Cinnamon

Cinnamon 101 – The Basics

Cinnamon is a common spice that we’re all familiar with and most of us have a jar in the pantry. We love it and use it in many ways, yet many of us don’t know a lot about this delicious spice. And some things about cinnamon are VERY important to know, especially if you’re on blood thinning medications. Check out the article below to learn more about this wonderful spice from what it is, to its health benefits, to different ways to use it.

Enjoy!
Judi

Cinnamon 101 – The Basics

About Cinnamon
Cinnamon is an ancient spice that has been used for thousands of years, even with mention of it in the Bible. It was often used as a fragrance to bury the dead, in religious ceremonies, and as a component of holy oil. It comes from the inner bark of different species of Cinnamomum species of evergreen trees. The peels are left to dry, when they curl up naturally, forming what we know as cinnamon sticks. The sticks can then be ground into powder, processed to extract the oil, or made into other products.

Cinnamon was very popular in Europe in the Middle Ages and was used as a status symbol among the elite. Cinnamon is one of the reasons why Christopher Columbus was looking for an alternate route to the East Indies.

There are two types of cinnamon: “true” cinnamon, which is Cinnamomum verum, and “regular” cinnamon, also known as “Chinese cinnamon” or “cassia” cinnamon, which is Cinnamomum cassia. Cinnamon may also be harvested from other species within the Cinnamomum family. True cinnamon is native to Ceylon and Southern India, whereas cassia cinnamon is native to the Eastern Himalayan Mountains and Southeast Asia. Both are derived from the inner bark of different members of the Laurel family, and are similar in flavor. Cassia cinnamon is the most common variety found in the United States, whereas most of the world believes it is inferior to the other variety, “true” or Ceylon cinnamon. Both varieties may be sold as “cinnamon” in the United States, so it can be hard to distinguish between the two.

Cassia cinnamon has a stronger flavor than that of Ceylon cinnamon, which is more subtle. The characteristic flavor and aroma of cinnamon is due to the cinnamaldehyde which is found in its oil.

Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Although we eat very little cinnamon at one time, it does have some nutritional value. A mere one teaspoon of ground cinnamon has 6 calories, along with fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin K and Vitamin A. More notably, cinnamon has some health benefits beyond its nutritional elements. Cinnamon has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties.

Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Cinnamon has been found to have a lot of polyphenol antioxidants known to protect the body from harmful free radical molecules. The antioxidants in cinnamon have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects which can help to lower our risk of disease.

Protection from Heart Disease: Subjects with type 2 diabetes who ate 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day were found to have improved total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglyceride levels. Animal studies showed that cinnamon also can reduce blood pressure. These studies show that cinnamon may reduce our risk for heart disease.

Anti-Diabetic Effects: Cinnamon has also been found to reduce insulin resistance, making it helpful on controlling blood sugar levels. Also, cinnamon has been shown to reduce the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal, further increasing its anti-diabetic effects.

Anti-Cancer Effects: Animal studies have found that compounds in cinnamon have also been found to reduce the growth of cancer cells and angiogenesis (the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors).

Antimicrobial Protection: Cinnamaldehyde found in cinnamon oil has been shown to have antimicrobial properties. Cinnamon oil has been found to successfully treat respiratory tract fungal infections. It can also inhibit the growth of some harmful bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella. The antimicrobial effects of cinnamon oil may also reduce tooth decay and remedy bad breath. Laboratory tests have also found that cinnamon oil may be effective in combating HIV-1, the most common strain of virus causing HIV in humans.

Brain Protection: Researchers believe that Ceylon cinnamon appears to help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease. It appears to improve the brain’s response to insulin, protecting the brain from hyperglycemia, preventing cognitive decline.

Do not eat cinnamon dry! Despite cinnamon’s healthful and flavorful benefits, it’s important not to take it dry (like the “cinnamon challenge” in recent years). This can cause choking, vomiting, and breathing issues.

Ceylon vs Cassia Cinnamon (The Issue of Coumarin): Cassia cinnamon (not Ceylon cinnamon) contains a relatively high amount of coumarin, a naturally occurring substance that some plants use as a defense mechanism against predators. A derivative of coumarin is the major component of the drug Warfarin, an anticoagulant that inhibits the activity of Vitamin K in the clotting of blood. Eating a relatively small amount of cassia cinnamon is safe. Ceylon cinnamon contains only trace amounts of coumarin, but it too contains other compounds that may have potentially harmful effects when taken in large amounts. Therefore, the maximum recommended amount of cinnamon per day for an adult is under 1 teaspoon. The dosage for children would be less. Use cinnamon for flavoring as a spice, but not as a separate food or indulgence.

Supplements: Most cinnamon supplements in the United States are made with cassia cinnamon. If you elect to take cinnamon supplements, it is advisable to seek out Ceylon cinnamon rather than taking cassia cinnamon, because of the possibilities of ingesting too much coumarin. If necessary, call the maker of the supplement to be sure.

A little cinnamon is good; just don’t overindulge! Because of its coumarin content along with other compounds, eating large amounts of cassia cinnamon can put you at risk for liver toxicity and damage, some types of cancer (lung, liver and kidney), mouth sores in people who are allergic to the cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon oil (when eating a lot of cinnamon flavoring agents), low blood sugar (especially in those taking medications for diabetes), and it may interfere with some medications (for diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease).

Selecting Cinnamon: Cassia vs Ceylon
In the United States, both cassia and Ceylon cinnamons can be labeled as “cinnamon.” Unless the label clearly states that a bottle contains Ceylon cinnamon, it can be hard to tell which you’re getting. If you’re wondering what type of cinnamon you’re getting when you buy cinnamon sticks, notice the shape of the stick. Ceylon cinnamon sticks are curled, but form a telescope-like shape when dried, and curl from one side. Cassia cinnamon sticks curl inward from both sides, like a scroll.

Regarding appearance and flavor…Ceylon cinnamon is tan with a delicate, sweet flavor. Cassia cinnamon is reddish brown, coarser in texture, and has a more pungent flavor and aroma.

How to Store Cinnamon
To preserve the freshness of cinnamon, store it in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. Ground cinnamon will keep fresh for about six months. The sticks will retain their freshness for about a year. Storing cinnamon in the refrigerator can help to extend its shelf life. If your cinnamon does not have its characteristic aroma, it has become stale and should be replaced.

