Breadfruit….The How

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Breadfruit is probably not one of those fruits that you simply wanna grab and take a big bite of… Try if it you want, but most people will find the taste and texture of uncooked breakfast more than a little unpleasant. However, if the unripened breadfruit is boiled until tender, the breadfruit will have a more potato-ish texture…similar to freshly baked bread. In fact, the best way to think about uses for breadfruit is to treat it as if it were a potato of sorts and cook it accordingly—mashed, in salads, made into fries and chips, etc. In fact, breadfruit can be used as a delicious substitute for any starchy root crop, rice, pasta, vegetable, or potato. But breadfruit is actually better than potatoes because they are actually more nutritious. So like the potatoes, breadfruit can be prepared in many ways—steamed, baked, sauteed, boiled, fried… And like potatoes, breadfruit can be used in a variety of dishes—casseroles, curries, stews and chowders, salads, and chips.

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Ripeness

The riper the breadfruit, the softer and creamier and sweeter it becomes…similar to a banana…with a custardy, bread-like taste…meaning that riper breadfruit are great for can be used for fritters, pancakes, bread, beverages, and other baked goods

Breadfruit is a staple ingredient in many cuisines—especially Caribbean, Latin America, and Polynesian…for making both sweet and savory dishes. Here are a few recipes worth trying… Philippinesginataang langka Sri Lankacurry Indiafritters Jamaicasoup Breadfruit flour can be used a good gluten-free substitute for panko or breadcrumbs…and actually has a much better taste and greater nutritional value than any other gluten-free flour alternative available. Breadfruit seeds can also be cooked an eaten…making them a a nutritious, savory snack with a crunch.

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Where to Find

If you don’t live in the back of the backwoods like Middle of Nowhere, Mississippi… where I’m from…you might be able to go to your closest Caribbean specialty food store…

If you happen to live in Hawaii or be there even in the midst of all this corona crap, you will find breadfruit readily available…probably labeled as “ulu”…In fact, breadfruit is so common in Hawaii that there is even a National Breadfruit Institute of Hawai’i.  For the rest of us, you could also try your local farmers’ market or wait until your next box of ugly produce comes in and you luck out and get breadfruit in your assortment.

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Choosing and Storing

If you are choosing your breadfruit yourself, make sure that the breadfruit is firm. You want the skin to be greenish-yellow with only a little brown cracking.

The fruit bruises easily so check for bruises or soft spots. Some brown cracking is okay, but not too much. Store breadfruit in your fridge…(future post on which fruits and veggies to store in fridge and which not to…as well as how to organize your fridge coming soon…maybe four years from now)… In conclusion, hopefully you also will be checking breadfruit off your list of foods on the Raw Foods Pyramid  yet to try…as you join me in this quest to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Breadfruit…The What and the Why

sliced fruits on tray
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Honestly before starting our quest to switch from the typical Southern meal regimen—chicken fried steak, fried chicken, fried whatever…after all, isn’t the Texas State Fair notorious for frying anything and everything… I had never heard of many of the fruits and veggies that I am including in this blog about raw foods and clean eating. But recently I joined a food co-op that delivered breadfruit. At first I was kinda scared of the interesting little green things in my basket, but I am not one to waste ingredients and also someone who dares to try new recipes, so I started figuring out what to do with the darn thing….what recipes I could use it in and what nutritional goodness it had to offer.

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The Where

Breadfruit are another tropical fruit…native to the South Pacific and very popular throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

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The Breadfruit Tree

As far as how it’s grown, the breadfruit grows on trees that can grow as tall as eighty-five feet high. The breadfruit tree is a member of the fig family and one tree alone can produce a massive 450 pounds of breadfruit each year for decades. One single breadfruit tree is capable of yielding up to two hundred breadfruits per season. The leaves of the breadfruit tree are large ovals that are long and skinny, and glossy green.

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The Fruit

One breadfruit can weigh up to twelve pounds in weight and have a diameter of twelve inches. The breadfruit is typically round, oval or oblong The skin of the breadfruit is a green and prickly. The flesh is hard and green. The flesh of a fully ripe breadfruit will be creamy yellow with oval seeds or a cylindrical core, depending on which particular variety of breadfruit you have purchased. A single breadfruit can weigh as much as twelve pounds and is capable of feeding a family of four.

