Energetics of Pichuberry: The Lost Incan Crop

PichuberryPichuberries may look exotic, but they are more commonly known as the Cape Gooseberry. The Pichuberry roots yield from the Andes of Peru and are referred to as the Lost Incan Crop.

Eating one is like unwrapping a present. The pichuberry itself is covered by loose, dry leaves that once opened, reveal a small saffron-colored “berry.”  They are mildly sweet and subtly tart. Their size and texture are similar to that of a grape. It is a unique summer snack for the whole family.

You may be surprised to learn that these are not berries at all! They are actually a cousin of the tomatillo. Pichuberries are fruits of the nightshade family, related to eggplant, cherries, potato, tomato, bell peppers and, of course, the tomatillo. Because they are nightshades, those with certain health conditions should avoid them. Nightshade plants are high in alkaloids so anyone with arthritis or gout must avoid this family of foods. Steaming, boiling, and baking can help reduce the alkaloid levels.

The pichuberry is more than just a delicious snackit is filled with nutritional benefits. It is one of the most abundant sources of vitamin C available among all fruits and plants. This little berry carries as much as 20 times the vitamin C of an orange! Also hidden in its small size is a powerhouse of antioxidants, vitamin A, and B vitamins including thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, and vitamin B-12. Pichuberries also help in reducing sugar levels in the blood, as well as increase production of blood corpuscles in the body.

Nutrition Facts Amount
Serving Size 100 g
Calories 65
Total Fat 0.2 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 50 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.1 g
Fiber 4.8 g
Protein 1.7 g
Iron 1.2 mg

Pichuberry Salsa

Pichuberry2

Also check out a recipe for Pico de Pichuberry Salsa! Click here for the recipe.

Looking for a unique way to incorporate Pichuberries into your meals? Try this summer salsa.

Ingredients

1 cup Pichuberries without the cape (half lengthwise)
1 small avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and coarsely chopped.
1 small tomato, coarsely chopped
½ red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
½ green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño chopped, seedless.
½ cup (2 oz) chopped green onions
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Pinch of salt

Directions

In a bowl, mix all ingredients and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

Energetics of the Nightshade Family

Energetics of Eggplant: Not Quite Egg, But Fully Plant
Energetics of Chili Peppers: For the Spice Lovers
Energetics of Tomato
Energetics of Sweet Potato: Not Yams!
Energetics of Bell Peppers: The Colorful Kitchen Staple

 

Sources
Pichuberry: Peru’s Exotic Fruit from Eating Free
Pichuberry General Information from Pichuberry.com
Pico de Pichuberry Salsa from Pichuberry.com

 

 

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 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

 

Energectics of Tangerines: The Perfect Snack

photo credit: Sharon Gerald via photopin cc

photo credit: Sharon Gerald via photopin cc

The Tangerine is one of the most popular varieties of the citrus fruit. What many people may not realize is that the tangerine is actually a branch of the mandarin family of oranges.  Tangerines are the perfect lunch mate or snack, as they are small in size and its skin is very easy to peel.

How to Choose and Store

There are a few varieties of tangerines. There is the honey tangerine, followed by the sunburst, and the fallgo. These types are not very popular in stores, unlike the Dancy or the Fairchild. The Dancy’s rind is deep reddish-orange, thin, and easily removed. The juice is rich and sweet. Dancy Tangerines are available from mid-December through January.   The Fairchild tangerine is the “First of the Season” tangerine and is known for its “zipper skin” (easy to peel). The Fairchild has an orange rind with a bright orange interior. The texture will vary from smooth to somewhat pebbly. Fairchild Tangerines are available from mid-October to mid-January.

photo credit: Sharon Gerald via photopin cc

photo credit: Sharon Gerald via photopin cc

Tangerines are winter season fruits. However, one may find them in supermarkets all over the year, thanks for advanced storage techniques. A ripe tangerine is firm to slightly soft, heavy for its size, and pebbly-skinned with no deep grooves, as well as orange in color. Avoid fruits with spots, excessively softened or feel “hollow” in hand. Once at home store, it is best to store them in a zip pouch and place in the fridge. They will keep for up to a week this way. As always, try to eat them as early as possible in order to enjoy their rich flavor and to get full benefits of nutrients.