Quick Tips and Ideas for Using Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a versatile spice that is usually used in sweet breads and desserts. But it can also be used in savory applications too, as is commonly done in Indian, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisines. Below are some simple ways to include cinnamon in foods.

* Use cinnamon to add a sweet-spicy flavor to cakes, pies, cookies, cobblers, puddings, and other desserts.

* Sprinkle cinnamon over an apple pie or crisp.

* Combine cinnamon with sugar and have it available to sprinkle on desserts, cereals, toast, breads, muffins, or anywhere you want a sweet cinnamon flavor.

* Cinnamon can be added as a flavoring in marinades for beef, venison, or lamb.

* Add some cinnamon to hot chocolate, which is commonly done in Mexico.

* Add a cinnamon stick to a cup of hot tea, cocoa, cider or coffee to add a cinnamon flavor to your beverage.

* Add cinnamon sticks or essential oil to room fresheners and sachets.

* Sprinkle cinnamon on a fruit salad.

* Add some cinnamon into pudding or other desserts.

* Add some cinnamon in a curry recipe.

* Add some cinnamon to pancake batter.

* Add some cinnamon to your morning smoothie.

* Add some cinnamon and honey to roasted sweet potatoes.

* Sprinkle roasted butternut squash with cinnamon.

* Boost your morning oatmeal by adding in some cooked sweet potato and sprinkle with cinnamon.

* Make a sweet potato smoothie by blending cooked sweet potato, banana (or another fruit like a peach), almond milk, and a little cinnamon.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well with Cinnamon
Cloves, curry powder, garam masala, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Cinnamon
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans, halibut, lamb, nuts (in general), pork, poultry

Vegetables: Beets, carrots, cauliflower, chiles, onions, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, tomatoes

Fruit: Apples, apple cider, apple juice, bananas, blueberries, coconut, dates, fruits (in general), grapefruit, grapes, lemon, oranges, peaches, pears, raisins

Grains and Grain Products: Baked goods, cereals, corn, couscous, oatmeal, popcorn, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, ice cream, milk (dairy and non-dairy), yogurt

Other: Chocolate and cocoa, coffee and espresso, honey, maple syrup, rose water, sugar, wine

Cinnamon has been used in the following foods and cuisines:
Baked goods (i.e. breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, pastries, pies), beverages (i.e. cocoa, eggnog, hot chocolate), breakfast/brunch (i.e. coffee cake, French toast, pancakes), cereals (hot breakfast), chili (vegetarian), compotes (fruit), curries, custards, desserts (i.e. crisps, custards, puddings), fruit desserts, ice cream, Indian cuisine, Mediterranean cuisines, Mexican cuisines, Middle Eastern cuisines, Moroccan cuisine, sauces (i.e. chocolate), stews, stuffings, teas

Suggested Flavor Combos using Cinnamon
Add cinnamon to the following combos…

Almonds + grains (i.e. couscous, oats) + raisins
Almonds + rice
Chocolate + milk
Maple syrup + pecans

Recipe Links

Whole Baked Sweet Potatoes (with Cinnamon Sugar) https://www.thespruceeats.com/whole-baked-sweet-potatoes-3061582

Easy Butternut Squash Casserole with Maple and Cinnamon https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-butternut-squash-casserole-3062209

Spiced Apple Fritters https://www.thespruceeats.com/spiced-apple-fritters-3056323

Healthy Pumpkin Apple Crisp (Gluten-Free) https://www.onceuponapumpkinrd.com/healthy-pumpkin-apple-crisp-gluten-free/

15 Recipes for People Obsessed with Cinnamon https://www.thekitchn.com/15-recipes-for-people-obsessed-with-cinnamon-235202

50 Ways to Bake with Cinnamon https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/cinnamon-recipes/

20 Savory Cinnamon Recipes https://www.myrecipes.com/course/savory-cinnamon-recipes?

21 Charming Ways to Use Cinnamon https://www.cosmopolitan.com/food-cocktails/a29536/cinnamon-recipes/

Resources

https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/cinnamon-nutrition-benefits-types-recipes/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/cinnamon-and-its-uses-3050519

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coumarin

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/side-effects-of-cinnamon#3

https://www.drugs.com/drug-class/coumarins-and-indandiones.html

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/coumarin

https://www.swansonvitamins.com/blog/jenessa/sweet-perks-of-cinnamon

https://www.spicesinc.com/p-510-what-spices-go-with-what-meat.aspx

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-cinnamon

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318386.php#forms_and_doses

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Easy Saute-Steamed Bok Choy

Easy Saute-Steamed Bok Choy

Bok choy is often used in stir-fried vegetables. It’s a delicious vegetable to use that way. But did you ever try it on its own? It’s good as a stand-alone vegetable too. Here’s a simple and fast way to cook bok choy without simply boiling it. The recipe is easy and very flexible, so it can be adjusted to whatever amount of the vegetable and seasonings you want to use.

Below is a video demonstration of cooking bok choy with a saute-steam method. The written recipe is below.

Enjoy!
Judi

Easy Sauté-Steamed Bok Choy
Makes About 4 Servings

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil*
1 cup chopped bell pepper
½ cup chopped yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
8 cups washed and chopped bok choy (about 1 medium head)
2 Tbsp vegetable broth or water
Pinch of dried chili pepper flakes, or to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of ½ fresh lime
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, or amount as desired

Warm the olive oil* briefly over medium heat in a large pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Add the bell pepper and onion, and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the chopped bok choy, stir to combine, and sauté briefly to combine the vegetables and coat the bok choy. Add the vegetable broth (or water), chili pepper flakes, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Cover the pot and allow the vegetables to steam until the bok choy is as tender as you want, about 5 to 7 minutes for crisp-tender. Stir occasionally as it steams. Remove from heat and drizzle with lime juice, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

*If preferred, you can omit the oil and use vegetable broth to sauté the vegetables. Since the broth would evaporate faster than oil, you may need to use 2 or 3 tablespoons of liquid in place of the oil.

