Raw Carrot Cake Balls

Quick, easy and delicious. These No-Bake Carrot Cake Balls pack a nutritional punch but satisfy the sweet tooth. Enjoy as a snack or as dessert. Make them nut free and freeze for a quick lunch box treat your kids will love.

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup unsweet coconut for rolling

6 -7 dates (Medjool are the tastiest!)

3/4 cups walnuts (Substitute sesame or pumpkin seeds to make it nut free)

1/2 cup grated carrots

1/4 cup hemp seeds

1/4 honey (maple syrup can work too)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cloves

Reserve the 1/4 coconut in a shallow pan for rolling finished balls. Place the remainder of the ingredients in a food processor and process until fully combined. The mixture should be firm enough to form 1 inch balls. Roll balls in reserved coconut and reiterate for a few hours. Store in airtight containers in the fridge up to 7 days. Can also be frozen for up to 60 days.

Everything you wanted to know about Vitamin D, but were afraid to ask

Vitamin D is important for strong, healthy bones and teeth but did you know it also plays a significant role in keeping your brain, heart, lungs, muscles and immune system functioning in tip-top shape?   According to researchers at the University of Calgary, 97% of Canadians are deficient in Vitamin D!   The estimated economic impact of Vitamin D deficiency is $14 billion in healthcare costs and 37,000 premature deaths annually in Canada according to Dr. William Grant Ph.D., Director of the Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Centre.  


So what is vitamin D anyway and how do I get it?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in many functions throughout the body.  The body can make Vitamin D from adequate sunlight.   You can also get the “Sunshine Vitamin” in supplement form and in small quantities from a few foods such as fatty fish of fortified milk.

Whether it is synthesized from sunlight or absorbed from food or supplements, the body has to change Vitamin D into a hormone before it can be used.  So Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all!  This hormone is called “activated vitamin D” or “calcitriol”.


What does Vitamin D do for me?
Once it’s converted and ready to go, the body uses Vitamin D to absorb and utilize calcium and phosphorus and to help cells throughout the body communicate.  

Vitamin D is also required for the development and growth of bones and teeth, for proper thyroid functioning; it protects against muscle weakness, is involved in the regulation of the heartbeat, supports the immune system and is important in the prevention of breast and colon cancers, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.  


I’m Canadian and not a snowbird…what do I need to know?

Our bodies make Vitamin D from a cholesterol compound in the skin when it

is exposed to UVB rays from the sun.  In Canada, the sunshine is not strong enough to provide adequate Vitamin D during the winter months.   People with darker skin have a harder time absorbing Vitamin D and those with older skin have a harder time yet.   Adding to this challenge is our attentive use of sunscreen; 93% of UVB rays are blocked by SPF 15!  Little wonder 97% of us are deficient in Vitamin D at some point during the year.


How do I avoid or combat Vitamin D deficiency?

The easy way to avoid or combat Vitamin D deficiency is to supplement year-round, particularly from October – May.   Doctors, scientists, and researchers are still discovering what the optimal dosage should be.  Factors to consider are:

  • The season;
  • How far north you are;
  • How many hours you spend outdoors during peak UV times;
  • Whether or not you apply sunscreen;
  • How pale or dark your skin is;
  • Your age;
  • Your weight;

Health Canada Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin D

Age group Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) per day Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) per day
Infants 0-6 months 400 IU  (10 mcg) 1000 IU (25 mcg)
Infants 7-12 months 400 IU  (10 mcg) 1500 IU (38 mcg)
Children 1-3 years 600 IU (15 mcg) 2500 IU (63 mcg)
Children 4-8 years 600 IU (15 mcg) 3000 IU (75 mcg)
Children and Adults

9-70 years

600 IU (15 mcg) 4000 IU (100 mcg)
Adults > 70 years 800 IU (20 mcg) 4000 IU (100 mcg)
Pregnancy & Lactation 600 IU (15 mcg) 4000 IU (100 mcg)

The no observable adverse effect level (NOAEL) is 10,000 IU per day (Institute of Medicine Report 2010).

