This week’s fruit is widely liked when eaten fresh, but surprisingly its dried version is not so popular (though very healthy and useful, as you will see). Yep, I am talking about:
GRAPES (and RAISINS):
- Vitis vinifera
- Buying & Storing: look for bright colour, firm flesh and smooth skin in fresh grapes; store in a cool and dark place;
- Important: grapes are one of the Dirty Dozen from the Environmental Working Group 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, because they are usually heavily sprayed with pesticides, thus it is absolutely recommended to buy them organic; alternatively, wash them VERY well;
- A good source of:
- Ellagic acid: deactivates carcinogens;
- Flavonoids: in grape juice; protect the heart;
- Resveratrol: in red wine and red grape juice; protective effect on the cardiovascular system;
- VITAMINS: vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, carotenes, B complex vitamins (pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine);
- MINERALS: boron, potassium, copper, iron and manganese;
- RAISINS = dried grapes; good source of fiber and especially high in iron; use only sulphur-free raisins that have not been sprayed with mineral oils;
- Actions: antioxidant, antiviral, anticancer;
- In Ayurveda: highly regarded in Ayurvedic medicine for a variety of debilitated and toxic conditions; best for Vata and Pitta, light enough to be eaten by Kapha. Raisins well soaked in water balance each dosha;
- Culinary uses: GRAPES are sweet and blend well with most fruits. RAISINS add natural sweetness, golden sultanas are a good variety for cooking.
- Interesting and useful: In Shivananda yoga raisins are regarded as a cure against being overly critical, they promote gentleness. Raisins can be used as a sugar substitute in baking – instead of 1 cup of sugar use 1 cup of raisins and soak them in water, blend well, mix with other liquids used in the recipe and then combine with dry ingredients. I only use raisins and dates in baking and dessert making. Works like a charm!
Recipe: IRON-RICH BREAKFAST DRINK:
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup (unsulfred) dried apricots and peaches
1 cup of water
Soak raisins and dried fruit overnight in the water. In the morning blend well & drink.
– The Ayurvedic Cookbook
When preparing these posts I learn or revise A LOT of super interesting information and every time I am amazed how absolutely perfect Nature is, giving us everything we need to nurture our bodies properly.
Enjoy some healthy natural goodies! 🙂
p.s.: In case you would like me to write about a particular food, just drop a comment or a message on my email and I will see, that you get your answer.
– The Vegetarian Cook’s Bible: Pat Crocker,
– The Ayurvedic Cookbook: Amedea Morningstar with Urmila Desai,
– The Yoga Cookbook: Vegetarian Food For Body And Mind: Shivananda Yoga Centre, Shivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres