Dried Fruit Nutrition

Dried Fruit Nutrition, Health Benefits and Uses

Dried fruit can be used in so many ways – baked goods, handy snacks, gorps and trail mixes to name a few.

Dried Fruit Nutrition

 

But are you aware of the health benefits in dried fruit nutrition?

Popular Dried Fruit Nutrition Components

  • Raisins. Raisins contain phytochemicals and boron. Phytochemicals benefit oral health by fighting bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Boron is beneficial to bone health. Mix raisins with your favorite nuts! You’ll have a high-energy, protein and fiber packed snack. Best of all, it’s a quick and easy homemade snack.
  • Figs. Figs are a high source of dietary fiber and antioxidants. The fiber in figs is associated with improved digestive health. It has also been shown to have anti-clotting, antispasmodic, anti-ulcer and lipid lowering properties.  For the most antioxidants, choose fully ripened figs. Research conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria suggests that as they ripen, almost to the point of spoilage, antioxidant levels actually increase.
  • Apricots. Apricots are rich in carotenoids like beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is important for healthy eyes, skin, and a strong immune system. Apricots are low in  calories, too. Three medium apricots contain about 50 calories.
  • Prunes. Prunes are rich in phenolic compounds. The phenolic compounds in prunes promote bone health. Prunes are also a good source of potassium. These qualities make prunes an excellent snack for active people.
  • Dates. Dates are high in antioxidants and proanthocyanidins. Antioxidants protect cells against free radicals. Proanthocyanidin compounds are strongly associated with cardiovascular health. Here in the U.S., dates are added to pudding, breads, spreads, and even sparkling date juices.
  • Peaches. Peaches are an excellent source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for the retina and in maintaining healthy eyes.

Dried Fruit Nutrition Chart

Click image for a larger view.

Dried Fruit Nutrition Chart

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  4. Chopping Dried Fruit (Cooking Tip)

Bearberries Blackberries

Bearberries, Blackberries – More Super Fruits

In our third in a series of fruit frenzy favorites we will take a look at two more super fruits, bearberries blackberries and  their health benefits. (Click the thumbnails below for a large view of the berries.)


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Bearberries

Bearberry Fruit
Bearberries

Bearberry is used for bladder treatment in European folk medicine. Hydroquinones found in the bearberry leaves have antibacterial properties that aid infections.

A cup of bearberry tea, made from the dried leaves infused in boiling water, can help with urinary infections, kidney and bladder problems and prostate disorders.

Bearberry Tea

To make a cup of bearberry tea use 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried leaves for every 1 cup of boiling water. Infuse the leaves for ten to fifteen minutes, covered. Strain and drink. When treating infections or other problems with the urinary system you can drink up to three cups a day of this herbal infusion.

Bearberry Leaves

Bearberry leaves can  be smoked to get rid of headache. However, using bearberry in this form is illegal and is carefully regulated in many parts of the world, as it has a narcotic effect.

Bearberry nutritional value can be obtained by consuming it raw.

Blackberries

Blackberries
Fresh Blackberries

Blackberry fruit contains vast amounts of anthocyanocides, which are found in the pigment that gives the berries their color. Anthocyanocides are powerful antioxidants. Give an antioxidant packed boost to your next fruit smoothie with blackberries.

Blackberry Leaves

Blackberry leaves are said to treat non-specific diarrhea and inflammation of the mouth and throat. The leaves are also said to reduce blood sugar. The leaves contain good amounts of vitamins C and E along with the mineral selenium.

Blackberry Tea

Use 1 generous tablespoon of dried blackberry tea leaves per cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Add honey or sugar to taste. You can combine equal amounts of dried mint and dried blackberry tea leaves as a combination.

All BerriesMixed fresh berries

  • Are low in sodium, fat and cholesterol free.
  • An excellent source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.
  • Support heart health, normal blood pressure and weight loss.

Super Fruits: Persistent Point

All fruits are healthy for us, but the best ones are those with the most fiber. A good rule of thumb is to stick with the “S or S” fruits. These are the ones with edible skins or seeds. Fruits included are apples, peaches, pears, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and grapes. Eating the skin and seeds amps up your fiber intake. The skin and the seeds contain most of the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

That’s why it’s much better to eat whole fruit, rather than relying on juices.

See also: A tasty recipe for Blackberry Syrup on our sister site, Belly Bytes.

