laurenlikestocook

A Meal’s a Meal, but That’s Just Fruit

In Beans, Fruit, Mexican, Salad, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm

A few months ago, I went early to the express DMV to officially change my last name from maiden to married.  I had packed my lunch and afternoon snack to take along with me so I could go straight to work as soon as I was done.  On my way to the office, a delirious “homeless” man gave a spiel I could barely comprehend, although I did catch something about “cancer” in there.  At the end, he of course asked for money, but also mentioned food.  I never give money to people on the subway (did you know that some panhandler in Houston claimed to make $60k from begging?), but if somebody were to ask for food I would jump at the opportunity.  When that rare instance occurs, I never seem to have even a stick of gum with me.  This time, I was so excited to offer him my afternoon snack of an orange and raw almonds.  I would have given my actual lunch, but I’m sure it was some Tupperware filled with beans and rice and veggies.  When I offered the food to him, he said some more delirious nonsense, something about a fleece being $3, and I said “I don’t have a fleece, you asked for food.”  And you know what happened?  He all of the sudden started speaking “clearly” and said to me “A meal’s a meal, but that’s just fruit.”  Then he walked away from me.  I was shocked.  My $7/lb raw organic almonds weren’t worth his time; I guess only crack, booze, and McDonald’s met his requirements.  I had approached my stop to transfer, still shaking my head at my fellow straphangers, and I shouted “beggars can’t be choosers, ever hear that expression?”

I was infuriated for the rest of the day, which really was a waste of my energy.  What did I expect?  It makes me so sad that this idiot has to ruin charity for all those legitimately hungry people who would be grateful for any morsel of food.  Those thoughts usually run through my mind any time I throw away any scraps, which is why I try to use everything I buy.  Last week, I received lots of fruit from the CSA distribution, and it was more than I was used to using at once.  Fruit tends to ripen quickly and should be used within a couple of days – whether you eat it raw, dabble in some canning, or freeze for smoothies/baking.  Although I had frozen about half of the peaches and plums, I couldn’t manage to finish the remains at a steady pace.  Once Thursday arrived, I still had 3 peaches and about 15 sugar plums left.  Since Nick won’t touch either of those, it was all up to me to consume.  Luckily, he went to the movies with a friend on Thursday, so I had the opportunity to use the peaches for dinner.  I usually don’t like to eat fruit so late in the day, but since I had procrastinated my workout til almost 9(!), it was the perfect exception.

The workout I made up. I think I’m sick of all my usual DVDs (hence the procrastination), so this was a nice change.

I still had the head of cabbage left from Saturday, and some of the green onions, so I thought a slaw would be perfect!  The recipe is really simple, and could use any stone fruit or apples/pears you have on hand.

Peach Lime Coleslaw

Makes about 8 cups

1 small head cabbage, shredded
3 scallions, sliced thin
1 bell pepper, small dice
3 peaches, small dice
Juice of 3 limes
2 tbsp agave nectar
Salt to taste

I used my food processor to shred the cabbage, but you could use a box grater if you don’t have a processor.  You could also go the easy route and buy pre-shredded coleslaw mix :).

I combined all the ingredients except the lime juice and agave in a large bowl; I mixed the lime/agave in a small bowl just to make sure it was even.  Then I poured the juice over the veggies/fruit, mixed to combine, and let it sit in the fridge while I worked out.  I served the slaw with some black beans, cholula, and goat cheese, which was really yummy!  You could also add some brown rice, or stuff a tortilla with the slaw/beans/cheese to make a burrito.

Now onto the plums.  I really wanted to experiment with fruit drying.  Buying dried fruit is usually fine, but most of the time it’s full of sulfur and/or sugar.  We had added a dehydrator to our wedding registry, and luckily somebody had bought it for us.  Unfortunately, Nick decided to christen it first with beef jerky (boo).

After washing the trays several times since, I finally tested the fruit drying capabilities with the leftover sugar plums.

Following the direction booklet, I washed, halved, and pitted the fruit.

I set the dehydrated to the recommended 135º and waited almost 20 hours until the fruit was dried out.  I was slightly shocked at both the temperature and the time.  First of all, how do all these raw foodists dry their produce below 118º if the manufacture suggests 135?  Secondly, 20 hours seems like a really long time for drying – did I do something wrong?  Anyway, this is the end result:

The dried version tastes slightly more tart and less sweet than the fresh fruit.  It also had a slightly oniony-garlicky hint to it, which I think means the trays or bottom tray weren’t really cleaned thorough from jerked meat (which is super gross).  Next time, I think I will try the below-118º raw rule, as well as super disinfect the machine.  Not wanting to waste this experiment, I think I will use them as treats for my dog.  I could also carry them in my purse as an offering to any other “homeless” hungry beggars.  Who knows, maybe somebody else would consider this fruit a meal?

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  1. Once you get the dehydrator sorted out you have to let me know how it works! I try to keep as raw as possible and having truly raw dried fruit would be so convenient for adding variety and for eating well on the road.

    • I actually tried it again with donut peaches at 115 degrees for 24 hrs and they were perfect! Sweet and just chewy enough. You do need to refrigerate them after though bc they are still raw without preservatives.

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