Energetics of Plantains: A Plethora of Pleasant Pancakes

Plantains are a wonderfully delicious and beneficial fruit from the plant family Plantaginaceae. This is amongst the few fruits which can be consumed—and thoroughly enjoyed—during a wide range of unripe to very ripe states. Each varied state of ripeness will provide a wide gamut of flavor profiles, and of course, energetic qualities that affect the body in very specific ways.

Energetics:

Unripe (bitter) plantains strengthens yin, directs energy inward and downward to the lower body, are cooling to the system, and are helpful in relieving diarrhea, colitis, and hemorrhoids; bitter foods affect the heart & small intestine Officials and assist in reducing body heat and drying body fluids.

Ripe (sweet) plantains strengthens yang, are warming to the system, lubricate the intestines and lungs, benefit conditions of thirst and dryness, and detoxifies the body. Sweet foods affect the spleen-pancreas & stomach Officials. Ripe plantains are especially beneficial in the treatment of constipation and ulcers, dry lung or dry cough, addiction (especially alcoholism), and hypertension. Furthermore, ripe plantains are supportive to the elderly as they are helpful in regulating blood pressure, relieving dryness, and are easy to digest.

Preparation:

Depending on the taste profile that you prefer—and most especially the energetic health effects that you’re looking for—choosing your ideal ripeness is essential for the preparation of plantains.

Green (unripe & bitter) plantains are going to be closer to the consistency and starchiness of a potato and less messy when removing the skin.

Yellow -> black (ripe & sweet) plantains are much closer to the taste of a banana and can be messy when removing the skin. If you’re looking for the sweeter taste, then you want the plantain skin to be BLACK. I know this seems weird compared to most other fruits, however, this is when it is in its prime sweetness; simply be cautious to make sure that it has not developed mold while ripening.

Plantains don’t peel like a banana; you need to cut off both ends, slice into the ‘seams’ of the fibrous peel (without cutting into the fruit), and then use the knife to pry the peel off of the fruit. Here’s a great Plantains 101 blog if you want some more guidance on this process

RIPE Plantain Recipe:

Plantain & Coconut Pancakes by Sonia, The Healthy Foodie

Ingredients

  • ½ very ripe plantain, peeled and sliced
  • 3 whole eggs
  • ¼ cup coconut water
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • Pinch Himalayan or unrefined sea salt
  • ¼ tsp chai spice (see this post for Sonia’s mix)

Garnish ideas

  • 1 tbsp full fat coconut milk (refrigerated works best)
  • 1 tbsp toasted coconut shavings (organic, unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp unpasteurized/raw liquid honey

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and blend until very well combined.
  2. Let the batter sit for a few minutes to give the coconut flour a chance to thicken.
  3. Meanwhile, add some coconut oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
  4. When pan is hot enough, slowly pour about ¼ of a cup of batter per pancake and cook until tops become sort of matte and dull looking and edges appear cooked.
  5. Very delicately flip the pancakes and continue cooking until golden.
  6. Place the cooked pancakes in a very low temp oven to keep them warm while you cook the remaining pancakes.
  7. Garnish with coconut milk, a drizzle of honey and sprinkle with toasted coconut shavings, if desired.

UNripe Plantain Recipe:

Egg-Free Green Plantain Pancakes

Recipe by Amanda Torres, The Curious Coconut

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 -15 minutes

Total time: 15 – 20 minutes

Yield: about 12 large pancakes

Ingredients

Cooking Directions

  1. You will need a good blender to make this recipe. Begin by peeling the plantains and slicing into pieces about 1 inch wide. To peel, use a knife to cut both tips off, then cut the plantain in half or in quarters. Next, use your knife to cut a slit down the length of the fruit, being careful not to cut into the flesh of the fruit (it may come off with the peel if you do). Use your fingers to lift the peel off. Use your knife to help clean up any bits that are hard to remove with your fingers. Add peeled plantain pieces to blender.
  2. Add your seasoning of choice, salt, baking soda, and coconut oil to the blender. Don’t turn it on yet.
  3. Prepare gelatin. **YOU CANNOT USE GREAT LAKES COLLAGEN HYDROLYSATE (green can) IN THIS RECIPE.** I recommend the RED can, since it comes from grass-fed cows. First, you need to “bloom” (wet) the gelatin, then melt it. To bloom, put the 3/4 cup filtered water into a small pot. Slowly sprinkle gelatin on top of water and watch that it soaks into the water. When you near the last of the gelatin, you will need to use a fork to stir the dry gelatin into the wet gelatin. I whisk it several times. Put pot on stove and heat over medium low heat while continuing to stir. Continue heating until all gelatin has melted and no clumps remain. Pour into blender with other ingredients.
  4. Pre-heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat. I use an anodized aluminum double-burner skillet that doesn’t require greasing. If using a frying pan, heat a few Tbsp of coconut oil in the pan.
  5. Blend on high. Use a spatula to scrape down sides of blender to ensure that all of the plantain gets pureed. I usually have to scrape the sides down once or twice and blend for a total of about 60 seconds or so.
  6. Pour batter into your hot pan in desired size. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, then flip. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes then serve.
  7. This recipe will make about 12 large pancakes and is enough to feed 2 – 4 people. I like to top with fresh or cooked berries (cooked with a splash of water in a small pot until crushed easily) and a bit of grade B maple syrup. Non-autoimmune paleo topping options include creme fraiche, yogurt, or even some soft cheeses. I also like to pair these with a few slices of bacon for a great sweet and salty juxtaposition.

