Thursday, November 26, 2009

GardenCuizine Recipe: Cranberry Acai Jelly

Whole Berry
Cranberry ~Açai Jelly

--> -->Fresh whole berry cranberries line the markets during the holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Cranberries freeze great, making November and December a good time to stock up on whole cranberries. Cranberries can add nutrition to your meals throughout the year.
This year, our fresh whole cranberries were purchased at Wegmans at one of their South Jersey locations. The berries we happened to buy were from Cranberry Connections, a Joesph J. White corporation. White's Cranberry farm is located in South Jersey's Pine Barrens and is on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks.

Cranberry Health Benefits
Fruits, especially berries, provide high quality phenol antioxidants.[1] Phenol antioxidants protect low density lipoproteins (LDL-the bad cholesterol) from oxidizing. Why is this good? One reason is that when LDL gets oxidized it can lead to foam cells that build up (along with other cellular matter) in the subendothial space of blood vessels, contributing towards atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Interestingly, cranberries are not ranked among the top in U.S. per capita consumption. According to the USDA, the top three consumed fruits with phenol antioxidants are Bananas, Apples and Grapes; even though the top three fruits highest in phenol antioxidants are: Cranberries (#1), Pears, and Red Grapes.
Cranberries have other health benefits too; they have flavonoids, Vitamin C and naturally
occurring proanthocyanidins.

ProanthocyanidinsCranberry juice and products are known to help maintain urinary tract health. The majority (80-90%) of all Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are caused by E. coli bacteria. Individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to UTI infections. Cranberries help this condition by their proanthocyanidins that contain strong bacterial anti-adhesion properties. Proanthocyanidins keep the bacteria from adhering to cell walls in the bladder.

--> Cooking with whole CranberriesWhole cranberries are tart and are usually prepared with an added sweetener. Cranberries are excellent for juices, as well as in side dishes, sauces, muffins, breads, pies, tarts, fruit crisps, cobblers and the all American favorite -- cranberry jelly. Cranberries are naturally high in pectin, which is why added pectin is not required in homemade cranberry jelly.

For something different and to add even more nutrients to Cranberry jelly, I added freeze-dried
Açai berry powder, which you can find in health food stores and gourmet markets.
For the best table presentation, pour the cooked liquid mixture directly into your chosen serving dish. The cranberry jelly gels directly in the serving dish. We have a favorite glass dish that I use, that I would not want to see crack from heat stress, which is why it is important to let the hot jelly cool a few minutes before transferring.

Putting it all together
Yields: 735g, (approximately 2 1/4 cups) serves 12

12 oz (1pkg, 336g) whole berry Cranberries
3/4 cup (150g) Sugar
1/2 cup (118ml) Mango nectar or Orange juice
1/2 cup (118ml) Water
Orange zest from 1/2 orange, or 2T minced candied orange peel

6 grams organic

--> Açai powder

This recipe is fast and easy and is best made a day in advance for optimum gelation.

  • Wash and strain the berries
  • In a small stock pot add all the ingredients except the Açai powder. Over high heat, stir to incorporate. When the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to medium.
  • Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The berries will burst open as they cook. Sometimes, I squish some of the berries on the sides of the pot with a wooden stirring spoon. When the mixture appears to be a desirable texture, turn off the heat.
  • Stir in the
-->Açai powder. Do not stir after this point.
  • Before transferring to your serving container, set aside to cool for 7-10 minutes (not much longer or it will set up)
  • Pour into serving bowl, allow to cool unrefrigerated
  • When no longer steaming hot, refrigerate overnight or until well chilled and set
  • GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis: Calculated from USDA nutrient values
    Good Source: Vitamin C
    1/12 of recipe, serving size: 61g, Calories 69, Calories from fat:2.9, total fat: 0.3g (0%DV), Saturated fat: (0%DV), Omega-3 FA:10mg, Omega-6 FA:64mg, Vitamin C ~7mg (~12%DV), Sugars: ~14.g, Dietary fiber: ~1.3g (~5%DV)
    Percent Daily Values (%DV) are reference values for adults and children age 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your personal daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.
    Copyright © 2009 Wind. All rights reserved.

    Related Links:

    -->Superfruit ~ Acai Berry, Euterpe oleraceaAbout Joseph J. White Cranberry Farm
    Classic Cranberry Orange Relish

    -->Ocean Spray® Cranberry Recipes
    USDA Database for the Proanthocyanidin Content of Selected Foods

    [1] Vinson J.A., Su X., Zubik L., Bose P; Phenol Antioxidant Quantity and Quality in Foods: Fruits, J. Agric. Food Chem. 2001, 49, p 5315-532


    Saturday, November 7, 2009

    GardenCuizine Recipe: Healthy Borscht

    Healthy Beetroot Borscht

    Beets (Beta vulgaris) are easy and fun to grow, with excellent heirloom and hybrid beet cultivars to select from. We've only tried 'Chicago Red' so far, a typical all-purpose, red beet. Next season I hope to try Italian heirloom 'Chioggia (Bassano)', a jazzy, two-toned, red and white striped variety that arrived in the U.S. before 1865.

    My favorite photo with beets was featured in my first Dave's Garden article, 'Mommy, look what I picked...'. Little Michalah shows off her bountiful harvest of fresh beets that she helped dig up with her Grandmother.

