Blueberry Bars

This recipe could be modified to use more standard ingredients, but as made, (trial one), it is gluten free, corn free, egg free, dairy free, and incorporates a number of healthy, nontypical ingredients, with some extra protein from almond meal.

Optional but healthy – fruit peel tea – could use boiling water instead.

Step one – make a batch of fruit peel tea – rough draft recipe/directions included towards the end of this document, before the reference section. (Foods & Phytonutrients that might benefit T-cells)

Dried fruit, soak in advance stage, takes the longest.

Add to one cup of the hot tea & let soak for about an hour, stirring occasionally – one cup dried blueberries, one cup almond meal.

Wet ingredients & the egg substitute

Add to one cup of the hot tea in a sauce pan & stir over low heat for a couple minutes – 3 tablespoons Gumbo File, 3 tablespoons Golden Flax meal; then add 1/3 to a 1/2 cup of Coconut oil, stir occasionally as the coconut oil melts and work it into the emulsified Gumbo File mixture; as it is mixed remove from the heat. Stir in 1 cup of coconut sugar or cane sugar, 1-2 teaspoons vanilla, 3 teaspoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

*or you could use 6 tablespoons Golden Flax meal, or 6 tablespoons Gumbo File, however they each have health benefits & slightly different emulsifying power and flavor.

Combining the wet ingredients

Once the dried blueberries and almond meal have absorbed most of the hot liquid, add the emulsified sugar mixture and 3/4 cup applesauce or a milk equivalent would also work. Mix it all together thoroughly.

Dry ingredients – mix and wait to add until the dried fruit is thoroughly soaked and combined with emulsifier.

  • 2 cups Gluten Free Flour mix – corn free – or 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca flour/starch (good source of resistant starch once cooked and chilled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda (Baking powder has corn starch so I don’t use it – and that is why there needs to be lemon juice or apple cider vinegar as an acid, to react with the Baking Soda)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, rounded

In a large enough bowl, combine the dry and wet ingredients together and stir thoroughly.

Pour the batter, (it should be fairly wet, but not as runny as a pancake batter, more like a wet cookie dough or muffin batter) into an oiled cookie sheet or jelly roll pan – a large flat pan with sides. Bake in a preheated 350’F oven for about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan and cut into bars. Refrigerate in an airtight container. Resistant starch content is increased once a cooked starch is chilled. It is then still present even if the bars are served at room temperature. For best texture eat within a week or freeze some of the remaining bars.

Made ~ 48 bars, two or three would be a reasonable serving.

Revised recipe if it were more standard ingredients:

Soak 1 cup dried Blueberries and 1 cup Almond Meal in 1 cup of boiling water for about an hour.

Wet ingredients

  • 3 Eggs, whisk/fork mix
  • 1-2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Olive Oil, melted Coconut Oil or melted Butter
  • 1 cup Milk equivalent or Applesauce

Dry ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour or your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, rounded
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

Mix wet and dry ingredients together, spread into a cookie sheet with sides, or jelly roll pan. Bake in a preheated 350’F oven for approximately 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan, cut into 48 bars, store in air tight container in the refrigerator. It is a moist recipe compared to cookies and wouldn’t keep as long at room temperature. Use within about a week or freeze some to the extra.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Citrus & Fig Marmalade Jam

Figs are also rich in quercetin (1) and pomegranate peel also contains significant amounts of the phytonutrient, (2). Quercetin can act as a zinc ionophore when zinc is present and carry the zinc into infected or cancerous cells where the zinc disrupts replication, see the last post, and Treatments vs ‘a cure’.

Orange Marmalade is a sweet jam made from citrus juice and peel. I made a modified low sugar version using the orange zest part of the orange peel that I had been removing when eating an orange with the white pith left on (see last post – it acts as a decongestant fairly quickly when eaten in that large of an amount (the whole orange with the white pith layer left on).

