Read about Russian food products that are great health boosters because of their nutrients – buckwheat, lingonberries, rose hips and zucchini caviar.
Gluten-free whole grain buckwheat is an amazing super healthy product. There are only several similar groats that can serve as a tasty garnish and are good for you – and buckwheat is one of them. For instance, if you are aware of your diet you will have to control your consumption of white rice, couscous – not to mention fries – but buckwheat will give you a perfect side dish full of vitamins and nutrients
There are some of the buckwheat health benefits:
- it’s gluten free
- it helps maintain blood flow and thus is good for cardiovascular system
- it is linked to lowering risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure
- it has antioxidant properties
- it is low in calories (1 cup of cooked groats contains 155 calories – fat not added in cooking)
This is a diagram of nutrients in Buckwheat as given on the site www.whfoods.com The world’s healthiest foods
You can read more on the site The world’s healthiest food by following the link: Buckwheat.
HOW TO COOK
The healthy properties of buckwheat are very well known in Russia and buckwheat porridge (known as kasha) is a popular meal.
You can have kasha for breakfast, or use as a side dish.
You will need:
1/2 cups Buckwheat
1 cup water
Butter to taste
Rinse buckwheat thoroughly under running water and remove any debris or any black seeds. Add water and salt, and bring to boil leaving the lid slightly open. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Switch off the heat, add and mix in some butter, cover with the lid and leave for 10 minutes
* Tip#1: You can have it with zucchini caviar paste, this will be an amazing diet meal!
* Tip#2: Once kasha cools down you can mix it with milk to get a healthy buckwheat snack.
* Tip#3: You can cool the boiled buckwheat and then mix it with milk for a healthy buckwheat snack.
Similar to cranberries, lingonberries are quite tart on their own, but mashed with sugar or honey they can be a great component for various drinks, smoothies, sauces or jams. The resulting taste is an intricate balance between sweet and sharp and can accompany both desserts or game or poulty dishes.
Lingonberries (Rus. Брусника, “brusnika”) are known under many names (foxberry, cowberry, mountain cranberry, in German – Preiselbeere, in Dutch – rode bosbes). These berries are popular in many countries, especially Nordic and Baltic countries, where people know the health benefits and great nutritional properties of those berries, often collected in the wild. According to Wikipedia“ the berries contain plentiful organic acids, vitamin C, vitamin A (as beta carotene), B vitamins (B1, B2, B3), and the elements potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. In addition to these nutrients, they also contain phytochemicals that are thought to counteract urinary-tract infections, and the seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.” That explains why these berries are commonly used in folk medicine.
To get a better idea about the benefit of vitamins B, have a look at this infographic :
(Courtesy of www.northwestpharmacy.com. More info about vitamins can be found in this Chart of Vitamin Rich Foods)
You can keep the pack of lingonberries in your freezer and quickly thaw the desired amount of these berries by just pouring some warm water over them for a few minutes. Mash and mix with sugar and a quick jam full of goodness is ready to be served with your porridge, pancakes and other desserts.
Another product you can get from these berries is a traditional Russian soft drink “Lingonberry water” (брусничная вода). Here’s the quick recipe:
Lingoberries – 400g
Boiled water – 2 litres
Honey – 2 tbs
Clove – 1
Thaw and wash the berries, remove any leaves. Boil the water, when it’s still hot add the honey, stir to melt, and let it cool. Add the clove and the berries and leave the mix to infuse for 2 weeks in a dark place, and then you can put it to the fridge. Once the drink has been consumed, you can reuse the berries, pouring water with honey and infusing it again.
This is not only a home-made organic substitute to lemonades and fizzy drinks full of sugar, additives and food dyes, but also a product full of vitamins and health benefits.
Another traditional Russian drink using lingonberries is “lingonberry mors” – one of the many morses, soft berry drinks.
Gift of Nature to boost your health
ROSE HIPS TEA
Rose hips tea is quite popular in Russia both for its aroma and health benefits. It is especially popular during winter times to boost up immune system and not to fall a victim of a cold.
WHY IS ROSE HIPS TEA GOOD FOR YOU
Rose hips (Rus. shipovnik) make delicious natural tea of refreshing aroma and slightly tangy taste.
Rose hips are particularly high in vitamin C content, it is one of the richest plant sources available. This is where the tangy taste comes from and this is why this tea is perfect to strengthen your immune system.
Rose hips also contain vitamin A and B, essential fatty acids and have antioxidant properties.
It is also especially easy to make this tea, all you need is rose hips, vacuum flask, water and some time for the tea to brew.
HOW TO MAKE ROSE HIPS TEA
Rinse a handful of rose hips, put into the vacuum flask and cover with boiled water. Let it infuse over night, and in the morning you can enjoy healthy natural tea.
You can sweeten this tea with honey.
Vegetable squash pastes are very popular in Russia, their high-scale production in the USSR started in 1930s and nowadays jars of various vegetable “caviars” can be found in every Russian shop.
Zucchini caviar is perhaps the most popular one. It is a blended mixture of baked or boiled zucchinis, tomatoes, carrots and onions.
Russian zucchini caviar is a low-calorie product (around 78 calories per 100 gram) and is full of goodness – vitamins B and C, carotene and dietary minerals. This healthy product is also very tasty and can be eaten as a bread spread or served as a side dish. Another similar product is aubergine caviar.
Sea-buckthorns are bright orange edible berries that can be used to make delicious fresh jam of unique sharp flavour.
Rip berries teem on branches of a sun-loving shrub that naturally grows in mountainous regions. Several domestic species have been cultivated that exceed the wild plant in the size of berries and their properties and this tree is very popular in Russian gardens or private lots for growing home vegetables and fruits.
Sea-buckthorn contains 15 times more vitamin C than oranges which places this tiny orange fruit among the most enriched plant sources of vitamin C (perhaps, only rose hips could compete). The high content of this vitamin accounts for quite a tangy taste of berries – you wouldn’t want to eat them on their own – but mixing it with sweeter substances like apple or grape juice to reduce the astringency certainly pays off both in taste and goodness.
Sea-bucktorn is rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (the same fatty acids you get from eating fish) which are essential to good health and play a crucial role in brain function.
The berries have high content in Omega 7 that help with weight loss and cholesterol control and is important for healthy clear skin. Also, “beauty” vitamins A and E can also be found in abundance in these wonderful little berries.
This richness in goodness can explain why sea-buckthorn is finding their way into many nutraceutical products on the market today.
You can buy those frozen berries in Russian shops, and actually the freezing helps reduce the astringency. You can use the berries for your smoothies and make very quick food condiment or dessert sauces.
5 min sea-buckthorn dip/dessert sauce
½ glass of frozen sea-buckthorns
splash of water
1 tablespoon sugar
1. Put the buckthorns in a glass, fill it up with water and let the berries defrost for several minutes. Pour the water out, wash the berries and put them into a blender.
2. Add a splash of water and sugar, blitz up. Sieve to remove pulp and seeds and enjoy.
This will be great with pancakes, blini or syrniki. The sharp and rich taste will add a new elegant note to a sweet meal.