October 30, 2008

Clementines Fruits

A lot of people understand that fresh oranges are best in the winter, but not many people understand that different varieties have particular seasons. You'll have better luck coming home with good oranges if you learn which varieties are in season when and keep a simple guideline in mind when you're selecting them at the market. Oranges and all citrus fruit should be heavy in the hand for its size. This is a simple test and it's your most reliable guide for citrus fruit.

The two most familiar varieties are navel and Valencia oranges, which are very good but if you limit yourself to them, you're missing out on some real treats.

Clementines are the tiniest of the mandarins. Imported from Spain, Morocco, and other parts of North Africa, clementines are a cross between a sweet orange and a Chinese mandarin. They are small, very sweet, and usually seedless. Most people think of clementines as small tangerines, but they're a different variety entirely, with a distinctive taste. The Clementine is an excellent eating orange. Its small size and lack of seeds make it particularly popular with kids. Clementines have been available in Europe for many years, but the market for them in the United States was made only a few years ago, when a devastating freeze in Florida made domestic oranges scarce and expensive. A lot of oranges, including clementines, were imported from Europe, and clementines started to catch on. Over the past few years they've become increasingly popular, and as the demand has gone up, so has the price.

The mandarin orange originated in the Far East and has been around since 2000 B.C. If you've never seen a fresh mandarin, you're in for a surprise - the rind is a brilliant emerald green, and the flesh a beautiful deep orange. In the United States mandarins are grown in Florida and California, but they're not often available fresh because canners buy them up. The flavor of a fresh mandarin is much better than that of the canned, however, the flesh is semisweet, with no netting and no seeds. A lot of people pass them by at our store because they think they're just green oranges - that is, until I cut into some and let them have a taste. Then they come back for more. When mandarins are available, you'll find them in produce markets in the late fall. They can be available for two or three months, but later in the season there is heavy competition from the canners. Don't pass up fresh mandarins if you see them.

Whatever the variety, look for oranges that are shiny and heavy in the hand. It's a primary rule for a number of fruits, but it's especially important for oranges. Check the scent - the orange should smell good. Except for Robinson tangerines, the rind should never feel puffy - that is, it should not feel like there's any space between it and the flesh. There should be no spotting, no signs of shriveling, no white patches on the rind, and no fermented smell.

Tangerines are the most perishable of the oranges. They will keep a day or two at room temperature and up to a week in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Other oranges can be kept out at room temperature for three or four days with little problem. Refrigerate them in a plastic bag or in the crisper drawer, and they'll keep well for one to two weeks.

The origin of clementines is shrouded in mystery. Some attribute their discovery to father Clement, a monk in Algeria, who tending his mandarin garden in the orphanage of Misserghim, found a natural mutation. He nurtured the fruit tree and subsequently called it "clementino". Others, like Japanese botanist Tanaka, believe that clementines must have originated in Asia and found their way through human migration to the Mediterranean. Whatever their origin, the fact is that clementines found their natural climate and soil in Spain, where they developed their particular aroma, sweetness and taste. Commercial production of clementines began in Spain in 1925. Today there are 161,000 acres dedicated to the cultivation of clementines.

Clementines were first brought to the United States in 1982. Knowledgeable industry people soon recognized them as a fruit with great market potential. Nevertheless, it took 10 years of persistence, imagination and plan hard work to make this latecomer of the citrus family the undisputed citrus choice of children and adults alike.

Late October to February

(source: .producepete.com)

Citron Fruits

A fruit better known to most consumers in its preserved rather than in its natural form, the citron, Citrus medica Linn., is called in French, cedrat, cidratier, citronnier des Juifs; in Spanish, cidra, poncil, poncidre, cedro limón, limón cidra, limón Francés, though in Central America it is often referred to as toronja, the popular Spanish name for grapefruit. In Portuguese, it is cidrao; in Italian, cedro or cedrone; in German, cedratzitrone or cederappelen; in Dutch, citroen; in India, citron, beg-poora, or leemoo; in Malaya, limau susu, limau mata kerbau, limau kerat lingtang; in Thailand, som-mu, som manao or som ma-nguâ; in Laos, manao ripon, mak vo or mak nao; in Vietnam, thank-yen or chanh; in Samoa, tipolo or moli-apatupatu; in China, kou-yuan. Theophrastus wrote of it as the Persian, or Median, Apple, and it was later called the Citrus Apple.


The citron is borne by a slow-growing shrub or small tree reaching 8 to 15 ft (2.4-4.5 m) high with stiff branches and stiff twigs and short or long spines in the leaf axils. The leaflets are evergreen, lemon-scented, ovate-lanceolate or ovate elliptic, 2 1/2 to 7 in (6.25-18 cm) long; leathery, with short, wingless or nearly wingless petioles; the flower buds are large and white or purplish; the fragrant flowers about 1 1/2 in (4 cm) wide, in short clusters, are mostly perfect but some male because of pistil abortion; 4- to 5-petalled, often pinkish or purplish on the outside, with 30 to 60 stamens. The fruit is fragrant, mostly oblong, obovoid or oval, occasionally pyriform, but highly variable; various shapes and smooth or rough fruits sometimes occurring on the same branch; one form is deeply divided from the apex into slender sections; frequently there is a protruding style; size also varies greatly from 3 1/2 to 9 in or even 1 ft (9-22.8 or 30 cm) long; peel is yellow when fully ripe; usually rough and bumpy but sometimes smooth; mostly very thick, fleshy, tightly clinging; pulp pale-yellow or greenish divided into as many as 14 or 15 segments, firm, not very juicy, acid or sweet; contains numerous monoembryonic seeds, ovoid, smooth, white within.

