Tag Archives: Fruit

How To Pick The Sweetest Watermelon

How To Pick The Sweetest Watermelon

watermelon sweet fruit nature ripe vegan vegetarian This might  be common knowledge to most people but I did not know this about picking the sweetest watermelon. I figured that since I didn’t know, maybe there someone else that needed this colossally delicious information.

Picture this: it’s a hot summer day, sweat dripping down your face and all you can think about is a nice big juicy sweet piece of watermelon. Natures ultimate candy. You get your big ole piece, bite into it and IT TASTES LIKE CRAP! Your whole summer-vibe bubble is burst.

I vowed, NEVER AGAIN!! I did a little research and a few experiments and the results were insanely successful. Every single time we have used this criteria in picking a watermelon, it’s been spot on. No more skunky watermelon!

It’s really very simple once you know. Almost too simple actually. But it makes perfect sense.

  1. You want a watermelon that has a big yellow creamy spot on it. If the spot is white or non-existent, it’s under ripe. The dark yellow creamy spot is called the ‘field spot’ because that’s where the watermelon was resting in the field ripening on the vine. The yellow spot indicates that it was ripening on the vine a good long time.
  2. Pick up the watermelon. Is it heavier than you think it should be for its size? That’s what you want. If you have 2 of the same size watermelons, you want the heaviest of them.
  3. The best ones are also uniformly shaped. Weird lumps and bumps may be a sign that it didn’t get consistent sun and/or water.

watermelon sweet fruit nature ripe vegan vegetarian

There you have it. We usually go with the “yellow spot rule” first and foremost and have not been steered wrong once. We get amazingly sweet ripe watermelons every single time.

Dairy Free Chocolate Milk Whipped Fruit Dip

Dairy Free Chocolate Milk Whipped Fruit Dip

dairy free chocolate milk fruit dip coconut cocoa vanilla maple syrupRight now my house is being torn apart because we are in the process of moving from Illinois to Arizona. As you can imagine, any comforts at all are welcome. I was in the mood for some comforting earlier but it had to meet my current criteria. Easy (super easy), Simple (same as easy but I can’t stress it enough) and CHOCOLATE!

dairy free chocolate milk fruit dip coconut cocoa vanilla maple syrupImagine my joy when I found this recipe at TheNourishingGourmet.com. If you haven’t been there, go. Go today! I frequently find myself browsing Kimi’s simple delicious recipes.

I did add 2 steps to this recipe. 1. I placed the can of organic full fat coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours. I do that because when the can is chilled it creates a thick creamy coconut “cream” at the top of the can. I figured it would help thicken up the whipped dip.
2. I put the whipped dip in the freezer for 1 hour after running it through my Nutribullet (or blender) to let it thicken up even more. Then I whisked it in a frenzy for a minute and served it with fresh cut fruit.

But if you have one of those whipped cream canister maker things, you can use that and the dip will whip up much thicker but my husband and I loved this just as it is.

dairy free chocolate milk fruit dip coconut cocoa vanilla maple syrupI chose to use maple syrup as opposed to the other options of honey or stevia drops but it’s nice that there is an option depending on what you have in your kitchen. The honey would make the recipe non-vegan though.

I’m so excited about this stuff. I’ve got my strawberries ready and waiting. I’m thinking of seeing if fudgesicles might be in my future. Ooo with some strawberry pieces, yes yes!!!

p.s. Hubby tried it and said “you’ve done it again”. That means he liked it in hubby language 🙂

Dairy Free Chocolate Milk Whipped Dip
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Paleo, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, No Sugar Added
Ingredients
  • 1 - 14 oz can of full fat, unsweetened coconut milk. Keep the can in the fridge for at least a few hours prior to making so that some coconut milk gets thick at the top of the can.
  • 2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup OR ¼ cup raw honey OR around 5 to 10 drops of stevia extract - to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (gluten-free, if needed)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender. I used a Nutribullet. Blend for 2 - 3 minutes or until blended very well and almost fluffy.
  2. Place in freezer for 1 hour.
  3. Whisk quickly for about a minute.
  4. Serve with your favorite dipping fruits. Strawberries, sliced bananas, raspberries, apple slices, pears, etc.

 

 

Easy Delicious Dehydrated Fruit Snacks – Natures Candy

Dehydrated Fruit – Natures Candy

dehydrated fruit natures candy watermelon cantaloupe honeydew pineapple kiwi mango orange lemon

We are heading home from our awesome South Dakota vacation today. I’m so glad that I had made a bunch of dried fruits for the road trip because it was so convenient to have on hand, they didn’t need any refrigeration and it totally satisfied our snacking needs whether we were driving or hiking. At home I chop the dried fruit up into tiny bits to put in my homemade granola. We always keep dried fruit on hand in our house. My hubby takes a baggie to work too so he has snacks.

