LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Buying fresh, nutritious food is good investment

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I've read with interest the recent U-B articles and opinions about healthy eating habits, and the barriers to eating well.

Price, taste, ease of preparation are all important things to consider when running a home kitchen.

It all comes down to freshness. Produce that has been in storage for weeks or even months will still cost an arm and a leg.

Its healthful properties, which are what would have made it taste good in the first place, are greatly reduced in storage.

The longer produce is stored, the more the nutrients and complex sugars revert to simpler forms.

For instance, you find something that looks like a carrot but is really a floppy orange stick of fiber and sugar. Any gardener who has plucked and eaten a carrot from the ground can vouch for the difference.

One other example is the tomato. Tomatoes (and many other types of produce) for commercial production are selected for uniformity and storage qualities, not nutrition or taste.

Most tomatoes we buy in the stores are harvested fully green, and then ripened by flooding their storage containers with ethylene gas. Yummy.

Apples with moldy cores, lettuce that goes slimy after a few days, tasteless woody beets, gluey, starchy sweet corn, and broccoli that tastes like bad breath. You know what I'm talking about.

When looking for healthy, flavorful food, fresher is always better.

In the supermarket, read where the produce came from, and buy from the source closest to home.

Stop by farm stands and farmers markets. Grow your own. Preparation of fresh stuff can be super easy since it already tastes good and doesn't have to be disguised with rich sauces and condiments.

Eating fresh food costs money, no doubt, but when weighed against the cost of treating diet-related health conditions, it makes good financial sense.

Also, the hunt for the best peach, the perfect cherries, or the very first tomato of the season is a pleasure all its own.

Andy Asmus
Walla Walla

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