ABC SUPERFOODS: W is for Water Chestnuts

Benefits
Did you know water chestnuts quench your thirst? They act as a coolant for the body, so it’s a perfect summer food. Despite its name, the water chestnut is an aquatic vegetable, not a nut. If you or someone you love has jaundice, eat water chestnuts! Due to their detoxifying properties, they are an excellent tonic for this malady. Do you have a urinary tract infection? If so, you too would benefit from eating this vegetable. Problems with nausea or indigestion are also cured by ingesting water chestnuts. Pregnant women benefit from this vegetable in many ways: this vegetable improves fetal development, helps to treat hypertension during pregnancy, and promotes mammary gland secretion of milk. It also boasts of decreasing fatigue and inflammation. In addition to all of this, 100 grams of water chestnuts have 468 mg of potassium, which is vital for proper muscle and neural functioning.

At the Market
-Water chestnuts are seasonal, but are available canned or frozen year-round. The fresh varieties, however, have double the benefits.
-Choose fresh chestnuts that are firm, without signs of shriveling.

In the Kitchen
-This vegetable can be boiled, eaten raw, or used as a filler in various dishes. Note: water chestnuts maintain their crunchy texture whether cooked or canned.
-Peel and rinse fresh water chestnuts well.
-Keep fresh chestnuts wrapped tightly in plastic for up to a week in the refrigerator.
-This vegetable is most commonly used in stir-fry dishes, but can be added to soups or salads.

Recipe
Cashew Chicken Stir-fry

2 tablespoons cornstarch
⅔ cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon fresh or ground ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2-3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
½ cut chopped carrots
1 cup broccoli spears
1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts,drained
⅔ cup cashews
2 cups cooked rice

chestnuts
Dissolve the cornstarch in the chicken broth, and stir in the soy sauce and ginger; set aside. Heat half of the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in the chicken; cook and stir until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the wok, and set aside.
Pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into the wok, and stir in the carrots, broccoli, and water chestnuts. Cook and stir until the chestnuts are hot, about 5 minutes more. Stir up the sauce to redistribute the cornstarch, then pour into the wok, and bring to a boil. Add the reserved chicken, and stir until the sauce thickens, and the chicken is hot. Sprinkle with cashews to serve.
Serve over rice.

Recipe taken from Kristen Duke Photography

What is your favorite recipe using water chestnuts?

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