Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My New Favorite Candy, Oh!

The Cars were a great band that came out of Boston.  Their second album Candy-O - and the title song - is one that carries a lot of great memories for me.  It is definitely part of the soundtrack of my life.

A while back, I posted an entry about Papaya Pepper.  I had taken the seeds from a fresh papaya, soaked them, dried them, and ground them into a substance that looks just like pepper.  If you haven't already, I invite you to read that original post.

Not too long ago, I discovered my new favorite 'candy.'  While it isn't truly candy at all, I really like chewing on some dehydrated papaya.  Today, I took a trip to I.O.N..  As we are planning to spend Friday night and Saturday away from home, I wanted to get some things that were easily packed as snacks but also healthy.  I bought some raw pumpkin seeds (currently soaking in filtered water, sea salt, and dried, ground pepper from our garden) to make pepitas, some raw almonds (will be soaking while the pepitas are drying tomorrow), some newly discovered Organic Stadium-Style Hot Dogs (more on these later!), and some dried papaya.

Raw, hulled pumpkin seeds soaking.
Bagged, dried papaya.
I.O.N. also operates a restaurant, so I am not sure if they prepare this papaya themselves - I keep forgetting to ask - but it is packaged like something you would buy at a deli - no frills, no fancy label.  Unlike most dried fruit, it is not coated with sugar and has not been treated with sulfur.  It is just dried papaya cut into nice serving size pieces.  Because it still has a significant quantity of endogenous sugar, I really do treat this as a candy-type treat by limiting my consumption of it.  Sulfur - specifically the ion, sulfite - is used as a preservative in dried fruits.
According to WebMD:
Sulfites are a group of sulfur-based compounds that may occur naturally or may be added to food as an enhancer and preservative. The FDA estimates that one out of 100 people is sensitive to the compounds. A person can develop sensitivity to sulfites at any time in life, and the cause of sensitivity is unknown. For a person who is sensitive to sulfites, a reaction can be mild or life threatening.
...definitely something best avoided.

What I wasn't expecting to buy was the package of hot dogs.  I happened to be looking through the freezer section to see if there was anything that might be suitable for The Maker's Diet when I saw these.  The term 'Organic' jumped out at me causing me to take a closer look.  What sold me, however, was the fact that these hot dogs are made from 100% grass fed and finished beef!  The only concern that I have is with the casing.  Neither the package nor the website indicate that there even is a casing.  I just want to be sure that these are not made in a pork casing.  The hot dogs are sold by Applegate Farms.  There are two similar hot dogs listed on their website - the Organic Stadium-Style Hot Dogs (that I bought) and the Great Organic Hot Dog.  Both of these are made from grass fed/finished beef.  Neither product description mentions the casing.  On the product page for the latter, there is a link to a New York Times article.  The article talks about a cellulose casing that is removed prior to packaging.  My only question is if this applies to both products.  The article also has a sidebar that talks about cooking hot dogs that don't have a casing.  The only reason that I am confused is that one of the reviews on the former product's page mentions the casing.  I have sent an email to Applegate Farms with my question, so hopefully I will know soon.  If they turn out to have a pork casing, well, I will probably eat them anyway but I won't buy them again.

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