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Nutritional Value

Breadfruit is an excellent source of the following nutrients…
  • antioxidants
  • calcium
  • carbohydrates
  • carotenoids
  • copper
  • fiber…½C provides 25%RDA
  • iron
  • magnesium…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • niacin
  • omega 3
  • omega 6
  • phosphorus
  • potassium…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • protein…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • thiamin…10%DV
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B
  • vitamin C…35%DV

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Health Benefits

Breadfruit can be beneficial to your health in many ways, especially for fighting or preventing…
  • asthma
  • blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • heart diseases and heart attacks
  • risk of developing colon cancer
So now that we’ve gotten the facts about breadfruit and its nutritional/health benefits, let’s get to the fun part—what to do with it the next time the local co-op or one of those imperfect food subscription boxes sends it your way…(because if you’re like me, you probably wouldn’t have ever put it into your grocery cart or instacart order yourself)…

Let Them Have Cake Also…Healthier Cakes for Diabetics and Other Sugar-Conscious People

My husband’s birthday is this weekend…and obviously I want to make him a cake.

Yet he is a diabetic, so my days of baking as if I were from Mississippi…(which I am)…have long passed.

But this year for his birthday I am bound and determined to make him a cake that he will actually eat…and enjoy.

Since we don’t normally indulge in sweet things such as cake, I want this to be an extra special treat that he will feel free to devour.

So I have done my homework as to how to make him a cake that is both healthy and delicious…a cake that uses healthier alternatives than the Southern Cooking Holy Trinity—cream cheese, powdered sugar, and Cool Whip.

Let’s take a look at what some of those healthier alternatives include…

 

 

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The Flour

  • One of the best things you can do for your health is to give up processed foods…and white flour is definitely a processed food…and less healthy for you than other flours that are out there.
  • White flour…or what most of us call “all-purpose” flour is less healthy for you because it has been “processed” to remove the outer layer of the grain…which is where all the healthy stuff, like fiber, are found.
  • Better alternatives include whole-wheat, nut flour, almond meal or buckwheat flour.
  • You can read more about these healthier alternatives in this post post by Self magazine.

 

 

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Fruits and Veggies

For years I’ve heard that using applesauce instead of sugar is a much healthier way to still make delicious cakes and cookies, but if you’re like me you’ve been hesitant to try it.

However, when you’re married to a diabetic such as mine, who goes to great lengths to make sure that his whatever stays whatever, it starts making sense.

Applesauce can be used as a substitute for either the sugar or the fat in a recipe, but you don’t want to replace both the sugar and the fat with applesauce.

To use applesauce to replace the sugar, use the same amount of applesauce as the sugar listed in the ingredients, but use less of the liquid—normally milk or water—by 1/4C for every 1C of applesauce added.

To use applesauce to replace the oil or butter, replace half the fat with applesauce…so whenever a recipe calls for 1C oil, instead use 1/2C oil and 1/2C applesauce.

For more about baking with applesauce, check out this article from Taste of Home.

Other fruits that can be used In baking to help cut back on added fat include mashed banana.

If you are planning on subbing mashed banana for the butter or oil called for in a recipe, use the same amount of mashed banana as the amount of butter or oil that the recipe originally called for.

For more about using fruits and veggies other than the expected options of applesauce or banana, check out this article from Organic Authority.

 

 

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The Oil

One of the nutrients…or should I say anti-nutrients…that we all should think about in our quest to eat healthier is saturated fat.

And ordinary butter contains a lot of saturated fat. In fact, each tablespoon of butter contains 11.52 grams of fat, which is 36%DV…not to mention over one hundred calories.

That’s in just one tablespoon…

And how many cakes have you ever made that require only one tablespoon.

 

Normally you have to use at least one whole stick…meaning that you are adding about 58 grams of fat, which is 290%DV…not to mention over eight hundred calories.

 

Don’t you want to make better batter than the batter you make with butter?

 

Instead of butter, consider using one of the following…

  • olive oil
  • rapeseed oil
  • sunflower oil or spread

Using these as a substitute for butter, not only lowers the amount of saturated fat, but will also give your cake a lighter, moister texture.

For more about baking with healthier fats, check out this article from Health Line.

 

 

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The Sugar

As far as sugar goes, healthier options would include honey, maple syrup, stevia, and dates.

For more information about sugar substitutes, check out this article from Food Revolution.

 

 

 

 

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The Icing on the Cake

If you’ve gone to all this trouble to make a healthier cake, you don’t want to ruin your efforts by using the standard high-sugar frosting or icing.

