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Happy Purim – Happy Colon

Happy Purim! I’m starting right in on the whole foods venture by talking about Prunes. Or wait, is it ‘Dried Plums?’ Anyway, both refer to any variety of plums, which when dried are wrinkly in texture and have a chewy flesh.  Prunes got a bad rap a few years ago as being the ‘food for constipation’ and marketers have since changed the packaging to read “dried plums.”

Prune juice is made by softening prunes through steaming and then putting them through a pulper to create a watery puree. Prunes and their juice contain the natural laxative dihydrophenylisatin, which means they are a perfect food to add to your diet to keep you regular. Prunes also have a high antioxidant content. Prunes provide quick energy and they are relatively high in fiber.

Most prune orchards can be found mainly in the central valley of California. Nutritionally, one prune has only 20 calories and 5 prunes provide 290 mg of potassium and 3 grams of dietary fiber. They also provide vitamin A, calcium and iron. Prunes are also great for cooking. And in fact, I found out that you could substitute a prune puree for the oil or butter in a recipe! Just puree about 1-1/3 cups of pitted prunes with 6-tablespoons of hot water. Use half the recommended fat in a recipe, and then add half that amount of pureed prunes. You can use this puree in all baked goods.

I wanted to feature prunes this week in that it is a very popular filling for hamentashen. One can make the filling using prunes, honey and lemon juice (some people also add chopped nuts). But baked goods are not the only item in the kitchen prunes are good for. Prunes also make a great mix-in for granola and oatmeal. Prunes are also added in cooking to sweeten up a dish, such as chicken, stews and casseroles. A 3 pound bag at your local wholesale warehouse is less than $6 and has about 35 servings. That is about $0.17 a serving…how can you go wrong with that value.

Personally, I love prunes! They are soft and sweet and easy to eat. I eat two every morning before breakfast. It helps keep my hunger at bay until I get everyone else ready for school.

Here is my hamentashen recipe from last year with a recipe for a prune filling. Let me know how they turn out! Have a Happy Purim!

Hamantaschen with Prune Filling

Ingredients:
1 cup blanched almond flour
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup sweet rice flour
¼ cup tapioca flour
½ tsp xanthan gum
1 ½ tsp egg replacer with 2 T water
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 T grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon water

Filling:
6 oz. pitted prunes
1 T honey
½ T lemon juice

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine almond, brown rice and sweet rice flour and salt and xanthan gum.
In a smaller bowl, combine oil, agave, vanilla and water. Add egg mixture.
Mix wet ingredients into dry. Form a dough ball with your hands.
Divide dough into 18-22 round pieces.
Chill dough in refrigerator 1 hour.
Heat prunes and enough water to cover to boiling in 2-quart saucepan; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes; drain well. Mash prunes. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Roll out each piece of dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper ¼ – ½ inch thick, shaping into circles.
Make a light indentation with your forefinger in the center of each circle.
Drop 1 teaspoon of prune filling into the center of each circle.
Fold the dough in to create 3 sides; pinch each of the 3 corners to form a triangle shaped cookie.
Take half the cookies and bake at 350° for 12 minutes until cookies are golden brown around the edges.
Then bake the other half. Makes 18-22 cookies.

About Lisa Velick

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