Posted by: Georgi 

Vegetables that are frozen properly will retain the flavor and nutrition, better than any other means of preservation, provided it is treated correctly. Learn all about how to blanch, chill, package and cook correctly by reading this article. It is important to remember that vegetables should be cooked before freezing. While they are still tender and fresh, blanch them first so that the color is sealed along with the nutrition and flavor. If this is not done, vegetable will deteriorate in quality.

1. Blanching
This is not a difficult procedure. To blanch roughly 1 lb. of fresh vegetables, place them in a blanching basket, which is immersed in a large quantity of boiling hot water. Make sure no salt is added. Cover the vessel with a lid that fits tight and allow the water to boil rapidly again. The blanching time begins, when this happens and varies according to the size of the vegetable to be blanched. Approximately peas, carrot, or sliced beans, require about 11/2 minute and this applies to spinach, silver beet and shredded cabbage. If one requires blanching larger vegetables, it is necessary to increase the blanching time. This means that whole beans would take roughly about 3 minutes, as against vegetables cut in small 1” pieces, which take only about 2 minutes. Corncobs would need roughly 5-8 minutes of blanching time according to their size.

One can make a rough guess, depending on size and cut of the vegetable to be blanched. Cauliflower cut into flowerets required 2-3 minutes, whereas a whole cauliflower will take about 6-9 minutes, to blanch. When blanching vegetables, such as pumpkin, kumara and potatoes, one must ensure that they are half cooked before freezing, as blanching alone will not help in preserving them. The best method is to quickly chill them, then place them on freezing trays for 2 hours, pack them well and return to freezer. Half-cook beetroots and freeze them without removing the peel. Peel, when cold then slice/dice, package in small meal size quantities before freezing. The process of deep freezing has a tenderizing effect, so there is no further need of cooking this vegetable. Just thaw it out and serve when required.

One can freeze mushrooms successfully. First, fry mushrooms in little butter and cool by spreading them out on cold plates. Use the flat pack method to deep-freeze these cold mushrooms. Alternatively, simmer mushrooms in milk till tender. Use rice flour to thicken the broth, cool well, before packing into meal-size quantities. Reheat and use in recipes while it is still frozen. Mushrooms can be frozen and kept for up to 4 months safely.

2. Chilling
As soon as the vegetables are blanched, the vegetables should be transferred from boiling water to a colander that is immersed in water topped with ice. Use an ice block for quick cooling. It takes roughly the same time that it takes to blanch the vegetables in ice-cold water. This can be done by freezing 2 bowls of cold water roughly 2 points each to convert to ice.

3. Packaging
Vegetables should be drained once they are thoroughly chilled. Use clean paper kitchen towels to pat them dry quickly. The flat pack or free flow method can be successfully used for packing the vegetables.

4. Cooking
When frozen vegetables are overcooked, the effect is lost. One has to remember the fact that the vegetables have already gone through two methods of tenderizing during blanching and chilling. They can be now quickly cooked as there is no need to thaw the vegetables. They can be dropped in their frozen form, directly into boiling water that is salted. As soon as the water begins to boil rapidly again, simmer by lowering the heat for about one third the time required or perhaps less to cook the vegetables. Thaw out corn on the cob for at least 2 hours, as they tend to remain frozen in the centre. This vegetable should be dropped in salted boiling water for about 5 to 6 minutes to cook thoroughly. You can directly place frozen potatoes, pumpkin or kumara into hot fat or in a hot oven for roasting. They can be dropped into a deep-frying and cooked till they turn gold brown.

Keep in mind the following points before you begin to freeze vegetables:
- Select fresh vegetables that have the right texture and burst with flavor. Do not buy vegetables that have matured or look damaged.

- Wash the vegetables well with plenty of running cold water. Use a bio-wash that removes dirt, pesticide or bacterial residue that may have settled on the vegetables to be doubly sure. Dry thoroughly.

- Peel skins, de-seek and slice to the size required

- Use a large pot for blanching the vegetables. The time required depends on the size of the vegetables to be frozen.

Approximate Blanching Time:
Vegetables such as green peas, beans, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash and sweet peppers take about 2 minutes to blanch. Asparagus, carrots and cabbage may take about 2 to 3 minutes. Vegetables, such as eggplant and corn take roughly 4 minutes.

Posted by: Georgi 

Smells Caused by Eating
George Preti, PhD is an expert in human odors as well as an organic chemist in Philadelphia at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. He claims that the reason, one suffers from Body Odor is that volatile organic compounds are released when a person consumes certain types of aromatic foods.

The smells that emanate from these compounds are released in the urine, sweat glands or our breath after flowing through the bloodstream.

Preti tells us that not all bodies react the same way. If a person takes too much of a certain ingredient, it may cause more smells to emanate. It also depends on the genes and also the metabolic enzymes that are present in the saliva. These help to break down the foods.

Capsaicin is a chemical that is found in hot pepper, which can bring out little drops of perspiration on one’s forehead when consumed. Devilled chicken wings are made with this ingredient and it is proof that the dish is spicy.

