Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How to Identify Fake Eggs

Fake eggs been locally available in the market is indeed a matter of alarm. It makes us take a double take on the eggs available at the grocer, as we do not wish to be fooled into buying fake eggs. They look same and are of same shape as we are told. But consuming fake eggs can be life threatening, as it can cause death in children and also can pose serious health threat to people of any age group. Fake eggs are said to be made in China and are exported in large quantities to countries like India, Bangladesh and Thailand. Fake eggs contain food colour and many other chemicals such as sodium alginate, alum, gelatin, calcium chloride, paraffin wax, gypsum powder and water. The outer shell of egg is made of Calcium Carbonate. It is due to this chemical combination present in these eggs that they are termed to be chemical eggs. But these fake eggs resemble chicken eggs and hence one can easily be fooled to buy it. And also because of the presence of these harmful chemicals such as Calcium Alginate, that fake eggs are not to be eaten as they can be harmful to our body. Most don't even realize they bought fake eggs and consume them regularly. But few people have been complaining about the eggs they bought tasted like plastic after cooking. Consumption of fake eggs could trigger severe health problems which may include nerve cell damage, brain damage, liver damage and metabolism disorders.

How to Identify Fake Eggs

Though people are been fooled into buying fake eggs, yet there are few ways to differentiate and identify fake eggs.  Always buy eggs from trusted grocer, from whom you buy eggs often. Never buy eggs from unknown sources. While buying eggs, one can be careful and alert. Few ways to identify fake eggs are mentioned below -

1. The outer shell of fake eggs are pretty much shinier as compared to original eggs.

2. The shape of a fake egg is something to be noted for. A regular egg is never round, a bit elliptical but a fake egg is rather round and big in shape.

3. If you hold the fake egg in you hand and shake it, you would rather hear sloshing noise inside, as if flow of water.

4. Once you have eggs in your kitchen, understand that a real egg is tougher to crack  and the sound of breaking is crisp rather than fake eggs. The fake eggs break easily as compared to real eggs. Though spoiled eggs do crack easily, but still such an egg spoiled or fake should be thrown immediately.

5. If an egg is fake, once you break it you would find a yellow and white liquid mixed as if the egg is spoiled unlike a real egg where you would find egg white and egg yolk separate yet intact. Also in fake eggs, even after breaking you find egg white and egg yolk separate, within a matter of seconds, both would mix together on their own which never happens in real eggs.

6. Real eggs smell like raw meat and of you have little yellow on your hand than the eggy smell would stay for some time. But with fake eggs that part is really missing as you just cannot smell them.

7. When you half fry a fake egg, the yolk spreads on the egg white without being touched which never happens with real eggs.

8. The inner membrane of an real egg is thin and slimy, whereas the inner membrane of fake egg is dry and feels like a paper.

9. When you put the outer shell of a fake egg on fire, the shell burns quickly similar to that of a plastic. However if you try the same with real egg shell, the shell takes time to burn.

10. Last but not least, when real eggs are left open on the kitchen counter, flies are attracte to them. The same can't be said about fake eggs.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

One of the best known spices, Cinnamon is popular for its aroma and distinct taste. It is widely used in all types of cuisines to enhance the flavour of the food, be it a meat dish or a pie, a main course or a dessert. But apart from the distinguished taste it imparts to food, the cinnamon bark is also known for it's medicinal value. The health benefits of cinnamon are such that it has been traditionally used as a medicinal spice throughout the world since 2000 BC. In Ancient Eygpt, cinnamon was used for consumption because it was cited that cinnamon had strong magical powers. Lets discuss the health benefits of cinnamon.

Ten Health Benefits of Cinnamon

1. Anyone of the two constituents namely Cinnamaldehyde and Eugenol are present in various forms of cinnamon, which are known to fight cancer cells of Leukemia (blood cancer) and Lymphoma (cancer of immune cells or lymphocytes).

2. Cinnamon is known to have anti-fungal properties. To clean a body part affected with fungal infection, one should mix cinnamon oil with water and clean the affected area for three days with this mixture.