Easy Maple Glazed Carrots with Dill

Easy Maple Glazed Carrots with Dill

This is a delicious and very easy recipe using frozen carrots. You could easily use fresh carrots simply by adding a little more water as they cook. Below is a video demonstration of making this dish. The recipe is below the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Easy Maple Glazed Carrots with Dill
Makes 4 Servings

1 (12 oz) pkg of frozen carrot slices
1 Tbsp butter*
1 Tbsp maple syrup**
1 to 2 tsp dried dill leaves OR 1-1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp water (see tip below)

Melt butter in a skillet over just above medium heat. Add the frozen carrot slices and drizzle with maple syrup. Sprinkle with dill, salt and pepper. Stir, then cover the skillet with the lid. Occasionally stir to break up the frozen lumps of carrot slices and return the lid to the pan. When the slices are thawed, add the water, cover and continue to cook until the carrots are almost as tender as you like them to be. Remove the lid and allow the remaining water to evaporate. Stir to coat the carrots with the remaining mixture and serve. The entire process takes no more than 5 minutes.

Tip: Make sure the pan does not get dry before the carrots or done, so they don’t burn. Add more water if needed.

* Add more butter if more richness is desired.

** If you prefer (or don’t have maple syrup available), use honey, brown sugar, or any sweetener you choose.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas 101 – The Basics

If you’re wondering about chickpeas, from what they are to how to use them, you’re in the right place! Below is a comprehensive article all about chickpeas!

Enjoy!
Judi

Chickpeas 101 – The Basics

About Chickpeas
Chickpeas are members of the Fabaceae plant family. They originated in the Middle East, where they are still widely used. Researchers have evidence that chickpeas were consumed as far as 7,000 years ago, with evidence that they were cultivated as far back as 3,000 BC. From the Middle East, chickpeas slowly made their way around the world. Today, the main commercial producers of chickpeas are India, Pakistan, Turkey, Ethiopia, and Mexico.

Chickpeas have developed many names around the world, including garbanzo beans, garbanzos, grams, Bengal grams, Egyptian peas, and besan (when ground into flour). There are different varieties of chickpeas commonly grown, with some being green, black, brown, red, or the very familiar tan color. “Kabuli” are large and beige with a thin skin. This is the type commonly found in American grocery stores. “Desi” chickpeas are small and dark with yellow interiors. The Desi type chickpeas are about half the size of the Kabuli chickpea that Americans are familiar with. This is the most popular type of chickpea worldwide. They have a thicker seed coat than the Kabuli type. “Green” chickpeas are younger and have a sweeter flavor than the other types. They are similar to green peas.

Chickpeas are the seeds of the plant, grown for their highly nutritious qualities, including an abundance of fiber, protein and other nutrients. They have a mild, nutty flavor and buttery texture. Chickpeas are naturally gluten-free.

Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
Chickpeas contain a lot of antioxidants, protein, fiber and other nutrients too. Their antioxidants not only combat free-radicals in the body, but also appear to have anti-inflammatory effects. This alone makes them powerful foods to include in the diet.

Chickpeas also supply a lot of protein, with 1 cup of cooked chickpeas providing over 14 grams. That same cup of cooked chickpeas also provides over 12 grams of fiber, along with a lot of molybdenum, manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. One cup of cooked chickpeas has about 270 calories. They have a low glycemic index, so they are digested and absorbed slowly, without a large spike in blood sugar.

Selecting Chickpeas: Dried vs Canned
Dried: Chickpeas are sold dried or canned. Dried chickpeas are usually prepackaged but are sometimes sold in bulk bins. Make sure there is no sign of moisture or insect damage when selecting dried chickpeas. When purchasing from bulk bins, also make sure there is a good turnover of product in the bins so you can be assured they are as fresh as possible.

Canned: Most grocery stores carry canned chickpeas and they are a great staple food to keep in the pantry when time is short. They can simply be used from the can when needed for a salad or hummus, or heated briefly in cooked foods. Many people use the liquid from canned chickpeas (called aquafaba) as an egg white substitute and when making vegan meringues.

The nutritional value of canned chickpeas is good when compared to some other canned foods. The value of most nutrients is lowered by about 15% in canned chickpeas, with the exception of folate, which is lowered by 45% when compared to the folate level in dried chickpeas. There is some concern with the BPA content of canned goods. If you are avoiding BPA from canned foods, be sure to look for cans labeled as BPA-free. Also, some canned chickpeas may contain additives like salt and/or calcium chloride (a firming agent). If those additives are concerns for you, then dried chickpeas may be a better option. However, organic canned chickpeas should contain little to no additives with the exception of salt. Some brands may carry salt-free options in BPA-free cans.

Aquafaba
Aquafaba is what many people call the liquid in canned chickpeas. (Note that this does not apply to the liquid in other types of canned beans.) Due to its thick nature, this liquid can be used straight from the can as a substitute for egg whites in cooking. It can also be whipped into meringues and marshmallows.

Mix aquafaba with some cream of tartar and whip as you would egg whites. The fluff will hold together well and lighten quick breads and muffins. According to Bob’s Red Mill, use 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar with ½ cup (8 tablespoons) of aquafaba. For more information on how to use aquafaba as an egg replacer, please visit their site at https://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/featured-articles/a-guide-to-aquafaba/

To use aquafaba, it’s helpful to first shake the unopened can of chickpeas. Open and drain the can into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, separating the canned peas from their liquid. Briefly whisk the liquid to blend the starches that may have settled on the bottom of the can, then measure it as needed for a recipe. Fresh aquafaba can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Extra aquafaba can easily be frozen for later. Freeze it in 1 tablespoon increments in an ice cube tray. When frozen, transfer the cubes to a labeled freezer bag. It may easily be thawed in the microwave, if desired. Aquafaba will keep for about 2 months in the freezer.

See also: A Guide To Aquafaba at https://minimalistbaker.com/a-guide-to-aquafaba/

Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour is available in some grocery stores, and can be purchased online. Most chickpea flour available is made from raw chickpeas. When using this type of flour, be sure it is used in a recipe where it is well-moistened and also cooked in some way. This will make it more digestible. Otherwise, the finished product may be hard to digest and could cause excessive gas. Because it is usually made from raw chickpeas, this type of flour should not be eaten raw.

