Jackfruit…The Which — April 15, 2021

Jackfruit…The Which

Jackfruit can be found fresh, canned, or frozen in many specialty supermarkets and Asian food stores.







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Fresh Jackfruit

Fresh jackfruit can be purchased at Asian food markets and specialty stores…where it’s typically sold by the pound, The typical jackfruit will weigh somewhere between ten and twenty-five pounds.

The smell of a jackfruit indicates its ripeness: The stronger the jackfruit smells, the riper the jackfruit is.

Fresh jackfruit can often be hard to find when it is not in season, but can be useful at any stage of ripeness.







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Unripe Jackfruit..

Unripe jackfruit is green and will become yellow as it ripens. This unripe, green jackfruit is what most of us will find the most interesting and useful because it has a texture very similar to chicken or pulled pork, making it an excellent meat substitute—in such savory dishes as curries, pies, tacos, soups, stir-fries, chili, stews, wraps, and burritos.

Honestly, I’m not sure that I’d ever go to the trouble of buying a whole jackfruit and processing it myself…it seems like a big pain in the butt.

But…

If you’re willing to try it and let me know just how easy or difficult it is, go for it. I just had surgery on my hand and will be content to buy either the pre-packaged and pre-seasoned jackfruit chunks that are found in the freezer or the canned stuff…both already packaged to have that look and texture of meat that makes it such a great meat substitute.

If you do go all out and buy the real deal, first you have to cut through the thick, green coral reef-like skin with a sharp serrated knife. Chilling the jackfruit in the fridge for a while before breaking into it will make this easier to do.

Once you’ve dug your way into the jackfruit, you will find a creamy white interior filled with large, pale yellow seed-containing bulbs that are connected to the fruit’s core.

Keep slicing until you have large chunks of fruit (leaving the skin on).

Before you can use the fresh jackfruit in recipes, you will need to boil the jackfruit chunks for about 45 minutes…until the inner flesh is soft and a bit stringy, like chicken. You could also do this in your pressure cooker.



If you are working with a fresh, unripe jackfruit, first cut the fruit in half. Next remove the yellow fruit pods and seeds from the skin and core with either a knife or your hands. The white, fibrous parts inside of the jackfruit will be very sticky, so you probably should wear gloves while doing this.

You will need to boil the jackfruit chunks for at least thirty minutes…until the flesh becomes soft and stringy…the same texture as pulled pork or chicken….before you can use the jackfruit in any of the recipes that I will sharing in the next few posts..(more on this later)…



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Ripe Jackfruit

Ripe jackfruit has a rather neutral flavor that will absorb the flavor of whatever other foods it is cooked with, much like a potato. Fresh, ripe jackfruit can be eaten on its own, added to yogurt or oatmeal. or used to make a wide range of recipes—including desserts.

Often stores will sell packages of precut jackfruit because the entire jackfruit itself can be so big. Always choose this instead of buying a whole one and going to the trouble of cutting it yourself…will save you time, money, and effort in the long run.

Regardless what form of jackfruit you buy, always avoid fruit with black or dark spots.

If you buy green jackfruit, you need to go ahead and use it while it still is green…or process and freeze it as soon as possible.

Cut, ripened jackfruit can be stored in plastic in the fridge for up to a one week or in the freezer for up to a month.



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Jackfruit Seeds

You can also roast or boil the jackfruit seeds and then combine with seasonings to be eaten whole…or can be used to make hummus, top a salad, make a smoothie, or grind into flour.









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Canned Jackfruit

Canned jackfruit will be packed in either a brine or a syrup. Always choose jackfruit packed in brine because this will be better for making savory dishes.

Also check to make sure that the labels includes the words “green,” “young,” or “tender” if you plan on using the jackfruit as a meat substitute..



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Jackfruit Products

These days it seems like more and more foods containing jackfruit are sprouting up at your local Whole Foods, Sprouts, and the health-food section of just about any traditional grocery store. Try them. You might find yourself as pleasantly surprised as I was as to how great these products can be.

