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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jicama


Jicama:

About:

Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus) (HIC-ah-mah) also known as Mexican yam or Mexican turnip is the name of a native Mexican vine with an edible tuberous root.  The root's exterior is yellow and papery while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture similar to a raw potato or pear.  The flavor is sweet and starchy similar to some apples or raw green beans.

Uses:

Jicama is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon, or lime juice, and chili powder.  It is sometimes cooked in soups or stir fries.  Jicama is often paired with:

Chili powder                          Cilantro                         Ginger                          Lemon
Lime                                       Orange                          Red Onion                   Salsa
Sesame Oil                             Grilled Fish                   Soy Sauce

In Mexico it is popular in salads, fresh fruit combinations, fruit bars, soups and other cooked dishes.

History:

Native to Mexico Spaniards spread cultivation of jicama from Mexico to the Philippines.  From there it went o China and other parts of Southeast Asia. 

Nutrition:

Jicama is high in carbohydrates in the form of dietary fiber.  It is composed of 86 - 90% water.  It contains only trace amounts of protein and lipids.  It is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.  It is a good source of potassium and vitamin C.   Jicama is very low in calories and contains antioxidants and small amounts of minerals and vitamins.  It is an excellent source of oligofructose inuin, a soluble dietary fiber which is a zero calorie sweet invert carbohydrate.   Jicama contains small amounts of B complex vitamins and healthy amounts of minerals like magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese.

Season:

Jicama is available year round, bu8t is most plentiful from December through April. 

Selecting and Storing:

Jicama can run from a half pound to up to 5 pounds.  The small to medium size ones are juicier and less fibrous than the large ones.   Select clean looking jicama that are firm.  Avoid those that are soft or shriveled.  Avoid cuts, cracks, and bruised skin.  
Store in a cool, dry place where it will keep up to several weeks.  Once cut wrap in plastic and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.  

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.


Ways to Enjoy Jicama







  • Jicama Combo:  Combine cubed jicama, a sliced cucumber, and orange sections.  Sprinkle with chili powder, and salt.  Drizzle with juice of 1/2 lemon and mix well
  • Toss in a Salad.  Toss julienne  sliced Jicama in your favorite salad.
  • Saute in olive oil with onions, and red bell pepper.  Cook until onion is translucent. Add water or broth and cook until jicama is tender.
  • Jicama Chips:  Thinly slice peeled jicama.  Arrange on a plate and squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime and sprinkle with salt, sugar, chili powder.  Chill for 20 minutes.
  • Roasted Jicama: Peel and cube jicama.  Toss with a small chopped onion, small amount of olive oil, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, rosemary, and parsley.   Spread on baking pan and put in 400 degree F. oven for an hour s, stirring every 15 minutes. 
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cauliflower Revisited

Cauliflower Revisited:

About

The cauliflower (Brassica oleraceae) with several other vegetables is in the family Brassicaceae. It is known as the "Queen of Garden Vegetables".  The name "cauliflower" comes from the Latin "caulis", meaning "stem" or "cabbage", and "floris" meaning "flower".  Cauliflower is a "cruciferous" vegetable in the same plant family as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and collards.  

History:

 The oldest record of cauliflower dates back to the 6th century B.C.  It has been an important vegetable in Turkey and Italy since at least 600 B.C.  Pliny wrote about it in the 2nd century, 3 varieties were described in Spain as being introduced from Syria where it had been for more than 1,000 years.  It was introduced in France from Genoa in the 16th century. 

My Story:

I remember cauliflower as mostly coming to the market pre-wrapped, probably right from the field.  It was easy to handle.  Just move from box to display.  In the supermarket we used to like to package a head of cauliflower with a bunch of broccoli.  They made an attractive presentation and a nice ring at the cash register.

Types and Colors:

There are four major groups of cauliflower: 

1.  Italian; 
2. Northwest European (developed in France); 
3. Northern European (used in Europe and North America but developed in Germany); and  
4. Asian (used in China and India).   

There are four major colors of cauliflower:  

1. White, the most commonly used; 
2. Orange, which has 25 times more vitamin A than white; 
3. Green, also know as "brocoflower"; and  
4. Purple, which has the same antioxidants found in red cabbage and red wine.

Nutrition:

Cauliflower is low in fat, low in carbohydrates, but high in dietary fiber, folate, water, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.  

