No Ads For Sugary Drinks

Those advertisements are too annoying. About three fourths of the broadcast were ads. The movie was too short and even cut shorter in the end. I barely understood what I intended to watch. What imprinted to my mind was the toothpaste brand that was repeatedly screened. Come to think of it, it was their ultimate motive. Show the product to watching public again and again until people perceived the brand as product itself. Buying in the name of Colgate when what we really want is Close-Up. Force our mind into something that we don’t usually do. If we feel thirst, drink cola. If we feel hunger then prepare instant noodles. If we want pack snack and lunch we sort to instant juice drink and packaged biscuits.

The government, in hope to battle the health issues caused by sugary drinks put a levy on such. If manufacturers pass the extra cost to consumer shoulder, with 100% expectation, then many may discontinue buying. Those target mostly class D market. Price increase is sure a big blow.

Wait! People buy base on what? They buy base on what they deem is popular. What their idol endorsed. Even if it is of not nutritional value. Products which targets child population are much harder to handle. What do you usually do if your kids want something and playing tantrums? Just give in to put the scene on halt.

So non stop ads is part of the problem. Such junks if not popular and bearing high price tags won’t catch people attention much. FYI, Public Health of England is implementing such. Any drinks that they find with too much sugar have their ads regulated.

Trying the Odd Cold Sugar Preservation Method on Balimbing Fruits

When I said cold sugar preservation, it literally mean trying to preserve balimbing in sugar or sugar solution under refrigerated temperature. Sounds crazy?

Sugar preserves food by making the water in… unavailable for microbial growth. The water molecules are still inside but are bound to sugar particles and cannot be grabbed by microbes. Cold temperature slows down the fruit natural physiological process resulting to extended shelf life. However, my target is to make it shelf stable  after taking out of fridge.

Here are the balimbing and balimbing slices drenched in white sugar crystals before refrigeration. Fruits are not visible as they are completely covered with sugar.

fresh balimbing in sugar crystalswhite sugar on pp boxHere are the balimbing and balimbing slices soaked in 60 °Brix sugar solution before refrigeration.

fresh balimbing in 60 syrupbalimbing slices in 60 brix sugarIt is expected, the sugar granules / syrup will draw out the water from fruit rapidly, resulting to individual cell collapse and fruit collapse in the end. The right thing to do is soak it in series of increasing syrup concentration. This facilitates the slow travel of syrup in and out thus maintaining fruit shape.

I want a shortcut balimbing and balimbing slices soaked in strong syrup / sugar crystals. Storing it in refrigerator might slow down the process of sugar and liquid exchange and maintains fruit shape.

After few days, the results of thin balimbing slices soaked in heavy syrup and sugar crystals. The slices shriveled as the sugar drew out the fruit water. It became chewy, sour and slightly sweet. It is not the result I wanted however.

syrup heavy balimbing slicesliquified sugar shrivelled balimbing slices starThe results of balimbing slices in heavy syrup and sugar. Only the two cut ends were shriveled. Almost 90 percent of the fruit was still plumb. Looks promising but I am sure it will get all shriveled if left stored longer.

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Update as of February 26, 2013

The whole balimbing in syrup. Gained faded color and firm texture but no improvement in organoleptic properties.

balimbing syrup after storageThe whole balimbing in sugar crystal. Almost the same as above but there are fungi growth on top. Sensory tasting is not possible.

mold growth on balimbing sugar

Measuring Soft Drinks Sugar Content /// Again!

Are you still interested in measuring soft drink sugar content and visualize it into tablespoons? I started a post about these on year 2010 but unable to continue due to unavailability of refractometer – a simple hand-held instrument use to measure sugar content. The instrument is within my reach again and I am thinking if I am going to continue my halted activity.

atago hand-held refractometerBefore, I did a refractometer measurement of Cobra Energy Drink and other popular soft drinks. After a quick conversion (for the Cobra only), I arrived at sugar content of 43.2 grams or 3 1/2 tablespoon. However, the bottle label was telling the otherwise. The total carbohydrate it contain was 39 grams. A 4.2 grams difference. Note that this reading was made on year 2010.

cobra energy drink greenI did a sugar reading again using refractometer (year 2013). I got 18 degree Brix or roughly 18%. Then, 240 ml multiplied by 18% was equal to 43.2. The same reading as above.

Were my very own readings more precise and accurate? I think I need more research about refractometer, degree brix and soluble solids.