*This was an initial attempt and turned out too thick – just skip the jam part of the recipe if you want to simply make a fruit sauce preserve. Freeze the amount that you won’t be able to use fresh within a week or two as low sugar fruit sauces or jam are more likely to spoil – the large amount of sugar makes jams and jellies less likely to spoil. See: How does sugar act as a preservative? (sciencefocus.com) However if the goal is a way to preserve citrus peel for antiviral benefits than low sugar is going to be more supportive of immune function than a full sugar product.

— the point is not a recipe – the point is demonstrating a way to save time and preserve a large batch of outer citrus peel at once so small amounts can be used throughout the day and keep congestion cleared. Fruit preserves can be a mix as the jam package suggests and the basic ratios and which fruits might be more similar in acidity are grouped together on the instruction sheet pectin package.

*simpler way to get bioflavonoids in the diet of many people at once -add powdered citrus bioflavonoids citrus bioflavonoid powder to applesauce or yogurt or a smoothie type beverage or a breakfast porridge or soup. It is available in varied concentration. The preserved citrus jam could be used in a similar way but might be stronger in flavor than a concentrated powder.

I also had some fresh pomegranate peel on hand which I had peeled the outer more tannin rich layer from, (4), and an eight ounce package of dried figs and one pear for sweetness and to reduce the acidity somewhat.

Stevia is an herbal alternative sweetener which also has health benefits, including activation of the p53 protein, (3, also discussed in the last post), and I used a low sugar pectin mix that uses calcium to aid in gelling, Pomona’s Universal Pectin. It includes basic recipes that you can modify depending on your available fruit and sugar preferences. So without going into the specific jam details, here is a list of ingredients that I used, roughly estimating it as a double batch, however it thickened readily and I could have used pectin and calcium for one batch. (pomonapectin.com)

The cardamom powder and pomegranate peel cause the darker color, Citrus peel and fig would likely look more like a traditional orange marmalade.

Citrus Fig Savory Marmalade: Ingredient list (trial 1)

  • 2 1/2 cups minced orange peel
  • 1 1/2 cups minced inner pomegranate peel
  • 1 cup pear, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups figs, stem removed and minced, (8 ounce package dried)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom, powdered spice
  • 1 cup brown sugar – added to the stewing fruit, simmer gently to preserve phytonutrients, approximately 20 minutes to soften the citrus peel.
  • 6 tablespoons lime or lemon juice, bottled – for a double batch following the Pomona’s directions
  • 2 tablespoons of the calcium water solution – for a double batch
  • 1 cup Stevia sugar substitute with 1/2 cup = 1 cup sugar – measure into a separate bowl and mix in the pectin powder – to add to the fruit at the end, stir in thoroughly and let simmer for 1-2 additional minutes
  • 3 tablespoons of the Pomona’s pectin, (pomonapectin.com)

The jam cooled to a firm consistency, I could have used a single batch of lime juice, calcium water, and pectin. It made six cups which I froze most of and will keep the rest in the refrigerator as low sugar jams are more likely to mold/spoil than full sugar jam – the large amount of sugar acts as a preservative as it is too concentrated for bacteria to grow in, though mold may still occur. See: How does sugar act as a preservative? (sciencefocus.com)

The jam is mildly sweet and slightly spicy with the cardamom which also may have some antiviral and anticancer benefits by helping activate the p53 protein, which is involved in apoptosis – the killing and safe removal of infected or cancerous cells by our white blood cells. (6)

In addition to using a spoonful on toast, it is good added to a breakfast hot cereal or yogurt and would be easy to add to a cookie recipe if fresh orange peel isn’t available, see previous post: Dark Chocolate Orange Peel Cookies – Recipe.

Health can taste delicious. The taste buds will become more sensitive to the natural sweetness in foods after eating a lower sugar diet for a while.

The following is a series of jam/jelly recipes using citrus and pomegranate peel (fresh and/or dried/powdered). Both citrus and pomegranate peel have anti-inflammatory and other health benefits including antiviral properties.

The simplest way to prepare citrus peel for later use would be to mince the washed peel (collected over a few days in the refrigerator), and simmer it with water and a little brown sugar and possibly a spoonful of coconut oil or butter to help draw out fat soluble phytonutrients.

