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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

Pantry 101-General Goods & Condiments 20-26

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

20) vegetable oil

Vegetable fats and oils are lipid materials derived from plants. Physically, oils are liquid at room temperature, and fats are solid. Chemically, both fats and oils are composed of triglycerides, as contrasted with waxes which lack glycerin in their structure. Although many different parts of plants may yield oil, in commercial practice, oil is extracted primarily from seeds.
The melting temperature distinction between oils and fats is imprecise, since definitions of room temperature vary, and typically natural oils have a melting range instead of a single melting point.
Vegetable fats and oils may be edible or inedible.

I’m not going to do a dissertation on the health or unhealthy use of oil, except to say, when cooking with oil, any oil, never let it go above 400 deg. The oil will breakdown at those temperatures and produce very unhealthy bi-products.

Pure vegetable oil like Wesson should be used sparingly. Yes, you need it in the pantry, but don’t use it as a first choice. Use, in this order, Olive oil, Canola oil (rapeseed), Safflower oil and peanut oil. When frying at high temps (375 degs max) the use of peanut oil is better because it holds up at high temps better.

Negative health effects

A high consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are found in most types of vegetable oil (e.g. soybean oil, corn oil – the most consumed in USA, sunflower oil, etc.), may increase the likelihood that postmenopausal women will develop breast cancer[18]. Similar effect was observed on prostate cancer[19]. Other analysis suggested an inverse association between total polyunsaturated fatty acids and breast cancer risk[20].

21) olive oil


I use olive oil almost exclusively, even when I pan fry.
Retail grades in IOOC member nations

In countries which adhere to the standards of the IOOC the labels in stores show an oil’s grade. The US is not a member.

Extra-virgin olive oil comes from cold pressing of the olives, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. Extra-virgin and virgin olive oil may not contain refined oil.
Virgin olive oil has an acidity less than 2%, and is judged to have a good taste.
Pure olive oil. Oils labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are usually a blend of refined and virgin or extra-virgin oil.
Olive oil is a blend of virgin oil and refined oil, of no more than 1.5% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.
Olive-pomace oil is a blend of refined pomace olive oil and possibly some virgin oil. It is fit for consumption, but may not be described simply as olive oil. Olive-pomace oil is rarely sold at retail; it is often used for certain kinds of cooking in restaurants.
Lampante oil is olive oil not suitable as food; lampante comes from olive oil’s long-standing use in oil-burning lamps. Lampante oil is mostly used in the industrial market.

Label wording

Olive oil vendors choose the wording on their labels very carefully.

“100% Pure Olive Oil” is often the lowest quality available in a retail store: better grades would have “virgin” on the label.
“Made from refined olive oils” means that the taste and acidity were chemically controlled.
“Light olive oil” means refined olive oil, with less flavour. All olive oil has 120 Calories per tablespoon (34 KJ/ml).
“From hand-picked olives” implies that the oil is of better quality, since producers harvesting olives by mechanical methods are inclined to leave olives to over-ripen in order to increase yield.
“First cold press” means that the oil in bottles with this label is the first oil that came from the first press of the olives. The word cold is important because if heat is used, the olive oil’s chemistry is changed. It should be noted that extra-virgin olive oil is cold pressed, but not necessarily the first oils.
The label may indicate that the oil was bottled or packed in a stated country. This does not necessarily mean that the oil was produced there. The origin of the oil may sometimes be marked elsewhere on the label; it may be a mixture of oils from more than one country.

Retail grades in the United States from the USDA

As the United States is not a member, the IOOC retail grades have no legal meaning in that country; terms such as “extra virgin” may be used without legal restrictions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently lists four grades of olive oil. These grades were established in 1948, and are based on acidity, absence of defects, odor and flavor:

U.S. Grade A or U.S. Fancy possesses a free fatty acid content of not more than 1.4% and is “free from defects”
U.S. Grade B or U.S. Choice possesses a free fatty acid content of not more than 2.5% and is “reasonably free from defects”
U.S. Grade C or U.S. Standard possesses a free fatty acid content of not more than 3.0% and is “fairly free from defects”
U.S. Grade D or U.S. Substandard possesses a free fatty acid content greater than 3.0% “fails to meet the requirements of U.S. Grade C”

These grades are entirely voluntary and are available from the USDA on a fee-for-service basis.
****Now that I have totally confused you I will summarize: Buy Extra-virgin olive oil that is from the first COLD pressing. Don’t buy anything else and buy the most expensive oil you can justify. And usually, the greener the oil the better. I have found that Trader Joe’s has an excellent oil at a very reasonable price.