Origin and Distribution

The citron's place of origin is unknown but seeds were found in Mesopotamian excavations dating back to 4000 B.C. The armies of Alexander the Great are thought to have carried the citron to the Mediterranean region about 300 B.C. A Jewish coin struck in 136 B.C. bore a representation of the citron on one side. A Chinese writer in AD 300 spoke of a gift of "40 Chinese bushels of citrons from Ta-ch'in" in AD 284. Ta-ch'in is understood to mean the Roman Empire. The citron was a staple, commercial food item in Rome in AD 301. There are wild citron trees in Chittagong, Sitakund Hill, Khasi and Garo hills of northern India. Dioscorides mentioned citron in the 1st Century AD and Pliny called it malus medica, malus Assyria and citrus in AD 177. The fruit was imported into Greece from Persia (now Iran). Greek colonists began growing the citron in Palestine about 200 B.C. The tree is assumed to have been successfully introduced into Italy in the 3rd Century. The trees were mostly destroyed by barbarians in the 4th Century but those in the "Kingdom of Naples" and in Sardinia and Sicily survived. By the year 1003, the citron was commonly cultivated at Salerno and fruits (called poma cedrina) were presented as a token of gratitude to Norman lords. For centuries, this area supplied citron to the Jews in Italy, France and Germany for their Feast of the Tabernacles (sukkot) ceremony. Moses had specified the cone of the cedar, hadar (kedros in Greek) and when it fell into disfavor it was replaced by the citron, and the Palestine Greeks called the latter kedromelon (cedar apple). Kedros was Latinized as cedrus and this evolved into citrus, and subsequently into citron. For many years, most Citrus species were identified as botanical varieties of Citrus medica.

Spaniards probably brought the citron with other Citrus species to St. Augustine, Florida, though it could have survived there only in greenhouses. The tree was introduced into Puerto Rico in 1640. Commercial citron culture and processing began in California in 1880. The trees suffered severe cold damage in 1913 and, within a few years, the project was abandoned. From 1926 to 1936, there were scattered small plantings of citron in Florida, and particularly one on Terra Ceia Island, supplying fruits to the Hills Brothers Canning Company. The groves eventually succumbed to cold and today the citron is grown in southern Florida only occasionally as a curiosity. The main producing areas of citron for food use are Sicily, Corsica and Crete and other islands off the coasts of Italy, Greece and France, and the neighboring mainland. Citron is also grown commercially in the central, mountainous coffee regions of Puerto Rico. Some is candied locally but most is shipped in brine to the United States and Europe. Citron is casually grown in several other islands of the Caribbean and in Central and South America. It has been rather commonly grown in Brazil for many years. There have long been scattered citron trees in the Cauca Valley of Colombia. After 5 years of study, horticulturists decided in 1964 that commercial culture could be profitable. Citron trees are not uncommon in some of the Pacific Islands but are rare in the Philippines.


Citron cultivars are mainly of two types: 1) those with pinkish new growth, purple flower buds and purple-tinted petals, acid pulp and dark inner seed coat and chalazal spot; 2) those with no pink or purple tint in the new growth nor the flowers, with non-acid pulp, colorless inner seed coat, and pale-yellow chalazal spot. Among the better-known cultivars are:

'Corsican'–origin unknown but the leading citron of Corsica; introduced into the United States around 1891 and apparently the cultivar grown in California; ellipsoid or faintly obovate, furrowed at base; large; peel yellow, rough, lumpy, very thick, fleshy; pulp crisp, non-juicy, non-acid, seedy. Tree small, spreading, moderately thorny with some large spines.

'Diamante' ('Cedro Liscio'; possibly the same as 'Italian' and 'Sicilian')–of unknown origin but the leading cultivar in Italy and preferred by processor's elsewhere; long-oval or ellipsoid, furrowed at base, broadly nippled at apex; peel yellow, smooth or faintly ribbed; very thick, fleshy; pulp crisp, non-juicy, acid; seedy. Tree small, spreading, thorny as 'Corsican'. Very similar is a cultivar called "Earle" in Cuba.

'Etrog' ('Ethrog', 'Atrog'; C. medica var. Ethrog Engl.)–the leading cultivar in Israel; ellipsoid, spindle-shaped or lemon-like with moderate neck and often with persistent style at base; usually with prominent nipple at apex; medium-small as harvested; if not picked early, it will remain on the tree, continuing to enlarge for years until the branch cannot support it. For ritual use, the fruit should be about 5 oz (142 g) and not oblong in form. Peel is yellow, semi-rough and bumpy, faintly ribbed, thick, fleshy; flesh is crisp, firm, with little juice; acid; seedy. Tree is small, not vigorous; leaves rounded at apex and cupped. This cultivar has been the official citron for use in the Feast of the Tabernacles ritual but if unavailable any yellow, unblemished, lemon-sized citron with adhering style can be substituted.

'Fingered Citron', Plate XXI, ('Buddha's Hand', or 'Buddha's Fingers'; C. medica var. sarcodactylus Swing.); called fu shou in China, bushukon in Japan, limau jari, jeruk tangan, limau kerat lingtang, in Malaya; djerook tangan in Indonesia; som-mu in Thailand; phât thu in Vietnam. The fruit is corrugated, wholly or partly split into about 5 finger-like segments, with little or no flesh; seedless or with loose seeds. The fruit is highly fragrant and is placed as an offering on temple altars. It is commonly grown in China and Japan; is candied in China.