According to the Vitamin D Society, the best way for Canadians to determine their own personal dosage requirements is to maintain optimal Vitamin D blood levels (between 100-150nmol/L).  They encourage all Canadians to get their Vitamin D levels tested!


Types of Vitamin D

D2 (ergocalciferol) is plant-sourced and contains no cholesterol.  Until recently this was the only supplemental form for vegans but it is now understood to be inferior.

D3 (cholecalciferol) is considered the natural form and is the most active and is as much as three times more potent than D2.    D3 is synthesized in the skin and is also available in supplemental form.   D3 is sourced from lanolin (oil from sheep’s wool) and the vegan form of D3 is sourced from lichen.  Lichen is a unique combination of fungus and algae that grows on rocks and trees.


What to look for in a good Vitamin D supplement

Always, always, always look for Vitamin D3; if the label just calls the product “Vitamin D”, check the medicinal ingredients for the form.  Because Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, look for supplements that are in oil rather than tabs.  The format can be liquid or softgels, although liquids are always a little easier for the body.   Take Vitamin D with a meal containing fat to increased absorption.  

To optimize absorption, look for an Emulsified Vitamin D3.  Emulsification makes D3 easier to digest and absorb which is a benefit to anyone but is particularly import for those with malabsorption issues (Crohn’s, Celiac, Gastric Bypass, Diverticulitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome).   Also, anyone with gallbladder issues or who have had the gallbladder removed or who has difficulty digesting fats should choose an Emulsified Vitamin D3 or take a bile salt supplement with their Vitamin D3.


What’s new with Vitamin D3 research?

Scientists are still discovering how Vitamin D works and how many body processes its effects in the body.  There is new research coming out that demonstrates just how important and how varied Vitamin D’s influence is.  Growing evidence supports that Vitamin D may play a role in preventing or reducing the severity of many conditions such as childhood asthma, some cancers, diabetes, autism and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis.   For the latest research go to the Vitamin D Society’s News Page.


FREE Vitamin D Day
Here at the Granary we’re giving away bottles of


Wednesday September 12.  

Pop in to see us and grab your free bottle!


3 Great Vegan Recipes containing Nutritional Yeast

Adding Nutritional Yeast to your diet is easier than you might think. It can simply be sprinkled to the foods you already enjoy, but if you’re looking for some new ways – try these great vegan recipes. Packed with protein, B vitamins and more. Adding Nutritional Yeast increases the protein and B vitamins in your food. It’s a great addition for kids with a taste they like – cheese!

Vegan Pasta Alfredo

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4.2 ounces uncooked spaghetti (120 grams) (regular or gluten free)
  • Cook the minced garlic with olive oil until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the almond milk and bring it to boil. Add the salt, pepper, chopped cauliflower and cook until it’s soft about 7 minutes.
  • Transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and add the nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.
  • Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.
  • Drain the pasta and pour it into the pan with the sauce. Stir and serve.

Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic & Chives

  • 1 large cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2 big cloves of roasted garlic (or 1 clove raw garlic)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • Chop the head of cauliflower into small florets.
  • Place cauliflower in a large pot and fill with just enough water to cover the florets.
  • Bring the water to boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Steam until tender, about 6 minutes.
  • Drain the cauliflower well.
  • Place the cauliflower in a large bowl, and puree with a potato masher or immersion (stick) blender.
  • Mix in remaining ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

Crispy Hash Browns

  • 4 yellow potatoes (the small type)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • Generous sprinkles of Italian herbs
  • Spray Oil
  • Fill enough water in a small saucepan to cover the potatoes and bring it to a boil – which may take up to 10 minutes.
  • Once the water is bubbling, turn the heat to medium (4) and simmer for about 50 minutes or so until the potatoes are very soft.
  • Drain all the water and rinse the potatoes in cold water to cool it down a bit, then put them in a bowl and remove any excess water. Mash the potato with a fork, masher or something else. You can leave little bits and pieces unmashed for better texture. Also, leave the peel in there.
  • Once the potato has been mashed pretty well, add the nutritional yeast, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and Italian herbs. Give it a good mix until everything is even.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
  • Grease an oven tray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Use your hands to form the dough into oval, hash brown sizes. The thickness should be about the same thickness as your pinky. Place them on the oven tray without overlapping.
  • Add a generous spray of cooking oil on top of the hash brown pieces and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, flip them over (very important, or you’ll end up with one burnt side), then bake for another 16 minutes until the top has browned.

