Injecting a turkey with a flavored liquid is a good technique for producing moist, flavorful meat. Flavoring the surface of the turkey with marinades, rubs, sauces, and seasonings is also a good method for adding flavor, but flavoring the surface does not penetrate the meat. Using a meat injector allows you to inject the flavoring deep into the meat of the turkey.
The flavor injector is a syringe that has a heavy gauge needle attached to a plunger type tube. There are several holes in the last few inches of the tip of the needle. The holes allow the flavoring agent to be released into the meat of the turkey in all directions.
There are many ingredients that can be injected into the turkey to add flavor and moistness. Many variations of spiced or herbed liquids can be used, but other ingredients, such as sherry, wine, beer, flavored vinegar, and seasoned oil can be used as well. When mixing the flavoring liquid, be sure it does not include ingredients that may get may trapped in the needle of the syringe, such as herbs that are not finely crushed. If garlic or onion is to be added, it should be used in a liquid form. A little orange juice can be added to the flavoring liquid to act as a tenderizer. Do not make the flavoring too strong because it may overpower the turkey’s flavor. Try some of our Injection Sauces recipe here
The following steps can be used for flavor injecting a turkey.
Place the turkey in a roasting pan or any other pan large enough to position the turkey so that it is breast side up. Draw the flavoring liquid into the injector by first making sure the plunger is pushed to the bottom of the syringe. Insert the needle into the flavoring liquid and pull up on the plunger to draw the liquid into the injecting syringe. Now you may begin injecting the flavoring liquid into the turkey.
The flavoring should be spread throughout the turkey with the fewest possible punctures. Begin by inserting the needle deep into one side of the breast of the turkey and inject some of the contents of the syringe.
After injecting, begin to pull the needle from the breast meat, but do not pull it completely out of the puncture hole.
Using the same hole, move the syringe to a different angle and again push the needle into the turkey breast to inject some flavoring in a different portion of the breast meat. Continue to inject the meat at a two or three more angles to spread the flavoring throughout one half of the turkey breast. Repeat the same process on the other half of the breast (opposite side of the breast bone).
After injecting both sides of the turkey breast, inject flavoring into the legs and thighs in the same manner.
Each thigh and each side of the breast should be injected with 1 to 2 ounces of liquid, depending on the size of the turkey. 1 1/2 ounces is sufficient for a 12 lb. turkey. Each leg should be injected with 3/4 to 1 ounce of liquid. Any remaining flavoring can be injected into the drumsticks of the wings and into the back of the turkey.
Cover the turkey and refrigerate overnight to allow the injected liquid to impart its flavor throughout the layers of meat. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and allow it to stand at room temperature for approximately 2 hours before cooking. The turkey can then be cooked using a variety of methods, such as roasting, deep-frying, grilling, or smoking.
When injecting turkey, it is important to puncture it as few times as possible to prevent the natural juices of the turkey from escaping as it cooks.
Should this year’s Thanksgiving turkey be brined, injected, both, or none of the above?
I think we can all agree that a lot of turkey comes to the table dry. So dry that it takes a generous, what-the-hell pour from the gravy boat to make it palatable..
Many workarounds have been championed over the years. The two I find most effective (especially when subjecting a bird to the dry heat of the grill or smoker) are brining and injecting.
Without getting too scientific, soaking certain animal proteins in saltwater prior to cooking helps keep them moist. Not only do they absorb some of the liquid—their weight can increase by as much as 8 percent—but the salt denatures the protein strands within the muscles, discouraging shrinkage. With its high proportion of white meat, which has inherently less fat than dark, turkey is an excellent candidate for brining. (Check out our Brining recipe here.)
Advantages of brining turkey:
• Brining not only hydrates the meat, but uniformly seasons it.
• Brined meat will be noticeably more tender.
• White meat will stay moister while the dark meat finishes cooking.
• Flavorful ingredients like sugar (which helps with caramelization), chopped onion, garlic, citrus peel, whole spices, etc. can be added to the brine to customize it.
Disadvantages of brining turkey:
• Because it, too, has absorbed the brine, the skin will not brown and crisp as readily as skin that hasn’t been brined. To overcome this problem, pat the turkey dry with paper towels after brining and let the turkey sit on a rack inside a rimmed baking sheet, uncovered, in the refrigerator for several hours before cooking.
• Drippings will be salty. Keep this in mind if you intend to make gravy.
• A significant amount of refrigerator space, always at a premium around Thanksgiving, must be reserved for the turkey and its brine. Alternatively, put the turkey and brine into a clean insulated cooler and weight with leak-proof bags of ice. Change the ice as needed.
• Brining takes time—up to 24 hours for a whole turkey.
• Brining is not recommended for many brands of mass-produced turkeys which have already been injected with solutions, or in the case of kosher turkeys, already dry-brined.
With this method you get to play doctor, using an oversize hypodermic-like syringe called an injector to deliver a thin, flavorful liquid deep into muscle tissue. For turkey and other poultry, the injection mixture usually contains broth and melted butter with optional wine, bourbon, fruit juice, maple syrup, and/or other water-soluble ingredients for additional flavor. Avoid coarsely ground spices, which will clog the needle.
To load your injector, depress the plunger, dip the needle in the injector sauce, then pull the plunger back to draw in the sauce. Insert the needle into the deepest part of the thighs, drumsticks, and breast, pushing the plunger to disperse the liquid throughout the meat. (Check out our Injection Sauce recipes here.)
Advantages of injecting turkey:
• Injecting works faster than brining. You can inject the bird immediately before cooking.
• Fats like melted butter, duck fat, or olive oil can be delivered deep into the breast meat, increasing its succulence.
• Because the liquid is delivered under the skin, the skin tends to come out darker and crisper than that of a brined bird.
• You can vary the taste of the turkey by adding cognac, maple syrup, lemon juice or other flavorings to the injector sauce.
• The injection process looks a lot more theatrical than brining, and can be done with great dramatic effect in front of guests. You can even let them participate.
Disadvantages of injecting turkey:
• Only water- or oil-soluble ingredients can be used in injector sauces. Solid ingredients, including coarsely ground spices, will clog the needle.
• Distribution of the liquid is not as uniform as it is for brining. In other words, some parts of the bird might be saturated while others are dry.
• The needle will leave track marks in the turkey.
• If an injection site is saturated, liquid will squirt from the holes, potentially hitting walls, counters, cabinets, etc. Some pit masters wrap their turkeys in plastic wrap before injecting, then remove it before cooking.
Of course, there are people who both brine and inject their turkeys before exposing them to the fire. Sometimes More is Better.
Brine, inject, or both? May the best bird win.
If you enjoy cooking BBQ as much as I do, you understand that it is very important to care for and maintain your most valuable tool; the BBQ smoker or grill. Grease and tar can build up in the bottom of your pit and make a real mess while attracting bacteria and other unwanted guests. Practicing a few housekeeping rules outlined below will help keep your smoker in top working condition.
Cleaning a Really Dirty BBQ Smoker
If you have cooked in your smoker many times without cleaning it you probably have a layer of sludge resting in the bottom of your pit. I have even seen mold growing on this sludge. If you do, don’t panic! There is still hope for reviving your smoker. Now this is a very messy job, but in order to keep your BBQ smoker in top working condition you need to clean it out.
Put on some work clothes and a pair of long rubber gloves and get to work. Use a tool such as a small garden shovel to gently remove the sludge. Do not scrape the sides. The layer of grease actually protects the metal and keeps your pit from rusting out. The trick is to remove most of the grease while leaving a film on the surface of the metal to prevent rust.
After you have removed as much grease as you can, use paper towels to wipe the pit out. It is a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Next, clean the cooking grates. I do not like to use soap because it can remove too much grease and cause the grates to rust. The best thing you can do is to wipe them down after the pit has cooled from your last cooking, but if they are really dirty, take some time to scrape them clean. You can spray them down with PAM cooking spray when you are done to keep them oiled.
The outside of the pit needs to be cleaned too. When the firebox on your smoker is going, it is very hot. The protective coating on the smoker only lasts a little while before rust starts to set in. The best thing you can do to protect the smoker surface is spray it with PAM cooking spray each time after you use it – when the it temp says 150 or so.. It works amazingly well and helps to prevent rust. I keep mine oiled to prevent rust. It even works well on semi-rusty surfaces. Remember, if you take a little time after each cook to clean your BBQ smoker, it will be much easier to keep it in top working condition.
The smoking time and temperatures provided on this chart are relative, and may vary for your application. Please make sure all food is fully cooked before serving to insure the safety of the people eating your food. Also, food doesn’t have to be burned to be done. When the internal temperature of the meat you are cooking reaches the temperatures in the chart, the meat should be fully cooked. I hope this smoking time and temperature helps.
Smoking Time and Temperature Chart
TYPE TIME TEMP DONE
Beef, Veal, Lamb Roasts
Pork Shoulder (Pulled Pork) 8 lb
Pork Shoulder 8 lb
Choosing the type of wood you want to cook with can be a puzzle if you do not know what wood is available, and how each type of wood will effect the meat you are cooking in terms of flavor.
Apple: Produces a sweet, fruity taste.Good mild wood which works well on poultry and ham. Purchase Here
Alder: What can I say about this barbecue wood… it is the wood that is greatly preferred for most any fish especially salmon.
Cherry: Similar to apple… sweet and usually very fruity depending on the age of the wood. Tends to be mild making it a good choice for poultry, fish, and ham. Purchase Here
Hickory: Probably the most well known woods and while lots of folk may disagree, it tends to be a bit to pungent for my own taste therefore great care must be taken so that it is not overused. Most feel it is excellent on ribs and most red meats. Can also be used very sparingly on cuts of poultry. Purchase Here
Maple: Gives a light and sweet taste which best compliments poultry and ham. Get it here
Mesquite: Great care must be taken or it can become overpowering. Best not used for larger cuts which require longer smoking times but it has been known to be quite successful at it by using it in tandem with another type of wood.
Oak: Good choice for larger cuts which require longer smoking times. Produces a strong smoke flavor but usually not overpowering. Good wood for Brisket.
Pecan: Gives somewhat of a fruity flavor and burns cooler than most other barbecue woods. It is similar to Hickory and is best used on large cuts like brisket and pork roast but can also be used to compliment chops, fish and poultry. Purchase Here
Peach: Peach is excellent.. did I mention it was excellent!? It is not a real strong flavored wood.. you might want to apply the smoke a little longer than you would say hickory, mequite, oak, etc. Get it here
Bottom line… you must experiment to find out what works for you and what does not. The woods that I like will most likely not be the ones you find most tasty and vice versa.
If you hate dry, tasteless turkey and only eat it because tradition calls for it, then I’m getting ready to show you something that will change your mind about turkey for the rest of your life.
In the past Turkey just never really tasted very good without drowning it in gravy, turkey tends to be dry.
