Triangle Rabbits of North Carolina Now Stocking Bunny Biscotti

The smart bunnies of the Research Triangle did their research and decided they want Bunny Biscotti Hay Treats! Triangle Rabbits of central North Carolina now sells Bunny Biscotti at their events. They sold out at the first event before we even had a chance to post this.

We had to revise our labels to meet the North Carolina State Agriculture standards, so be on the look out for the new look as it rolls out. Below is the label for our treats with apples (Washington, of course!) and blueberries.

180227-blue fr

They currently stock the Banana treats and the Apple with Blueberries treats.

Find Triangle Rabbits at  Facebook, MeetUp, and Twitter.

Bunny-Palooza 2016

Bunfectionary will be at Bunny-Palooza again this year in Hillsboro, OR. Rabbit Advocates has  put together its second festival of the bunnies at the same location outside of Portland, OR.

Saturday, November 5, 2016
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Washington County Fairgrounds
Cloverleaf Building
802 NE 28th Avenue
Hillsboro, OR 97124

We will have all the favorite Bunny Biscotti flavors: Carrot & Fennel, Carrot & Raisin, Banana, Floral Bouquet, Pineapple & Mint, Beet & Mint, and our four berry and apple flavors: Strawberry & Mint, Blackberry & Mint, Cranberry & Mint, and Blueberry & Mint. We also will have double the number of the popular Variety Boxes that we had last year.

You can read a bit more about Bunfectionary in the Rabbit Advocates’ Spring 2016 newsletter.

Be sure to introduce yourself!

Washing veggies in hot water helps preserve them?

I admit it: I am still trying to wrap my head around this. How can hot water help preserve the raw veggies on my bunnies’ plates? I hate seeing how much can go to waste if I have to feed the guys a lot more than usual (e.g., leaving the house for more than 18 hours). Lettuce wilts and sticks to the plate, the carrots get mushy, and the fennel browns and hardens. So it was exciting to find this idea at the Modernist Cuisine site.

Food scientists, however, have discovered a remarkably effective way to extend the life of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables by days or even a week. It doesn’t involve the chlorine solutions, irradiation or peroxide baths sometimes used by produce packagers. And it’s easily done in any home by anyone.

This method, called heat-shocking, is 100 percent organic and uses just one ingredient that every cook has handy – hot water.

You may already be familiar with a related technique called blanching, a cooking method in which food is briefly dunked in boiling or very hot water. Blanching can extend the shelf life of broccoli and other plant foods, and it effectively reduces contamination by germs on the surface of the food. But blanching usually ruptures the cell walls of plants, causing color and nutrients to leach out. It also robs delicate produce of its raw taste.

Heat-shocking works differently. When the water is warm but not scalding – temperatures ranging from 105 F to 140 F (about 40 C to 60 C) work well for most fruits and vegetables – a brief plunge won’t rupture the cells. Rather, the right amount of heat alters the biochemistry of the tissue in ways that, for many kinds of produce, firm the flesh, delay browning and fading, slow wilting, and increase mold resistance.

A long list of scientific studies published during the past 15 years report success using heat-shocking to firm potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and strawberries; to preserve the color of asparagus, broccoli, green beans, kiwi fruits, celery, and lettuce; to fend off overripe flavors in cantaloupe and other melons; and to generally add to the longevity of grapes, plums, bean sprouts and peaches, among others.

The optimum time and temperature combination for the quick dip seems to depend on many factors, but the procedure is quite simple. Just let the water run from your tap until it gets hot, then fill a large pot of water about two-thirds full, and use a thermometer to measure the temperature. It will probably be between 105 F and 140 F; if not, a few minutes on the stove should do the trick. Submerge the produce and hold it there for several minutes (the hotter the water, the less time is needed), then drain, dry and refrigerate as you normally would.

Researchers still are working out the details of how heat-shocking works, but it appears to change the food in several ways at once. Many of the fruits and vegetables you bring home from the store are still alive and respiring; the quick heat treatment tends to slow the rate at which they respire and produce ethylene, a gas that plays a crucial role in the ripening of many kinds of produce. In leafy greens, the shock of the hot water also seems to turn down production of enzymes that cause browning around wounded leaves, and to turn up the production of heat-shock proteins, which can have preservative effects.

For the home cook, the inner workings don’t really matter. The bottom line is that soaking your produce in hot water for a few minutes after you unpack it makes it cheaper and more nutritious because more fruits and veggies will end up in your family rather than in the trash.

___

HEAT-SHOCKING GUIDELINES

The optimal time and temperature for heat-shocking fruits and vegetables varies in response to many factors – in particular, whether they were already treated before purchase. Use these as general guidelines.