One Last Alternative Recipe (non-pancake): Monfongo

Energetics of Scallions: How They Differ from Green Onions

photo credit: leezie5 via photopin cc

photo credit: leezie5 via photopin cc

While browsing the produce section of my local supermarket I encountered a perplexing revelation. I was looking at a very popular type of onion and wondering, “Is that a scallion or a green onion?” Is there a difference, or are they the same thing?

The Best Way to Choose and Store

“Scallion” is actually the group name for many members of the onion family, including green onions and scallions themselves. The difference being a green onion is a new onion harvested while its top is still green and its bulb small. Whereas, a scallion is younger than a green onion, and its white base is skinnier. A baby onion is considered a scallion until its bulb matures to about three-quarters of an inch, and then it’s called a green onion. So, essentially they are the same thing, just the name differs depending on age.

When buying scallions look for ones that have fresh, green tops that appear crisp and tender. The base blub should have two to three inches of whitish color. Avoid any that have yellow or wilted tops.

scallion nutrition

Energetics

Scallions are surprisingly full of nutrients.  They are a member of the Allium family, like garlic.  Most of flavonoids or antioxidants are found just under the outer skin, so try not to peel more than absolutely necessary.  The phytonutrient polyphenol content in onions is higher than in garlic, leeks, tomatoes, carrots or bell peppers.  Quercetin, a flavonoid, will transfer to the broth when simmered (low heat) in a soup or stew.

Scallions help promote urination and sweating, alleviates exterior conditions such as common cold or flu if taken during the first stages (especially when the cold is a “wind-cold” influence), it is a antifungal and antimicrobial, and relives dampness and watery accumulations like edema. They are also used to treat heart and chest pain, diarrhea, abdominal swelling and pain, arthritis pain associated with coldness disorders, and in tea form treats measles.

Caution: avoid when heat signs prevail, including yellow tongue coating, yellow mucus, fever, aversion to heat, and great thirst.

Spicy Scallion and Onion Salad

Spicy Scallion and Onion Salad

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, julienned
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

Preparation

Place onion and scallions in a medium bowl of cold water. Chill until scallions curl, at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk gochugaru, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon water in a medium bowl. Let sit, whisking occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and sauce looks shiny, about 10 minutes.

Drain onion and scallions and spin in a salad spinner or pat dry. Transfer to bowl with gochugaru sauce. Add vinegar and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper.

Do ahead: Onion and scallions can be soaked 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Source

Spicy Scallion and Onion Salad

Energetics of Summer Squash: The Season is Upon Us!

photo credit: clayirving via photopin cc

Summer squash is about to be in season! Technically, these squash varieties are available year round. They are delicious raw, but they are more frequently cooked. They are watery and crispy raw, and soft and butter when cooked. They take on all seasoning flavors and have their own unique, delicate taste plain. They are perfect for summer grilling! Throw them on the grill and cook until soft and translucent.  Eat them in a veggie sandwich or as a side to a fish or chicken platter. They are great with eggs and tofu scrambles. Our favorite way to eat them is sautéed with kale and onions.

Summer squash is high in antioxidants. Steaming is the best method of cooking in terms of nutrient retention. Never boil or microwave, as this deactivates the antioxidants. They are great broiled, too. Summer squash is high in manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin A. To retain maximum nutritional value, eat the skin and seeds, as well. When selecting squash, select ones that feel heavy for their size and have soft, smooth rinds.  Handle summer squash with care, as any punctures can lead to decay.

Energetics: Regulates blood sugar, protects against type 2 diabetes, supports optimal fiber-intake, acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, promotes cardiovascular health, protects against age-related macular degeneration, prevents cataracts, supports prostate health, and provides anti-cancer benefits.

 

Our Favorite Summer Squashes

Sunburst Squash

Zucchini

Crookneck Squash

  • Also known as Pattypan Squash, cibleme (in French Creole cuisine), white squash, scallopini, and yellow squash (in Australia)
  •  Also known as Italian squash and courgette
  • Often used interchangeably with zucchini in recipes
  • Also known as yellow summer squash

Gluten-Free Savory Zucchini Fritters

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins

Ingredients
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 350-400g)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (about 12g)
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 2 cage-free eggs
  • Sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying (suggested: walnut oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Optional: ¼ cup parmigiana reggiano, freshly-grated (packed down, about 1 ounce or 28g) or grated cheese of your choice
Instructions
  1. Grate zucchini with a medium-sized grater.
  2. Add salt and place shredded zucchini in a clean dishtowel and squeeze to get as much liquid out of it as possible. It doesn’t need to be completely dry, but try to get as much moisture out as you can.
  3. Once squeezed, place back in bowl and add beaten eggs, thinly-sliced green onions, almond flour, parmigiana reggiano (optional), and fresh ground black pepper and mix thoroughly.(this is where you would add the lemon juiceif you choose to use it)
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil over medium heat, and wait for that pan to get super hot.
  5. Once oil is shimmering, add spoonfuls of mixture to hot oil and fry until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  6. Place on platter lined with paper towels to soak up any grease that sticks to the fritter and serve with sour cream and extra green onions or dipping sauce of your choice.