Fast Forward and discover brining and what it does for poultry and turkey, it becomes juicy, delicious white meat turkey that is so succulent and moist that you don’t need gravy on it and you go back for seconds and thirds.
Seriously, brining really does that much for turkey!
Without going into a lot of science about why you should ALWAYS brine poultry and especially the Thanksgiving turkey, let me just say that if you ever try it one time, you will probably never skip this step again.
Meat tends to dry out some as it is being cooked. Brining adds extra water into the meat causing the end result to be less dry/more juicy than it would be if you decided to skip this step.
What is brining?
Brining is simply soaking the meat (turkey, chicken, etc.) in a salty solution for a certain amount of time. Some sort of chemical reaction happens and the water is drawn into the meat where it gets trapped within the protein strands. This process results in a product that is a lot more juicy and if you happen to add other things into the water such as maple syrup, juices, wines, flavorings, herbs, etc, the essence of each ingredient gets pulled into the meat with the water affecting the flavor in a very good way
Choose your Brining Recipe Here
Place a quart of the water in a pot over medium heat and add your preferred spice mixture to the water to help it melt and mix together better. Stir for about 3-4 minutes then remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
Tip: do this step ahead of time so you’re not stuck waiting on it.
Put the 3 quarts of cool, unheated water into a gallon sized pitcher and mix in the salt. Stir until the salt has completely dissolved.
Add the heated mixture to the salted water
You need a food safe plastic/glass or other non-reactive container large enough to hold the turkey and enough brine to cover.
Remove the turkey from it’s packaging and remove any “gifts” that are stuffed down inside of the cavity.
Place the turkey in the brining container or an insulated cooler
Pour enough brine over the turkey to cover it. If the turkey tries to float, put a heavy plate on top of it to hold it under the water.
I recommend using a smaller container if possible and placing the container in the fridge for optimum cooling. For a cooler, add a bag or two of ice to help keep the water at less than 40°F.
Some of the ice will melt over time but I usually do not add extra salt to make up for this. For one thing, the ice melts over time and causes the dilution to constantly change. I simply choose to leave it alone and it always turns out great that way.
Leave the turkey in the brine for 10-12 hours or overnight.
When the turkey is finished brining, rinse it well under cold water to remove any residual salt on the surface of the meat.
Can I Brine a Store-bough Turkey?
Some folks will tell you to not brine a store bought turkey but, for the life of me, I am not sure why not. I have been brining these turkeys for many years and some of them with as much as 12% solution added and it is NEVER too salty.
The process they do at the factory does not result in a salty turkey.. not even faintly so. The brining you do at home does a much better job and if you follow my instructions of using 1 cup of kosher salt to 1 gallon of water for an overnight (10-12 hour) brine, it will be a more juicy, moist and tasty bird than it can ever be otherwise.
My recommendation is that you try to find a fresh, no solution added turkey if possible. If you can’t find that, then shoot for a turkey that has 8% or less solution added.
Once you do it one time, you will most likely never eat a non-brined turkey again.
Smoking a Turkey Larger than 14 lbs
I do not recommend smoking a turkey that is larger than 12 lbs.. 14 lbs is pushing it. This is due to the fact that the larger turkey takes too much time to reach a safe temperature at the low temperature. It is risky at best and in my opinion, is raising the chances that your family and guests could get a food borne illness.
To make it safe, keep the turkey on the small side (12 lbs is about right) and if you need more turkey, just smoke multiple turkeys figuring on about 2 lbs of raw weight per person.
You can figure a 12 lb turkey for every 6 people and it gives me plenty of turkey with a few leftovers.
Let me guess, you already purchased a big ol’ 22 pounder so what now? Well, you really only have a couple of options for smoking it safely.
Option 1: Smoke then Bake
Prepare the turkey as you desire, smoke it for about 2 hours at 225-240°F in the smoker then finish it in the oven at 325°F until it reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the breast and thigh. I expect this to take an additional 2.5 to 3 hours in the oven however, use the temperature as your guide rather than the time.
Option 2: Spatchcock (Butterfly) the Turkey
Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone of the turkey removing the backbone completely from the turkey.
You will then be able to lay the turkey open (the breastbone is the hinge).
Prepare the turkey as you normally would with seasoning under the skin, on the skin, etc.
Smoke the turkey with the skin side up until it reaches reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the breast and thigh.
By laying the turkey open in this way, it will cook must faster and more evenly and that’s a good thing with larger turkeys in the lower heat of the smoker.
Should I Stuff the Smoked Turkey?
ONLY after it’s done. Stuffing prevents the heat from flowing into the cavity as it needs to and causes it to take longer to cook, something you do not need at low smoking temperatures.
If you want the bird to be stuffed for presentation, make the stuffing in a separate container in the oven and stuff it into the turkey after the turkey is done cooking and just prior to placing it on the table.
It is fine to place a few pieces of onion, apple, butter,etc. in the cavity as long as the heat flow is not impeded in any way.
If you must travel with the turkey, it is probably best to make it a day ahead of time and just as soon as it reaches 165°F, place it into a roasting pan with the lid off and let it cool for about 25 minutes.
After cooling, cover the turkey with a large piece of foil, place the lid on the roasting pan and place it in the fridge.
Keep it cold (less than 40°F) while you travel.
Once you get to destination and about an hour before you are ready to eat, pour about ¼ cup of water down in the bottom of the roasting pan for humidity (prevents the meat from drying out) and if you have any extra maple/rub sauce from the smoking process, take it with you and baste the turkey again.
Place the entire roasting pan in an oven preheated to 350°F. It should take about 1 hour to reach a good eating temperature but if it gets done early, just turn the heat down to 170°F and hold it there until you are ready for it.
Keeping the lid closed and adding the extra moisture will revitalize it and it will be nearly as good as it was right out of the smoker.
How Long Does it Take to Thaw a Turkey?
I usually figure on about 4-5 lbs per 24 hour period.
If you are in a hurry, you can place the frozen turkey in the sink full of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes (very important) until the turkey is thawed. For a 12 lb turkey that is completely frozen, you are looking at about 6 hours.
Using an Electric, Charcoal or Gas Smoker, How Long to Apply Smoke?
My general rule of thumb for applying smoke is ½ of the estimated cook time. I expect a 12 lb turkey to take about 6-7 hours so I recommend applying smoke for about 3 to 3.5 hours.
As long as you have good airflow.. i.e. your vents are open enough to allow plenty of air to come into the smoker and the smoke is able to exit quickly, you can easily and safely apply smoke for the entire time, after all, that is what happens by default in a wood burning smoker and there is no better way to duplicate that real wood smoked flavor.
What to Do When you Run Into Problems
I suspect that some of you will run into issues with your smoker such as not being able to get your heat high enough, the heat will be too high, or any number of other smoker related problems.
I suggest that you first, do not panic.
Second, do the best you can to apply about 2 hours of smoke then, if you are still having issues that you cannot alleviate, consider moving the somewhat smoked turkey to the oven following the same temperature and process recommendations.
There is no shame in moving to the oven if that is what is needed to make sure the turkey gets done and ends up delicious.
A few things you can do ahead of time to lower the risk of problems:
• Make sure you have plenty of propane, wood chips/chunks, charcoal, etc..
• Do a test run or two in the weeks preceding the big day
• Make the rub, brine, sauce, etc. ahead of time
How Do I use the Various Recipes With a Bone-in Turkey Breast?
I would not change much..
I would still brine it overnight. It also may cook a little faster simply because the heat is able to get to all part of the breast unrestricted so you’ll want to monitor it with a digital probe meat thermometer to make sure you take it off when it reaches it’s optimum temperature.
If you plan to rest the turkey, as instructed in the newsletter, you can remove it at about 160°F since it will rise 5-7 degrees during the rest period.
Breast meat is perfectly done at 165°F.
Last Minute Smoker Tips
• Use the water pan if you have one for your smoker
• Almost all smoking is done with indirect heat. The turkey is also cooked with indirect heat
• Do NOT use wet, soaked wood. Dry wood is so much better.
• In charcoal and wood smokers, use lump charcoal for heat, and a little wood for smoke
• Set the turkey open in the fridge for a couple of hours after brining to dry the skin. This can help you end up with a more crispy skin.
Does aged balsamic vinegar contain sugar?
Yes, however it is all natural sugar from the fruits. In fact, it’s probably one of the sweetest vinegar’s on the market. But ironically, many research studies have found that adding 1 – 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to your meal can help certain diabetics improve their blood sugar control. The reason for that lies in one key nutrient: acetic acid. The acetic acid in vinegar tends to slow down the work of several carb-digesting enzymes in our intestine. Accordingly, some sugars and starches will pass through the system without being ingested into the bloodstream. So diabetics can enjoy the sweetness of balsamic vinegar without worrying about a sugar spike. Isn’t it a win-win situation?
The Vinegar That Helps Keep Diabetes Under Control
The Vinegar That Helps Keep Diabetes Under ControlInside your body, you have some specialized cells called “beta cells.” Beta cells are very important, because they make insulin. And insulin is a hormone that controls the level of glucose in your blood. Too much glucose and you could experience a number of symptoms, such as fatigue and excessive thirst. Not enough glucose, and your heart could beat rapidly, and you may feel weak and get headaches.
Now, your beta cells help you balance between too much and too little glucose. But when you have diabetes, beta cells can be mistakenly destroyed by your body’s own immune system. Without beta cells, your pancreas can’t make insulin.
Here’s one way to make sure this doesn’t happen. Researchers have discovered that balsamic vinegar is a healing food that helps increase beta cell production. They conducted a study to investigate the effects of balsamic vinegar on beta cell dysfunction. For the clinical trial, rats were fed a normal diet or a high-fat diet and were provided with tap water or dilute balsamic vinegar for four weeks.
The research team then conducted some oral glucose tolerance tests. They found that, in rats fed both the normal diet and the high-fat diet, those also given balsamic vinegar showed increased insulin staining in islets (where beta cells are found) compared with tap-water-administered rats. Balsamic vinegar administration also decreased cholesterol levels. The researchers concluded that there is an anti-diabetic effect of balsamic vinegar through improvement of beta cell function.
So here’s some health advice: use balsamic vinegar as a substitute for salad dressing or marinades. By replacing these fattening condiments with balsamic vinegar, you can lower your caloric intake. Balsamic vinegar may also be able to suppress your appetite, helping you to eat less. Just make sure you buy true balsamic vinegar—that means no added sugar or other unnatural ingredients. This tasty vinegar can also net you a little manganese, calcium, potassium, and iron.
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 Diabetes by Dr. Victor Marchione
*Lye is needed in order to make cold process soap. Lye, in raw form is a toxic agent. However, in soap making the cooking process depletes the toxic aspect through soaponification.