Instead of your standard frosting or icing, try one of the following instead…

 

Develop a Passion for Banana Passion Fruit

Before starting this series on tropical fruits, I had honestly never even heard of banana passion fruit…and I still honestly haven’t figured out where the closest place to buy it is…but since it is a tropical fruit, I’m gonna go ahead and include here in this chapter…(think once I finish crawling up the Raw Foods Pyramid, I may try to put it all together into a book…probably too lofty of a goal, but hey we are all making New Year’s resolutions right now anyway)…

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Banana Passion Fruit…The What

Banana passion fruit are native to many areas of South America—particularly Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru.

Banana passion fruit grows on vines that can be as tall…or long, not sure which word would be correct here…as twenty-two feet….and that have attractive, deep pink blossoms. The vines are commonly used in landscaping to cover trellises.

plant is known to live for up to twenty years. A mature banana passion fruit vine can produce up to three hundred banana passion fruits. 

The fruit itself is oblong and about four inches long. The orange-scented fruit has a  thick, leathery skin that changes from green to bright yellow as the fruit ripens…and juicy, sweet pulp that is studded with black seeds.

The pulp is juicy and sweet, with a tart bite and hints of banana. Although the seeds are edible, they can be somewhat bitter…

Banana passion fruit is available year-round in the tropics, with a peak season in the spring and fall months.

However…interestingly enough…it is illegal to sell and distribute the plant in New Zealand and Hawaii because it is considered to be an invasive species that can quickly take over and deprive other native plants from the sun.

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

Banana passionfruit are a good source of the following nutrients…

  • antioxidants
  • calcium
  • carbohydrates
  • fiber
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • protein
  • vitamins A and C

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

As long as you store ripe banana passion fruit in an open paper bag in the fridge, they will last for around a week.

Although banana passion fruit is best eaten as it is instead of trying to cook or make something else out of it, here are some more ideas as far as using banana passion fruit…

  • desserts such as cakes, cheesecake and pies
  • fruit salads
  • ice cream
  • juices
  • parfaits
  • relishes, jams and other preserves
  • smoothies
  • yogurt 

So let’s take a look in the following posts at a few of these ideas…shall we?!

Developing a Passion for Banana Passion Fruit

Before starting this series on tropical fruits, I had honestly never even heard of banana passion fruit…and I still honestly haven’t figured out where the closest place to buy it is…but since it is a tropical fruit, I’m gonna go ahead and include here in this chapter…(think once I finish crawling up the Raw Foods Pyramid, I may try to put it all together into a book…probably too lofty of a goal, but hey we are all making New Year’s resolutions right now anyway)…

 

 

 

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Banana Passion Fruit…The What

Banana passion fruit are native to many areas of South America—particularly Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru.

Banana passion fruit grows on vines that can be as tall…or long, not sure which word would be correct here…as twenty-two feet….and that have attractive, deep pink blossoms. The vines are commonly used in landscaping to cover trellises.

plant is known to live for up to twenty years. A mature banana passion fruit vine can produce up to three hundred banana passion fruits. 

The fruit itself is oblong and about four inches long. The orange-scented fruit has a  thick, leathery skin that changes from green to bright yellow as the fruit ripens…and juicy, sweet pulp that is studded with black seeds.

The pulp is juicy and sweet, with a tart bite and hints of banana. Although the seeds are edible, they can be somewhat bitter…

Banana passion fruit is available year-round in the tropics, with a peak season in the spring and fall months.

However…interestingly enough…it is illegal to sell and distribute the plant in New Zealand and Hawaii because it is considered to be an invasive species that can quickly take over and deprive other native plants from the sun.

 

 

 

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

Banana passionfruit are a good source of the following nutrients…

  • antioxidants
  • calcium
  • carbohydrates
  • fiber
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • protein
  • vitamins A and C

 

 

 

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

As long as you store ripe banana passion fruit in an open paper bag in the fridge, they will last for around a week.

Although banana passion fruit is best eaten as it is instead of trying to cook or make something else out of it, here are some more ideas as far as using banana passion fruit…

  • desserts such as cakes, cheesecake and pies
  • fruit salads
  • ice cream
  • juices
  • parfaits
  • relishes, jams and other preserves
  • smoothies
  • yogurt 

So let’s take a look in the following posts at a few of these ideas…shall we?!