Health Benefits:

 Cauliflower contains several phytochemicals common in the cabbage family that may be beneficial to health.   Several studies link cauliflower to cancer prevention in the bladder, breast, colon, prostate, and ovaries.  Steaming, stir frying or microwaving cauliflower preserves the anti-cancer properties better than boiling.

Uses:

Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed, or eaten raw.   To cut the head remove the outer leaves and cut the floret at the base where it meets the stalk.

Selecting and Storing:

Select clean, creamy white compact heads in which the bud clusters are not separated.  Lots of green leaves protect the head and keep it fresh.   Store uncooked heads in the refrigerator in a paper or plastic bag for up to a week.


So, eat up!   Enjoy!  I'll show you how.

Simple but Good:




Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
lemon juice from half a lemon
olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer into a baking dish.  Toss in garlic.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over the florets.   Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.

Place in 400 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes or until tops are slightly brown.  Test with fork for desired tenderness.  Remove from oven and generously sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Passion Fruit

                         


Passion Fruit:

About:

Passaflora edulis also known as passion fruit is a vine species of the passion flower that is native to Brazil, Paraguay, ans northern Argentina.  It is cultivated commercially in tropical and subtropical areas for its sweet seedy fruit.  It is widely grown in south and central America, the Caribbean, Africa, southern Asia, Israel, Australia, Hawaii, and the U.S.   The passion fruit is round to oval in shape, either yellow or dark purple in color at maturity with a soft to firm juicy interior filled with numerous seeds.  

Varieties:

There are over 500 different varieties of passion fruit in existence.   The two main types are purple and yellow.  Here are a few:

Purple Form

  • Black Knight - Developed in Massachusetts for pot culture.  Fragrant dark purple fruit with size and shape of an egg.  Excellent flavor
  • Edgehill - Originated in Vista, CA.  Similar to the Black Knight
  • Frederick - Originated in Lincoln Acres, CA.  Large nearly oval fruit greenish purple with a reddish cast.  Slightly tart.  Good for eating out of hand.  Excellent for juicing.
  • Kahuna - Very large.  Medium purple fruit.  Sweet subacid flavor.  Good for juicing.
  • Paul Ecke - Originated in Encinitas, CA.  Medium sided with purple fruit. Good quality.  Suitable for juicing and eating out of hand.
  • Purple Giant -  Very large fruit.  Dark purple when mature.
  • Red Rover - Originated in Lincoln Acres, CA.  Medium to large round fruit.  Rind is clear red color.  Sweet rich flavor with tart overtones.  Good for eating out of hand or juicing. 
Yellow Form

  • Brazilian Gold - Large golden yellow fruit Larger than standard forms.  Somewhat tart flavor
  • Golden Giant -  Originated in Australia.  Large yellow fruit.

Uses:

Across the world passion fruit has a variety of uses related to its appealing taste as a whole fruit and as a juice.  It can be eaten out of hand, or blended with a little water and strained  to extract the seeds.  The juice can then be used in a variety of ways. 


Nutrition:

Fresh passion fruit is a rich source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber.   It is a very good source of dietary fiber and a good source of vitamin C , vitamin A and flavonoid antioxidants.   It is very rich in potassium.  It is a very good source of minerals iron, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus.  


Health Benefits:

Because of its fiber passion fruit is a good bulk laxative.  It helps protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances, and wiping off cancer causing toxic substances from the colon.  The vitamin C helps develop resistance against flu-like infective agents, and scavenges harmful pro-inflammatory free radicals.  Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin A help maintain healthy mucous membranes and skin.  Natural fruits rich in vitamin A and flavonoids help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.  The potassium in passion fruit helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure.

Season:

Passion fruit is most plentiful in the U.S. from March through September.   California passion fruit is available most of the year.  Imports come from Thailand, Brazil, and New Zealand and come on the market different seasons.  


Selecting and Storing:

As a general rule the worse a passion fruit looks , the better it tastes.  With the exception of the Maracuya variety   a smooth skinned passion fruit needs to ripen.  Keep at room temperature until it becomes wrinkled and shriveled.  At that time it is ready to eat or refrigerate.   You can scoop the pulp into a freezer container where it can be kept frozen for up to several months.  


Preparing and Serving:

Wash fruit in cold water and pat dry.  Cut the fruit lengthwise into two halves with a sharp knife.  Scoop out the juicy pulp with a spoon, and discard the tough inedible skin.  