– Asparagus: 2 to 3 minutes at 131 F (55 C)

– Broccoli: 7 to 8 minutes at 117 F (47 C)

– Cantaloupe (whole): 60 minutes at 122 F (50 C)

– Celery: 90 seconds at 122 F (50 C)

– Grapes: 8 minutes at 113 F (45 C)

– Kiwi fruit: 15 to 20 minutes at 104 F (40 C)

– Lettuce: 1 to 2 minutes at 122 F (50 C)

– Oranges (whole): 40 to 45 minutes at 113 F (45 C)

– Peaches (whole): 40 minutes at 104 F (40 C)

 

A shocking (and hot!) tip for preserving produce

Photo credit: AP Photo/Modernist Cuisine, LLC, Chris Hoover

Is Organic Better? Ask a Fruit Fly

The NY Times featured an article today about the effects of organic produce on fruit flies v conventional produce on fruit flies.

When Ria Chhabra, a middle school student near Dallas, heard her parents arguing about the value of organic foods, she was inspired to create a science fair project to try to resolve the debate.

Three years later, Ria’s exploration of fruit flies and organic foods has not only raised some provocative questions about the health benefits of organic eating, it has also earned the 16-year-old top honors in a national science competition, publication in a respected scientific journal and university laboratory privileges normally reserved for graduate students.

Photo Researchers
Ria Chhabra stands in front of her project.Courtesy of Ria ChhabraRia Chhabra stands in front of her project.

The research, titled “Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits toDrosophila melanogaster,” tracked the effects of organic and conventional diets on the health of fruit flies. By nearly every measure, including fertility, stress resistance and longevity, flies that fed on organic bananas and potatoes fared better than those who dined on conventionally raised produce.

Read more here.

 

Frosted Biscotti

Our “frosted” biscotti are now available at Bunny Bytes. Banana Bunny Biscotti is frosted with a puree of carrot, beet, or parsley in our new flower shape. Our testers seem to prefer this shape as it is easier to grab and run–talking to you Tilbert, Flower and Buttercup!

 

These custom dyed yucca pieces are bound for the elves at BunnyBytes, where they will be made into fun chew toys. We just made the switch from spinach to parsley for the green, and met with eight paws up from Tilbert and Violet. And the red–not as purple as the picture–is made from beets and their own wild blackberries.

Custom yucca pieces with berry/beets and parsley.

Macs in a box

Introducing our new gift box of Bunny Biscotti Banana Macarons. Each sliding box opens to reveal a dozen colorful macarons, dyed with our own fruit and vegetable pulp dyes. These are a perfect gift for not just that special bunny or Guinea pig, but for special people with bunnies in their lives. They also would make an exceptional host/ess gift for a bunny lover. Bring these instead of that flabby chardonnay, and be the hit of the party!

Bunny Biscotti in the gift box
One dozen delicious Banana Bunny Biscotti Macarons, made with hay, pumpkin, banana, romaine, banana and vanilla extracts, and xanthan gum (a natural binder).
Bunny Biscotti Hay Treats, Banana Macarons with (top) beet, spinach, carrot, and blueberry

 

These will be available August 1, directly from Bunfectionary.

Tinker, tinker, tinker

Each Bunny Biscotti batch we make, we seem to discover something new about making our treats. Since each batch is made by hand, we’ll experiment with the methods, although the ingredients always stay  the same. For example, with our own summer  fennel sprouting in our gardens, we add fresh green fennel fronds to the mix instead of the ground fennel bulb we add in the winter. Or last night we discovered that juiced beets provide better color than pureed beets. It tastes the same, or so Tilbert and Violet seem to say, but we think you’ll appreciate the extra steps it takes to produce the more vivid color.
And despite having molds made for smaller treats, we have decided to return to our original shape, the biscotti, or to be proper, the Italian cantucci. The hay stems, panicles, and leaves can remain longer, there is less chafe during shipping, and are much faster to produce.  The other shapes will be available by special order.

Here come the Bunny Macarons!

We just finished up a new batch of our Bunny Biscotti Macarons, and even made a donation of our new boxed set to the Rabbit Meadows dinner and auction. (No pictures until the big unveiling!) The box was part of our “Parisian Collection” with BunnyBytes, and included the Bunny Clutch Purse and the Bun-glasses.

Macarons for bunnies

Yucca slices are naturally dyed with fruits and vegetables to achieve the same beautiful hues of regular French (Parisian) Macarons. Left to right are beet, carrot, spinach, and blueberry. All our filled with our own Banana Bunny Biscotti Hay Treat mixture, made with whole Timothy hay, pumpkin, and banana.

Bunny Macarons

Just in time for Easter, Bunfectionary releases its new line of Bunny Biscotti Macarons. In vibrant colors and soft pastels, these may look good enough, but they are strictly for the bunnies and other herbivores. The inside filling is our own Bunny Biscotti, full of Timothy hay and flavored with ripe bananas and cinnamon. The exterior shells are sliced yucca, hand dyed with fruit and vegetables, including red and golden beets, spinach, carrots, blueberries, and mango. Click here to learn more about Bunny Biscotti.

Bunny Biscotti Macarons