Nutritional Yeast – A Vegan Pantry Staple

Nutritional Yeast is a deactivated yeast.  It cannot be used to leaven bread or brew beer. Instead it can be used to add a nutritionally packed creamy flavour to your food. It is also referred to by many as “nooch”.

Nutritional Yeast is a strain of yeast known as Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. Like all yeasts it is a member of the fungi family. It is typically grown on a sub straight of molasses or cane sugar. The yeast is harvested from the growing medium, washed and dried with heat, which “kills” or deactivates the yeast (stops the growing process).

Nutritional yeast has the benefit of being a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that the body can not produce. This makes it a huge hit with vegans who are always on the hunt for good plant based protein sources.  In addition to protein, nutritional yeast also contains a full complex of B vitamins, including thiamine, folate, B6 and niacin all which help with energy production. It also has the benefit of being low in sodium and fat and its gluten free.

Nutritional Yeast is used as a condiment similar to parmesan cheese by many vegans and non vegans alike. It creates a uniquely cheesy texture and taste. You can add nutritional yeast raw to smoothies or salads, or sprinkle it over popcorn, stir into soup or toss into pasta.

When shopping for Nutritional Yeast at The Granary, look in the fridge! The fridge keeps it staying fresh and flaky for an extended shelf life.


The A-B-Cs of Herbal Medicine: Adapt, Build and Calm with Adaptogenic Herbs

The category of herbs referred to as adaptogens are said to stabilize and regulate physiological processes that promote homeostasis. The term adaptogen, was coined in the late 1940s by Russian scientist, Dr. NikolaiLazarev, following research done on Eleuthero root (Siberian ginseng). In 1968, scientists Brekhman and Dardimov formally defined adaptogens as plants that have three characteristics.

First, they are nontoxic, supporting safe, long-term consumption. Second, they produce a nonspecific biological response that improves the body’s ability to resist multiple forms of stress, including physical, chemical and biological stressors. Third, they have a normalizing influence; adaptogens help to bring the system back into balance – adapt, build, calm.

Today, scientific research into adaptogens is specific to the following four areas:

(a) phytochemistry: isolating and identifying the structure of active constituents of adaptogenic plants;
(b) biochemistry and molecular biology: mechanisms of stress-protective activity of adaptogens; molecular and cellular levels;
(c) experimental and clinical pharmacology: efficacy and safety of adaptogens in stress-related disorders (animals and humans)
(d) development of herbal preparations/products that have well established medicinal use in evidence-based medicine.

Some studies have indicated that certain adaptogenic substances can activate the protective mechanisms of cells (key stress mediators), which is linked to an increase in survival rate. (pubmed 10.3390/ph3010188)

Research suggests that adaptogens relieve stress by modulating the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands, specifically affecting the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). HPA Axis: When the brain perceives danger (stress), it signals the hypothalamus to release the hormone Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH), stimulating the pituitary gland to release Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH travels through the bloodstream to the adrenal cortex where it stimulates the release of cortisol and other glucocorticoid hormones. At the same time, the sympathetic nervous system triggers the adrenal medulla to release epinephrine (adrenaline).

When cortisol levels rise in the blood, they inhibit the release of CRH and ACTH from the hypothalamus and pituitary, shutting down the stress response. The continued, long-term activation of this stress response results in excessive cortisol levels that lead to a cascade of hormonal imbalances affecting cognitive, emotional and mental health function, a reduction in energy and stamina, reproductive hormone production and the possibility of a complete immune breakdown. Adaptogens control the stress response by reducing the continued activity of the HPA axis.