Energetics

Tangerine NutritionTangerines are a valuable source of flavonoid anti-oxidants like naringenin, naringin, hesperetin, vitamin A, vitamin C and carotenes; in fact, several times higher than in the oranges. They also contain low amounts potassium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B2 and B3. Tangerines contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which both help keep your eyes safe from oxidative stress and macular degradation.

Tangerines are a general tonic for weak digestion and poor appetite, and they help regenerate body fluids. They help cool and moisten those who are dry and overheated from disease processes, physical activity, or hot weather.  Tangerines are good for treating inflammatory and highly acidic diseases, such as arthritis, as well as high fevers.  Their high level of vitamin C benefits those with weak gums and teeth.

The peel of the tangerine has qi-stimulating, digestive and mucus resolving properties.  The inner white lining of the peel when placed directly on the eyelid, helps dissolve eye cysts.

Tangerine BeefTangerine Beef

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds beef tri-tip steak, trimmed of excess fat
1 tangerine
4 scallions, sliced, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons orange preserves
Directions

Pierce the steak with a fork several times on each side. Remove a 2-inch strip of zest from the tangerine, halve the fruit and squeeze the juice into a resealable plastic bag. Add the zest, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, garlic, pepper flakes and 1/4 cup water to the bag and mix well. Add the meat, seal the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the broiler with a broiler pan in place. Remove the steak from the bag and reserve the marinade. Pat the meat dry and place on the preheated broiler pan. Cook, without turning, until the meat is golden brown and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 130 for medium-rare, about 10 minutes. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing; reserve the drippings.

Meanwhile, boil the marinade in a small pot over medium-high heat until slightly thickened. Stir in the orange preserves and the drippings from the meat. Slice the meat against the grain and top with scallions. Serve with the sauce.
Source

Tangerine Beef

Energetics of Grapefruit: Delicious and Nutritious

Grapefruit TreeHave you ever wondered why this large cousin of the orange is named after its smaller counterpart grapes? It is because like grapes, grapefruits grow in clusters on trees! The grapefruit is a native of Barbados and has only been around since the 1700’s. Many botanist believe the grapefruit is actually a cross breeding between oranges and pomelos, a citrus fruit brought to Barbados from Indonesia.

photo credit: Darwin Bell via photopin cc

photo credit: Darwin Bell via photopin cc

Best Way to Choose and Store

While available all year round, peak season is early winter through early spring. Grapefruit are designated white, pink or ruby depending on inner flesh color, not skin color. They come in many varieties and sizes. Duncan, a white grapefruit, are large with yellow skin and is used primarily to make juice. Lavender Gem, a white grapefruit, is a grapefruit-tangelo hybrid with a lemon-yellow or pink blush colored skin. The inner flesh is a pinkish-blue and has a delicate flavor. The most popular variety is the White Marsh, which is a white seedless grapefruit. Pink and ruby varieties tend to be sweeter and have a higher concentration of vitamin A. You can select the best tasting grapefruit by looking for ones that are heavy with smooth skin. Ripe grapefruit are heavy and firm, yet slightly springy when gently squeezed. At room temperature they should have a sweet aroma.   Skin discoloration, scratches, or scales do not affect the taste. Avoid grapefruit that show signs of decay or overly soft spots at the stem. These are signs that they will be less flavorful and more bitter. While grapefruit tend to be juicer when warm, they only last 5 days at room temperature. If refrigerated they can last up to 10 days.

grapefruit nutrition

Energetics

Grapefruit contain lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient that is responsible for its pink coloration and provides protection from free-radical activity. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, that provide immune support and powerful antioxidant protection. Grapefruits are great for heart health, they contain pectin and mineral potassium. Pectin is a soluble fiber that helps trap fats like cholesterol in the intestinal tract.   Mineral potassium helps regulate blood pressure. The pulp of citrus fruit, like the grapefruit, contain glucarates, compounds that may help prevent breast cancer. Grapefruits are also a good source of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) which plays an important role in the body’s production of cellular energy.

