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JUNE is National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month

Of course you should always be eating fresh fruits and vegetables, but if it takes a special month to get you going, that's not a bad thing. The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) recommends anywhere from 4 to 13 servings a day, depending on individual calorie needs; yet research indicates that over 90 percent of Americans aren't meeting those requirements. The health benefits are well known; fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases.

There are many easy ways to get your recommended portion of fruits and vegetables, and frozen, dried, canned or cooked produce all count toward your goal as well. You can add sliced apples or berries to yogurt or granola, add strawberries, blueberries or bananas to your oatmeal or cereal, or add bell peppers, broccoli and tomatoes to a white omelet. 100% fruit juice can also count toward your dietary intake, although whole fruits are better because they contain the fiber we need.

This month's recipes are uniquely suited to adding fresh vegetables to flavor your rice dishes in exciting ways. Takikomi-Gohan typically uses Shiitake mushrooms, carrots and/or gobo (burdock root), while Yakimeshi might use scallions, edamame (soybeans), bell pepper or any number of nutritious ingredients. If you thought rice was just a bland starch that needed soy sauce poured on it to enjoy, think again.

Three Ways to Cook Rice

Here are 3 distinctively different ways to cook and enjoy your rice. Remember, rice isn't just a substitute for potatoes as a side dish. Rice can be a meal or main entrée, and there are many ways to prepare it. These three recipes represent STEAMING, STIR FRYING and DEEP FRYING in tasty ways you may not have thought of.

Takikomi-Gohan, which means "simmered in rice", is where various ingredients are cooked into the rice as it is being steamed. This is slightly different from Maze-Gohan, which means "mixed rice", where ingredients are added just after the rice has been cooked by folding them into the rice. Both methods are excellent ways to enjoy fresh vegetables that will give your rice a delicate flavor, subtle texture and an earthy color. Try our recipe and experience a classic taste of Old Japan.

Yakimeshi is quite literally "fried rice", and is derived from the Chinese style of stir-fry cooking. It uses Japanese short grain rice and has been adapted to suit Japanese tastes. The classic Yakimeshi recipe uses egg, green peas, thinly sliced ham and does not use soy sauce, which leaves the rice white when served. Yakimeshi is almost an old fashioned term; in a Westernized coffee shop in Japan the same dish might be called a Pilaf. Our Curry Yakimeshi is a popular twist on fried rice and is also referred to as "Dry Curry", as opposed to the curry gravy style served on white rice.

Rice Croquettes are a popular deep fried Japanese dish, and they're versatile enough to stuff with anything from fish to cream cheese, and yes, fresh veggies as well. It's also a delicious way to use that leftover rice if you've made too much. The lightly crispy shell is the perfect complement to the fluffy rice inside.

(Mixed Rice)
Spicy Curry Flavored Vegetable Yakimeshi,
Stir-Fried Rice
Rice Croquette
Takikomi-Gohan is a popular menu in Japan, often made using seasonal ingredients to celebrate the changing season. Make this recipe by simply adding everything in the rice cooker and pressing start. Here is a quick, satisfying vegetarian meal. Cut up leftover fresh or frozen vegetables from the refrigerator and stir-fry them with leftover rice. This stir-fried rice gets a nice kick from the curry powder. Convenient and delicious, these rice croquettes make a wonderful party food. They are frozen overnight to retain its shape, so you can prepare them the night before, then quickly fry them right before the party.

If June seems to be the start of summer, then it also signals the beginning of the summer produce season. Look for APRICOTS that are golden yellow and firm, BLUEBERRIES and STRAWBERRIES that are plump and brightly colored, GRAPES that are tender and in well-formed clusters with green, pliable stems, and NECTARINES and PEACHES that are fairly firm with white or yellow skin and a reddish blush.

Summer vegetables include BEETS that are firm, round and smooth, CORN with green husks and plump, milky kernels, CUCUMBERS that are well-shaped and a bright shiny green, RADISHES that have a healthy red color and bright green tops, SUMMER SQUASH with smooth glossy skin, and TOMATOES that are blemish-free and well formed.

Part 2 of the Zojirushi factory tour shows our rice cookers, manufactured under strict quality guidelines. Our high standards are the reason Zojirushi products are trusted by consumers all over the world.

Learn more about our Factory!
(To view these videos, you will need Microsoft® Windows Media Player®)

Wide mouth accommodates full-size ice cubes Just open and drink
Tight fitted flip open lid keeps beverages hotter or colder than travel mugs
Stainless steel vacuum insulation keeps beverages hot or
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Stopper disassembles for thorough cleaning
Compact design takes minimal space while maximizing capacity
Smaller diameter than previous mugs for an easier hold

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