September 12, 2010

Traditions

Not too long ago, I told you about my experience with Tropical Traditions organic coconut oil.

Tropical Traditions was gracious enough to giveaway a bottle of that oil to one of the MelissaStuff readers. Recently, they offered to send me their palm shortening to try out. I love to bake so I was all about that offer.

I was surprised when the “sample” arrived and it was a 1 gallon pail of shortening. Image of Organic Palm Shortening from Tropical Traditions. Certified organic Palm shortening is a healthy subsitute in your favoite bisquit recipes for hydrogenated shortening.I’m pretty sure that’s enough to make cookies for the next decade or so!

Fair warning – when you go to use this for the first time, know that it will be difficult to get the lid off and if you aren’t particularly handy, you might want to have someone else around to help you. I didn’t and it took me about ten minutes, several different tools, and even breaking the tip off of an industrial file before I could get it.

The shortening inside looks pretty normal, maybe a little less thick than standard shortening. I think it looks almost like mayonnaise. But it’s easy to scoop out and level off.

You use it just like you would normal shortening. However, the difference is in the quality and type of shortening. Palm oils are derived from a certain kind of palm tree (not coconut palm trees, like we have in the States) that are native to Africa. Tropical Traditions gets its Palm Oil from small local farms in West Africa rather than the large commercial plantations of Southeast Asia where much of the palm oil sold in stores.

Palm oil is widely used throughout the world to cook and bake with as it is shelf-stable and has a high melting point. Because it does not require hydrogenation it contains NO trans fatty acids and it is high in antioxidants, Vitamin E and Vitamin A derivatives. The palm fruit that this oil is made from contains carotenoids which are the same nutrients you find in carrots and tomatoes. However, Palm Oil and shortening has 15 times the carotenoids found in carrots and 300 times that found in tomatoes.

I love to bake so I broke out the palm shortening to use in a cookie recipe I make regularly. I decided to do an experiment and split the recipe. I made half with regular shortening and the other half with palm shortening.

Both batters were a little soft and the cookies more crumbly than normal. However, they both tasted great! I couldn’t tell any discernable difference and the palm shortening was much easier to mix in to the dough by hand.

As I was preparing this post, I realized in looking at the recipe again that I split the cookie dough but put the full amount of shortening in each half! No wonder the consistency was not what I expected. LOL

My issues aside, the shortening is great and I love the idea that it isn’t as bad for me as regular shortening and yet you don’t have to sacrifice ANY taste.

Want to try it out? You can win your own bucket of palm shortening, right here:

Mandatory Entry: Must be a Google follower of MelissaStuff and tell me how you would use the palm shortening if you won.

Extra Entries: (Please leave a separate comment for each of these that you complete so you get the maximum number of entries.)

  1. Follow MelissaStuff by RSS feed or email subscription (box to the right).
  2. Follow MelissaStuff on Twitter.
  3. List this giveaway on a linky or post it on your blog and leave the link.
  4. Become a friend of Melissa Stuff on Facebook.
  5. Enter any other giveaway on MelissaStuff.
  6. Place my button on your blog (code is on the right-hand sidebar).
  7. Sign up for the Tropical Traditions newsletter.
  8. Like Tropical Traditions on Facebook
  9. Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter. And tweet this - “Win FREE shortening from #troptraditions at MelissaStuff.blogspot.com”

Please make sure you leave an email address where you can be reached if it is not listed in your Google profile.

Good Luck! Contest ends at midnight on September 26 and the winner will have 24 hours to respond by email.

** I received palm shortening for review purposes; all opinions expressed in this post are completely mine.**