Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7 am to 8:30 pm | Saturday, 7 am to 8 pm | Sunday, 8 am to 7 pm

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Guacamole – The Fruit Dip We Americans Love to Eat- Tuesday, January 23, 2018

If you are over the age of forty you can no doubt harken back to a time when an avocado was still a bit unusual, and most Americans were either unfamiliar with or a bit squeamish about things like guacamole dip. Fast forward to the 1990s and we see all of that begin to change.

By the turn of the century, annual consumption of avocados began to rise dramatically year after year. In 2000 we each consumed on average about 2 lbs. of avocados annually, but in just 15 years that figure had grown 350% to seven pounds. Not only do we really love those little green fruits with the big seeds and bumpy brown skin, Super Bowl Sunday every year we consume over 50 Million pounds of the little critters, and it is safe to bet that about 70% of those avocados end up in the form of a guacamole dip.

So, guacamole dip…it tastes great and we can’t seem to get enough of it, but is it in any way healthy? Although high in fat, it’s the healthy monounsaturated variety. According to the American Heart Association, when healthy monounsaturated fats are in moderation in place of saturated and trans-fat, this can help lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol. However, if you overdo it guacamole can turn from good-for-you, to not very good-for-you quickly. A 1/2-cup serving of traditional guacamole contains around 100 calories and 9 grams of fat. And don’t forget to add the chips, which run about 140 calories per ounce (about 15 chips). However, it’s tough to stick to just 15 chips and stop scooping that guacamole. Many people tend to eat several servings at a time, which can rack up hundreds of calories.

Bottom line: Guacamole is a healthy snack packed with fabulous nutrients your body needs. Enjoy your guacamole, but keep those portions in check.

 

Potassium - A critical mineral we don’t tend to get enough of.- Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Potassium is an essential nutrient in our diet. It is the third most abundant mineral in the human body and is a powerful element in improving health. It contains the components for maintaining a high level of well-being and an improved lifestyle. Apart from acting as an electrolyte, this mineral is required for keeping the heart, brain, kidneys, muscle tissue, and other important organ systems of the human body in good condition. The benefits we extract from potassium include relief from stroke, blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, and anxiety and stress. It helps to enhance muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and the nervous system.

As important as potassium is to maintaining good health, it just happens to be a nutrient that most people don’t get enough of. Currently, just 3 percent of the US population is meeting the US recommended adequate intake for potassium of 4,700 mg per day.

So what are good sources of potassium?

Although there are many sources of potassium in the produce aisle, potatoes are among the very best. Not only do potatoes rank highest for potassium among the 20 top-selling fruits and vegetables, but they are also the most affordable source of this key nutrient, providing significantly better nutritional value per dollar than most other raw vegetables and fruits. In fact, at just 110 calories, one medium-size (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato has more potassium than a banana, provides almost half the daily value of vitamin C, and is sodium-, fat- and cholesterol-free.

Most people think of bananas as a good source of potassium, which they are. However, 1 large banana only delivers about 15% of your daily recommended intake of this mineral.

Adding lentils to your soups or stews will deliver a decent amount of fiber which is important, but lentils also contain more than 350 milligrams of potassium in every half cup. That equates to roughly 10% of your daily intake for this critically important mineral, in addition to a decent amount of dietary fiber, copper and manganese, which can further help with heart health and bone mineral density.

Just half of a salmon fillet contains more than 20% of your potassium intake for the day, in addition to the plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and other essential minerals. Regularly eating salmon has been associated with better nervous system function, a reduction in blood pressure, and less inflammation throughout the body, which can be affected by poor fluid balance.

Looking for a healthier snack? Try raisins! With roughly 250 milligrams of potassium in every quarter cup, raisins are an excellent choice. Despite only being 7% of your recommended amount, raisins are also packed with other minerals and dietary fiber.

Avocados pack a powerful amount of potassium. Approximately 30% of your daily requirement of potassium can be found in a single avocado.

If you prefer to get your potassium in a liquid form, try milk. Roughly 10% of the daily requirement of potassium can be found in a single 8-ounce glass. This is in addition to the calcium and phosphorus available in this popular beverage, the levels of which can be regulated by proper potassium levels in the body.

 

Avocados – The SUPER FRUIT you will want to invite to your next party- Tuesday, December 26, 2017

This time of year, avocados are one of the stand-out items in our produce department. They’re the go-to ingredient for guacamole dips at parties, and they're also turning up in everything from salads and wraps to smoothies and even brownies.

The name that’s best known in the industry for avocados is the Hass brand. The Hass tree was discovered in the backyard of a mailman named Rudolph Hass in California in the 1930s, and Hass patented his tree in 1935. When we say avocados are popular, we aren’t kidding. On average, 53.5 million pounds of guacamole is eaten every Super Bowl Sunday, enough to cover a football field more than 20 feet thick.

