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Sugar

I’ve touched on sugar, mostly brown sugar,  in the past “Pantry 101 – Baking and Spices 6-12”  but we got a question from Debbie in California asking what is the difference between  cane sugar, corn sugar, and beet sugar, so we’ll go into depth to answer that question here.

Sugar

Wikipedia defines sugar as:

Sugar is a term for a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucroselactose, and fructose,[1] characterized by a sweet flavor. In food, sugars refer to all monosaccharides and disaccharides present in food, but excludes polyols,[2] while in its singular form, sugar normally refers to sucrose, which in its fully refined (or free sugar) form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet, though is present in natural form in many carbohydrates. Other free sugars are used in industrial food preparation, but are usually known by more specific names—glucosefructose or fruit sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Currently, Brazil has the highest per capita production of sugar.[3] 

Cane Sugar

C&H’s web site says this about cane sugar:

“How Cane Sugar is Better (or, Why cane sugar can't be beet)

Not all sugars are created equal. Lots of us have been brought up thinking that all sugars are—well—pretty much the same, and that the kind of sugar we use won’t make much difference. Even today, most people don’t know that some grocery stores carry two different kinds of sugar: cane sugar and beet sugar. Pure Cane Sugar, the kind C&H uses exclusively, is refined from sugarcane plants. The first cultivated sugar crop, sugarcane is grown above ground, nurtured in fresh tropical breezes under warm sunshine. Beet sugar, found in some store brands and in other makers that often don’t specify the source, is extracted from beets grown underground as a root crop. Cane sugar contains trace minerals that are different from those in beet sugar, and it’s these minerals that many experts say make cane sugar preferable to use. As professional bakers have long noticed, cane sugar has a low melting-point, absorbs fewer extraneous and undesirable odors, blends easily and is less likely to foam up. And that can be very important when you’re caramelizing a syrup, making a delicate glaze, baking a delicious meringue, or simmering your family’s favorite jam recipe.”

Brands

Domino Sugar, Dixie Crystal and C&H are all cane sugar and say so on the label
Holly Sugar, which acquired Spreckles, is beet sugar

Beet Sugar

Chemically identical to cane sugar 99.05 percent.  But that .05 percent makes a big difference when cooking.  Beets are harvested in the fall and are usually grown much further from the processing plant than sugar cane, requiring a higher transportation cost.  Beets are a root vegetable and more processing is required to clean them and separate the greens.  Also important to note is that beets are a rotational crop while sugar cane is a mono crop.  Rotational crops require 4 times as much land to grow as mono crops.  To learn more about how beets are turned into sugar go here.  For all practical purposes the only difference between beet and cane sugar may be how they react to heat.

Corn Sugar

Corn sugar aka corn syrup.  Yes, just like the corn syrup in your pantry.  Now, the difference is that corn syrup has no fructose as opposed to cane sugar or beet sugar.  Table sugar, composed of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose, is from sugar beets or sugar cane.    For a lot of reasons I won’t get into now, but can be found in the movie “King Corn“, corn syrup is much cheaper to produce than cane or beet sugar, but it doesn’t taste the same. In step the scientists to “fix” that problem.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Scientists found a way to chemically alter corn syrup to create a cheap liquid sugar by adding fructose, hence the name high fructose corn syrup.  The corn syrup is high in fructose relative to other corn syrup, not to sugar.  HFCS-55 has a similar fructose ratio to honey and is composed of 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose and is used in soft drinks.  There is also a HFCS-45, which is less sweet than sugar and HFCS-55 and is used in many baked goods, jams, jellies, and cereals. HFCS-45 contains 45 percent fructose and 55 percent glucose.  It is widely believed that because HFCS has been chemically altered that the body doesn’t react to it in the same way as sugar, but that has yet to be proven.

Conclusion

Many believe that caramel made with beet sugar will crystallize and never form caramel where cane sugar works well. Cane sugar on a creme brulee caramelizes while beet sugar burns.  Some cooks believe that making boiled icing with beet sugar is a mess.  If the package of sugar doesn’t say cane, it’s beet.  Some brands mix the two.

