Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘USDA’

The USDA Makes the Elderberry and Elderflower Sound Miraculous

Posted by terrepruitt on March 1, 2012

In a post about an article I read about boosting your immune system I mentioned elderberries.  I think it is funny how things get brought to your conscious.  Last year I went to a Yelp Event where one of the vendors serving was St Germain.  St. Germain is a French liqueur made from elderflowers.  I had never heard of it, but when first hearing of the event my friend had told me it was her favorite.  After tasting it in their signature cocktail I understood why.  That was my first conscious memory of hearing about elderberries.  Then I read the article and it mentioned elderberries.  So I decided to do a few searches on Elderberries and as is the case with most things Wiki has a wealth of information.  First off the Elderberry is kind of the category of 5 to 30 shrubs or trees.

It seems as if most countries and peoples use the elderflowers to make syrups.  The syrups can be added to pancakes or diluted with water and used as a drink.  Or what the french had done and made a liqueur.  Seems as if the berries are used in the tradition of many berries, in wines, james, jellies, marmaldes, and fruit pies.  Every site I have seen says that the flowers are often dipped in batter and fried.  Elderberries.com states that they believe it is best not to eat them raw. 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture:  “Only the blue or purple berries of elderberry are edible. Edible berries and flower are used for medicine, dyes for basketry, arrow shafts, flute, whistles, clapper sticks, and folk medicine. The active alkaloids in elderberry plants are hydrocyanic acid and sambucine. Both alkaloids will cause nausea so care should be observed with this plant. Elderberries are high in Vitamin C. The red berries of other species are toxic and should not be gathered.”

The USDA site also states that folk medicine considered the elderberry a very valuable healing plant.  And it sounds like it could do almost anything.  The flowers have flavonoids which some say are thought to help prevent cancer and improve immune function.  The tannins are a help with reduction of bleeding, diarrhea, and congestions.

The flowers can also be made into a tea to aid in breaking “dry fevers and stimulate perspiration, aid headache, indigestion, twitching eyes, dropsy, rheumatism, appendix inflammation, bladder or kidney infections, colds, influenza, consumption (bleeding in lungs), and is helpful to newborn babies (Hutchens 1991). Used as a wash, the flowers or leaves are good for wounds, sprains, and bruises, as well as for sores on domestic animals. The leaves, which are stronger, have a slightly laxative property. Applied externally, leaves, flowers, bark and twigs are excellent as a poultice, mixed equally with chamomile, for soreness, inflammations, joint stiffness, and to reduce the swelling of bee stings. The flowers and berries, employed as a diuretic, can aid arthritis and rheumatism. Steeped in water, the flowers are used externally to aid in complexion beauty, tone and soften the skin, and lighten freckles or spots. The berry juice made into salve aids burns and scalds. The juice taken internally will act as a purgative.’

Wow, huh?  Sounds like the entire plant can pretty much do anything.  But I haven’t seen the berries sold anywhere, have you?  I have to admit I have not LOOKED for them, but since they sound like they can take care of some many things I would think they would be more popular.

Since the actual genus name is Sambucus, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that the Italian liqueur Sambucca is comprised of oil from the elderflower.  Aside from the liqueur versions and the jam versions, it really sounds as if the flowers and the berries are very good for you.  They have a lot of vitamin C and a good amount of vitamin A.  And according to folk medicine they do a heck of a lot.  I am going to look for them in September.  That seems to be the season for Elderberries. 

After reading they can help boost your immune system AND all the other stuff listed here, do they interest you?  Do elderberries sound like something you would like to add to your diet?  Do you want to try some elderflowers?

Posted in Food, Fruit | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Almonds – Nutritious, But Questionable If They Are From California

Posted by terrepruitt on February 4, 2012

My last non-Nia post was about appetite suppressants, natural kinds.  The first thing I listed was almonds.  As always when I post something, even if I get the idea from somewhere else I like to look up facts for myself.  I feel better if there are a few sources confirming what I post about.  Often in my fact finding/confirming search I find other things, maybe other things entirely or other facts.

First of all the almond is a seed and not a nut.  Always makes me laugh when I learn stuff like this because all my life I thought of it as a nut . . . still do.  Almonds have a lot of fat, with 15 grams of fat per ounce, that is 23% of the Daily Value.  But it is the monounsaturated fat, the kind that we need, but still not too much.

Per ounce they have about three grams a fiber.  I think they are a nice addition to fiber you are already eating but should not be the only source as you would need to eat almost 4 ounces to get 10 grams of fiber.  That would be 60 grams of fat. 

Studies have shown almonds to help in lowering cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.  Almonds seems to have the ability to help keep blood sugar even which can help reduce the risk of diabetes.  They contain vitamin E which is an antioxidant.  The magnesium and potassium help with blood flow and blood pressure.  Almonds are naturally gluten free.