How to Store Chickpeas
Dried chickpeas should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. They will keep well for about a year. The longer they are stored, the drier they will become and may take longer to cook. It’s helpful to rotate your supply of dried chickpeas (like all foods), using the “first-in, first-out” method (cook your oldest chickpeas first). Once cooked, chickpeas should be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container and used within four days.

As with most, if not all canned foods, canned chickpeas should have a “best by” date stamped on the can. For best quality, use them before that date. Store cans in a cool, dry place.

How to Prepare Dried Chickpeas
Dried chickpeas should first be sorted and examined so you can remove any stones, debris, or damaged beans. Then they should be rinsed well and drained. Before actual cooking, chickpeas should be soaked which makes them more digestible. There are two methods for soaking chickpeas.

Quick-soak method: Place the sorted and rinsed beans in a large pot with about 2 to 3 parts of water to 1 part of chickpeas. Bring the contents to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and allow the chickpeas to soak for 2 hours. Then drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add fresh water to the pot and bring it to boil. Lower the heat and simmer until they are tender. The time will vary depending upon how dry the beans were. Drain, then use as planned.

Traditional soaking method: This method involves a longer soaking time, but may actually be preferred because it further reduces compounds in the chickpeas that may cause gas when they are eaten. After the peas are sorted, rinsed and drained, place them in a large pot with at least 3 to 4 parts of water per 1 part of chickpeas. Cover the pot and allow them to soak for at least 6 to 8 hours, up to 12 hours. Drain, then fill the pot with fresh water. Bring them to boil, lower heat and simmer gently until the chickpeas are tender. The time will depend upon how long they soaked and how dry they were initially. Some directions call for cooking up to 2 hours, but I have found that they usually cook faster than that. Drain, then use as planned.

Note! When cooking any type of dried pea or bean, be sure not to add any acid nor salt to the water early on when cooking the pea or bean. Doing so will make the outer shell tough which makes the dried pea or bean hard to cook, and they may not soften like you expect. If you want to salt the water or add an acid (like lemon juice or vinegar), only add it when the peas or beans are almost finished cooking and no sooner.

One cup of dried chickpeas yields about three cups cooked. Cooked chickpeas should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator and used within four days.

Freezing Chickpeas
Sorted, rinsed and soaked, but uncooked chickpeas may be frozen in covered containers. After soaking, drain them well, then place them in an airtight freezer container. They will keep in the freezer for up to 1 year.

If you want to cook dried chickpeas in advance and have them whenever needed, simply drain your cooked chickpeas and place them in a labeled freezer bag. Flatten the bag, lay them down in the freezer and allow them to freeze. Frozen, cooked chickpeas will keep well for 1 year. However, some resources state that they should be used within 6 months for best quality.

Quick Tips and Ideas for Using Chickpeas
* Make an easy hummus by blending chickpeas with olive oil, fresh garlic, tahini and lemon juice.

* Add a nutritional punch to your salads by topping them with some chickpeas.

* Make an easy pasta dish by topping cooked pasta with chickpeas, olive oil, crumbled feta cheese and fresh oregano.

* Add some chickpeas to vegetable soup to enhance its flavor, texture and nutritional value.

* Add chickpeas to a roasted veggie and quinoa salad.

* Add chickpeas to your favorite stir-fry.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Chickpeas
Basil (and Thai basil), bay leaf, capers, cardamom, cayenne, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder and spices, dill, garlic, ginger, mint, mustard seeds, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper (black and white), rosemary, saffron, sage, salt, sumac, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

Foods That Go Well with Chickpeas
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beef, cashews, chicken, lentils, pine nuts, pistachios, seeds (i.e. pumpkin, sesame), tahini, walnuts

Vegetables: Artichokes, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard (Swiss), chiles, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, green beans, greens (bitter, like beet greens), greens (salad), kale, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, scallions, spinach, squash (summer), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini

Fruits: Apples, apple cider, apple juice, apricots (dried), avocados, citrus (lemon, lime, orange), coconut, currants, mangoes, olives, pumpkin, tamarind

Grains and Grain Products: Bread, bulgur, corn, couscous, farro, millet, pasta, polenta, quinoa, rice, tortillas, wheat berries

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Buttermilk, cheese (cheddar, feta, goat, Parmesan), coconut milk, yogurt

Other Foods: Mayonnaise, oil, soy sauce, tamari, vinegar

Chickpeas have been used in the following cuisines and foods:
North African cuisine, chana masala, chili (vegetarian), curries, dips, falafels, Greek cuisine, hummus, Indian cuisine, Italian cuisine, Mediterranean cuisines, Mexican cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisines, Moroccan cuisine, salad dressings, salads, soups (i.e. minestrone, tomato, vegetable), spreads, stews, tabbouleh, veggie burgers

Suggested Flavor Combos Using Chickpeas
Combine chickpeas with the following combos…
Apricots + pistachios + tahini
Basil + brown rice + curry
Basil + cucumbers + feta cheese + garlic + red onions
Bulgur + eggplant + mint + quinoa
Cayenne + feta cheese + garlic + spinach + tomatoes
Chiles + cilantro + lime
Coriander + cumin + mint + sesame seeds
Cumin + eggplant
Garlic + lemon + tahini
Mint + onions + yogurt
Potatoes + saffron + Thai basil
Spinach + sweet potatoes

Recipe Links
Garlic Dip http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=223

Minted Garbanzo Bean Salad http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=191

Healthy Veggie Salad http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=311

Curried Mustard Greens and Garbanzo Beans with Sweet Potatoes http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=41

Chickpea Soup https://www.thespruceeats.com/revithosoupa-chickpea-soup-1706136

Carrot Hummus https://www.thespruceeats.com/carrot-hummus-4772801

Honey Roasted Chickpea Butter https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-honey-roasted-chickpea-butter-239671

How to Make Crispy Roasted Chickpeas in the Oven https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-crispy-roasted-chickpeas-in-the-oven-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-219753

Risotto with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, and Chickpeas https://fakeginger.com/risotto-with-caramelized-onions-mushrooms-and-chickpeas/

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas https://steamykitchen.com/10725-crispy-roasted-chickpeas-garbanzo-beans.html