22) red wine vinegar
Wine vinegar is either made from red or white. Cooks use vinegar for many purposes such as; pickling, deglazing pans, marinating meats, making sauces and is found in certain desserts. Red wine vinegar is commonly used in the Mediterranean countries, being a common staple in most French homes. There are several different qualities of red wine vinegar. The longer the wine vinegar matures, the better it is. Most red wines can be matured up to two years. White wine vinegar is a moderately tangy vinegar that French cooks use to make Hollandaise and Béarnaise sauces, vinaigrettes, soups, and stews. It’s also an excellent base for homemade fruit or herb vinegars

Season: available year-round

Substitutions: red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, rice vinega, cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegarr, sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar

23) white wine vinegar
See Red wine vinegar

24) vegetable shortening
I’ve made this real big so you would read this. Don’t use shortening, is my recommendation!

Shortening is a semisolid fat used in food preparation, especially baked goods, and is so called because it promotes a “short” or crumbly texture (as in shortbread). The term “shortening” can be used more broadly to apply to any fat that is used for baking and which is solid at room temperature, such as butter, lard, or margarine, but as used in recipes it refers to a hydrogenated vegetable oil that is solid at room temperature. Shortening has a higher smoke point than butter and margarine, and it has 100% fat content, compared to about 80% for butter and margarine.

Although the term has been in use for many years it is now known that shortening works by inhibiting the formation of long protein (gluten) strands in wheat-based doughs. The similarity in terms is entirely coincidental since full understanding of the structure and chemistry of dough is comparatively recent.

History

Crisco, a popular brand in the USA, was first produced in 1911. In Ireland and the UK Cookeen is a popular brand. An industrial product, shortening has many advantages. While similar to butter or lard, it is cheaper to produce; originally, lard was far cheaper and edible oils came at a higher cost. Shortening also needs no refrigeration, which further lowers its costs and increases its convenience. As a substitute for butter, it can lengthen the shelf life of baked goods and other foods. With these advantages shortening gained popularity, as food production became increasingly industrialized and manufacturers sought low-cost raw materials. Vast surpluses of cottonseed oil, corn oil, and soy beans helped found a market in low-cost shortening.

Health concerns and reformulation

Available and used worldwide, vegetable shortening is believed to be damaging to human health since it generally contains trans fats in the form of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. After the oils are hydrogenated they become solid at room temperature, but the type of trans fat generated in this process has adverse health effects. Usage of shortening lacking trans fats has grown, notably with the 2007 reformulation of Crisco such that it contains less than 1g of trans fat per 12g serving. Cookeen was also reformulated in autumn 2006 to remove trans fats[1]. Non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening can be made from palm oil.

Comparative properties of common cooking fats (per 100g)
Total Fat Saturated Fat Monounsaturated Fat Polyunsaturated Fat Protein
Butter 81g 51g 21g 3g 1g
Vegetable Shortening (hydrogenated) 71g 23g 8g 37g 0g
Olive Oil 100g 14g 73g 11g 0g
Lard 100g 39g 45g 11g 0g

To sum up: The new Crisco STILL has some transfat in it. Look other brands that are labeled NO TRANS FATS if you want to avoid that completely.

Update- so you’ll know the facts:

In April 2004, Smucker introduced “Crisco Zero Grams Trans Fat Per Serving All-Vegetable Shortening,” which contained fully hydrogenated palm oil blended with liquid vegetable oils to yield a shortening much like the original Crisco. As of January 24, 2007, all Crisco shortening products have been reformulated to contain less than one gram of trans fat per serving. The separately marketed trans-fat free version introduced in 2004 was discontinued.  Crisco now consists of a blend of soybean oil, fully hydrogenated cottonseed oil, and partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils. According to the product information label, one 12 g serving of Crisco contains 3 g of saturated fat, 0g of trans fat, 6 g of polyunsaturated fat, and 2.5 g of monounsaturated fat.  It is claimed that this reformulated Crisco has the same cooking properties and flavor as the original version of the product.