Sources
http://www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=62

Zucchini Fritters (Paleo, Grain Free, Gluten Free)

Energetics of Sumo: Sweet-Sour Citrus

The sumo citrus, originally named “dekopan”, is a hybrid fruit that is a mixture between a normal orange and a satsuma tangerine. This hybrid fruit was originally developed in Japan in 1972 and had made its way around the world because of its sweet taste, large size, and ease of peeling the skin.

Energetics:

Sumo oranges have a cooling thermal temperature with a sweet and sour flavor. These energetic characteristics can be a beneficial tonic for poor appetite and weak digestion. Sumo oranges can help to regenerate body fluids, lower inflammation and acidity (like in arthritis), moistens those who are dry and overheated from disease processes, physical activity, or hot weather, and can also help to lower a fever. The peel itself has qi stimulating, digestive, and mucus resolving qualities (which is a similar quality to grapefruit).

These fruits have high amounts of vitamin C and bioflavonoids which have been shown to help those with weak gums and teeth. Eye cysts can be helped to dissolve by putting the inner white lining directly onto the eyelids.

Sweet Sumo Kiwi Smoothie Recipe:

This delicious mixture is anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, and low calorie

Ingredients:

  • 1 sumo citrus – peeled
  • 1 kiwi – peeled
  • 4 oz pineapple
  • 1 tsp mangosteen
  • 3 tbsp almonds
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup ice

Throw into the blender and drink up!

Original recipe by The Blend

Energetics of Eggs: What Came First?

Howard Helmer the Omelette King

Omelette Trivia: Omlette’s are beaten eggs cooked in a pan and rolled or folded. The ancient Romans supposedly made the first omelet and, because it was sweetened with honey, they called it ovemele (eggs and honey). Some insist this was the origin of the word omelet. Others maintain the word was derived from amelette (Fr) meaning blade, describing the long, flat shape of an omelet.

The fastest omelette maker in the world made 427 two-egg omelettes in 30 minutes. American Egg Board’s Howard Helmer, is the Omelette King; he holds three Guinness World Records for omelette making.

Egg Varieties

Eggs are available all year round and the most common types found in stores include:

Organic: Eggs produced following the strict organic food guidelines.  These eggs are produced from chickens not treated with any antibiotics or hormones.

Omega-3 Enriched: These eggs are produced by chickens that have been fed a diet containing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.  While these eggs are enriched, they are not meant to be a sole source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Brown: These eggs are produced by a special breed of chickens.  The color of these eggs does not necessarily equate a significant nutritional benefit.

How to Choose Eggs and How to Store Eggs

Eggs sold in stores and most markets are classified by the USDA grading of AA, A, and B.  This system is an indicator of many quality parameters, including freshness, with the AA grade has the highest quality and B as the lowest.

Always inspect eggs for breaks or cracks before purchasing them.

Never wash eggs before storing them, as you can remove the protective coating on the shell that prevents making them susceptible to bacteria contamination. Many fridges come with a special compartment on the door for eggs, but you should not use it if you wish to keep your eggs fresher longer.  The best place to store the eggs is by putting them at the back of your fridge.  If you store eggs properly they can last up to one month.

Salmonella Scare

There are many safety concerns around eggs and salmonellosis (salmonella poisoning).   Salmonella bacteria can be found in both cracked and uncracked eggs.  It can be introduced to eggs in two ways — from outside the egg (as a result of contact with organic matter such as chicken manure) and from within (from the hen to the egg before it has been laid). Safe food handling techniques, like washing eggs, may not actually protect you from salmonella. The only sure way to prevent getting sick from consuming salmonella poisoning is to cook eggs to an internal temperature of 160°F.

Should Eggs Be Refrigerated?

Never store eggs in the door!

There has been a lot of debate on whether eggs should be refrigerated or not. This stems from the fact that Europe handles this issue much differently than the United States.

American egg producers focus on preventing contamination from the outside, so they are required by the USDA to thoroughly wash the eggs before they go to market. They’re rinsed in hot water, dried and sprayed with a chlorine mist almost as soon as they’re laid.  Europeans take a much different approach. In the United Kingdom, for example, producers instead vaccinate laying hens to prevent the transmission of salmonella. They then rely on a thin, naturally occurring coating called the cuticle, to prevent any contamination from the outside of the shell penetrating to the egg.  British authorities actually discourage refrigerating eggs on the theory that chilling and then warming could create condensation, which would allow salmonella to penetrate the shell. In the U.S., this cuticle is removed during washing and even though some producers replace it with a light synthetic coating, regulations still require refrigeration.