3. Cinnamon acts as a weight reducer and helps in blood thinning. It also helps promote blood circulation. Cinnamon and honey combination is perfect for weight loss. This combination can be used in tea or can be consumed directly for weight loss.

4. Known for its anti-bacterial properties, cinnamon is the best remedy for stomachaches and stomach flu.

5. Regular intake of cinnamon in tea or other foods can be beneficial for those with Type 2 Diabetes, as it helps control their blood sugar variations and also helps those with insulin resistance.

6. Regular intake of cinnamon helps reduce arthritis pain. A regular massage with cinnamon oil also works wonders for arthritis patients.

7. Being a rich source of manganese and iron, cinnamon can be used in the skin treatments. Many skin related problems such as dandruff or acne can be cured with cinnamon. A cinnamon and honey mixture if applied on acne for a couple of days, helps treat the acne problem.

8. A rich source of calcium, regular intake of cinnamon can help fight osteoporosis.

9. Cinnamon tea also helps fight sore throat. Honey and cinnamon tea, if consumed regularly,  can help fight cold symptoms and keep throat infections at bay. Many home remedies include key ingredients as Cinnamon and honey for sore throat and cough.

10. Cinnamon is known to lower LDL, i.e. the bad cholesterol. People with hereditary heart disease and cholesterol problems should include cinnamon in their daily diet without fail.

Apart from these top ten health benefits, cinnamon is also known to help treat patients with symptoms of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer and Parkinson. And hence cinnamon is considered to be one of the super foods. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Health Benefits of Spiny Gourd or Kantola

As soon as monsoon sets in, we look forward to enjoy spiny gourd, locally known as teasle gourd, Kantola, kantoli or kakrol. Spiny gourd is often considered to be bitter because, for many, it resembles a bitter gourd. But that is not true at all! Spiny gourd has spines all over the body and are comparatively smaller in shape, resembling big, green lemons with spines. In mountain regions of Maharashtra, Spiny gourd is one of the healthy vegetables, that grow wildly on creepers all throughout the mountain areas or shrubby areas during monsoon. They are made available to us in the markets by the local tribes. Though many farmers are known to cultivate this vegetable nowadays for its health benefits and popular demand. Once spiny gourd seeds are sown in the field, the vines of the vegetable sprout at the onset of monsoon every year.  Spiny gourd can be prepared in very little oil and tastes lovely. Few scrape the spiny gourd off its spines before cooking while few cook them just the way they are. It cooks quickly and can be prepared into a simple sabji with onions and green chilies. Apart from the taste, spiny gourd are also beneficial for health.

Health Benefits of Spiny Gourd

1. Being a rich source of Vitamin C, spiny gourd can help fight cancer.

2. Spiny gourd has large proportions of falvonoids including lutein, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and zeaxanthin. These flavonoids work as anti-ageing components and help us look younger.

3. Spiny gourd are rich in Vitamin A, which is necessary for good eye sight.

4. The tender vines of spiny gourd if boiled for a couple of minutes and then the water strained and mixed with honey to prepare a mixture, which when drank can help fight viral fever.

5. To reduce sweating and to beat body odour, powdered spiny gourd can be added to warm water before bath. It also ensures smooth skin.

6. Adding a tablespoon of powdered spiny gourd to glass of water and drinking regularly can help remove kidney stones.

7. Spiny gourd contains large amount of fibre and regularly including this vegetable in our daily diet helps fight constipation. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

How to Preserve Fruits

Every new season brings with it array of happiness, beauty and hope. As if this is not enough, it also brings with it beautiful, colorful and tasty fruits which last only till the season does. These fruits are categorized as seasonal fruits only because they are available for a specific period of time every year. So it is important that we try and enjoy each of these fruits as much as possible. But we do long for some of these fruits for the rest of the year and wait and wonder when are these fruits going to be back.

Each fruit seasonal or perennial are power-packed with its own set of nutrients including iron, antioxidants, fibre and loads of Vitamin A which is needed for our body. And not just that, but the way they taste - for examples mangoes. Mangoes are truly devoured in it's season and then missed later throughout the year. Same is the case with few other fruits like grapes and strawberries! And then all we do to enjoy it even the season is over is by buying fruit concentrates, canned fruit pulp or juices.