First two fruit frenzy posts:

  1. Super Fruits Acai, Apricots and Avocados
  2. Blood Oranges and Bananas

Enzyme Power Healing

Over-Looked Enzyme Power Healing

The advantages of Enzyme Power Healing is not often talked about, but is very deserving of our attention. Enzyme nutrition is sadly over looked.

Dr. Edward Howell, father of enzyme nutrition and therapy, said,

“Enzymes are the very substances that make life possible”.

Natural News has a great write-up on the health benefits of enzyme power healing. If this nutritional concept is new to you, visit NaturalNews.com – The Healing Power of Enzymes for Treating Disease when you’re done here. Great information that explains it in great detail.

What we have for you is some enzyme power healing beverage recipes to help you get started using enzymes. These beverages are extremely healthy and beneficial. The healthy ingredients speak for themselves!

Enzyme Power Healting Smoothie

Enzyme Power Healing Smoothie

Papaya, pineapple, and ripe bananas are loaded with enzymes that help digestion and break down toxins, fat, and inflammation in the body. Bromelain, an enzyme in pineapple, breaks down cholesterol in the blood. It also helps to reduce inflammation in the blood and tissues. Studies show that it can help eliminate muscle, joint, and headache pain.

Bromelain also helps break down fat. Papain, an enzyme that is plentiful in papaya, breaks down protein molecules in the blood, reducing inflammation that is linked to allergies or pain. Drink up!

Not only is this smoothie delicious and satisfying, it is an amazing healer.

Ingredients:Fresh sliced pineapple
1 cup chopped papaya
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple (not canned)
1 frozen banana

Directions: Combine with desired amount of water in a blender and blend to desired smoothie consistency.

Enzyme Power Healing Juice

Ingredients:
1/2 pineapple, outer skin removed ( juice the core as well as the flesh)
1 1-inch piece of ginger

Directions: Pass all ingredients through a juicer. Dilute with pure water to taste. Drink immediately.

Chia Gel Adds Nutrients

Chia Gel Adds Nutrients in Your Favorite Foods

Chia gel is a quick, easy staple you can whip up at home and store in your fridge. With a supply of chia gel at the ready, it is a cinch to increase nutrients in your favorite foods.

Add chia gel to creamy foods, liquids, condiments, salad dressings, and even peanut butter and jelly. The gel doesn’t affect flavors. What it does is increase a food’s vitamin and mineral levels, and add protein and omega fatty acids. It also promotes weight loss by filling your stomach with fiber. Following is one way to make chia gel.

Chia: A Non GMO Food

If a food is labeled as GMO it means that its genetic material has been altered through genetic engineering. According to the National Agriculture Statistics Board annual report for 2010, 93 percent of the planted area of soybeans, 93 percent of cotton, 86 percent of corn, and 95 percent of sugar  beets in the United States were genetically modified varieties.

Chia gel adds nutrients
Chia gel adds nutrients

First, you will need chia seeds. You can probably find them at health food stores or even some grocery stores. We recommend Digestive Science Organic Chia Seed.

Chia Digestive Science
Let’s look at the numbers. Twenty-seven PLUS nutrients. Six times more calcium than milk. Forty one percent of your daily fiber, and 100 percent more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. The cost in calories? Forty one and a quarter, per tablespoon. Can’t be beat.

Chia gel adds nutrients. Chia is low in calories. Win-win.

The health benefits of Digestive Science Organic Chia Seed are numerous and extensive. That’s why we recommend it.

Making Chia Gel

Chia gel: Take 1-cup cool water and 1-1/2 tablespoons chia seeds. Pour the water into a plastic or glass container with a tight seal. Slowly pour chia seeds into water while briskly mixing with wire whisk. Wait 3 or 4 minutes then whisk again. Let the mixture stand about 10 minutes before whisking again. Seal the container and store mixture in the refrigerator for up to two weeks to use as needed. Whisk before using.

Note: Soaking in water will soften chia seeds, but they will still be slightly crunchy. Recipe makes 1-1/4 cup.

Where Chia Gel Adds Nutrients

Chia gel adds nutrients to almost any condiment, dip, or spread. Do experiment! To get started, here are some ideas.

