Parker: Still Life With Towel

I may live in Florida, but we have our own version of Autumn. I see root vegetables in the markets and grocery stores along with pumpkins and squashes galore. Instead of “frost on the pumpkin” it’s more like, “No more sweat on the brow.” The heat calms down and the Holidays arrive. Along with that is the next version of “Chop.” Do I make it the same every time? Heavens no! When I can get fresh pumpkin, squash, and all kinds of fall vegetables, I put them to work in my “Chop” concept. This is why there is no recipe. You use what is available to you at the peak of freshness, in season and at the best price. This always changes with the season and so must your Chop. This is how parrots eat in the wild; they eat what is in season, what is available and what is fresh. You can mimic this natural behavior by changing up your ingredient list and utilizing what is seasonally ready. In the Fall, it’s root vegetables.  Here is a video of a variation of “Chop” using what you can typically find in the Fall. This is what I love about ‘Chop.” No set recipe, no rules, just what is freshest, in season, available and good for your birds. Tailor it to your Flock’s preferences and make enough to freeze that will free up your time in the morning and at night. So instead of slaving away at a chopping board every day, twice a day, I simply take out two bags  of “Chop” from the freezer the night before they are to be used and thaw them in the fridge. (Each bag is good for one meal for all of my flock.)

In the morning, simply serve and smile knowing you couldn’t possibly get all of those ingredients in their bowl any other way. I love fresh food for them and I offer it often, but this is a nice way of adding so much more to their diet.

Here are some of the ingredients I used along with a description of some of their nutritional value. You just might be surprised:

Watercress:

Watercress is one of  the most nutritious vegetables available. A member of the cabbage family, watercress belongs to the same family as other greens such as mustard greens, kale, collards, kohlrabi and turnip greens. It’s loaded with Vitamins K, A and C. It’s very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is a good source of Protein, Folate, Pantothenic Acid and Copper, and an excellent source for Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese. Love this stuff for my flock!

Sweet Potato or Yams:

Bursting with Vitamin A, something parrots seem to need a ton of, these are a “superfood” for parrots. Sweet potatoes have orange-hued carotenoid pigments. In Africa, India and in the Caribbean, sweet potatoes have been shown to be a very effective vehicle for providing children with the necessary amounts of their daily Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes have been shown in some studies to be a better source of bioavailable beta-carotene than green leafy vegetables. Sweet potatoes are available in many countries on a year-round basis. They can also provide parrots with a key antioxidant like beta-carotene. This makes them a stellar antioxidant food. They are some of the most nutritious vegetables around. These guys are also a very good source of vitamin C and manganese as well as a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron.

Turnips:

Turnips are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, manganese, Vitamin B6, folate, calcium, potassium and copper. Root vegetables in general are excellent sources of minerals.

Daikon Radish:

A mainstay of traditional Japanese cuisines, as Daikon radishes grows in the earth, they absorb its minerals and nutrients. It has 180% of our nutritional needs of Vitamin A, it’s stuffed with Vitamin K and packs a pretty good smack of calcium. It contains a nice array of minerals and well, it just tastes really good. Snappy and flavorful, it has a nice crunchy texture.

Broccoli Rabe:

Broccoli Rabe is low in saturated fat and it’s also a good source of Pantothenic Acid. A great source of dietary fiber, protein, Vitamin A, C, E (Alpha Tocopherol), K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and manganese.

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