*Essential oil scents may fade over time, where fragrance oils typically does not
*Soap bars are colored with a variety of Micas/Oxides (derived from minerals) clays or botanicals (derived from plants)
Currently there is one batch made with a FDA approved colorant, D&C Yellow No10 (Lemon Zest)
*Each batch goes through a curing process of 4-6 weeks (before being sold) allowing the water in the bars to evaporate, creating a harder bar. Harder the bar the longer the soap will last.
This is disturbing! 70% of Olive oil available in stores in the US has actually been cut with cheaper, nastier oils – meaning its fake!
There’s an enemy at the gates, it has been slowly infiltrating our olive oil market and corrupting one of the products that we all know is a healthy, sustainable option and one of Europe’s secrets to longevity. That’s right, 7 of the biggest olive oil manufacturers in the US have been cutting their products with cheaper, inferior oils (such as sunflower oil or canola oil) in order to minimize the cost of production, but it has come at a huge cost to everyone who invests in this healthy alternative.
And this is not too dissimilar to 2008, when over 400 Italian police officers participated in a major crackdown called “Operation Golden Oil.” This resulted in the seizure of 85 oil farms who were adding certain percentages of chlorophyll to sunflower and canola oil and selling it on as extra virgin olive oil. The oil is mixed, perfumed, coloured and then flavoured before being sold to the producer as “extra virgin.” These busts prompted the Australian government to investigate their own olive oil market, and indeed, after testing all of its brands’ “extra virgin olive oils” in their laboratories, none were given the 2012 certification for being a pure olive oil.
All of these scams prompted the University of California to carry out studies on 124 imported brands of extra virgin olive oil, and they found that over 70% of the samples failed the test.
THE BRANDS THAT FAILED THE TEST:
THE GUYS THAT PASSED THE TEST AND CAN BE TRUSTED:
Bariani Olive Oil
McEvoy Ranch Organic
California Olive Ranch
Aside from brands there are simple tests you can do at home to check whether your olive oil is pure or not. Place the bottle in the fridge for around 30 minutes and check if the oil is starting to solidify. If it does then it is a good indication that the oil contains a large amount of monounsaturated fat, which is exactly what extra virgin olive oil contains. If the oil doesn’t begin to show signs of solidification then its a good sign that the oil is fake. This is not a perfect test yet it is a good indicator if you are unsure about the quality of your oil. You can also look for official governmental seals of approval on the label, such as “Australian Extra Virgin Certified” and “California Olive Oil Council Certified Extra Virgin.”
We have really had the wool pulled over our eyes with this one and its time to make a stand and stop supporting this corrupt industry of chemical additives, GMO’s and unhealthy alternatives. Hopefully this new action will decriminalise the olive oil industry around the world and restore it to being an honest trade, where an honest working person gets paid for what the other honest working people want to pay for…We’re paying for our Health after all.
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Myth: Heating Olive Oil Will Make it Saturated or Trans-fatty.
One common myth is that heating olive oil will make it saturated or trans-fatty.
This is not true. As far as making a saturated fat, according to Dr. A. Kiritsakis, a world renowned oil chemist in Athens, in his book Olive Oil from the Tree to the Table -Second edition 1998, all oils will oxidize and hydrogenate to a tiny degree if repeatedly heated to very high temperatures such as is done in commercial frying operations. Olive-pomace oils and virgin olive oils are both highly monounsaturated oils and therefore resistant to oxidation and hydrogenation. Studies have shown oxidation and hydrogenation occurs to a lesser degree in olive oil than in other oils. But in any case, the amount of hydrogenation is miniscule and no home cook would ever experience this problem.
The large refinery-like factories that take unsaturated vegetable oil and turn it into margarine or vegetable lard do so by bubbling hydrogen gas through 250 to 400ºF (121 to 204ºC) hot vegetable oil in the presence of a metal catalyst, usually nickel or platinum. The process can take several hours. You cannot make a saturated product like margarine at home by heating olive oil or any other vegetable oil in a pan. We don’t know where this weird notion has come from. For more details, see Olive Chemistry.
Changing a cis-fat to a trans-fat does not occur on a home stove.
Myth: Cooking with Olive oil Diminishes The Nutritional Value of the Food.
Another myth is that cooking in olive oil diminishes the nutritional value of the food. This a misconception. The fact is that heating food will break down its nutritional value. High heat such as frying is worse than moderate heat such as steaming, which is worse than eating vegetables raw. It is not the cooking oil per se, but the high heat of frying. We are not aware of any edible cooking oil which by itself diminishes the nutritional value of the food cooked in it. Most nutritionists recommend lightly steaming vegetables or eating them raw. A touch of a flavorsome extra virgin olive oil added at the table will add taste and healthful anti-oxidants. Such is the Mediterranean diet which has been shown to help prevent coronary disease and have other health benefits.
In baking dishes are turning up which highlight excellent extra virgin olive oil. In such recipes, both the richness and the enhanced flavor of an excellent extra virgin olive oil contribute the the success of the final dish. In order to really highlight the flavor of the oil a small amount could be drizzled over ice cream or cake. In baked goods such as bread and cakes, many bakers have begun to substitute olive oil for the fat generally used in the recipe which certainly makes the dish lighter and healthier.
The use of olive oil as a medium for preserving food probably began as an extension of olive oil as a cosmetic balm for the skin. Just as covering the body with oil oil protects and enriches the skin, submerging food items in oil crates a hermetic environment, which helps prevent microbial and oxidation spoilage while at the same time contributing to its flavor. The natural antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil make it especially suited for this use.
One of our favorite things to do with Olive Oil is to drizzle…over everything. But especially over fresh salad, ripened tomatoes, a just-out-of-the-oven pizza, over al-dente lunguine. When choosing an olive oil to drizzle, we recommend a grassy, peppery oil (Varietal EVOO) to really taste the freshness and add depth to your dish.
In pan frying or sauteing, olive oil acts a a means of transferring heat form the heat source to the food. In sauteing, besides preventing the food from sticking and enhancing its flavor, searing the food in hot olive oil helps crate a golden brown crust around it. This enhances the visual appeal of the cooked food an makes it tastier. One of the biggest myths is that you cannot saute with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The smoke point of olive oil is well above medium high heat required to saute vegetables, meat or seafood.
There have been articles and media attention since before we started this business about fake or adulterated extra virgin olive oil – most recently there have been TV segments on 60 Minutes and Dr. Oz (who is actually being sued right now because of his “false attacks” by the North American Olive Oil Association). Most of this press is focused on large brands that are sold in supermarkets – giving customers an added reason to purchase from a specialty olive oil business (such as ours), a business that focuses on olive oil as one of their main products, not as a minor product in a sea of thousands of others.
You can be assured that the products we sell are truly extra virgin and not adulterated.
First, we have our producer/supplier provide us with a CoA (Certificate of Analysis) which includes chemical testing data showing that it passed all the tests to qualify as extra virgin. This is where our competitors stop.
We go a step further and we send a sample of each batch to an independent testing lab here in the United States – SGS Labs in Louisiana, our contact there is Bill Spence (his phone number is provided on our test results). These samples are tested to make sure it meets or exceeds the criteria to qualify for extra virgin.
We also have them do a separate purity test – additional testing to make sure that there are no other oils beside olive oil in the sample. It is possible to pass the initial chemical test to qualify as extra virgin with the addition of other oils such as canola, sunflower, hazelnut, etc. blended in. This is one of the ways unscrupulous vendors lower their costs and increase their profits.
It is important to note that we do our independent testing after the oil has landed in the United States. Because the initial chemical test is traditionally done in the country of origin very soon after harvest, we want to ensure that the middleman who imports the product hasn’t adulterated the oil before or during transit to us. The testing is done prior to us purchasing the oil from our U.S. supplier so that we don’t end up purchasing an oil that doesn’t meet our requirements (we don’t ever want adulterated oil anywhere near our warehouse).
Our base extra virgin olive oil is from the largest producer in Tunisia and they have a company-owned warehouse here in the United States… in Texas. There is no middleman.
To go one step further, we do random testing throughout the year so that we can help our customers feel even better about purchasing from us.
As our direct customer, we want you to know that we guarantee our product for any reason… any reason at all. If you are unhappy for any reason, we will replace the product or refund your money (whichever you choose). It is our primary business goal to provide top-notch customer service – something that is unfortunately becoming more and more difficult to find.
Please note that from time-to-time, we do carry what we call “small-batch” extra virgin olive oils. Because independent testing is very expensive, it’s cost prohibitive to perform on oils that are produced in small batches. If we find a unique and interesting small batch varietal oil, we will sell it only when we feel confident in the producer (mostly coming from California where the producers face more extensive regulation than other areas) without independent testing (we will always offer a CoA).
We are able to provide all the CoAs and Independent Testing documents on our ordering platform as requested.
If there were anything else we could do to ensure the quality and purity of our extra virgin olive oils, we would be doing it. To my knowledge, we are providing our customers with the ultimate resources within our power so that you can feel 100% confident in selling our products to your customers.
All of our olive oils are EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and first cold press EXCEPT for Chipotle, Habanero’s, Jalapeno, Lemon Pepper, Roasted Chilie, and Zesty Onion.
The Technical Reason:
Extra Virgin Olive oil is an important source of antioxidants. The most important are polyphenols, antioxidants, and tocopherols (vitamin E). There are as many as 5.5 mg of polyphenols antioxidant in every tablespoon of olive oil (15 ml) and 1.6 mg of Vitamin E per tablespoon of olive oil. Total proximate of antioxidants: 7 mg in every 15 ml of olive oil. The US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of antioxidents (vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, etc.) for a 25-year old male for Antioxidants is 120 mg/day. That means that extra virgin olive oil could be 12 % of the daily source of antioxidants in your diet if you just use two tablespoon of EVOO in your salads. And it could be almost 30 % if you drizzled it over fish/meat or roast vegetables or used it for bread dipping.
Why it’s important to consume antioxidants? Because they are associated with several healthful effects in humans:
- ATHEROSCLEROSIS. Oxidized low-density lipoproteins (LDL) contribute to the progression of human atherosclerosis. Antioxidants have been shown to prevent LDL modification caused by oxidation. The beneficial effects of a Mediterranean-type diet may be defined by the unique antioxidant properties of its phenolic compounds.
- ANTIMICROBIAL ACTIVITY. Olive polyphenols have been demonstrated to inhibit or delay the rate of growth bacteria such as Salmonella, Cholera, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, and Influenza in vitro. These data suggest a potential role of olive polyphenol antioxidants in promoting intestinal and respiratory human and animal wellness, and as an antimicrobial food additive in pest management programs.
- HEART DISEASE. Researchers are fairly certain that oxidative modification of LDL-cholesterol (sometimes called “bad” cholesterol) promotes blockages in coronary arteries that may lead to atherosclerosis and possible heart attacks. Vitamin E may help prevent or delay coronary heart disease by limiting the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. Research suggests that olive oil helps reduce inflammation throughout the human body.