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

Grapefruit increases appetite during pregnancy, helps overcome alcohol intoxication, and treats poor digestion and belching. Grapefruit peels move and regulate spleen-pancreas digestive energy, resolves mucus conditions of the lungs, lung congestion and coughing, and are used to alleviate intestinal gas, pain, swelling, and promote peristalsis. To extract these properties from the peels, make it into a tea. The tea is also good for frostbite when applied at room temperature with a compress, as it helps restore circulation to the damaged tissue. The juice from grapefruits when combined with tea made from grapefruit pulp will reduce fevers.

Grapefruit seeds are even more beneficial. The extract made from the seeds, Citrus Seed Extract, is an extremely potent antibiotic.   The extract dries damp conditions in the body, inhibit members of several classes of microbes and parasites, among them: protozoa, amoebas, bacteria, viruses, and at least thirty types of fungi. The extract comes in a variety of forms, including liquids, capsules, sprays, and ointments. Internal uses include prevention of “traveler’s diarrhea”, allergies, gardida, parasites, flu, strep throat, and staph infections. External uses include wart removal, treatment of athlete’s foot, nail fungi, dandruff, and poison oak.   This extract is also used in household settings by soaking produce to remove parasites and pesticides, sterilizing laundry, cleaning contaminated surfaces and kitchen utensils, and ridding drinking, bathing, and swimming water of microbes.

Caution: Those with signs of dryness and/or deficiency, including deficient yin syndrome, should use Citrus Seed Extract sparingly.

Energetics of Oranges: Orange you glad they exist!

 

Nothing  feels quite as good as waking up to a fresh squeezed glass of orange juice in the morning. Many of us can’t even imagine a world without juicy oranges anytime you wanted, but it wasn’t always like this. Oranges used to be so rare in medieval times, they were only given as gifts or on special occasions. Then Spanish explorers brought oranges throughout the U.S and from then on oranges became more affordable, and available all year round.

Types:

There are a wide variety of oranges to choose from. Valencia and Naval are the more commonly used type of oranges. Florida Valencias are considered one of the best oranges for juicing. Naval oranges are the ones you’d normally find in your lunchbox. They have a “belly button ” scar on the bottom end, are seedless, and the fruit inside is easily segmented into individual slices.

Other types include Jaffa and blood oranges, but those are a little more rare than the other two.

Preparation and Storage:

When picking your oranges out, make sure to pick those that are already ripe. Unlike some other fruits, oranges will not ripen more once they are plucked from the tree.

Oranges kept in the fridge could last up to 10 days when properly stored. When kept at room temperature, they will only last for 5 days.

Oranges retain more mineral content and flavor when eaten fresh, but they can still be cooked and used for different recipes. You can also zest the rind to use for extra orange flavor in your dish.

 

orange 4Nutrition:

Oranges have an astounding amount of Vitamin C, 130% of your daily value.  They are also a very good source of dietary fiber. In addition, oranges are a good source of B vitamins including vitamin B1, pantothenic acid, and folate as well as vitamin A, calcium, copper, and potassium.

Oranges’ health benefits continue with their fiber, which has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels. Fiber can also help out by keeping blood sugar levels under control, which may help explain why oranges can be a very healthy snack for people with diabetes. In addition, the natural fruit sugar in oranges, fructose, can help to keep blood sugar levels from rising too high after eating.

 

 

Energetics:

Cooling and thermal in nature; sweet and sour flavor; general tonic for weak digestion and poor appetite; regenerates body fluid; helps cool and moisten those who are dry and overheated from disease processes, physical activity, or hot weather. Oranges have been valuable for inflammatory, highly acidic diseases, and they also help lower a high fever; the vitamin C content benefits those with weak gums and teeth. The peel has qi-stimulating, digestive, and mucus resolving properties.

Deficient yin of the lungs occurs when there is a chronic lack of yin to cool and nourish the lungs. Such a condition is most often a result of a chronic lung infection, inflammation, or other long term lung disease which drains the yin of the body. Oranges tonify the lung yin as well as the kidney yin, the root of yin in the body.

Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Beets & Pomegranate:

From Eating Wellorange 5
  • 3 medium beets (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups red quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium oranges
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1 whole pomegranate, seeded
  1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F.
  2. Trim the root end of the beets and remove any greens (reserving for another use); rinse and pat dry. Wrap individually in foil. Roast until tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours, depending on size. (Alternatively, place beets in a microwave-safe dish, add 1/4 cup water, cover loosely and microwave on High until the beets are tender, about 10 minutes, depending on size.)
  3. Meanwhile, bring broth, water, quinoa and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large serving bowl.
  4. Zest and juice 1 orange. Place the juice in a medium bowl. Working over another bowl, cut the remaining 2 oranges into segments (see Tips) and set aside. Measure the juice from the first orange—if it isn’t quite 1/3 cup, squeeze the juice from the membranes until you get 1/3 cup. Add the zest, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and pepper to the juice; gradually whisk in oil in a thin stream until well combined. Stir in 1/4 cup parsley.
  5. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice the roasted beets. Add to the quinoa along with dates and gently combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat. Serve garnished with the reserved orange segments, pomegranate seeds and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.

Energetics of Persimmons: A Winter Fruit

It is that time the year again, persimmon season. Their harvest starts in November and goes through February. Persimmons are consumed world wide, from Asia to South America. Like tomatoes, they are considered a fruit but are on fact a berry.

Persimmons are delicious fresh, dried, raw, or cooked. One way to consume very ripe persimmons, which can have the texture of pudding, is to remove the top leaf with a paring knife and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Riper persimmons can also be eaten by removing the top leaf, breaking the fruit in half and eating from the inside out.  Dried persimmons, or hoshigaki, are a great way to have a nutritious snack.

 

Best Way to Choose and Store

Persimmons are categorized by astringent and non-astringent. The two most common types found in the US are the hachiya and fuyu. The hachiya is the most common, heart shaped and very astringent.  The astringent nature is due to the high tannin content which is lessened as it is ripened, therefore it must be ripe to be edible.

photo credit: amira_a via photopin cc

photo credit: amira_a via photopin cc

The Fuyu is flat and can be eaten firm or soft.  The fuyu is less astringent and contains less tannins and loses the tannins quicker, therefore can be eaten firm but becomes sweeter the softer they are.

So just remember, Hachiya;  heartshaped and eaten soft.  Fuyu; flat and eaten firm or soft .

Before ripening, persimmons usually have a “chalky” taste or bitter taste. To soften or ripen a persimmon, place it in a well lighted place for several days, or place in a paper bag.  For even speedier ripening add an apple or banana to the bag which exposes the fruit to ethylene gas.  Or the fruit to extreme cold which will also result in ripening.

Energetics

Persimmon NutritionPersimmons have high levels of dietary fiber, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and manganese, but lower levels of copper and zinc. hey also contain vitamin C and provitamin A beta-carotene.  Persimmon fruits contain phytochemicals, such as catechin and gallocatechin. These phytochemicals increase plasma antioxidant activity (ability of plasma to scavenge free radicals), brachial artery dilation (blood vessel expansion), and fat oxidation. Persimmons also contain betulinic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as a more recently discovered potential as an anticancer agent, by inhibition of topoisomerase.

Persimmons cool heat (especially lung heat), builds body fluids, moistens the lungs, removes phlegm, tonifies the spleen-pancreas, and soothes mucous membranes in the digestive tract to relieve gastrointestinal inflammation.  They are used to treat heat and/or dry conditions, thirst, canker sores, and chronic bronchitis. Partially ripe persimmons, which are mildly astringent, are used in treating diarrhea, dysentery, hypertension, and spitting up, coughing up, or vomiting blood.