But what if we could store these fruits right at home, even after their season is over? Wouldn't that be a great idea! Instead of buying these fruits that we enjoy eating so much in other forms which are charged exorbitantly and do not taste just the same; we can actually preserve these seasonal fruits in our own refrigerator and use it whenever we wish to. Let us learn some fruit preservation recipes which can allow us to enjoy our favorite fruits even when they no longer exist in the market.

Fruit Preservation Recipes

1. Fruit Pulp 

The best way to store foods in the freezer is by making fruit pulp and storing it. Making fruit pulp out of a fruit is one of the best fruit preservation recipes that one could find. Just a little amount of hard work and you get to enjoy your favourite fruit whenever you wish. It also answers that one simple question we usually have in mind which is how to preserve fruit longer? Once the fruit is carefully pulped and placed in the freezer, then the fruit pulp can stay fresh for months together. The best way to enjoy the frozen fruit pulp would be by incorporating it with easy fuit pulp recipes such as smoothies, juices or even using them in ice-creams and other desserts.

Learn more about How to Preserve Mangoes

Suggestions on some Fruit Pulp Recipes

1. Fruit Flavoured Yogurts - Use fruit pulp in yogurts to make yummy fruit flavoured yogurts. To tell you the truth, the fruit flavoured yogurts made at home taste way better than the one available in markets. For making fruit flavoured yogurt, all you need to do is thaw the required amount of fruit pulp and mix it in the yogurt. Make sure the yogurt is fresh and not very sour. Once you add the fruit pulp, there is no need of adding any sugar or sweeteners. The best fruits that you have stored as fruit pulps which can be used in yogurt include mango, strawberry and grapes.

2. Toppings - Fruit pulp can be used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, crepes and even ice-creams. All you have to do is prepare the pancakes or waffles or crepes as per the recipe. Thaw required amount of fruit pulp. Place freshly prepared pancakes, crepes or waffles on a serving plate and top it with your favourite fruit pulp. 

3. Smoothies - The best way to enjoy  fruit pulp is by incorporating it with various other ingredients such as spinach, lemongrass or any other fruit and to make excellent smoothies. In this case, you need not thaw the fruit pulp and use it as it is. Just mix the frozen fruit pulp with rest of the ingredients, the smoothie recipe calls for and there you go!

4. Milkshakes - Fruit pulp can be blended with milk, and some ice to make tasty milkshakes. You need not add sugar in this milkshakes. All you need to do is take some cold milk in a blender, and add some scoops of the thawed fruit pulp and some ice cubes. 

5. Excellent Base for Desserts - Fruit pulp prepared at home could be used as a base to make excellent desserts such as mousses and ice-creams. Fruit pulp could also be used in preparing fillings for pies or even for cheesecakes such as mango cheesecake. Just thaw the required amount of fruit pulp and use as per the instructions of the recipe you wish to prepare.

6. Fresh Fruit Juice - With the help of the fruit pulp you prepared at home, you can makes excellent fruit juices. Just thaw the required amount of fruit pulp and blend it with a couple of mint leaves. If you wish you can just drop in the mint leaves right in the glass along with the fruit pulp. Now add some lemon juice and top up the glass with chilled filtered water or soda. 

7. Sorbet - Fruits pulps can be used to make tasty sorbets. For making a sorbet, just add the thawed fruit pulp in a glass. Sprinkle some rock salt over it and some lemon juice. 

8. Whip it with Cream - You can use fruit pulps to give that extra fruity layer for cakes. All you need to do is thaw the required amount of fruit pulp and whip it up with fresh cream. Now just use it up to layer cakes or pastries.

9. Fruit Tea - Fruit teas are the best thing one can enjoy! With fruit pulp of guava, grapes or strawberry one can make excellent fruit tea at home. Fruit teas are easy to make and taste delightful. Here's how you should make a fruit tea with fruit pulp you prepared at home. Learn how to make an Easy Fruit Tea Recipe

10. Fruit Slushies: Add 1 cup of fruit pulp in a blender along with 1 cup of ice or you could use fruit ice, 1/4th cup of sparkling water and 1 tbsp mint leaves. Blend till the ice is crushed completely. Serve the fruit slushies right away. You can replace mint leaves with basil, lemon juice, honey or ginger for variation.