- CANCER. Recent studies have shown that the abundant phenolic antioxidant properties of olive oil have a potent effect on reactive oxygen species associated with colon and breast pathologies. Some polyphenol antioxidants, such as resveratrol, inhibit occurrence and/or growth of mammalian tumors.
- SKIN DAMAGE AND PHOTOPROTECTION. The skin damage produced by overexposure to sunrays and environmental stress is related to the destructive activity of free oxygen related radicals produced by skin cells. Polyphenolic components of olive oil have been compared to traditional antioxidants used by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry to prevent skin damage. Results show polyphenols as having the highest activity as radical scavengers A variety of other beneficial health effects have been attributed to consumption of foods rich in polyphenolic antioxidants. Among these effects discussed are anti-aging consequences such as slowing the process of skin wrinkling.
Aren’t we lucky to have something that tastes so good also contributing to our health? The father of modern medicine noted its importance to good health and recommended “a spoonful a day” to aid in digestion — a suggestion still offered today.
The Simple Reason:
Olive Oil is good for you because it:
- Tastes Good
- Is an excellent source of monounsaturated dietary fat
- Contains potent antioxidants
- Improves your LDL blood serum component
- Adds natural luster to hair
- Strengthens fingernails
- Adds oil to dry skin
- Aids in digestion and regularity
- High vitamin A, D, K and E content
- Stimulates bone growth and absorption of calcium
That spicy, peppery feeling you get at the end of your tasting is a direct indicator of fresh cold-pressed olive oil, which comes from capsaicin. Capsaicin is a chemical known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, especially in rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular health.
Polyphenols are a class of antioxidants found in a variety of foods. (Phenols: Oleuropein, Oleocanthal, and hydroxytyrosol.) Polyphenols in olive oil decrease over time or when exposed to heat, oxygen and light (storing olive oil in dark bottles is a requirement!). Polyphenols impart flavor intensity connected with pepper, bitterness and other desirable flavor characteristics. Recent studies indicate that these potent phenols are responsible for many of the health benefits associated with consuming fresh, high quality extra virgin olive oil; therefore, higher counts are preferable. Consuming fresh, well made olive oil with high polyphenol content is crucial when looking to obtain the maximum health benefit commonly associated with consuming extra virgin olive oil.
The natural acid in olives is oleic acid. If the acidity of the cold-pressed oil is less than 0.8%, it is known as extra virgin olive oil. If the acidity is between 0.8% and 3.3%, the oil is called virgin olive oil. Any oil obtained from the first cold pressing that has a natural acidity above 3.3% cannot be sold as virgin olive oil. It is usually sent to a refinery to reduce the acidity and eliminate any other objectionable qualities in aroma and flavor, and is sold as “olive oil” or “pure olive oil”, a refined product.
Our regional specific olive oils come from the countries that we source them from. Our Moroccan olive oil comes from Morocco, our Egyptian from Egypt, Italian from Italy, etc.
There are three enemies of good olive oil: Light, heat, and hungry friends!
We don’t mind sharing our good oil with the third enemy, but we’re careful to keep oil away from the first two. .
Our oils are stored in a cool, dry room away from sunlight, So we’d suggest that you do something similar: store in the coolest part of the kitchen.
The worst thing you can do is keep your container of oil on a window sill, on the back ledge of your stove, or even in a cabinet right over the stove. You might be surprised at how often we see oil stored in those ways. It does not take long for the oil to turn rancid when it is exposed repeatedly to light and heat.
Olive oils may be cloudy for several reasons. If the EVOO is cloudy it may simply be unfiltered oil and what you are seeing is olive pulp that has not had time to settle. Over time, this pulp will settle to the bottom of the bottle. If your oil has solidified during shipping in cold weather, allowing it rise to room temperature will generally clear up the cloudiness. If after coming up to room temperature there is still some residual discoloration, you may warm the oil in a warm temperature water bath to completely clarify it. Use caution and do not use hot water, as this could affect the quality of your oil. Your oil is not harmed by cold or freezing.
Cool temperatures cause the waxy esters in extra virgin olive oil to solidify. This often happens in the winter, in cool stores or after refrigeration. To return the olive oil to its clear state, place bottle in warm water leave the olive oil at room temperature.
We get many questions about freezing olive oil, such as: what are the clouds in my olive oil, will olive oil freeze in the refrigerator, is freezing olive oil good or bad for it, and does the way it freezes say anything about its quality? We have attempted to clarify the issues below.
Most manufacturers preset refrigerator temperatures to around 37°F. Chemistry texts list the freezing point of pure oleic acid at around 39°F. Olive oil manufacturers don’t generally list a freezing temperature because it is quite variable depending on the olive variety and ripeness of the olive at processing. Unlike the properties of an element or simple compound like water, olive oil is made up of hundreds of chemicals, many of which change with every extraction.
Like most fruit, olives have waxes on their epidermis (epicarp) to protect them from insects, desiccation, and the elements. These natural waxes are what allow an apple to be shined, for instance. If an oil is sent to a cold climate, or if it will be used in a product like salad dressing where it will be stored in the refrigerator, it is often “winterized” (chilled and filtered) to remove the waxes and stearates. A standard test to determine if olive oil has been sufficiently winterized is to put it in an ice water bath (32°F) for 5 hours. No clouding or crystals should occur.
CONGEALED AND PARTIALLY SOLID REFRIGERATED OLIVE OIL
Oil that has not been winterized will clump and form needle-like crystals at refrigerator temperatures as the longer chain fats and waxes in the oil congeal, but the oil will not usually harden completely unless chilled further. Some olive varieties form waxes that produce long thin crystals, others form waxes that congeal into rosettes, slimy clumps, clouds, a swirl of egg white like material, or white sediment that the consumer may fear represents spoilage. These visual imperfections also may form outside the refrigerator during the winter when oil is exposed to cold temperatures during transport. The white color in the hardened oil does not indicate spoilage.
Chilling or freezing olive oil does not harm it, and the oil will return to its normal consistency when it is warmed. The ideal temperature to store olive oil to reduce oxidation but to avoid clouding is around 50°F.
Depending on the Harvest of olives and climate of the region our base oil will change periodically, but only using the smoothest yet lightest oil we can find as they have a more subtle natural flavor that does not compete with the flavor being infused.
Have you ever seen the ingredients list on your daily facial cleanser? I’ll bet you can’t pronounce more than half of the harsh chemicals that you wash your face with every day, sometimes even twice a day. Is this really what you want you to be exposing your delicate skin to on a daily basis? Probably not.
We’ve said good-bye to commercial facial cleansers and turned to an alternative, more natural way to keep our skin clean – Extra virgin Olive Oil [EVOO]. EVOO is packed with antioxidants which naturally gives it anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-aging properties. Vitamins A, D, K and E protect against the free radicals that produce cell oxidation, making it effective in treating common skin disorders like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and diaper rash. Squalene is another component found in EVOO. It promotes skin elasticity, diminishes age spots, and boots cell regeneration and oxygenation. This keeps our skin smooth and youthful.
We recommend this routine once a day, preferably before bed.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Hot, running water
Step 1: Pour a quarter size amount of extra virgin olive oil into the palm of your hand and rub together until oil becomes warm.
Step 2: Gently, but firmly massage oil into your entire face for about 30 seconds.
This action removes make-up, dirt and other impurities collected throughout your day. No need to use a makeup remover at all. During this step, be sure to focus on massaging problem areas – this will help relieve stress from the skin.
Step 3: Run washcloth under hot water, ring out and place over entire face.
This acts as a facial steam allowing your pores to open and the oils to penetrate deeper than the skin’s surface. Keep washcloth over face until it becomes cool.
Step 4: Wipe off remaining oil with washcloth.
The oil acts as a moisturizer so it’s unnecessary to moisturize after this method. If your skin feels dry or tight, you can always take a drop of the oil and use it as moisturizer.
Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4. (Optional)
For a deeper cleanse, you may repeat the process again. If your skin has been through a lot that day, we recommend two washes.
There is nothing butter can do that EVOO can’t do better. Get rid of it, all of it. The tub of butter, the sticks of butter, even the I-Cant-Believe-It’s-Not-Butter…Butter. Use EVOO when a recipe calls for butter or margarine to sauté, fry (yes, you can fry with olive oil), and bake. It’s an easy substitution, and the results are healthful and utterly delicious. If you need some help with conversion rates, check out our awesome Butter to Olive Oil Conversion Chart.
- Vegetable Oil
If you don’t know how bad vegetable oil is for you, then read this article. To become edible, Vegetable oil must go through intense processes involving pressing and heating, with the addition of various industrial chemicals and highly toxic solvents. Most vegetable oils are extremely high in saturated fats (the fats to stay away from) as opposed to olive oil which is high in monounsaturated fat (the fat your body needs).
- Face Wash
Did you know you could wash your face with EVOO? And it’s actually better and safer for your skin than a commercial face wash? EVOO is packed with antioxidants which naturally gives it anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-aging properties. If you have EVOO in your kitchen, don’t take our word for it, check out this How To: Wash Your Face With Olive Oil and feel the difference.
- Makeup Remover
Do your face a favor and remove mascara, eyeliner and foundation with EVOO – a gentle, yet effective way to take off your makeup. Take a quarter size amount of oil into your hand and rub it over your eyes, cheeks, etc. Wet a washcloth with water and dab the area with the oil until all the makeup is removed. This method is also much safer than the chemically induced commercial makeup removers.
- Bottled Dressings
Ranch, 1000 Island, Creamy Italian….have you looked at those Nutrition Fact label? It’s frightening. Dressing a delicious salad with a store bought vinaigrette is the saddest thing you can do to your salad. What if I told you that you could have a much healthier (and much better tasting) salad by using EVOO instead? It’s true. Our secret to a simple salad dressing is 2 parts EVOO, 1 part Balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt and a crack of fresh ground pepper. Try it next time you make a salad!
Oil pulling, by Wikipedia definition, is a traditional Indian folk remedy that involves swishing oil in the mouth. Ayurvedic literature describes oil pulling as capable of both improving oral health and treating various ailments. While no medical research can solidify these claims, the amount of information available online definitely supports it. Here are a few of the numerous claimed benefits of oil pulling:
- Strengthening of teeth, gums and jaw
- Whitening of teeth
- Oral problem prevention—cavities and gingivitis
- Prevention of bad breath
- Relief of migraines and headaches
- Reduction of inflammation of arthritis
- Normal kidney function support
- Potential improved vision
- Relief from sinus congestion
- Increase in energy
- Clear skin
- Regulated menstrual cycles
- Helps detoxify the body of harmful metals and organisms
- Reduced hangover symptoms
- Helps with better sleep quality/reducing insomnia
- Choose an oil. Olive Oil is very popular, because of its tolerable taste. However, lots of people suggest that Avocado and Sesame have been shown to be effective. One tablespoon of oil is recommended, however I suggest starting with a teaspoon and working your way up to a tablespoon.
