Having recently returned from three weeks travel in the Pacific it felt like a great time to share great foods and recipes to help you learn to enjoy and prepare perfect Pacific paradise plants.
While traveling to Hawaii and Fiji I met and interviewed people from many different countries and regions of the Pacific Islands. This included a diverse group of people from different areas including Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan, Marshall Islands and Philippines. They had great suggestions and tips to help you add more nutrition, taste and variety while you expand your choices for better beauty, health and nutrition.
It is important to mention up front that while the Pacific Islands have many great foods and recipes it also has many unhealthy foods and habits that have become common cuisine. Therefore it may be helpful to learn and understand that many of the unhealthy choices now considered as normal were often the result of new foods imported by early merchants and sailors from distant lands.
Pork and beef are examples of domestic animals imported to Pacific islands that now are considered part of the traditional menus despite being introduced within the last several hundred years. White bread, flour, rice and sugar are processed foods that have become quite common and are responsible for many of the health and weight challenges of the local populations.
Most Nutritious Foods From the Pacific Islands
Now that we have covered some of the unhealthy choices let’s focus most of our attention on all the great food choices. The Pacific Islands are blessed with an abundance of beans, fruits, green leafy plants, herbs, melons, nuts, roots, vegetables, sea weeds, seeds, sprouts, spices, squash and tubers.
The following list provides some of the most nutritious local island foods, like fresh coconuts picked right from the tree offering some very tasty, chilled coconut milk.
[colored_box title=”Island Grown: List of Nutritious Local Foods” variation=”teal”]
- Melons include: water melon, cantaloupe, honey dew, rock, canary.
- Fruit includes: avocado, banana, mango, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, plantain, star fruit, kiwi, jackfruit, breadfruit, cherimoya, lemons, limes, grapefruit, cacao and durian.
- Beans and legumes include: long beans, cow peas, black eye peas, snow peas, sweet peas, lima beans, white beans, adzuki, mung, soy, snap peas, chickpeas.
- Green leafy plants include: Indian spinach, Bok Choy, green cabbage, red cabbage, Chinese cabbage, Napa cabbage, Savoy cabbage, Mustard greens, collard greens, silver beet, lettuce, taro leaf.
- Roots and tubers include: carrots, daikon, sweet potato, cassava, taro, yams, yucca, beet root, onion, potato.
- Herbs and spices include: parsley, basil, cilantro (coriander), ginger, chives, garlic, chilies, rosemary, oregano, peppers.
- Vegetables include: celery, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, eggplant.
- Sea weeds include: agar, alaria, sea grapes, limu, kelp, laver/ nori, kombu, dulse, wakame, and many others.
- Nuts and seeds include: cashew, macadamia, bettle nut, pine nuts, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, coconuts (green & brown).
- Squash and pumpkins include: fuzzy, opa, green, orange, brown, and assorted varieties.
- Grains include: rice (many varieties of brown, black, purple, red, cargo, etc.)
While this list may not seem that long to many readers it is important to realize that some of these Pacific paradise plants may have 50 or more varieties to choose from.
When ripe many of these foods can be washed and eaten raw. Fruits are a great food and the islands are also blessed with perfect plants for fantastic salads in amazing combinations. Others items can be cleaned and lightly steamed or sautéed in a little coconut oil or butter. Some can be simmered on very low heat to make casseroles, soups and stews. Many dishes are made by slowly heating the items in a crock pot, fire pit or oven.
I have even seen foods cooked in special solar cookers and pots heated by the tropical sun. There are an unlimited combination of foods, ingredients and recipes to prepare perfect Pacific paradise plants. Use your imagination and existing recipes to see how many delicious and nutritious combinations you can create. Enjoy.
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