Bananas…The Why

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  • Heart Health…
  • Bananas are very beneficial for the health of your heart because they contain potassium and magnesium—two nutrients that are impotant for the health of your heart.
  • Potassium carries a small electrical charge that causes nerve cells to signals for the heart to beat regularly and muscles to contract…as well as maintain a healthy balance of water in cells…and offset the effects of excess dietary sodium.
  • to beat regularly and muscles
  • to contract. Potassium
  • is also needed
  • to maintain a healthy balance of water in cells, and
  • offsets the effects of excess dietary sodium. An imbalance in the diet of too little potassium and too much sodium
  • can lead to high blood pressure. Excessive sodium
  • can lead to a buildup of fluid in the blood,
  • placing pressure on the walls of blood vessels and eventually
  • causing damage. Potassium
  • helps the body
  • to flush out extra sodium in the urine, and
  • eases tension in blood vessel walls.
  • Bananas, rich in potassium and fiber and low in sodium,
  • are an important component of
  • heart-healthy diets like DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) that
  • aims for about 4,700 mg dietary potassium daily.
  • bananas…Resistant starch
  • escapes digestion and
  • ends up in your large intestine, where it
  • becomes food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut
  • Heart health…
  • Bananas
  • contain fiber, potassium, folate, and antioxidants, such as vitamin C. All of these
  • support
  • heart health…A 2017 review 
  • found that people who
  • follow a high fiber diet
  • have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those on a low fiber diet. Those who
  • consumed more fiber also
  • had lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol.f cardiovascular benefit from
  • bananas
  • is related to their potassium content.
  • Bananas
  • are a good source of potassium, an essential mineral for
  • maintaining normal blood pressure and
  • heart function. Since one medium-sized
  • banana
  • contains a whopping 400-plus mg of potassium, the inclusion of
  • bananas in your routine meal plan
  • may help
  • to prevent high blood pressure and
  • protect against atherosclerosis…The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as
  • bananas in
  • lowering blood pressure
  • has been demonstrated by a number of studies. For example, researchers
  • tracked over 40,000 American male health professionals over four years
  • to determine the effects of diet on blood pressure. Men who
  • ate diets higher in potassium-rich foods, as well as foods high in magnesium and cereal fiber,
  • had a substantially reduced risk of stroke.
  • We’ve also seen numerous prospective clinical research trials
  • showing substantial reductions of blood pressure in individuals
  • eating the potassium-rich DASH Diet….A second type of cardiovascular benefit from
  • bananas
  • involves their sterol content. While
  • bananas
  • are a very low-fat food (less than 4% of their calories
  • come from fat), one type of fat that they
  • do contain in small amounts
  • are sterols like sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. As these sterols
  • look structurally similar to cholesterol, they
  • can block the absorption of dietary cholesterol. By
  • blocking absorption, they
  • help us keep our blood cholesterol levels in check…A third type of cardiovascular benefit from
  • bananas
  • involves their fiber content. At about 3 grams per medium
  • banana, we
  • rank bananas as a good source of fiber. Approximately one-third of the fiber in
  • bananas
  • is water-soluble fiber. For one medium-sized
  • banana, this amount
  • translates into 1 gram of soluble fiber per
  • banana. Soluble fiber in food
  • is a type of fiber especially
  • associated with decreased risk of
  • heart disease,
  • making regular intake of
  • bananas a potentially helpful approach
  • to lowering your
  • heart disease risk.
  • Heart health…
  • Bananas
  • are good for your
  • heart. They
  • are packed with potassium, a mineral electrolyte that
  • keeps electricity
  • flowing throughout your body, which
  • is required
  • to keep your
  • heart
  • beating.
  • Bananas’ high potassium and low sodium content
  • may also help protect your cardiovascular system against high blood pressure, according to the FDA…A 2017 animal study
  • conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama 
  • found that the potassium in
  • bananas
  • is also linked to arterial effectiveness; the more potassium you
  • have, the less likely your arteries
  • are
  • to harden. In the study, mice with lower-potassium diet
  • had harder arteries than mice
  • consuming a normal amount of potassium. Arterial stiffness in humans
  • is linked to
  • heart disease. 
    • Insulin Sensitivity…Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for many of the world’s most serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes…Several studies reveal that 15–30 grams of resistant starch per day may improve insulin sensitivity by 33–50% in as few as four weeks…Unripe bananas are a great source of resistant starch. Therefore, they may help improve insulin sensitivity… However, the reason for these effects is not well understood, and not all studies agree on the matter…More studies should be conducted on bananas and insulin sensitivity…Unripe bananas are a good source of resistant starch, which may improve insulin sensitivity. However, more research is needed
    • Kidney Health…Potassium is essential for blood pressure control and healthy kidney function….As a good dietary source of potassium, bananas may be especially beneficial for maintaining healthy kidneys…One 13-year study in women determined that those who ate bananas 2–3 times per week were 33% less likely to develop kidney disease…Other studies note that those who eat bananas 4–6 times a week are almost 50% less likely to develop kidney disease than those who don’t eat this fruit…Eating a banana several times a week may reduce your risk of kidney disease by up to 50%.protecting your eyes, maintaining normal vision and improving vision at night, according to the National Institutes of Health. Vitamin A contains compounds that preserve the membranes around your eyes and are an element in the proteins that bring light to your corneas. Like other fruits, bananas can help prevent macular degeneration, an incurable condition, which blurs central vision
    • Weight Control…looked for associations between reported intakes of specific fruits and vegetables and weight changes in 133,468 U.S. men and women followed for up to 24 years. [3] The results were adjusted to account for other factors that can contribute to weight changes like smoking and physical activity. Though higher intakes of apples, pears, and berries tended to more strongly show a link to less weight gain over time, bananas were also There is no evidence that bananas contribute to weight gain, despite popular belief. In an analysis of three large prospective cohort studies, researchersBananas are a fascinating fruit in terms of their carbohydrate and sugar content. Even though bananas are a fruit that tastes quite sweet when ripe—containing 14-15 grams of total sugar—bananas receive a rating of low in their glycemic index (GI) value. GI measures the impact of a food on our blood sugar. This low GI value for bananas is most likely related to two of their carbohydrate-related qualities…First, as mentioned previously, a medium-size banana contains about 3 grams of total fiber. Fiber is a nutrient that helps regulate the speed of digestion, and by keeping digestion well-regulated, conversion