The pulp can be enjoyed as a drink.
Add to a fruit salad for a distinct flavor.
Use in the preparation of sauces, jellies, and syrups.
Employ in recipes like passion fruit mousse, ice cream, pizza, desserts, cakes, mousse etc.

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.







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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cantaloupe Revisited

Cantaloupes:

About:

The cantaloupe is the most popular variety of melon in the U.S.    The North American cantaloupe is actually a muskmelon  with its net-like (reticulated) skin covering.  The European cantaloupe is lightly ribbed with a green gray skin.  The name "cantaloupe" comes to us via French from the Italian "Cantalupo", which was a papal county near Rome.  Cantaloupes are members of the cucurbit family of plants which includes cucumbers, pumpkins, squashes, gourds, and a long list of melons.
                                                 Cantaloupe Skin

Uses:

Cantaloupe is usually eaten as fresh fruit, as a salad, or as a dessert with ice cream or custard.
Once you are ready to cut the melon wash it thoroughly and cut in half  from end to end.   Using a spoon carefully remove the seeds.   Don't dig into the flesh and scrape it.   You'll remove the sweetest part of the melon.  It's OK to leave a couple of seeds.  They're edible, and in fact contain omega-3 fatty acids.   You can then cut the melon some more and remove the skin with a sharp knife.  Once cut cantaloupe should always be refrigerated. 

History:

 The cantaloupe melon originated in Iran, India, and Africa.  It was first cultivated in Greece 5000 years ago and in Egypt 4000 years ago.  California is the largest cantaloupe producing state, which produces over half of U.S. cantaloupes.  Other top producing states are Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, and Texas.   The U.S. also imports large amounts of cantaloupes from Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

My Story:

Growing up and helping in the grocery store, what I remember most about cantaloupes is the  box they came in.  It was a wooden crate that consisted of  two inch slats that were placed about two inches apart.  It allowed for good air circulation and you could see the fruit.  To open it we used a crate hammer which had a double head at one end and a claw at the other, so you could remove a couple of slats.   Today you don't see the wooden crates very often.   It is mostly cardboard boxes but with  large cut-outs to allow ventilation.  As a kid with a vivid imagination, I would think of all the things I could build with enough cantaloupe crates.


Nutrition:

Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a very good source of potassium and fiber.  It is a good source of B vitamins (B1, B3, B6, and folate),  vitamin K, and magnesium.

Health Benefits:

Cantaloupes contain a wide variety of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. They also contain anti-inflammatory nutrients.  These nutrients are provided in larger amounts than in other fruits since we tend to eat larger serving sizes of cantaloupe. 

The surface skin of the cantaloupe, however, can contain harmful bacteria particularly Salmonella.  It is important to thoroughly wash and scrub the outside of the cantaloupe before cutting.   In 1941 in a market in Peoria, Illinois cantaloupe was found to contain the best and highest quality penicillin, after a worldwide search.

Selecting and Storing:

Select cantaloupes that are heavy for their size.  On the stem end where it was connected to the vine the cantaloupe should give slightly to pressure from the thumb.   The other end, the blossom end, can be smelled for its aroma, another sign of ripeness.   You can set out your cantaloupe on the counter  at home for a couple of days to let it ripen some more.   Once cut the cantaloupe should be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two.


So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.

Simple but good:

Cantaloupe with prosciutto:

1 ripe cantaloupe
16 thin slices of prosciutto (Italian ham)

Wash your cantaloupe thoroughly and cut in half end to end.  Carefully remove the seeds.  Cut each half in half, and then each quarter in half to yield 16 slices.  Remove the skin from each piece and wrap the middle of the slice with a piece of prosciutto.
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Monday, April 20, 2015

Cannellini Beans

Cannellini Beans:

About:

Cannellini beans are a varietyof white beans popular in Central and Soutahern Italy, particularly in Tuscany.  Other names include "white kidney beans" and "fazolia beans".  White or off-white beans grow in a large range of climates.  They are commonly grown throughout Central and South America, but grow equally as well in North America including many parts of Northern Canada.  They are abundant in Europe and the Middle East.
Before cooking Cannellini beans must be thoroughly rinsed.  When cooked the Cannellini bean is fluffy and creamy.  They are known for their smooth texture and nutty flavor.  