Coconut Ginger Chickpea Soup https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/coconut-ginger-chickpea-soup

Spiced Chickpeas and Greens Frittata https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/spiced-chickpeas-and-greens-frittata

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cauliflower Steaks and Crispy Chickpeas https://producemadesimple.ca/5-ingredient-recipe-shaved-brussels-sprouts-salad-with-cauliflower-steaks-and-crispy-chickpeas/

Mediterranean Avocado Chickpea Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/mediterranean-avocado-chickpea-pasta-salad/

Chickpea Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/chickpea-flour-chocolate-chip-cookies/

20 Amazing Things You Can Do With Aquafaba https://www.vegansociety.com/whats-new/blog/20-amazing-things-you-can-do-aquafaba

19 Aquafaba Recipes That Prove Chickpea Water is Not as Gross as It Sounds https://greatist.com/eat/aquafaba-recipes

The 25 Best Vegan Aquafaba Recipes You Never Knew Could Be Vegan https://www.veganfoodandliving.com/the-25-best-vegan-aquafaba-recipes-you-never-knew-could-be-vegan/

Resources
https://bienasnacks.com/blogs/biena-blog/chickpeas-information-faqs

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=58

https://www.liveeatlearn.com/chickpeas/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/using-dried-chickpeas-in-moroccan-cooking-2394969

https://www.americastestkitchen.com/guides/vegan/what-is-aquafaba

https://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/featured-articles/a-guide-to-aquafaba/

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Easy and Fast Steamed Spring Mix

EASY and FAST Steamed Spring Mix

Spring mix is a delicious, healthful, and popular blend of baby greens. It can be found in many grocery stores and is often added to salads. But, did you know you can cook Spring mix? Below is a video demonstration, followed by the written recipe, of the absolute EASIEST and FASTEST way to steam Spring mix. No special equipment is required…just a pot big enough to hold your fresh greens, and a tight-fitting lid. This recipe can very easily be increased to include any amount of greens you want to cook. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

Enjoy!
Judi

EASIEST Steamed Spring Mix
Makes about 2 Servings

1 (5 oz) tub of Spring Mix (or Spring Mix blend)*
Garlic powder (or other seasonings of choice)
Salt and pepper
1 or 2 lemon wedges, or 2 teaspoons of vinegar of choice, optional

Wash the Spring Mix in a colander (even if it was already washed by the producer…this step is critical!). Allow the excess water to drain off the greens, but do not dry them with a towel…we need the little bit of water that is clinging to the greens.

Place the washed greens in a skillet or large pot with a tight-fitting lid. The pot should be cold (not preheated) and dry (not coated with oil, spray, nor anything else). Sprinkle desired seasonings on the greens and toss to combine. Place the lid on the pot and turn the burner onto HIGH.

Watch the pot carefully…do not walk away. As soon as you see steam coming out from under the lid, turn the burner off immediately. Allow the pot to stay on the hot burner for 1 minute to complete the steaming process (set a timer). Remove the lid and sprinkle with lemon juice or vinegar, if desired. Serve!

* This recipe is easily increased. Simply use whatever amount of Spring Mix you need to and increase seasonings accordingly. The cooking method will be the same.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Fast Sauteed Spring Mix

Fast and Easy Sauteed Spring Mix

Spring Mix greens are found in most grocery stores. They are packed with baby greens that are extremely healthful and delicious, and are usually added to salads. But did you know you can cook Spring Mix? Below is a video demonstration of a REALLY fast and easy way to cook Spring Mix. The written recipe is below the video. The recipe calls for only one small tub of the mix. But it can easily be increased so you can use whatever amount of greens you need to. I hope this helps! Let me know if you try this method…I’d love to hear from you!

Enjoy,
Judi

Fast Sautéed Spring Mix
Makes about 2 Servings

1 (5 oz) tub Spring Mix*
Garlic powder**
Salt and pepper
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 or 2 lemon wedges, or 2 teaspoons vinegar of choice

Rinse the Spring mix and spin it in a salad spinner to remove excess water. If you don’t have a spinner, place the rinsed mix in a colander and allow it to drain well. Do not dry the greens with a towel. Do not skip this step because the little bit of water on the greens helps them to cook.

Transfer the Spring mix to a bowl and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper, all to taste; toss it to disburse the seasonings. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil and allow it to heat briefly. Add Spring mix and sauté it for about 1 minute, just until it starts to wilt. Remove from heat and drizzle with lemon juice or vinegar. Enjoy!

*This recipe can EASILY be increased to using any amount of Spring Mix that you want. Just be sure your pan is big enough to handle the fresh greens at the beginning.

**If you prefer to use fresh garlic, omit the garlic powder. Chop garlic cloves (any amount you want) and place them in the skillet immediately before adding the greens. Proceed with instructions from there.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Basil

Basil 101 – The Basics

Basil is a delicious herb that has been used since ancient times. It has been so highly revered that its name stems from a Greek word meaning “royal.” It’s commonly used in many cuisines around the world and has some very important health benefits. If you’re just not sure what to do with basil, or are looking for some very specific information about this herb and its uses, hopefully you’ll find what you need here. Below is an extensive article all about basil. I hope this helps!

Enjoy
Judi

Basil 101 – The Basics

About Basil
Basil is a very fragrant annual herb with leaves that are used to flavor a wide array of foods. Many of us are familiar with basil since it’s a main ingredient in traditional pesto that most people enjoy. It is popular in Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Laotian cuisines.

Basil leaves are rounded to oval, usually with a point opposite the stem end. It is in the same plant family as mint. There are over 60 varieties of basil, all with a slightly different appearance and flavor.  The colors are usually a bright green, but can also have hints of red or purple in the leaves. The flavors can vary a lot, from sweet basil with its slightly sweet, spicy flavor, to anise, lemon, and cinnamon basil with flavors reflected in their names. Thai basil is spicy and often used in Southeast Asian and Chinese dishes. Sweet basil is not to be confused with holy basil. They are both in the mint family, but they are different plants with very different uses. Holy basil is used more for medicinal purposes whereas sweet basil is used in culinary applications.

Basil appears to be native to India, Asia and Africa, but is now grown around the world. The name “basil” stems from a Greek word meaning “royal,” which tells us that ancient cultures highly regarded this plant and considered it to be sacred. Some of that tradition lingers today, as in India, the basil plant represents hospitality, and in Italy, it is a symbol of love.

Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
Although we usually don’t eat huge amounts of basil at one time, it is an excellent source of Vitamin K, with ½ cup of basil providing 98% of our DRI (Dietary Reference Intake). That’s extraordinary! Basil also contains good amounts of manganese, copper, carotenoids (precursors to Vitamin A), Vitamin C, calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, and even omega-3 fatty acids.  It also contains small amounts of an array of other nutrients.

Protection from cellular damage: Basil has unique health benefits due to its flavonoids and volatile oils. The flavonoids in basil have been found to protect us at the cellular level by protecting cell structures and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.

Antibacterial effects: The volatile oils in basil have been shown to have antibacterial properties against unwanted pathogens. The oils have also been shown to restrict the growth of harmful bacteria including Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli O:157:H7, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. If that’s not enough, the oils in basil have been shown to inhibit some strains of bacteria that have become resistant to some commonly used antibiotic drugs. These bacteria include Staphylococcus, Enterococcus and Pseudomonas. They are widespread and pose a real threat to those who become infected with them.

Interestingly, studies published in the February 2004 issue of Food Microbiology reported that a weak solution of only 1% of basil or thyme essential oil reduced the number of Shigella, a bacteria that triggers diarrhea, to a level so low that it was not detectable. This factor alone is an excellent reason to include some fresh basil and/or thyme in foods like salads that are not cooked. Not only will these herbs flavor our food, but they can also help to ensure it is safe to eat!

Anti-inflammatory effects: Eugenol, a component in basil’s essential oil, has been found to block the activity of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), the SAME enzyme that is blocked by many over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and to a lesser degree, acetaminophen. This shows that, if taken in a high enough amount, basil can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent, helping conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions.

Cardiovascular benefits: Basil is a very good source of pro-vitamin A through its carotenoid content. Carotenoids are powerful anti-oxidants that help protect our blood vessels and circulating cholesterol from free radical damage, helping to ward off heart disease. Basil is also a good source of magnesium, a mineral known to help relax the blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure and improving blood flow, and also reducing our risk for cardiovascular disease.

With all things considered, we have plenty of reason to include basil in our foods!

How to Select Basil
Dried basil is available in just about any grocery store. When selecting dried basil, opting for organic basil ensures that it was not irradiated, which reduces its Vitamin C and carotenoid content.

Many grocery stores also carry fresh basil in the produce department. When opting for fresh basil, look for bright, deep green leaves. Avoid those with dark spots or yellowing leaves.

How to Store Basil
Store all dried herbs in air-tight containers, away from light, heat, and moisture. When kept properly, dried herbs will keep for a long time, years in fact. However over time, the flavor will diminish. Dried basil will retain good quality in your pantry for 2 to 3 years.

To tell if a dried herb such as basil is too old and needs to be replaced, place some in the palm of your hand. Rub it to release the oils, then smell it. If it’s aromatic, it’s still fine. If there’s little to no aroma, it has seen better days. It’s time to get a new jar.

Fresh basil should be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel and placed loosely in a plastic bag. Basil can also be stored like fresh flowers. Cut a small piece off the end and store it cut side down in a shallow glass of water. Cover the leaves loosely with a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. Change the water every day or two. Basil should keep up to a week in the refrigerator.

Some people prefer to keep fresh basil like described above (cut side down in a shallow glass of water), but on the kitchen counter rather than in the refrigerator. In this case, do not cover the leaves with a plastic bag. Just leave them exposed to the air and enjoy their beauty. Change the water every day or two. Stored like this, you may see roots sprouting from the cut end after a week or so. If this happens, the sprig can actually be planted and you’ll have your own fresh basil plant.

How to Preserve Basil
Fresh basil can be frozen, covered with water, in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag or container. Such cubes can easily be added to soups, stews or sauces.

Basil may also be frozen whole or chopped in airtight containers.

Frozen basil will have its best quality if used within 4 to 6 months. However, when properly frozen and stored at 0°F, it will keep indefinitely.

Dried vs Fresh Basil
Both fresh and dried herbs have their own best applications. Dried herbs work well in cooked foods. Cooking allows time for them to re-hydrate and their flavors to blend with other foods. Dried basil works exceptionally well in cooked sauces, soups, stews, and on meats.

Fresh basil has a milder flavor than its dried counterpart. When cooked, the flavor tends to dissipate rather quickly, so fresh basil is usually added at the end of cooking time. Fresh basil works very well in cold, uncooked foods like salads. The delicate flavor shines when paired with other fresh foods, yet it doesn’t overpower them. The conversion rate is 1 part of dried basil is equivalent to 3 parts of fresh basil.

How to Prepare Basil
Simply give your fresh basil a quick rinse right before using it then pat it dry. Remove the leaves from the stems and cut them as desired. Many chefs roll the leaves and slice them (chiffonade) for use in just about any dish. Some resources suggest tearing basil leaves with your fingers, or cutting the leaves only with a ceramic knife to prevent oxidation which causes them to turn dark.

Quick Tips and Ideas for Using Basil
* Make a dairy-free pesto by combining chopped basil with garlic and olive oil. Add ground pine nuts, if desired. This can be used as a topping for pasta, salmon, and bruschetta.

* Top fresh tomato slices with mozzarella cheese, then sprinkle with chopped fresh basil leaves.

* The oils in fresh basil are volatile, so many chefs add the herb toward the end of cooking time. It will retain the most fragrance and flavor that way.

* Using a ceramic knife when cutting basil leaves can help keep them from oxidizing and turning dark after being cut.

* Try adding basil to a stir-fry of eggplant, cabbage, chili peppers, tofu, and cashews for a Thai flare to your meal.

* Flavor tomato soup with a puree of basil, olive oil and onions.

* Try a basil tea by infusing leaves in hot water for 8 minutes. OR try flavoring a cup of black or green tea with some fresh basil leaves for a mild spicy addition.

* The basil leaves are the main part of the plant used in foods. The smaller stems may be used, but the thicker stems and stalks can be bitter. Also, the stems and large veins have compounds that can turn pesto brown and dark, so it’s best to stay with just the leaves.

