I Root For This One!

Several years ago, I went to the grocery store and just for fun, bought this cool looking vegetable called a Jicama.  I had no idea what it was, and had no idea what to do with it.  I got home and got to chopping and much to my surprise, I couldn’t get my knife to penetrate the outer skin.  I sliced and I sliced, and oh, what a stringy mess!  Hello, sweet vegetable – you will not win!  LOL

Don’t be me.  Read this post so you know how to cut a jicama.  Save yourself from the depths of despair and learn from my mistakes.  PEEL IT FIRST!Jicama

Let me back up.  Jicama is a wonderful tuber and believe it or not, a member of the legume family.  Though large, it grows on vines in warm climates and is sometimes called a “Mexican Turnip”.  The insides are similar to an apple – juicy and crisp, though not nearly as sweet and tasty.  However, the outer skin – hard, inedible and stringy – can be toxic so it’s important that this root vegetable is peeled using either a peeler or paring knife, prior to feeding.

You can simply give it raw, or pop it in the microwave for a short time to soften it up.  We don’t cook it here, we just peel, chop and serve.  Enjoy!

Potato, Pot-ahhhhh-to…

Potatoes.  Starchy goodness in such a small package!  This is another staple to have on hand, something you can add to your mix of fruits and vegetables when you happen to have them.  Potatoes

I don’t cook them, nor do I peel.  I do, however, wash them prior to feeding.  Then, I simply chop and serve.  There are several varieties of potatoes – red, russet, white, gold, sweet, and then some  – all are fine to feed.  When purchasing, look for firm potatoes with no soft spots or sprouts (growths).  If you find that your gliders aren’t touching them raw, chop them and with the help of Chef Mic (microwave, get it?), cook them for a short time to soften them up.  Not too soft, tho, or you may find that your gliders turn their noses up at the mush factor.

Winter Squash

There are 11 varieties of winter squash.  All look and act differently, but essentially, preparing and feeding are the same.  Let’s examine a few!

  1. Acorn Squash:  Dark green/orange skin, orange-yellow flesh inside.  Choose acorn squash that are firm and don’t have soft spots and feel heavy for the size of the squash.  If you store them on the counter, they will last for at least a month, maybe Acorn Squashmore.  You’ll know they are getting older when they become either soft to the touch or lighter in weight.  My gliders will not eat squash that has not been cooked.  This is the only vegetable they will not eat uncooked.  No explanation on this LOL.  However, it can be fed either way.  Simply chop and serve, seeds need not be removed, and you get to see how your gliders like it.
  2. Banana Squash: A little known squash and not one you will find often at groceries, is the Banana Squash.  Banana SquashSince this squash typically grows 2-3 feet in length, you will generally find it in pieces at local markets with the seeds already removed.  It will have orange, pink or blue skin, and beautiful, orange flesh inside.  Again, simply chop and feed, cooked or uncooked.  Seeds need not be removed.
  3. Butternut Squash: Least favorite of all squashes, here in our home, is butternut.  Not sure why, but they just don’t like it lol.  Butternut squash has a funny shape, as you can see from the picture, almost pear shaped.  Be sure to look for squash that is uniform in color, with no Butternut squashbruises or blemishes on the skin and that is heavy for its size.  When stored in a cool, dry place, butternut squash will be good for about 3 months, longer than most.  Same rules apply – chop and serve, cooked or uncooked.   Seeds need not be removed.
  4. Kabocha Squash: Green on the outside, sometimes with “warts”, and bright orangeKabocha Squash on the inside.  It’s a sweet and nutty squash – so if you haven’t cooked with it, do so, it’s fabulous!  Look for Kabochas that are heavy for their size, with no soft spots.  Chop & serve, seeds need not be removed.
  5. Spaghetti Squash: This is a GOOD one!!!  We cook with this all the time!  Spaghetti squash is just simply amazing – beautiful pale/bright yellow skin, with insides that turn into “spaghetti” when cooked!  It doesn’t taste like spaghetti, but it’s a great Spaghetti Squashalternative, when used with a red sauce!  Ahh, but back to gliders.  My gliders enjoy this one cooked, but honestly, since we always make it that way, that’s how they get it.  So, cook and serve as “spaghetti”, or simply shop and serve and see if they like it.