 

Persimmon Curry SoupCurried Persimmon Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 lb. peeled Fuyu Persimmmns
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 5 cups chicken stock (Reduced Sodium)
  • 1/2 tsp. Curry Powder
  • Lemon
  • Cilantro

 

Step 1: Gather 3 ½ pounds of persimmons together and bathe them.  After they’re washed, remove the four leaves that sit atop the persimmon’s crown.  Take a knife and cut away at the persimmon’s sides like you would an orange, saving as much flesh as possible.  Next, remove the core and cut the persimmon into slices and set them aside.

Step 2: Mince ½ cup of onions as well as one teaspoon of freshly grated ginger.  Add them to the pot along with ¼ cup of reduced sodium chicken stock and let the smell engulf your kitchen.  Take your 3 ½ pounds of persimmons and add them to the mixture, letting the mixture reduce.

Step 3: When the persimmons begin to stick to the bottom of the pan due to a lack of liquid, add another ½ cup of chicken stock to the mixture.  Follow this step several times, allowing the persimmons to become soft and the mixture to become somewhat thick in consistency.  Add curry powder to the mix 30 seconds before you remove the soup from the heat.

Step 4: Remove your mixture from its pan and place it into a blender (provided it has cooled somewhat).  Blend until you’re satisfied with the texture, pour your soup into a bowl and garnish with a sprig of cilantro and a few drops of lemon.

Source

Curried Persimmon Soup

Energetics of Pomegranates: A Large Berry

Pomegranates are steeped in history as well as antioxidants.  Technically, the pomegranate is a berry and three times higher in antioxidants than most other fruit.  This includes vitamins C, A, E, folic acid, potassium and fiber – as long as you’re eating the arils, or seeds (not just juice).

You’ll see California grown pomegranates in the stores starting in October all the way through January.  Imported pomegranates can extend that season.  They don’t ripen further once they’re picked.  If stored at cold temperatures they’ll last several months.

The health benefits include lowering LDL (cholesterol), lowering blood pressure and reducing cancer risks; specifically, prostate and breast.  Also helps keep your smile healthy by lowering gum disease and dental plaque.

Energetics: Pomegranates are sweet and sour in flavor.  They have been used as a remedy for bladder disturbances, eliminate intestinal worms, good for the gums and soothes mouth and throat ulcers.

Now that you’ve filled your grocery cart with these round red fruits, you need a few helpful hints on the best way to extract those little ruby droplets of goodness.  This short video is very helpful.

Opening a pomegranate in a bowl of water certainly reduces the mess and staining that pomegranate juice can cause. This method also preserves all the seeds that would otherwise be lost from cutting into a pomegranate.  This method of scoring the skin from crown to base and breaking apart the sections is brilliant.  Another great tip; use a wooden spoon to ‘spank’ the rind-side and ‘pop’ out the seeds, leaving a few deeper ones to be removed by hand.

These tips made my last pomegranate a fast and delightful snack.  I found myself popping them on my salads, whipping them up in my breakfast smoothie, turning dull into delicious (see recipe below).

Winter Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Ingredients

  • 3 medium shallots, 2 thinly sliced and 1 finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup bottled pomegranate juice, such as Pom Wonderful
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging (or gluten free, or rice crumbs)
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces spicy salad greens, such as arugula, washed and dried
  • Seeds from 1 pomegranate

Directions

  1. Separate the sliced shallots into individual rings and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine 1 teaspoon of the olive oil with the chopped shallot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, until limp. Add the juice, increase the heat to medium-high and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Stirring as the liquid becomes syrupy to prevent burning. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Add about 1 inch of vegetable oil to a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. In a shallow bowl, toss the shallot rings with the flour (gluten free or other), then shake in a mesh strainer to get rid of any excess flour. When the oil is hot (it will ripple), add the shallot rings, stirring so they don’t stick together. Fry until crisp and brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and season with sea salt.
  3. When the pomegranate sauce is cool, pour it into a medium bowl. Whisk in the vinegar and a few dashes of sea salt and pepper, then slowly whisk in the remaining olive oil. Snag a salad leaf and dip it into the dressing to taste. Adjust the salt and pepper.
  4. Place the greens in a large bowl and dress lightly (you might not need all of the dressing). Divide the greens among 6 plates and top with the fried shallots and pomegranate seeds.