* If you grow basil, the white flowers of the plant are edible.

* One tablespoon of fresh basil is equal to one teaspoon of dried basil. This ratio applies to all fresh vs dried herbs.

* Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and garlic for a nice vinaigrette salad dressing. Increase the basil and add Parmesan cheese for a basil balsamic pesto.

* Are you looking for something really different? Basil not only pairs well with strawberries, but also watermelon, oranges, mango, lemons and lime. You can get creative making this into an interesting fruit salad!

* Try a healthful smoothie by blending together kale or spinach, banana, strawberries, basil leaves, milk of choice, some chia seeds and a few dates for sweetener.

* Basil and mint are in the same plant family. So each can be added to recipes calling for the other. For instance, if a recipe calls for basil, mint can also be added for a different flavor dimension. If a recipe calls for mint, basil can be added for a little flavor depth and spiciness. Adding basil to a fruit salad that calls for mint would be a delicious flavor enhancement.

* Add fresh basil leaves to a green salad for a sweet yet peppery flavor addition.

* Basil not only goes well with peanuts, but also peanut butter. Some people actually add fresh basil leaves to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Basil can also be added to many recipes calling for peanuts or peanut butter.

* When adding fresh herbs to a cold dish, add them a few hours in advance, if possible, to allow the flavors to blend.

* If you have a sunny window, you can store fresh basil there. First cut a small amount off the bottom end of the stem. Then stand the basil up in a shallow glass of water. Change the water daily. In a number of days, you may see roots developing. Those stems can actually be planted for your own fresh basil plant.

* Basil, oregano, and thyme work well together giving food an Italian flare.

* When in doubt with flavoring a dish, remember that basil and lemon always go well together. Add in some garlic and onion for a savory flare.

* Basil goes well with broccoli. The sweetness of basil helps to balance the strong flavor of broccoli. For a quick side dish, simply sauté broccoli and basil together. Drizzle with a little lemon and you’re done!

* Try a summer salad with strawberries, avocado and basil.

* Basil is known to compliment blueberries. Try adding a little basil to a blueberry crumble dessert.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Basil
Capers, cilantro, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, salt, thyme

Other Foods That Go Well With Basil
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans (fava), beans (in general), beef, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, fish, hazelnuts, lamb, nuts (in general), peanuts, peas, pine nuts, pistachios, pork, tofu, walnuts

Vegetables: Artichoke hearts, artichokes, asparagus, beans (green), bell peppers, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, greens (salad), jicama, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini

Fruit: Avocados, blueberries, lemon, lime, mango, nectarines, olives, peaches, strawberries, watermelon

Grains and Grain Products: Bulgur, corn, couscous, millet, noodles (Asian rice), pastas, polenta, quinoa, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (esp. mozzarella, Parmesan), cottage cheese, cream

Other: Oil (esp. olive), vinegar

Basil Has Been Used In: Aioli, beverages, breads, Cuban cuisine, curries, egg dishes (frittatas, omelets), French cuisine, gazpacho, Greek cuisine, Indian cuisine, Mediterranean cuisine, pasta dishes, pestos, pizzas, ratatouille, risotto, salad dressings, salads, sandwiches, sauces, soups, Southeast Asian cuisines, stews, Thai cuisine

Suggested Flavor Combos:
Combine basil with…
Capers + tomatoes
Chiles + cilantro + garlic + lime + mint
Chiles + olive oil + pine nuts + sun-dried tomatoes
Corn + tomatoes
Cucumbers + mint + peas
Garlic + olive oil + Parmesan cheese + pine nuts
Garlic + olive oil + tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese + olive oil
Mushrooms + tomatoes
Tomatoes + white beans

Recipe Links
25 Basil Recipes Featuring the Fresh Summer Herb https://www.thespruceeats.com/basil-recipes-to-use-up-fresh-herbs-4688303

40 Easy Ways to Use Up Fresh Basil https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/25-fresh-basil-recipes/

91 of Our Favorite Basil Recipes https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/our-best-basil-recipes-gallery

33 Basil Recipes So You Can Eat and Drink It at Every Meal https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/basil-recipes

29 Fragrant Basil Recipes We Love https://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/basil?

Shrimp and Basil Fettuccini https://producemadesimple.ca/shrimp-basil-fettuccini/

Fresh Ontario Greenhouse Tomato-Basil Soup https://producemadesimple.ca/fresh-ontario-greenhouse-tomato-basil-soup/

Snap Peas, Basil, Tomato and Cucumber Salad https://producemadesimple.ca/snap-peas-basil-tomato-cucumber-salad/

Strawberry Basil Lemonade https://producemadesimple.ca/snap-peas-basil-tomato-cucumber-salad/

Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=85

https://www.thespruceeats.com/basil-cooking-tips-1807985

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/foods-that-pair-well-with-basil/

https://www.strongertogether.coop/food-lifestyle/cooking/using-fresh-herbs

https://thecookful.com/flavors-compliment-basil/

https://producemadesimple.ca/basil/

https://thecookful.com/fresh-v-dried-basil/

https://www.thekitchn.com/quick-tip-when-to-use-dried-he-133710

https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/11228-the-differences-between-thai-and-italian-basil

https://www.hunker.com/12532651/the-difference-between-basil-holy-basil

https://www.wideopeneats.com/mccormick-spices-expire/

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Easy Baked Beans

Easy Baked Beans

Here’s an easy way to make baked beans. This can be made with canned beans or your own beans already cooked from dried beans. It can be made with or without added bacon, so it’s vegan without the bacon. Below is a video demonstration of making the beans. The recipe is below the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Easy Baked Beans
Makes 4 Main Dish or 6 Side Servings

2 (15 oz) cans great northern beans (or beans of choice), rinsed and drained
OR 3 to 3-1/2 cups cooked beans of your choice
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp dry mustard powder (or 1 Tbsp prepared mustard)
1 Tbsp dried onion granules (or ¼ cup chopped fresh onion)
2 Tbsp molasses
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika
½ to 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the tomato paste, broth and seasonings (not the oil) in a bowl and stir to combine well. Stir in the beans. Coat an oven-safe casserole dish with the oil, if desired. (This step is not mandatory, but helps to keep the bean mixture from sticking to the dish.) Pour the bean mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Cover the dish and place it on the middle rack in a preheated 350F oven. Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and check to see if the beans are too juicy for you (see note below). If so, remove the lid and allow it to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or more, if desired, until the sauce is moderately thickened. If the amount of sauce is to your liking, leave the lid on the casserole and continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Note: A little sauce/juice in with the beans is needed. The beans will continue to soak it up and the sauce will thicken some as it cools, so don’t bake them until the liquid is all soaked up or the beans will end up being too dry.

