The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.
by Lauren Klatsky
This recipe was a hit at our recent cooking class and now we share it with all of you who were not able to attend.
Strawberry Kanten is a fruity, refreshing treat on a warm summer day. Kanten is a jello-like dish made with agar-agar (see note below)Ö a seaweed product, instead of animal-derived gelatin. This version features strawberries, which are just reaching their peak and are now readily available in most health food stores and farmerís markets.
Strawberries are high in vitamin C and supply folate and potassium. Like other berries, they contain phytochemicals, which function as potent antioxidants. Antioxidants bind to free radicals, thereby preventing disease and slowing the aging process. Preliminary data also suggests that strawberries may prevent cancer of the esophagus and colon.
All berries, and especially strawberries, are healthier when organically grown. Pesticides are readily absorbed by the berry and cannot be washed away.
1 quart apple juice
1/4 cup agar flakes
1 pint berries* (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, boysenberries, or mixed berries)
2 tablespoons maple syrup, optional
1. Place the agar flakes and one pint of apple juice in a saucepan and allow agar to soak for 10 - 15 minutes.
2. Wash and hull berries.
3. Puree berries with the remaining apple juice and maple syrup, if desired in a blender. Set aside.
4. Bring agar-apple juice mixture to a boil then turn down heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until all agar is dissolved (be patient!).
5. When all the agar is dissolved, allow the juice mixture to cool slightly, and then pour it into the blender with the pureed berries. Blend briefly to combine.
6. Pour contents of blender into a medium-sized glass baking dish or individual parfait cups and allow to cool in the refrigerator until the kanten sets up.
If kanten was chilled in a baking dish, cut into portion-sized squares. Garnish with additional berries and whipped tofu product or nut creme.
Note: Agar is a product of several species of dried seaweeds, known as "agarophytes," used as a vegetarian gelling agent in place of animal-based gelatin. It is tasteless and comes in several forms: bars, flakes and powders. This recipe calls for agar flakes, which are readily available at most health food stores. One tablespoon of flakes should be used per cup of liquid (amount of agar may need to be increased if using an acidic liquid like citrus or pineapple juice). Refer to package instructions if you purchase agar in its powdered or bar forms.
* Organic or wild berries are preferable. Only organic strawberries should be eaten as conventionally grown ones contain high levels of pesticide residue.
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