In a sauce pan bring the orange peel, 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil & 1 tablespoon of stevia to a boil and remove from heat. (From Dark Chocolate Citrus peel Cookies recipe)

Citrus Plum: Ingredient list (trials 3 & 3.2)

  • 1 1/2-2 cups minced orange peel
  • 1 1/2 cups minced inner pomegranate peel and/or 6 tablespoons powdered dehydrated pomegranate, inner peel
  • 2 cups plums, minced
  • 1 cup prunes, minced,
  • 3 cups water – if more or less fresh fruit is available then adjust the water up/down to make up the difference, leaving a cup to simmer the citrus peel for a few minutes initially with the brown sugar, before adding the fresh plums and other ingredients.
  • 1-2 teaspoon cardamom, powdered spice
  • 1 cup brown sugar – added to the stewing fruit, simmer gently to preserve phytonutrients, approximately 20 minutes to soften the citrus peel.
  • 6 tablespoons lime/lemon juice, bottled, or 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of the calcium water solution – for a double batch
  • 1 cup Stevia sugar substitute with 1/2 cup = 1 cup sugar – measure into a separate bowl and mix in the pectin powder – to add to the fruit at the end, stir in thoroughly and let simmer for 1-2 additional minutes
  • 2 teaspoons of the Pomona’s pectin, (pomonapectin.com), if the 6 tablespoons of powdered dried pomegranate inner peel is used. The fresh pomegranate peel and citrus peel have pectin type fiber and less additional pectin may be needed to thicken the jam or jelly made with it, however the powdered dried peel is more thickening. Some additional pectin still seems to be needed for a full gel reaction
The fruit jam can be made into a chocolate sauce or thicker ganache that can be used as a cookie or cake filling or frosting, or be made into chocolate truffle candies.

Citrus Chocolate Ganache/Fudge sauce

Simmer one-two cups of the citrus plum jam in a double boiler, – metal bowl that fits in a sauce pan that has a couple inches of simmering hot water – and add one teaspoon of vanilla, (optional), and one tablespoon coconut oil per cup of jam, stir until it is mixed in evenly, and then add 1/4 cup cocoa powder per cup of jam, stir until the powder is all incorporated into the chocolate fudge mixture. It will be lumpy because of the fruit pieces but the chocolate sauce should mix into a chocolate-y smoothness where there isn’t fruit pieces.

Whether the mixture will be a thin or thick sauce or a frosting like ganache texture depends on the ratio of cocoa powder to liquid that you use. Pomegranate juice could be used to thin the ganache if a sauce were needed. Thicker ganache can be rolled into truffle like dessert candies, coated with cocoa powder to prevent stickiness. Store and serve chilled from the refrigerator or freezer.

Chocolate citrus peel truffles (without a solid chocolate coating added).

Pomegranate Jelly, made with powdered pomegranate peel (and violets) – ingredient list

  • 6 tablespoons powdered dehydrated pomegranate, inner peel
  • 4 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup violets, (optional) rinsed and drained gently
  • 1 cup brown sugar – added to the stewing fruit,
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar or lime/lemon/juice (I was making a citrus free batch for people with allergy).
  • 2 tablespoons of the calcium water solution (if using Pomona’s Pectin)-
  • 1 cup Stevia sugar substitute with 1/2 cup = 1 cup sugar – measure into a separate bowl and mix in the pectin powder – to add to the fruit at the end, stir in thoroughly and let simmer for 1-2 additional minutes
  • 2 teaspoons of the Pomona’s pectin, (pomonapectin.com), if the 6 tablespoons of powdered dried pomegranate inner peel is used. The fresh pomegranate peel and citrus peel have pectin type fiber and less additional pectin may be needed to thicken the jam or jelly made with it, however the powdered dried peel is more thickening. Some additional pectin still seems to be needed for a full gel reaction
Pomegranate Jelly, made with powdered pomegranate inner peel, and violets (peppery). It was good served hot over a vegetable salad. Jam and jelly can be used as a tangy extra along with an entree (mint jelly and lamb, cranberry gelatin with turkey, chutney with Indian meals).
Purple violets and white with purple centers. If using edible flowers for cooking or fresh avoid chemically treated lawns or flowerbeds and private property or public lands.
More violets than lawn.

