Monday, August 22, 2011

The More We Know...

Dealing with comments first today, as have a bit more info about iron-rich foods that is worth knowing. So Alison and Sue15cat - and anyone else interested - hope you will find it useful, especially as spinach - the traditional 'ir0n-rich' veg, is not as 'high' as originally believed.

Sorry you were feeling off-colour yesterday Urbanfarmgirl. Think we all get days like that and should certainly take the day off and sit and read, soak up the sun, or pamper ourselves in any way we feel will help (must try it some time).

Like you, Susan G, always used to freeze cooked rice and we were never made ill. Think we are warned more because many do not cool the rice rapidly, leave it around at room temperature to cool, and then leave it overnight at room temperature before deciding to either freeze it or re-heat it. Like with other foods that haven't been kept cool, bacteria can then easily get a hold. Am pretty sure that home-cooked rice, cooled rapidly and then frozen will cause no harm.
However - as I have mentioned (more than once over the past few years), soaking rice in cold water for several hours, and then bringing to the boil, because it has softened with the soaking, will only need a very few minutes boiling to become fully tender, so almost as quick as the 2 - minute microwave rice.

Have a recipe for rose-hip syrup Wen, so putting this up now, followed by today's 'chat'.
rose hips:
Some rose-hips have more flesh than others, and all can be used, but the large species and shrub roses produce hips in quantity and better to use than those on the floribunda and hybrid tea roses. R. villosa - a shrub with single pink flowers is one of the best fruits for culinary use. Other good type are R. canina (Dog Rose) and R. rugosa. If you want rose hips, don't deadhead the flowers.

Try to pick the hips late in the season when they will have begun to turn soft. Best used as soon as possible after picking or they lose much of their Vitamin C content. If having to wait a day or two, place in a container and keep in the fridge, alternatively open freeze and then bag up.
Note: Just below the layer of skin and flesh of the hip is a layer of 'hairs' that surround the seeds and which should not be eaten. To remove these, slit open the hips with a sharp knife (suggest wearing protective gloves to do this), scrape out the seeds and hairs and discard. Then give the cleaned hips a rinse in cold water and drain well. Not every recipe calls for the hips to be 'de-seeded and haired', the one making syrup appears not to need this.
As well as making rose hip syrup, the hips can be put into a muslin bag and boiled in water to make a Vitamin C rich drink which can either be drunk or used with crab apples to make apple jelly.

This recipe for rose-hip syrup is based on the one used by the Ministry of Food during World War II, and children were give a teaspoonful of this every day to help keep them healthy.
Rose-hip syrup is lovely poured over ice-cream, stirred into yogurt, adding to poached fruit, and diluted to make a drink. Or just take a neat spoonful for your health.
Rose Hip Syrup:
2 lb 4 oz (1kg) soft rose hips
1 lb 4 oz (500g) caster sugar
Top and tail the rose hips and either blend or mince. Put 3 pints (1.75 ltrs) water into a pan and bring to a boil, then add the prepared rose hips. Bring back to the boil, then remove from heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes. Pour through a jelly-bag (or muslin lined sieve) and allow as much of the juice as possible to drip through into a bowl (but don't squeeze the pulp). Return the pulp to the pan and add 1 1/2 pints (900 ml) boiling water. Bring back to the boil, then - as before - remove from heat and allow to stand, then strain through muslin.
Discard the pulp and measure the strained liquid, then put this into clean pan and boil down until reduced to 1.75 pints (1 ltr). Add the sugar, dissolve over low heat, then boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Pour into hot, sterilized bottles, and seal immediately.

Now we come to more info regarding iron-rich foods, for however much we believe they are good to eat when anaemic (or just for health), we need to know a little bit more to gain the most from them. Firstly, our bodies don't always absorb the iron in the foods we eat. Often this is just because we have eaten or drunk another food at the same meal which prevents this happening. With many foods, much has to do with what is eaten/drunk with what if we wish to gain the most nourishment when eating. For instance a cup of tea taken at mealtime will reduce the amount of iron absorbed by the body, even though Indian tea itself does contain a fair amount of iron in its own right. So drink this between meals. On the other hand a glass of wine helps the body to absorb iron. So you now have a good excuse to open a bottle and have a drink with your supper. Vit C rich drinks such as orange juice also help iron to be absorbed by the body, but always taken with the meal.