11. Fruit Popsicles - Fruit pulp could be used for making excellent fruit pops or fruit popsicles. For doing so, bring the required amount of fruit pulp to room temperature and use it in fruit Popsicle recipe. Learn how to make an Easy Strawberry Popsicle Recipe

2. Fruit Ice

Fruit Ice come real handy while making sorbets and smoothies. They can also be used as toppings for fruit juices. Instead of adding plain ice to your juice, add a couple of fruit ice of your choice to your juice and enjoy the taste. You can always experiment by adding different fruit ices for a twist of flavour.

3. Preserving Whole Fruit

Some fruit such as strawberries or grapes can even be preserved whole. This way you can just take them out of the freezer and eat away as a snack or even add in blenders to make smoothies. To do so, you will have to pack them away in large airtight containers. One benefit out of preserving whole fruit is that no sugar is needed to preserve them, as the natural sugar content within the fruit acts as the preservative for them. So does it's acid level! These two components the natural sugar content and the acid level within the fruit act as their preservatives and helps us to preserve them. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

How to Preserve Mangoes

Mangoes are enjoyed throughout the world for their richness, distinct aroma and great flavour. When mangoes are raw they are rich green in colour and then they begin to change their colour to slight orange to golden yellow as they start ripening. Mangoes are rich source of Vitamin As (beta-carotene) and E. They are  also a rich source of Selenium, which is an antioxidant. Selenium is known to be a protection against heart diseases and various other ailments. Mango also contains phenolic compounds which act as antioxidants and also are known to fight cancer. We wonder and await the mango season, and devour the fruit at the most. But we miss the mangoes for the rest of the year. Hence preserving mangoes actually enables us to enjoy mango and all it's health benefits throughout the year. Let us learn the steps of how to preserve mangoes.

How to Preserve Mangoes

1. Selection of Fruit

For storing or preserving a mango for later, you should pick a fruit which is firm when lightly squeezed. Discard the ones that are slightly rotten or have scratches or blemishes on their body. Select only those mangoes which are fully ripe. Make sure you have tasted the fruit and found it perfect for storing.

2. Clean the Fruit

Once the mangoes that are to be preserved, carefully selected, let us go through the cleaning process. Clean and wash the mangoes thoroughly. Peel the mango and discard the seed. Chop the fruit into small pieces.

3. Blend the Fruit

Place the fruit chunks in a blender and add sugar. The quantity of the sugar should be determined depending on the sweetness of the fruit. The sugar required should preferably be half the quantity of mangoes. For example if the mango pulp is 1 kg then you should be using 500 gm of sugar to preserve it. Blend the mixture to a smooth pulp. Add little lemon juice, it helps in the preserving process.

4. Store the Pulp

Once the pulp is prepared, remove it in ziplock bags or big plastic containers. Make sure that the plastic containers are thoroughly washed, cleaned and dried. The containers should be odourless and airtight. My suggestion is if you plan to use the pulp frequently then make sure you divide the pulp in portions and pack them in small ziplock bags; this way you wold need to thaw only a small portion of mango pulp and use it in your desired Fruit Pulp Recipes. If you pack the mango pulp in big ziplock bag, them scoop out the pulp as required, bring it to the room temperature and use it for consumption as required.

Mango Ice

Mangoes can also be stored as fruit ice or mango ice. Fruit ice can come handy while making sorbets or also as toppings for fruit juices. Mango ice can also be used in smoothies, Popsicle and fruit teas. To make mango fruit ice, follow simple steps:

1. Select ripe mango. Puree the fruit.

2. There is no need to add sugar.

3. Pour the puree into ice trays and freeze. You can use ice trays of various shapes and sizes. Use the mango ice whenever needed.

Preserving Raw Mangoes

Raw mangoes are preserved in various forms depending on how we wish to use them in latter times. Raw mangoes can be pickled, pureed or just preserved in the form of slices which can be stored to be used later on. We usually use raw mangoes to make curries, mango pickles, mango chutneys, raitas, and many other dishes where the recipe calls for it. Raw mangoes are also preserved in form of raw mango concentrate also known as  Aam ka Panna.