Uses:

In Tuscany Cannellini beans are often eaten dried instead of cooked.  In other parts of Italy the beans are a popular accompaniment to tuna and pasta dishes containing poultry.  In the U.S. vegetarians often utilize these hearty beans as a substitute for fish or chicken.  Cannellini beans can be found throughout America and Britain in minestrone soups and various bean salads.   They can be added to soups and stews, served seasoned with salt and pepper, or pureed and used as a spread on crackers and sandwiches.  They can also be used to make a white bean chili.
One cup of dried beans yields approximately 3 cups of cooked beans. In recipes Great Northern beans and while navy beans can be  substituted for Cannellini.

History:

The Cannellini bean is believed to have originated in Peru and spread by trade throughout South and Central America.  It was later introduced to Europe in the 15th century by Spanish explorers.  Cannellini beans became known as a high quality, inexpensive source of protein and nutrition.  They have become a diet staple in many cultures and are widely produced in Asia, Europe, and North America.


Nutrition:

Cannellini beans are an excellent source of iron, maganesium, and folate.  They are a good source of protein and fiber.  Cannellini beans are low in fat and  are low calorie.

Season:

Cannellini beans are available year round.  They are found in spermarkiets dried or canned.

Selecting and Storing:

Cannellini beans should be evenly colored with a slightly off-white color.   They should be stored in an airtight glass container to preserve them.  Cooked Cannellini beans should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  After 3-4 days the beans can be frozen.

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.


Simple but Good:


Pasta e Fagioli 

1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 
1 can (14.5 oz) Italian diced tomatoes
2 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup dried ditalini pasta
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese to taste

In a large skilled cook chopped garlic and chopped onion in the olive oil until soft but not brown.  Add rinsed cannellin beans and sautee about 2 minutes.  Add can of tomatoes including juice.  Add salt and pepper.  Cover and let simmer, while preparing  pasta.

Boil pasta until al dente, approximately  10 minutes. Drain and add to other ingredients.   Stir and simmer 2 more minutes.  Add cheese when serving. 


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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cherries Revisited

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Cherries Revisited:

About:

The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus "Prunus", and is a fleshy "drupe" also known as a stone fruit.  Irrigation, spraying, labor , and propensity to damage from rain and hail make cherries relatively expensive.  Cherries are harvested using a mechanized "shaker" or are hand picked to minimize damage to the fruit and trees.  Cherries have a very short growing season but can grow in most temperate latitudes.  Cherry trees require exposure to cold to germinate.  Because of this requirement , none of the "Prunus" family can grow in tropical climates

Varieties:

There are two main species of cherries, sweet cherries, which include the most varieties and peak in June, and tart (also called "sour") cherries, which are used for cooking and peak in July.
The U. S. is the world's  biggest producer, consumer, and exporter of cherries.  Most sweet cherries are grown in Washington, California, Oregon, Wisconsin, and  Michigan.  Important varieties of sweet cherries include Bing, Brooks, Tulare, King, Sweetheart, and Rainier.   Most tart cherries are grown in Michigan, followed by Utah, New York, and  Washington.   Varieties of  tart cherries include Montmorecy and Morello.

Uses:

Sweet cherries are delicious eaten out of hand.  Cinnamon and nutmeg are two prime cherry seasonings.  So are almonds and almond flavorings such as extract and almond liqueur.  Cherries are used in recipes and also for pies, cobblers, and tarts.

History:

Cherries originated in the Middle East and have been cultivated in Europe and the Orient for centuries.   The geographical range for the sweet cherry extends through most of Europe, western Asia, and parts of northern Africa. Cherries have been consumed in this area since prehistoric times. 

My Story:

When I was in college, I had a part time job in a supermarket in the downtown area.   Next door to the supermarket was a large bakery.  At night when I would leave work the smell of the baking would make me hungry.  One night when I got home from work my father had baked a big batch of cherry turnovers.  Well, with my appetite whetted by the smells from the bakery, I really went to town on the cherry turnovers.  So much so that they made me sick.  I ended up with a belly ache.  Well, after that each night when I came out of work to the smells  of the bakery, they reminded me of that belly ache.




Health Benefits:

Sweet cherries are rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, anthocyanin, and quercetin which may work together to fight cancer.  Cherry anthocyanin, a class of phytochemical  was shown in preliminary research to possibly affect pain and inflammation mechanisms.   Sweet cherries are also loaded with potassium, which is a natural blood pressure reducer.    Tart cherries contain melatonin which lowers body temperature and helps make us sleepy.    Subjects in a study who were given one ounce of cherry juice concentrate in the morning and then again at night found that they slept more soundly.   Melatonin may also help protect against post workout pain. Sweet cherries are rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, anthocyanin, and quercetin which may work together to fight cancer.  Cherry anthocyanin, a class of phytochemical  was shown in preliminary research to possibly affect pain and inflammation mechanisms.   Sweet cherries are also loaded with potassium, which is a natural blood pressure reducer.    Tart cherries contain melatonin which lowers body temperature and helps make us sleepy.    Subjects in a study who were given one ounce of cherry juice concentrate in the morning and then again at night found that they slept more soundly.   Melatonin may also help protect against post workout pain. 

