#HH30Days Week 2 recap! Teaser: I love dessert.

Peach Sorbet and Chocolate “Ice Cream” Recipes!

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It’s the truth.  I love dessert.  Who doesn’t?  If you’re struggling with finding #HH30Days-friendly desserts, you will love this post!  Lots of cool, creamy treats for the warming weather to add flavor and sweetness to your life without a ton of calories or processed junk.

To start, I’ve mentioned before that I buy a ton of summer produce, then freeze it and enjoy it all year.  One of my absolute favorites is summer peaches.  They are juicy, sweet, and an absolute treat when they are in season every year.  One of the advantages to freezing them is that they can easily be transformed into a healthy, homemade sorbet.

I started by taking about one peach worth of peach chunks out of the freezer and putting them right into the blender. IMG_2083

I then added 1/3 cup of almond milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and that’s it!  No sugar added!  Woohoo!  Now whirl it up in your blender.  I’m not going to lie-it gets stuck a bit.  If you have a tamper stick to shove in there, get it ready!  If it gets really frozen and stuck, you can add a touch more almond milk to loosen it up.  Just don’t go too crazy or you will end up with a smoothie rather than a sorbet!

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Looks smooth and smells like cinnamon!  Time to dig in!
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Now, if you’re not into the sorbet idea, or if you aren’t a fruit hoarder like I am, you might want to go with something a little creamier, that uses ingredients you can get delivered in your bag right now: bananas!  This is too easy for words.  It takes a little time, but it’s worth it!

Start by slicing a rather ripe banana into 1/2 inch slices, then place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  I use wax paper so it doesn’t freeze to the baking sheet.

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Then place the whole sheet in the freezer for an hour:

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Take them out of the freezer and pop into a food processor:

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Now here is the fun part.  You can make this whatever flavor you like!  I added one tablespoon of cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  You could add in peanut butter or any flavor you like.  Share your ideas in the comments section!

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Whirl it up!

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So smooth!

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Now, in the interest of being honest and not pretending chocolate ice cream and bananas taste the same, I will admit that it’s not just like eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream, BUT, and this is an important point: the calorie difference is ridiculous.  A cup of chocolate ice cream (premium) contains around 530 calories and 34 grams of fat.  Compare that to this little gem, where there are about 100 calories and .4 grams of fat in the banana, then none in the cocoa powder and vanilla, and it’s no contest.  This is a great option for a healthy and sweet treat!

Share your ideas and experiences for #HH30Days treats below!

 

New Product Alert: Hometown Harvest Apple Cider!

Local apples are blended and minimally processed to preserve vitamins and nutrients!

Local apples are blended and minimally processed to preserve vitamins and nutrients!

We are thrilled to share that we have been developing our own blend of LOCAL apple cider for you, our customers!

One of the main reasons we thought of cider is because we needed to find a way to use “juice” apples this winter for our local apple growers.  During the winter months as we receive fresh local apples, we send the best to our customers. The apples that are not as pretty, but just as full of healthy nutrients, will go to juice. Tony has been working with our dear friend Matt over at Chelsey Farm to develop our own blend and we have been fine-tuning the taste of the cider.

The new mill is called Big Hill Ciderworks, a small-batch, local cider mill that just began pressing this year.  They use a great processing method that allows for the preservation of as many nutrients as possible through UV light pasteurization.  This means that the cider passes through a UV light to kill any potential harmful bacteria. Traditional pasturization uses high-heat methods, which can hurt the nutritional value of the juice.    The cider from Big Hill Ciderworks creates a  less processed product, and tends to keep more of the natural flavors of the cider, while still eliminating 99.999% of any potential harmful bacteria (the same result as the high-heat process).

We’re so excited to have you try this healthy, local product that we will be giving away a pint of cider with every order next week! Please give us your feedback, and thanks as always for supporting sustainable, local businesses by being a Hometown Harvest member!

Persimmons & Pawpaws: Treasures of Fall

A fuyu persimmon.

We are very excited to offer fresh persimmons and paw paws this fall, mainly because it allows our customers to continue eating local fruit instead of turning to out-of-season, imported, and artificially ripened fruit from overseas.

Persimmons are tree fruit originally grown in China, and made their way to the favorable climate of North America. There are two major varieties available for purchase: Hachiya and Fuyu persimmons. Hachiyas are longer and more oblong in shape, and they must be ripened until the peel is nearly translucent and the pulp inside is as soft and squishy as a water balloon. The insides can be scooped out with a spoon and pureed. Fuyu persimmons do not need to be ripened for as long, and some people say that they can be eaten like apples, though it is generally recommended that they are peeled before eating. An unripe persimmon will be bitter and sour, so be sure to ripen yours fully. Persimmon puree can be frozen and used later, too.

Persimmons are high in fiber and Vitamin C, as well as antioxidants, minerals, and B-complex vitamins. Sweet and spicy, they are wonderful in fall salads when sliced, or can be pureed and used in quick breads, cookies, and smoothies.

Ripe pawpaw, also know as the “prairie banana”

 Pawpaws are rarely ever offered in grocery stores because they have such a short shelf life and do not travel well, so only those lucky enough to live where they grow can enjoy their sweet, custardy flavors and high nutritional content.

Native to North America, pawpaws have been eaten for centuries by Native Americans and even have a festival in their honor in Ohio each fall. When fully ripe, the fruit is fairly ugly, but don’t let that stop you from slicing them open. Some purists will not attempt to eat them until the outside has turned black, but they can be eaten as soon as the flesh can be indented with a thumb. They can be peeled and eaten like a banana, but you will need to spit out the black seeds. They can also be sliced in half and the seeds scooped out. Use them as you would bananas in smoothies, and they are perfect for fresh eating.

Higher than many other fruits in seven amino acids, the nutritional content of pawpaws are hard to beat. Other than the protein, pawpaws are good sources of beneficial fats, potassium, Vitamin B3, calcium, and several minerals.

The Case for Seeds

One of our favorite discoveries while making the switch from “grocery store” produce to local, seasonal produce was grapes. Most Americans experience grapes as large, seedless, green or red, and usually pretty devoid of distinct flavors or seasons. They are bred to have thick skins, no seeds, and a uniform flavor across the country. We accept the disconnect between the dark purple complexity of “grape” jellies or “grape” sodas and the mild, pale, unassuming grocery store grape.

Well guess what? The magic of processing can’t turn a bland green grape into a flavorful purple jelly…that’s where REAL grapes come in. Concord grapes, a dark purple, explosively flavorful variety, are used as the inspiration for grape-flavored products. They are usually small and almost blue in color, much like a blueberry and with just as many nutrients. They will turn your tongue purple…try getting a grocery store grape to do that!

In fact, the antioxident and cholesterol-improving traits attributed to wine and other grape products can be enhanced by eating the seeds of a grape. Concord and other seasonal seeded grape varieties are usually ignored by shoppers, but by eating the seeds you can actually reverse arterial damage that can lead to atherosclerosis or stroke.

Plus, after the first bite of a true, in-season Concord grape, you’ll smile and say, “oh right. That’s what purple tastes like.”