The Organic Rabbit

Have a sweet tooth? Have kids? Love to snack? Try drying some fruit. It’s candy, but candy that hasn’t  been chemically processed or contains ingredients created in a laboratory. No preservatives and lots of nutritional goodness like vitamins and fiber. Healthy snacking – can it be?

Citrus and apples are the two things that I add anything too. I use coconut palm sugar. The taste resembles a brown sugar/molasses flavor and will brown and sweeten the citrus and apples a bit.

I use dried lemons slices, oranges slices and pink grapefruit slices to flavor my water and tea naturally. One slice will flavor at least 2 glasses of water too. I also eat them as snacks. It’s like a thin taffy. So good.

I only use organic fruits and veggies because I have no interest in drying pesticides and chemicals. Hit up your farmers market for some local organic fruits and veggies and help support local growers in your area at the same time.

driedtomatokiwi

Most people have probably tried dried banana chips or apple chips but have you ever tried dehydrated melon? Holy sweet treat. Dried watermelon is just about the yummiest thing in the world. Watermelon is the sweetest of all the melons when dried with honeydew pulling up a close second. Don’t knock it til you try it, it’s amazing.

DEHYDRATED WATERMELON TASTES LIKE A JOLLY RANCHER

Dehydrating fruits and veggies is pretty much the easier thing you can do. Just cut and dry. My slices are usually around a 1/4 inch thick. For citrus, I dry the rind as well as the flesh. I don’t peel any fruits or vegetables with the exception of bananas and melons. My fruits tend to be crispier at a 1/4 inch thickness and chewier at a 1/2 inch thickness for all other fruits besides watermelon.

watermelonpine

I wrote about dehydrated citrus slices for use in water and bell pepper candy a while ago and talked about my inexpensive dehydrator. This was the best 50 something bucks I ever spent on a kitchen appliance. I can run it constantly for days switching out different fruits and what I’m left with is a huge stash of all natural, sweet and healthy snacks.

The hubby has a wicked sweet tooth and as long as we have a stash of dried fruits on hand, he is a happy camper. Kids will love them and you will love that there aren’t any preservatives or added sugars.

4melonorangepine3

You don’t have to own a dehydrator to dry fruit though. You can easily dry them in your oven. Just set the temperature to 200 degrees and make no plans to use your oven for a while. I usually leave my dehydrator running overnight but I don’t think I would leave my oven on all night. That’s just me, I can be a worrier.

4melonorangepine

The thinner you slice your fruits or vegetables, the crispier they will be and faster they will dry. The thicker they are, the chewier they will be and take a little longer to dry. It’s two totally different snacks. One is almost “chippy” and one is like “taffy” so I usually switch up my slicing sizes.

It doesn’t hurt to have a little extra cutting assistance. I usually pull out the biggest knife, ask the hubby if this one will work and he will most times take the big scary knife out of my hand and show me the correct way to cut the fruit. By the time I’ve “learned” what he taught me, everything is cut. I’m a sneaky Bunny 🙂

hubbycutting

DRYING TIMES FOR CONVENTIONAL OVENS:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place sliced fruit/veggies on parchment paper. You can use multiple parchment paper lined cookie sheets and use both racks. Just remember, the thicker the slices are, the longer they will take to dry.

Most of the time you will be drying for a minimum of 6 hours if using the oven. At 6 hours, flip the fruit/veggies and continue drying if not already dry. If more time is needed, check every couple of hours. You only need to flip them once though.

To test, take a piece of each variety out of the oven and let cool on the counter. If after it’s cooled, squeeze the fruit/veggies and see if there is any moisture left. If so, continue drying for a few more hours and test again. You don’t want there to be any moisture because your treats can go rancid if left out too long. But if they are thoroughly dried, they can sit out for a very very long time but they won’t last that long anyway because they are so yummy.

DRYING TIMES FOR DEHYDRATOR:

Place sliced fruit/veggies on trays. Set temperature to 135 degrees and turn dehydrator on.

I check my fruit/veggies starting at the 8 hour mark. At 8 hours, flip the fruit/veggies and continue drying if not already dry. If more time is needed, check every couple of hours. You only need to flip them once though.

To test, take a piece of each variety out of the dehydrator and let cool on the counter. If after it’s cooled, squeeze the fruit/veggies and see if there is any moisture left. If so, continue drying for a few more hours and test again. You don’t want there to be any moisture because your treats can go rancid if left out too long. But if they are thoroughly dried, they can sit out for a very very long time but they won’t last that long anyway because they are so yummy.