 

Happy baking and keep on Farming you Fat Farmers- Jughandle

Pantry 101 – General Goods & Condiments 7-10

Pantry 101 – General Goods & Condiments 7-10

General goods & Condiments

1. rice
2. dried pasta in different shapes
3. dried onion soup mix
4. tomato paste
5. tomato sauce
6. canned tomatoes
7. peanut butter
8. jelly
9. canned tuna
10. raisins

11. chocolate syrup
12. cereals
13. chicken or beef stock
14. canned soups
15. canned beans
16. olives
17. canned pears
18. canned peaches
19. applesauce
20. vegetable oil
21. olive oil
22. red wine vinegar
23. white wine vinegar
24. vegetable shortening
25. nonstick cooking spray
26. mayonnaise
27. ketchup
28. mustard
29. salad dressings
30. soy sauce
31. hot pepper sauce
32. Worcestershire sauce
33. barbecue sauce
34. salsa
35. honey
36. maple syrup
37. white wine for cooking
38. red wine for cooking
39. Mango Chutney

7) peanut butter
 is a food paste made primarily from ground roasted peanuts, with or without added oil. It is popular throughout the world and is also manufactured in some emerging markets. Its primary use is as a sandwich spread.  Similar peanut pastes are popular in various cultures. In South Indian cooking, chili peppers are added to make a spicy variant of peanut paste. In Andhra Pradesh, India, peanut chutney is popular. In this variation, peanuts are ground and mixed with chili peppers and other ingredients.  In some types of gourmet peanut butter, chocolate or other ingredients may be added. Various nut butters are also made from other nuts.

Health benefits
Peanut butter may protect against a high risk of cardiovascular disease due to high levels of monounsaturated fats and resveratrol; butter prepared with the skin of the peanuts has a greater level of resveratrol and other health-aiding agents. Peanut butter (and peanuts) provide protein, vitamins B3 and E, magnesium, folate, dietary fiber, arginine, and high levels of the antioxidant p-coumaric acid.

Health concerns

For people with a peanut allergy, peanut butter can cause reactions including anaphylactic shock which has led to its banning in some schools.
The peanut plant is susceptible to the mold Aspergillus flavus which produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin.[5] Since it is impossible to completely remove every instance of aflatoxins, contamination of peanuts and peanut butter is monitored in many countries to ensure safe levels of this carcinogen. Average American peanut butter contains about 13 parts per billion of aflatoxins, a thousand times below the maximum recommended safe level.
Some brands of peanut butter may contain a large amount of added hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are high in trans fatty acids, thought to be a cause of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and stroke; these oils are added to make the butter easier to spread. Natural peanut butter, and peanuts, do not contain partially hydrogenated oils. A USDA survey of commercial peanut butters in the US did not show the presence of trans fat.
Also, at least one study has found that peanut oil caused relatively heavy clogging of arteries. Robert Wissler, of the University of Chicago, reported that diets high in peanut oil, when combined with cholesterol intake, clogged the arteries of Rhesus monkeys more than did butterfat.

So, to sum up; peanutbutter good, additives bad.  As always, read the labels, look for and avoid added anything.  The shorter the list, the better.  Avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils.

8) jelly
Jelly is strictly defined in the US as: That semisolid food made from not less than 45 parts by weight of fruit juice ingredient to each 55 parts by weight of sugar.  This mixture is concentrated to not less than 65 percent soluble solids.  Pectin and acid may be added to overcome the deficiencies that occur in the fruit itself.  Flavoring and coloring agents may also be added.  The name of the fruit used in making the jelly must be stated with other ingredients, in order of declining by weights, on the label of such products offered for sale in the US.

Store bought jellies or Jams generally contain more additives than home made.  If you can get home made from a friend or relative that knows how to preserve, do it.  It will almost always be better.

