Monday, December 20, 2010

Vintage Cookbook

My friend Stephanie on Facebook posted a link to download a pdf version of the orignal Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  I thought it would be interesting to see this and it's free.  I'm sure cooking has changed a lot since then.  You can down load it here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Soy and Hexane

Deciding whether or not to eat soy, is a complex issue.  There are some serious health implications with certain types of soy including soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.   There are some concerns for those with thyroid disease as well, since there are chemicals in soy which can cause thyroid goiters.  Then there is the estrogen effect.

When you research soy you can find a gamut of articles on each side of the fence.  The most conservative say that only fermented forms of soy such as Miso and Soy Sauce are okay for human consumption.  Just when I got used to and actually started liking Tofu and Tofu noodles! LOL

A greater concern is Hexane gas, a neurotoxic chemical solvent.  Natural New TV shared this on the use of Hexane gas in soy processing.  If you use soy, check your labels!  The Cornucopia Institute has this soy score card which can help you evaluate your favorite brands.  I was surprised to see some readily and widely available brands that received a ZERO rating!

Answers on Dehydrating

First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my post about dehydrating. So much has happened between then and now that this is the first opportunity I have had to post answers. I am uncertain how to answer through the comments themselves, so I will answer here.

While fruits and veggies that have been dehydrated, can be re hydrated to use in recipes, I will not be doing that with these pears. I have used other re hydrated fruits but I think that the pears would just fall apart. They could be used for a cake or muffins.

We will be using our pears for snacks. Dehydrated fruit snacks are very expensive in the store and most of them contain sulfuring of some type for preservation. Since I am allergic to sulfur, this is not a good option for me. Personally I don't care if my fruit looks brown as long as it tastes good! However there are some things you can do naturally. One thing is soaking them in lemon juice. Not only does this help with coloring but Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) is a natural preservative. Potentially this will help them store longer.

To date I have dehydrated bananas (a big hit in our family) and pears. Apples are next.

When I was growing up, my Grandma dehydrated a lot of food. She took classes from a local woman named Gen MacManiman, a master herbalist who wrote a book called Dry It You'll Like It. A lot of her information is geared to "make it yourself" dehydrators and the old kind running on light bulb heat. However, she does have great tips and a little info on drying herbs and what they are good.

I purchased my dehydrator from a local company who happens to make one of the most highly acclaimed dehydrators used by raw food chefs and other "health nuts", called an Excalibur. They sell on their site and on eBay. You can buy less expensive models but this one is engineered very efficiently. Also the round ones cannot do very much at a time. I find even with the big one, I need to do a couple batches to go through a box of fruit.

Excalibur has their own book, Preserve It Naturally, which is a great resource whether you use their dehydrators or not.

In the future, I hope to dehydrate some veggies for making homemade soup mixes and more fruit to have for summer snacks in the winter!