BEET AND PINEAPPLE GRANITA
Originally published @onbetterliving
With a texture similar to a snowcone, but with the flavor intensity of a sorbet, granita is a deliciously icy treat enjoyed in cafes and beachside bars throughout Italy to beat the summer heat. Luckily there’s no need to get on a plane to get your fix. In fact, granita is so easy to make, once you give it a try you’ll be sorry you didn’t start making it sooner.
Granita recipes are pretty simple. They start with a combination of fresh fruit, sugar, and water that’s blended and poured into a shallow pan. Then, as the fruity mixture freezes, you create the granita’s flakey delicate tiny ice crystals by scraping it with your fork every half hour or so.
Not only is this beet-pineapple granita recipe tart, tangy, sweet, and icy, but it’s also packed with wholesome plant-based ingredients, antioxidants, and nutrients. It’s a dessert you can 100% feel good about eating! Plus, we’re swapping out the sugar for an incredible superfood instead – mānuka honey.
What are the Benefits of Manuka Honey?
Mānuka honey is a type of honey made by bees who drink the nectar of the manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium) which grows wild in New Zealand and blooms for only 2 to 6 weeks each year.
All honey in general is known for having some antimicrobial and antifungal properties while providing antioxidants and trace nutrients like B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. But mānuka honey is particularly rich in an extra special compound called methylglyoxal (MGO). Found only in trace amounts in other types of honey, MGO is what gives mānuka honey its powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. A great way to support your immune system, mānuka Honey is also a super healthy alternative to processed sugar in our recipe.
Now let’s start making granita!
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make the Beet Pineapple Granita
Pineapple: You’ll only need one whole fresh pineapple for this recipe. When buying a pineapple choose one with green leaves, a firm shell, and that gives a little when squeezed gently. Ripe pineapples are yellow from top to bottom and they should have a fragrant pineapple smell when you put your nose close to the bottom. If it’s turning orange it’s already overripe. Pineapples are a good source of vitamin C and minerals like manganese, copper, and folate. It’s also the only source of bromelain, a compound linked with improved digestion and anti-inflammatory effects.
Organic Red Beet Crystals: You can use fresh beets for this recipe, but we prefer using a few tablespoons of Organic Red Beet Crystals from Flora Health instead. Super convenient, beet crystals are made from dehydrated beet juice pressed from freshly harvested organic beets. The crystals are naturally sweet, a little tangy, have no sugar added with the same sweet, earthy flavor as fresh beets. Best of all there’s no need for any messy beet prep or red-stained ringers.
Beets have one of the highest vegetable contents of folic acid (vitamin B9) and they’re also a good source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. What beets are most valued for is their rich nitrate content which helps to improve blood flow, which in turn increases the oxygenation and uptake of nutrients in the cells. The result? You have more energy.
We love how convenient beet crystals are, plus they contain all the beneficial parts of the beet associated with health benefits like healthy blood pressure, liver health, and better athletic performance. Plus they’re instantly soluble in water and won’t dilute the flavor of the pineapple.
Raw Mānuka Honey: We’ve already mentioned that traditionally granitas are sweetened with a simple syrup made from white sugar. But instead, we’re using mānuka honey for a healthy substitute that’s even more delicious. Mānuka honey has a deep earthy, slightly floral, and minimalistic flavor that pairs perfectly with the other ingredient in this recipe.
One thing to be aware of is that mānuka honey is sold according to its concentration of MGO that can range from lower concentrations like 30+ to numbers as high as 515+. The highest-rated with the most MGO concentrations are also not surprisingly the most expensive. We used an MGO 100+ mānuka honey which is perfect for this recipe. Higher concentrations are better suited for therapeutic applications.
With such a special product, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of fake mānuka honey out on the market. Authentic mānuka honey will have a UMF™ (Unique Mānuka Factor) certification rating on its label in grades like 5+, 10+, and 12+. Established by the Unique Mānuka Factor Honey Association™ in New Zealand, this strict, internationally recognized, third-party verification system ensures the identity, potency, and quality of mānuka honey. In addition to measuring the concentration of MGO, this grading system also accounts for leptosperin, and dihydroxyacetone (DHA) – two additional unique beneficial compounds in the honey.
That’s why we highly recommend Mānuka honey from Flora Health. Licensed by the Unique Mānuka Factor Honey Association,™ every jar of Flora Health’s mānuka honey is tested and graded using the Unique Mānuka Factor grading system. It’s also:
- Sourced from a sustainable, 100% Māori-owned beekeeping operation that has received several prestigious farming and eco-friendly awards. The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand.
- Non-GMO + unpasteurized to retain precious nutrients and enzymes
- Offered in multiple UMF™ grades of 5+, 10+, 12+, 15+, and a blend.
- Traceable back to each hive where it was sourced with a scannable NFC code on every label.
It’s So Easy! How to Make the Beet Pineapple Granita Recipe
The best thing about granita is that you don’t need to have any special skills in the kitchen.
Once you have all your ingredients prepped, simply pop them into the blender or food processor to make them smooth.
Then pour the beet-pineapple mixture into a shallow dish or container that can be popped in the freezer. We used a glass dish, but a metal baking pan will work just as well and will actually help the mixture to freeze faster.
A 9X9 pan or something similar in size will do the job and should be about ½ deep once poured into the pan. Smaller sizes will force the liquid to be deeper and will take the granita longer to freeze.
Straining the beet- pineapple blend through a fine-mesh sieve can help remove any fibrous fruit pieces that didn’t get pulverized. This step is optional and if you have a decent blender this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Every 40 minutes or so, take your granita pan out and scrape the mixture with a fork. Repeat this step about 4-5 times and you’ll be left with some seriously delicious granita. It will take about 3-4 hours total.
What Your Finished Granita Should Look Like
If you have something that resembles flakey grainy fruity ice that you can easily scoop into a small dish your granita is a success! Since fruit is a natural product that can vary in sweetness and texture, the texture of granita can vary from batch to batch.
How to Serve the Granita
Scoop your granita in a small dish and garnish with a fresh slice of pineapple and fresh mint leaves. Garnishing with a little citrus zest, like lime or orange can add another fresh layer of flavor.
- 1- Blender or Food Processor
- 1- 9×9 Baking Pan or Dish (approximate)
- 1- Fork
- 1ripe pineapple cored, peeled, and diced (set aside a few pieces for garnish)
- 2tbsp Flora Organic Red Beet Crystals
- 2tbsp Flora Mānuka Honey
- ⅓cup fresh lemon juice
- ⅛tsp sea salt
- citrus zestlemon, orange, or lime
- mint leaves
- Place the pineapple, beet crystals, lemon juice, mānuka honey, and salt in a blender or food processor. Process for 1.5 to 2 minutes. It should be the thickness of a smoothie.
- Position a fine-mesh sieve or colander over your baking pan or dish
- Once it looks super smooth, pour into a shallow baking dish or metal pan with a 9×9 pan size or larger to help the granita to freeze faster.
- Place the dish in the freezer.
- After an hour, give the mixture a stir, scraping and breaking up any crystals starting to form around the edge with your fork. Repeat every 30-40 minutes for 3-4 hours or until fully chilled.
- Serve garnished with mint and citrus zest.
- Granita will keep about a week in the freezer.