raisins, dates, figs, dried apricots, dried peaches, dried persimmons, prunes, etc.
Nutritional Information: In moderation, dried fruits are nutritive, they tonify the spleen-pancreas, help build muscles, and nurture body mass e.g. raisins supply iron, potassium, and B vitamins along with a healthy amount of dietary fiber.
Dried fruit is a concentrated source of sugar and if eaten in excess causes the blood sugar to fluctuate, compromising the pancreas. Because dried fruit is a concentrated and sticky sugar, brushing your teeth after eating helps deter caries. Dried fruits are easier to digest when rehydrated. If eating dried fruits in their dry state, be sure to consume liquid, for they've a tendency to block the gut.
Fun Food Facts: Sulfured Fruits: Light rather than dark in color. If it's a golden raisin or a pale apple, apricot, or banana, it has been sulfured. This is a sobering thought, especially considering that the FDA in 1986 banned the use of sulfites on fresh produce but still permits it in dried fruits, wine, and pickles. Sulfur compounds destroy all the B vitamins. In sensitive individuals, they cause allergic reactions and, in some cases, death. Asthmatics are especially at risk. [Organic dried fruits are NOT sulfured.]
As sweet as--and more satisfying than--a candy bar, organic dried fruit is a natural winner. Drying food is one of the oldest ways of preserving the harvest for the lean months ahead, and though no longer the necessity it once was, it remains popular. Raisins--not grapes--are essential to an oatmeal cookie, and prunes--not plums--are a morning choice for some people seeking regularity.
Dried fruits are concentrated. Six pounds of fresh apricots, for example, yield one pound of dried fruit. A dried fruit has enough moisture removed (from 75 to 95 percent) that it is not subject to decay. To dehydrate a food, its moisture is extracted, either naturally or artificially, by air or heat or both. This darkens the color, changes the texture, destroys the vitamin C, and concentrates the sugar, minerals, and flavor. Some fruit is still sun-dried, which is certainly the most natural method and, where labor is cheap, the most economical method. Solar drying, recently introduced on a commercial level, intensifies the sun's heat; the fruit retains more flavor and nutrients and is more tender.
News From the Farm about our dried peaches, apricots, nectarines: They are totally sun dried in the bright California sun. If they were dehydrated the color would be much brighter and usually way more appealing. We enjoy being able to participate in an ancient process, making use of something that is given every day for a few billion years. We greatly appreciate that there are people who care. Thanks,
Jeff and Annie Maine, Good Humus Produce
(The biodynamic raisins are sun dried too at Marian Farms in CA)
The peaches, nectarines and apricots from Good Humus Produce farm are extremely dry which helps preserve them. To make them more like what we're used to, put into a jar with a couple tablespoons of water and shake up a few times a day whenever you think of it until the moisture is evenly spread and absorbed. Then refrigerate if you intend to keep them for a while. You can also soak overnight for a soft fruit the next day and delicious sweet water to drink. Try eating them as is too! The flavor keeps coming as you chew slowly.
Dangers of sulfured dried fruit: Dried fruit is probably the single biggest source of sulphur dioxide your children will ever encounter, although if they are affected, it is unlikely that either you or your doctor will make the connection. It has strong ties to asthma. Only a few severely sensitive asthmatics have an immediate reaction to sulphites and are thus aware of their sulphite sensitivity - asthmatics with milder sensitivity do not have an immediate reaction, and are generally unaware of it. However, sulphites are likely to cause irritated airways with no obvious symptoms until the person is exposed to an asthma trigger such as cold air, running around (exercise) or a virus. When sulphites (and possibly other additives or natural food chemicals) are eliminated from the diet, the person is less likely to have asthma when exposed to a known trigger. For more info on the connection to asthma please see: (http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info/factsheets/Factdriedfruit.htm)
Simple from Scratch: Organic dried fruits are a healthy sweet snack, delicious on their own, combined with nuts, added to trail mix, or as a baking ingredient. When hydrated, they can be used in fruit salads and compotes, or pureed for fruit soups, sauces or blender drinks. Make a nice addition to any lettuce/vegetable salad. Can be made into jam or fruit butter. If dried fruits are too sticky to cut with a knife, try using kitchen shears or cleaning the knife blade frequently. To plump fruit, soak overnight in room temperature water, or cover with boiling water and allow to soak until softened (about 15 minutes), or gently simmer until soft. The time varies depending upon the size and thickness of the fruit.
Whiz in a blender: 3 soaked dried fruit of choice, 5 nuts of choice or spoonful of your favorite seeds (sunflower, sesame, flax, pumpkin) with half cup of water. Blend until smooth. Add ½ to 1 cup milk or yogurt. Whiz again. Add spoon of honey if you need, but try it first - it might be sweet enough !
Pureed fruit (breakfast or dessert):
Place dried fruit in small saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer until very soft. Cool. Puree in a blender with the water, add more water if too stiff. Stir a heaping spoonful into yogurt or hot cereal, or spread on bread with butter or cream cheese. Stores in refrigerator for several weeks. Can freeze too.
OTHER RECIPE IDEAS
Ingredients: (of course you can adjust as desired)
2 cups multigrain cereal or rolled oats
3/4 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup honey
1 tbs. each cinnamon and allspice
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (optional)
1 cup pecans, chopped roughly
1 cup walnuts, chopped roughly
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
1 cup dried apples
12 dried peaches, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 cups dried cranberries or raisins
1 cup dried cherries
Combine all dry ingredients with honey, sugar and spices until everything is coated. Spray a nonstick cookie sheet and toast in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until brown. Let cool.