Egg Nutrition

Eggs are an “egg-cellent” source of protein, especially for the price per egg! Dietary protein provides essential amino acids that we use to build muscle, tissues, skin, immune system, antibodies, nutrient transport proteins, and many other compounds vital to physiological function.  Eggs are also a great source of iodine and selenium, which are components of thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These nutrients are needed to synthesize hormones and maintain healthy thyroid hormone metabolism.  Eggs are an important factor in brain function and health due to its levels of choline.  Choline is not produced enough by the body and must be supplemented by our diets.  Choline deficiency can cause other deficiencies, such as folic acid. Like many leafy green vegetables, eggs are a great source of lutein, a carotenoid that is an antioxidant found concentrated in the eyes.  Lutein has been shown to help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.  Eggs are also a good source of bone-building vitamin D, vitamin K, and phosphorus; energy-producing vitamin B12 and vitamin B5; sulfite-detoxifying molybdenum; and sleep-promoting tryptophan.

Many people shy away from eggs due to their high cholesterol content, but an increasing number of studies have found that high saturated fat intake is more related to high cholesterol levels than foods rich in cholesterol.

Energetics

Eggs are a blood and yin tonic, have an ascending direction (eggs influence energy and fluids to move higher in the body), calms fetus’ excessive movement in mothers, help prevent dryness of the lungs throat, and eyes, and are used in the treatment of diarrhea.

Since eggs nurture blood and yin, they can be used for a person with a dry, thin, anemic constitution.  However, eggs can also cause a thick type of mucus, therefore consumption of eggs often cause imbalance, especially for the sluggish, overweight person or others with damp-mucus symptoms.

Eggs are great for protein deficiency, but they do have a drawback in their sticky mucus forming quality, which can eventually block the gallbladder, slow the functioning of the liver, and leave deposits throughout the body.  Eggs also can contribute to wind, manifested in liver conditions such as vertigo, strokes, nervousness, spasms, and paralysis.  Therefore, eggs are contradictive in wind conditions.

Easy Frittata – Easy Egg Recipe

I love frittatas!  All you need is a basic frittata recipe and then you can add in your own ingredients for the perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner meal.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1-ounce Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted asparagus
  • 1/2 cup chopped country ham
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to broil setting.

In medium size bowl, using a fork, blend together eggs, Parmesan, pepper, and salt. Heat 12-inch non-stick, oven safe saute pan over medium high heat. Add butter to pan and melt. Add asparagus and ham to pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour egg mixture into pan and stir with rubber spatula. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top. Sprinkle with parsley.

Place pan into oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy. Remove from pan and cut into 6 servings. Serve immediately.

Source

Energetics of Horseradish: Spicy Spring Antioxidant

 

Horseradish Facts

Horseradish, Armoracia rusticana, is a cruciferous vegetable that is part of the Brassica family (which contains mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and others). This potent root vegetable is also considered a perineal plant and has a multitude of beneficial uses. The root of the plant is what most are familiar with consuming, however the leaves and flowers can also be harnessed in various ways—nearly every part of the plant has medicinal properties.

Horseradish can be used as an expectorant to fight the common cold, flu, and various respiratory disorders. Horseradish has also been found to have antibiotic, antifungal, and anticancer properties. The German Commission E (equivalent to the US FDA) prescribes horseradish as a treatment for UTIs

Energetics

Horseradish nourishes the Lung, Spleen, and Large Intestine meridian channels. It has a warming constitution and a pungent flavor profile. The pungent energetics will assist in opening the orifices of the body: expels congestion in the lymph system and phlegm in the lungs.  The energetics of horseradish also strengthen yang by dispersing cold and treats external conditions like fevers and chills. It also supports, warms, and invigorates the lungs, supports liver yang, promotes urination, and assists in removing blockages from the body.

Nutrition of Horseradish

The nutrition of horseradish starts with Glucosinolate, found in horseradish, is a vital antioxidant compound that has many benefits for the human body. This compound is a main proponent for its anti-cancer ability. Glucosinolate protects the body from toxic mutagens and also assists the body in detoxifying those that are already present within the system (by increasing blood flow to the areas infected by pathogens). Broccoli and others from the Brassica family have this compound as well, however, it is 10 times more abundant in horseradish. For more information about the scientific evidence for horseradish’s nutritional components see the life extension link at the bottom of this blog post.

Recipe Using Horseradish

Horseradish Tea

The leaves of horseradish can be put into hot water to drink as tea. This form of medicine was used to treat scurvy (due to its high vitamin C content).

Pungent Probiotic: Homemade Horseradish

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. kombucha (or whey if your meal is a dairy meal)

1 6 inch horseradish root, peeled and chopped

½ tsp. salt

*Cold water

Alternative addition: beets!

Method:

Peel and chop the horseradish root into ½ inch slices.  Put on your onion goggles and proceed in a well-ventilated space.  Put the horseradish root, kombucha (or whey), and salt, into your food processor.  Process on high for 30 seconds.  Add cold water 1 tbsp. at a time, if necessary, to allow the blades to process the horseradish root freely.