of carbohydrates to simple sugars and release of simple sugars from digesting foods also stays well-regulated…Within their total fiber content, bananas also contain pectins. Pectins are unique and complicated types of fiber. Some of the components in pectins are water-soluble, and others are not. As bananas ripen, their water-soluble pectins increase, and this increase is one of the key reasons why bananas become softer in texture as they ripen. As their water-soluble pectins increase, so does their relative concentration of fructose in comparison to other sugars. This increase in water-soluble pectins and higher proportional fructose content helps normalize the rate of carbohydrate digestion and moderates the impact of banana consumption on our blood sugar. The bottom line here are some surprisingly digestion-friendly consequences for a fruit that might be casually dismissed as being too high in sugar to be digestion-friendly…Similar to the importance of their water-soluble pectins is the digestive importance of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) in bananas. FOS are unique fructose-containing carbohydrates that are typically not broken down by enzymes in our digestive tract. Instead, they move along through the digestive tract until they reach our lower intestine and get metabolized by bacteria. This process helps maintain the balance of “friendly” bacteria (for example, Bifidobacteria) in our lower intestine, and as a consequence, it also supports our overall digestive health…In one study involving female participants, eating two bananas each day for two months led to significant increases in Bifidobacteria. Along with these increased levels of Bifidobacteria, participants also experienced fewer gastrointestinal problems and more regular bowel function when compared to other women in the study who drank a banana-flavored beverage that did not contain any actual banana….Weight Loss…No study has directly tested the effects of bananas on weight loss. However, bananas do have several attributes that should make them a weight-loss-friendly-food…For starters, bananas have relatively few calories. An average banana has just over 100 calories — yet it is also very nutritious and filling…Eating more fiber from vegetables and fruits like bananas has repeatedly been linked to lower body weight and weight loss…Furthermore, unripe bananas are packed with resistant starch, so they tend to be very filling and may reduce your appetite…Bananas may aid weight loss because they’re low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber…Digestion and weight loss…Bananas are high in fiber, which can help keep you regular. One banana can provide nearly 10 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Vitamin B6 can also help protect against Type 2 diabetes and aid in weight loss, according to Flores. In general, bananas are a great weight loss food because they taste sweet and are filling, which helps curb cravings…Bananas are particularly high in resistant starch, a form of dietary fiber in which researchers have recently become interested. A 2017 review published in Nutrition Bulletin found that the resistant starch in bananas may support gut health and control blood sugar. Resistant starch increases the production of short chain fatty acids in the gut, which are necessary to gut health.Bananas May Help You Feel More Full…Resistant starch is a type of indigestible carb — found in unripe bananas and other foods — which functions like soluble fiber in your body…As a rule of thumb, you can estimate that the greener the banana, the higher its resistant starch content…On the other hand, yellow, ripe bananas contain lower amounts of resistant starch and total fiber — but proportionally higher amounts of soluble fiber…Both pectin and resistant starch offer appetite-reducing effects and increase the feeling of fullness after meals…Depending on ripeness, bananas harbor high amounts of resistant starch or pectin. Both may reduce appetite and help keep you full and is able to pass into thenage your weight better as you stay full for longer. That said, bananas can help you beat gastrointestinal issues such as constipation,stomach ulcers, and heartbur*******************************large intestine. Such bananas help you ma
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  • re at room temperature away from direct sunlight.Do not refrigerate green bananas as this can disrupt normal ripening. To speed up ripening, store in a brown paper bag or place near ripe fruit, which emits ethylene gas that causes ripening. On the flipside, if you wish to slow ripening, store bananas away from other ripe bananas or fruits. Do not store in plastic bags as this traps excess moisture and may promote rotting.Fully ripe golden yellow bananas may be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed produce drawer. Refrigeration will preserve the flavor for another week, even if the peels continue to darken.If the banana peel has ripened to a mostly brown color, remove the peel and chop or mash the pulp to include in baked goods or freeze to be added into smoothies.Slice ripe banana into a fruit salad. Squeeze a bit of acid like apple cider vinegar, orange juice, lime, or lemon onto the bananas to prevent darkening too quickly.Substitute an equal amount of mashed banana for butter for dense baked goods like muffins, quick breads, and cookies. Using banana may cause the product to bake faster, so check for doneness several minutes earlier than usual or reduce the oven temperature by 25°F. The bananas will also add sweetness, so reduce the amount of added sugar in the recipe by one-quarter to one-half.For a frozen treat, slice a peeled ripe banana in half (in the middle) and insert a popsicle stick or skewer into the flat end. Dip banana into yogurt and coat evenly; sprinkle with nuts, chopped dried fruit, cinnamon, or other favorite toppings and freeze for several hours.For an easy dairy-free ice cream alternative, peel, chop, and freeze two medium bananas. Place into a blender or food processor and add a few tablespoons of liquid (water, dairy or plant milk, or coconut water). Blend until smooth. Add extra liquid if additional creaminess is desired. For a different flavor, add 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or nut/seed butter, a splash of vanilla extract and cinnamon, or ½ cup frozen berries.organically grown foods, and bananas is no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including bananas. If you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown bananas is very likely to be bananas that display the USDA organic logo….While bananas look resilient, they’re actually very fragile and care should be taken in their storage. They should be left to ripen at room temperature and should not be subjected to overly hot or cold temperatures. Unripe bananas should not be placed in the refrigerator as this will interrupt the ripening process to such an extent that it will not be able to resume even if the bananas are returned to room temperature…If you need to hasten the ripening process, you can place bananas in a paper bag or wrap them in newspaper, adding an apple to accelerate the process. Ripe bananas that will not be consumed for a few days can be placed in the refrigerator. While their peel may darken, the flesh will not be affected. For maximum flavor when consuming refrigerated bananas, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to come back to room temperature. For the most antioxidants, eat fully ripened fruit…Bananas can also be frozen and will keep for about 2 months. Either puree them before freezing or simply remove the peel and wrap the bananas in plastic wrap. To prevent discoloration, add some lemon juice before freezing.