  • Nut butter. Add up to 1 tablespoon chia gel for every tablespoon nut butter.
  • Jam or jelly. Add 1 teaspoon chia gel for every tablespoon jam or jelly.
  • Maple syrup or honey. Add 1 teaspoon chia gel for every tablespoon of syrup.
  • Mayonnaise. Add up to 1 tablespoon chia gel for every tablespoon mayonnaise.
  • Mustard. Add up to 1 tablespoon chia gel for every tablespoon mustard.
  • Ketchup and cocktail sauce. Add 1 teaspoon chia gel for every tablespoon ketchup or cocktail sauce.
  • Barbecue sauce. Add 1 teaspoon chia gel for every tablespoon barbecue sauce.
  • Guacamole. Add1/2½ tablespoon chia gel for every tablespoon of guacamole.
  • Hummus and other bean dips. Add 1 tablespoon chia gel for every tablespoon hummus.
  • Salsa. Add 1 teaspoon chia gel for every tablespoon salsa.
  • Salad dressing. Add 1 tablespoon chia gel for every tablespoon salad dressing.
  • Sour cream. Add 1 tablespoon chia gel for every tablespoon sour cream.

On a Weight Loss Program?

If you are already on any established weight loss program, chia can be just what you need to ensure success. Simply adding chia to what you are already eating can help fill you up. Chia creates a feeling of satiety so you won’t eat more than you need.  It also helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Cleansing Juice Recipes

Cleansing Juice Recipes for Blood, Liver and Toxins

Dandelion leaves for cleansing juice recipesDandelion is useful for cleansing the blood, which removes toxins from the tissues and joints. This process will speed healing and reduce pain and inflammation. Be aware that if you drink a fair amount of this juice over a short period of time it can quickly cause a cleansing reaction. This reaction might initially produce symptoms like fatigue or headaches.  These symptoms will pass as your body becomes cleansed.

Ingredients:
3 apples
Handful of fresh dandelion leaves

Directions:  Pass all ingredients through a juicer. Drink immediately.

Note:  If you are digging your own dandelion leaves, be sure to obtain organic dandelion where the land has not been sprayed for several years and is far removed from traffic areas.

Cleansing Juice Recipes: Carrot Cleansing Juice

Ginger increases circulation to the muscles in the body, allowing the extra blood and oxygen to fight toxins. It also helps alleviate pain and inflammation. Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, which is needed for many detoxification processes.

Ingredients:
6 large carrots (remove tops)
1 apple, cored
1 1-inch piece of ginger

Directions:  Pass all ingredients through a juicer. Drink immediately.

Glass of cleansing juice made from cleansing juice recipes
Dandelion Cleansing Juice

Honorable Mention

For a really healthy yet gentle cleanse, Digestive Science colon cleanse is formulated to detoxify the body and optimize digestive health. In a word: Relief. Check it out.

Using Raisins in Foods

Using Raisins in Cooking and Baking

Available year round, using raisins in a wide variety of foods is easy. Cereals, breads, cookies, candies and energy snacks are just a few examples. The raisin is truly one of the world’s most versatile food ingredients.

Raisins are low in fat and sodium, but high in carbohydrates for a quick pick- me-up snack. Raisins are also high in antioxidants and cholesterol free. One-quarter cup of dried uncooked raisins provides 1 serving from the fruit group of the Food Guide Pyramid.

Raisins in Baked Goods

Raisins provide more than just flavor to the cereals and baked goods. Using raisins, bakers can reduce or even eliminate the use of preservatives. This is because of the propionic acid found in raisins. It acts as a natural preservative.

Another naturally occurring acid in raisins, tartaric acid, enhances the flavor of baked goods. Tartaric acid can also help reduce
the amount of salt needed to flavor breads, cakes, cookies, and pastries.

Chocolate Raisins

Confectionery items that use raisins include the following.Using raisins for chocolate covered raisins

  • Yogurt covered raisins.
  • Chocolate bars with raisins.
  • Chocolate covered raisins.

Barbecue and Steak Sauce

Raisins add flavor and texture to foods. Raisin juice concentrate and raisin paste are flavor enhancers. You can find them in everything from breads, cakes and cookies to barbecue and steak sauces.

Many popular barbecue and steak sauce brands combine raisin paste and raisin juice concentrate with ingredients such as tomato paste, soy sauce, and vinegar. This helps create a wide selection of bold sauces.

More Foods for Raisins

  1. Granola Bars
  2. Raisin Stuffing
  3. Bread Pudding
  4. Classic Coleslaw
  5. Celery Sticks
  6. Salads

Did you know?

Raisins should be stored in the refrigerator to keep them soft and moist.

Actually, the ways of using raisins in your cooking and baking are seemingly endless. Use your imagination! You can also get some terrific recipes from the Sun Maid web site.

Top 15 Sun Maid Recipes
Top 15 Sun Maid Recipes

Resource: Raisins and Dried Fruits Publication from Sun Maid

Blood Oranges and Bananas

Blood Oranges and Bananas: Super Fruits

In our second in a series of fruit frenzy favorites we will take a look at beloved bananas and the succulent but less common blood oranges.

