Showing posts with label Vegetables. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vegetables. Show all posts

Jan 8, 2016

Spoiling the Bunch

 One bad apple can really spoil the bunch and the same may be said for bananas, cantaloupes, and a number of other fruits and vegetables. It is all due to a plant hormone called ethylene.

Ethylene is a natural plant hormone released in the form of a gas. It triggers cells to degrade, fruit to turn softer and sweeter, leaves to droop, and seeds or buds to sprout. While some fruits and vegetables are high ethylene producers, others are more sensitive to it.

You can use this knowledge to extend the life of your produce by keeping certain items separate in the fruit bowl or refrigerator drawer. Ethylene is the reason you should not store onions and potatoes together. Ethylene may also be used when you want to accelerate ripening. This is the principle behind placing unripe fruit inside a paper bag or other closed container, which concentrates the ethylene. Adding another high ethylene fruit, such as a ripe apple or banana, may also speed up the process.

Ethylene producing foods include: apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, figs, green onions, guavas, grapes, honeydew, kiwifruit, mangoes, nectarines, papayas, passion fruit, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, potatoes, prunes, quince, and tomatoes.

Ethylene sensitive foods include: Asparagus, blackberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, garlic, green beans, kale, leeks, lettuce, okra, onions, parsley, peas, peppers, raspberries, spinach, squash, strawberries, sweet potatoes, watercress, and watermelon.

Bottom line, separate your fruits and veggies to let them ripen naturally, unless you are in a hurry, then pair them up to speed the process.

Nov 13, 2015


They are yellow, orange, and red pigments in plants. The most common carotenoids in a Western diet are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene. Each of these carotenoids carries a distinct set of actions, benefits and originating fruits and vegetables. There are more than 600 carotenoids.

Carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, papaya, watermelon, cantaloupe, mangos, spinach, kale, tomatoes, bell peppers, and oranges are among the fruits and vegetables in which carotenoids can be found.

In order to be properly absorbed, carotenoids should be consumed with a fat. Carotenoids are associated with antioxidant activity, eye health, immune system activity, intercellular communication, and reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.

The body can convert alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin into vitamin A (retinol), which is associated with anti-aging and immune system function. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the retina and are associated with lower risks of macular degeneration.

Sep 13, 2013

Fruits and Veggies

Beans, corn, bell peppers, peas, eggplant, pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes are all fruits. That is because, botanically speaking, fruits are the part of flowering plants that contain the seeds and are the means by which such plants disseminate those seeds. So even nuts are fruits. Grains, which are really over-sized seeds are also fruits.

Also, botanically speaking, vegetables are all the other parts of the plant, including the leaves (e.g. lettuce and spinach), roots (e.g. potatoes and carrots), bulbs (e.g. onions and garlic), flowers (e.g. artichokes, broccoli, and cauliflower), and stems (e.g. rhubarb and celery). Also, botanically speaking, some spices, such as allspice and chilies, are fruits.

If it is from a plant and has seeds (or would have seeds if it wasn't genetically engineered or cultivated to not have them, as with seedless grapes), it is a fruit; if it does not naturally have seeds, it is a vegetable.

The reason we learn peppers, corn, and cucumbers are vegetables and are found in the veggie section is due to tradition. Culinary traditions (with no scientific value) tell us the part of the plant we are eating does not matter, taste does. Fruits are generally sweet tasting and vegetables are more savory and less sweet. Fruits are also typically served as part of dessert or as snacks, and vegetables are often part of the main dish.

Scientific classification system makes a clear dividing line between fruits and vegetables, while the culinary system of classification is much more ambiguous. Not to be outdone, The United States Supreme Court entered the debate and gave a legal verdict about whether a tomato should be classified as a vegetable or a fruit. They decided unanimously, in Nix vs. Hedden, 1883, that a tomato is a vegetable, even though it is a botanical fruit. I use a much more simple method - If I like it, it's a fruit, if I do not like it, it's a vegetable.

May 8, 2012

Seven Uses for Lemons

Summertime always means refreshing lemonade to quench your thirst. Here are some other uses for those yellow goodies.

Realtors say a nice bowl of lemons makes a colorful and inexpensive arrangement for the table or counter top.

Finger nails looking dull and yellowed after a long period covered in dark polish? Just squeeze a lemon into a small dish, clean your nails and soak them in the lemon juice for a minute or two. Some women claim that this treatment will also make nails stronger, particularly when adding a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the dish.

Keep cut fruit and vegetables like apples, pears, avocados and potatoes from turning brown by squeezing on a little bit of lemon juice.

You can perk up droopy lettuce by soaking it for an hour in a bowl of cold water and the juice of one lemon.

Simmer lemon peel in water on the stove-top as a natural air freshener

A few drops of lemon juice added to simmering rice will keep it from sticking to the pot and make clean-up a lot easier.