Why Fruit Jellies are Stable – Jelly, jam, fruit butters, marmalades and preserves are products that are stable because they are high in solids (sugar) and high in acids.  A food substrate concentrated to 65 percent of more soluble solids (sugar) and which contains substantial acid may be preserved with relatively minor heat treatment provided that food product is protected from air.  The high fruit solids and the pectin bind or tie-up the moisture sufficiently to lower the water activity to a level where only molds can grow.  Hermetic sealing protects the product form moisture loss, mold growth and oxidation. – http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g1604/build/g1604.pdf

Long story short.  Use good canning practices, use good ripe fruit and after you open it put it in the refrig.  Also remember that there are a lot of sugars in jelly and that will spike your blood sugar.  Avoid sugar when ever possible.

Side bar-  Jelly is made from juice, Jams are made with the fruit pulp in it, Fruit Butter is the smooth, semisolid  paste with a ratio of five parts fruit to two parts sugar, and Marmalade is usually made from citrus fruit or may contain a citrus peel.

9) canned tuna
This can be a controversial subject, because of the fishing methods used to obtain the fish.  Very large nets are strung out for miles and pulled in catching everything that’s out there.  Sharks are caught in the nets and drown, because they need to keep moving at all times.  Sea turtles are also caught and die in the nets.  Mostly people are upset about the dolphins getting caught and dieing or being injured  in the nets.  With that said.  Tuna is a great source of nutrition.   Most of the next paragraphs come from Wikipedia.

Tuna are several species of ocean-dwelling fish in the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tunas are fast swimmers—they have been clocked at 70 km/h (45 mph)—and include several species that are warm-blooded. Unlike most fish species, which have white flesh, tuna have flesh that is pink to dark red. The red coloring comes from tuna muscle tissue’s greater quantities of myoglobin, an oxygen-binding molecule. Some of the larger tuna species, such as the bluefin tuna, can raise their blood temperature above that of the water through muscular activity. This ability enables them to live in cooler waters and to survive in a wide range of ocean environments
Tuna is an important commercial fish. Some varieties of tuna, such as the bluefin and bigeye tuna, Thunnus obesus, are threatened by overfishing, which dramatically affects tuna populations in the Atlantic and northwestern Pacific Oceans. Other areas seem to support fairly healthy populations of some of the over 48 different species of tuna —for example, the central and western Pacific skipjack tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis—but there is mounting evidence that overexploitation threatens tuna populations worldwide. The Australian government alleged in 2006 that Japan had illegally overfished southern bluefin by taking 12,000 to 20,000 tonnes per year instead of the their agreed 6,000 tonnes; the value of such overfishing would be as much as USD $2 billion. Such overfishing has resulted in severe damage to stocks. According to the WWF, “Japan’s huge appetite for tuna will take the most sought-after stocks to the brink of commercial extinction unless fisheries agree on more rigid quotas”.[2]

Increasing quantities of high-grade tuna are entering the market from operations that rear tuna in net pens and feed them a variety of bait fish. In Australia the southern bluefin tuna, Thunnus maccoyii, is one of two species of bluefin tunas that are kept in tuna farms by former fishermen.[3] Its close relative, the northern bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, is being used to develop tuna farming industries in the Mediterranean, North America and Japan.

Due to their high position in the food chain and the subsequent accumulation of heavy metals from their diet, mercury levels can be high in larger species such as bluefin and albacore. As a result, in March 2004 the United States FDA issued guidelines recommending that pregnant women, nursing mothers and children limit their intake of tuna and other types of predatory fish.[4] However, most canned light tuna is skipjack tuna, which is lower in mercury. The Chicago Tribune reported that some canned light tuna such as yellowfin tuna[5] is significantly higher in mercury than skipjack tuna, and caused Consumers Union and other health groups to advise pregnant women to refrain from consuming canned tuna.[6] The Eastern little tuna (Euthynnus affinis) has been available for decades as a low-mercury, less expensive canned tuna. However, of the five major species of canned tuna imported by the United States it is the least commercially attractive, primarily due to its dark color and more pronounced ‘fishy’ flavor. Its use has traditionally been restricted exclusively to institutional (non-retail) commerce.