Season:

Cherries have a very short growing season but can grow in most temperate latitudes.  Cherry trees require exposure to cold to germinate.  Because of this requirement , none of the "Prunus" family can grow in tropical climates  The peak season for cherries is summer.   There are two main species of cherries, sweet cherries, which include the most varieties and peak in June, and tart (also called "sour") cherries, which are used for cooking and peak in July.


Selecting and Storing:

Choose cherries that are shiny and plump with fresh green stems and dark coloring, which are heavy for their size.  Test taste them if you can.  Keep cherries in the refrigerator unwashed with stems attached in a loosely covered container or a loosely closed plastic bag.  Rinse the cherries right before you eat them.   To pit cherries rinse them with cool water,  pat dry,  and remove stems.  Use  a toothpick or unbent paper clip and insert into the stem end of the cherry.  Feel it hit the pit.  Twist your toothpick or paper clip around the pit and pop it out. 


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So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.


Simple but good:

Brandied Cherries

1 lb. sweet cherries, pitted
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsps. lemon juice
1 stick cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup brandy

Wash and pit cherries.   In a saucepan combine all ingredients except cherries and brandy and bring to a rolling boil.  When liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium.  Add cherries and simmer for 5 - 7 minutes.  Remove from heat, add brandy and let cool. Transfer to clean jars and refrigerate uncovered until cherries are cool to the touch.  Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to two weeks.  




















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Monday, April 13, 2015

Lettuce


Lettuce:

About:

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a fairly hardy, cool weather annual plant in the daisy family, Astercease.  It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable, but sometimes for its stem and seeds.  China is the world's top lettuce producing country with the U.S. a distant second followed by India, and Spain.

Uses:

Lettuce is most often used for salads , but it is also seen in other kinds of foods such as soups, sandwiches, and wraps.   Lettuce is mostly eaten raw, but can also be grilled.   The Woju variety called "asparagus lettuce" is grown for its stems which are eaten both raw and cooked.  


History:

Lettuce was first cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who turned it from a weed whose seeds were used to produce oil, into a food plant grown for its succulent leaves as well as its oil rich seeds.   Lettuce spread to the Greeks and Romans.  By 50 A.D. multiple types of lettuce were described in medieval writings.  The 16th to 18th centuries saw the development of many varieties in Europe.  Europe and North America dominated the market for lettuce, but by the late 1900s the consumption of lettuce had spread throughout the world.  

My Story:

When I was in my early teens, and  working in my grandfather's fruit and vegetable store, there  was one time when  my father was also helping out.  My father disliked the grocery business and had determined to get out of it.  He did and  was working in a factory, but sometimes he put in a few hours at Grandpa's store.  This one particular time he was in the walk-in refrigerator.  I opened the door to see him holding his right index finger with his other hand with the most awful, pained expression on  his face.  What had happened was he went to pick up a case of lettuce.  At that time  lettuce was packed in wooden crates held together with nails.  The top of the crate was also attached with nails.  One of the nails had not been nailed in and was exposed.  When he went to pick up the crate he did not see the exposed nail and he lifted the crate with his finger right on the point of the nail.   The nail went  through his finger between the first and second knuckle.   I did not see any blood.  I don't know if he had wiped it, or the wound just did not produce any,but there was a small hole on each side of his finger.  He did not make a sound.  He then left the cooler (refrigerator)  and went to the bathroom where we had some first aid supplies.  He put a dab of white  first aid cream on each side of the finger, where the nail had entered and exited.   He then put a band aid on it, and went back to work.    That's over 50 years ago, but I remember it like it was a couple of weeks ago. 

