Color plays an important part in the appeal of creating recipes, menu planning and presentation. I taught my students years ago the importance of visual appeal in cooking - it can be the first impression encountered with a plate, if you don't catch its aroma first. This is kind of like food prepared on TV; since there's no smell-a-vision, that dish better look like tasty with just your eyes.
Just how exciting would an all-white menu like - poached fillet of sole, cauliflower, and steamed rice - be? You get the drift here. A much more eye pleasing and appealing combo would be grilled tomato, steamed asparagus, grilled charred steak, served with colorful mixed berries with a golden marsala sabayon. Don't you agree?
Which brings me to summer foods - a very exciting time to liven-up a menu with the bounty of colors from the garden. Today let's look at the color red in foods. I am not talking about artificial coloring.
Red fruits and vegetables are colored by natural plant pigments called "lycopene" or "anthocyanins." Lycopene in tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit, for example, may help reduce risk of several types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Lycopene in foods containing cooked tomatoes, such as spaghetti sauce, and a small amount of fat are absorbed better than lycopene from raw tomatoes.
Anthocyanins in strawberries, raspberries, red grapes and other fruits and vegetables act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage. Antioxidants are linked with keeping our hearts healthy, too.
(health ref; ndsu.edu)