*Why violets? – they contain a fragrance phytonutrients that may help protect against retinal deterioration common with aging, and increase melanin production in the skin, helping protect against skin cancer potentially. How many violets is a serving? They are peppery, I enjoy eating a a few at a time.

Reference List

  1. Brian, 93 Quercetin Rich Foods, 2 October 2018, MyIntakePro.com https://myintakepro.com/blog/quercetin-rich-foods/ via @HiperacusiaCAT
  2. X. Zhao, Z. Yuan, Y. Fang, Y. Yin, and L. Feng, Flavonols and Flavones Changes in Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) Fruit Peel during Fruit Development. J. Agr. Sci. Tech. (2014) Vol. 16: 1649-1659, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.1021.8526&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  3. Chen J, Xia Y, Sui X, et al. Steviol, a natural product inhibits proliferation of the gastrointestinal cancer cells intensively. Oncotarget. 2018;9(41):26299–26308. Published 2018 May 29. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.25233 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5995179/
  4. J. Depew, G13. Pomegranate – Health Benefits and Preparation, effectivecare.info, https://effectivecare.info/g13-pomegranate
  5. Divya Sehgal, How does sugar act as a preservative?, sciencefocus.com, https://www.sciencefocus.com/science/how-does-sugar-act-as-a-preservative/
  6. Yu‐Jen Jou Chao‐Jung Chen Yu‐Ching Liu, et al., Quantitative phosphoproteomic analysis reveals γ‐bisabolene inducing p53‐mediated apoptosis of human oral squamous cell carcinoma via HDAC2 inhibition and ERK1/2 activation. Proteomics, 15;19, Oct 2015, pp 3296-3309, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26194454

Dark Chocolate Orange Peel Cookies – recipe

This recipe uses dark chocolate baker’s cocoa and fresh orange peel rather than candied dark chocolate orange peel, however the taste and texture is similar. The ingredients are gluten free and vegan (egg free, dairy free) because I have to be able to taste a recipe to create it. Recipes can be modified with substitutions once you are familiar with the basic ratios of baking or cooking.

I have provided a second list of the basic ingredients I would use instead if I was making it with butter, eggs, sugar and wheat flour. The citrus peel along with zinc in the nut butter might provide some antiviral benefits and the tapioca starch is beneficial for the intestinal microbiome. The recipe is somewhat low sugar for a cookie but they do taste sweet. If Gumbo file is used as the emulsifier it is likely adding some hydrolyzable tannins which may also have an antiviral effect and is beneficial for intestinal health.

Dark Chocolate Orange Peel Cookies

  • Made approximately 40-48 small cookies. One to three cookies would be a serving, roughly. Bake at 300-325’F oven, rotate racks for even baking of the cookies. Once cooled store in an airtight container at refrigerator temperature to create resistant starch from the tapioca, which is a good thing because it supports beneficial intestinal bacteria that turn resistant starch into a positive type of fatty acid – “short chain fatty acids (SCFA). “. (1)

Ingredients/Preparation

  • 1 large orange, wash the orange, and remove the outer peel, leaving the white part on the orange to eat fresh (I eat half the orange as a serving), mince the orange zest peel, yield was 6 tablespoons.
  • 1 cup water, simmer the orange peel in a sauce pan with:
  • 1 tablespoon Stevia (my stevia sweetener is 1/2 cup to = 1 cup sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
    • bring to a simmer briefly then remove from heat and stir into:
  • 1/4 cup Gumbo file, premeasured in a small mixing bowl, stir until the consistency thickens and turns a dark greenish/brown (Gumbo file is powdered sassafras leaves and acts as an egg substitute and provide some hydrolyzable tannins which can have an antiviral effect.)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter or cashew butter, add to hot emulsifier & stir
  • 3/8 cup coconut oil, melted, add to emulsifier mixture & stir

In a separate large mixing bowl stir the dry ingredients together:

  • 1/4 cup Stevia sugar substitute
  • 1/2 cup Brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup Coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder, Dutch style is darker & smoother in flavor

Add the emulsifier mixture to the dry ingredients along with:

  • 1 cup Coconut milk, (part of a 13.5 oz can), or a little more until the batter is moist and could be used in a pastry bag if desired or a cookie press with a large opening (the minced orange makes it slightly lumpy).