Certain nerve receptors stimulate the feeling of being “on fire.” The feeling is quite similar to when one is exposed to about 90-degree heat outdoors. The hypothalamus that is in the brain acts as an internal thermostat. This activates the sweat glands to appear on the skin and then evaporate, dissipating the heat, as it disappears.
Apart from the heat produced by certain ingredients, hot (temperature) foods also give rise to sweat. Dee Anna Glaser, MD, president of the International Hyperhidrosis Society and professor of dermatology at St. Louis University School of Medicine, remarks that hot coffees, teas or soup also bring on sweat, in spite of body temperatures being stable.

Foods That Give Rise to Bad Body Odor
Sulfur is present in garlic and this chemical generally caused the body to give out a strong smell. However, raw sulfur can small like rotten eggs in its purest form.
One of the other vegetables in the alliaceous family of vegetables similar to garlic is the onion. It gives off a pungent body odor when a person sweats.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli give off a strong whiff, as they also contain sulfuric compounds.

The smell of Curry powder and cumin lingers on the skin long after it is consumed. One feels as if they have just stepped out of an Indian restaurant with the lingering smells.

Your body can smell strongly even if you eat small portions of a combination of any of these foods. A study was conducted where a few women were asked to sniff and check out the smells of sweat emanating from people, who consumed a lot of meat and those that did not eat any. It was found that those who refrained from eating meat had far less body odor.

To prevent smelling offensively, the best option is to avoid foods that are loaded with garlic sauce. This is because there is no surefire formula for preventing such smells when one has eaten strong smelling foods.

Glaser recommends drinking tons of water after eating such foods. It helps to tone down the B.O though it is not possible to eliminate it altogether.
Eating the product cooked rather than raw is another way of getting around this problem. Roasted garlic does not react as strongly as raw garlic.

Posted by: Georgi 

The health benefits of normal green tea are very many and equally very amazing. Even more amazing are the health benefits of a very potent version of green tea known as the Matcha green tea. So potent it is that it is believed to contain 15 times more nutrients than your everyday type of green tea. Notably, it has very many antioxidants than it has blueberries. Matcha is made of only the first 2-3 top leaves which are ground carefully into very fine powder. This explains the reason why the tea is always absorbed fast and easily in your bloodstream upon consumption.

Nutritional benefits of the Matcha
• Vitamins A, C, E, K and B-Complex
• High chlorophyll content that detoxifies the blood
• Has 70 times the amount of antioxidants found in orange juice
• Very rich in catechins, particularly EGCG and polyphenols (antioxidants) which are known to help in fighting cancer. According to a recent research released by the University of Colorado, this kind of green tea contains 137 times more catechins than those found in regular tea
• A great source of fiber to your diet
• Significantly boosts your metabolism by up to 40% thus helping in sustainable weight loss
• Trace amounts of minerals copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, sodium, and phosphorus

With the above list, it is therefore evident that Matcha tea is undoubtedly the most potent green tea yet in the world. It traces its origins back in Japan, where it has been consumed for over a 1000 years. Actually, Matcha was first discovered by Buddhist Monks and since then, it has become a household name in Japan, being the only type of tea served in special Japanese tea parties. The reason this tea is so special is because it is carefully grown and specially shaded to retain the nutrients. Weeks before the leaves start to be harvested, the plants are covered so they could be protected from direct sunlight. This in turn makes the leaves assume a dark shade of green which resultantly boosts the production of amino acids.

The presence of amino acids boosts the sweetness of the tea, so if you were afraid that Matcha green tea would turn out bitter because of the fact that it is very potent, you are mistaken. So sweet is Matcha that today it has found its way in sweets ingredients. As is with anything else, you will find the best of Matcha from its Native country Japan where it is perfectly ground by the experts.

You could be wondering about the caffeine concentration in Matcha. Rest assured it contains very tiny amounts of caffeine, as little as 25mg; what is more, it contains L-theanine in good amounts which are known to have some calming and relaxation effects. Thus even if it contains caffeine, you can rest assured your blood pressure will not be raised to ‘risky’ levels. Further, the presence of L-theanine helps increase the power of concentration and alertness in you.

Are you a lover of green tea? You are really missing out if Matcha is not already in your mix. Even if brewed versions of green tea aren’t your ‘cup of tea’ so to speak, you can always give Matcha a try, if not for anything else because the taste is sweet and pleasant, not to mention the many health benefits. As mentioned, green tea is clinically proven to have great health benefits and besides, it is a safe and natural alternative to take when looking to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Notably, green tea is not some sort of drug that has some potent medicinal properties, it is just a natural and safe tea that is all natural and safe to take, and which contains so many nutrients that will keep your health in-check each time you use it.

Notable ingredients of green tea
1. Caffeine – caffeine in green tea leaves is found on the outer membrane which is meant to keep off insects that tend to attack the leaves and compromise on their quality. Caffeine in this case therefore acts as a self-defense mechanism as the insects are turned off by the bitter taste. It is available in right amounts that when consumed will not keep you awake but instead trigger weight loss by stimulating your metabolism.
2. L-theanine – this is a great ingredient; a non-protein based type of amino acid that helps protect the body against the harmful effects of caffeine thanks to its cooling and calming effect. Further, it regulates serotonin meaning you will not feel abnormally hungry and be tempted to ‘overeat’ during the day, thus contributing in sustainable weight loss.
3. Antioxidant EGCG – simply put, antioxidants help repair damaged cells which if left to multiply can cause serious conditions search as stroke, heart attack, cancer, weight gain, and high cholesterol. This therefore means that the more you take green tea the less cellular damage is caused.