Active Compounds: Adaptogens are typically either complex phenolics or tetracyclic triterpenoids/ steroids. Phenolic compounds include phenylpropanoids and phenylethane derivatives, such as salidroside (rhodioloside), rosavin, syringin, triandrin, tyrosol, lignans, eleutherosid E and schisandrin B. They are structurally similar to the catecholamines, the mediators involved in the activation of the stress response in the early stages of stress exposure. Tetracyclic triterpenoids, such as cucurbitacin R diglucoside, ginsenosides and phytosterol-glycosides (eleutheroside A, sitoindosides, daucosterol) structurally resemble the corticosteroids that act as stress hormones involved in the inactivation of the stress response.

The monoterpene glucoside, rosiridin, which is isolated from Rhodiola rosea, was found to inhibit monoamine oxidases A and B in vitro implying its potential beneficial effect in depression and senile dementia.

Rhodiola and Eleuthero contain high amounts of phenols, particularly phenolpropane and phenolethane derivatives, and as mentioned these
compounds are structurally related to catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine) playing a role in the optimal function of mood, emotions and regulating the fight or flight response. These adaptogens demonstrate a single dose response in the body. Alternatively,

Panax Ginseng and plants that contain tetracyclic triterpenes, structurally similar to corticosteroids, support a healthy stress
response after an ongoing daily dosing of one week or more. As corticosteroids are involved in a wide range of physiological processes that include the stress response, the immune response, and the regulation of inflammation, the active components in these plants play a key role in the HPA axis – mediated regulation of the immune and neuroendocrine systems. In other words, these constituents support the optimal function of the entire endocrine and neurological systems.

Over the past seventy-five years, science suggests that the regular use of adaptogens has an all-encompassing effect in overall health; supporting cardiovascular health, blood sugar regulation, energy enhancement and improved athletic performance, mood and mental health, and overall hormonal regulation. Some adaptogens have hepatoprotective (liver protection) effects, while others can enhance eyesight, improve sleep, aid digestion and improve respiratory function.

The NOW® herbal product line has multiple adaptogenic options that include single ingredient options such as Rhodiola, Relora, Panax and
Siberian Ginseng just to name a few, as well as adaptogenic formulas such as our Liver Detoxifier and Super Cortisol Support. We conduct over 97 different quality assurance tests to ensure identity, purity, potency, and safety. We screen for a wide array of contaminants and adulterants, including heavy metals, pesticides, agricultural chemicals, steroids, pharmaceutical traces, various pathogens and microbes, and much more, requiring our suppliers to adhere to strict specifications. Quality ingredients that reflect effective doses, are the cornerstones of our business at NOW Foods.

Written by: Marva Ward CNP and Educator for Now Foods


Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

This perfect pairing of sweet and tart comes from Jae Steele’s book “Ripe from Around Here” her seasonal recipes are fantastic. I made these recently with fresh rhubarb and frozen strawberries, but fresh strawberries or frozen rhubarb would be fantastic too!

2 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.2 tsp sea salt
1 cup diced rhubarb (approx 1cm pieces, if they’re too large the sourness will be quite a contrast)
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup buttermilk or the vegan version buttermilk (1 tbsp apple cider vinegar + non-dairy milk)
1/2 sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 375 *F, Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or a light coating of oil

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add the rhubarb. In a small bowl mix together maple syrup, apple sauce, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Pour wet mixture into the flour mixture. Mix together just until the flour is absorbed – Don’t over mix. Gently fold in the strawberries. Portion into the muffin cups. Bake for 25 min or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Keep in an airtight container for 2 days or up to a week in the fridge.

Real Allergy Relief, Naturally

Seasonal Allergies

Most of us celebrate the emerging tree buds, sprouting flowers and bursts of colour in our gardens and countryside that declare the arrival of spring!  But for seasonal allergy sufferers, the explosion of pollens throughout spring and summer can bring on miserable symptoms that feels like anything but a party.   