According to the FDA website, “Food manufacturers are allowed to list amounts of trans fat with less than 0.5 gram (1/2 g)per serving as 0 (zero) on the Nutrition Facts panel.”

Controversy

Some nutritionists are already warning that Crisco’s formula change may be nutritionally irrelevant. They argue that fully hydrogenated oil may not be any healthier than trans-fat containing partially hydrogenated oil. Crisco and similar low trans-fat products are formed by the interesterification of a mixture of fully hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils. The result is “artificial” insofar as the composition of the resultant triglycerides is random, and may contain combinations of fatty acids not commonly found in nature. A recent study showed that interesterified fat increased volunteers’ blood sugar by 20 percent while simultaneously lowering the body’s “good” HDL cholesterol. The rise in blood sugar is problematic since it increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes, already a growing problem in the US.

Since cotton crops are under far less chemical regulation that other other crops used specifically for food, many pesticides or chemicals can be used on cotton crops that are illegal for use on food crops, yet the cottonseed can find it’s way into the food chain because of this major legal loophole in the regulation of food and chemicals by the FDA. Some serious pesticides or chemicals could resist processing and find their way into the food chain because of this.

25. nonstick cooking spray
These can be really good products. I use three different ones. I use the the original Pam, the High Heat Pam for grilling, a Baker’s no-stick spray with flour in it and an Olive oil spray. Just remember that most of these sprays are flammable if not because of the propellant, because of the oil. And also remember to use a small amount. The smaller the better. If you’d like to know some alternate uses for cooking spray, go to this site:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/496283/alternative_uses_for_cooking_spray.html?cat=22

26. mayonnaise
This topic could be very long and drawn out, so I’ll make it easy. I make my own mayonnaise about 1/4 of the time. Other than that I would rather do without than use anything but Hellman’s Original Mayo. I’ve tried them all and I only like my own or Hellman’s. I even HATE so called “Salad Dressing”. I’d love to hear what you guys think about this. – Jug

Pantry 101-Baking and Spices 13-17

1. baking soda –
2. baking powder
3. Cornstarch
4. yeast
5. flour
6. corn flour
7. corn meal
8. Salt
9. pepper -white and black
10. Sugar
11. confectioner’s sugar
12. brown sugar
13 light corn syrup
14. vanilla extract
15. ground cinnamon
16 whole nutmeg
17. ground cloves
18. Onion salt
19. dried chopped or minced onions
20. dried basil
21. dried oregano
22. chili powder
23. dry mustard
24. paprika
25. thyme
26. tarragon
27. dried dill
28. bay leaves
29. poultry seasoning
30. beef, chicken and vegetable bouillon
31. cream of tartar
32. unseasoned bread crumbs
33. unsweetened cocoa powder
34. unsweetened baking chocolate
34. chocolate chips

13) Light Corn Syrup

A thick sweet syrup which comes in both light and dark varieties, made from processed cornstarch. Light corn syrup has been clarified, while dark corn syrup has had coloring and caramel flavoring added. So you don’t need dark corn syrup. I made some homemade Worcestershire sauce last week and it called for light corn syrup and molasses.

Ingredient :
Used in cookie, caramel, glazes, sauces, cake icing, pies, candy

Season: available year-round

Substitutions: 1/2 cup sugar + 2 tbsp water = 1/2 cup light corn syrup; 1/2 cup honey = 1/2 cup light corn syrup

14) Vanilla extract
Vanilla extract is a solution containing the flavor compound vanillin. Pure vanilla extract is made by extracting from vanilla beans in an alcoholic solution. In order for a vanilla extract to be called pure, the FDA requires that the solution contain a minimum of 35% alcohol and 13.35 ounces of vanilla bean per gallon[1]. Double and triple strength vanilla extracts are available. Natural vanilla flavoring contains real vanilla bean but no actual alcohol. Imitation vanilla extract is usually made by soaking alcohol into wood, which contains vanillin.