Spoon the batter onto two oiled cookie sheets in small teaspoon mounds, 20-24 per cookie sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes at 300-325’F. Remove from oven when they have formed a slight crust but are still moist. Let cool on a cookie rack and then store in an airtight container in a refrigerator overnight. The tapioca changes to resistant starch once the cooked product it is made with is chilled (Bubble Tea fans – the bubbles are tapioca pearls (like round noodles but made from tapioca starch).

Modified recipe, roughly, for people with standard ingredients in their cupboard:

  • Prepare the orange peel in the same way, except 2 tablespoons of butter could be used – fat to help draw some of the fat soluble phytonutrients from the citrus peel,and 2 tablespoons sugar.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter – for protein & zinc
  • 3/8 cup butter – soften, or melt depending on if you use a mixer or are hand stirring.
  • 1/2 cup sugar – this is low sugar for a cookie but if health is the goal, less sugar is healthier and the coconut adds a little sweetness too.
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch or flour
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda or 2 teaspoons Baking Powder (it contains starch so is less concentrated)
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk or less if the eggs add enough moisture.

For other cookie recipes and information about modifying recipes see: G8. Cookies & Bean Soup.

For more about hydrolyzable tannins, see ACE2, Diarrhea, COVID19…It gets complicated.

For more about pomegranate peel benefits and preparation (may have antiviral benefits and is a much richer source of hydrolyzable tannins which can be soothing for an inflammatory bowel condition/diarrhea) see: G13: Pomegranate, and G10: Nrf2 Promoting Foods.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Reference List

  1. Bruna L. B. Pereira, Magali Leonel, Resistant starch in cassava products., Food Sci. Technol (Campinas) vol.34 no.2 Campinas April/June 2014, https://doi.org/10.1590/fst.2014.0039 http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0101-20612014000200012
  2. Dr Andrew Weil, Sassafras Tea Safety, DrWeil.com *Which is made with the root which would contain significantly more than the leaves. https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/food-safety/sassafras-tea-safety/
  3. Forum topic: Safrole is not nearly as dangerous as you would think. Jan 16, 2011, HomeBrewTalk.com, https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/safrole-is-not-nearly-as-dangerous-as-you-would-think.218174/
  4. Yamaguchi, M.U., Garcia, F.P., Cortez, D.A.G. et al. Antifungal effects of Ellagitannin isolated from leaves of Ocotea odorifera (Lauraceae). Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 99, 507–514 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10482-010-9516-3 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10482-010-9516-3 *Ocotea odorifera is related to the North American Sassafras tree and has hydrolyzable tannins – egallic acid.
  5. pg 37, hydrolyzable and condensed tannins in the diet. https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyNET.exe/91014TYI.txt?ZyActionD=ZyDocument&Client=EPA&Index=1986%20Thru%201990&Docs=&Query=%28hydrolyzable%20tannins%29%20OR%20FNAME%3D%2291014TYI.txt%22%20AND%20FNAME%3D%2291014TYI.txt%22&Time=&EndTime=&SearchMethod=1&TocRestrict=n&Toc=&TocEntry=&QField=&QFieldYear=&QFieldMonth=&QFieldDay=&UseQField=&IntQFieldOp=0&ExtQFieldOp=0&XmlQuery=&File=D%3A%5CZYFILES%5CINDEX%20DATA%5C86THRU90%5CTXT%5C00000027%5C91014TYI.txt&User=ANONYMOUS&Password=anonymous&SortMethod=h%7C-&MaximumDocuments=1&FuzzyDegree=0&ImageQuality=r75g8/r75g8/x150y150g16/i425&Display=hpfr&DefSeekPage=x&SearchBack=ZyActionL&Back=ZyActionS&BackDesc=Results%20page&MaximumPages=1&ZyEntry=37