Oxalic acid prevents the absorption of iron, so avoid eating rhubarb, sorrel, almonds, and chocolate when eating iron-rich foods. Although spinach is high in iron content, it also contains oxalic acid which then reduces (by quite an amount) the iron able to be taken up by the body.
Cocoa powder does contain a fair amount of iron, so myself can't understand why chocolate is listed, but again possibly fine if eaten between meals, or as a pudding, after eating meals where the iron content is minimal or doesn't really matter.

An interesting point is that our bodies can absorb 25% of the iron in meat, but less than 10% in plant sources - although this can be raised slightly if Vitamin C is taken at the same time. Vegetarians probably know this already.

Being fortunate to have kept my copy of the nutritionist's 'bible' *Compostion of Foods by Mcance and Widdowson), despite it being published in 1960, am presuming the food values remain the same. This books makes it easy find the proteins, calories, vitamins and minerals in most of the foods that we eat today (the more recent publications will take in the newer foods such as TVP and some convenience foods). S0, scrolling down the 'Fe' (iron) column, here are 'those with the most' to add to the list given yesterday. The amounts given are mg. per oz, the average female between the ages of 19 - 50 needing 14.8 mg of iron per day (males: 8.7). As this is the amount of iron in each food, it does not necessarily mean this is the amount absorbed by the body, so we should take this into account.
Grapenuts: 5.64
Kellogg's All Bran: 3.06 mg.per oz
Farex: 6.85
Soya, full fat flour: 1.97
Oatmeal, raw: 1.17
Ryvita: 3.73
Shredded Wheat: 4.48
Soya grits: 9.14
Weetabix: 4.11

meat, poultry and game:
Liver, raw: 3.95
Calves liver, fried: 6.15
Ox liver, fried: 5.89
Corned beef: 2.78
Beef topside, boiled: 2.36
Guinea fowl, roast: 2.64
Hare, roast: 2.78
Ox Kidney, raw: 4.25
Bovril: 3.36
Pigeon, roast: 5.51
Black Pudding: 5.55

egg yolk: 6.13
fried egg: 2.53
poached egg; 2.30

cockles: 7.39
fish paste: 1.70
mussels, boiled: 3.84
winkles, boiled in fresh water: 4.86

apricots, dried: 1.16
figs, dried: 1.18
peaches, dried: 1.92

butter beans, raw: 1.68
haricot beans, raw: 1.89
carageen moss, dried: 2.52
lentils, raw: 2.17
mustard and cress, raw: 1.29
parsley, raw: 2.27
split peas, dried, raw: 1.54
spinach, boiled: 1.14

sweets, preserves...:
Rowntrees Fruit Gums: 1.20
Liquorice Allsorts: 2.30
Treacle, black: 2.60

Bovril: 3.44
Cocoa powder: 4.06
Marmite: 1.96
Nescafe: 1.42
Indian Tea: 4.32

curry powder: 21.30
ground ginger: 4.90
mustard: 3.10
pepper: 2.90

We can see from the above that by combining some of the ingredients - say oatmeal, black treacle and ground ginger - we can bake an 'iron-rich' Gingerbread or Flapjack. What a good excuse to eat these I tell myself. We can also cook iron-rich casseroles and if not able to afford meat, stirring in a spoon or two of Bovril will give both a meat flavour and add more iron. Now that's a good way to save money and still eat heathily. Always something new to learn.

Don't forget that by adding 1 oz of curry powder to a dish we are making, this is probably enough to spice it up to feed four, so an individual intake of iron will then be less.

When reading books on 'healthy eating' there are so many lists given - foods that are high in iron, foods high in (various) vitamins, foods high in calories, foods low in calories, foods high in calcium/folic acid/or potassium, foods that help lower blood pressure or cholesterol etc, etc. What it all boils down to (excuse yet another pun), is by eating 'a balanced meal' we should get all the nourishment we need without even having to think about it.
But if anyone is seeking specific info about certain foods, remember I'm not a qualified 'nutritionist', all I can do is pass on info read in the many books I still have, in the hope they help to answer your queries. Even I learn something new (as today) when I have a reason to read them.