In India, there are several named types, in addition to the 'Fingered', in the northwest:

'Bajoura'–small, with thin peel, much acid juice.

'Chhangura'–believed to be the wild form and commonly found in a natural state; fruit rough, small, without pulp.

'Madhankri' or 'Madhkunkur'–fruit large with sweetish pulp.

'Turunj'–fruit large, with thick peel, the white inner part sweet and edible; pulp scant, dry, acid. Leaves are oblong and distinctly notched at the apex.


The citron tree is highly sensitive to frost; does not enter winter dormancy as early as other Citrus species. Foliage and fruit easily damaged by very intense heat and drought. Best citron locations are those where there are no extremes of temperature.


The soils where the citron is grown vary considerably, but the tree requires good aeration.


Citron trees are grown readily from cuttings taken from branches 2 to 4 years old and quickly buried deeply in soil without defoliation. For quicker growth, the citron may be budded onto rough lemon, grapefruit, sour orange or sweet orange but the fruits do not attain the size of those produced from cuttings, and the citron tends to overgrow the rootstock. Rough lemon has been found too susceptible to gummosis to be employed as a rootstock for citron in Colombia. The 'Etrog', to be acceptable for ritual use, must not be budded or grafted.


The citron tree tends to put out water sprouts that should be eliminated, and the grower should prune branches hanging so low that they touch the ground with the weight of the fruit. Italian producers keep the tree low and stake the branches, and may even trim off the thorns, to avoid scarring of the fruits. The trees begin to bear when 3 years old and reach peak production in 15 years; die in about 25 years.

In 'Etrog' orchards, the Israeli growers are careful to take every precaution to protect the fruit, tying the fruiting branch securely in place and trimming away any twigs that might touch the fruit. To avoid moving irrigation equipment through the groves, the trees are manually watered and frequently sprayed to eliminate destructive insects.

If citrons are allowed to fully ripen on the tree they will be very aromatic and the peel yellow, the inner peel very tender. In India, a fruiting branch may be bent down and the immature fruit put into a jar shaped like a human head (or other form) so that the mature fruit will be of the same shape. These are sold as curiosities and are said to be intensely fragrant.


The citron tree blooms nearly all year, but mostly in spring and the spring blooms produce the major part of the crop. The fruit is dark-green when young, takes 3 months to turn yellow. To retain the green color, firmness and uniformity desired by the dealers in candied citron, the fruit must be picked when only 5 to 6 in (12.5-15 cm) long and 3 to 4 in (7.5-10 cm) wide. Mature trees yield an average of 66 lbs (30 kg) per year but exceptional trees have borne as much as 150 to 220 lbs (68-100 kg). 'Etrog' fruits are wrapped in hemp fiber immediately after picking. Those for local use are inspected by rabbis, and those for export by agents of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Pests and Diseases

The citron tree is undoubtedly subject to most of the pests that attack other Citrus species. The citrus bud mite (Eriophyes sheldoni), citrus rust mite (Phyllocoptruta oleivora), and snow scale (Unaspis citri) are among its major enemies.

Horticulturists in Florida report that citron trees in this state are nearly always unthrifty, are subject to gummosis, and usually in a state of decline and dieback, and are accordingly poor bearers.

Branch knot, caused by the fungus Sphaeropsis tumefaciens, was first noticed on citron trees in Puerto Rico in 1977. By 1983, it had become a serious threat to the local citron industry. The deformations become large and necrotic, lead to witches' broom, dieback and breaking of branches.

Food Uses

The most important part of the citron is the peel which is a fairly important article in international trade. The fruits are halved, depulped, immersed in seawater or ordinary salt water to ferment for about 40 days, the brine being changed every 2 weeks; rinsed, put in denser brine in wooden barrels for storage and for export. After partial de-salting and boiling to soften the peel, it is candied in a strong sucrose/glucose solution. The candied peel is sun-dried or put up in jars for future use. Candying is done mainly in England, France and the United States. The candied peel is widely employed in the food industry, especially as an ingredient in fruit cake, plum pudding, buns, sweet rolls and candy.

Puerto Rican food technologists reported in 1970 that the desalted citron could be dehydrated in a hot air tray dryer at 108º F (42.22º C), reducing the weight by 95% to lower costs of shipment, then stored in polyethylene bags and later reconstituted and candied. In 1979, after further experiments, it was announced that fresh citron cubes, blanched for 1/2 minute in water at 170º F (76.7º C) can be candied and the product is equal in quality to the brined and candied peel, and this procedure saves the costs of salt, storage, and shipping of heavy barrels. If the citron lacks flavor, a few orange or lemon leaves may be added to the sirup.

The fruit of the wild 'Chhangura' is pickled in India. In Indonesia, citron peel is eaten raw with rice. The entire fruit of the 'Fingered citron' is eaten.

If there is sufficient juice in the better cultivars, it is utilized for beverages and to make desserts. In Guatemala, it is used as flavoring for carbonated soft-drinks. In Malaya, citron juice is used as a substitute for the juice of imported, expensive lemons. A product called "citron water" is made in Barbados and shipped to France for flavoring wine and vermouth.

In order to expand the market for citron, Puerto Rican workers have established that the green-mature fruits can be peeled by immersing in a boiling lye solution to save the labor of hand-peeling and then the fruits can be made into marmalade, jelly, and fruit bars that are crusty on the outside, soft within.