Types of Lettuce:


Romaine                              Leaf








Boston                 Iceberg








In the U.S. we produce 4 Main Categories of Lettuce:

  • Romaine (also known as Cos):  Used mainly for salads and sandwiches.  This type forms long upright heads and is mostly used in Caesar salads.
  • Leaf:  Also known as looseleaf, cutting, or bunching lettuce.  It has loosely bunched leaves and is the most widely planted.  It is used mainly for salad.
  • Butterhead: Also known as Boston or Bibb lettuce.  It has loose arrangement of leaves and is kinown for its sweet flavor and tender texture.
  • Crisphead (also known as Iceberg)  It is the most popular lettuce in the U.S.  It ships well, but is low in flavor and nutritional content. 
Other main categories of lettuce not generally available in the U.S. are Summercrist (also called Batavian or French Crisp, it is between the iceberg and leaf,  Stem (grown for its seeds rather than leaves), Oilseed, (grown for its seeds which are pressed  to extract am oil mainly used for cooking. 
There are actually hundreds of varieties of lettuce grown with different harvesting times. 

Nutrition:

Lettuce is a good source of vitamin A and potassium as well as a minor source for several other vitamins and nutrients including beta carotene.  Except for iceberg  lettuce is also a good source of vitamin C, calcium , and iron.
Despite its beneficial properties contaminated lettuce is often a source of bacterial, viral, and parasitic outbreaks in humans including E. coli and Salmonella.  

Health Benefits:

Here are 10 different health benefits of eating lettuce: 
  1. Low calorie and almost no fat
  2. Helps weight loss - contains fiber and cellulose
  3. Heart Healthy
  4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  5. Complete Protein -  contains 20% protein
  6. Helps with insomnia - contains lactucarium which has relaxing and sleep inducing properties
  7. Alkaline Forming - contains minerals that remove toxins and regulate pH
  8. Low Glycemic 
  9. Whole Life - contains many micronutrients not found in cooked food
  10. Tasters Great - has a sweet taste.

Season:

Available year round

Selecting and Storing:

Choose heads that are free from wilt, rot, and rust.
Wrap fresh unwashed leaves in plastic and store in the refrigerator for 3 - 5 days.  Avoid storing lettuce with apples, pears, or bananas.  These fruits release ethylene gas that will cause brown spots and decay quickly on lettuce.

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how. 


Here's a list of foods that match well with lettuce:

Anchovies                                          Garlic                                              Oil
Avocados                                           Lemon                                             Onions
Cheese                                                Mayonnaise                                     Pepper
Egg Yolks                                           Mustard                                           Vinaigrette
                                                                                                                    Vinegar
















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Friday, April 10, 2015

Lemons Revisited

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Lemons Revisited:

About:

 The lemon is oval in shape with a yellow textured skin. The fruit's juice, pulp, and peel, especially the zest are used for food.  

Uses:

The juice of the lemon contains citric acid which gives it a distinctive sour taste.  Lemon juice is used to make lemonade, soft drinks, and cocktails.  It is used in marinades and as a short term preservative on foods that tend to turn brown after being sliced, such as apples, bananas, and avocados.  Lemon juice and rind are used to make marmalade and liqueur.  Slices and wedges of lemon are used for both garnish and flavoring of food and drinks.  The leaves of the lemon tree are used to make tea and for preparing cooked meats and seafood.  The oil of the lemon is used in aromatherapy.  While research showed it does not influence the immune system , it may enhance mood.  The low pH of lemon juice makes it an antibacterial.   For a Reader's Digest article about 34 uses for lemons visit: http://www.rd.com/home/34-reasons-to-load-up-on-lemons/

History:

Lemons were known to the Jews of Jerusalem in the 90's B.C.  They entered Europe near southern Italy in the first century A.D.

My Story:

My personal remembrance about lemons is actually about grapes.  When I was in grade school in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, we lived in the second floor apartment of my grandparents' house.  Grandpa had planted some grapes in the backyard, presumably to use for wine.  Well, the grapes were a light green color with a thick skin.  They were really sour.  One day my brother and I decided to have some fun and we found that if you squeezed the grape, the pulp would shoot out the end. This we did with great relish.  After awhile the little girl who lived upstairs, about the age of our younger sister came out into the backyard.    We couldn't resist the temptation. So, we shot a couple of grapes at her.  She loved it and tried to shoot some back and said, "We're playing lemon!"  So now lemons remind me of shooting grapes with my brother back in Brooklyn.



      Season:

Lemons are available in the supermarket all year, but peak season is May, June, and August. 


Selecting:

Choose lemons that are heavy for their size and have skin with a finely grained texture.  The lemons should be fully ripened,  fully yellow with no green areas.  Avoid over-mature fruit with wrinkling soft  or hard patches and dull coloring.