Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

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A closer look at yogurt- Saturday, September 9, 2017

Yogurt has always been a popular snack here in the United States, but the past decade or so has seen a rapid expansion in the varieties (or styles) of yogurt being sold. We now have Icelandic and Greek style yogurts available alongside traditional yogurt, in addition to yogurt drinks like kefir, which offer people the many benefits of yogurt without the need of a spoon.

While variations on yogurt exist (and we will discuss those differences later), all yogurt varieties are made in roughly the same way. The only initial difference is in the type of bacteria used in the fermentation process. There are two varieties, thermophilic (warm loving) bacteria and mesophilic (cool loving). The thermophilic bacteria cultures at 110 degrees F, while the mesophilic variety cultures at about 70-77 degrees F. Both work in the same way: The bacteria consume the lactose in milk and converts that lactose to lactic acid, which is what gives yogurt its tangy flavor. The lactic acid also lowers the pH of the milk -- allowing it to be stored for longer periods -- and changes the protein structure, resulting in its yogurt's thickened texture.

Greek Yogurt VS. Regular Yogurt

The only significant difference between standard yogurt and Greek lies in the straining process. To make Greek yogurt, regular yogurt is strained extensively to remove more of the liquid whey and lactose to create a thicker texture. Aside from the mouth-feel, Greek yogurt boasts substantial nutritional differences from regular yogurt as well: It contains twice the protein and half the sodium and carbohydrates, which is great, but it also has three times the saturated fat...not so good.

Icelandic Yogurt

Also known as skyr, this style of yogurt is essentially a step up from Greek as far as processing. The straining process is a bit more thorough, with even more whey being extracted. The result is a much more less tart and more dense yogurt – one that will practically stick to your spoon like batter. Tradtionally, skyr is made with nonfat yogurt, while Greek yogurt is typically derived from full-fat varieties (although in the American market, non- or low-fat varieties are also popular).

So, what about kefir?

Kefir has a tart and refreshing flavor similar to yogurt and the culturing process is similar, but it contains beneficialyeast as well as the probiotics (friendly bacteria) found in yogurt. Kefir can be made from any type of milk, but cow and goat's milk varieties are the most common.

Kefir is made from gelatinous white or yellow particles called "grains." This makes kefir unique, as no other milk culture forms grains. These grains contain the bacteria/yeast mixture clumped together with casein (milk proteins) and complex sugars. They look like pieces of coral or small clumps of cauliflower and range from the size of a grain of wheat to that of a hazelnut. The grains ferment the milk, incorporating their friendly organisms to create the cultured product. The grains are then removed with a strainer before consumption of the kefir. -- kefir.net

Health benefits of yogurt and yogurt products

Yogurt can aid in digestion - Yogurt is made by bacterial fermentation of milk, a process that may boost digestive health because it produces the same good bacteria found in the gut. These useful bacteria are referred to as probiotics and, in additional to assisting with regular digestion, are known to help reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel and relieve abdominal pain and gas.

Yogurt can help boost your immunity - According to some studies, the probiotics in yogurt can help enhance immunity, possibly by producing more infection-fighting white blood cells.

Yogurt can help with blood pressure - Yogurt is rich in potassium, which is known to help lower blood pressure. It is also critical for enabling the heart to beat properly.

Yogurt contains lots of vitamins and minerals – One serving of yogurt contains fair to high amounts of potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B5, zinc and riboflavin. It is also rich in B12, which is necessary for maintaining red blood cells, and aids in nervous system function.

Sweet, refreshing cantaloupe- Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Everyone has their favorite summer melon. For most, the watermelon has become iconic; look at stock photos of picnicking families and you will see it frequently, often alongside sandwiches, hot dogs or burgers. The reality is, come warm weather watermelon is available everywhere, and it dominates the produce department from May all the way through August. But the second most recognizable melon, the cantaloupe, is available year-round and never goes out of style. Unlike its more watery cousin, the cantaloupe is popular because its flesh is similarly sweet but much more dense, making it far better for recipes and anyone who prefers to bite into a firmer fruit.

[info courtesy of nutrition-and-you.com & organicfacts.net]

Many varieties of cantaloupes are grown all over the world. However, two common types have become popular in the western world. The European cantaloupe (Cucumis melo cantalupensis) derives its name from the Italian papal village of "Cantalup" and features lightly-ribbed, pale green skin that looks quite different from the North American cantaloupe. Galia melon and charentais belong to this category. North American cantaloupe (Cucumis melo reticulatus), famous in the United States and some parts of Canada, is named reticulatus due to its net-like (or reticulated) skin covering.

In general, cantaloupe fruits feature round or oblong shape, measure 4.5- 6.5 inches in diameter and weigh 1-2 pounds. Internally, its flesh color ranges from orange-yellow to salmon, has a soft consistency and juicy texture with a sweet, musky aroma that emanates best in the completely ripe fruits.

What's so great about cantaloupes?

They help boost the immune system. Cantaloupes not only have the beta-carotene and phytochemicals working in its favor against free radicals, but also a healthy dose of vitamin-C. Vitamin C similarly scavenges disease-causing free radicals and act as an important line of defense for a healthy immune system. Also, vitamin-C stimulates the production of white blood cells, which seek out and destroy dangerous bacteria, viruses, and other toxic substances.

Cantaloupes may help in preventing cancer. Cantaloupes are rich sources of beneficial nutrients, including beta-Carotene, an essential carotenoid that the body requires and a powerful antioxidant. It has been linked to reduced chances of a number of different types of cancer, and the phytochemicals present in fresh fruit like cantaloupes have also been linked to anti-tumor behavior.

Cantaloupes contain substances which are known to help maintain eye health. Cantaloupes contain carotenoids, which are associated with a reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, as is the vitamin-C content of cantaloupes.

Cantaloupes have a high amount of dietary fiber, which is an essential component of healthy bowel movements and digestive health. Eating a proper amount of dietary fiber can bulk up your stool and reduce your chances of becoming constipated, and can make your bowel movements more regular and consistent. By insuring a smooth flow through your digestive tract and colon, you reduce your risk of colorectal cancer and other dangerous gastrointestinal conditions.

Eating cantaloupes is good for your skin. Cantaloupes are wonderful places to find beta-carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin-A. The body converts the beta-carotene into vitamin-A, which enters the skin and stimulates the membranes of skin cells and increases regrowth and repair.

They help reduce stress and anxiety. Potassium is one of the essential nutrients found in cantaloupes. Potassium has been shown to relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Excited levels of blood pressure can act as a stressor on the body, and can even induce the release of stress hormones like cortisol. Potassium also increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain and reduce the presence of stress hormones in the body, which can seriously reduce symptoms of anxiety.

The phytochemicals in cantaloupe also have anti-inflammatory qualities. This means that having a proper amount of cantaloupe in your diet can help prevent oxidative stress on your joints and bones, thereby reducing inflammation. Chronic inflammation of these vital areas can lead to conditions like arthritis.

Cantaloupe Recipes

There are plenty of ways to consume cantaloupe aside from raw... Not that there is anything wrong with a nice, juicy slice or cube of cantaloupe. However, eating raw cantaloupe is common; most of us have enjoyed melon slices and fruit salad numerous times over the courses of our lives. Consider this an opportunity to experiment a little with this wonderful fruit, rather than doing the same old thing!


Grilled Sea Bass with Cantaloupe-Lime Salsa

Chicken Cantaloupe Salad

Cantaloupe and Blueberries with Vanilla Sauce

Easy Fruit Tarts

Cold Melon Soup