Every summer, a few frozen treat recipes start to appear around the internet, usually yogurt based, with additions like sardines and salmon and blueberries – all good stuff. I started to wonder if I might not concoct a few such treats myself, maybe with a twist here and there – and share them here and on Facebook. My recipes have to fit a few criteria before I share them – I have to have some good reason for developing them – there should be something new or unusual (or I could spend that time doing other stuff) and they need to be palatable ( believe it or not some herbs taste really awful…).
White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare. Good medicine, nasty taste.
None in this recipe…
Full disclosure here: I spend too much time at my desk and not enough in the kitchen these days, so I have made this project my excuse to get cooking! Herewith – a first offering…not sure what to call them – Frozen herbal anti-inflammatory antioxidant loaded thingies? well, that might not stick. Let’s skip the naming part and get to the recipe. I haven’t taken pictures, but I can promise these are so good I had to stop licking the spoons. Of course, if your dog hates fruit, or doesn’t like yogurt, these aren’t going to work. But if she does, this treat is very anti-inflammatory, immune supportive, relatively low fat and has some probiotic punch in there too. It’s the first in a series, and especially useful for older dogs who have a little arthritis, dogs recovering from any kind of infection, or who just seem to have low immune function (slow wound healing, minor cuts infect quickly etc).. but of course, you can give these little treasures to any dog who likes them. Note that it may not be wise to use astragalus with active fever, but I’d doubt you’d be feeding these to a sick dog anyway.
I love that this recipe is plenty sweet without the need for honey or maple syrup, too.
Herbal/ Apple/ Astragalus/ Rose Freezies
Dried Rosehips, 1/4 cup
Dried Elderberries, 2 teaspoons
Dried Ginger (optional, but I like it here)- just a pinch
Powdered organic Astragalus root, one Tablespoon (I got mine here: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/astragalus-root-powder/profile )
Plain lowfat yogurt, one cup
Good quality Coconut oil (optional, leave out if your dog needs to watch fat intake) I used one Tablespoon
Two nice organic apples, minced( if you can’t get organic, best to peel them, which does remove a fair bit of the nice compounds like quercetin we want from apples)
About a half a ripe banana (I only threw this in because my parrot never finishes bananas and I had one on hand, but it was a great addition)
So, here’s The Method...
Take the diced up apples and add a couple of Tbsps of water, cover and simmer until soft. While they are softening, measure the rosehips, elderberries, dried ginger (you could use fresh) and place in a saucepan with a cup of water – simmer 15 minutes. Once that’s done, turn the heat off and stir in the astragalus powder and let it sit again about 15 minutes. This mixture will get goopy = gelatinous.
Now, combine the apple mixture with the cup of plain yogurt, and mix well. This is very tasty on it’s own. But once we add the rose mixture, health benefits soar.
Strain the rosehip mixture, through cheesecloth, and let it cool a bit. Now you have some discretion – add one, two, three Tbsps, or all of it if your dog likes some tang! I found two to be pleasant and mild, but adding a third Tbsp only somewhat increased the tart flavour and so that’s what I went with.
Next, mix well and pour into molds – you can use a loaf pan, ice cube trays, or cute little doggie molds. I used a Pyrex loaf pan. you can also puree the mixture (which will be lumpy) but that’s not necessary. Just freeze and serve. You can give pretty liberally, and you can also play around with the fat levels by using low fat yogurt and no coconut oil, or higher fat yogurt, or medium fat yogurt and – you get the picture. I used lowfat yogurt with additional coconut oil, mostly because A) that’s what I had on hand and B) my fat sensitive dog won’t eat these, but the other two will.
Maybe once it’s done I will take a picture!
Nutrition Notes: this recipe made about 12 servings for a larger dog (60 pounds and up) so if yours is smaller, cut the batch into 24 and half these values accordingly.
Each serving provides 42.5 calories, 4.5 grams of sugar, 1.5 grams of fat if using nonfat yogurt; it also offers 40 mgs calcium, 32.5 mgs phosphorus, 185 mcgs of lycopene and 62 mcgs lutein.
Elderberries are immune supportive, loaded with antioxidants (more on this amazing berry to come); rosehips are anti-inflammatory, rich in Vitamin C and lycopene; astragalus is an adaptogen (helps the body to cope with stress), immune supporter and protective to the heart and liver; apples provide a range of flavonoids, including quercetin, and ginger just warms the blend up and adds a teeny bit more anti-inflammatory boost. You could try adding more ginger, or consider replacing with Ceylon cinnamon .
Happy Summer! More freezies to follow.