- Swish the oil. Slosh it around your mouth, through your teeth, aiming to reach all areas. One thing I found helpful was to floss my teeth beforehand. This made it easier to “suck” the oil between my teeth. You’ll find that this is quite a jaw/neck workout, and it takes some getting used to. Swish for up to 20 minutes, but again, building up time is almost necessary. I found that I could only last for 3-5 minutes for the first few times I tried it.
- Spit. It’s important that you spit the oil into the toilet or trash, as it can clog drains in the shower or sink. I like to spit mine into a small cup and dump it in the trash. I found it most comfortable to rinse my mouth out with warm water afterwards, and then brush my teeth shortly after.
Oil Pulling Tips:
- Research suggests that oil pulling be done in the morning, on an empty stomach. This creates a more thorough detox.
- Some people suggest oil pulling while you’re in the shower. This is when I found it to be easiest, as it fits into my schedule. You could also do it while watching TV, making breakfast or really any time you see fit.
- If the taste is what’s keeping you from oil pulling, try adding some mint extract to the oil. I put 2-3 drops of peppermint extract in ½ tablespoon, and it was a much more pleasant experience.
If you go to any grocery store or drug store and go to the hair care aisle, you will find countless choices for hair treatments and conditioners. Consumers spent money on products designed for healing damaged hair, products designed to moisturize hair, products designed to protect hair, and products designed for split ends but what the companies who manufacture hair care products do not want you to know is that the answer to all of those problems can be found in your kitchen.
What they do not want you to know is that high quality olive oil on your hair will work just as well, or better. That is right. Olive oil, its uses go far beyond simple using as cooking oil. If you use high quality olive oil as a hair treatment, you will not have need for expensive hair care products.
A Healthier Solution
Have you ever looked at the back of any bottle of conditioner? There are ingredients that you cannot pronounce let alone identify. We are exposed to enough chemicals daily and we just increase our exposure to them when using conditioners and hair care products. Olive oil is the all-natural solution to your hair care needs it has no harsh chemicals to irritate your skin.
Why Olive Oil Helps
The fatty acids that olive oil is made up of will coat the shaft of your hair, helping to keep it healthy and protected. Using hair dye, flat irons and even using hair dryers can damage the outer layer of your hair. Olive oil will coat the damaged outer layers of your hair, giving them a sleeker, smoother, and healthier appearance.
Hair care products are full of chemicals, which actually can damage your hair more in the long run. Using a high quality olive oil as a hair treatment will give your hair back its health appearance, naturally. Using a high quality olive oil means that you will be using olive oil that is pure, with no impurities, which is the best that your hair deserves.
Benefits of Using Olive Oil on your Hair
- Dandruff treatments – Dandruff is usually caused when the scalp becomes dry and flaky, causing those unsightly white flakes. Olive oil is a natural moisturizer. When massaged into the scalp it will moisturize your scalp, reducing the appearance of your dandruff naturally, with no chemically laden shampoos. Use the treatment as often as needed until the problem fades and then just once or twice a week to keep it from reoccurring.
- Frizzy hair tamer – Dry hair is brittle hair and even just brushing your hair can cause split ends that turn your hair into a frizzy mess. Using olive oil on just the ends of your hair moisturizes those brittle ends, and will help smooth down the split ends, taming the frizz and the flyaway hairs. Use it after styling on just the ends of your hair to tame your hair. This works great in the winter when hair tends to be dryer and this solution is perfect for those who routinely flat iron their hair. When used after straightening your hair, olive oil will hold give moisture and a bit of weight to the ends, keeping your hair looking smooth.
- Adds Shine – Healthy hair has a natural shine. Damaged and dry hair looks dull and lifeless but you can bring your hair back to life with olive oil. When used as a conditioner olive oil infuses your hair with moisture, restoring it to a healthy and beautiful looking shine.
- Easier to Manage – Unhealthy hair is not easy to style; it is either limp or frizzy. Using olive oil as a hot oil treatment will make your hair healthy and manageable once again.
- Softens Hair – Some people have hair that is rough and course. Weekly olive oil treatments are a natural way to soften your hair because it will saturate your hair with moisture.
Once a Week is all you Need!
With regular conditioner, you use it every time you wash your hair. When you use olive oil as a treatment, you will find that you will likely only need to condition your hair once a week. Damaged or course hair might do best with two treatments a week but you will not have to do it daily. Typically, once a week for about half an hour, always before you wash your hair, will usually be enough.
How to Apply Olive Oil as a Treatment
You will need to start off with your hair unwashed but brushed. Wear an old t-shirt and you might want to stand on an old towel or sheet because it will probably drip. Do NOT do this in your shower; it will turn the floor of your shower into a slippery mess.
In a microwave safe bowl, pour about ½ cup of olive oil and microwave for just about thirty seconds. You want it to be warm but not hot.
Use your fingertips to massage olive oil into your scalp so that your entire scalp is covered and then use a comb dipped in the olive oil to coat the rest of your hair. Tuck your hair into a plastic shower cap or wrap your head in a towel. Leave the olive oil on for half an hour and then wash your hair in the sink. After you shampoo your hair, rinse with cold water but there will be no need to use a separate conditioner.
Suggested Olive Oil – Olive Oil Marketplace House Blend
Nutritionists will continue to tout olive oil for its high content of healthful, monounsaturated fats, like oleic acid, and polyphenols. The fruit oil practically propelled the entire Western world in antiquity, and is mentioned in nearly every sacred text this side of the Tigris and Euphrates.
Olive oil also has plenty of uses around your home, outside of the sauté pan. There’s no need to waste your expensive Greek or Spanish Extra Virgin for these tasks, just grab a bottle of inexpensive, domestic olive oil for around-the-house use. You can cut down on excess oil by investing in a refillable spray can, such as the Misto.
- Shave. Olive oil can provide a safe and natural lubricant for a close shave. Rub in an extra teaspoon after washing your body or face once finished.
- Wood Furniture Polish. Wipe with a teaspoon of olive oil and a soft rag. Add a bit of vinegar of citrus juice to bulk up the cleaning power, and add a fresh scent.
- Fingernails. Use a bit of olive oil to moisturize cuticles, or mix oil and water and soak your hands before a manicure.
- Lubricate Measuring Cups and Spoons. Rub or spray olive oil on your measuring tools for easy clean-up of sticky substances like honey, grain mustards, and sugar syrups,
- Control hair frizz. Comb a bit of olive oil through dry hair to tame the frizz and flyaways on humid days or in the winter. Benifits of using Olive Oil for Hair
- Free a stuck zipper. Use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the teeth of a zipper, then gently ease the tab down.
- Care for your kitty. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to your cat’s food to help prevent hairballs, and provide a shiny coat.
- DIY Lip balm. Mix olive oil and melted beeswax in a 1:1 ratio, with an essential oil for fragrance, and say goodbye to dry and chapped lips.
- Stop Snoring. Take a sip of olive oil before heading to bed. It might lubricate your throat muscles, and stop yourself, or your partner, from snoring.
- Shine stainless steel and brass. Rub a bit of olive oil on a clean rag to prevent streaks, corrosion, and tarnish.
- Exfoliate your face and hands. Rub your skin with olive oil, then scrub with sugar or coarse salt, and rinse.
- As you bathe. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to your running bath water. You’ll be amazed when you towel off.
- Remove makeup. Dab a bit under your eyes, on your cheeks and forehead, then wipe with a damp cloth.
- Cure an earache. Very carefully, use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the outside ear cavity to help with earaches and excess wax.
- Remove paint from your skin. Rub on olive oil onto messy hand and arms (or faces) and allow the oil to soak into the skin for five minutes, then rinse with soap and water.
- Treat lice. Apply olive oil to your youngster’s hair, and leave on for at least 40 minutes. Shampoo twice, then apply a preventative.
- Stop a throat tickle. Take a sip of olive oil to stop the itchy flicker that is making you cough.
- Fix a squeaky door. Use a rag or cotton swab to apply olive oil to the top of a problematic hinge in your home or automobile.
- Shoe polish. Rub down your shoes with just a spray of olive oil to maintain their shine.
- Personal Lubricant. It works…
- Soften your skin. Rub olive oil daily on notoriously dry areas, such as your feet or elbows, especially after a shower, shaving, or waxing.
- Easy clean up of garden tools. Spritz some olive oil on your tools to cut down on dirt buildup. Read more here!
- Condition leather. Rub olive oil into worn leather, such as a baseball glove, and let set for 30 minutes, then wipe away any excess.
- As a hair tonic. Comb some olive oil through your hair for the vintage look of pomade without the build-up, or add a bit to wet hair for grungy, but clean, look.
- Cure diaper rash. Gently wipe on olive oil to your baby’s bottom to help with the irritation of diaper rash.
Olive oil is an essential component of a Mediterranean diet, which has been linked to heart health and longevity. When you buy a bottle of oil oil, you may notice the label states the following:
Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about two tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.
The coronary arteries provide blood to your heart muscle. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil help to keep those arteries clear so your heart can get enough oxygen and nutrients to keep pumping.
Olive oil is good for your heart and keeps your cholesterol levels healthy, but that’s not all it can do. Extra virgin olive oil contains polyphenols that can reduce inflammation and may help to prevent some forms of cancer.
Here are some ideas for including more olive oil in your diet:
- Use an olive oil dressing on your favorite salad.
- Dip pieces of 100-percent whole grain bread in a dish of olive oil that has been dusted with pepper and oregano.
- Sprinkle green vegetables with olive oil instead of margarine or butter.
- Make pesto and serve with your favorite pasta.
- Prepare your own cranberry vinaigrette for salads.
- Add flavor to olive oil by infusing the oil with a sprigs of rosemary or other dried herbs.
- Store olive oil in a dark cool spot in a tightly covered container. You can keep olive oil in the refrigerator, however it will get thick and cloudy. That’s OK, the olive oil will return to normal when it stands at room temperature.
Keep in mind that while olive oil is rich in monounsatrauted fats, it’s still high in calories. If you need to watch your weight, you’ll need to watch your intake of olive oil — one serving is two tablespoons and that’s all you need per day.
Covas MI, Nyyssonen K, Poulsen HE, Kaikkonen J, Zunft HJ, Kiesewetter H, Gaddi A, de la Torre R, Mursu J, Baumler H, Nascetti S, Salonen JT, Fito M, Virtanen J, Marrugat J, EUROLIVE Study Group. “The effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors: a randomized trial.” Ann Intern Med. 2006 Sep 5;145(5):333-41.
United States Food and Drug Administration. “FDA Allows Qualified Health Claim to Decrease Risk of Coronary Heart Disease.” Accessed October 5, 2007.
Everybody has their favorite memory of a perfect pasta dish. Despite its ubiquity, however, there is something about a beautifully prepared pasta dish that is very hard to beat.