Canned tuna

Canned tuna was first produced in 1903, and quickly became popular. In the United States, only Albacore can legally be sold in canned form as “white meat tuna”; in other countries, Yellowfin is also acceptable as “white meat tuna.”
While in the early 1980s canned tuna in Australia was most likely to be Southern bluefin, as of 2003 it is usually yellowfin, skipjack, or tongol (labelled “northern bluefin”).
As tuna are often caught great distances from where they are processed, poor quality control may lead to spoilage. Tuna are typically eviscerated by hand, then pre-cooked for 45 minutes to three hours. The fish are then cleaned and filleted, packaged into cans, and sealed. The second cooking of the tuna meat (called retort cooking) is carried out in the cans, this time for 2 to 4 hours. This process kills any bacteria, but retains the histamine that can produce rancid flavors. The international standard sets the maximum histamine level at 200 milligrams per kilogram. An Australian study of 53 varieties of unflavored canned tuna found none to exceed the maximum histamine level, although some had “off” flavors.
Australian standards once required cans of tuna to contain at least 51% tuna, but these regulations were dropped in 2003. The remaining weight is usually oil or water. In the US, the FDA has regulations on canned tuna

Association with dolphins

Many tuna species associate with dolphins, swimming alongside them. These include yellowfin tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean, but not albacore or skipjack. The reason for the association is believed to be the avoidance of dolphins by sharks, which are predators of tuna. Swimming near dolphins reduces the likelihood of the tuna being attacked by a shark.
Fishing vessels can exploit this association by searching for pods of dolphins. They encircle the pod with nets to catch the tuna beneath. The nets are prone to entangling dolphins, thus injuring or killing them. As a result of public outcry, methods have been made more “dolphin friendly”, now generally involving lines rather than nets. However, there are neither universal independent inspection programs nor verification of “dolphin safeness” to show that dolphins are not harmed during tuna fishing. According to Consumers Union, the resulting lack of accountability means claims that tuna that is “dolphin safe” should be given little credence.

Canned tuna is a prominent component in many weight trainers‘ diets, as it is very high in protein and is easily prepared.
Tuna is an Oily fish, and therefore contains a high amount of Vitamin D. A can of tuna in oil contains about the Adequate Intake (AI) of the US Dietary Reference Intake of vitamin D for infants, children, men, and women aged 19–50 – 200 UI.
Canned tuna can also be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, of which it sometimes contains over 300 mg per serving. A January 2008 report conducted by the New York Times has found potentially dangerous levels of mercury in certain varieties of sushi tuna, reporting levels “so high that the Food and Drug Administration could take legal action to remove the fish from the market.”

To summarize:  Canned tuna is a great source of protein.  Avoid tuna packed in oil.  If you don’t want to risk the off flavor associated with cans, look for pouch packaged tuna.  If you don’t want to hurt other fish, buy only line caught tuna, or tuna steaks.  If you don’t want to risk mercury poisoning or IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, avoid tuna all together.


10) raisins
Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world, such as the United States, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Greece, Turkey, India, Iran, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Togo, and Jamaica, as well as South Africa and Southern and Eastern Europe. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking and baking.
Raisin varieties depend on the type of grape used. Seedless varieties include the Sultana (also known as “Thompson Seedless” in the USA) and Flame. Raisins are typically sun-dried, but may also be “water-dipped,” or dehydrated. “Golden raisins” are made from Sultanas, treated with Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) , and flame dried to give them their characteristic color. A particular variety of seedless grape, the Black Corinth, is also sun dried to produce Zante currants, mini raisins that are much darker in color and have a tart, tangy flavour. Several varieties of raisins are produced in Asia and, in the West, are only available at ethnic specialty grocers. Green raisins are produced in Iran. Raisins have a variety of colors (green, black, blue, purple, yellow) and sizes.

Raisins are about 60% sugars by weight, most of which is fructose. Raisins are also high in certain antioxidants, and are comparable to prunes and apricots in this regard. As for all dried fruits, raisins have a very low vitamin C content.

The natural sugar in grapes crystallizes during the drying process.