I think it is still worth the effort… I am going to do measurement as popular beverages cross my hand.

what not to take when having dry cough | Doctor's advice

Let as admit it, we often resort to home remedies when having dry cough. The common remedy methods often originated from relatives, home, tradition, books, experiences and internet. It may or may not be effective depending on type and severity of symptoms.  It even worsen the illness sometimes.

According to doctor’s advice, the following should not be taken when suffering from dry cough.

1) Anything sweet. Pure sugar, honey, candies, menthol candies and sore throat lozenges such as Strepsils.

2) Hot and lukewarm water. This includes hot coffee, tea and hot soups.

3) Anything salty. The pure salt, mixture of water and salt, salty junk foods and salty dishes.

4) Any fruits. The real reason is not clear but I think it is related to sweetness. The sweet orange and astringent calamansi are included in listing.

5) Anything cold. It simply worsen cough. Like entering a air conditioned room and cold places.

The reasons to refrain taking items one to four – They tend to dry the throat more resulting to more irritation, pain and coughing. Many websites are recommending items one to three. They were also include in my previous articles, “What am I taking to cure sore throat and cough“, “Roasted Calamansi, Heavy Sugar Syrup and cough” and “Pointers and Myths While Experiencing Common Colds and Cough“.

The doctor’s advice is to take a sip of plain drinking water frequently. Water moisten the throat relieving irritation, pain and coughing.  If symptoms persist see him in her office for proper prescription.

Spices such as onion, ginger, cayenne pepper and turmeric can be taken as first aid only. Their effect wear out immediately when the hot spicy sensation ceases. Spices only mask irritation. It never take it away.

Pointers and Myths While Experiencing Common Colds and Cough

Do not drink cold water. Your colds never stops because you continue to drink cold water. Mom and others is always telling me the previous sentence whenever I catch colds. I heard from conversation that virus and bacteria love cold conditions. They multiply fast whenever a glass of ice cold water pass through the mouth. Maybe true and may be not. However, I am experiencing hard to stop cough and a runny nose whenever the weather gets very cold at night or I am inside an air conditioned room.

Get enough sleep and rest. Perhaps you have been noticing, we often catch colds and cough whenever we are sleep deprived. It is obvious that our immune system is going down. Go to bed early to get enough sleep and rest.

Drink plenty of water. There is no real medicine for common colds. Not sure if it still holds true until now! Doctor’s advise is to drink plenty of water and get enough rest.

Do not eat sugary foods. Simply because sugar increases mucus production. The more mucus the more liquid sent to throat and more coughing. Different websites have different opinion about this. Taking honey as cough cure contradicts this matter.

Do not eat camote/sweet potato. I laughed loudly about this. I ate boiled camote and suffered too much coughing few hours after. Maybe it was just a coincidence.

If symptoms persist, consult your doctor. Do not try to endure it for too long. Expert advice and prescription will help a lot.

update as of June 29, 2012. Please see “What not to take when having dry cough| Doctor’s Advice“.

How To Make Santol Peels Candy

This is an extension and a modified version of sweetened santol peels, the sweetened dried santol peels or the santol peels candy.

Step by step…

1) Wash santol. This is necessary cause the rough outer skin will be included. Wash thoroughly to remove all adhering dirts.

2) Cut to halves taking care not to cut the seeds. Santol seeds are extremely bitter. Chewing such was one of the punishment during our COCC ROTC training. I guessed it’s not poisonous cause all of us are still alive and kicking.

3) Scoop out the seeds and the soft part of the rind. Use it for making santol enzyme or santol wine.

soaking santol rind in water

4) Soak the rind in clean water to prevent too much browning reaction. Slice it thinly, about three to five millimeter thick to facilitate rapid sugar absorption during cooking.

weighing santol peel slices

5) In a pan, add 500 ml water, 250 grams brown sugar and 250 grams sliced peels. Let boil over low flame for 40 minutes or until half part of the rind become translucent. The part starting from rough outer skin toward the middle is harder. More time is needed for sugar to penetrate this part.

boiling santol peels in syrup

6) Drain excess syrup. Arrange the slices in trays and dry under the sun for two to three days.

draining excess syrup

sun drying santol peels

The excess syrup has sweet and sour taste. Use it for:

a) juice – as sweetener for other fruit juice or just dilute it with enough water to achieve the right blend.

b) cooking second batch – Get the soluble solid reading before and after cooking. Do the MATH and adjust accordingly.

and c) …

Note: Removing the superficial outer skin is an option. See, “A Way to Remove Santol Superficial Skin”.