Who Wants a Golden Ticket, When You Can Have a Golden Berry Instead — April 4, 2021

Who Wants a Golden Ticket, When You Can Have a Golden Berry Instead

Golden Berries: Nutrition and Benefits - Ben's Natural Health

Golden berries—also known as Inca berry, Peruvian groundcherry, poha berry, goldenberry, husk cherry and cape gooseberry, aguaymanto, topotopo, and Peruvian groundcherry….(don’t ask me why, why go ask your Mother)…are not actually berries. They belong to the “nightshade” family…the same family as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.

Golden berries are native to the mountainous forests of the Andes—countries such as Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, Peru and Chile where the annual average temperature is about 60°F….and has been cultivated there ever since the days of the ancient Incans—as early as 4,000 years ago. Today they are also found in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Golden berries grow on shrubs that are about three feet high with velvety, heart-shaped leaves and bell-shaped flowers that are less than an inch across.Hawaii, Taiwan, California, India, and Great Britain..

The fruit itself is a bright, yellow-orange orb wrapped in a papery husk…similar in appearance to a tomatillo and about the size of a marble…sort of a mini version of a yrllow cherry tomato.

Golden berries have a tart, tangy taste…similar to other tropical fruits—such as the pineapple or mango.

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Nutritional Value

Goldenberries are a low-calorie fruit that contain impressive amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber as shown below, but the primary benefit of golden berries is a high concentration of antioxidants—such as polyphenols and carotenoids—naturally-occuring pigments that give foods such as goldenberries, oranges, pumpkins, and carrots their color.

One cup of golden berries contains…

  • Calories: 74
  • Carbs: 15.7 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Protein: 2.7 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Vitamin C: 21% of the RDI for women and 17% for men
  • Thiamine: 14% of the RDI for women and 13% for men
  • Riboflavin: 5% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 28% of the RDI for women and 25% for men
  • Vitamin A: 7% of the RDI for women and 6% for men
  • Iron: 8% of the RDI for women and 18% for men
  • Phosphorus: 8% of the RDI

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Health Benefits

Golden berries have many health benefits to offer. Let’s take a look at some of them…

  • Bones…Golden berries are high in vitamin K, a vitamin thar is necessary for healthy bones and cartilage.
  • Cholesterol Levels…Golden berries contain antioxidants and fatty acids—such as linoleic acid and oleic acid—that help lower your cholesterol. levels and establish the cholesterol balance needed to ensure a healthy heart.
  • Diabetes…Eating golden berries can be an effective preventive method and a treatment for Type II diabetes because golden berries contain nutrients that keep you from having high blood sugar levels.
  • Heart…Goldenberries can improve the health of your heart by lowering inflammation of the arteries and blood vessels…as well as blood pressure.
  • Immunity...Golden berries contain significant level of vitamin C…almost 15%DV…that is so important for your immune system.
  • Inflammation…Golden berries contain natural antioxidants and steroids that help calm inflammation caused by such diseases as IBS, arthritis, gout, muscle aches, chronic pain, hemorrhoids, autoimmune diseases, and some neurodegenerative diseases….
  • Liver and Kidney Health...Golden berries can reduce liver scarring and degradation….and also help eliminate toxins by making you pee more and flushing out excess fats, salts, and toxins from the lymphatic system. 
  • Vision…Golden berries contain lutein and beta-carotene that can keep your eyes in top working order as you age and lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, vision loss from diabetes, cataracts and other eye diseases.
  • Weight Loss...Golden berries are a good option for people trying to lose weight because they contain a large percentage of your daily nutrients, but hardly any fats or calories….only 53 calories per half cup.