*if using store-bought kombucha, then make sure to get an unflavored version. Also, open the bottle and allow it to stand on the counter for a couple days to a couple weeks (put cheesecloth over it with a rubberband to keep bugs out). This will allow for the kombucha to become more potent*

When the horseradish root is pureed fully, transfer the prepared horseradish root to a jar and refrigerate.  The kombucha (or lacto-bacteria in the whey) will preserve the horseradish for several weeks, if kept refrigerated.

Recipe by Joybilee Farm

 

http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2009/11/horseradish-protection-against-cancer-and-more/page-01

https://www.eastwesthealingacademy.com/herbs/horseradish/

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/horseradish.html

http://joybileefarm.com/horseradish-passover/

 

Energetics of Umeboshi: Try Something New

umeboshi

Umeboshi Facts

Umeboshi (梅干) are pickled ume fruits common in Japan. The word “umeboshi” is often translated into English as “Japanese salt plums,” “salt plums” or “pickled plums.” Ume is a species of fruit-bearing tree in the genus Prunus, which is often called a plum but is actually more closely related to the apricot.  Pickled ume which are not dried are called umezuke (梅漬け). Umeboshi are usually round, and vary from smooth to very wrinkled. Usually they taste salty, and are extremely sour due to high citric acid content, but sweeter versions exist, as well.

Umeboshi were notorious for their ability to eat their way through the plain drawn aluminum lunch boxes commonly used in the 1960s. The combination of organic acids and salt in the umeboshi were the cause of this phenomenon.

Umeboshi were esteemed by the samurai to combat battle fatigue.

How Is Umeboshi Made?

6a0120a71b1d39970b0192ab2da552970d-800wiUmeboshi are traditionally made by harvesting ume fruit when they ripen around June and packing them in barrels with salt. A weight is placed on top and the fruit gradually exude juices, which accumulate at the bottom of the barrel. The left over salty and sour liquid is called umezu (梅酢), or ume vinegar, although it is not a true vinegar. It is great for making pickled vegetables.  The ume is then taken out of the barrels and laid out flat on reed/grass mats to dry in the hot sun for about 3 days.

How To Eat Umeboshi

Umeboshi Makizushi

Umeboshi Makizushi

Umeboshi are usually eaten in small quantities with rice, for added flavor. It is also a common ingredient in onigiri, rice balls wrapped in nori, and they may also be used in makizushi. Makizushi made with umeboshi may be made with either pitted umeboshi or umeboshi paste (which is cheaper.  Another usage of umeboshi is in “Ume ochazuke,” a dish of rice with poured in green tea topped with umeboshi.

Umeboshi is used as a cooking accent to enhance flavor and presentation. They may also be served as a complement of a green tea or a drink with shochu and hot water.

Energetics – Health Benefits of Eating Umeboshi

umeboshiThe health benefits of Umeboshi are as follows: it treats indigestion, diarrhea and dysentery, removes worms, and acts on the liver. Umeboshi is hailed as the “Japanese Alka-Seltzer” because of its use in treating digestive upset.

The Japanese folk remedy for colds and the flu is okayu (rice congee) with umeboshi.

Caution: Habitual consumption can add too much salt to one’s diet.

 

How To Make Umeboshi At Home

This Umeboshi recipe is not for the light-hearted or impatient.  If you are of the said type, you can find pre-made umeboshi in jars at your local Japanese or Asian foods store.

Ingredients and Equipment

  • Ume Plums
  • Coarse Seas Salt
  • Red Shiso Leaves
  • Shochu (Can use vodka or other distilled alcohol if needed)
  • Bowls
  • Flat Baskets
  • Large wide-mouth container
  • Weights (Can use water in tightly sealed plastic bags)
  • Large Jars

Prepping the Ume

When you buy them, make sure you choose ones that are firm, plump and unblemished. Even small blemishes or cuts on the plums could lead to mold, which is the biggest reason umeboshi can fail. Once you have the ume plums, carefully remove any remaining stems. The best way to do this is with a cocktail stick. Try not to pierce the ume plum when you’re doing this – again, this can lead to mold. Once the stems are removed, wash the plums in several changes of water, and then fill a large bowl with cold water and leave the ume plums to soak overnight. This gets rid of some of the bitterness in the plums.

After soaking overnight, drain and dry the plums. Made ready a bowl of shochu or vodka, and dunk the ume plums completely in the alcohol. This is to kill any kind of mold spores on the surface.

Prepping the Red Shiso Leaves

Red shiso or perilla leaves give color and flavor to the umeboshi. Use about 10% of the ume plus in weight of shiso leaves – so for 1 kilo of ume plums, use 100g of shiso leaves. Wash them, take off any tough stems, sprinkle with a little salt and massage the leaves with your hands until they are limp.

Salt Ratio for Fermenting

Traditional umeboshi uses around 20% salt, which is fairly salty.  You can lower the salt percentage if you choose, but beware that the lower the salt ratio the higher risk of mold developing.  So we suggest starting at 10% or 12% for beginners.