 Here's a detailed recipe of how to make Aam Ka Panna Concentrate Recipe - Bottled Raw Mango Concentrate Recipe.

How to store raw mango slices

Wash and clean the raw mangoes carefully. Pat them dry and peel off the skin. Slice them or chop them as per your requirement. Spread the sliced raw mango on a tray and allow them to dry a bit, if possible in sunlight or you can keep them overnight below a fan. Now pack these slices in small portions in ziplock bags or airtight bags, preferably use small ziplock bags and place small quantities of mango slices in them. Pack and place it in the freezer. This way you can use as much as you want for whichever recipes you plan to cook anytime later. With place constraints in the freezer, if you have to pack all of them in one big ziplock bag - no worries, whenever you wish to use some of the slices, just take out the ziplock bag, tap it lightly on the counter top of your kitchen and remove few slices which separate from the rest and use. Place the ziplock bag right back in the freezer immediately. Once thawed never place those mango slices back in the freezer. They should be used immediately. These mango slices can also be used in chutneys, pickles, raitas, curries or tangy sauces.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Aam Ka Panna Concentrate Recipe - Bottled Raw Mango Concentrate Recipe

Aam ka Panna or ambyacha panha as known in Marathi is a cool refreshing summer drink that helps us to beat summer and also fights and prevents heat stroke. You can find aam panna served everywhere roadsides on the streets of Mumbai during summer. It is charged only INR 5 to 10 for a glass of soothing and tasty aam ka panna. It immediately energizes you and quenches your thirst.

As soon as the good quality raw mangoes arrive during it's season, many households are know to buy those raw mangoes and prepare raw mango concentrates which helps us make the aam ka panna whenever we wish at home. This is one way to store raw mangoes at home. Here's an easy recipe of concentrate of Aam ka Panna, which once bottled and refrigerated can be used whenever you wish to savour the aam ka panna.

Ingredients for Aam Ka Panna Concentrate Recipe

Raw Mango - 1 kg
Sugar - 800 gms
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp, roasted and powdered
Black pepper powder - 1 tsp
Black salt - 2 tbsp

Method for Aam Ka Panna Concentrate Recipe

Wash and clean the raw mangoes carefully. Pressure cook the raw mangoes for at least two to three whistles. Allow it to cool.

 Once done, remove the skin and collect the pulp in a blender. Discard the seed and the skin.

Blend the pulp to make a smooth paste. Place the pulp in a  large bowl, and add sugar along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.

Once done transfer the contents in a glass bottle and refrigerate.

Whenever needed you can remove a couple of spoonful of this panna or raw mango concentrate in glasses, add cold water to it, sprinkle little chaat masala, place a few sprigs of mint leaves (optional) and few ice cubes. The aam ka panna is ready to be served.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Easy Strawberry Popsicle Recipe

Fruit Popsicle are best thing ever happened to us. Kids who don't enjoy fruit can now devour it without complain. Here is an easy Fruit Popsicle Recipe which includes strawberries and apple that you can prepare at home with the fresh fruit cubes or fruit pulp available.

Ingredients for Easy Strawberry Popsicle Recipe

Strawberry Pulp - 2 cups
Apple juice - 1/4th cup
Honey - 1 tbsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Salt - a pinch

Method for Easy Strawberry Popsicle Recipe

Bring 2 cups of frozen strawberry pulp to room temperature. If you are planning to use fresh strawberries, then make fresh strawberry pulp and continue with the recipe.

Place it in a blender along with 1/4 cup of apple juice, 1 tbsp of honey and 1 tsp lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt and blend.

Pour this mixture in pop molds or if you don't have pop molds use plastic ups. Once you pour the mixture equally in each cup, place a pop stick in the center of each cup. Place the molds in the freezer and allow it to freeze overnight.

Whenever you wish to enjoy the Popsicle just remove the mold from the freezer, submerge it into a cup which is filled 1/4th with warm water. Allow the mold to be immersed in this cup for few seconds and then gently pull out the Popsicle stick from the mold. Enjoy. 


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