Coconut…The Why — January 29, 2021

Coconut…The Why

 

Calories…One half cup coconut…or a piece of fresh coconut meat measuring 2″ x 2″ x 1/2″…contains about 350 calories. Protein…1/2C or a 2″ cube of coconut meat contains 1.5 grams protein. Carbs…1/2C or a 2″ cube of coconut meat contains about fifteen grams carbohydrates. Fiber…1/2C or a 2″ cube of coconut meat contains four grams of fiber.

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Fat

One-half cup or a 2″ cube of coconut contains about fifteen grams of total fat—13.4g saturated fat…0.64g monounsaturated fat…and a smaller amount of polyunsaturated fat—meaning that coconut is not one of the healthiest fruits out there.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting your fat intake to a total of 78 grams per day…of which no more than sixteen of these grams being saturated fat… Which means that coconut is not actually healthy for you if you are concerned about your fat intake.

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Vitamins

  • Coconut is not a significant source of vitamins, but is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins—vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin.

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Minerals

  • Manganese…A single serving of coconut meat provides 34% of the daily value for manganese, a mineral that helps your body maintain a healthy brain, nervous system, healthy bones, and immune function.
  • Copper…A single serving of coconut meat provides 10% of the daily value for copper, a mineral that helps form red blood cells.
  • Selenium…A single serving of coconut meat contains 6% of the daily value for selenium, an important antioxidant that protects your cells.
  • Iron…A single serving of coconut meat contains 2mg…11% of the daily value…of iron, a mineral that helps form red blood cells and also helps regulate your heartbeat.
  • Potassium…A single serving of coconut meat contains 356 mg…7.5% of daily value…of potassium.

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Antioxidants

Coconut contains antioxidants—including gallic acid, caffeic acid, salicylic acid, and p-coumaric acid—which may help protect cells from damage and death caused by oxidative stress and chemotherapy….and may also reduce your disease risk.
Breadfruit….The How — January 19, 2021

Breadfruit….The How

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com
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 — January 17, 2021

Breadfruit…The What and the Why

sliced fruits on tray
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com
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 — January 12, 2021

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…

 

Bananas…The Why — November 26, 2020

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.

All About Avocado Oil — November 20, 2020

All About Avocado Oil

Salad made with avocado oil

 

 

 

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Nutrition

  • Calories: 124
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams

Avocado oil is a good source of:

  • HDL Cholesterol
  • Lutein…a type of vitamin found as the yellow, orange, and red pigments in certain plants which gives these fruits and vegetables their colors…
  • Oleic Acid
  • Vitamin E…1Tbsp avocado oil contains about 23% of the DV of vitamin E.

 

 

 

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Health  Benefits

Antioxidant…If you’ve been following my blog at all…or if you have any interest in nutrition in the first place…you should know by now that antioxidants are important for fighting off free radicals. Antioxidants are important for preventing diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Arthritis…Arthritis, painful inflammation of the joints, is very common… and in fact affects millions of people worldwide. Studies have shown that avocado oil may reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis…especially arthritis in the hips and knees.

Heart…Avocado oil may be helpful to the health of your heart because of the oleic acid that it contains. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that can help lower blood triglycerides, LDL cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

Skin…Avocados and avocado oil both contain fatty acids, vitamin E, and lutein contained in avocado oil can provide the following benefits…

  • helping soothe dry, chapped, or damaged skin if used topically 
  • improving symptoms of psoriasis
  • increasing collagen production 
  • decreasing inflammation
  • promoting skin health
  • helping wounds heal faster

In the next post we will look at how avocados can be used to make “bathroom beauty recipes” that might come in handy if there is another coronavirus shutdown.

 

 

 

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Uses

Mastering Ministrone — November 19, 2020

Mastering Ministrone

So now that we’ve bought the perfect pot, found the perfect recie, bought the best veggies, sliced and diced, and so forth…

Now what?

1.Constantly keep an eye on your soup while it is cooking. This will allow you to  adjust the spices and cooking temperature as needed.