Nutrient Values of Almonds:  Single Serving (1 ounce)
Calories—–170.0 
Protein—–6.0 g   Daily Value—–12%
Carbohydrate—–6.0 g Daily Value—–2%
Fat—–15.0 g Daily Value—–23%
  
Fats  
Cholesterol 0.000 mg Daily Value—–0%
Saturated Fat 1.5 g Daily Value—–8%
Mono Fat 10.0 g 
Poly Fat 3.0 g 
  
Carbohydrates  
Dietary Fiber 3.0 g Daily Value—–12%
  
Vitamins  
Vitamin E 10.0 IU Daily Value—–35%
Riboflavin 0.22 mg Daily Value—–4%
Niacin 0.95 mg Daily Value—–4%
Vitamin B6 0.03 mg Daily Value—–2%
Folate 17.0 mcg Daily Value—–4%
  
Minerals  
Potassium 207.0 mg Daily Value—–6%
Iron 1.0 mg Daily Value—–6%
Calcium 75.0 mg Daily Value—–8%
Magnesium 84.0 mg Daily Value—–20%
Phosphorous 147.0 mg Daily Value—–14%
Zinc 1.0 mg Daily Value—–6%
Copper 0.27 mg Daily Value—–14%
From  Nutfarm 

According to Wiki, there are no truly RAW almonds grown in and sold from California:

Because of two cases of salmonellosis traced to almonds in 2001 and 2004, the Almond Board of California proposed rules in 2006 regarding pasteurization of almonds available to the public, and the USDA approved them. The almond pasteurization program became mandatory for the California industry on September 1, 2007, and was implemented voluntarily over the previous two years.  Since September 1, 2007, raw untreated California almonds have technically not been available in the United States. Controversially, California almonds labeled as “raw” are required to be steam-pasteurized or chemically treated with propylene oxide. This does not apply to imported almonds, or to almonds sold from the grower directly to the consumer in small quantities.  Nor is the treatment required for raw almonds sold as exports to countries outside of North America.

I found the fact that California Almonds sold as “raw” are not really raw to be very interesting.  Hmmmm.  So much of what food labels say is untrue and deceitful.  I don’t know why I was surprised.

So in case you are wondering what “propylene oxide” is besides just the chemical that California Almonds are treated with.  It was according to Wiki “a racing fuel, but that usage is now prohibited under the US NHRA rules for safety reasons. It has also been used in glow fuel for model aircraft and surface vehicles.”  Yes, they use a RACING FUEL that is now prohibited for safety reasons to treat California Almonds.  I think I would take my chances with salmonellosis.  There were TWO cases of that, but now they are treating our almonds with a, yes, get this—-a “probable human carcinogen”.  

It seems as if California Almonds might not really be that healthy after all considering they are probably being treated with a chemical that has “been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as Group 2B: The agent (mixture) is possibly carcinogenic to humans.”  According to the California Almond Board:

PPO is also a surface treatment which has been approved for use on foods since 1958, . . . . PPO is very effective at reducing harmful bacteria on almonds and poses no risk to consumers. In fact, PPO residue dissipates after treatment.

Also according to the board Organic Almonds are steam pasteurized.

So I guess that “raw” almonds is the same as “No trans fat” on food labels.  And along with all the other chemicals IN our food and used to TREAT, GROW, and MANIPULATE the very DNA of our food, there is no risk posed to consumers.  Meanwhile Americans grow more obese and unhealthy and more and more drugs sold as medicine are being pushed upon the public. 

I started this post ready to extol the benefits of almonds, but now all I can say is eat at your own risk, along with all of our food supply.

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Asparagus, Roasted

Posted by terrepruitt on March 14, 2009

I love to eat roasted asparagus.  I like it when it is really cooked, not burned, but crispy.  It is probably past the point of supreme nutrition, but that is my favorite way to eat it.  I do like it at its most nutritious, too, boiled until it is tender not soggy.  I haven’t always liked asparagus.  I believe the way vegetables are cooked now is different than from when I was growing up.  Plus, I believe that it is much easier to obtain a fresh vegetable now than when I was growing up.

Apparently the season is from March through August, but we eat it all year round.  To me it tastes better during the “Asparagus season”.

One of the reasons I love to eat it roasted is because it is so easy to cook.  I rinse it off, then chop off the ends—I don’t do that bend and break thing because holding the entire bunch in one hand and chopping with the other is much faster to me — then I line them up in a pan (I have a jelly roll pan).  I sprinkle olive oil on them.  I usually use garlic infused olive oil, but sometimes I go for the lemon olive oil.  Then I salt them and use whatever spices I feel like, then in they go.  I usually cook them at 400 degrees.  I let them bake for 15 minutes, then I flip them.  And let them go 15 minutes more, but you can take them out at anytime and they are delicious.  Sometimes I cook ‘em less, sometimes I cook ‘em more.  Depends on my mood and when the rest of the meal is ready.

Nutritional Value per 100 g  (3.5 oz) as per USDA Nutrient database

Calories. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Carbohydrates . . . . . . . . . .3.88 g
Sugars . . . . . . . . . .1.88 g
Dietary fiber . . . . .2.1 g
Fat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.12 g
Protein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2.20 g

In addition Asparagus contains Thiamine (Vit. B1), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Niacin (Vit. B3), Pantothenic Acid (Vit. B5), Vitamin B6, Folate (Vit. B9), Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, and Manganese.

Seems to me like they are way worth the time and effort it takes to cook them.

What is your favorite way to cook asparagus?

Posted in Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »