See red on Valentine’s Day

Red fruits and vegetables add color and nutrition to our meals.

See RED on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year. Red fruits and vegetables contain many health promoting phytochemicals, including lycopene and anthocyanins. Red fruits and vegetables include: Tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, tomato juice, red peppers, red onions, beets, red cabbage, kidney beans, apples, pink grapefruit, red grapes, strawberries, cherries, watermelon, raspberries, cranberries and pomegranates.

Michigan State University Extension has some red hot ideas (with food safety tips!) for Valentine’s Day, or any day.

  • Shape pizza dough into a heart. Or, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make individual hearts from pizza dough. Spread on your favorite tomato pizza sauce. Add your choice of red toppings like red pepper, tomatoes or red onion. Remember to always wash your hands before preparing food.
  • Enjoy a pasta dish with tomato sauce. For added fun, serve heart-shaped pasta. Leave cooked food out for less than two hours before refrigerating it.
  • Add a few of those tiny red hot cinnamon heart candies to a popcorn snack. When serving popcorn to a group, use a scoop for serving so everyone isn’t reaching in with their hands.
  • Eat a tossed salad with red additions such as red bell peppers, cherry or grape tomatoes. Rinse fruits and vegetables well before using, and when the fruit or vegetables are firm enough, use a vegetable brush on them too.
  • Make a polka-dot open-faced peanut butter sandwich. Cut bread into a heart shape, spread with peanut butter and dot with dried cranberries. Or, make a smiley face with the dried cranberries. Another idea would be to purchase some heart-shaped crackers and substitute for the bread. It is not necessary to refrigerate peanut butter.
  • Make your own coleslaw with red foods such as red peppers, red onions and apples, or made with red cabbage. Once vegetables and fruits are cut they need to be refrigerated.
  • Prepare a cranberry sauce or salad – use that bag of cranberries in your freezer that you bought when they were on sale. Your freezer should be set at zero degree.
  • Rustle up some oatmeal topped with a heart shape made from dried cranberries or dried cherries. Oatmeal is a staple food item and should be kept dry.
  • Create a raspberry smoothie – Put 3/4 to 1 cup vanilla flavored yogurt in a blender. Add a few tablespoons of frozen raspberries at a time; blend until desired consistency. After mixing – if desired – blend in one teaspoon of sugar or a no calorie sweetener to taste. Your refrigerator should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sprinkle on some red sugar granules, like what you use for sugar cookies, on a pink/red grapefruit half. Wash fruits and vegetables that you cut, because as you slice the knife through them it can carry bacteria from the skin to the inside.
  • Pack red grapes in lunches as a side dish to your sandwich.

For additional red fruits and vegetables recipe ideas, visit the USDA Snap Recipe Finder, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Produce for Better Health.

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