flavors and colors. Have fun with it!! 
 
 
Yogurt-cream dip: 
 
Equal parts organic heavy cream and vanilla icelandic yogurt, with a "squeeze" of local honey. Blend in bullet or blender until a thick, smooth consistency. 
 
 
Breakfast Bars with Plum Filling
Cook time 60 mins
Total time 1 hour
Yield: 24
 
Ingredients
 
CRUST:
  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup chopped almonds or walnuts
  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1¼ cup rolled oats
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
FILLING:
  • 2 cups diced plums
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 T. flour
  • 2 T. butter, melted and cooled
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup juice, 1 T. zest)
 
Instructions
  1. For crust, combine all ingredients, stirring until crumbly. Reserve about 1½ cups of crust, and spread remaining crust on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until brown.
  3. For filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl, tossing until well coated.
  4. Spread filling over baked crust, then crumble reserved crust over the top.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until brown. Let cool completely, cut into 24 bars.
 
No Sugar Added Plum Berry Crisp  
Serves 6 
 
6 cups pitted sliced plums (skin on) 
1 cup fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a combination 
2 teaspoons dry stevia* (I used Tuvia which is available at most supermarkets.)  
1 1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup flour (okay to omit for gluten-free)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup melted coconut oil  
vanilla ice cream (optional but highly recommended)  
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. 
  2. In a medium bowl stir together plum pieces, berries, and 1 teaspoon stevia. Pour into prepared baking dish.
  3. In another medium bowl stir together oats, flour, almonds, remaining teaspoon of stevia and coconut oil.
  4. Sprinkle oat mixture over the fruit. Bake for 1 hour or until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden brown.
  5. Let cool 5 minutes and top with vanilla ice cream.  

* Stevia is a natural zero-calorie sweetener that will not raise blood your blood sugar. It is very sweet so be careful not to add too much.

Harvest of the Month Classroom Volunteers

Thank you for your time in helping make a difference in our children's health and diets.   Please click here to for harvest of the month, calendar, and handout information.  

Useful Links