So what, exactly, makes this pear-shaped berry (yes, it’s a fruit not a vegetable) such a super food? For one thing, avocados contain four grams of protein, making them the fruit with the highest protein content! They offer nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving, including potassium (which helps control blood pressure), lutein (which is good for your eyes), and folate (which is crucial for cell repair and during pregnancy).

Avocados are also a good source of B vitamins, which help you fight off disease and infection. They also give you vitamins C and E, plus natural plant chemicals that may help prevent cancer. Avocados are low in sugar and have he highest fiber content of any fruit, which helps you feel fuller, longer.

These are all great facts, but there is such a thing as too much avocado. While the fat in avocado is monounsaturated fat (which is a "good" type of fat that helps lower bad cholesterol), avocados have a lot of calories. The recommended serving size is smaller than you’d expect: 1/5 of a medium avocado (or 1 ounce) is 50 calories.

 

If the cows could talk, they’d tell you: The milk at Prisco’s is the best!- Tuesday, December 12, 2017

We carry two brands of milk at Prisco’s, both of which we are proud to offer. The first has been a part of our product lineup for as far back as anyone here can remember…Oberweis milk. As many of you know, our family business was started almost 100 years ago in 1926 by our Grandfather (and for most, of us Great-Grandfather) Tony Prisco. One year later, in 1927, Peter Oberweis of Aurora, IL became co-owner in Big Woods Dairy -- the predecessor of the Oberweis Dairy.

No one today knows for certain when that first Oberweis Dairy delivery was made to Prisco’s, but we know for certain that we’ve been selling Oberweis Milk and Ice Cream at our store for generations. Oberweis is a premium product that is as close to nature as one can imagine. Simplicity is at the heart of every bottle of Oberweis milk because less processing leaves more room for flavor and delivers a healthier product that's better for your family. That means no artificial hormones, like bovine growth hormones, are permitted on Oberweis farms, and no added preservatives or antibiotics are ever found in their milk. They gently heat their milk to the minimum temperature to retain the most nutrients. They call this gentle pasteurization, and you'll taste the benefits! Healthier, tastier, fresher milk -- that's what has made the Oberweis name the most trusted in dairy since 1927.

If you haven’t yet tried Oberweis milk, or perhaps you are a loyal user of this brand, you will be happy to know that through December 26th you will earn 25 Prisco’s bonus points with every 1/2 gallon bottle you purchase.

Our other brand of milk is a relative new comer to Prisco’s. This past summer when our primary wholesales unexpectedly went out of business, we found ourselves scrambling to find a second source of milk as the Centrella brand was no longer available. We know that a basic staple like milk is a key component for any grocery store, and we were not about to take any brand that came along because our store’s reputation rests heavily on the brands that we offer. After a great deal of investigation and product testing, we settled on our new milk brand, farmer-owned Prairie Farms. We chose Prairie Farms for several reasons: 1) We like supporting a farmer-owned co-op as opposed to large corporate-owned entities. 2) We found Prairie Farms quality to be well above average, and 3) we found that the folks at Prairie Farms were pleasant, helpful, and eager to assure us that we would receive great service and only the freshest possible milk as often as we needed it delivered.

It turns out that our faith in Prairie Farms was well justified as we recently learned that the Prairie Farms dairy was awarded 42 awards at the 2017 World Dairy Expo Competition held in Madison, Wisconsin. Prairie Farms competed in 27 categories and took home nearly 50% of all the awards given out -- far more than any other dairy in the competition. Here is one more interesting piece of trivia about Prairie Farms milk that you may not know just yet: If you make it a habit to buy your milk at Prisco’s, you will be graciously rewarded for your loyalty. That’s right, by registering for our customer appreciation program called Prisco’s Points, we will keep track of every gallon of Prairie Farms milk that you buy, so long as you remember to identify yourself at the register. Then, over time, each gallon not only earns you Prisco Points (1 per $1), but when you buy your 10th gallon you will receive credit for a FREE gallon on your next visit.

Not a member yet? Register here!

 

How You Store Your Spices Does Matter.- Tuesday, November 7, 2017

If you want to get the most shelf life from your spices and have them give you optimum flavor, where your store them is critical. Often cooks like to have spices in the cabinets closest to their stove so that they can quickly reach in and grab what’s needed while keeping a close eye on what’s cooking on the stove. While this is certainly convenient, it is not the best place to keep them. This is because spices and herbs will begin to break down when exposed to the moisture and heat from the stove.

