Dip into hummus for a hearty, healthful treat

If you keep hearing about hummus but are too busy to find out what it is and why it’s good, we have answers for you.
Its main ingredient is garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. Doesn’t sound too appetizing? Just try hummus as a pita chip dip or spread it on crackers and celery sticks, and you could change your mind.
Historians at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem think the humble chickpea’s nutritional benefits are one of the reasons civilization developed in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia. Chickpeas include tryptophan, which improves performance when under stress, and may have improved brain function those 11,000 years ago.
We’re not claiming that hummus has done any of that, but chickpeas are a source of good carbohydrates, vitamins, and zinc and have a low fat content. Most dieters will find that hummus is a perfect snack and a good addition to a low-calorie eating plan.
And it’s good for children. Spread on celery or crackers, it’s better for kids than store-bought spreads and dips.            Sometimes spelled hummis instead of hummus, the Thai version, called bi tahini, includes sesame seed paste and coriander. Some recipes call for many ingredients.
For a tasty addition to a vegetable tray that includes cut-up broccoli and cauliflower, there’s no need to assemble exotic components. Just try this easy recipe. You can alter it to your personal taste by increasing or decreasing the olive oil and the jalapenos. Add more of the reserved liquid for a smoother dip.
Easy hummus
Drain a 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Save the liquid.
Add 2 ounces of fresh sliced jalapeno peppers, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and a teaspoon of olive oil (can be left out of the recipe).
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients with 1 tablespoon of the reserved bean liquid and blend until smooth.
This recipe makes 2 cups.

Jams and jellies boast a noble lineage

Jams and jelliesEver since Roman chef Marcus Gavius Apicius recorded his recipe for fruit preserves in the first century, people have been enjoying jams and jellies on baked goods and morning toast.
And why not?  Jams and Jellies are not only a quick source of energy (and one that goes great with peanut butter), but also a relatively low-calorie spread for bread.  According to the International Jelly and Preserve Association, a tablespoon of butter has 102 calories and 12 grams of fat.  But a tablespoon of jelly has only 48 calories and zero fat.
In the U.S., Jerome Smucker  in 1897 began the company that would eventually come to be associated with sweet jams and jellies. In that year, he founded an Ohio cider mill to press apples and make apple butter. Early Ohio settlers thought apple trees essential to survival since they provided a nutritious  snack and could be used for drinks, like cider, and apple butter, which was easy to store.
In 1917, the founder of another famous name in jams and jellies got the first patent on grape jam. Paul Welch sold his recipe for “grapelade” to the U.S. Army and it was a hit among soldiers. Today, 28 flavors of jams and jellies lead the market in North America.

Crabapple jelly
without pectin
8 cups fresh crabapples
Sufficient water to cover crabapples
3 cups white sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Crabapple has natural pectin so you don’t really need anything to help it set up although some recipes call for it
Remove stems and blossoms from the crabapples and cut apples into quarters. Put them in large pan and with water sufficient to cover apples, but not make them float. Bring to boil then simmer with cinnamon stick for 15 minutes until the apples are soft.
Strain the apples and juice through 2 or 3 layers of cheese cloth until you have  4 cups of clear juice. Discard pulp.Pour the juice back into the pan.  Cook at simmer for 10 minutes. Skim off foam. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Cook on low boil to 220 to 222 degrees F.
Pour into small jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in hot water bath to seal. The jelly will take a while, maybe more than a day or so, to set up. So be patient! More recipes: allrecipes.com