In Spain, a sirup made from the peel is used to flavor unpalatable medical preparations.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*

Moisture 87.1 g
Protein 0.081 g
Fat 0.04 g
Fiber 1.1 g
Ash 0.41 g
Calcium 36.5 mg
Phosphorus 16.0 mg
Iron 0.55 mg
Carotene 0.009 mg
Thiamine 0.052 mg
Riboflavin 0.029 mg
Niacin 0.125 mg
Ascorbic Acid 368 mg
*According to analyses made in Central America.

Other Uses

Fruit: Chinese and Japanese people prize the citron for its fragrance and it is a common practice in central and northern China to carry a ripe fruit in the hand or place the fruit in a dish on a table to perfume the air of a room. The dried fruits are put with stored clothing to repel moths. In southern China, the juice is used to wash fine linen. Formerly, the essential oil was distilled from the peel for use in perfumery.

Leaves and twigs: In some of the South Pacific islands, "Cedrat Petitgrain Oil" is distilled from the leaves and twigs of citron trees for the French perfume industry.

Flowers: The flowers have been distilled for essential oil which has limited use in scent manufacturing.

Wood: Branches of the citron tree are used as walking-sticks in India. The wood is white, rather hard and heavy, and of fine grain. In India, it is used for agricultural implements.

Medicinal Uses: In ancient times and in the Middle Ages, the 'Etrog' was employed as a remedy for seasickness, pulmonary troubles, intestinal ailments and other disorders. Citron juice with wine was considered an effective purgative to rid the system of poison. In India, the peel is a remedy for dysentery and is eaten to overcome halitosis. The distilled juice is given as a sedative. The candied peel is sold in China as a stomachic, stimulant, expectorant and tonic. In West Tropical Africa, the citron is used only as a medicine, particularly against rheumatism. The flowers are used medicinally by the Chinese. In Malaya, a decoction of the fruit is taken to drive off evil spirits. A decoction of the shoots of wild plants is administered to improve appetite, relieve stomachache and expel intestinal worms. The leaf juice, combined with that of Polygonum and Indigofera is taken after childbirth. A leaf infusion is given as an antispasmodic. In Southeast Asia, citron seeds are given as a vennifuge. In Panama, they are ground up and combined with other ingredients and given as an antidote for poison. The essential oil of the peel is regarded as an antibiotic.


The Common Chokecherry

by Tom Ward

The chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) is a member of the plum family common to most of Canada and much of the U.S.A. It is an extremely drought and winter hardy plant. Because of this hardiness as well as productive reliability it is a valuable plant.

Before the European settlement of North America the chokecherry was a very important and integral part of the native indian diet. The chokecherry, as well as other fall fruit, was stored into the winter in a partly dried or frozen state to be eaten throughout the winter. As well, the plains indians harvested chokecherry fruit, mixed it with fat and suet and pounded it into the meat of buffalo. This mixture of meat, fruit and fat was known as pemmican, a staple of the native prairie people. Today a number of native groups and others are renewing the practice of making pemmican. Perhaps this will become an entree in a fine native food restaurant.

Are Chokecherries Poisonous?

YES!! Chokecherries have been reported to have killed livestock that have consumed too many chokecherry leaves. This usually only occurs under poor feeding conditions and is not common.

Are Chokecherries Poisonous to Man?

YES!! There are recorded incidences of children eating quantities of the seeds of chokecherries resulting in poisoning and death. Note, the flesh of the fruit is not poisonous, and should not be considered any more dangerous than eating plums, peaches or apricots. Many of the "prunus" family have poisonous seeds.

Bad Taste

The term "chokecherry" denotes that the fruit is bad tasting. True -- most of the fruit you will come across does have a strong astringent flavour. Some, however, have a fairly mild flavour and are quite edible. For the most part the strong flavoured fruit makes a very fine distinctive jelly or syrup. Once you have tasted well made chokecherry syrup you will not forget that flavour. Because of this flavour the chokecherry stands out as a possible crop to base a cottage jelly/syrup industry on. At present there are a few interested people testing the market with their products and we at the Department of Horticulture are embarking on a chokecherry breeding and selection program.

Can You Make Wine From Chokecherries?

Yes. Chokecherry wine is as prairie as wheat, dust storms and droughts. Although the chokecherry will never compete with California grapes, it does make a drinkable, unique wine. Most people will have tried a dark heavy wine made from the wild black fruited types. However, wine made from blends or from yellow, orange or red-fruited chokecherries can be interesting, distinctive and attractive. Do not sell the chokecherry short when making wine.

Does the Chokecherry Have Ornamental Value?

YES!! The chokecherry is an attractive ornamental to add to the landscaping of your yard. Within the group are purple leaved selections like the Schubert chokecherry and yellow and red selections like Boughens Golden and Mission Red to add contrasting colour in the landscape. The chokecherry is an attractive flowering tree which without fail puts on a good show each year. It reliably puts out large quantities of fruit for your own use or should you wish an attractive food source for the winter feeding birds.


Health benefit of Chokeberry

by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Chokeberry is native to eastern North America and are often found growing in swamps or damp woodlands. The hardy chokeberry shrub reaches about 2-4 meters in height and withstands salt and swampy conditions. The plant produces very bitter dark purple fruit clusters that are often used in jam and wine making. Chokeberries have been an important and integral part of the native Indian diet for hundreds of years. For more info on berries.

Chokeberry fruit juice and anthocyanins derived from the fruits have been studied intensively, particularly in Bulgaria and eastern Europe. Chokeberry appears to have compounds that are protective to the liver, have blood sugar stabilizing properties, anti-tumor, and have anti-inflammatory activity.