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    salads

    baked goods

    peanut butter and banana sandwich drizzled with honey

    chopped bananas, walnuts and maple syrup to oatmeal or porridge.
  • deep fried,
  • baked in their skin in a split bamboo, or
  • steamed in glutinous rice
  • wrapped in a banana leaf.
  • fruit preserves.
  • Banana pancakes
  • Banana chips 
  • banana flour.
  • Philippine cuisinemaruyaturón, and halo-halo or saba con yelo
  • South-Indian state of Keralasteamed (puzhungiyathu), made into curries,
  • fried into chips, (upperi)fried in batter (pazhampori).[117] Pisang goreng,
  • bananas fried with batter similar to the Filipino maruya or Kerala pazhampori, is a popular dessert in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia
  • banana fritters
  • Add a sliced banana to your morning cereal or oatmeal for a more nutritious breakfast.
  • Mash ripe bananas and use to replace butter or oil in baked goods.
  • Add mashed bananas to muffins, cookies, and cakes for a naturally sweet flavor.
  • Add bananas to a smoothie.
  • yogurt
  • cereal and smoothies. You can even use them instead of sugar in your baking and cooking…Furthermore, bananas rarely contain any pesticides or pollutants due to their thick protective peel…Bananas are incredibly easy to eat and transport. They are usually well-tolerated and easily digested — they simply have to be peeled and eaten…It doesn’t get much easier than that…Bananas make an excellent snack food, dessert or breakfast. Their versatility makes them easy to add to your diet…Bananas are a popular fruit that happens to provide numerous health benefits…Among other things, they may boost digestive and heart health due to their fiber and antioxidant content…They may even aid weight loss, as they’re relatively low-calorie and nutrient-dense…Ripe bananas are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. What’s more, both yellow and green bananas can keep you healthy and feeling full…a bit of confusion surrounding bananas. Some people consider this iconic golden fruit a healthy choice while others avoid it, after seeing it on Internet lists of “5 Worst Foods.” Unfavorable claims suggest that bananas cause weight gain and constipation. An article from 1917 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association defended the nutritional value of bananas, citing rumored beliefs during that time: “The banana is a cause of indigestion and a treacherous dietary component…”The scientific name for banana is Musa, from the Musaceae family of flowering tropical plants, which distinctively showcases the banana fruit clustered at the top of the plant. The mild-tasting and disease-resistant Cavendish type is the main variety sold in the U.S. and Europe. Despite some negative attention, bananas are nutritious and may even carry the title of the first “superfood,” endorsed by the American Medical Association in the early 20th century as a health food for children and a treatment for celiac disease.
  • Since bananas are picked off the tree while they’re still green, it’s not unusual to see them this color in the store. Base your choice of bananas depending upon when you want to consume them. Bananas with more green coloration will take longer to ripen than those more yellow in hue and/or with brown spots…Bananas should be firm, but not too hard, bright in appearance, and free from bruises or other injuries. Their stems and tips should be intact. The size of the banana does not affect its quality, so simply choose the size that best meets your needs….At WHFoods, we encourage the purchase of certified
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      30.7 No data
    Alpha carotene (mcg) 29.5 No data