Pasta is such a familiar ingredient in the United States that it is often all too easy to take it for granted. There are few people who don’t have at least one type of pasta in their store cupboard and if you were to walk down the aisles of any supermarket, you would have to take off your shoes and socks to help you count the fresh and dried varieties now offered.
Given that pasta is, I suspect, so familiar to everyone who will read this, I thought I would stray from the normal format for these features and instead give you 10 interesting things you may not know about pasta
- The Italian word pasta comes from the same Latin word, which means “dough.” It also has the same root as the word pastry and in fact, it was Italian pastry makers who first spread the art of edible pastry making to the rest of Europe, where previously it had been a protective casing for the contents to be discarded after cooking.
- The story of Marco Polo discovering rice noodles in China and bringing them back to Italy is only a little more than a popular myth, as there are records of pasta being made dating back to 400 BC and there are carvings on the wall of Etruscan tombs of that time showing all the tools for making pasta were already available. Marco Polo did indeed mention noodles from China, but described them as being similar to “Lagana,” a baked noodle that was already known in Italy.
- The first mention of pasta in what is now Italy comes from the Arabian geographer, Muhammad Al Idrisi in 1154 who wrote about it in the “Tabula Rogeriana,” referring to the town of Trabia in Sicily, where they made long strands of dried noodles from the local hard wheat.
- Pasta was originally made by hand and it wasn’t until the 18th century that the first pasta making machine was designed by Cesare Spadacinni, at the request of Ferdinando II, The King of Naples. It was made of bronze and attempted to replicate the kneading movements of the human pasta makers.
- When one thinks of pasta and Italian cuisine, one almost immediately thinks of tomatoes. Tomatoes, however, did not become part of the Italian cook’s larder until the late 1600s. Before that they were actually considered a poisonous ornamental plant. The first mention of tomatoes in Italian cooking comes from Antonio Lantini who gave a recipe for cooking them with oil and spices in his book, Lo Scallo All A Moderna. The first recipes using tomato sauce with pasta came nearly a century later in 1790 in L’Apicio Moderno, a recipe book written by Francesco Leonardi.
- It is Thomas Jefferson who is credited with bringing the first macaroni making machine to the United States following his return from an ambassadorship in France. He actually made designs for a pasta machine based on the incredibly fashionable machines he saw during his time in Paris.
- The first pasta making company in the United States was created in 1848 by a Frenchman named Antoine Zerega, in Brooklyn, New York. The company still exists today.
- Perhaps the most popular pasta recipe in the United States today is macaroni and cheese and, once again much of the credit for its introduction goes to Thomas Jefferson who is said to have served it at a presidential dinner in 1802. The stove-top versions, which are still popular, originated during the great depression when Kraft began selling boxes that could feed four people for under a nickel in 1937.
- There are over 600 types of pasta available and they come in two forms: either fresh (e.g. ravioli and cannelloni) or dried (e.g. spaghetti, penne). Dried pasta is usually made with just flour, water and salt and was created to allow for storage and for transportation. Fresh pasta contains eggs and has a higher water content and therefore cannot be stored, other than by freezing. Southern Italy is well known for its dried pasta, while the finest fresh pasta in Italy is said to come from the Emilia-Romagna region
- According to the International Pasta Organization (yes, there is an International Pasta Organization) the average American eats nearly 20 pounds of pasta a year. A significant amount, but it trails behind the Italians who eat a whopping 60 pounds of the stuff every twelve months. The Italians also make the most pasta in the world producing nearly 3.5 million tons a year, while the United States is in second place producing a not inconsiderable 2 million tons.
Source: Food Network – Simon Majumdar
Kale is being called “the new beef”, “the queen of greens” and “a nutritional powerhouse.” Here are ten great benefits of adding more kale to your diet:
- Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium as well as those listed below.
- Kale is high in iron. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.
- Kale is high in Vitamin K. Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and the prevention of blood clotting. Also increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers.
- Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
- Kale is great for cardiovascular support. Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.
- Kale is high in Vitamin A.Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Kale is high in Vitamin C. This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration.
- Kale is high in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Vitamin C is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility
- Kale is a great detox food. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.
Did you know?
- “Every leaf of kale your chew adds another stem to your tree of life.” Ancient Turkish Saying
- Kale was once called the ‘poor people food’ but now it’s the new trend.
- Kale plants continue to produce late into winter. It is the perfect green for seasonal eating in fall or winter.
- Kale needs a frost to become sweeter. The frost converts some of plant’s starch into sugar.
- “Kale is the one of the oldest forms of cabbage, originating in the eastern Mediterranean. Kale is thought to have been used as a food crop as early as 2000 B. C.” Laurie Hodges, Ph. D. Extension Specialist
- Kale originated in Asia Minor and by the 5th century B.C., the preference was for the larger leaf that developed into the vegetable we now know as kale.
- The plant was brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. Early historic records on the Romans called it Sabelline Cabbage.
- Kale was a staple crop in the Scottish Islands because of its hardiness; the Scots grew it in kale yards. Almost every house had a kale yard and preserved kale in barrels of salt.
- English settlers brought kale to the United States in the 17th century.
- Russian kale was introduced into Canada (and then into the U.S.) by Russian traders in the 19th century.
How to Buy and Store Kale:
- Always buy organic kale; The kale should be firm with fresh, with deeply colored leaves and hardy stems.
- Kale with smaller leaves will be tenderer and have a milder flavor than larger leaves.
- Put kale in a plastic storage bag removing as much of the air from the bag as possible. Keep in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. The longer it is stored, the more bitter its flavor becomes. Do not wash kale before storing because the water encourages spoilage.
- Too much vitamin K can cause problems for anyone taking anticoagulants such as warfarin because the high level of vitamin K may interfere with the drugs. Consult your doctor before adding kale to your diet if you are on this type of medication.
Tips for eating or cooking:
- You can eat kale raw when it is young and tender – almost like lettuce.
- The kale you eat at the store will probably be mature which means it will probably be too tough and fibrous to digest easy.
- Blending mature kale will help but the easiest way is to cook it.
- Kale is so nutritious even cooked kale is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
- Many people enjoy kale chips. The health results will depend on the quality of kale and oils, plus the preparation methods.
It’s about Focus, Taste, Tools & Try Again!!
It happens every year about this time. We are all stuffed from great holiday feasts, full of the kind of hopeful ambition that a new calendar brings, and finally this is going to be the year when they learn to cook better.
And so they run out and buy the hottest cookbook from some celebrity chef, try two recipes and quit in disgust.
That’s a shame because cooking for yourself — really cooking, not just throwing the occasional fancy dinner party — is one of the most rewarding things anyone can do. It’s pleasurable and it’s healthful, and how many things can you say that about?
And folks, it’s just not that hard. Or, at least, it doesn’t have to be. Here are seven steps that will make you a better cook, whether you’re someone just starting out or you’re a little farther down the road.
1. Pay attention. This is rule No. 1, particularly when you’re just starting. Put away your cellphone. Turn off the TV. Facebook will wait. Focus on what you’re doing. Be aware. What does the food look like? What does it smell like? How does it sound? These are all important hints the dish is giving you — the way bubbles change size when a sauce is being reduced; the smell of a pie shell when the flour begins to brown; the sound a roasting chicken makes when it’s nearly done. File the information away, and remember it next time.
2. Keep it simple. You don’t learn to drive by entering the Grand Prix, and you don’t learn to cook by starting with some complex, multi-element dish. Begin by learning a few basics: a vegetable soup, an omelet, a salad dressing. Repeat them until you’re satisfied with the result. It won’t take long (perfecting them, on the other hand, can take a lifetime). Move on to another dish only after you’ve mastered the first ones. Only by this kind of repetition will you come to understand what is going on during cooking, rather than simply obeying recipe commands.
3. Shop carefully. You can always spot good cooks because they take their time choosing ingredients. Beginners rush through, thinking cooking only begins once they get in the kitchen. Really, it starts in the market: Choose the ripest pieces of fruit, the most deeply colored vegetables, the crispest greens, even if you have to sort one piece at a time. Spend an extra 10 minutes choosing the best ingredients and it will save you hours of time cooking. Shop wisely and the simplest dishes will be delicious; hurry through and you’ll have to work some kind of crazy kitchen magic just to make something decent enough to eat.
4.Taste. Taste. Taste. Taste early and taste often. Don’t wait until a dish is almost finished. Not only might it be too late — flavor is built up in layers — but you’ll miss some important learning opportunities. Notice how the flavor of a tomato sauce deepens as it cooks. Watch how the taste of a carrot goes from simple and one-dimensional to rich and sweet. And when it comes to seasoning, remember that there’s more to it than sweet and salty. Many otherwise dull dishes can be fixed quite easily with a jolt of acidity — lemon juice or vinegar.
5. Organize. Read the recipe. Now read it again. To the end! Figure out which utensils you’re going to need and which ingredients. But — and I know this is a heresy — in most cases you can forget about having everything prepped and chopped before you begin (the hallowed mis en place). Cooking at home is different than in a restaurant, and unless you’re making a stir-fry or something that needs to be cooked bang-bang, it’s more efficient to slot in some tasks during the dead time when you’d otherwise be standing around watching water come to a boil.
6. Tools, not gadgets. Tools are what you turn to every day; gadgets have specific uses. Buy what’s most necessary in the best quality you can afford. Start with a chef’s knife, a paring knife, a sauté pan and a large saucepan. Later you can add specific tools and gadgets to help make the preparation easier. Remember that while the most expensive brand isn’t necessarily the best, it’s worthwhile to spend a little more to get better quality. After all, if you’ve shopped well, these are tools you’ll be using almost every day for the rest of your life.
7. Make a commitment. Learning is a process, not a single step. Becoming a good cook is going to take a little time. There’s more to it than reading a recipe and following a set of instructions. Don’t become discouraged if your first — or even fourth or fifth — effort isn’t as perfect as you’d like. Figure out what went wrong, remember it and move along. It’ll be better the next time.
Submitted By My Aunt Debbie
(as told by Rod Jackson)
I am who I am, and I don’t pretend to be anything I am not. I am Metis (mixed blood) Cherokee and Scots-Irish, and look more like I should be wearing kilts rather than a ribbon shirt, but my heart tells me otherwise.
My Dad, my Grandpa, and all of my uncles had coal black hair which turned white as they aged, and my hair was brown and curly. I say WAS brown, because it, too, is now white. I don’t dye my hair black, don’t straighten it, and I don’t put on tanning creams to make myself more “native looking”.
I am not full-blood (hey, look at my picture!) I just know when my Grandpa told me (Boy, do you know that you are an Indian? Those are your People…), that it resonated with my heart and how I have always felt in my soul. I was naturally drawn to the culture, the Ceremonies, and the Spirituality.
I know that I am doing what Great Mystery put me here to do, and I pray every day that I inspire the spirits of all my ancestors.