Nutritional content
Chokeberry contains a high concentration of flavonoids and antioxidants. Chokeberry berries are full of flavonoids, trace minerals and phenolic phytochemicals, including anthocyanins, of which it contains one of the highest of any known plant (several times higher than cranberry juice). Some of these specific substances include cyanidin-3-galactoside, epicatechin, quercetin, caffeic acid, delphinidin, malvidin, petunidin, pelargonidin, and peonidin.

Chokeberry health benefit
Chokeberry fruits are one of the richest plant sources of phenolic substances, mainly anthocyanins--glycosides of cyanidin. Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments accounting for the dark blue and even black color of the fruits. The main active ingredients of chokeberry melanocarpa fruit are phenolic substances, mainly flavonoids from the anthocyanin subclass. Chokeberry may be helpful in blood sugar control and reduction of cardiovascular risk factors..

Combination therapy of statin with flavonoids rich extract from chokeberry fruits enhanced reduction in cardiovascular risk markers in patients after myocardial infraction (MI).

Atherosclerosis. 2007 Feb 20; Naruszewicz M, Laniewska I, Millo B, D?uz.niewski M. Department of Pharmacognosy and Molecular Basis of Phythotherapy, Medical University of Warsaw, Ul. Banacha 1, Warszawa, Poland; Center for Atherosclerosis Research, Pomeranian Medical University Szczecin, Poland.

This was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel trial. Forty-four patients (11 women and 33 men, mean age 66 years) who survived myocardial infraction and have received statin therapy for at least 6 months (80% dose of 40mg/day simvastatin) were included in the study. The subjects were randomised to receive either 3x 85mg/day of chokeberry flavonoid extract or placebo for a period of 6 weeks. The study extract was a commercially-available product of the following declared composition: anthocyans (about 25%), polymeric procyanidines (about 50%) and phenolic acids (about 9%). Compared to placebo (ANOVA and Tukey's test), flavonoids significantly reduced serum 8-isoprostans and Ox-LDL levels (by 38 and 29%, respectively), as well as hsCRP and MCP-1 levels. In addition, significant increase in adiponectin levels and reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure by a mean average of 11 and 7.2mmHg, respectively were found.

Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of Chokeberry fruit juice in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Mar;29(2):101-5. Valcheva-Kuzmanova S, Kuzmanov K, Tancheva S, Belcheva A. Department of Preclinical and Clinical Pharmacology and Biochemistry, Medical University, Varna, Bulgaria.

Chokeberry fruit juice is rich in phenolic antioxidants, especially flavonoids from the anthocyanin subclass. The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of chokeberry fruit juice on plasma glucose and lipids in diabetic rats. Chokeberry fruit juice significantly decreased the streptozotocin-induced abnormalities in blood glucose and triblycerides in diabetic rats and might be useful in prevention and control of diabetes mellitus and diabetes-associated complications.

Chokeberry side effects
No major chokeberry side effects have yet been reported.

Chokeberry availability
You can buy chokeberry from ingredient suppliers as chokeberry powder or a 2 to 1 chokeberry extract.


Buckwheat Health Benefits

Other cereals that have a benefit that is no less important for health is the whole buckwheat. Whole buckwheat is the main ingredient in the manufacture of traditional Japanese buckwheat noodles are very popular. At first glance, not unlike buckwheat noodles in general, but rather a red-brown color. Usually a lot to offer in a Japanese restaurant as a noodle soup with a variety of tempting. One advantage of this is the noodles do not contain gluten so it is safe for consumption by those who are allergic to these substances. Gluten is one of the many proteins contained in wheat.

Buckwheat cereal allegedly were first grown in Southeast Asia in 6000 BC, which was then popular in Europe, Japan, China and Central Asia. In Korea, buckwheat noodles are usually processed into memil guksu known, whereas in Italy known as pizzoccberi. In Russia, buckwheat usually cooked into the rice, known as the Kasba. It is also often used to make pancakes or soup.

Especially whole buckwheat Buckwheat has tremendous benefits for health. With a high fiber content of food, food is very good for maintaining healthy digestive tract. Also contain phytochemicals called regular components. This component can prevent hypertension.

Buckwheat is also highly recommended for diabetics, because in addition to containing high fiber, containing components of d-Chiro-inositol. This component is very important for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Compared with other cereals, buckwheat has excellence in terms of high magnesium. Consumption of one cup of buckwheat (168 gram) can at least meet the minimum 21.5 percent of the body's need for magnesium. Research conducted by Canadian scientists and published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that the consumption of buckwheat seeds can lower blood glucose levels for 12-19 percent. Research in Japan for six years also shows that consumption of buckwheat can reduce the risk of diabetes by 24 percent.

October 13, 2008

Cherry Fruit Facts

Cherry the common name for several related trees, and for the edible fruit of some species. The genus containing cherry trees also includes plums, peaches, almonds, and apricots. Because many of these plants have been cultivated for thousands of years and widely hybridized, the classification is complex.

The ancestors of most of the modern cultivated varieties of cherry are probably the sweet, or dessert, cherry and the sour, or pie, cherry. The sweet cherry tree is frequently planted for its fruit and for its beauty when in flower, and also for its value as a timber tree. It grows rapidly and has strong, close-grained wood, suitable for use by cabinetmakers, turners, and musical-instrument makers. Double varieties of both species are also grown.