Here’s the amount of salt vs. ume plums at different percentages:

  • 8%: For every 1 kilo of ume plums, use 80 grams of salt
  • 10%: For every 1 kilo of ume plums, use 100 grams of salt
  • 12%: For every 1 kilo of ume plums, use 120 grams of salt

Getting Pickling Container Ready

Use a large, wide-mouth jar or other fairly deep container. Wash it inside and out thorougly, then disinfect the inside. Some people do this by putting the container in boiling water, but the most common – and convenient – way is to spray it with some shochu or vodka.

Filling the Pickling Container

Start with a layer of coarse salt. Cover with a layer of ume plums, then a bit of the shiso. Repeat the salt-ume-shiso layers, until the ume are used up. Now, cover the whole thing with a plastic bag or sheet, then put on a weight that is at least half as heavy as the ume plums – in other words, 1 kilo of ume plums requires at least a 500g weight.

While there are dedicated ceramic weights available, you can use anything you can find such as a bagful of water (as long as it doesn’t leak), a full water bottle, clean rocks in a plastic bag, hand weights or dumbbells, and so on.

Once the container is full and weighted down, cover the top with a clean, porous cloth like a cheesecloth or open weave kitchen towel; secure this with a rubber band or string. Leave in a cool, dark area of your house, until the ume plums become soft and completely immersed in a reddish liquid.

Once the liquid is about 2 cm above the top of the ume plums, reduce the weight by half, and leave the ume plums in the jar in the liquid until it’s time to dry them in the sun.

Drying Out

Take the plums and the shiso leaves out of the jar. Put the ume plums in a single layer on flat baskets, and the shiso leaves in spread-put clumps separately.

Leave the plums like this in a fairly sunny place with good ventilation, for about 3 days. If it rains, take them inside before they get wet. Turn them over at least once a day.

Finish

The umeboshi are now done. You can store them as-is, in a jar, layering plums with the shiso leaves. Or you can pour back in some of the ume vinegar, to give them a softer texture.

Umeboshi improves with age for a few years. The best time to start eating them 3 years after making them, though you can eat them right away. The best time flavor wise is at the 5 year mark. Do not store over 10 years, as they will start getting mushy, if stored with a liquid, or dry and brittle.

Alternate Umeboshi: White Umeboshi

You can make umeboshi without the red shiso leaves. This results in light brown umeboshi and an almost clear ume vinegar.

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Energetics of Dates: Today is the Date to Eat Healthy

4-Simple-Ways-In-Which-Dates-Help-Control-Diabetes

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Facts About Dates

Dates, fruits derived from the date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera L.), are one of those foods that people either love or they don’t. I’m one that used to highly dislike them, and more recently I am slowly beginning to like them more and more. I’m liking them especially because they have such a low glycemic index, yet they taste quite sweet! Dates, visually speaking, are interestingly unique when compared to most other fruits. The same is true for their energetics and nutritional content.

Energetics

Dates nourish one’s elements with a sweet flavor and a warming constitution. This flavorful fruit tonifies the qi and the blood. Dates work their magic through the routes of Liver, Lung, Stomach, and Spleen channels.

Nutrition Of Dates

2This phenomenal fruit is packed full of nutritional content: vitamins, minerals, healthy fats & oils (0.2-0.5%), dietary fiber (6.4-11.5%), multiple amino acids, and sugar (don’t worry though, it’s GOOD sugar!). Dates have vitamin C, B(1) thiamine, B(2) riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin A. Dates contain various proportions of boron, calcium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, and zinc. In regards to oils, dates have palmitoleic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic unsaturated fatty acids. As a side note, date seeds contain 14 types of fatty acids and consist of about 50% oleic acid. There are 23 different type of amino acids that build the protein (2.3-5.6%) stored within dates. The largest component of dates are carbohydrates/plant sugars (44-88%). All of the contents above can range depending on the varietal of date and the time of year it was produced.

Although dates are mostly built of plant sugars, don’t get lost in attempting to equate this to added sugars that you normally read about on an ingredient panel. Plant sugars, in their natural form, are much different than processed sugar because of the way in which they are chemically packaged within the fruit. Nature has created a beautiful combination of biochemistry in that the sugar molecules are surrounded by all of the abovementioned items: these surrounding components make it so that sugar is slowly broken down/released into your body and is a wonderful way to sustain your day. Dates are a low glycemic index food and are a perfect snack for many (even those with diabetes!).

Medjool-dates-010As with anything, don’t eat too many! And at the same time, don’t deprive yourself of them because of being worried about the sugar content. The key to this concept is that our bodies break down every item that we eat and convert it into sugar; the important aspect here is that it is the speed at which this process occurs. If we eat foods that slowly turn into sugar, then we have a more sustainable energy level throughout our day.

Now, go have a date with some dates!

 Dates Recipe

5 Ingredient Peanut Cup Energy Bites5-Ingredient-PB-Cup-Energy-Bites-Perfect-for-a-healthier-on-the-go-snack-vegan-glutenfree

EASY, 5 ingredient peanut butter energy bites sweetened with dates and studded with oats, dark chocolate and chia seeds! Full of fiber, protein and healthy fats.

