Monthly Archives: November 2012

Stuffed Dates with Rose and Almond Paste

Stuffed Dates

Ingredients 

40 Dates, 200 gram Blanched Whole Almonds, 80 gram Icing sugar,  4 teaspoon rose water, 4 teaspoon red food colouring.

Method

Slit each date lengthwise and carefully remove the seed.  Grind almonds, sugar, rose water and food colouring to form a smooth paste.  Take a teaspoon of mixture and form into tiny oblong shapes and stuff the dates. Press together lightly. The dish is ready to be served.

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Health Benefits of Spices

What prompted us to touch on the subject of health benefits of spices, was an article in the Sunday Times of 18th November 2012, titled “The Dye is cast on the Fabric of Taste”  which is frightening to say the least. At Lanka Spice, quality is an obsession and all our products are carefully chosen with the support of a well equipped laboratory facility.

In the face of such articles, it is easy to forget the health benefits of spices. In the earliest days of trading, Sri Lanka was known as the “Spice Island”. Spices have been an essential part of our long history and cultural heritage due to their use in foods to enhance taste and their health benefits.

Today people are looking to change their dietary habits, by pushing away curry sauces towards the old gentle mélange of spices. Spices can be used, partially or totally, to replace less desirable ingredients such as salt, sugar and added saturated fat in marinades and dressings, stir-fry dishes, casseroles, soups and curries. The medicinal properties of spices are being studied extensively.

Spices that reduce Bad Cholesterol

High Cholesterol levels increases the risk of heart disease and stroke and is a problem that is faced by many people today. Cholesterol is made naturally by our body and also comes from the food we eat. Spices such as Cinnamon, Turmeric and Ginger are those that help reduce levels of Bad Cholesterol (LDL – Low Density Lipoprotein).

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been used in a vast number of cultures for different medical problems.  Today, Cinnamon still plays a vital role in many health claims from treating diabetes to cancer.  According to Reader’s Digest, a Pakistani study found that 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon daily can reduce bad cholesterol in people with Type 2 Diabetes by nearly 30 percent and cut total cholesterol by 26 percent.

Add a teaspoon of cinnamon powder mixed with a teaspoon of honey to your cup of herbal tea and feel the difference yourself.

Turmeric

When considering cholesterol lowering foods, don’t forget the health benefits of turmeric. Turmeric is not just a culinary spice but also possesses many health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Early studies have revealed that turmeric can lower bad cholesterol and total cholesterol in the body. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, acts as a messaging molecule and directs genes in the liver to increase production of messenger proteins to rid the body of bad cholesterol.

It is better to obtain the pure form of turmeric to enjoy the highest levels of curcumin. Use curcumin to flavor curries, lentil soup, stir-fry, and as a seasoning for meat and fish.

Ginger

Ginger plays a major role in flavouring of foods. Studies showed that ginger may lower cholesterol levels and prevent blood from clotting. Ginger also relieves pain from arthritis or muscle soreness, menstrual pain, upper respiratory tract infections, cough, and bronchitis. Ginger is also sometimes used for chest pain, low back pain, and stomach pain. The juice of ginger also can be used to treat mild burns.

A home remedy for indigestion is to grind a few slices of ginger and mix in half a lime with a bit of salt. No water is to be added.

At “Mc Currie” we choose the best raw materials for our Cinnamon Powder, Turmeric and Ginger Paste. Our Cinnamon Powder is a firm favourite among both locals and foreigners, whom we believe know the secret of its influence on lowering cholesterol!

The list of spices that have medicinal values are extensive and this is just a glance at how you can stay healthy. We will bring you more in our next article.

Vacuum packaging

Packaging in any form is an important part of product processing and preservation and has a direct influence on the system in respect of physical and chemical changes.

Packaging has undergone some innovative product developments to help ensure a safe and more nutritious food supply. One method of packaging that may be used for products such as ready-to-eat products and spices is vacuum packaging, where the product is placed in a plastic or aluminium foil pouch and most of the air is removed. The package around the vacuumed product allows the internal atmosphere to be retained so that the product stays fresh and safe.

The plastic used for vacuum packaging should be carefully chosen, because not all plastics are equally resistant to gas.

Vacuum Packaging 

Vacuum packing machine

Vacuum packaging refers to the technology wherein the product to be packed in placed in a pouch of suitable material and air is drawn from the pack prior to the final sealing. The removal of air eliminates oxygen which affects food in various ways, such as odour, colour, taste and texture and allows for longer storage. 

One of the important properties of vacuum packing is the extent to which it is able to resist the passage of gases and vapour.

Vacuum packaged products may still need to be refrigerated as some microorganisms can survive in low oxygen levels. Their growth is slower at lower temperatures.

Advantages of Vacuum Packaging

  • A simple solution to packaging goods requiring protection from oxygen.
  • Positive control of the moisture content of the product.
  • Inhibits the growth of aerobic spoilage bacteria.
  • Lower costs than those of rigid containers.
  • Longer shelf life for goods.
  • Larger quantities of food can be purchased and kept over a longer period of time and bulk purchases are often cheaper.
  • Vacuum packaging decreases food waste due to spoilage.
  • Not only fresh, perishable foods benefit from vacuum packaging, dried foods also keep longer when vacuum packaged.
  • Vacuum packaging allows more efficient use of time. Food can be prepared in advance without loss of freshness, so slack times are more productive and busy times are more manageable.
  • Vacuum packaging reduces product shrinkage. There is no moisture loss or evaporation in a sealed vacuum bag. Therefore, the weight you purchase will be the same.

 At  the Mc Currie Spice 1st Showrooms, we have vacuum packed items and also vacuum packing could be done to customer requirements. We have also created a niche among our customers as we vacuum pack cooked items that our customers bring in. Our key customers are parents whose sons and daughters are studying abroad. This is proof enough of the valuable service we render to customers by way of our quality vacuum packing process.

 So, the next time you wish to take Mc Currie products or your home-cooked food abroad, visit the “Mc Currie Spice 1st Showrooms” where you can get it vacuum packed to suit your needs!

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