Cherry Nutrition Information

Cherries have some great nutritious characteristics, including:

* Fat-free
* Saturated fat-free
* Sodium-free
* Cholesterol-free
* A good source of fiber

Health Benefits of Cherries

Cherries have been shown to have several health benefits. Cherries contain anthocyanins, which is the red pigment in berries. Cherry anthocyanins have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation. Anthocyanins are also potent antioxidants which protect cells from oxidative damage by free radicals.

Cherries have also been shown to contain high levels of melatonin. Besides being an anti-oxidant, melatonin has also been shown to be important for the function of the immune system and in regulating the circadian rhythm.

Cherry Season

Cherries have a very short fruiting season. In Australia they are usually at their peak around Christmas time, in southern Europe in June, in America in June, and in the UK in mid July.

Annual world production (as of 2003) of domesticated cherries is about 3 million tonnes, of which a third are sour cherries. In many parts of North America they are among the first tree fruits ripe; hence the colloquial term "cherry" to mean "new" or "the first", e.g. "in cherry condition".

Some Cherry Trivia Facts

The Romans are believed to have discovered sweet cherries in Asia Minor in about 70 BC and introduced them to Britain in the first century AD.

Although the fruit has always been popular for dessert and culinary purposes, cherries were used during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries for their medicinal properties.

The German word Kirsch, the cherry liqueur, came from the word karshu, the name given to the first cultivated cherries in Mesopotamia in 8 BC.

Hot cherry stones were once used in bed-warming pans and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream associates cherries with love and romance. (organicfood.com.au)

Cherimoya Fruit Facts

Annona cherimola Mill.

Common Names: Cherimoya (U.S., Latin America), Custard Apple (U.K. and Commonwealth), Chirimoya, Chirimolla.

Related species: Ilama (Annona diversifolia), Pond Apple (A. glabra), Manrito (A. jahnii). Mountain Soursop (A. montana), Soursop (A. muricata), Soncoya (A. purpurea), Bullock's Heart (A. reticulata), Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa), Atemoya (A. cherimola X A. squamosa).

Distant affinity: Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), Biriba (Rollinia deliciosa), Wild Sweetsop (R. mucosa), Keppel Apple (Stelechocarpus burakol).

Origin: The cherimoya is believed to be native to the inter-andean valleys of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. Seeds from Mexico were planted in California (Carpinteria) in 1871.

Adaptation: The cherimoya is subtropical or mild-temperate and will tolerate light frosts. Young growing tips are killed at 29° F and and mature trees are killed or severely injured at 25° F. If cherimoyas do not receive enough chilling, the trees will go dormant slowly and then experience delayed foliation. The amount of chilling needed is estimated to be between 50 and 100 hours. The tree grows well in the coastal and foothill areas of southern California, doing best at a slight elevation, 3 to 15 miles from ocean. It is worth attempting in sunny, south-facing, nearly frost-free locations from San Francisco Bay Area to Lompoc, and may survive to fruit in a very few protected Central Valley foothill locations from Chico to Arvin. Resentful of the excessive dry heat of the interior, it is not for the desert. Cherimoyas are not recommended for container culture.


Growth Habit: The cherimoya is a fairly fairly dense, fast-growing, evergreen tree, briefly deciduous in California from February through April. The tree can reach 30 feet or more, but is fairly easily restrained. Young trees "harp," forming opposite branches as a natural espalier. These can be trained against a surface, or pruned off to form a regular free-standing trunk. Growth is in one long flush, beginning in April. The roots commence as taproot, but the slow-growing root system is rather weak, superficial, and ungreedy. Young plants need staking.

Foliage: The attractive leaves are single and alternate, 2 to 8 inches long and up to 4 inches wide. They are dark green on top and velvety green on the bottom, with prominent veins. New growth is recurved, like a fiddle-neck. Axillary buds are hidden beneath fleshy leaf petioles.

Flowers: The fragrant flowers are borne solitary or in groups of 2 or 3 on short, hairy stalks along the branches. They appear with new growth flushes, continuing as new growth proceeds and on old wood until midsummer. The flowers are made up of three fleshy, greenish-brown, oblong, downy outer petals and three smaller, pinkish inner petals. They are perfect but dichogamous, lasting approximately two days, and opening in two stages, first as female flowers for approximately 36 hours. and later as male flowers. The flower has a declining receptivity to pollen during the female stage and is unlikely to be pollinated by its own pollen in the male stage.

Fruits: The compound fruit is conical or somewhat heart-shaped, 4 to 8 inches long and up to 4 inches in width, weighing on the average 5-1/2 to 18 ounces, but the largest fruits may reach 5 pounds in weight. The skin, thin or thick, may be smooth with fingerprint-like markings or covered with conical or rounded protuberances. The sweet, juicy, white flesh is melting, subacid and very fragrant. The fruit is of a primitive form with spirally arranged carpels, resembling a raspberry. Each segment of flesh surrounds a single hard black bean-like seed. The fruit size is generally proportional to the number of seeds within. They ripen October to May.


Location: Cherimoyas prefer a sunny exposure, buoyant marine air and cool nights. In southern California do not plant where heat collects on barren hillside or against a wall, since the leaves and fruit may sunburn badly. In the north, do the opposite: plant against a south facing wall to collect heat and encourage early bud-break and fruit ripening. The trees need protection from constant ocean or Santa Ana winds which may damage them and interfere with pollination and fruit set.

Soil: The cherimoya performs well on a wide range of soil types from light to heavy, but seems to do best on a well-drained, medium soil of moderate fertility. The optimum pH ranges from 6.5 to 7.6.