Now on to the Goode life. We had smoked mackerel for supper yesterday, B had his with a salad, I had mine in a sarnie (as I was still comfort eating). Myself ate more than usual during the day. Had two slices of toast with scrambled eggs on top for lunch. Then B came in and suggested we went out for a drive and we parked at the (former) Zoo cafe. I had asked for soup as still felt cold (although it was a warm and very humid day), but they only served that during the colder months, so B brought me a cup of hot chocolate that was more tepid than hot. We then had a bit of a drive round looking for a place we couldn't find, and then returned home.

Went to water the toms as hadn't done it for at least three days, expecting them all to have drooped or even died (the mood I was in didn't even care), but they were all perky and with quite a good amount of fruit in various shades from green to red, so perhaps now most of the leaves have been removed they won't need watering so often. That cheered me up a bit.
Before I went indoors, checked the raspberries and there were quite a few large ripe ones, so - as I hadn't a bowl to collect them in - ate them on the spot.

Came indoors, still wearing my fleece jacket, and tucked myself up in front of the TV, wrapped myself up in my cuddle blanket, and then asked B to half-fill a hot water bottle with very hot water for me as I still felt cold. Can't think why this is, and possibly it is my body burning up calories to keep warm that showed a 2 lb loss on the scales this morning - despite feeling that I'd eaten more than usual yesterday (not that two slices of toast with 3 scrambled eggs, one cup of hot chocolate, the raspberries, and one smoked mackerel sarnie - plus a mango ice-lolly that B brought me later that evening - amounts to much). Think perhaps I should take my own advice and start eating 'balanced meals' again.

Today has begun well, with lots of blue sky and sunshine. A few fluffy white clouds here and there, but am hoping it will be warm enough to sit outside and top up my tan. There is much to do indoors that I have planned to do, but still can't stir my stumps to get on with doing these. Perhaps should resort to writing lists so that things can be ticked off when done. This seems to be the only way that works with me.
So will take myself outdoors shortly, carrying a pen and note-book and start making those lists. There is nothing on TV that is worth watching during the day, so no excuse not to do the chores. But am sure I will find one.

Yesterday evening watched a programme about 'Cragside' (first house in the country to have electricity). This house we visited some years ago, and it is a wonderful place, pity they didn't show the sunken 'bath' on the programme which is a strange room, fully tiled in Moroccan style patterns, and well worth seeing.

In the same programme, we also saw Jerveux (?)Abbey - and this I've visited MANY times when we lived in Leeds once I'd discoveried it. I used to take myself off for half a day just to drive there and sit alone in the ruins. It is so peaceful, and in the spring the only place I have seen cowslips growing in any number. By the side of one of the ruins there were many huge bushes of perennial herbs, possibly remnants of those grown by the monks, centuries ago.
When I used to visit, no repairs seemed to have been done, but from the prog, it seems there is now a team of trained people and volunteers keeping it in order. If you ever get a chance to visit, please do. It is on the road t0 Middleham (driving from Ripon) , and probably better signposted now than it was then. There is a car park opposite the small gate that leads across the field to the ruins.
Can't remember who wrote about it, but allegedly many ley lines cross through - and over each other - at Jerveux (am sure this is not the correct spelling) Abbey. Certainly there is a strong 'feel' about the place if you are a 'sensitive' (which I like to believe I am).

This has been a lengthy blog due to the listings, which mean that earlier and more recent postings this month have probably already been removed by blogger, so if you wish to keep a record of the above list of irone-rich foods, copy it a.s.a.p, as next month will be editing out the 'unnecessary', from the blogs after the earlier ones that have already been done, just keeping in only useful hints, tips, and recipes.

Enjoy your day, as am hoping to do with mine, and - as ever - look forward to meeting up with you again tomorrow. Keep those comments coming!