Meanwhile, prepare dried fruits in separate bowl. When the cereal mixture is completely cooled, add fruit and mix the whole thing together.
Apricot Butter (Or try with different dried fruits)
From Nourishing Tradition by Sally Fallon, Submitted by Rebecca Haines
4 cups unsulphured dried apricots, peaches, pears, apples
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup whey (by-product of cheese making with raw milk)
1/4-1/2 raw honey
Cook the apricots in water until soft. Let cool slightly and transfer with a slotted spoon to a food processor. Process with remaining ingredients. Taste for sweetness and add more honey if necessary. Place in quart-sized, wide mouth mason jar. The apricot butter should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to refrigerator. This should be eaten within two months. It's excellent with breakfast porridge, pancakes or on toast with almond butter.
Notes: I made 1/2 a recipe since our bag was only two cups of dried fruit. I also used the smaller amount of honey since I didn't want it too sweet. Watch the salt as well. Sally likes things salty! I usually go by taste.
Apricot Pecan Spice Bread
A bread recipe (sort of) I often substitute the fruit/ nuts I use depending on what I have. I find walnuts or pecans work well and my favorite was one I made with the dried (soaked) persimmons from our CSA. From Brigid Rauch
2C Spelt flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1/3 C ghee
2 TBS grade B maple syrup or rice syrup
2C Plain Yogurt
1.5 tsp vanilla
4 Tbs Tahini
¼ C Roasted chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 C chopped apricots
1 tsp ginger, nutmeg, coriander
pinch of salt
preheat oven to 375. Blend ghee, syrup, sugar, tahini. Yogurt, molasses. Add vanilla and egg and beat In a separate bowl, sift flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Fold in liquid infredients, then add nuts and apricots. Top with sliced fruit. Bake in 2 bread pans or 9 in rounds for 45-60 minutes –until a knife or cake tester comes out clean.
Sweet Couscous with Currants and Peaches
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/3cup diced tomato
1/4 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup chopped dried peaches
2 cups uncooked couscous
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup apple juice
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Chopped cilantro or mint for garnish
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté scallions, carrot and tomato 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until vegetables are soft but not brown. Add currants, peaches and couscous; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add broth, apple juice, curry powder and salt. Bring to a boil, cover saucepan and remove from heat. Let stand until liquid is absorbed. Fluff couscous with fork. Garnish with cilantro. Makes 4 servings.
Figgy Pudding – a traditional holiday treat!
submitted by Julie Sharpe
1 pound fresh figs - chopped smallish (can use dried figs too)
1/3 cup sugar (might eliminate all together...)
1 C water
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
1 t orange or lemon zest
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
2 cups heavy cream (or just more milk)
1 T vanilla
Place figs, sugar and 1 cup water in medium-size sauce- pan; bring to
slow boil over medium-low heat. Cook, covered, 20 minutes.
In medium-size bowl, beat flour, milk, lemon juice, butter, zest and
egg yolks to blend; fold in beaten egg whites; pour over figs. Place
soufflé dish in deep roasting pan; pour hot water into pan to come
3/4 of way up dish. Bake 50 minutes @ 350, until golden. Cool 30
To serve, spoon 1/2 cup cream/milk over each serving of pudding
This recipe adapted from a recipe at CDKitchen.com
Recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook and made frequently at the ashram when there are extra bread, milk and eggs around to be used.
This is a fairly fool proof recipe that serves as a good protein and grain dish or just make for a treat. Can increase bread to 3 cups if you have lots of dry bread; can decrease eggs to 3; can reduce or eliminate sugar or substitute maple syrup or any other natural sweetener; substitute carob powder for cocoa; add raisins, add carob or chocolate chips, add grated or chopped apple or pear, add cinnamon allspice or similar; add chopped dried fruit or nuts, be creative!
2 cups dry bread cubes
4 cups milk, scalded
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon salt
4 slightly beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Soak bread in milk 5 minutes. Add sugar, butter, and salt. Pour slowly over eggs; add vanilla and mix well. Pour into greased 1 ½ - quart baking dish. Bake in pan of hot water in moderate oven (350) until firm, about 1 hour. Add ½ cup raisins or any choice of dried fruit and/or nuts and seeds. (Can serve with a lemon sauce.) Makes 8 servings.
A double recipe almost fits into 13 x 9 pan putting a cookie sheet under to hold water. Can put any extra in custard cups or any pyrex dish.
Variation: Chocolate bread pudding: Melt into milk one 1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate or whisk in 3 T cocoa powder (before adding bread). If desired, serve with Butter sauce.
Irish Tea Bram Brack*
1/2 cup dried peaches, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup dried prunes, chopped
1 cup hot, strong tea
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-3/4 cups self-rising flour
butter or margarine (optional)
Combine dried fruit and tea in a large bowl; cover and let stand overnight. Add next 3 ingredients to fruit mixture; stir well. Gradually add flour, mixing well. Spoon batter into a greased 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cut into squares. Serve with butter, if desired.
*barm brack; barmbrack
An Irish bread with raisins or currants and candied fruit peel. It's generally slathered with butter and served as a tea accompaniment. Literally translated it means "yeast bread," although it's not always made with yeast.