I do not call myself a shaman or Medicine Man. What would be the point of that? I am just a man doing what he is supposed to do. I strive every day to Walk in Balance on My Path, as it has been set down for me by Great Mystery, and to always be there for The People.
Despite my ancestry, Nuwati Herbal products are not represented to be ‘Indian Products’ as defined by law.
Nuwati Herbals began in August 2002, at a small show in St. Louis, Missouri. At least that was the first public display of the Nuwati products. The idea and the premise was established over 50 years ago when my Grandma would send me out, at the age of 5, to gather herbs, bark, roots, flowers, and leaves, from which she would make Medicine. She taught me the proper way to gather, so that there would always be plants for future generations. I developed a special connection with Nature, and required close contact and frequent encounters with the woods and Mother Earth.
As the years went on, I attended Jefferson College, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, earning Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees in Speech and Language Pathology. During my college years, I always maintained my strong connection with Mother Earth. After graduation I specialized in rehabilitating stroke patients and continued my exploration ofNative American Spirituality. I started studying alternative or complementary healing practices and became a Reiki Master. I did an extended internship with Dr. Thomas Sachs, a Naturopathic Doctor, and 8th generation Cherokee Medicine Man. I then bought a Health Food store, calling it The Medicine Wheel. People would come to my store and ask for help with their health, telling me that they had tried Western Medicine to no avail. I would call upon the Plant People (herbs), and make teas and balms for them. I never made any medical claims. I would just say, “Try this and see what it does for you.” I began hearing comments like, “I haven’t slept this well in years,” or “Your tea is the only thing I have found that calmed the storm in my stomach.” The word of my teas and balms spread and I found myself helping more and more people. Over time my ‘remedies’ became a major part of my business. But, to quote the great philosopher Harry Callahan, “Every man’s got to know his limitations,” and I knew mine. In one word, Retail. I could only help as many people as I could get to enter my store. Unfortunately, I lacked the marketing background necessary to wholesale my products. In March of 2002, I attended a Holistic Expo at Webster University in St. Louis, MO. There were numerous products promoting health and wellness, and I couldn’t help but think how my own products would fit in. As I walked around, I noticed a small redheaded woman with the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. I vowed if I saw her one more time I would talk to her. Later that day while leaving a seminar, as Creator would have it, I ran right into her and that is how I met my partner, Kimberly.
The Nuwati Story
(as told by Kimberly Stauder)
After a thirty year marketing and management career in the commercial insurance business, I found myself burnt out. The job had ceased to challenge me and I was constantly frustrated that I couldn’t make a more positive difference in people’s lives. I knew that something else in life was trying to find me and that if I didn’t make a space for it, it never would. So I walked in and resigned.
The next year found me pursuing writing courses (I have since written many short stories and articles in addition to a monthly pet column in a local magazine). I also took a part-time job, that quickly became a full-time job, with a national health and beauty chain. The pay was minimal and most of my friends thought I had lost my good sense. But I felt a strong draw to learn retail merchandising and promotion. The reason for my detour into retail sales became apparent when I met Rod Jackson. In addition to my business and marketing background, I would need a merchandising background to pursue our mutual venture.
The day we met at the Holistic Expo (March 2002) a positive force was put in motion. We started a friendship, a relationship and a business in a matter of a few short months. We both wanted to have a positive influence in the lives of others. Rod had the ability to do just that with his superior and unique products. And I had the ability to tell the world about them.
We want to thank the many people who have influenced and supported the efforts of Nuwati Herbals from the day we glued our first label on a jar of tea in August 2002. A special thank you goes to our many friends who have helped us with art and logo design, label design, insurance programs, reviewing contracts, setting up our credit card services, finding our trailer to haul Nuwati Herbals around the country…and most importantly of all…the manual labor it takes to setup and tear down all our shows!
The mission of Nuwati Herbals is to help people restore Balance to their lives. We thank the Creator every day for the opportunity to be part of this process.
And so, it is good…
Rod Jackson & Kimberly Stauder (now Jackson as of May 19, 2013!)
And the story continues…
The Nuwati Story
(as told by Eunice Jackson – Rod’s mother)
In 2002 a new baby was born. The baby’s name was Nuwati. The two proud people of Nuwati are Rod and Kimberly. They dreamed of a business that would help people. Nuwati is a dream come true!
They work day and night to make sure everything goes just right!
They travel around many states for their shows…Just how many people they help only God knows!
As the years went by and the business grew they had another dream come true!
On January 1, 2010, they got a new warehouse to put their herbs in. “The Plant” as they call it, is an appropriate name…for their herbs are plants, one and the same!
The rest of the story:
Thirteen years have now gone by. There are many products on the market going out of “The Plant” daily all over the United States, Canada, Bermuda and France.
These ten years have been very busy and profitable.
Yes, they had a dream, that dream became a reality.
That dream is Nuwati Herbals!”
Balsamic vinegar has become all the rage in America, thanks to creative chefs at upscale restaurants. It is difficult to believe that this robust product of the vine has only come to be appreciated within the last two decades in America, when Italians have been enjoying it for centuries.
The rich, slightly sweet flavor of balsamic vinegar readily lends itself to vinaigrette dressings, gourmet sauces, and brings out the sweetness of fresh fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, and peaches.
How does a lowly vinegar come to reap such praise? As far back as 900 years ago, vintners in the Modena, Italy region were making balsamic vinegar which was taken as a tonic and bestowed as a mark of favor to those of importance.
Although it is considered a wine vinegar, it is not a wine vinegar at all. It is not made from wine, but from grape pressings that have never been permitted to ferment into wine.
Sweet white Trebbiano grape pressings are boiled down to a dark syrup and then aged under rigid restrictions. The syrup is placed into oaken kegs, along with a vinegar “mother,” and begins the aging process. Over the years it graduates to smaller and smaller ONLY APPROVED WOODEN kegs made of chestnut, cherry wood, ash, mulberry, and juniper until it is ready for sale. All of these woods progressively add character to the vinegar. As it ages, moisture evaporates out, further thickening the vinegar and concentrating the flavor. The age of the vinegar is divided into young – from 3 to 5 years maturation; middle aged 6 to 12 years and the highly prized very old which is at least 12 years and up to 150 years old.
White balsamic vinegar, however, blends white grape must with white wine vinegar and is cooked at a low temperature to avoid any darkening. Some manufacturers age the vinegar in oak barrels, while other use stainless steel.
The flavors of the two are very similar, although the dark balsamic is slightly sweeter and tends to be a little more syrupy. The white has more of a clean aftertaste. The main reason one would use white balsamic, rather than regular, is mostly aesthetic. It can be used with lighter colored foods, dressings, or sauces without any discoloring. If that sort of thing matters to you.
It is this aging process that makes true balsamic vinegar from Modena in Northern Italy so expensive. Luckily, a little balsamic vinegar goes a long way.
According to the Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, March 1, 2007:
Tasted straight from the bottle, there was no contest between supermarket and traditional balsamic vinegars. Even the best of the commercial bunch – while similarly sweet, brown, and viscous – couldn’t compete with the complex, rich flavor of true balsamic vinegar. With notes of honey, fig, raisin, caramel, and wood; a smooth, lingering taste; and an aroma like fine port, traditional balsamic is good enough to sip like liqueur.
Health Benefits of Balsamic
Vinegars have been used for thousands of years for their astringent and disinfectant properties as well as being used as a preservative and flavoring in prepared food. Balsamic vinegar, however, has a wealth of benefits beyond those early uses of vinegar.
In historical texts balsamic vinegar was said to be a miracle cure. It is believed that the word originated from the Italian word for balm, meaning an aromatic resin as well as a soothing and healing agent. Balsamic vinegar was used to treat everything from a mild headache to labor pains. It’s antibacterial and antiviral properties make it ideal for disinfecting wounds and infections. A tonic mixture of balsamic can be used on nail infections and even acne!
Polyphenol is an antioxidant found in grapes and is therefore present in balsamic vinegar. Antioxidants improve the immune system and they guard against harmful free radicals which can damage cells in the body. Balsamic vinegar can also help protect against heart disease and cancer thanks to these antioxidants. Another element found in balsamic vinegar is a bioflovanoid, called quercetin, which also has antioxidant properties and helps fight immunity deficiencies.
Digestion and Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Balsamic vinegar can suppress appetite and also increases the amount of time it takes for the stomach to empty. This helps prevent overeating and ensures the body will digest food properly. Balsamic vinegar is a rich source of potassium, manganese, calcium and iron. These minerals are vital for the body’s functioning and contribute to the maintaining of a healthy body weight. The acetic acid present in balsamic vinegar helps to absorb these and other minerals into the body and can improve calcium intake to help strengthen bone. Balsamic vinegar is low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium making it a healthy alternative for dressings and marinades. Compared to a mayonnaise based dressing balsamic vinegar can have a fifth of the calories for the same size serving. Some studies have shown that balsamic vinegar can reduce appetite and prevent frequent hunger pangs.
Balsamic vinegar improves insulin sensitivity which promotes blood sugar regulation. This can often reduce unpleasant side effects associated with diabetes. The polyphenols in balsamic vinegar also boost the effect of pepsin which is an enzyme that breaks protein into smaller amino acids. This means that the amino acids are more easily absorbed into the body improving metabolism.
Pepsin and acetic acid both help improve absorption of crucial minerals into the body such as calcium and magnesium. Both of this minerals are abundant in balsamic vinegar and are vital for healthy and strong bones.
Taking a minute to understand how to pick a vinegar might just help you to find a bottle you are going to love, that is going to become a regular staple in your kitchen and is going to feature regularly on simply dressed but delicious salads. For a great balsamic, it’s worth doing your homework.
Artificial balsamics can be cloying, one dimensional and harsh – a far cry from the subtly sweet complexity of a true Modena Balsamic. You may not be in the market for a Modena Consortium (a council of Italian vinegar experts that approves each batch of real balsamic) vinegar, but you at the very least want a balsamic that is produced in the traditional way. You do not want a “fake”!
Our Traditional Aged Balsamic comes from Modena, Italy.
Natural gourmet sea salts enhance the flavor of your foods and your life. Home chefs are discovering bold new ways to prepare and present familiar and exotic foods. Natural sea salts have many essential minerals that will bring out unique flavors in your food as well as help your body assimilate nutrients more efficiently.
Natural gourmet sea salts are best used to finish foods just before eating so that you may enjoy the full effect of their flavor enhancing properties. You will find the look, feel and taste of each hand-crafted natural sea salt will differ due to the influence of the salt artisan who produced it. As you explore the world of natural gourmet sea salts and all their varied uses, you will be proud to share your culinary discoveries with your family and friends alike.
Would you roll a small pinch of common table salt between fingers to feel the texture of its crystals? How about putting some directly on your tongue to feel it dissolve and to savor its flavor? No, you probably wouldn’t because all industrially refined table salt has these things in common; its almost pure sodium chloride, its white, it has small uniform crystals, its moisture free, its slow to dissolve, it contains the same additives of iodine, sugar and ferrocyanide and most importantly it all tastes exactly the same.
