Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.
Sesame seed oil adds extra flavour to Asian cooking. Purchase sesame oil that contains no MSG and no preservatives. Store in the fridge once opened. Sesame seed oil can help heart health and is good for the skin both topically and internally. It contains anti-cancer compounds, including phytic acid, magnesium and phytosterols.
Sesame seeds are found in the pod of the flowering sesame plant. Sesame seeds have a rich, nutty flavour and have one of the highest oil contents of any seed. They provide high amounts of protein and dietary fibre. Sesame seeds are also rich in B vitamins and minerals, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.
Shredded coconut has longer and thicker strands than desiccated coconut and not to be confused with coconut flakes. Use organic coconut, which does not contain preservatives (sulphur).
Paprika is a relative of the chili pepper. Smoked paprika is used to add a sweet mildly spicy flavour to dishes and it adds a warm natural colour. Use organic smoked paprika, my favourite brands are Simply Organic or Frontier (I purchase online at iherb).
I use English spinach leaves in my recipes. This more modern variety of spinach is more tender than older varieties and has small flat leaves. Can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. Spinach has a high nutritional value and is a rich source of iron.
Other names for spring onion are scallion or green onion. They have hollow green leaves and a small root bulb and can be eaten raw or cooked. The green tops are also used sliced or chopped as a garnish. The green tops are a good source of vitamin C and beta carotene.
Strawberries are loved for their aroma, bright red colour, juicy texture and sweetness. They are easy to grow in your home garden. Strawberries freeze well, use frozen in smoothies and desserts. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, contain folate and potassium, high in fibre, plus they provide anticancer bioflavonoids. To keep your strawberries fresh for several weeks, wash in a bowl with water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar, don't rinse, lay on paper towel to dry and place in a seal container in the fridge. Organic is best.
The sultana is a pale green oval seedless grape which has been dried. Sultanas are sweet and used in baking and eaten as a snack. Purchase naturally dried, preservative and oil free sultanas, organic is best.
Purchase organic if possible or make your own. Choose a brand that contains only toasted sunflower seeds, with no sugar or vegetable oils added. This is perfect to use in place of nut butters. When baking with sunflowers use baking powder (gluten-free), as baking soda (bicarb) reacts to the sunflowers and turns green (it will taste the same but your baking won't look as pleasant to the eye).
Sunflower seeds have a mild nutty flavour. An excellent snack as they are high in protein, delicious added to smoothies and grain free baking. Sunflower seeds can be finely ground to replace almond and other nut meals/flours in baked goods, substitute ratio 1:1. They are high in Vitamin E. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of magnesium, which can help calm your nerves, muscles and blood vessels.
The vegetable swede is also know as rutabaga in North America. Swede is a root vegetable that is a similar shape to a turnip but larger, it's flavour is sweeter than a turnip and cream in colour, with some purple on top. The leaves can be eaten as a leaf vegetable. Swede is an excellent substitute for white potato, it can be roasted, baked, boiled, mashed, sauteed and delicious added to soups and stews. Swede can also be thinly julienned or grated uncooked and added to salads or coleslaw. It's a winter vegetable and stores well. Swede is high in vitamin C and provides antioxidants and immune support, helping protect the cells from free radical damage and assists in the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Swedes are rich in beta carotene and also an excellent source of iron, potassium and manganese, a good source of fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense root vegetable, naturally sweet and high in fibre. They are a rich source of beta carotene (vitamin A), on average one medium sweet potato provides more than 100% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for vitamin C. Also high in vitamin E and potassium. Store in a cool place but not in the fridge.
This is a smooth and creamy paste made from ground sesame seeds. I like to use tahini in dips and salad dressings. Purchase an organic brand and store in the fridge after opening. Sesame seeds are a good source of copper, manganese, magnesium and calcium.
Tamarind is a bushy tree. The tree produces edible, pod-like fruit, which is used in different cuisines around the world, it is also used in traditional medicine. Tamarind is best described as sweet and sour in taste. Choose a brand that only contains tamarind and a little water, no sugar. I purchase Ayam brand, it's a seedless puree, read labels to check for any added ingredients. Refrigerate after opening.
Tarragon is a sweet pungent herb with a hint of anise. It goes well in dressings, sauces, poultry and fish dishes. Tarragon leaves can be used fresh or purchased dried. Tarragon herb is one of the highest antioxidant food sources and helps lower blood sugars. It's excellent as a digestive tonic, helping the liver produce bile. It is rich in Vitamins C, A and B, and an excellent source of minerals like, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium and zinc.
Thyme is a perennial herb in the mint family of plants. Thyme has very small leaves that can vary in colour from deep to paler green shades. There are more that 350 known thyme species, common thyme is most popular for cooking but is also used for medicinal purposes. Use fresh or dried leaves to flavour casseroles, soups, stews and sauteed or mashed vegetables.
Tomato paste is a thick paste that is made by cooking tomatoes for several hours to reduce moisture, straining them to remove the seeds and skin, and cooking them again to reduce them to a thick, rich concentrate. Purchase an organic brand with no sugar or additives - 100% tomatoes, and it's best to choose a brand in glass.
The tomato is a fruit but is much lower in sugar content than other fruits so it is typically eaten raw in salads and cooked in many dish and sauces from around the world. The tomato belongs to the nightshade family. Tomatoes contain carotene lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants.
Tuna is a saltwater finfish, choose wild caught tuna not farmed. When purchasing canned tuna, select pole and line caught, in brine or spring water (this will prevent the tuna being stored in unhealthy oils), also choose in a BPA free can. Read your labels and look at the origin. Tuna is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein and vitamin D.