Raisins are sweet due to their high concentration of sugars. If they are stored for a long period, the sugar inside the fruit crystallizes. This makes the dry raisins gritty, but does not affect their usability. The sugar grains dissolve when the raisins are swelled in (hot) water.

 

Grape and raisin toxicity in dogs

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The consumption of grapes and raisins presents a potential health threat to dogs. Their toxicity to dogs can cause the animal to develop acute renal failure (the sudden development of kidney failure) with anuria (a lack of urine production). The phenomenon was first identified by the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). A trend was seen as far back as 1999. Approximately 140 cases were seen by the APCC in the one year from April 2003 to April 2004, with 50 developing symptoms and seven dying.

Cause and pathology

The reason why some dogs develop renal failure following ingestion of grapes and raisins is not known. Types of grapes involved include both seedless and seeded, store bought and homegrown, and grape pressings from wineries.  A mycotoxin is suspected to be involved, but one has not been found in grapes or raisins ingested by affected dogs. The estimated toxic dose of grapes is 32 g/kg (grams of grapes per kilograms of mass of the dog), and for raisins it is 11–30 g/kg. The most common pathological finding is proximal renal tubular necrosis. In some cases, an accumulation of an unidentified golden-brown pigment was found within renal epithelial cells.

 Symptoms and diagnosis

Vomiting and diarrhea are often the first symptoms of grape or raisin toxicity. They often develop within a few hours of ingestion. Pieces of grapes or raisins may be present in the vomitus or stool. Further symptoms include weakness, not eating, increased drinking, and abdominal pain. Acute renal failure develops within 48 hours of ingestion    A blood test may reveal increases in blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, phosphorus, and calcium.

Treatment

Emesis (induction of vomiting) is the generally recommended treatment if a dog has eaten grapes or raisins within the past two hours. A veterinarian may use an emetic such as hydrogen peroxide or apomorphine to cause the dog to vomit. Further treatment may involve the use of activated charcoal to adsorb remaining toxins in the gastrointestinal tract and intravenous fluid therapy in the first 48 hours following ingestion to induce diuresis and help to prevent acute renal failure.Vomiting is treated with antiemetics and the stomach is protected from uremic (damage to the stomach from increased BUN) with H2 receptor antagonists. BUN, creatinine, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium levels are closely monitored. Dialysis of the blood (hemodialysis) and peritoneal dialysis can be used to support the kidneys if anuria develops. Oliguria (decreased urine production) can be treated with dopamine or furosemide to stimulate urine production.

The prognosis is guarded in any dog developing symptoms of toxicosis. A negative prognosis has been associated with oliguria or anuria, weakness, difficulty walking, and severe hypercalcemia (increased blood calcium levels).

 

You might have noticed that I added Mango Chutney to the bottom of the list.  This was a suggestion from Mittie.  We’ll talk more about it when we get there.  Thanks, Mittie, for the input.

later-
Jughandle

Pantry 101-General Goods & Condiments 11-19

General goods & Condiments

1. rice
2. dried pasta in different shapes
3. dried onion soup mix
4. tomato paste
5. tomato sauce
6. canned tomatoes
7. peanut butter
8. jelly
9. canned tuna
10. raisins
11. chocolate syrup
12. cereals
13. chicken or beef stock
14. canned soups
15. canned beans
16. olives
17. canned pears
18. canned peaches
19. applesauce
20. vegetable oil
21. olive oil
22. red wine vinegar
23. white wine vinegar
24. vegetable shortening
25. nonstick cooking spray
26. mayonnaise
27. ketchup
28. mustard
29. salad dressings
30. soy sauce
31. hot pepper sauce
32. Worcestershire sauce
33. barbecue sauce
34. salsa
35. honey
36. maple syrup
37. white wine for cooking
38. red wine for cooking
39. Mango Chutney

11) chocolate syrup
Let’s skip this one. I personally don’t see a need for another sugar packed pantry item. Anything you can do with chocolate syrup you can do with chocolate. Prove me wrong.