Author: Minimalist Baker

Recipe type: Snack

Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free

Serves: 15

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (~220 g) dates, pitted (if dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain well)
  • 3 Tbsp all natural salted peanut or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup dairy free dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (or sub flax or hemp seeds)
  • 2/3 cup gluten free rolled oats

Instructions:

  1. Pulse dates in a food processor or blender until they’re in small pieces or it forms a ball (see photo).
  2. Add oats, chocolate, chia seeds and peanut butter and pulse or mix until combined. You want there to be consistently small pieces but not overly processed.
  3. Carefully roll into 1-inch balls (29-30 grams per ball), using the warmth of your hands to mold them together. Should yield 14-15 balls.
  4. To set, pop in fridge or freezer for 15 minutes. Otherwise, eat as is! Will keep fresh in an air-tight bag or container for up to a week. Freeze for longer term storage.

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12850886

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-dates.html

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/dates

If you’re curious about using dates as a low glycemic sugar substitute:

https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/are-dates-new-low-glycemic-sugar-substitute

Energetics of Plums: 1 In a 1000

European Plums

Plum FactsEuropean Plums

Plum Facts

Did you know that there are over 100 varieties of plums in the US alone? Between the US, Europe and Asia there are thousands of varieties in a wide range of sizes and colors.  There are very few fruits that have such a range.  Plums have been cultivated since the ancient times.  European plums are believed to have originated from Damacus, Syria and Persia, while Japanese plums originated from China.

Plum Varieties

Plums are from the genus Prunus and are related to peaches, nectarine, and almonds.  They are considered drupes, which are fruit that have a hard stone pit surrounding their seeds.  Dried plums are also known as prunes.

Japanese Plums

Japanese Plums

Plums belong to one of six categories: Japanese, American, Damson, Ornamental, Wild, and European/Garden.  The plums in each category vary by size, shape and color.  The two main varieties found in the supermarkets are Japanese and European plums.

Japanese: These are known as clingstone because their flesh clings to the pit.  The skins of Japanese plums range from crimson to black-red (but never purple).  They are very juicy with yellow or reddish flesh.

European: These are characterized by their blue or purple skins. They are smaller in size, denser and less juicy then their Japanese counterpart. They are considered freestone because their flesh easily separates from the pit. This type is used most often in making prunes.

The Plum season starts in May and ends around October, with Japanese plums making the first appearance and peaking in August. European plums start peaking in the fall.

How to Pick Plums; How to Store Plums

Japanese Plums

Japanese Plums

When selecting plums look for ones that are fully ripe.  They should yield to gentle pressure and are slightly soft at the tip. Better quality plums will have a rich color.  Avoid plums with soft spots as this is an indicator that it is overripe. Overripe plums with brown flesh should not be eaten.  Make sure that the plums you are selecting are free of puncture marks, bruises, or any signs of decay. You should also avoid hard plums, as they have been picked too soon and will never develop their full taste, texture or nutritional benefits.

Plums are a very delicate fruit and bruise easily, so always handle them with care.

Proper storage is the key to keeping plums fresh.  If properly stored, fresh plums can last up to 10 days.  Any plums that you are planning to eat within a day or two can stay on the counter, store any other plums in fridge.  To enjoy maximum flavor and juiciness, make sure you allow plums to get back to room temperature before eating them.

Plums Nutrition

Plums - Nutrition FactsPlums (both fresh and dried) are an excellent source of antioxidant protection.   They have a high content of unique phytonutrients called neochlorogenic acid and chlorogenic acid.  These are classified as phenols and they have been found to be very effective in neutralizing a particularly destructive oxygen radical called superoxide anion radical. Another antioxidant that is found plums is catechins, a flavonoid phytonutrient that have been found to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation.  Plums have many heart healthy nutrients as well, including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and dietary fiber.

 

Plum Energetics

European Plums

European Plums

 

 

The purple varieties tend to be slightly cooling, while its yellow varieties tend to be neutral.  Plums build body fluids.  Plums can be used in the treatment of liver diseases, cirrhosis of the liver, hardened for expanded liver conditions in general, diabetes and dehydration.  The purple plums are best for liver conditions that express themselves as emotional repression, pain, and nervous disorders. Stewed prunes are a traditional remedy for constipation and are especially beneficial when excess liver and heat signs are present.

Caution: Plums are not good for people with delicate digestion or gastrointestinal ulcers or inflammations.  Rich in oxalic acid, plums can deplete calcium in the body.

 

Plums Recipe

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Plum Reduction

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Plum ReductionIngredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Season the pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat until the oil shimmers; gently lay the tenderloin into the hot oil. After about 1 minute, gently loosen the meat from the bottom of the skillet, if necessary. Cook until the pork is seared a golden brown color, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to the lined baking sheet.
  3. Roast the seared tenderloin in the preheated oven until a thermometer inserted into the center of the pork reads at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C), about 15 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing into medallions.
  4. Cook the plums, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, honey, and blueberry juice in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the plums are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. Return the sauce to the saucepan and simmer until reduced and thickened to the consistency of apple butter, about 5 more minutes. Spoon plum sauce over the sliced pork to serve.