Click each image below for a larger view of the super fruits.

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[one_half last=”yes”]Bananas thumbnail[/one_half]

Bananas

If you want a quick fix for flagging energy levels, there is no better snack than a banana. Research has proven that just 2 bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. But energy isn’t the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions making it a must to add to your daily diet. See: The Power Behind Bananas

Blood Oranges

Also called pigmented orange or moro orange, good-quality blood oranges should be firm and heavy for their size. It is the crimson tint that makes blood oranges healthy.

Blood oranges are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, and a very good source of Vitamin C. They have the added benefit of anthocyanins, too. One of these oranges packs around eighty calories.

Eat blood oranges out of hand or juice them in salads. They are great for juicing due to the flavor and coloring.

Blood Oranges Cocktail Recipe

Blood Orange Cocktail
Blood Orange Cocktail

3 ounces of blood orange juice
1 ounce of vodka or white rum
Ice

  1. Put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Put the combination in glass.
  4. Drink and enjoy!

Super Fruits: Persistent Point

All fruits are healthy for us, but the best ones are those with the most fiber. A good rule of thumb is to stick with the “S or S” fruits. These are the ones with edible skins or seeds. Fruits included are apples, peaches, pears, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and grapes.Eating the skin and seeds amps up your fiber intake. The skin and the seeds contain most of the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

That’s why it’s much better to eat whole fruit, rather than relying on juices.

Previous Fruit Frenzy Posts

Go Green with Broccoli Pops

Go Green with Broccoli Pops

Eating frozen vegetables? Well, yes! In fact, through many a discussion with mothers it was discovered some could get their kids to eat vegetables this way.

In short, nutritious broccoli pops are probably one of those things you have to try to see if it holds appeal for you.

Broccoli Pops
Broccoli Pops

Getting Started

First of all, to get the best results, make sure your broccoli is fresh and crisp. Old broccoli, which is usually limp, will make nasty-tasting broccoli pops. The best quality broccoli are those that are tight, before the florets start to open and turn a yellow color.

You’ll want to choose firm, young and tender stalks with compact heads. Split your flowerets lengthwise so they are no more than 1-1/2 inches across. And don’t forget to remove leaves and woody portions. Separate the broccoli heads into bite-size portions.

Prepare the Broccoli

Soak the broccoli in brine for 30 minutes to remove insects. Then rinse under fast running water. For the brine, you use 4 teaspoons salt to 1 gallon ordinary tap water.

Blanch the broccoli. Blanch the broccoli with steam for 5 minutes. This kills bacteria. If you are preparing a lot of broccoli, you may use the same blanching water several times (up to 5). Be sure to add more hot water from the tap from time to time to keep the water level at the required height.

Immediately cool broccoli in ice water and then drain thoroughly. Now you can drop pieces of your prepared broccoli into Popsicle molds and freeze! If you wish, you could puree the broccoli and place tightly (think packed brown sugar) into Popsicle molds. This option depends upon whether you want to A) do the extra work and B) want broccoli pops that melt in your mouth or need some chewing action.

Once your broccoli pops are frozen solid, remove them from the Popsicle molds and place into freezer bags or containers for best storage. They can easily get freezer burned if left in the molds.

The recommended storage time for frozen broccoli pops is 12 months for best for taste and quality. For the absolute BEST storage, be sure to get rid of any air from inside your freezer bags or containers. This will help avoid freezer burn. Vacuum-sealed bags are great for long term storage. A most popular tool for vacuum sealing (many, MANY uses) is the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System.

With its sleek, compact design and easy-to-use manual operation, the FoodSaver V2244 vacuum sealing system comes in handy for preserving a variety of foods. Use it for everything from long-term storage of meats and fish in the freezer to short-term storage of deli meats and cheese in the fridge, as well as cookies, crackers, and other snacks in the pantry.

Bonus Recipe:  Sweet Broccoli Salad

Like broccoli but not sure you’d care to eat it as a frozen treat? Give this salad recipe a try, instead! A delicious way to get raw broccoli into your diet. 

1 head of broccoli, chopped finely Salad Clip art
1 carrot, grated
2 apples, cored and chopped
1 cup raisins (Soak in water 1/3 hour before using. Drain and discard water.)
1/4 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds

Mix all the above  ingredients together.