12) cereals
Have only one personal rule with cereals. They must be high in fiber per serving (5grams or more) low in sugar (5 grams or less) and low in calories. I have found a couple, but the one I like the best is Trader Joe’s High Fiber. It has 9 grams of fiber for a 80 calories 2/3c serving. Only 5 grams of sugar. It is a twig style cereal. Kashi makes several good ones too.

13) chicken or beef stock
These you need! You’ll use stock a lot. Don’t get the canned stuff. Buy the stock in the cardboard boxes with the spout. There are several different brands. Look for low sodium with little or no additives. Absolutely no MSG.

14) canned soups
These are an easy way to have a quick meal, snack, or just to add to a sauce or stew. Again, look for low sodium, no MSG, yada, yada. We’ve even found some good soups in those same cardboard boxes that are GREAT! Look around, read the labels, find something you like and buy 5 or six. They keep.

15) canned beans
The only canned beans we might do are canned re-fried beans or black beans. It is always better to buy dried beans and make your own. Plan the night before and soak your beans in a big pot. They will absorb a lot of water. Rinse and repeat. Then slow boil them in water, beer, stock, or what ever you come up with. Beans are a great source of everything good. EAT THEM OFTEN.

16) olives
I love all things olive. Oil, paste, whole, black, green, greek, etc, etc. They are very GOOD for you. Plus they are great to add to a dish either whole, chopped or in a puree. Olives are a strong flavor and mix well with a variety of dishes. We’ll do several olive recipes later.

17) Frozen pears
This was originally canned pears, and I can think of several uses of canned fruits, but all canned fruit has a bunch of added sugar. Frozen ones probably do too, but at least they aren’t already cooked to death.

18) canned peaches
See # 17

19) applesauce
This I kind of get. There are a lot of jarred applesauces that are naturally sweetened without additive that I would use. But I personally don’t use much applesauce, I like it, I just don’t use it. Let me know how you use it, if you do.

 

Until tomorrow –

Jughandle

Chia Seeds – Find it, Eat it now!

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are one of the most powerful, functional, and nutritious superfoods in the world.  The chia seed is an amazing source of fiber and protein.  It is full of antioxidants and vitamins, minerals and is the richest plant source of omega-3. Yes, even better than flaxseeds.

A member of the mint family the plant is Salvia Hispanica and grows in southern Mexico.  Chia seeds were a daily component of the Aztec and Mayan diets.  It was thought that 1 T of the seeds could sustain a person for 24 hours.  Aztecs also used chia medicinally to relieve joint pain and skin conditions. It was a major crop in central and southern Mexico well into the 16th century, but it was banned after the Spanish conquest because of its association with the Aztec “pagan” religion.

Easy to grow

Over the past few decades, commercial production has resumed in Latin America.  Insects don’t like the plant, so organic seeds are easy to obtain but since there are no pests on the plants, almost all Chia is grown organically or without chemicals.  Where flaxseed has a very sort shelf life, Chia can be stored for years without getting rancid and the seeds don’t require grinding like the flaxseed, to be able to digest.

Nutrition

2 tablespoons or 25 grams–give you 7 g of fiber as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, niacin, and zinc.  More antioxidants than Blueberries.  More omega-3 than salmon.  More Fiber than bran flakes, more Calcium than 2% milk, more Protein, Fiber & Calcium than flax seeds.  These humble seeds give you a boost of energy that lasts also providing stamina and endurance.  Chia Seeds Reduce Cravings because they absorb so much water and have high soluble fiber levels, they help release natural, unrefined carbohydrate energy slowly into the bloodstream.  They are easy to digest and the fiber content actually helps in that digestion.

Chia is 16 percent protein, 31 percent fat, and 44 percent carbohydrate of which 38 percent is fiber. Most of its fat is the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20 (2007).

The Chia seed has gotten very little press and only a little research since it’s revival, but expect much more soon.

In a preliminary study from the University of Toronto, researchers fed 21 diabetics either a supplement made from chia or grains with similar fiber content.  After 3 months, blood pressure in patients taking chia dropped (10 points diastolic, 5 points systolic) while the grain group’s BP remained steady.

