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.
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.
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.
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”!