So, now that you know why winos buy cheap vanilla extract and drink it, I’ll tell you which ones you should buy. Don’t ever buy Imitation vanilla extract, it sucks. Buy the best vanilla you can find. It is cheap and you don’t use much. I even make my own by soaking a couple of vanilla beans in a good vodka for a couple of months. The best store bought vanilla extract I’ve ever had my mother gave me for my birthday. It is Sonoma Syrup Co. Special Blend. Pure Vanilla Bean Extract “crush” Madagascar bourbon & tahitian vanilla with vanilla bean seeds. It is 8 oz she got from the HomeGoods store for $12.99. It has a big, pure flavor and doesn’t water down the things you put it in.

Vanilla is used in pastries, cookies, cakes, sauces, drinks and lots of other stuff. There really isn’t a substitute so you should have some on hand.

15) Ground Cinnamon info from http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/cinnamon.html
Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree. There are many different species, between 50 and 250, depending on which botanist you choose to believe. The two main varieties are Cinnamomum cassia and Cinnamomum zeylanicum. The first, cassia, we will consider separately in its own section. C. zeylanicum is also known as Ceylon cinnamon (the source of the its Latin name, zeylanicum), or ‘true cinnamon’ which is a lighter colour and possessing a sweeter, more delicate flavour than cassia. A native of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) the best cinnamon grows along the coastal strip near Colombo.
In ancient Egypt cinnamon was used medicinally and as a flavouing for beverages, It was also used in embalming, where body cavities were filled with spiced preservatives. In the ancient world cinnamon was more precious than gold. This is not too surprising though, as in Egypt the abundance of gold made it a fairly common ornamental metal. Nero, emperor of Rome in the first century AD, burned a years supply of cinnamon on his wife’s funeral pyre — an extravagant gesture meant to signify the depth of his loss.
Cinnamon was known in medieval Europe, where it was a staple ingredient, along with ginger, in many recipes. Since most meals were prepared in a single cauldron, casseroles containing both meat and fruit were common and cinnamon helped bridge the flavours. When crusaders brought home sugar, it too was added to the pot. Mince pie is a typical combination of this period which still survives.
The demand for cinnamon was enough to launch a number of explorers’ enterprises. The Portuguese invaded Sri Lanka immediately after reaching India in 1536. The Sinhalese King paid the Portuguese tributes of 110,000 kilograms of cinnamon annually.
The Dutch captured Sri Lanka in 1636 and established a system of cultivation that exists to this day. In its wild state, trees grow high on stout trunks. Under cultivation, the shoots are continually cropped almost to ground level, resulting in a low bush, dense with thin leafy branches. From these, come the finest quills.

Cinnamon is good for a lot of things. It has been proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. I like to add a teaspoon to my cereal in the morning for medicinal reasons. Here again it pays to get the best. I buy cinnamon sticks from Sri Lanka and grind them myself in the food processor as needed. If you get pre-ground cinnamon it contains large amounts of by-products like sawdust.

16) Whole nutmeg
I don’t know why, but I hate nutmeg. Unfortunately it is an important ingredient in a lot of recipes. I think I don’t like it because it is often over used or used in too large a quantity. Buy the whole nuts that come with a little grater and store the nut in the grater. It will last forever. Or get a bottle of nuts and use your microplane to grind it when needed.

17) Ground cloves
Don’t buy pre-ground, buy whole and grind it as needed. It will be fresher and last longer. Looks like you will need a dedicated coffee grinder for spices and a microplane. We’ll talk about that later.

The clove tree is an evergreen which grows to a height ranging from 10-20 m, having large oval leaves and crimson flowers in numerous groups of terminal clusters. The flower buds are at first of a pale color and gradually become green, after which they develop into a bright red, when they are ready for collecting. Cloves are harvested when 1.5-2 cm long, and consist of a long calyx, terminating in four spreading sepals, and four unopened petals which form a small ball in the centre.

According to FAO, Indonesia produced almost 80% of the world’s clove output in 2005 followed at a distance by Madagascar and Tanzania.

Cloves can be used in cooking either whole or in a ground form, but as they are extremely strong, they are used sparingly. The spice is used throughout Europe and Asia and is smoked in a type of cigarettes locally known as kretek in Indonesia. The largest brand of kreteks in the United States is Djarum, who sells the iconic Djarum Black. Cloves are also an important incense material in Chinese and Japanese culture.