What are Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies, like all allergic reactions, are the result of an exaggerated immune response to a substance the immune systems interprets as threatening.   These substances (such as pollen) aren’t actually harmful to the body, however they will trigger the body to release histamine which creates inflammation of the mucous membranes and can cause reactions of varying severity.   An over sensitive immune system may respond to these triggers with itching, swelling, skin or eye irritation, coughing, increased mucous production and/or nasal congestion.  

An immune system that has been overwhelmed by unidentified food or environmental sensitivities will produce a heightened response to seasonal allergens.  Gut health plays a role in seasonal allergies as well, given that a large portion of immune system cells are found in the walls of the gastrointestinal tract.  A healthy gut = a healthy immune system! Physical or emotional stress may also increase symptoms for allergy sufferers.  Genetic factors play a role as well; a child whose parents suffer from allergies has a 70% chance of developing allergies themselves.

Reducing Symptoms

Avoiding the allergen itself is the best way to avoid allergy symptoms however this can be challenging with a substance like pollen.  Allergy sufferers can decrease allergic reactions by limiting exposure to allergens and immune system stressors by keeping these tips in mind:

  • Pollens are at highest concentrations in the morning between 5am and 10am but lowest after it rains.  
  • Protect your home and workplace from pollens by keeping windows closed while pollens and other allergens are in the air.   
  • Consider using an air purification system.
  • Be sure to exercise indoors.  
  • Smoking and exposure to second hand smoke weakens the immune system therefore increasing the body’s sensitivity to allergens.

Improve Overall Health to Decrease Seasonal Allergies

A healthy immune system and great overall health go a long way in reducing seasonal allergy symptoms!  The pillars of good health to decrease stress, make healthy food choices, exercise regularly and be well rested may seem simple, but their effects on the body can be enormous!   In addition, regular cleaning with herbs like dandelion root or milk thistle can reduce the buildup of allergens in the system.  You can also support the immune system by:

  • Choosing foods that are high in antioxidants such leafy greens and berries
  • Taking a probiotic to keep gut flora in balance
  • Supplementing with vitamin C and vitamin D supplement year-round
  • Identify any unknown food or environmental sensitivities

Conventional Treatment of Seasonal Allergies

Conventional treatment of seasonal allergies is targeted at decreasing symptoms.  Antihistamines, which block the release of histamine, are the most common treatment for mild to moderate seasonal allergies.  Histamine is released by mast cells and binds to receptors in the blood vessels which causes them to swell.  Histamine attaches to other receptor sites as well causing redness, swelling and itching.  By blocking histamine from being released in the first place, antihistamines  prevent these symptoms from occurring.  Although antihistamines can be an effective treatment for seasonal allergies, they can cause drowsiness and foggy thinking.  Luckily, there are several alternative options which can be just as effective in getting you through allergy season.

Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids

Did you know that humans and hamsters are the only mammals that don’t produce their own source of Vitamin?  Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine which destroys the molecular structure of histamine, thereby decreasing the amount of histamine in the blood.   Taking a Vitamin C supplement which also includes bioflavonoids increases the efficacy of the Vitamin C.  Keep in mind, the half-life of Vitamin C is only 30 minutes!   After that, it is no longer effective for the body. This means that taking Vitamin C throughout the day is essential for maximum benefit to combat seasonal allergies.


Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Flavonoids give flowers and fruits their vibrant colors and are natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Quercetin specifically is also a natural antihistamine.   By calming mast cells, quercetin prevents or reduces the release of histamines when taken regularly.  Quercetin works very well in combination with Vitamin C.


Nettle Leaf

Nettle Leaf (or Stinging Nettle) can be taken in capsules, tincture or as a tea.  It is a mild tasting herb that can be used to relieve allergy symptoms by stabilizing mast cells which release histamine.  If using the tea, steep for 10 minutes and drink 1-3 cups a day – the more the better!  For best results, sweeten a cup of Nettle Leaf tea with raw local honey!