Another common location for kitchen spices is in a spice rack on the counter. Again, not a good thing for the spices if the rack gets any direct sunlight.

What about keeping them in either the fridge or the freezer? Well, every time you take them out they have to warm to room temperature. Or when they were first added to the fridge they had to "cool down". These temperature changes often cause the spices to pick up moisture and condensation. Both will shorten the life of your spices. You should also be aware that temperature fluctuations may cause unwanted condensation, and possibly mold.

The ideal storage temperature for your spices and herbs is one that remains fairly constant and right around 70° F. So, for optimum flavor and shelf life you should store these away from the heat of the stove, heaters, or the direct sunlight. If you have a pantry that is dark most of the time this is your best alternative. Some folks prefer amber glass jars with airtight lids to keep the moisture out.

As a final word of caution on condensation build-up, be aware of how you use your spices around the stove. Don't shake directly into a pot or pan over direct heat as the moisture goes right into the bottle. It is better to shake the amount you want to add into the palm of your hand and then add that to the pot or pan.

 

What you may not know about cranberries!- Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Most folks don’t know that our neighbor to the north, Wisconsin, is the leading producer of cranberries in the US. Some 60 percent of all cranberries packaged and canned in the US come from 20 counties in central and northern Wisconsin. Actually, the cranberry is Wisconsin’s official state fruit. Cranberries are the state’s number one fruit crop, both in size and economic value. The sand and peat marshes in central and northern Wisconsin create the perfect growing conditions for cranberries.

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water, but they are harvested using water. I know, we’ve all seen too many Ocean Spray commercials. A perennial plant, cranberries grow on low running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. In Wisconsin, cranberry marshes are flooded with water to aid in harvesting. Because the tart, tiny berries contain a pocket of air, when the marsh is flooded, the berries float to the surface to be picked up by harvesting equipment. Cranberries are harvested each year from late September through October.

Cranberries score among the highest of all fruits in antioxidants. Diets including fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant values, like cranberries, may help support memory function and coordination.

  • Cranberries are a cholesterol-free, fat-free and low-sodium food, and help maintain a healthy heart.
  • Cranberries are part of a healthy diet and contain antioxidants that may help maintain a healthy immune system.
  • As part of a healthy diet, cranberries can be added to low-fat vinaigrettes, whole grain pancakes, and yogurt.
  • Cranberries are ingredients in more than 1,000 food and beverage products on the market, and only 5 percent of Wisconsin's cranberry crop is sold as fresh berries.

 

Introducing a NEW apple variety well worth tasting – Ambrosia Apples- Tuesday, October 24, 2017

An Ambrosia apple is a sweet modern apple variety from western Canada, quite similar to Golden Delicious. It was discovered as a chance seedling in an orchard in British Columbia.

Aptly named after the mythical “food of the gods”, this stunning apple is a delight for all the senses. When you first set eyes on the Ambrosia apple, you will be drawn to its glossy, bi-colored good looks. It has an attractive conical shape and smooth, flawless skin with a bright, almost fluorescent pink blush over a creamy-yellow background. As you draw closer, you will become aware of its distinct perfumed aroma. Then, as you bite into the Ambrosia apple’s tender, juicy flesh with its fine, crisp texture, the apple’s honeyed flavor will saturate your taste buds, leaving you refreshed and satisfied.

It's little wonder that this sweet, low-acid apple consistently rates at the top in taste-tests and sensory panels, and is a hit with both children and adults alike. And because of its low acid content, it's easier for children and older people to digest.

The Ambrosia apple is great in salads, baking, and main dishes.


Pomegranates – one of our lesser known Super Fruits- Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Are you looking for refreshing alternatives to sugary sodas? We suggest you try enjoying pomegranates, both in their natural state and as a juice. Yes, recently pomegranate has become increasingly popular, popping up on trendy salad and martini menus everywhere, but there are good reasons for this...

The Pomegranate tree is native to Asia and has been revered among many ancient religions for medicinal purposes. Researchers believe that the fruit’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may be used to help certain heart conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack and congestive heart failure. Known as one of the "super fruits", pomegranates contain elements that can help prevent fatty deposits from building up around our arteries. Studies have found that consuming pomegranate juice can reduce the development of these fatty deposits, a problem commonly found in patients with chronic conditions (such as diabetes).

While drinking pomegranate juice is the easiest way to get the benefits of this super fruit, don’t overlook the fun and great taste that can be had eating the fruit as well. Whole pomegranate seeds contain a good amount of fiber, too, which is essential for proper digestive and heart health.

Don’t overdo it, however. These little red bombs are high in naturally-occurring sugar. Eat the fruit or drink this delicious ruby-red juice in moderation — a small dash of juice in a glass of regular or seltzer water goes a long way!