Cloves have historically been used in Indian cuisine (both North Indian and South Indian)as well as Mexican cuisine (best known as “clavos de olor”), where it is often paired together with cumin and cinnamon.[1] In the north Indian cuisine, it is used in almost every sauce or side dish made, mostly ground up along with other spices. They are also a key ingredient in tea along with green cardamoms. In the south Indian cuisine, it finds extensive use in the biryani along with cloves dish (similar to the pilaf, but with the addition of local spice taste), and is normally added whole to enhance the presentation and flavor of the rice.
Toxicity

Large amounts should be avoided in pregnancy. Cloves can be irritating to the gastrointestinal tract, and should be avoided by people with gastric ulcers, colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome. In overdoses, cloves can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Severe cases can lead to changes in liver function, dyspnea, loss of consciousness, hallucination, and even death. The internal use of the essential oil should be restricted to 3 drops per day for an adult as excessive use can cause severe kidney damage.

I don’t use cloves very often, mostly for decorations, because they smell great stuck in an orange. I’ve seen them used stuck in a ham for presentation, but if you are going to drop anything from this list, cloves are a good candidate.

You may have noticed that I changed a few of the ingredents on the list from yesterday. I dropped powdered ginger. I’ve never used it. I know it is used in cookies and oriental cooking but I prefer fresh. I also added minced onions and onion salt. Well go over their uses tomorrow.

Have a good day, we’ll be cooking soon.
Jughandle

Pantry 101-Baking and Spices 1-5

Today I’m going to start discussing what staples to always have on hand.  We’ll start with Baking and Spices.  Even if you don’t “cook” or “bake”, you will need these things, trust me for just a little longer.  There are a lot of items here so I won’t talk about them all at once.  But you need to know why you use things to be able to properly apply them when you don’t have a recipe and are just winging it.  That is when you know you are a cook.

Here goes: Baking & Spice Staples

1. baking soda  –
2. baking powder
3. Cornstarch
4. yeast
5. flour
6. salt
7. pepper
8. peppercorns
9. sugar
10. confectioner’s sugar
11. brown sugar
12 light corn syrup
13. vanilla extract
14. ground cinnamon
15. whole nutmeg
16. ground cloves
17. powdered ginger
18. dried basil
19. dried oregano
20. chili powder
21. dry mustard
22. paprika
23. thyme
24. tarragon
25. dried dill
26. bay leaves
27. poultry seasoning
28. beef, chicken and vegetable bouillon
29. cream of tartar
30. unseasoned bread crumbs
31. unsweetened cocoa powder
32. unsweetened baking chocolate
33. chocolate chips

Most of these “dry” staples will last a long time if unopened, but if you open them use them or throw them a way every couple of years.  I removed pancake mix from this list because of a potential toxic mold that can grow in it.  Besides, pancake mix is easy to make and better than store bought.

Let’s start at the top:

Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents, which means they are added to baked goods before cooking to produce carbon dioxide and cause them to ‘rise’. Baking powder contains baking soda, but the two substances are used under different conditions.
1) Baking Soda

Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. When baking soda is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient (e.g., yogurt, chocolate, buttermilk, honey, lemon), the resulting chemical reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide that expand under oven temperatures, causing baked goods to rise. The reaction begins immediately upon mixing the ingredients, so you need to bake recipes which call for baking soda immediately, or else they will fall flat!

2) Baking Powder

Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate, but it includes the acidifying agent already (cream of tartar), and also a drying agent (usually starch). Baking powder is available as single-acting baking powder and as double-acting baking powder. Single-acting powders are activated by moisture, so you must bake recipes which include this product immediately after mixing. Double-acting powders react in two phases and can stand for a while before baking. With double-acting powder, some gas is released at room temperature when the powder is added to dough, but the majority of the gas is released after the temperature of the dough increases in the oven.

 

How Are Recipes Determined?

Some recipes call for baking soda, while others call for baking powder. Which ingredient is used depends on the other ingredients in the recipe. The ultimate goal is to produce a tasty product with a pleasing texture. Baking soda is basic and will yield a bitter taste unless countered by the acidity of another ingredient, such as buttermilk. You’ll find baking soda in cookie recipes. Baking powder contains both an acid and a base and has an overall neutral effect in terms of taste. Recipes that call for baking powder often call for other neutral-tasting ingredients, such as milk. Baking powder is a common ingredient in cakes and biscuits.