2. Cook on low heat. Don’t think that cooking your soup at a higher temperature will ensure that everything will actually get cooked instead of being raw or hard when you are ready to serve the soup.

Doing this will instead turn your meat into tough, hard-to-chew pieces…not to mention possibly ruining the bottom of that expensive soup pot that we all went out and bought after reading a previous article, right?

Instead bring your soup slowly to a boil and then allow the soup to simmer for the rest of the cooking time.

This will allow the ingredients to maintain their structure and integrity, while at the same time combining all of the ingredients into a flavorful soup.

3. Cover or not?…Depending on the finished product that you want,  leaving the soup uncovered or covering the soup with the lid is a matter of personal  reference. Leaving the lid off will make the soup base evaporate faster, creating a thicker and more flavorful soup.

4, Dig in Deep…There are many soup recipes out there that  require taking some of the soup as it is cooking and blending it and then adding it back into the soup in order to thicken the soup. Using an immersion blender will reduce the risk of your getting burned and make this job easier and neater.

Here is a list from Good Housekeeping of some of the most highly recommended immersion blenders available…

5. Use your brain when using grains…Pasta and grains that are called for as ingredients will often overcook. Avoid this by cooking them separately and then adding them into the soup just before serving.

Making the Perfect Chili — November 15, 2020

Making the Perfect Chili

The perfect chili will depend on your own person preferences…beans, not beans…beef of chicken…plain or served as chili dogs… burgers topped with chili… (usually without beans)….chili fries…chili mac…or Frito pie and flavored to perfection…(more on this later)…

As we all probably know by now, especially if you live in Texas, chili is a type of spicy stew that not only is great to serve alone…or as

And speaking of chili, chilii made in New York City may taste good…and chili made in Texas may be better…the best chili is made in your own kitchen because you are the boss, and you can choose what ingredients you actually like best, not what somebody thinks you’ll like.

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THE INGREDIENTS

The recipe that you actually end up using for your chili will probably vary from one person to the next…based on where you live and what you actually want to be in your chili…(such as beans or no beans)

Since the perfect chili is a matter of person preference, instead of simply giving you one single recipes for the perfect chili, let’s consider some of the ingredients that you could use in chili…so that you can tweak the recipe until you find the perfect chili that is perfectly perfect for you and your family.

 

 

 

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THE MEAT

Beef…Most of us like our chili to be good and hearty…probab ly stockpiled with lots of meat…chili con carne…as most of us already know, you can always substitute ground turkey for the ground beef.

Chicken,,,one of my favorite meals is white chicken chili…kinda like my favorite lasagna contains white sauce and chicken…instead of the typicaxl ground beef and red saucer.

No Meat…my daughter has decided to embrace the vegetarian era…meaning that I often have to disappointment my Mississippi husband by making meals that do nit contain any meat…

Pork…Chili can also be made with pork…such as chili verde…a ‘green chili that is made from chunks of pork.

 

 

 

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THE PEPPERS

Chili peppers, often in the form of chili powder…which we will talk about later)…is commonly used to spice up your chili.

What makes chili peppers so hot is an ingredient called Capsaicin, the same stuff that’s used to make pepper spray, many pain relief creams, insect-repellentproducts…(yum)…

 

Remember that the white part of the pepper is where most of this capsaicin…especially the seeds.

Five types of  chili peppers rhat you can consider using are…

  • Bell pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Habanero pepper
  • Jalapeno pepper
  • Poblano pepper
  • Serrano pepper
  • Thai prepper
  • Wax pepper

As far as if the word is actually “chili” or “chile,” there is no clearcut answer. “Chili ” is typically what most of us call it here in the US, but “Chile” is the the word more often used in Mexico and several other Latin American countries.

Other people prefer to use the word “chile” whenever referring to the pepper, and chili to talk about the stew.

 

 

 

 

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THE VEGETABLES

Vegetables, other than tomatoes, can also be good ingredients in your chili—vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, corn, squash, and beets…which is why I thought I could get by with a chili recipe while talking about the raw food pyramid, while talking about leafy greens, while talking about smoothies, while talking about antioxidants…if that made any sense)…

 

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THE  BEANS

The use of beans in chili has been debated for a very, very long time…especially here in Texas.

In fact the society that “governs” most of the chili cookoffs so populat around America have banned the use of beans in their cook-offs.

Here in Texas. supposedly we eat our chili without beans…(sorry…that doesn[t include me…I like my chili as heartless…I mean hearty…as possible).

While everyone else supposedly like their chili with beans, any type of bean—including

  • black beans
  • blacked-eyed peas
  • great Northern beans
  • kidney beans
  • navy beans
  • pinto beans
  • white beans

As far as chili beans, these are actually pinto or kidney beans that have already been spiced…which will obviously change the taste of the chili from what it would have been if you had used them by themselves.

When using beans, be sure to rinse them first to to remove the extra salt and starches.

 

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THE TOMATOES

 

The use of tomatoes…just like the use of beans…whenever making chili has been a topic of debate for a very, very lnog time.

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THE SPICES

What actually makes chili chili…at least to me…is the spices that you add…

Without the perfect blend of spices, you simply have another meat dish that contains tomatoes, vegetables, and perhaps beans…

NOT chili!!!

The spices that you use are what give chili its complex flavor.

Recipes exist with all sorts of different spice blends to flavor the chili….but the four most common spices are when making chili are…

  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • Other spices that I’ve seen in chili recipes include cayenne pepper, cinnamon,  dry mustard, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and onion powder.

Any by the way, chili powder is not actually a spice in and of itself…and you can make your own without making a special trip to gT

 

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THE TOPPINGS

Toppings that you can add to your chili once it’s finished cooking include…

  • Cheese—such as Monterey Jack, cheddar
  • Cilantro
  • Crackers—such as saltine crackers or oyster crackers
  • Croutons
  • Diced avocado
  • Diced red or green onion
  • Jalapenos
  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced green onions
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
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THE MENU

Foods that go great when served with chili include cornbread,  tortillas, tamales, rice, and pasta.

 

 

 

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THE RECIPE

Meat

  • 2# ground beef or turkey

Vegetables

  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped

  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion -diced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and finely diced

Spices

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder…OR…2Tbsp cumin, 1/4tsp cayenne pepper -optional, 1tsp oregano, 1/2tsp paprika
  • 2Tbsp sugar or brown sugar
  • 1Tbsp garlic powder or 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp pepper

Tomatoes

  • 2Tbsp tomato paste…OR…8oz tomato sauce
  • 28oz diced tomatoes with juic

Beans

  • 19 oz kidney beans canned, drained & rinsed

Other

  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth…OR…beer
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Toppings as desired

Cook for 6-7 minutes.

Just thought that I would throw that in there before you smart making chili for tonight’s dinner…it would be much better if you make it today and serve it tomorrow.

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes.

Add the onion. Cook five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the beef, onions, garlic and some of the chili powder…cook for about seven minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Drain any fat.

Add remaining ingredients…making sure to stir until well combined.

Bring the liquid to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low or medium-low.

Simmer uncovered for at least twenty minutes….again stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon…the lower your cooking temperature and the longer you cook your chili, the more flavorful it will be.

Simmering you chili uncovered will allow the chili to naturally thicken without having to add cornstarch or flour.

Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for at least five minutes before serving.

Top with cheddar cheese, green onions, cilantro or other favorite toppings.

Leftovers…assuming there are any…will last from three to five days.

Freezing Chili…Chili can be frozen either in single sized portions for lunches or in freezer bags for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Remember…If all else fails, you can always run back to Kroger or Albertson’s or Tom Thumb…or order from Instacart…to get some canned chili…people have been doing this since 1908 when chili first started being canned and sold in New Braufels, Texas…