Unlike those bananas or navel oranges which are easy-to-peel-and-eat fruits, round, hard, tough-skinned pomegranates are a bit more difficult to break open. Here are some ways to master this fruit and get to the juicy seeds inside.

  • Option one: Quarter the pomegranate with a knife and place the pieces in a bowl of water. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl while the rest of the fruit’s pith floats!

  • Others cut open the top of the fruit (like you would before carving a pumpkin) and then cut the fruit into slices, scooping out the seeds and putting them in a strainer for rinsing.

  • Try your hand at peeling. Starting from the pointy end, try your best to peel back the sides. (You can use a knife to get the process started.) Once you’ve peeled back some of the skin, use those fingers to gently loosen the kernels. Peel back the white pithy membranes as you go, and discard.

Controlling Your Blood Sugar Levels with Food- Tuesday, September 26, 2017

BY DR. STEPHEN DEVRIES as found on Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology

A Spoonful of Cinnamon Makes the Sugar Go Down

As little as 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon a day can lower your blood sugar by 6%. A great addition to oatmeal, cereals, yogurt and fruit. Don’t take more than a teaspoon/day of the most popular cinnamon, “cassia”, also known as Vietnamese or Saigon cinnamons. These have higher levels of coumarin that can irritate your liver. The more expensive Ceylon, or “true” cinnamon is a better bet for high consumers, as it contains very little coumarin.

Less Sweet with More Sour

Vinegar can also help lower your sugar level. Most studies use white or apple vinegar. 1-2 tbsp. vinegar, usually mixed with vegetable oil to make vinaigrette, can cut the rise in sugar levels after a meal by 20-30%. Try a vinegar and olive oil dressing on a spinach/kale/multicolored vegetable salad for the best of all worlds!

Cut the Carbs

The best way to lower your sugar level, of course, is to eat fewer carbs! Surprisingly, starchy carbs (bread, potatoes, rice) can boost sugar levels as much-or more-than sweet, sugary desserts. Best example is that a bagel will bump your sugar level more than a glazed donut! Even whole grains can be a problem. Although whole grains are much preferred over refined, they are still not low glycemic foods. Lots of whole grains, say more than a cup of brown rice or quinoa, can spike your blood sugar.

 

Flaxseed and Quinoa, Two Healthy Additions to Any Diet- Tuesday, August 29, 2017

As people become more and more conscious of their food choices, we are finding that many obscure and previously difficult to find food items are becoming more and more commonplace. For example, up until a handful of years ago, not many people had even heard of quinoa, let alone known of its many health benefits. The same is true for flaxseed meal, which is also experiencing a surge in popularity due to its nutritional properties -- especially its usefulness as a low-carb fiber source in many weight-loss diets.

Some nutritional information

What's so special about quinoa? Quinoa's reputation as the epitome of natural health foods is well deserved. It's gluten-free, packed with protein, and contains all nine of the essential amino acids required by the human body for proper function. It's also high in fiber, B-vitamins, potassium and calcium, and vitamin E. A cup of quinoa contains 220 calories, 39 grams of carbs and only 4 grams of fat.

How is quinoa used? Quinoa is a versatile grain and can be used in a variety of ways. It can be consumed on its own (cooked, of course), or as part of a recipe. Most folks use it in a similar manner to rice or bulgar wheat; you can try mixing your favorite seasonings with cooked quinoa and using it as a stuffing. It also makes for a fantastic and filling salad, such as this Quinoa Tabbouleh or Tuscan Quinoa Salad.

Flaxseed (sometimes referred to as "linseed"), is a real powerhouse of a food. It's been shown to improve digestion, lower cholesteroal, help maintain hormone balance, and promote weight loss. Flaxseeds are also the richest plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids available, making it perfect for vegans and strict vegetarians who may have difficulty finding a source elsewhere. Flax is also high in fiber but low in carbohydrates, making it a filling option for folks on a diet. And, like quinoa, flaxseeds contain complete proteins, which means they have notable amounts of all nine essential amino acids. Two tablespoons of flaxseed meal contains 60 calories, 4 grams of carbs and 5 grams of healthy fats.

How is flaxseed used? Flaxseeds are most commonly used ground, as they are not easily digestable whole. Flaxseed meal can be integrated without issue into most recipes that use batters or doughs. You can expect to see flaxseed meal as an ingredient in many baking recipes (cookies and muffins especially), but you can also stir a tablespoon or two into yogurt, oatmeal, or your next smoothie for a little added fiber and protein. Interested? Try this recipe for Apple and Carrot Muffins or this one for Blueberry Pancakes. We also have a recipe for the kale lovers out there.