Courtesy of Rachel Ray Magazine.

Energetics of Apricots: The Under Appreciated Fruit

photo credit: Apricots via photopin (license)

photo credit: Apricots via photopin (license)

Apricots have been cultivated for the last 4,000 years and hail from the mountain slopes of China.  This summer fruit is often described as a cross between a peach and a plum, but in reality there are no words to adequately describe the unique taste. It is said that the most delicious apricots are found in Eastern Turkey.

 

 

 

 

Varieties

Apricots are the cousin to peaches with golden velvety skin and flesh that is not overly juicy but is smooth and sweet. The taste can also be described as slightly musky with a faint tartness, which is more pronounced when dried.

The apricot comes in many varieties, including Sungold, Harglow and Goldcat. There only difference is size and color, while the taste stays the same.

There are a few notable hybrids. First is the Plumcot, a cross between a plum and apricot, and is more like a plum. There is the Aprium, a cross between the Plumcot and apricot, and is more like an apricot. Then, there is a Pluot which is a cross between a plum and plumcot. The last hybrid is the Peachcot which is a cross between a peach and an apricot.

Apricots are fruits of summer, available in the US between May and August.  Apricots found in the winter months are imported from South America and New Zealand.

How to Choose and Store

For the best apricots, look from ones that are fully ripe and have a rich aroma. Smelling apricots is the best and easiest way to tell whether they are ripe or not. Apricots should also be soft with an even coloring.

Avoid apricots that are pale and yellow, as that is an indication they have not been tree-ripened and therefore have very little flavor. Likewise, apricots with a green tinge or are too firm have been picked too early and will never ripen. They just get softer and rot. Also, avoid overripe apricots as they are very soft and mushy or are brown colored, they have no real nutritional value and have started to form harmful free-radicals.

Apricots will respire faster at room temperature, so they best method of storage is to refrigerate them. Keep as many ripe apricots as can be consumed in a day or so on the counter, but put the rest in the fridge. They will last between 3-4 days in the fridge and only 1-2 days on the counter.

Do not store your apricots in sealed plastic bags or restricted containers where they touch each other, as the buildup of ethylene gas will cause the apricots to rot very quickly.

Nutrition

Apricot nutritionApricots are an excellent source of vitamin A through their high concentration of carotenoid phytonutrients, including beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These phytonutrients have been getting more attention lately, as they are showing great antioxidant activity, as well as anticancer and anti-ageing potentials. Apricots also have flavonoid phytonutrients at also promote antioxidant activity, catechins and quercetin. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, the antioxidant powerhouse.

The vitamin A in apricots also helps promote eye health by protecting the lens from free-radical damage. This type of damage can lead to cataracts or macular degeneration. Vitamin A also promotes eye health through its participation in the synthesis of rhodopsin, a photopigment found in the eye. Rhodopsin plays a leading role in the adaptionof the eye to low-light conditions and night vision.

Apricots are also a good source of dietary fiber, heart-healthy potassium and sleep-promoting tryptophan.

Caution: The inner pits of the apricot contains amygdalin, a compound that breaks down into prussic acid or hydrogen cyanide, when digested.  Cases of fatalities have been reported from eating the pit.

Energetics

Apricots moisten the lungs and increases yin fluids. Used in the treatment for dry throat, thirst, asthma, and other lung conditions when there is fluid deficiency. It is also used to treat anemia, thanks to its high copper and cobalt content.

Caution: Apricots are considered weakening when eaten in excess, so limit intake. Also, they must be used cautiously during pregnancy and avoided in cases of diarrhea.

Apricot  Leather

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups pitted and diced fresh apricots
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees F (165 degrees C), or lowest setting possible.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, apricots and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Cover an 11×17 inch pan or cookie sheet with a layer of parchment paper. Pour the pureed fruit onto the paper and spread evenly to within 1 inch of the edge.
  4. With oven door left ajar (use a spoon or tongs to hold open), bake for 4 to 6 hours, until the puree has dried and is no longer sticky. Once dry, cut into strips and store in an airtight container .

Recipe courtesy of SimplyRecipe.com