Irrigation: Cherimoyas need plenty of moisture while they are growing actively, but should not be watered when they are dormant. The trees are susceptible to root rot in soggy soils, especially in cool weather. Commence deep watering biweekly in April. Drip irrigation is also an excellent way to supply water. It is best to avoid poor water to prevent salt build-up. Drought-stressed trees will drop their leaves, exposing the fruit to sunburn.

Fertilization: Cherimoyas should be fertilized on a regular basis. Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as 8-8-8 NPK, in midwinter, then every three months. Increase the amount of fertilizer each year until the trees begin to bear fruit. Mature trees require an annual application of 4 ounces of actual nitrogen per inch of trunk diameter. Cherimoyas also respond to organic amendments. It should be kept in mind that yellow leaves may mean that the soil too dry or the weather too cold, not always a need for fertilizer.

Pruning: Cherimoyas have rather brittle wood. Prune during the dormant period to develop strong branches that can support the heavy fruit. Train the tree to two scaffold branches at 2 feet of trunk, pruning them to a 2 foot length. Save only the strongest single shoots, preferably those at 60 to 90 degree angle, and remove the others. In the following years, remove two-thirds of the previous year's growth, leaving six or seven good buds, at time of new growth. This will keep fruiting wood within reach of the ground. Thin out crossing branches.

Frost Protection: Young trees are very frost sensitive. Wrap the trunk and scaffold with sponge foam for protection, or cover the entire tree. In cooler areas plant next to a south-facing wall or under the eaves to trap house heat.

Pollination: Since natural pollinators are not present in California, the flowers must be pollinated by hand. This is best done in mid-season of bloom, over a period of two to three months. In early evening, collect in a small bottle the anthers and pollen from the interior of fully open male flowers with a #2 or #3 artists brush. Anthers will be tan colored and the white pollen falling from them will be obvious. The pollen has its highest viability at the time it is shed and declines significantly with time. Immediately apply freshly collected pollen with a small brush to the flowers in partially open, female stage. If no female stage flowers are available, pollen may be saved in the sealed container under refrigeration overnight. Pollen may then be applied to female stage flowers in the morning. In large scale operations the pollen may be mixed with inert Lycopodium spores, PVC, starch or talc powder and applied with aspirator-type Japanese apple-pollinators, to save time and pollen. Pollinate every two or three days, and only flowers easily reached inside the tree, to avoid sunburned and wind-damaged fruit. If pollination efforts are quite successful, it may be necessary to thin the fruit. Too much fruit may result in small size and adversely effect future yields.

Propagation: Since there are no recognized rootstocks for cherimoyas, seedlings are universally utilized. Seeds from the White cultivar (Dr. White) are thought by some to produce superior rootstocks, however there does not appear to be a great deal of objective data to support this position. Seeds remain viable for two to three years if kept dry and protected from weevil and fungi. With 70° F bottom heat, seed will germinate in about 21 days, but will require about 40 days under normal ambient growing conditions. Seedlings should be transplanted to deep containers (approximately 18") when they are 3" tall to promote development of the tap root. In frost-free areas, it is recommended that seedlings for spring grafting be planted in their ultimate location in the fall and grafted in the ground the following spring.

Grafting is most successful in January through May provided previous years leaves have not been shed from the potential scionwood. During this period no scion preparation is required other than removal of leaves. All normal grafting techniques appear to be equally successful. However in topworking, nurse branches are desirable if not essential for success. To bud, collect budwood in July store refrigerated for 10 days in plastic. Petioles will drop exposing dormant buds. Bud at once using chip bud technique and wrap well against dehydration. Grafted plants will bear in two to three years.

Pests and Diseases: Mealybugs and snails are the main pests of cherimoyas. Keep ducks or apply copper strips to the trunks for control of snails. Mealybugs are brought by ants which can be controlled to some extent by maintaining fresh Tanglefoot on masking tape around the trunk. The masking tape is important to prevent damage to the tree. Skirt the tree to prevent ant access from the ground or weeds. No chemicals are registered for use on Cherimoyas.

Cherimoyas are susceptible to Armillaria (Oak Root Fungus) and Verticillium. Do not plant in old vegetable gardens, or near tomatoes, eggplant or asters. Crown rot can kill trees damaged by frost or growing in saturated soil, as well as from trunks hit by frequent, superficial lawn sprinkling.

Harvest: The fruit turns a pale green or creamy yellow color as they reach maturity. Color change is not marked in cool weather. They should be picked when still firm and allowed to soften at room temperature. Ripe fruit will give to soft pressure. Overripe fruit will be dark brown. Fruit left on the tree too long will usually crack or split and begin to decay. The fruit should be clipped rather than pulled from the tree. Cut the stem close to the fruit so it won't puncture other fruit during storage.

Store mature fruit above 55° F to prevent chilling injury to the skin and flesh. Ripe fruit will deteriorate quickly but can be stored at temperatures lower than 55° F for short periods. Ripe cherimoyas can be frozen and eaten like ice cream. Cherimoyas are best served chilled, cut in half or quartered and eaten with a spoon. The fruit can also be juiced or used to make delicious sorbets or milkshakes.

Commercial Potential: Though unusual in appearance, cherimoyas are readily accepted by western tastes and has become a favorite tropical fruit. Demand greatly exceeds supply in all U.S. markets as most fruit never leaves California, the only producing state. The fruit commands high wholesale and retail prices, but costs are high and major crop losses from frost and fruit splitting are an ever present possibility. The major labor costs are pruning, pollination, ant control and irrigation.