Salt is essential to life. The chemical name for salt is sodium chloride or NaCL. Sodium and chloride are both electrolytes that conduct electricity and are found in the body fluid, tissue, and blood. In human health, electrolytes aid in a number of vital bodily processes. Many heart and nerve functions, muscle control and coordination, and the body’s ability to absorb fluids all depend on a healthy balance of electrolytes.
Pre-civilized nomadic man hunted and gathered food and maintained their sodium levels by eating red meat rich in electrolytes and did not need mineral salts to supplement their diet. They used the available salt as a medicine to heal wounds and as a chemical to cure hides and set dyes. Once man became civilized and began farming their diet changed as they grew fruits, vegetables and grains as their staple foods. Halite or mineral salt then became vital as a food preservative, flavor enhancer and sodium supplement to their diet.
Salt in great quantities was relatively rare and found mostly in deserts at that time. Salt trade became big business and trade routes were established to bring salt to major cities in exchange for slaves, gold and other valuable items. Salt has also played a role in mans most scared ceremonies to please the gods and to celebrate everything from marriage, childbirth, the solstices and planting and harvest seasons. Salt became so valuable at one point in history that it was traded ounce for ounce for gold. City states waged wars over salt supplies and taxed the salt use of its citizens.
Salt equaled wealth and independence and over time new ways to acquire salt were developed. The first new development in salt manufacturing was mining halite underground which was a costly and dangerous way to extract the mineral. Flooding a coastal plain with sea water and allowing it to evaporate became a popular method of gathering salt but these franchises were very exclusive and carefully regulated. Diverting water into halite rich pits was first developed by the Chinese who pumped the salty brine out with bamboo pipes for solar evaporation. Heating clay pots of brine in fire to evaporate the water and leave the salt was the next step in the evolution of making salt.
From the earliest civilizations to modern times man has imported or manufactured salt as a basic necessity of life. Modern industrial salt manufacturers utilize technologies that filter the brine and evaporate the water from it so efficiently that they can create an almost pure product. To this pure sodium chloride are added up to 0.01 % potassium iodide to prevent iodine deficiency disorders such as thyroid goiter, 0.04 % dextrose to stabilize the potassium iodide and 2% sodium ferrocyanide as an anticaking agent to create free flowing common table salt. These additives serve a useful purpose but they also inhibit the normal absorption of the sodium chloride and may be responsible for salts association with hypertension and hyperthyroidism.
Today’s artisans produce gourmet salts in much the same way they were made thousands of years ago. Arguably the finest sea salt in the world, Fleur de Sel or Flower of Salt from the coast of Brittany has been harvested by hand in this region since the year 868. This ancient and unchanged salt making process begins with salty ocean water from the Atlantic being carefully guided into shallow marshes through a complex series of winding waterways. Along the way the water is held in a basin, called a vas’re, it’s then funneled into narrower channels, and ultimately into the marshes, the oeillets. Starting out, ocean water has roughly 27 grams of salt per liter, but by the time the water makes it way into the oeillets, it’s far saltier, containing 300 grams of salt per liter. In the marshes, when the water evaporates to a depth of about 1/2 to 1 centimeter, a fine layer of salt collects on the surface, and is delicately raked up with a lousse ‘ de fleur, designed to disturb the tender crust as little as possible during the process. The salt is raked by specialists, a job entrusted only to experienced salt workers called paludiers.
On those certain afternoons when weather conditions are just right, a lacy-white film forms on the top of the salt beds. This is the precious Fleur de Sel. It must be harvested on the same afternoon it is formed. Each marsh can yield about 1 kilo of Fleur de Sel per day when it can be gathered at all. A gust of wind or a heavy handed paludier will send these delicate crystals to the bottom of the oeillet where it will be harvested as Sel Gris the coarse grey sea salt favored by French chiefs for generations.
Location is the most critical aspect of artisan salt making. The location determines where the sea water comes from to make the brine and the environment in which the brine is evaporated to create the salt crystals. The many variables in this process are what make each natural gourmet sea salt so unique.
Sea water varies in salinity and mineral content depending on its course through the oceans currents and the time of year at any given location. England’s Maldon sea salt collects its sea water for brine only during the spring tides when the sea water is at its saltiest and stores it in large holding tanks to draw from for the rest of the year to produce one of the world’s finest sea salts.
The evaporation process is what makes each natural gourmet sea salt truly exclusive to the artisan who makes it. Salt marches and clay pans are traditionally used as vessels in areas like Brittany and Hawaii where solar radiation is available to evaporate the brine. These two processes are extremely energy efficient and have the added benefit of greatly increasing the mineral content and flavor of the brine.
Of the many ways to evaporate brine, SUZU SHIO sea salt from Japan is made by a very special process. The clean collected salt water is sprayed over bamboo blinds, which are hung from the ceiling and reach to the floor. While the salt water runs down along the blinds, some moisture evaporates. The collected salt water at the bottom is re-sprayed again toward the bamboo blinds. Repetition of this process eventually produces saturated salt water. This is then transferred to a large stainless steel pot – about 7 feet in diameter – and crystallized over a gentle wood fire for the next two days to produce a traditionally moist Japanese sea salt.
The last important aspect of natural gourmet sea salt is texture. The formation of salt crystals is based on time, temperature and the salinity of the brine. The salt artisans craft becomes apparent as he orchestrates the conditions affecting his brine to harvest the salt crystals at just the right time to produce his signature gourmet sea salt.
Some extraordinary examples of salt crystals with amazing textures come from the Balinese salt makers at Big Tree Farms. These salt artisans follow an inherited traditional process that has been passed down from generation to generation since the Majapahit Dynasty some 1,000 years ago. The Balinese produce sea salt in three distinct crystalline forms in large open salt pans under the Indonesian sun. The first is the Coarse Grain “Hollow Pyramid” crystals that are the natural product of the cool windy days marking the end of the monsoon rains. Fragile crystals are gently scooped from the surface of the brine to dry in the exposed wind and sun. This traditional harvesting process creates salt crystals formed in miniature hollow pyramids that display a truly distinctive texture and subtle flavor. The second is the Coarse Kechil “Baby Coarse Pyramids” formed when earth, wind, sun and water join to create a natural union that determines the unique crystal character of each salt grain. In Balinese, kechil means young or small. Coarse Kechil refers to the smaller coarse grains that appear during periods of hot mornings and rainy afternoons. The third is the fine grain Bali Fleur de Sel. Since ancient times, Fleur de Sel crystals have been treasured for their ability to heighten the flavors of any ingredient they meet. Bali’s Fine Grain salt crystals are produced in the dry season when the sun shines down on the black sand beaches causing rapid crystallization of the brine. In the early morning twilight, fluffy miniature snowflake crystals are harvested from the brine’s surface to dry as the sun rises overhead. This is a Fleur de Sel as fine and beautiful as any you will ever experience!
It is our hope that you have the opportunity to compare and enjoy all the natural gourmet sea salts this world has to offer. Once you begin to appreciate the various tastes and textures of artisan sea salts, you will discover flavors in your cuisine that most people only dream of.
Yes, of course! The Celtic Sea Salt® brand can be your all-purpose salt. Each of our variations has its own special place in your kitchen. Our Fine Ground version may be your favorite choice for use in baking recipes. It tends to be easier to measure and dissolves faster. The Light Grey Celtic® coarse salt is wonderful to have on hand to pinch into your dishes on the stove top while you cook! This whole crystal salt is pleasantly crunchy, provides a perky flavor and will dissolve into smaller crystals in just minutes. Our Flower of the Ocean® salt is considered a gourmet finishing salt, used by culinary chefs to garnish desserts and fancy foods.
Depending on the climate where you live, you may find that your Celtic Sea Salt® can retain some moisture. The salt is so raw and natural that it takes in moisture but also needs to be able to release it. Be sure to store your salt in a breathable container, preferably the ones sold at Selina Naturally®: salt-containers.
The simplest method for drying out your salt is spreading it out on a dish and placing it by a sunny window. You may also store your Celtic Sea Salt® in its original bag, loosely sealed. Try placing your bagged salt in the freezer for 12 hours to freeze-dry the outer edges of the crystals. You can even put your grinder in the freezer, with the salt inside it, but please remember to remove the grinder top from the glass bottom before doing so. Also try spreading the salt out on a ceramic dish and set it in a warm oven, that is turned off, and let the dish sit there until you are satisfied with the dryness. A low temperature under 250° F will not alter the mineral balance in the salt!
Yes, our motto is: “The Secret is in the Brine”! The moisture in Celtic Sea Salt® is not water, but rather mineral-rich brine. This brine is lower in sodium chloride and higher in beneficial minerals and elements. There are brine inclusions within the natural Celtic Sea Salt® whole crystal. Celtic Sea Salt® is alkaline when dissolved in water. Doctors recommend our salt, over other salts, because of the increased bio-availability of the minerals contained in the brine!
Our Light Grey Celtic® is a coarse sea salt with more moisture, so if you are looking for an all-purpose shaker salt, we recommend our Celtic Sea Salt® Fine Ground (derived from Light Grey Celtic®).
Celtic Sea Salt® will last for an indefinite amount of time without going bad or expiring. Salt is traditionally a natural preservative! Because salt is a mineral, not an organic substance, it does not spoil.
Celtic Sea Salt® has a naturally occurring, trace amount of iodine at around 0.68 parts per million. Even though it is an important mineral component, our salt is not considered a significant source of daily iodine. However, it is an all-natural, pure source of iodine that is quickly absorbed and stored in your body! Doctors who recommend non-iodized salt for their patients refer them to Celtic Sea Salt® brand.
You may want to research the process of how other salts are iodized. A salt labeled as “Iodized” typically means that is was chemically added to the salt, possibly using an additive to bind the iodine to that salt. Thus, it is a misnomer that salt alone is a high source of iodine. Our Celtic Sea Salt® Gourmet Seaweed Seasoning contains 350 mcg of Iodine per ¼ tsp. This is our version of a truly natural, iodine rich sea salt.
Celtic Sea Salt® includes a spectrum of naturally occurring, essential minerals as nature intended. There are absolutely no additives or anything removed from the salt that would alter it. Celtic Sea Salt® supplies the body with over 80 vital trace minerals and elements, along with a proper balance of sodium chloride (a scientific name for salt).
The brine and minerals, found in this sea salt, are natural electrolytes that give your body a “positive electrical charge”. Our health depends on the abundance of these vital minerals found in Celtic Sea Salt® to assimilate vitamins and nutrients to our cells. At Selina Naturally®, Home of the Celtic Sea Salt® Brand, we believe that it is a misunderstanding that “all” salt is harmful to you. Perhaps, it’s what’s been added to other salts that has an unsettling side effect to our health.