     

Bananas…The Why

Before we move on to much more interesting and fun things to do with bananas—such as which bananas to choose and what to do with them once you get them home, let’s take a look at the health benefits that bananas provide.

Asthma…Bananas help prevent wheezing in children with asthma because of their antioxidant and potassium content.

Athletic Performance…The unique mix of vitamins, minerals, and low glycemic carbohydrates…easy portability…low expense…and great taste have made bananas a favorite fruit among endurance athletes.

Bananas especially provide excellent nutrition before endurance exercise. Distance cyclists have found that eating half of a banana every fifteen minutes of a three-hour race keep their energy levels steady just as well as drinking a processed sports beverage.

Not only that we’ve all been told to eat a banana if we have cramps. This is because of their bananas are a good source of the potassium that can help prevent muscle cramps and soreness cauaws by dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Bones…Bananas do not contain high levels of calcium, but they do contain an abundance of a certain carbohydrate, called fructooligosaccharides, that help the body absorb calcium.

Cancer…Bananas contain lectin and vitamin C, two antioxidants that help keep cancer cells—especially lukemia, kidney, and colon cancer cells—from growing. Eating four to six bananas per week can cut your risk of developing kidney cancer in half. Bananas are also fairly rich in fiber and resistant starch…both of which may feed your friendly gut bacteria and safeguard against colon cancer.

Depression…mood…memory…Bananas contain three nutrients that may help preserve memory, boost a person’s ability to learn and remember things, and regulate mood. These nutrients include tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to serotonin, the mood-elevating brain neurotransmitter…vitamin B6 that help you sleep…and magnesium to help your muscles relax.

Diabetes…The American Diabetes Association recommends eating bananas because of their fiber content. Diets that include high levels of fiber can help lower blood sugar levels, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and help lower blood sugar in those who are diabetic.

Digestive Health…Bananas contain water and fiber, both of which promote regularity and encourage digestive health. One medium banana provides about three grams of fiber, about 10% of a person’s fiber needs for a day. Fiber found in bananas can also improve bloating, gas, and stomach cramps.

For years, we’ve heard about the BRAT diet…eating only bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast…whenever you have diarrhea. Bananas help replace any water, electrolytes, and potassium that are lost with diarrhea or vomiting.

Let’s Go Ape Over Bananas

Bananas chopped up in a bowl

Of course we all know what a banana is…

In fact, we all seem to go apes over bananas…so much so that in the United States, each person eats about eleven pounds of bananas per year…making it Americans’ favorite fresh fruit.

Bananas in fact are a favorite fruit worldwide…having first been grown in Southeast Asia, they are now grown in many warm parts of the world.

The perfect banana is wonderfully sweet with firm and creamy flesh.

Contrary to your grocery store produce aisle may have you to believe, there are actually several different types of bananas—varying in color, size and shape.

The most common type is the Cavendish, a type of dessert banana. These bananas are green when unripe…and then yellow as they mature.

Banana plants vary in height…anywhere from ten to twenty-six feet. The leaves are arranged spirally and may grow to be about nine feet long and two feet wide. The leaves of the banana tree are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.