Substituting in Recipes

You can substitute baking powder in place of baking soda (you’ll need more baking powder and it may affect the taste), but you can’t use baking soda when a recipe calls for baking powder. Baking soda by itself lacks the acidity to make a cake rise. However, you can make your own baking powder if you have baking soda and cream of tartar. Simply mix two parts cream of tartar with one part baking soda.
This article was copied from the following website –  http://chemistry.about.com/cs/foodchemistry/f/blbaking.htm

There should be a date on the box of each.  If your soda or powder is more than 2 years old throw it out and buy more, it’s pretty cheap.

3) Cornstarch

Cornstarch is just what it sounds like: starch derived from corn. It is ground from the white endosperm at the heart of a kernel of corn.  It is so fine that if you pinch a little your fingers will squeak.   Cornstarch is used as a thickening agent in cooking, a health-conscious alternative to talc, and the main ingredient in a biodegradable plastic. It is also mixed with sugar to make powdered sugar.

In the kitchen, cornstarch can be used as a binder for puddings or similar foods, or as a thickener for sauces, stews, and similar dishes. A simple pudding can be made with milk, cornstarch, and sugar. Cornstarch can form unappetizing clumps in hot water, so if you need to thicken something that is already cooking on the stove, mixing a bit of cornstarch in a glass with cold water before adding it to the pot is advised.

copied from  http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-cornstarch.htm

I also use cornstarch to coat fish fillets before pan searing as a lighter substitute for flour.  It allows you to get a nice brown crust with out being heavy.

4) yeast
I think most everyone knows that bakers yeast is a dried active fungi culture that is used in making breads, beer and wine.  But, did you know that there are thousands of different yeast cultures in the air?  As a mater of fact the sour taste of Sourdough bread comes from yeast that is picked up from the air into the “starter” batter.  That’s why the sourdough in San Francisco for example is usually better than other places.

Yeast physiology can be either obligately aerobic or facultatively fermentative. There is no known obligately anaerobic yeast. In the absence of oxygen, fermentative yeasts produce their energy by converting sugars into carbon dioxide and ethanol (alcohol). In brewing, the ethanol is used, while in baking the carbon dioxide raises the bread and the ethanol evaporates.”

That means when you soften dried yeast in 105 deg F water and add sugar as a food source, the culture becomes active and starts to reproduce.  The by-products of the reproduction are carbon dioxide and alcohol.  In baking the carbon dioxide trapped in the gluten web of the dough makes the bread rise and the alcohol evaporates.  In beer or wine making the alcohol is dissolved in the liquid and the carbon dioxide gas dissipates into the air.
5) Flour

Flour is a very important pantry staple.  You will use it in everything from, cookies to fried food to gravy.  Try to buy whole grain flours but you’ll probably need some white flour too.  There are white whole grain flours that are good.  You will want bread flour for making things that you want to rise, like bread, rolls, etc.  Bread flour has more gluten in it which forms long strings that stick together and trap the carbon dioxide in it making it rise.  Plain flour, either whole grain or white, can be used for anything else.  For example you’d want to use a low gluten flour like plain or cake flour to make a nice flaky biscuit or pie crust.   Everyone has their favorite brand, and some brands work better in different parts of the country.  I use White Lily brand because Darlene swears by it.  After we all stock our pantries we will share our biscuit making techniques and we’ll all become biscuits experts.   Trust me guys, nothing will impress a date more that when you knock out a batch of biscuits for breakfast or dinner.

I also recommend getting some rice flour and some rye flour too.  The rice flour is great for making tempura batter and the rye flour make and interesting savory pancake.  We’ll discuss recipes later.

I’m going to stop here for the day because I want to elaborate on the next few ingredients.

Later
Jughandle

What to Keep in the Pantry or “Pantry 101”

One of what I consider to be important topics for the healthy life, is what to keep stocked in your pantry so that you can cook something good when you need to. I will break this down into 5 catagories:

1. Baking and Spices
2. General & Condiments
3. Refrigerator
4. Freezer
5. Fresh items to keep on hand

Obviously there could be a discussion on each item in each category and we may go there, but to start I will list the items and tell you why you need them. Then we will search together for the best brand or type of each item to buy.

I got this list from the following page if you want to do your home work.

http://www.ochef.com/231.htm

Tomorrow we’ll start on the 1st list – Baking & Spices

Later,
Jughandle