 

 

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie – Dairy Free, Vegan and Paleo

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie – Dairy Free, Vegan and Paleo

blueberry muffin smoothie dairy-free vegan paleo fiber antioxidant breakfast

Blueberries are such a glorious fruit. Of all the fruits, berries are my favorite. They are full of antioxidants, fiber and are just so darn pretty. Combine with flax seed for a fiber rich, filling, delicious smoothie.

blueberry muffin smoothie dairy-free vegan paleo fiber antioxidant breakfast Dairy-free, vegan and paleo. A healthy way to start the day or a delicious dessert treat. I was in the mood for a super sweet smoothie so I added 1 packet of organic stevia, stirred it in and it was perfect. That being said, this smoothie was already pretty sweet made without it.

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie - Dairy Free, Vegan and Paleo
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dairy-Free, Vegan, Paleo
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • ¾ cup sweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon creamy almond butter
  • Optional: 1 packet stevia
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender (I use a Nutribullet) and combine until smooth.
  2. If you find that the smoothie is not sweet enough for your taste, just stir in a packet of stevia.
  3. Enjoy!

 

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Dried Citrus Slices for Water and More!

Dried Citrus Slices for Water and More!

I love adding a slice of fresh lemon or orange to my water or tea. It really helps me get in my bodies required water for the day. Especially when exercising where I lose A LOT of water through sweating.

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

Having fresh slices of citrus on hand isn’t exactly convenient. My solution is to dehydrate mine so that I can have them on hand any time I want. Not only do I add them to my water and tea but I use them for soups and cooking too. As long as they are dehydrated thoroughly, they won’t go bad and I can make a big batch at one time.

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

One of my first kitchen appliances that I actually called “my favorite” was my food dehydrator.  I originally purchased it after buying dried veggie chips at the grocery store and wondered how I could make my own. I did a little research and found out that food dehydrators don’t have to be super expensive.

What I also learned was that by dehydrating foods or heating them a very low temperature, they retain their natural nutrients and attributes. When we cook at higher temperatures, we lose some of those awesome benefits because they are cooked or boiled away. That’s why nutritionists will tell you that it’s much healthier to eat raw fruits and veggies rather than cooking them so you can maximize the benefits.

nesco deydrator fruit food dried herb jerky meat vegetable low  heatThe dehydrator I use is a Nesco dehydrator. It’s one of the most inexpensive ones out there. Since I was just starting on my dehydrating journey, I got myself a 20% off coupon and went to my local Bed Bath & Beyond. I ended up paying a little over $50.

Let me tell you, I’ve really gotten my money’s worth out of this handy dandy super easy to use dehydrator. I’ve had my dehydrator for almost a year and have used the crap out of it! Sometimes I’ll have it running for days at a time.

I dehydrate all kinds of things:

  • Fruits (citrus, bananas, pineapple, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, grapes, apples, pears, etc) to use in homemade granola or just to snack on.
  • Veggies (bell peppers, chickpeas, kale, spinach, green beans, sweet potatoes, etc).
  • Herbs to use in my recipes
  • I’ve also dabbled in making my own jerky

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

Making dried citrus slices is among the list of super easy, almost fool-proof things to dehydrate.  There are only ingredients: citrus and coconut palm sugar. You can use regular sugar if you want but I prefer coconut palm sugar for several reasons. I love the taste of it (it resembles light brown sugar) and it’s lower on the glycemic index list.

I sliced my organic citrus about a quarter inch thick, maybe a little less, spread them out on parchment paper and sprinkled with coconut palm sugar. I rubbed the palm sugar in with my fingers to make sure it got it into the rinds as well.

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

You can actually dehydrate all the foods listed above in a conventional oven but it does tie up your oven for a long period of time but if that doesn’t matter to you then you can set your oven to a temp of 200 degrees.

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

Make sure you flip the citrus half way through the drying process whether you are using an oven or dehydrator.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Dried Citrus Slices for Your Water
 
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Dried Citrus Slices for Your Water
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Ingredients
  • Your choice of citrus. I used 1 pink grapefruit, 1 seedless orange and 1 lemon (all organic)
  • ¼ - ½ cup of coconut palm sugar (or white sugar)
Instructions
  1. Slice citrus about a ¼ inch thick, maybe a little less if you can.
  2. Place slices on parchment paper and sprinkle with coconut palm sugar.
  3. Either place citrus in your dehydrator trays and set to 135 degrees for 8 to 9 hours, flipping halfway through.
  4. Or place citrus on the parchment paper on a cookie sheet in the oven at 200 degrees for 6 hours, flipping halfway through.
  5. After drying, take a piece or two from the dehydrator or the oven and let it cool for a few minutes to see if after cooled all the moisture is out of the slices. The rinds should be very hard and no moisture in the flesh. If there is still moisture, the slices can go rancid so you want them as dry as possible so they have a long shelf life.

 

I like to snack on my slices, not so much the rind because it can be bitter sometimes but when I use them for water, tea or cooking I include the whole slice, rind included. One slice flavors my water perfectly and lasts through a couple of refills. Plus you get a little dose of vitamin C with your water.

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

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