Bananas can also vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy…depending on what variety you choose and how ripe the bananas are.

Greener, less ripe bananas are more starchy…whereas yellow bananas taste sweeter because they contain more sugar.

The actual bananas are gathered into bunches…made up of anywhere from three to twenty tiers. The bunch itself can weigh anywhere from sixty-five to one hundred pounds.

Some of the edible varieties, ranging in color from yellow to red, pink, purple and black…varying in both flavor and texture…include… 

  • Blue Java Banana…Blue Java bananas are also known as the ice cream banana due to their sweet vanilla flavor and extreme creaminess. They feature a beautiful blue peel and a white flesh. They’re actually pretty hardy and can grow in colder regions….
  • Blue Java. Also called “ice cream” bananas because they’re said to taste like vanilla ice cream, these have a bluish-silvery peel that turns pale yellow when ripe.
  • Cavendish. The most widely exported banana in the world, the Cavendish has a sturdy peel that travels well. Almost all bananas sold in the United States and Europe are this variety.
  • Goldfinger. This newer variety from Honduras has a sweet and slightly apple-like flavor.
  • Gros Michel. Also known as Big Mike, this was the top-exported banana until much of the crop was wiped out by a fungus in the 1950s. It’s similar in taste and size to Cavendish and still available in some places.
  • Lady Finger Banana…Lady Finger bananas, also known as baby bananas, are sweeter and smaller than Cavendish bananas. They’re usually around three inches in length and feature a creamy texture and sweet flavor with notes of honey.
  • Manzano. Also called “apple bananas,” these short, chubby fruits have a hint of apple and strawberry. They’re fully ripe and taste best when the skin turns black. Manzano is the most popular dessert variety in the tropics.
  • Mysore. This small fruit is the most important banana crop in India. It has a thin skin and a hint of tartness.
  • Praying Hands. You’ll recognize this variety by the two adjacent “hands” that grow fused together, giving the fruit its name. It’s less sweet than other types and has a subtle vanilla flavor.
  • Red. The thick skin of red bananas starts red or maroon but turns yellow-orange when ripe. The flesh is sweet and tinged with pink or orange.      

Making the Perfect Chowder

Don’t Be a Dumbo About Making Gumbo

If I were to talk about both choosing the perfect ingredients for your gumbo and using the perfect method, this would be an extremely long post.

Instead we’re gonna talk about the perfect ingredientsw…and talk about method in the next.

Making the perfect gumbo is about like decorating a Christmas tree. There are an umpteen thousand different ways to do it, and every one has their own opinion of what your finished project should look/taste like.

But regardless your personal preference, there are some tips about choosing ingredients that remain the same regardless what type of gumbo you may be making.

 

 

 

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Mear

A few things to keep in mind as far as the meat are…

1. If you are making chicken gumbo, use the legs becacuse they will give the best flavor.

2. Buy bone-in chicken, and then cook your chicken on the bone, but take off the skin if there’s any on it.. This will add extra richness to your gumbo. Just make sure that you carefully remove all bones from your gumbo before serving…especially if you are serving it to your Cajun grandmother.

3. Brown your meat over high heat before sticking in into the pot. This will add more flavor to your gumbo.

4. If using a sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, wait and add them at the end of your cooking time…otherwise they get get rubbery.

 

 

Now for a few recipes as to which meat can be used and some recipes to try…

 

 

 

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Vegetables

In a  previous post we learned that The Cajun Holy Trinity consists of onions, celery, and bell peppers—not carrots, as in the classic French mirepoix which consists  of onions, celery, and carrots,

As in most cooking, it is always best to use fresh ingredients instead of the frozen stuff…even though the frozen stuff is so much more convenient…

Tomatoes…Tomatoes are typically found in Creole gumbo recipes,..not Cajun…(so not going to get into the specifics of this, just trust me on this one)…versions of the dish

Okra…Okra is often used as a thickener. Okra is often used as a thickener and While there are many gumbo recipes that do not call for okra…and many people do not like adding the okra because they claim that it makes their gumbo slimy…,the word “gumbo” is actually derived from the West African word for okra.

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Liquid

You can use either water or stock/broth to create the base of your gumbo., but using water will mean that your gumbo will end up having much less flavor…so I wouldn’t recommend it.

And of course you can buy stock/broth from the grocery store, but it’s also easy to make your own…and perhaps cheaper.

So how you make your own stock?

The stock or broth that you use depends on the type of gumbo you are making, but here are three basic recipes…