Dressing:
1/2 cup extra-virgin oil
1 tablespoon unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon unpasteurized honey

Mix the dressing ingredients together. Pour on vegetable mixture. Toss and enjoy.

Did you know?

Broccoli is the superhero of the vegetable kingdom with its rich vitamin A content.

Stuffed Vine Leaves Recipe

Stuffed Vine Leaves Recipe

This stuffed vine leaves recipe celebrates the goodness of onions, carrots, tomatoes and rice. Seasoned with parsley, dill, coriander and white pepper.

This recipe qualifies as a vegetarian recipe. It creates a mouth watering dish, especially for the vegetable lover. In Georgia, fillings wrapped in vine leaves are very popular.

Stuffed Vine Leaves Recipe Ingredients

Stuffed Vine Leaves Recipe
Stuffed Vine Leaves

2 onions
2 carrots, grated
5 tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups rice
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 pound vine leaves

Directions

Wash the leaves in cold water and add (individually) to a pot of salted, boiling water.

Mix the vegetables, rice and herbs. Add the lemon juice and some of the oil. With a sharp knife, remove stalks of vine leaves and reserve. Spread each vine leaf on a smooth surface, shiny side facing down. Place a pencil-thin amount of the vegetable mixture in each leaf. Fold in the right and left sides and roll up tightly.

Put the vine stalks in a pot and place the stuffed vine leaves closely packed on top. Cover with salted water and the remaining oil. Cover and simmer gently over a moderate heat for 30 minutes. Remove vine leaves from pot and place on a platter.

Yield: 24 stuffed vine leaves.

Recipe Note: If desired, you could melt a bit of parsley butter over the top. We’ll share our sister site’s recipe for homemade Parsley Butter.

Homemade Parsley Butter Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup fresh parsley, minced
Freshly grated black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:
Combine all thoroughly. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Parsley butter is good on any meat, fish, chicken, bread or vegetable.

Parsley Butter Recipe Card

(Click image to enlarge)

Parsley Butter Recipe
Parsley Butter Recipe

 

Cottage Cheese Sandwiches

Cottage Cheese Sandwiches

If you have had cottage cheese sandwiches at any point in your life, you already know what a low calorie delight these sandwiches can be. If not, you are in for a pleasant surprise. The combination of cottage cheese and orange marmalade on grilled bread is really quite good! When I make these, I enjoy using sourdough bread, but feel free to use any favorite sandwich bread.

This is, of course, assuming you like cottage cheese. If you don’t, this sandwich probably isn’t for you.

The original recipe for cottage cheese sandwiches was actually called, “Cottage Cheeselade Sandwiches“.  This recipe that I have dates back to the 1930s. I found it in my Grandma’s recipe collection and the memories of these tasty delights came flooding back. Best of all, it’s quite a low fat sandwich and a meatless one to boot1

Below the cottage cheese sandwiches recipe is a screen shot from the pamphlet the recipe was in. The pamphlet is called, “New ways to serve creamed cottage cheese“. Based on one of the picture ads inside, I believe it was put out by a company called Bowman Dairy Company.

Cottage Cheese Sandwiches Recipe

Spread bread, sliced for sandwiches, with seasoned creamed cottage cheese. Over this spread a layer of orange marmalade and cover with another slice of buttered bread. Press the slices firmly together and toast sandwiches immediately before serving. Cut into any desired shape and serve.

Cottage Cheese Sandwiches

What is Creamed Cottage Cheese?

Creamed cottage is cottage cheese that has had cream added. This is the kind your normally find. This is different from dry curd cottage cheese. Dry curd cottage cheese has no cream added and is dry and crumbly. As you’ve seen, the above recipe calls for seasoned cottage cheese. If you cannot find any or just don’t have it on hand, following is a very good recipe for seasoning your own cottage cheese. This recipe is quite tasty when used for the cottage cheese sandwiches.

Homemade Seasoned Cottage Cheese Recipe

Ingredients

Crackers with Seasoned Cottage Cheese
Crackers with Seasoned Cottage Cheese

1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon Accent seasoning
1 (16 ounce) carton small curd cottage cheese
3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chives
Buttermilk

Directions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a glass serving bowl. Stir well to combine.
  2. Adjust seasonings if needed. Add buttermilk as needed. Stir to desired consistency.
  3. Cover and keep chilled.

In addition to the sandwich, serve with vegetable sticks, bagels, crackers, tortilla chips etc.

The Original Recipe: Cottage Cheeselade Sandwiches

Original Cottage Cheeselade Sandwiches Recipe
Cottage Cheeselade Sandwiches Recipe

 

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