    All parts of the beet can be used in recipes. Beet greens can be added to soups or sauteed. Beet leaves are a bit thick to add raw to salad, but taste good when picked young and tender or sliced thin enough. Beet roots can served many ways, including in juice bar drinks, pickled, shredded raw, cooked and diced on salads. Beets are the star in borscht -- a more sweet than sour soup.

    Beetroot borscht can be served hot or cold, but is truly a comfort foot when served hot with a side of wholegrain bread.
    Borscht is a favorite in many countries including Lithuania, Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Romania. Poland, borscht (barszcz) is made with dumplings and parsnips. Ukrainian recipes often add potatoes. Romanian borscht (borș) includes fermented bran in the broth base. Your borscht can include meat, potatoes, parsnips, beans, bay leaves, lemon juice, vinegar or whatever your fancy.

    You'll see in my soup recipes, unless the soup is a meat flavored soup, I prefer veggie bases
    made on the spot from carrots, celery, onions, fresh herbs and spices. The flavors are always delicious, and your vegetarian family and/or friends can enjoy it too!

    GardenCuizine's borscht is nutritious, low-fat and on the lighter side, making it a nice accompaniment to a full course meal.
    A few tips about this recipe
    • Don't stress out or get hung up with measuring ingredients. Soups are not an exact science like baked goods -- a bit more or less will not ruin the recipe.
    • Our garden was a hot pepper factory this summer! Hot peppers make a tasty addition to borscht. If you don't have any hot peppers around, season to taste with a little hot sauce. Adding just enough hot spicy flavor is a great way to trick your taste buds into enjoying lower sodium foods.
    • I used regular canned tomato sauce in this recipe, rather than salt free. It's the main contributor of sodium in this soup. You won't need to add additional salt.
    • Fresh dill lends itself to freezing well. Rinse it and place it in an airtight baggie in the freezer and use as needed. It will stay green and will always be available for recipes when needed.
    • Use the beet cooking liquid in your soup to avoid losing water soluble vitamins and nutrients, such as: thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin, vitamin B6, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C.
    Putting it all togetherYields: a healthy pot full! 10 Servings

    3 large (or 4, 2-inch) fresh beets

    10 cups water (approximately 8 cups beet cooking liquid and 2 cups water)
    1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
    1 cup (128g) chopped carrots

    1 cup (160g) chopped onions

    1 cup (101g) chopped celery
    1 small hot pepper (or hot sauce to taste)
    1 teaspoon (1 clove) minced garlic
    1/2 green cabbage (454g), sliced thin8-ounce can tomato sauce
    2 Tablespoons sugar (optional)
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1 Tablespoon fresh dill

    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    sour cream, plain yogurt or creme fraiche
    fresh dill or parsley for garnish

    • Rinse off the beets and cut of the greens, save them for future use in other recipes. Place the beets in a large (non reactive) stock pot and cover them with water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender when pierced. Turn the heat off and let the beats sit in the hot water while you work on the rest of the prep.
    Reminder: save the beet cooking liquid for the soup
    • Chop carrots, celery and onion, set aside
    • Save the beet water for the borscht. Take the beets out of the hot water using tongs and let cool off in a bowl
    • In another large soup pot, on medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped mirepoix (carrots, celery, onion) and the hot pepper. Let cook for 5-10 minutes. While this is cooking, return to the beets.
    • Peel all the beets. The skins easily rub off cooked beets with your fingers.
    Toss the beet skins in your compost pile!
    • Dice half of beets, set aside
    • Puree the remaining beets with 2 cups of the beet water. You can do this in a blender or in a deep pot (to avoid getting beet juice splashed on yourself) using a hand held submersion blender (one of my favorite kitchen tools). Return to your cooking veggies...
    • Stir in garlic and dill
    • Add sliced cabbage, continue to stir, cooking down for another 5-10 minutes
    • Add tomato sauce, save the can
    • Refill the 8oz. tomato sauce can two times with water and add it to the pot.
    • Add beet cooking water to the pot too. Note: when beets boil some sediment settles to the bottom of the pot. Try not to add that part.
    • Add more water to the soup pot if you think it needs more liquid
    • Add sugar and black pepper
    • Stir, cover and simmer until all the ingredients are tender
    • Stir in fresh parsley
    • Serve with a dollop of sour cream, yogurt or creme fraiche
    • Garnish with a fresh sprig of parsley or dill
    Related Links:We Got the Beet Dave's Garden article by Tamara Galbralth

    GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis: Calculated from USDA nutrient values
    Excellent Source: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K
    Good Source: Dietary Fiber, Folate, Manganese

    1/10 of recipe, serving size: 380g (~1cup), Calories 60, Calories from fat: 13, total fat: 1.5g (2%DV), Saturated fat: 0.2g (1%DV), Omega-3 FA ~13mg, Omega-6 FA ~190mg, Vitamin A 2449IU (49%DV), Vitamin C 26mg (43%DV), Vitamin K ~41mcg (~51%DV), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 152mg, Dietary fiber: 3g (13%DV), Protein: 2g (3%DV), Folate: ~65mcg (~16%DV)%DV), Manganese: ~0.2mg (~12%DV)

    Percent Daily Values (%DV) are reference values for adults and children age 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your personal daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

    Nutrition Label courtesy of
    Photo and Recipe Copyright © 2009 Wind. All rights reserved.