Taste & Uses

The Chia seed has a nutty flavor.  Use them whole on cereal, yogurt or salads.  Mix them into your trail mix.  They can be ground and mixed with flour when baking as their nutritional content isn’t effected by heat.

The seeds have a natural affinity to water and when soaked in water create a gelatinous liquid which is just the soluble fiber releasing,  that can be used as a kind of binder in cooking.  In Mexico, Chia is used to create a drink called Chia Fresca.  Stir 2 T of Chia seeds into 8 to 10 oz of water.  Add lime or lemon, sugar to taste and you have a nutritious health drink.

Nutritious Chia Seed Gel

Chia Seed Gel

ways to prepare and use the seeds

1. Make Chia Gel -Chia Gel can be a healthy substitute for milk, eggs, butter, or oil.

  • Mix 1/3 cup of chia seeds with 2 cups of water.
  • Whisk together briskly.
  • Let the mixture rest for about fifteen minutes.
  • Whisk one more time.
  • Put the mixture in a sealed container and refrigerate.
  • Chia gel will keep 3 weeks in the fridge.
  • 1 egg = 3 T water and 1 T chia seeds either whole or ground

2. Chia Flour

You can also enjoy the health benefits of chia seeds when you grind them into flour. You can do this yourself or purchase ready-made chia flour. Use chia flour to bake pizza crust, pies, bread, cookies, biscuits, and anything else. Combine it with whole wheat or barley flour. Experiment with the ratios until you get what you like. Of course you can also use chia flour alone, but it might take some practice. Chia is gluten-free so there isn’t a problem with that.

3. Chia Butter

Chia butter is a great low-fat, high-protein alternative to regular butter. There is still real butter in the recipe but it’s only half. So you get the creamy flavor of butter, but only 1/2 the fat, and you get the additional health benefits of chia.

  • Take equal proportions of chia gel to softened butter.  Around 3 to 4 oz  of each.
  • Combine them together in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  • Put in an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Use the chia butter anywhere you would use normal butter – on toast, for cooking and baking, or as a sandwich spread.
  • Try adding some fresh herbs and spices for a savory butter
  • Try adding a teaspoon of agave nectar and a handful of ground almonds, spread on toast and sprinkle with cinnamon
Don’t buy Chia oil because all the preservative antioxidants are in the seed shells, therefore making the oil very perishable.

Recommended Dosage

Nutrition experts recommend you take 1-4 tablespoons per day of chia seeds. You can receive the health benefits through chia ingested raw or cooked. Try and take a little chia every day so that your body experiences long-term benefits from the regular intake of omega 3, vitamin B, calcium, potassium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and many other fundamental nutrients.

I have read that there is no need to worry about “overdosing” – chia is a 100% natural food and presents no damaging side effects.  Any extra nutrients should simply pass through your body. So you should be able to eat as much chia as you like!

Conclusions

 I conclude that everyone needs Chia seeds in their diet.  If you are wondering, the old Chia pets are these same Chia seeds.  You should be able to find Chia seeds in white or black at least in the health food department of your store for around $10 -12 per lb.  If you can’t find it, it will be available through the Fat Farm Store with links below. – jughandle

1 lb of Chia seeds – $8.40

 3 lbs of Chia seeds – $13.65

6 lbs of Chia seeds – $21.99

 

Freezer Items to Keep on Hand 11-14

These are items to stock in the freezer. Most will keep 6 months to a year or more and are a great source of last minute meals or an add-on to a meal in progress.

Freezer Items to Stock 11-14

1. orange juice concentrate
2. corn
3. green beans
4. spinach
5. peas
6. mixed vegetables
7. ground beef
8. chicken breasts
9. shrimp
10. dinner rolls or bread
11. ice cream
12. pie crust
13. nuts
14. peppers

 

11. ice cream – this kind of speaks for itself.  Ice cream is very high in fat and sugar and we all know what that leads to.  I don’t recommend stocking the freezer with this item.

12. pie crust – now pre-made frozen pie crust can come in hand for many legitimate needs.  A crust can be one of the most time consuming things to make when making a quiche or other savory crusted dish.

