Foamy Black Bug Juice

[Reposted from 2009.]

I hope you are planning your Halloween dinner menu. How about starting the evening with Foamy Black Black Bug Juice?

foamy black bug juice

Foamy Black Bug Juice photo by vsimon

Foamy Black Bug Juice

Sweet, tasty, fragrant. Spicy fragrance, not icky stinky. And just gross enough in a clear glass. Make this right before serving for maximum foam. You can spike it with ETOH (alcohol) for the adults if you like.

serves 6 metric measures
1 tablespoon honey 15 ml
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 gm
2 tablespoons dark raisins 15 gm
1 cup grape juice concentrate 240 ml
1/3 cup orange juice concentrate 80 ml
5 cups sparkling water 1.200 liters

In a small bowl, stir cinnamon into the honey. Drizzle honey mixture around the inside rim of the glass. You will have sticky fingers if it gets on the outside. And that isn’t always a bad thing.

Add a few raisins to each glass.

Carefully add juice concentrates to a tall glass pitcher. Try to be neat and not to get it on the side of the pitcher. Or be messy, it just adds to the eeewww factor.

Add the sparking water and watch it foam.

Pour into prepared glasses. Garnish with lots of foam. It will sparkle in your nose.

Stay tuned for the entree.

Gingered Beet and Berry Salad

beetsalad (2)

gingered beet and berry salad photo by vsimon

This is intense.

Intense flavor- sweet and spicy. A cool salad with a hit of hot ginger.

Intense color- red beets and red raspberries.

Intense texture- crunchy grated raw roots.

Intense nutrition- click on each ingredient in the recipe below for in depth information from The World’s Healthiest Foods website.

Garden fresh.

Beets, beets, beets. I ask myself, “What new can we do with the beets, just pulled from the garden?” 

Blue cheese, goat cheese, roasted. Been there, done that. And I have to say, I loved all of it, but I don’t have any cheese today and it is much too hot to turn the oven on for an hour.

And we have so many raspberries. There is a chunk of ginger root in the fridge. OK, let’s see what we can do with these.

Don’t have fresh ginger root?

I respectfully say, “Get some.”

Just a few fragrant gratings perk up anything it is added to, sweet or savory. It isn’t expensive and lasts a long time. A chunk of fresh ginger root in the veggie drawer of the fridge is as useful as jars of pickles in the pantry.  And it is amazingly healthful.

Ginger root grows with finger like projections. At the store, you can break off as much as you need. If you are a ginger virgin, start with a knob just an inch or two long.

Gingered Beet and Berry Salad

serves 4

4 small beets, 1-1/2 to 2” in diameter

1 cup raspberries

2 tablespoons honey

4 crossways slices of ginger root,  each 1/4” thick

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Hold onto the stems of the beets and using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the beets.

Grate beets using a box or plane grater, into a small bowl.

Or use a mini food processor. Transfer beets to a small mixing bowl.

I have shaved them using a ribbon microplane. This works too, and you get a softer texture. I prefer more crunch.

In a mini food processor, puree 1/2 cup of berries, honey and ginger root together. Note: this is a lot of ginger. You can start with half as much as the recipe calls for if you are a bit timid.

Add raspberry ginger mixture to grated beets. Mix thoroughly. Chill until ready to serve.

Right before serving, garnish with the remaining whole berries and walnuts.

What is your favorite beet recipe?

What do you do with fresh ginger root?

8-3-2010 This recipe is included in the July Grow Your Own #43 recipe round up at Kitchen Gadget Girl Cooks. Check out what yummy things people around the world are growing and cooking.

Antioxidants in Sweeteners

as slow as molasses

as slow as molasses photo by technicool

Are you avoiding white sugar because it is just empty calories? And using agave, honey, or date sugar because they are less refined and have more nutrition?

You might be surprised by a scientific study named Total Antioxidant Content of Alternatives to Refined Sugar, printed in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association January 2009. It tested the antioxidant levels of many sweeteners.

What was tested?

agave nectar (light, amber and raw)
blue agave nectar
brown rice syrup
brown rice malt syrup (not gluten free)
barley malt syrup (not gluten free)
corn syrup (light)
date sugar
maple syrup (100% pure)
molasses (dark and black strap)
sugar (white, light brown, dark brown, turbinado, raw cane)

How where they tested?

Sweeteners where purchased from major retailers, health food stores, and online distributors. From one to 53 samples were tested for each sweetener. Honey had the most samples, representing mostly refined clover honey as it is most available.

Results- a few surprises!

In order of antioxidant levels, high to low.

Sweetener Relative amount of antioxidants
date sugar xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                       
molasses, blackstrap xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
molasses, dark xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
barley malt syrup xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (not gluten free)
brown rice malt syrup xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (not gluten free)
sugar, dark brown xxxxx
100% maple syrup xxxx
sugar, light brown xxx
sugar, raw cane xx
honey xx
sugar, turbinado x                                                                                     
agave nectar
corn syrup, light  
sugar, white                                                                             

Notes: White sugar, corn syrup, and agave nectar had almost no antioxidants. 

These are composite results. The study did show some variability of antioxidant levels between samples of the same type of some sweeteners.

My graph is a crude representation of the results.

How does this compare with other foods?

broccoli, raw xxx
milk chocolate candy xxxxxxxxx
red wine (merlot) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
blueberries xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
walnuts xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Note: Common serving sizes where compared.

Walnuts where way off this chart. One ounce of walnuts have about twice the antioxidants of one ounce of date sugar.

Can we switcheroo?

It is not possible to use some high antioxidant sweeteners measure for measure in place of white sugar in many recipes. A cup or more of black strap molasses in a cake will not be good. Date sugar is delicious, but will change the flavor, color and texture in recipes with lots of sugar. It is also expensive and not readily available. Some recipes successfully use these sweeteners though.

It is pretty easy to substitute dark brown sugar for white in many recipes. Did you know that brown sugar is simply refined white sugar mixed with molasses? The darker the sugar, the more molasses.

Stir 1 tablespoon molasses into 1 cup of white sugar to make dark brown sugar.

Using averages, the researchers concluded that substituting high antioxidant sweeteners for white sugar can increase the antioxidants consumed as much as having a serving of blueberries. That is because we eat so much sugar.

To much sugar

The average American eats 31 teaspoons of added sugar a day. Yikes!! While it is useful to use high antioxidant sweeteners, it is also important to simply use less sugar. And according to this study, using agave is not much better than white sugar.

Not tested yet

I like sorghum syrup and have used palm sugar too. They were not tested, so I do not know the antioxidant levels of these sweeteners. If anyone has this information, please share.

palm sugar1

palm sugar photo by vsimon

The study authors are Katherine M. Phillips, PhD; Monica H. Carlsen, MSc; Rune Blomhoff, PhD.