Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In pursuit of fiber...

Okay.  This post is a bit personal.  I am forever seeking out new and improved ways to sneak high fiber foods into my kids.  I feel like I have been fighting a 5 year battle against my child's gut and I am continually losing.  I want nothing more than to remove laxatives from our lives forever.

In pursuit of that goal, I attempted to make a couple of recipes this week that were included in an educational print out that was given to me by a GI doc.  Most of the pages listed the fiber content of everyday foods, but the last couple of pages included high fiber recipes.  I have been itching to give a couple of them a go and this week I took the chance.

The recipes are very similar and involve transforming dried fruits into a paste - somewhat thicker than a fruit butter.  I started out the morning at the grocery store picking out the ingredients, and hit a bit of sticker shock at the checkout counter.  I had picked up more than $70 worth of dried fruit.  That's  my first disclaimer in regard to these recipes.  Be prepared to shell out or find a less expensive source for dried fruit than the corner grocery store.  I'm thinking that I'll be checking out the dried fruit aisle on the next trip I make to the big box wholesale store.

The second disclaimer is that I burned up my blender in the process of attempting to blend up the sticky goo that resulted.  Granted, the blender was 10 years old, but it was one of those mid-range professional blenders, not a $30 poly carbonate type.  So now I'm in the market for a new blender - which actually makes me smile.  I love picking out new kitchen appliances!

So - for those who are not faint of hear and have a industrial strength blender, or a sturdy food grinder, the end result was worth all of the effort and clean up.  That's my third disclaimer - the resulting paste is a sticky gooey mess.  A yummy gooey mess, but a mess none the less.

Natural Laxative Mixture (from a nutritional hand out provided by the CHOP GI department)

Dried Fruit After Grinding
1 pound raisins
1 pound currents
1 pound prunes
1 pound figs
1 pound dates
1 28 oz container undiluted prune concentrate

Put dried fruit through a grinder.  Mix with prune concentrate in a blender or food processor - very thick.  
Can be frozen in smaller quantities as it makes a large amount.
Dried Fruit Mix After Blending

Note - I could not find undiluted prune concentrate at the corner grocery so used a blueberry pomegranate frozen juice concentrate (12 oz) and added an additional 16 ounces of water.  The resulting mix was very thick and began to do my blender in.  Had to nurse it along by blending in small batches.

Fruit Paste (from a nutritional hand out provided by the CHOP GI department)

2 cups water
10 senna tea bags
1 pound rasins
1 pound dates
1 pound prunes
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice.

Fruit Paste Ingredients After Simmering

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add Senna Tea Bags.  Add next three ingredients to liquid and simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Remove tea bags.  Add brown sugar and lemon juice to fruit and liquid.  Blend mixture together until pureed. Store in refrigerator.  Mixture can be frozen in smaller quantities as it produces a large amount of paste.  

Fruit Paste After Blending/Grinding
Now - I must add that I prepared the Natural Laxative Mixture first.  My blender had already begun overheating but I was hoping that I could nurse it along for a bit more to finish up this recipe.  The smell of burning insulation must have befuddled my brain for I forgot to add the brown sugar and lemon juice.  My blender gave up the ghost completely in mid puree.  I was left with a mix of partially pureed goo that would not suffice for my intended use in other recipes.  I ran the partially pureed mix through my Kitchen Aid food grinder with great success.  

So I now have $70 worth of dried fruit paste in my freezer, with a small portion set aside for use in a couple of recipes that I will be making later this week.  I am hoping that this will help us down the path to regularity.