Suggestion: If you want the smoky, meaty flavor typical of baked beans, feel free to add some cooked chopped bacon to the mix before baking.

How to Fix a Food That is Too Sour

It’s easy to add a little too much lemon juice or vinegar when finishing a dish. If this happens, all is not lost! There are different ways that this problem can be handled. Try whichever tactic listed below that would be right for your food that is too sour.

Below is a video where I discuss this topic. Following the video are my complete notes on how to reduce sourness in a food.

I hope this helps!
Judi

Add sweetener. Sweet and sour go hand-in-hand. A simple way to balance a food that is too sour is to add some sweetener of your choice. For example, when making a salad dressing, if too much vinegar was used, add a touch of sweetener to balance it out and transform your pucker into a smile.

Sometimes, homemade tomato sauce can be a bit sour or bitter from the tomatoes and/or tomato paste. Adding a little sugar will balance that out so your sauce will taste amazing. Even adding a fresh carrot to your tomato sauce while it’s cooking will do the trick, if you don’t want to add sugar.

Add salt. Adding a bit more of a salty component to your dish can balance the sour flavor. Example: If you’ve added too much lemon juice or vinegar to a stir-fry, simply add a touch more soy sauce to balance it out.

Add a little baking soda. When a food is too sour, it’s too acidic. Baking soda is a great neutralizer for acids. A little goes a long way here, so only add a SMALL amount at a time. If the food bubbles up, stir it and allow time for the bubbles to dissipate, and the baking soda to do its job. Taste the food after the baking soda is well mixed in. Adjust flavorings if needed.

Add some cheese. Adding a little Parmesan or ricotta to a sour sauce can help to balance the flavors and reduce the tartness.

Add some veggies. Adding some chopped vegetables, such as carrots or potatoes, will absorb some of the acid and help to balance flavors out in a soup or stew that is too sour.

Add some fat. Adding some fat such as butter, oil, ghee, coconut oil, or cream can help to balance flavors in a sour dish.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/fix-common-seasoning-mistakes/

https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-rescue-what-to-do-when-131736

https://sweeetheat.com/2018/12/09/how-to-fix-food-thats-too-sour/

https://oureverydaylife.com/can-counteract-sourness-sauce-28707.html

https://food52.com/blog/22607-how-to-fix-over-seasoned-food

https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/93503/how-to-reduce-the-sour-taste-in-gravy

https://www.livestrong.com/article/512120-how-to-counteract-acidity-in-cooking/

How to Reduce the Sweetness in a Food

Oops! You’ve tasted your food and it’s too sweet! That’s a mishap that can happen to anyone. So, is there something you can do about it? Yes, there is hope. You can’t remove the excess sweetener, but you can balance it out with other flavors. Try whichever option below that will work best with your overly sweetened dish.

Below is a link to a video where I discuss this topic. My notes detailing this follow the video.

I hope this helps!
Judi

Add more liquid. Diluting the sweetener in the dish might be an option if it’s a water- or milk-based soup or sauce. Try adding more of the main liquid and see if that cuts the sweetness enough. Of course, by adding more liquid, you also may need to add more of the other ingredients that flavor the dish, EXCEPT for the sweetener (and possibly salt…see below).

Another example, if it’s a tomato sauce that has too much sweetener, add more tomatoes (and possibly more of the herbs to bring the flavor to where it should be). If your chili is too sweet, add more beans or ground beef, and possibly more tomatoes and spices.

Add some acid. Adding a little acid, such as citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange), vinegar (white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are good options), or even red wine may also counteract the sweetness. Avoid balsamic vinegar since it can be a bit sweet. For instance, if you’ve over-sweetened a sweet potato dish, sprinkle a little lemon or even orange juice on it to counter the sweetness. That may add more depth of flavor and a slight twist that enhances the entire dish. It’s worth a try! Here’s a tip…take a SMALL amount of the dish and add a very small amount of the acid, then taste it. If it works, add it to the entire dish.

Add something milk-based. Adding a little milk, cream, sour cream, cheese, whipped cream, or unsweetened yogurt to an overly sweet dish can help to balance out the flavors. Coconut milk or your favorite plant-based milk may also work.

Avoid adding more salt. Salt tends to bring out the sweetness in a dish, so adding more salt may not be the best option in this case. After adjusting the recipe, even if you need to add more of your other ingredients, hesitate and taste before adding more salt.

Make it spicy. Sweet and spicy tend to balance each other out very well. If adding some heat or strong spice would work well in your dish, go for it and give it a new flavor dimension! A little hot sauce, chiles, or crushed red pepper may do the trick. Just don’t add so much that it transforms your dish into something extra-hot or you may be reaching for something to counteract the heat!

If it’s a dessert that’s too sweet, adding a little cinnamon or cloves, if appropriate, will cut the sweetness a bit.

Add some herbs. Some herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, herbs de Provence, tarragon, and basil, are known to balance sweetness in foods. Add only a small amount at a time and taste as you go.

Add some fat. Adding a bit more fat to the dish, like olive oil, butter, or avocado, can help to balance out extra sweetness.

Add a little bitterness. Yes, bitterness. Even though bitter is a flavor that many people avoid, just think of dark chocolate and how sugar balances out the bitterness in the chocolate. Adding a SMALL amount of unsweetened cocoa powder to your dish may be an option. Just be sure it’s a small amount, so you don’t make your main dish taste like a weird chocolate dessert. Another option here would be to add a bitter vegetable, if applicable. Adding some kale, arugula, or radicchio may do the trick.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/fix-common-seasoning-mistakes/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-save-a-dish-thats-too-sweet-4174554

https://www.spiceography.com/too-much-sugar/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/524910-how-to-neutralize-sugar/