13. nuts – all kinds of raw nuts store best when kept in the freezer.  As with everything else, try to avoid freezer burn by removing all the air from the package before freezing.

14. peppers –  peppers of all kinds store will in the freezer.  It is time consuming to blanch and cut up or roast and clean peppers for a dish.  This can be done on a slow day and frozen to be used when time is short.

That’s it Farmers, hope you can benefit from the lessons on pantry items.  Let’s start cooking. – jug

Freezer Items to Keep on Hand 6-10

These are items to stock in the freezer. Most will keep 6 months to a year or more and are a great source of last minute meals or an add-on to a meal in progress.

Freezer Items to Stock 6-10

1. orange juice concentrate
2. corn
3. green beans
4. spinach
5. peas
6. mixed vegetables
7. ground beef
8. chicken breasts
9. shrimp
10. dinner rolls or bread

11. ice cream
12. pie crust
13. nuts
14. peppers

 

6. mixed vegetables – These are usually peas carrots and maybe onions.  Not a bad thing to have around in a food or health emergency.  You can either eat it or use the cold package as a compress for a bruise or sprain.
7. ground beef – Frozen ground beef is something I would have always had on hand.  But with the E. coli and salmonella scares, and my preferrance of a med rare burger, I recommend that we all grind our own fresh ground beef or chuck.  One thing you can do is find the specials on chuck roast or cheap cuts of beef and freeze them.  Then  when you need ground beef, defrost and grind.
8. chicken breasts – To save money I highly recommend that you look for a special on whole fryers or baking hens and buy whole birds to butcher at home.  We usually get our chicken at Cosco or Sam’s club for under a $1.00 per lb.  I buy 4 to six birds and freeze 2 whole and butcher the others into parts for the freezer.  Very efficient.
9. shrimp – I rarely buy shrimp because I think that it is a waste of money for what you get to eat.  But there are people out there that love the little things.  Frozen shrimp will keep for 3 or 4 months and are good snacks when people drop by unexpectedly.
10. dinner rolls or bread – Frozen dinner rolls are a must to have on hand.  It is a quick and easy way to put bread on the table inexpensively.  Yeast rolls that are ready for the oven are exceptionally good.

 

Ok, Farmers, we’ll finish this category off tomorrow that start cooking soon after.- later, Jug

Freezer Items to Keep on Hand 1-5

This are items to stock in the freezer.  Most will keep 6 month to a year or more and are a great source of last minute meals or  an add-on to a meal in progress.

Freezer Items to Stock

1. orange juice concentrate
2. corn
3. green beans
4. spinach
5. peas
6. mixed vegetables
7. ground beef
8. chicken breasts
9. shrimp
10. dinner rolls or bread
11. ice cream
12. pie crust
13. nuts
14. peppers

 

1. Orange juice concentrate – OJ as we know it is a good source of vitamin C, but it’s main benefit seems to come from “flavonoids”.  OJ with pulp has more flavonoids than pulp free.  Ever wonder why frozen or concentrated orange juice tastes different than fresh?  It is because the fresh squeezed juice is pasteurized and filtered then the water is evaporated under vacuum and heat.  When most of the water is gone the concentrated juice, now about 65% sugar by weight is frozen to 10 def f.

2. Frozen Corn – good for soup or as a side dish

3. Green beans – also good for soups or as a side dish

4. spinach – loses some texture but is great for dips or a side dish

5. peas – also good for soups or as a side dish

 

All of these frozen vegetables are treated the same way.  They are cleaned, washed blanched and flash frozen.  During the process there is loss of vitamins because of the blanching process and not the freezing.  Vitamin C takes the biggest loss at over 30%.  Freezing isn’t as effective at killing pathogens as is heating and some believe that the pathogens are just slowed down and will become active again once the food warms.   For that reason long term frozen food should be kept at below -18 deg F which isn’t possible in most home freezers so you shouldn’t keep frozen food for more than 6 months to a year.

More tomorrow,

Jughandle

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