Raw Local Honey

Consuming raw local honey has been an allergy relief go-to for years.   When consuming local honey, the person is also ingesting tiny amounts of local pollen spores.  Gradually over time, this exposure can help the body become desensitized to local pollens. Look for raw honey so that trace enzymes, minerals, amino acids and vitamins are intact.  Enjoy a spoonful a day!

Real Relief All Allergies (tabs)

Homeocan Allergies (pellets)

If you haven’t been taking your Vitamin C, Quercetin, Nettle Leaf or Raw Honey or your seasonal allergy symptoms are overwhelming , homeopathics can offer quick relief of acute seasonal allergy symptoms.   Homeocan offers homeopathic relief of seasonal allergy symptoms in tablet or pellets.  Tablets can be taken by adults and children over the age of 6.  Pellets can be taken by adults, children and babies.  They also offer a similar product in liquid format for children ages 0-9.  

Pollen Plus

Pollen Plus is a preventative homeopathic treatment which desensitizes the immune system to seasonal allergies.  It should be taken starting one month before allergy season begins and then throughout allergy season to boost immunity.   The Pollen Plus formula is taken only once weekly and is suitable for adults and children over the age of 2.  Pollen Plus can be used in conjunction with other seasonal allergy remedies.

Deep Immune for Allergies by St Francis Herbs

One of the most effective products to relieve seasonal allergies is Deep Immune for Allergies by St Francis Herbs.   It is a unique formula which combines herbs and homeopathic ingredients to address acute allergy symptoms while supporting the immune system and any underlying, chronic issues which may be the cause of allergy symptoms in the first place.   

Optimal immune function requires balance between competing sets of immune cells. Allergy sufferers are known to have a predominance of T-helper cells – as are those with autoimmune diseases and cancer!   Taking a balancing product like Deep Immune for Allergies can help restore appropriate immune function while also offering seasonal allergy relief.

To support overall immune function, it is best to start taking Deep Immune for Allergies 4-6 weeks ahead of allergy season.  However, quick relief of acute symptoms can still be expected even without advanced supplementation. 



Meatball Curry

Take your meatballs to the next level with this Meatball Curry. Try our local grass fed ground beef from Thurston Livestock farms, mixed with traditional Indian spices and fried in ghee (clarified butter). Besides having a higher smoking point and a long shelf life, ghee has a number of health benefits. It can lower cholesterol, is lactose-free and helps support good digestion, plus it tastes great!

2 lbs. ground beef

2 onions

4 cloves garlic

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp salt

1 egg

oil for frying

1/2 ghee (or 2 tbsp vegetable oil)

3/5 cup water

mint or cilantro to garnish

Mix the ground beef with half the onion, garlic, spices bind together with the egg. Divide into 12 equal sized portions and shape into balls. Heat the frying oil in a heavy bottom pan until hot. Deep fry the meatballs in batches in the oil for 5 min. Remove and drain excess oil.

Heat ghee in saucepan and remaining onion and garlic. Cook until soft (4-5 min) Add remaining spices and cook for 3 min, stirring constantly. Add the meatballs and coat in the spices.  Add the water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 min. Serve hot with rice.


Types of Salts and Their Benefits

Wars have been fought over it, countries built on it. It’s production dates back more than 8000 years and is referenced in every ancient civilization. It has been used for currency, ceremonies and to save lives as it is vital to our existence. It is salt.

Arguably the most important ingredient in your kitchen, salt comes in many types and forms. Lets explore the most popular types, their nutritional values and their differences.