It’s A Little Corny

Baby corn.  Let’s face it – it’s just, plain cute!  Oh, and it’s safe and just fine to feed, so there’s that, too!

Healthy?  Well…it’s not unhealthy.  It’s not filled with many nutrients, because it’s harvested so early in its life (it’s simply an immature cob of corn), but because it’s harvested eBaby Cornarly, it also has low sugar content, which is important!

We are able to find these year round here at our grocery stores, but some may find it difficult.  Since they are used in Asian dishes, you will likely be able to find them in your local Asian markets.  Use the baby corn that are in the produce section, not the canned baby corn that you find in the vegetable aisle.  As with other canned vegetables, sodium content is high and they should not be fed.

Stay away from those that have dark spots or look “slimy”.  These have expired and should not be fed.

Not Just For Rabbits :)

Everyone knows that you can’t go wrong with carrots.  These little beauties, so rich in beta-carotene and antioxidants, can (and should) be a great addition to your fruit and veggie mixtures fed each night.  carrots

Carrots can, of course, be found year-round in your local grocery store.  However, during the summer months, either grow your own or find someone who does, because there’s nothing quite like the fresh, sweet flavor of a fresh from the garden carrot.  Did you know that carrots come in lots of colors?  They sure do!  Along with the typical orange, you can find red, white, yellow and purple!  So, go outside your comfort zone and experiment! 🙂

There’s not a lot to finding good carrots.  In the produce section, simply purchasing a bag is sufficient.  Unless the bag has clear mold or other nasties in it, it’s likely all the carrots are fine to feed.  No need to peel – simply chop and feed.  I will sometimes chop them into little round pieces and I have one cage that eats the middle then leaves the outside LOL.  Silly little critters, they are!

 

Popeye??

spinach

“…he’s strong to the ‘finich’ cause he eats his spinach…”  Yeah…so I’m not sure that your gliders can become big and strong by eating spinach, but it sure is healthy for them!  If yours are like mine, they will tear that veggie up in a heartbeat!  Seriously…this is one leafy green that my gliders go NUTZOID over!!!  Put spinach in the right combo of fruits and veggies and I will have plates and dishes that are absolutely licked clean!

You’ll be hard pressed to find a vegetable more rich in Vit K than spinach.  What is Vit K, you ask?  Well, it’s GREAT for bone health!  (P.S. Eat spinach yourself, you’ll thank me!)  Spinach is also rich in iron, Vit C, Vit A and folic acid.  All told, it’s just good for you!

Feel free to pick up a bag of spinach from the produce department, or you can get a bag from the frozen foods section, either will do.  You’ll find, however, that when you feed the frozen, it tends to get a bit mushy.  Keep in mind, though, that spinach will turn rather quickly.  You’ll know it when it gets a bit darker in color and looks “wet”. So, be sure to purchase an amount that you will use within 2-3 days.

Mine prefer fresh, so that’s how I feed it.  I get a large bag and use some for me, too!  You can chop it up, or feed the whole leaves.  I typically do a little of both, but there’s really nothing cuter than a glider running around the cage, holding onto a whole leaf – it’s ADORBS!

…And I Don’t Mean Belgium!

brussel-sproutsIf you’re like me, you LOOOOOOOOOVE these tasty morsels!  If you’re NOT like me, shame on you, ’cause these babies are so yummy and so good for you!!

What are we talking about?  Brussel Sprouts (or Brussels, as we call them here), are itty bitty cabbages!  Okay, not quite, but they ARE in the cabbage family and the small buds are edible and nutritious.

The best brussels to feed are fresh from your produce section.  You CAN find them in the frozen foods section, but once thawed, they become mushy and kinda yucky.  Stick with fresh, whenever possible.  Many grocery stores will sell them by the pound, and you can often find them in bags, all ready to go.  Keep in mind that fresh brussels will keep in your refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, they have a great shelf life!  This gives you plenty of time to feed them several times over that course of time.  You can freeze them, but again, once you pull them out, they tend to get mushy and I’ve found that my gliders simply aren’t interested, once they get to that point.

Preparation is simple – either toss them into the mix of fruits/veggies whole, or just cut them into pieces, big and small.