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News day / Perhaps, they might consider preparing a pineapple bowl, pies, pickles, sponge cakes, coconut sweet bread and “Trini” black cake. Add to that fresh fruit salad, ginger beer, banana muffins, carrot cake, coconut tarts, sorrel drink, whole wheat/white bread and much more.

For some of these delicious treats, you may wish to include local preserves from mango, citrus fruits, watermelon, papaya, etc.

In some cases the meal manager can incorporate breadfruit flour, sweet potato flour, and cornmeal in the preparation of savoury and sweet dishes.

Preparing preserves The preparation of local preserves can be so much fun, as the entire family or members of household work together in making guava cheese, orange marmalade, fruit spreads, sorrel jam, and much more.

Some individuals perhaps might remember working with grandma or auntie in the kitchen to prepare red mango, curry mango, kuchela, tamarind balls, toolum, khurma, sugar cake, candied papaya, mixed peel among others.

Whatever the case, preparing home-made sweets that can be served as treats, or even preserves to be incorporated into baked products may more than likely decrease cost and help you to save a few dollars during the holiday season.

Always remember that preserving surplus produce can be beneficial; but, much more besides reducing the food bill, your efforts can contribute to food and nutrition security within households or communities, as well as easy access and continued availability of selected food items.

Some examples of local and foreign foods usually preserved and available on today’s market are tomato sauce, mango jam, pineapple chunks, ginger pieces, citrus fruits, papaya, watermelon pieces, apple sauce, dried fruits e.g. pear, plums, peaches, and apricots.

In the process of preservation, foods may be dried or dehydrated, bottled, canned, salted, blanched and frozen; as well as, some meal managers can choose to prepare jams, jellies, and marmalades.

According to Labensky and Hause (2007) presently consumers, chefs, and caterers, benefit from the implementation of modern food preservation, processing, storage, and transportation techniques which have made both fresh and exotic foods readily available.

Also, with the development of pre-packaged and prepared convenience foods some of which are quite good, help to save time during meal preparation and usually give meal managers, caterers and chefs, greater flexibility.

Generally, in food preservation they seek to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi (such as yeasts), and other micro-organisms, as well as retard the oxidation of fats which contributes to rancidity.

The goal is to keep food safe for use, be it fresh or preserved.

Helpful hints Include preserved food items on the menu.

Menu planning is an essential step in meal management; this important principle can be applied as one seeks to prepare meals and snacks for the season.

Use the Caribbean Food Groups as a guide; include foods from all food groups in your meal plan.

Local foods such as breadnut, cassava, dasheen, yam, plantain, corn and corn products (cornmeal), green banana, dasheen leaves, pak choy, pommecythere (golden apple), and banana, just to list a few can be part of the menu.

Prepare nutritious meals and tasty snacks that are inexpensive should be your aim; these food items selected should aid individuals in meeting their daily nutritional requirements.

A few recipes to try (Naparima Girl’s High School Cookbook Updated & Revised, 2002)

Mango Nut Bread

2 cups sifted flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt ½ tsp baking soda

1 cup chopped nuts

1 beaten egg

1 cup chopped nuts (peanuts or walnuts)

1 beaten egg

2 tbsp melted margarine

1 cup mango sauce

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda; add nuts. In a large bowl combine egg, margarine and mango sauce. Add flour mixture; stir until just blended.

Pour into a large, greased 9”x5” loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Cool in a pan for 10 minutes. Remove and cool overnight before slicing.

Yield: 1 loaf – 8 slices

Mango Sauce

Put in a blender 1 ½ cups chopped firm, ripe mango with 1 teaspoon lime juice and 2 tablespoon water, puree until smooth.

Pineapple Bars

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 oz margarine

2 eggs

1 tbsp milk

1 can crushed pineapple, drained (20 oz)

2 tbsp melted margarine

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup flaked coconut

1 tsp vanilla

Sift flour and baking powder.

Cut in margarine until mixture is crumbly. Beat 1 egg with milk; stir into flour mixture and blend well.

Spread over bottom of 8-inch square pan; pressing firmly.

Spread pineapple over top.

Beat remaining 1 egg thoroughly; stir in melted margarine, sugar, coconut and vanilla.

Spread this topping over pineapple. B ake in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 35-40 minutes.

Cool and cut in squares or bars.

Claudette Mitchell, PhD, RD is an assistant professor University of the Southern Caribbean, School of Science, Technology, and Allied Health

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