Source

 

Energetics of Goat’s Milk: You Got Goat Milk?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-goat-milk-image24057054

Goat’s Milk Facts

Goat’s Milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk.  It only has trace amounts of the specific casein that is thought to cause of casein sensitivity, and it contains more calcium and protein than cow’s milk.  While in America cow’s milk is the norm for drinking and making other dairy products, for the rest of the world, goat’s milk is actually consumed much more.

In ancient Egypt goat’s milk and cheese was highly revered and was included in the burial chambers of the pharaohs with all their other treasures.

Goat’s Milk Varieties

Goat’s Milk: Goat’s milk comes with different amounts of butterfat and is available fresh, powdered, as canned evaporated milk or as ultra heat treated (UHT) milk in aseptic containers.

Goat Cheese: Goat cheese has fewer calories than cheese made from cow’s milk and has a stronger flavor.  Young goat cheese has a pleasant tartness with a slight gummy texture.  Goat cheese increases in gumminess as it ages.

Goat Yogurt: Goat yogurt has a fuller flavor than yogurt made from cow’s milk.

How To Choose and How To Store Goat’s Milk

Nourishing-Practices-Why-Raw-Goats-MilkWhen purchasing goat’s milk, always pay attention to the “sell-by” date and use it as a guide to the shelf life of the milk. Smell the top of the container to make sure that the milk does not smell spoiled. When purchasing from stores, try to buy the milk at the bottom of the fridge, as that is usually the coldest part.

Although goat’s milk comes in many forms, fresh is always best for drinking and making desserts.  Dried, canned, and those in aseptic packaging picks up an unpleasant caramelized flavor when they’re heated for packaging.

imgresAlso, it is best to stay away from UHT or ultra-pasteurized milk products. UHT milk (from goat or cow’s milk) has been thermally processed at or above 280° F for at least 2 seconds, either before or after packaging, so as to produce a product which has an extended shelf life.  “According to Lee Dexter, microbiologist and owner of White Egret Farm goat dairy in Austin, Texas, ultra-pasteurization is an extremely harmful process to inflict on the fragile components of milk. Dexter explains that milk proteins are complex, three-dimensional molecules, like tinker toys. They are broken down and digested when special enzymes fit into the parts that stick out. Rapid heat treatments like pasteurization, and especially ultra-pasteurization, actually flatten the molecules so the enzymes cannot do their work. If such proteins pass into the bloodstream (a frequent occurrence in those suffering from “leaky gut,” a condition that can be brought on by drinking processed commercial milk), the body perceives them as foreign proteins and mounts an immune response. That means a chronically overstressed immune system and much less energy available for growth and repair.” Source

Goat’s milk should always be refrigerated, as warm temperatures cause the milk to spoil quickly. Always seal or close the milk container when storing to prevent it from absorbing the food from aromas in the fridge.  Avoid storing goat’s milk in the fridge door as it exposes it to too much warm air when the door is opened and closed.

Nutrition of Goat’s Milk

Goat_Milk_Nutrition_Facts_-_03.16164354_stdThe nutrition of goat’s milk is like cow’s milk in the sense that it is a great source of calcium, a mineral that is very important to maintaining the strength and structure of bones. Goat’s milk is also a good source of high-quality protein. Protein is needed for our bodies to build muscles and tissues. Protein also gives us slow burning energy that helps you feel your best. Goat’s milk is also heart healthy, as it is a good source of potassium which helps maintain normal blood pressure and heart function.  It also promotes energy production in the cells through high levels of phosphorus and vitamin B (riboflavin). Phosphorus is needed to make ATP, the molecule that serves as fuel for cellular activity. Riboflavin is a component of the flavoprotein enzymes that allow oxygen-based energy production to occur.  Also found in goat’s milk is dietary fluorine, which helps build immunity, protect teeth, and strengthen bones.  Be aware though that fluorine is lost during the pasteurization process.

Energetics

Goat’s milk is used as a remedy for people in a weakened and convalescent conditions. It is used in the treatment of emaciation, malnutrition, stomach ulcers, nervous exhaustion, and loss of energy. Goat’s milk enriches the intestinal flora and can be beneficial in cases of constipation.  Its astringent properties can also help treat diarrhea.  Goat milk can be easier for infants to digest when the mother is emotionally upset, chemically toxic, or imbalanced in other ways.

Goat’s Milk Recipe

Goat Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

Homemade-Scalloped-Potatoes-RecipeIngredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed with peels on*
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2  to 2-quart casserole dish with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. With a mandolin or sharp chef’s knife, slice the potatoes into very thin slices, 1/8-inch-thick or less. Place the potatoes in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with the minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat the slices as evenly as you can.
  3. Spread 1/3 of the potato slices in the bottom of the prepared dish. Crumble half of the goat cheese over the top. Repeat with the next 1/3 of the potatoes, then the remaining goat cheese, then finish by layering on the final third of the potatoes. The potatoes may discard some liquid as they rest in the bowl. If this happens, simply leave the liquid in the bottom bowl and shake the potato slices gently in your hands to remove excess liquid before layering them in the dish.
  4. Pour the milk evenly over the top of the dish, then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Cover the dish with foil, bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 additional minutes, until the top has browned. Scatter the rosemary over the top. Serve hot.

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