Salt is a mineral made of two elements, Sodium (Na) and chorine (Cl). Most of the world’s salt is harvested from salt mines, or by evaporating sea water or other mineral-rich waters. While salt is essential for good health its proper use is a delicate balance. Salt is needed to regulate bodily fluids, aid digestion and for proper muscle and nerve function. It also provides essential minerals and aids in vitamin adsorption. While all these things sound great, over use of salt can lead to kidney problems, increased blood pressure and edema. The great majority of sodium in the Western diet comes from processed foods. If you eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods then you don’t need to worry about adding some salt to your meals. But what kind is best? You be the judge

Table Salt

The most common and readily available salt is table salt. It is harvested from underground deposits or produced with a flakey residue from oil digging.  It is highly refined with most trace mineral being removed or damaged in the high heat process. The result is primarily Sodium Chloride 97+% and additives 3%. Because finely ground salt has a tendency to clump, anti-caking agents are often added to keep it flowing. Other ingredients added to table salt include MSG, sugar, and iodine. Iodine deficiency is still common in much of the world but with the well-balanced diet, available to most North Americans, iodine deficiency is not a concern. Table salt is also bleached to produce a stark white colour, not typically found in nature. When people talk about salt being “bad” for you – in the case of table salt they may be right!

Sea Salt

Sea salt is made by evaporating sea water. It is made all over the world, including right here in Canada by SaltWest. Sea Salt can vary in taste and texture depending on where and how it is harvested. The size of the irregular crystals affects how fast the salt dissolves. It also varies in colour, depending on the minerals it contains. These natural impurities can add subtly briny, sweet, or even bitter flavors to the salts. Sea salt contains a number of trace minerals including potassium, iron, and zinc. It can also contain pollutants and heavy metals depending on the water quality from which it is evaporated from.

Kosher Salt

Kosher salt is more about the crystal size than the origin. Like table salt it is primarily Sodium Chloride; however, it does not contain the anti-caking or other additives. The large craggy crystals make it perfect for curing meat – a step in preparing Kosher meats according to Jewish dietary guidelines. Chefs love the quick dissolving crystals, making it a good, inexpensive all-purpose cooking salt.

Celtic Salt or Sel Gris

Harvested in France using a 2000-year-old method, Celtic Salt is raked once salt crystals have sunk to the bottom of the evaporation ponds. Celtic salt has a slightly lower sodium content than table salt and contains a variety of minerals, giving it a grey colour. Moist, granular, and chunky, sel gris is used as both a cooking salt and finishing salt.

Fleur de Sel

Harvested from the same ponds as Celtic Salt, Fleur de Sel is hand harvested by scraping salt crystals from the water’s surface before the crystals sink to the bottom of the evaporation ponds. Conditions have to be just right for the flower-like crystals to “bloom” on the water’s surface, making it a prized and expensive salt.  The delicate, irregular crystals gently dissolve, making it a great finishing salt.

Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan salt is often said to be the most beneficial as well as the cleanest salt available on this planet today.  Harvested from ancient salt fields in Pakistan it is believed to be the salt from the original primal ocean. It contains all 83 trace minerals found in the human body and has one of the lowest sodium contents of all salts. The pink hue is due to the trace amount of iron oxide found in the salt. The colour can vary from a very light pink to red.  It is believed by many that there are a number health benefits associated with Himalayan salt, beyond the consumption of essential minerals. Himalayan salt is used in beauty products for its effect of skin health and lamps made from the popular salt are prized for their relaxing and air purifying effects.

The Granary sells a variety of salts in both bulk and packaged forms. We also sell a section of Himalayan salt lamps, cooking slabs and bath salts.








8 DIY Spice Blends

We are frequently asked why we don’t carry very many spice blends at The Granary. It is often expected that our large selection of bulk spices would include blends, but the fact is, there are hundreds of possible blends and we carry most – if not all – the ingredients needed to make the many of the most popular spice blends.

With a well-stocked spice cupboard, there really are a million spice blend possibilities.  Each culture has its own traditional blends. Find Berbere in African Cusine, Chinese Five Spice in Asia, Herbes de Provence in Europe, Baharat in the Middle East, Masalas throughout India and Adobo in South American dishes. Even North America has its favorite blends for Pumpkin Pie, Pickling and more.