Origin James Bays, Ventura, Calif., 1920. Tree broad, to 20 ft. Best in Carpenteria area. Fruits round, medium size, light green, skin shows fingerprint like marks (impressa type). Flavor good, almost lemony.
Big Sister
Origin James Neitzel, San Diego, Calif., 1979. Sibling of Sabor. Fruit large, very smooth, good flavor; impressa type. Often self-fruitful.
Origin A. F. Booth, Hollywood, Calif., 1921. Among hardiest of cherimoya, does well in most present growing areas. Tree 20 to 30 feet high. Fruit is conical, impressa type, medium size, rather seedy, with flavor that suggests papaya.
Origin A.M. Chaffey, West Los Angeles, Calif., 1945. Seed from Salta, Argentina. Tree rather open, fast growing. For coastal areas. Fruit small to medium, round, impressa type, with high, lemony flavor.
Tree broad, branches limber, spreading. Selected for superior hardiness. Fruit medium, quite dark green, mammillated, flavor good.
El Bumpo
Origin Rudy Haluza, Villa Park, Calif., 1986. Fruit conical, medium size, mammillated, not suited for commerce. Skin soft, practically edible. Flavor among the finest.
Medium, skin smooth, plated, yellowish green. Pulp has smooth texture, excellent flavor, very juicy. Ripens November to March.
Knight (syns. DV, Pierce, M&N Pierce)
Origin a Mr. Knight, Orange, Calif., 1930's. Scions imported from Mexico. Recovered from Dr. Pierce's ranch, Goleta, in 1950's and propagated under several names. Tree has medium vigor, medium-sized pale green wavy leaves. Fruit has minor protuberances, a thin skin, a slightly grainy texture and is quite sweet.
Origin Rudy Haluza, Villa Park, Calif.,1986. Tree large. Fruit impressa type, round conical; early harvest. Sweet, strong flavor.
McPherson (syn. Spain)
Tree pyramidal, vigorous, to 30 ft. Fruits small to medium in size, conical, dark green, impressa type, not seedy. Flavor suggests banana, sweetness varies with temperature while maturing.
Origin George Emerich, Fallbrook, Calif., 1983. From Ecuadorian seed. Tree vigorous, bears quickly, flowers profuse, tendency to self-pollinating. Fruits smooth, light green, conical, 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 pounds. Skin thin, tender. Flavor has good sweet-acid balance.
Origin William Ott, La Habra Heights, Calif., 1936. Plant patent #656. Seed from Mexico, D.F. Tree strong growing. Fruit medium, heart shaped tuberculate, flesh yellow, seedy, very sweet. Matures early.
Pierce (syns. Knight, Escondido White, Ryerson, Thomson-Spain, & Bayott)
Believed to be from a group of scions imported from Mexico in the 1930's by a Mr. Knight of Orange. Dr. H. F. Pierce planted a grove in Goleta in that period made up largely of trees produced by Knight. This cultivar was Dr. Pierce's favorite and was named "Pierce" by him. Tree is vigorous with large dark green leaves. Fruit is medium sized elongated conically shaped with very smooth skin and a high sugar content.
Origin James Neitzel, San Diego, Calif., 1979. Sibling of "Big Sister". Fruit mammillated, varies in size, not usually large. Among the best in flavor.
Origin Hollywood, Calif., 1924. Tree moderately vigorous. Fruit medium to large elongated conical, tuberculate, light green, flavor good. Seed enclosed in an obtrusive sac of flesh.
White (syn. Dr.White)
Origin J. H. MacPherson, Lemon Grove, Calif., 1928. Tree open, unkempt; to 35 feet, needs forming. A commercial favorite at Carpinteria. Best near coast. Fruit large, to 4 pounds, conical, with superficial small lumps (umbonate). Flesh juicy, flavor weak, suggesting mango-papaya.

(source: crfg.org)

Silkworm Thorn Fruits

Herb: Silkworm Thorn
Latin name: Cudrania tricuspidata
Synonyms: Cudrania triloba, Maclura tricuspidata
Family: Moraceae (Mulberry Family)

Medicinal use of Silkworm Thorn:
An infusion of the wood is used to treat sore or weak eyes. The inner bark and the wood are used in the treatment of malaria, debility and menorrhagia. The root is galactogogue and is also used in the treatment of amenorrhoea. The plant is used to eliminate blood stasis and stimulate the circulation in cancer of the alimentary system, blood and lungs.

Description of the plant:
Plant: Deciduous Tree
Height: 6 m (20 feet)
Flovering: July

Habitat of the herb:
Rocky slopes and roadsides in W. China. Sunny forest margins and mountain slopes at elevations of 500 - 2200 metres.

Edible parts of Silkworm Thorn:
Fruit - fresh or preserved. Somewhat like a mulberry. The firm fruit is relatively tasteless, when soft-ripe it is sub-acid to sweet and some forms can be quite delicious. It contains lots of large seeds. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter. Leaves - a famine food.

Other uses of the herb:
A yellow dye is obtained from the wood. The bark fibers are used for making paper. Wood - finely grained. Used for utensils.

Propagation of Silkworm Thorn:
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood, November in a sandy soil in a frame.

Cultivation of the herb:
Rocky slopes and roadsides in W. China. Sunny forest margins and mountain slopes at elevations of 500 - 2200 metres.

Known hazards of Cudrania tricuspidata:
None known