When you make your own blends you have the benefit of being able to control ingredients such as salt, sugar and the amount of heat. You can also bypass the anti-clumping agents, added colour and preservatives often added to commercial spice brands.

Here are 8 of our favorite blends that can easily be made at home. Like all spices, they are best stored in a cool, dark airtight container to maintain ultimate freshness. Add a ribbon and your favorite recipe for a quick and thoughtful hostess gift.

Italian Seasoning

From pasta to pizza, this versatile blend is a must have for any kitchen pantry. Mix together and store in a well-sealed jar.

  • ¼ cup dried basil
  • 2 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp dried marjoram
  • 2 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp dried coriander

Berbere Spice

The word berbere means “hot” in Amharic. (Pronounced bari baray), somewhat of an all-purpose spice mix, widely used in Ethiopian dishes. Just a teaspoon adds depth and flavor to sauces, soups, grains, vegetables, stews and protein. Typically very hot, but you can adjust to your own heat preference by lowering the hot pepper quantity.

  • 3 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 1-tablespoon ground ginger spice
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated garlic spice
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon spice
  • ½ Tablespoon ground nutmeg spice
  • ½ Tablespoon Fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoons cardamom spice
  • 1 Tablespoon or more Hot pepper (Chili, cayenne pepper) Adjust to suit taste buds

If using whole grain, lightly toast, on low heat, in a frying pan, for a couple of minutes, before grinding. Cook just until the spices smell nice and toasty. Then grind in a coffee grinder.

Persian Advieh

This warm, aromatic blend comes from Persian cuisine. Advieh is comparable to a mild garam masala — fragrant, a little sweet, and gently warming rather than spicy. It’s also quite versatile and can be used in rice pilafs, grilled or roasted vegetables, meat or bean stews, and rice puddings.

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground rose petals
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Mix together and keep in an airtight container.

 Poultry Seasoning

Forget about the store bought kind – this easy recipe with the secret ingredient (that’s the nutmeg) will make your next turkey dinner sing!

  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons of dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried savory (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

Cajun Spice

This Cajun spice blend is great on grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or anywhere you have rich and creamy ingredients (alfredo sauce, cream cheese dip). It’s spicy without being too hot (you can always adjust the amount of cayenne pepper) and full of flavour.

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

Tandoori Masala

Homemade Tandoori masala is an authentic spice mix used in Indian cooking to flavor meals prepared on the grill, or in the oven. A few tablespoons of this spice mix adds a smoky flavor to any dish – veg or non-veg.  Note that this blend will not have the vibrate red colour of many tandoori blends as it lacks the powdered food colouring

  • 2 teaspoon Ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp mild paprika for colour
  • 2 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
  • 1 tablespoon Fenugreek seeds
  • 2 -4 Cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoon Cloves
  • 2 teaspoon Mace
  • 3 tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 4 tablespoon Coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoon Black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoon Black cardamom
  • 2 teaspoon Green Cardamom
  • Salt to taste

Combine all the solid ingredients (not the powders) and toss them in a grinder and ground them to its powdered form – very fine.

Heat a heavy bottomed pan on low heat. Combine the freshly grounded spices and all powdered spices- ginger powder, garlic powder, nutmeg powder and dry roast all the spices for 2-3 minutes on low or until it starts emitting its aroma. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

From Pumpkin Pie to Smoothies, this warm fall like blend can be sprinkled on baked apples, lattes, oatmeal and more. Keep some in a shaker jar to be sprinkled on – well…everything.

  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence, or Provençal herbs, is a traditional blend of aromatic herbs that flourish in hills of southern France during the hot summer months. Herbes de Provence is a good addition to any dish from the Mediterranean region and is especially good mixed with olive oil to coat chicken, fish, tomatoes or chunks of potato for roasting, add it to a pizza sauce or sprinkle over game or kabobs before roasting. While the lavender is optional it does add a nice aroma and flavour.

  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried savory
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers