December 26, 2009

Are Mayapples Toxic

Mayapples are a sweet, pungent fruit that grows wild throughout the Eastern United States. Because they are so abundant throughout the lands east of the Mississippi River, mayapples are among the most popular wild edibles,
and hold a strong traditional place in native cuisine throughout the eastern half of the continent.

However, the popularity of the mayapple among foragers is variable, with some wild-edible chefs claiming that the once-popular fruit is actually acutely poisonous, and even potentially deadly. Claims about the fruit's toxicity have been said by other foragers to be completely false or based in erroneous assumptions about the plant's chemical composition.

Like all other members of the barberry family, the mayapple plant grows close to the ground and is herbaceous-- green and leafy, lacking any wood. Its leaves are broad and umbrella-like, and its deep root is renowned among foraging herbalists for its ability to soothe sores, fight cancer, and treat viral infections topically.

The medicinal nature of the mayapple root comes from its content of podophyllotoxin, an alkaloid that is found, in a synthesized form, in many anti-cancer drugs. Topically, it is used to treat genital warts. However, as the name fo the alkaloid might suggest, podophyllotoxin is indeed a toxin, and, like any other medicine, it can be lethal in large-- or even moderate-- amounts.

Because of this, most proponents of cooking with wild edibles recommend against the use of mayapple roots in food, and encourage its medicinal use only with the careful supervision of a physician or qualified herbalist. The leaves of a mayapple, which also contain podophylloxin, are also a no-go for cooking.

December 19, 2009

Marang

marang, madang, tarap, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comMarang also called the johey oak (Artocarpus odoratissimus), Madang, and Tarap is a tree native to Borneo. It is closely related to the jackfruit, chempedak, and breadfruit trees. It is an evergreen tree growing to 25 m tall. The leaves are 16-50 cm long and 11-28 cm broad, similar to the Breadfruit's, but are a little less lobed.

As indicated by the scientific name, the fruit has a strong scent. The fruit is considered superior in flavour to both Jackfruit and Cempedak.

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Morales
Family: Moraceae
Tribe: Artocarpeae
Genus: Artocarpus
Species: A. odoratissimus

Binomial name:
Artocarpus odoratissimus
Blanco

The appearance of the fruit can be regarded as an intermediate shape between the jackfruit and the breadfruit. The fruit is round to oblong, 15-20 cm long and 13 cm broad, and weighing about 1 kg. The thick rind is covered with soft, broad spines. They become hard and brittle as the fruit matures. The fruit does not fall to the ground when ripe. It may be harvested while still hard, and left to ripen until soft. Marangs change colour to greenish yellow when ripe. The ripe fruit is opened by cutting the rind around, twisting and gently pulling. The interior of the fruit is somewhat similar to the jackfruit's, but the color is white and the flesh is usually softer. The core is relatively large, but there are far fewer "rags" and less non-edible parts. Arils are white and the size of a grape, each containing a 15 × 8 mm seed. Once opened, the marang should be consumed quickly (in a few hours), as it loses flavour rapidly and fruit oxidizes. The seeds are also edible after boiling or roasting.

The tree is not cold tolerant (as is the breadfruit). It can grow between latitude 15º north and south, and in coastal regions where temperatures never stay under 7 °C. It is cultivated for its fruit in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and southern Thailand. The species is largely grown for local consumption; the short shelf-life of the fruit limits its wider use.

One unique exotic fruit that can only be found in a few parts of Southeast Asia is the Marang. This distinctively succulent fruit is native to Borneo and the southern part of the Philippines. The Marang (Artocarpus Odoratissima) is also referred to as Tarap. It is similar to the Jackfruit and Breadfruit in physical appearance but it is smaller and softer compared to the Jackfruit and a little bigger than the Breadfruit.
Unique Physical Appearance and Conditions for growth of the Marang.

The tree that bears the Marang fruit can grow to approximately twenty five feet tall and is propagated through its seeds. It also enjoys the warm and humid climate of tropical Southeast Asia and needs to be watered regularly to flourish.

The Marang usually has an imperfect round or oblong shape. Its outer part is covered broad and round spines with mix shades of brown, green or yellow. This fruit is usually hard and brittle while it is still maturing but it becomes softer when it ripens. Since the Marang fruit does not fall off from the tree by itself then it needs to be harvested. It can be picked while it’s still hard and left to ripen until it turns soft.
The Exotic Taste and Smell of Marang

Before tasting this luscious fruit, there are some physical signs to watch and see if the fruit is ripe enough to be opened. First, the color changes from greenish-brown to more yellowish-brown. Second, it gives off a strong and pungent scent. Third, try giving the fruit a short massage by squeezing it lightly, if the texture feels soft and mushy to the touch then it is ripe enough to eat!

The Marang fruit can be opened by cutting the rind into half and slowly pull them apart to reveal a yellow and white interior. The interior is similar to that of the Jackfruit but with smaller arils. Arils are the small bulb-like structures inside a fruit that encapsulates the seeds. The arils are milky white in color and they are sweet and addicting in taste! To experience the full flavor of the Marang fruit, it should be consumed in one sitting for it easily losses its flavor when left opened for a period of time.


Edible Crunchy Seeds!

Other parts of the Marang fruit that are edible are the seeds! The seeds are approximately the size of marbles only not as round. After eating, just gather the seeds in a clean container and rinse them with clean water. The seeds need to put under the heat of the sun to dry. When all the seeds are dry then they can be roasted on a pan without oil until it turns slightly brown without burning it. To eat the roasted seeds just rub the thin outer layer so it will peel off then eat them like peanuts! They do taste a little like peanuts but milder in flavor but they are crunchier because roasting make them brittle enough to enjoy!

Mangosteen, the Queen of Fruits

mangosteen, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comMy first experience with a mangosteen occurred while visiting Japan and it was nothing to write home about; in fact it was a disappointment. Already on guard due to the odd name - why call them "mangosteens" when they're nothing like mangos? the thing looked like a bleached tangerine stuffed into a split purple baseball. The fruit tasted delicious; somewhat reminiscent of peaches and lychees, but there was far too little of it.

Unlike other tropical fruits, ultra-perishable mangosteens have been difficult to export successfully while proving resistant to cultivation closer to the western world. In their native Thailand, however, the noble mangosteen has long been prized for its medicinal properties as well as its delicious taste.

"Mangosteen, the Queen of Fruits"... no, that's not a taunt directed at the effeminate kid who used to loiter outside the deli. Nor is it a new superhero who hails from, er, the Bay Area.

According to Koichi Okabe, president of a Japanese dessert company president who deals with a variety of different Thai foods, "Mangosteens are sometimes called the Queen of Fruits." I'm sure they don't mind, unlike poor Shecky, the neighborhood faigela. Okabe goes on to say that "Mangosteen juice, made by crushing the fruit, skin and seeds, not only tastes great, it has wonderful health benefits."

The various mangosteen drinks now sweeping Japan are a rich purple in color, owing to the blending of mangosteen rind extracts with the pale fruit. It's the inedible inside rind, or exocarp, that carries "the good stuff" - a heady blend of over 100 phytonutrients, phenolic compounds and anti-oxidants called xanthones that have shown promise in warding off cancer in mice.

In Japan, mangosteen fruits and juices have struck a chord with a public who not only love new trends, but have been bombarded by a scary government campaign against the dreaded metabolic syndrome: illnesses caused by obesity and lack of physical fitness.

While non-Japanese companies like XanGo have been marketing mangosteen puree blends for several years now, cost factors have effectively made it a luxury product for most people. That may not be a problem in Japan, which benefits from being close to the Southeast Asian source. (via Mainichi News)

December 12, 2009

Mandarin Orange

Citrus reticulata

Mandarin is a group name for a class of oranges with thin, loose peel, which have been dubbed "kid-glove" oranges. These are treated as members of a distinct species, Citrus reticulata Blanco. The name "tangerine" could be applied as an alternate name to the whole group, but, in the trade, is usually confined to the types with red-orange skin. In the Philippines all mandarin oranges are called naranjita. Spanish-speaking people in the American tropics call them mandarina.

Description

The mandarin tree may be much smaller than that of the sweet orange or equal in size, depending on variety. With great age, some may reach a height of 25 ft (7.5 m) with a greater spread. The tree is usually thorny, with slender twigs, broad-or slender-lanceolate leaves having minute, rounded teeth, and narrowly-winged petioles. The flowers are borne singly or a few together in the leaf axils. The fruit is oblate, the peel bright-orange or red-orange when ripe, loose, separating easily from the segments. Seeds are small, pointed at one end, green inside.

Food Uses

Mandarin oranges of all kinds are primarily eaten out-of-hand, or the sections are utilized in fruit salads, gelatins, puddings, or on cakes. Very small types are canned in sirup.

The essential oil expressed from the peel is employed commercially in flavoring hard candy, gelatins, ice cream, chewing gum, and bakery goods. Mandarin essential oil paste is a standard flavoring for carbonated beverages. The essential oil, with terpenes and sesquiterpenes removed, is utilized in liqueurs. Petitgrain mandarin oil, distilled from the leaves, twigs and unripe fruits, has the same food applications. Tangerine oil is not suitable for flavoring purposes.

In 1965, the 'Dancy' tangerine was found to contain more of the decongestant synephrine than any other citrus fruit-97-152 mg/liter, plus 80 mg/100 g ascorbic acid.

Mandarin peel oil contains decylaldehyde, y-phellandrene, p-cymene, linalool, terpineol, nerol, linalyl, terpenyl acetate, aldehydes, citral, citronellal, and d-limonene. Petitgrain mandarin oil contains a-pinene, dipentene, limonene, p-cymene, methyl anthranilate, geraniol, and methyl methylanthranilate.


Other Uses

Mandarin essential oil and Petitgrain oil and tangerine oil, and their various tinctures and essences, are valued in perfume-manufacturing, particularly in the formulation of floral compounds and colognes. They are produced mostly in Italy, Sicily and Algiers.(hort.purdue.edu)

December 4, 2009

Genips Fruits

Genip trees are native or naturalised over a large part of the Caribbean, Mexico and parts of Central and South America. They can be found on many road sides and in forested areas throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. The genip tree can grow up to 85 feet tall and is attractive and leafy. The fruit grow in bunches and typically ripen during the late summer months. Genips are small fruit with a thin but rigid green skin. Inside the skin is usually one large seed, although it is possible to have two seeds. The seed is covered with a slimy peach colored flesh. It is juicy but limited and somewhat fibrous. When ripe the flesh is sweet with a slight tart taste; when not yet ripe the tartness is more apparent.

To eat a genip, break the skin with your front teeth and then gently push the two sides created just enough to pop the fleshy seed out of the shell and into your mouth. Suck and scrape the pulp off of the seed, and spit the seed out. The seed itself is white.

Children and adults can sometimes be seen throwing sticks into genip trees or climbing them in an effort to retrieve the fruit. More ambitious people bring sticks with hooks to gather the genips. It is common during its fruiting season to see people selling small bunches of genips on road sides around the islands.

Genip (Melicocca bijugata) is in the Sapindaceae, also known as the soapberry family, which includes some other edible fruit bearing trees such as lychee and ackee.

Trying Genips: While visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands try some genips, and if they are not in season try some other local fruit! If you are confident you know what the genip tree and their fruit look like you might pick some genips right from a tree. If in doubt, you can purchase some from a road side vendor. Look for fruit stands or for make shift genip stands, usually just a small table with a dozen or more bunches of the small green fruits. Genips are best eaten freshly picked. They start to get wrinkled as time passes after being picked from the tree. If only a little wrinkled they still taste fine. Best bet though is to look for unwrinkled, non-cracked skin.

Power to Stain: The juice from a genip is clear but it will stain clothing with a dark brown, rusty color. Quite difficult, if not impossible, to remove the stain so be careful when eating them. The Arawaks were said to have used the juice as a dye


November 28, 2009

Quenepa

The quenepa, also known by the name mamoncillo, is similar to the lychee and eaten much the same way. Peel off the thin green rind and eat the interior except for the large pit in the center, which can be roasted like a sunflower seed. Tasting like a sweet lime with a hint of banana, the pulp is gelatinous and juicy but very scant. Due to the small amount of edible fruit, it is most commonly boiled and used in cold drinks.

Nutrition Info
Serving Size: 100 g, husks removed

Amount per serving:
Calories from fat: 1Calories: 58
Fat: 0.1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 0mg
Total Carbs: 13.5g
Fiber: 0.1g
Sugars: g
Protein: 0.5g
Vitamin A: 0% Vitamin C: 0%
Calcium: 0% Iron: 3%

Availability
Available in summer.

Also Known As
Ackee
Genip
Limoncillo
Spanish lime

Handling and Storage
Store at 35 to 40 degrees.

Varieties
Melicoccus bijugatus

November 21, 2009

Mamoncillo

mamoncillo, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comOne of the minor fruits of the family Sapindaceae, the mamoncillo (Melicoccus bijugatus Jacq., syn. Melicocca bijuga L.) has, nevertheless acquired an assortment of regional names, such as: ackee (Barbados only; not to be confused with Blighia sapida, q.v.); genip, ginep, ginepe, guenepa, guinep (Barbados, Jamaica, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago); grosella de miel (Mexico); guayo (Mexico); honeyberry (Guyana); Jamaica bullace plum, kanappy (Puerto Rico); kenet (French Guiana); knepa (Surinam); knepe (French West Indies); knippa (Surinam); limoncillo (Dominican Republic); macao (Colombia, Venezuela); maco (Venezuela); mamon (Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Argentina); mamon de Cartagena (Costa Rica); marmalade box (Guyana); mauco (Venezuela); muco (Colombia, Venezuela); quenepa (Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Colombia); quenepe (Haiti); quenett (French Guiana); sensiboom (Surinam); Spanish lime (Florida); tapaljocote (El Salvador).

Description

The mamoncillo tree is slow-growing, erect, stately, attractive; to 85 ft (25 m) high, with trunk to 5 1/2 ft (1.7 m) thick; smooth, gray bark, and spreading branches. Young branchlets are reddish. The leaves are briefly deciduous, alternate, compound, having 4 opposite, elliptic, sharp-pointed leaflets 2 to 5 in (5-12.5 cm) long and 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 in (3.25-6.25 cm) wide, the rachis frequently conspicuously winged as is that of the related soapberry (Sapindus saponaria L.). The flowers, in slender racemes 2 1/3 to 4 in (6-10 cm) long, often clustered in terminal panicles, are fragrant, white, 1/5 to 1/3 in (5-8 mm) wide, with 4 petals and 8 stamens. Male and female are usually borne on separate trees but some trees are partly polygamous. The fruit clusters are branched, compact and heavy with nearly round, green fruits tipped with a small protrusion, and suggesting at first glance small unripe limes, but there the resemblance ends. The skin is smooth, thin but leathery and brittle. The glistening pulp (aril) is salmon-colored or yellowish, translucent, gelatinous, juicy but very scant and somewhat fibrous, usually clinging tenaciously to the seed. When fully ripe, the pulp is pleasantly acid-sweet but if unripe acidity predominates. In most fruits there is a single, large, yellowish-white, hard-shelled seed, while some have 2 hemispherical seeds. The kernel is white, crisp, starchy, and astringent.

Season and Harvesting

In Florida, the fruits ripen from June to September. In the Bahamas, the season extends from July to October. Ladders and picking poles equipped with cutters are necessary in harvesting fruits from tall trees. The entire cluster is clipped from the branch when sampling indicates that the fruits are fully ripe. At this stage, the rind becomes brittle but does not change color. If picked prematurely, the rind turns blackish, a sign of deterioration.

Keeping Quality

Because of the leathery skin, the fruit remains fresh for a long time and ships and markets well. The tropical horticulturist, David Sturrock, related that horsemen in Cuba often hung branches of mamoncillos on the saddle horn to enjoy and relieve thirst during long rides.

Food Uses

For eating out-of-hand, the rind is merely torn open at the stem end and the pulp-coated seed is squeezed into the mouth, the juice being sucked from the pulp until there is nothing left of it but the fiber. With fruits that have non-adherent pulp, the latter may be scraped from the seed and utilized to make pie-filling, jam, marmalade or jelly, but this entails much work for the small amount of edible material realized. More commonly, the peeled fruits are boiled and the resulting juice is prized for cold drinks. In Colombia, the juice is canned commercially.

The seeds are eaten after roasting. Indians of the Orinoco consume the cooked seeds as a substitute for cassava.


Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*
Calories 58.11-73
Moisture 68.8-82.5 g
Protein 0.50-1.0 g
Fat 0.08-0.2 g
Carbohydrates 13.5-19.2 g
Fiber 0.07-2.60 g
Ash 0.34-0.74g
Calcium 3.4-15 mg
Phosphorus 9.8-23.9 mg
Iron 0.47-1.19 mg
Carotene 0.02-0.44 mg (70 I.U.)
Thiamine 0.03-0.21 mg
Riboflavin 0.01-0.20 mg
Niacin 0.15-0.90 mg
Ascorbic Acid 0.8-10 mg
Tannin 1.88 g
Amino Acids
Tryptophan 14 mg
Methionine 0
Lysine 17 mg
*Analyses made in Cuba, Central America and Colombia.

Seed Hazard

It has been said that the pulp fibers coat the lining of the stomach, adversely affecting the health, but this has been denied by the Government Chemist of the Department of Science and Agriculture in Jamaica who declares that fatalities in children are the result of choking on the seed. When coated with pulp, it is very slippery, is accidentally swallowed and, because of its size, lodges in the throat, causing suffocation or strangulation.

Other Uses

Juice: A dye has been experimentally made from the juice of the raw fruit which makes an indelible stain.

Flowers: The flowers are rich in nectar and highly appealing to hummingbirds and honeybees. The honey is somewhat dark in color but of agreeable flavor. The tree is esteemed by Jamaican beekeepers though the flowering season (March/April) is short.

Leaves: In Panama, the leaves are scattered in houses where there are many fleas. It is claimed that the fleas are attracted to the leaves and are cast out with the swept-up foliage. Some believe that the leaves actually kill the fleas.

Wood: The heartwood is yellow with dark lines, compact, hard, heavy, fine-grained; inclined to decay out of doors, but valued for rafters, indoor framing, and cabinetwork.

Medicinal Uses: In Venezuela, the astringent roasted seed kernels are pulverized, mixed with honey and given to halt diarrhea. The astringent leaf decoction is given as an enema for intestinal complaints.

November 14, 2009

Mamey Sapote

Mamey Sapote is a fruit that is technically a berry, though a very large one.

The Mamey Sapote tree grows 40 to 60 feet (12 to 18 metres) tall, occasionally up to 140 feet (42 metres.) Its leaves grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) long and 4 inches (10 cm) wide. The tree is evergreen, but may occasionally lose its leaves during some winters. Young trees will die when the temperature hits 32 F (0 C); even mature trees can't stand temperatures below 22 F (-6 C.)

The tree doesn't grow true to seed. A tree grown from seed needs seven years of growth before it starts producing fruit; trees grown from grafting can produce fruit in three to five years. An average tree will produce in the range of 200 to 500 fruits a year, though very large trees may double that.

There many cultivars, flowering at different times of the year with small white blossoms. The trees then produce fruit that can be 3 to 8 inches (7 1/2 to 20 cm) long, and weigh 3/4 to 6 pounds (1/3 to 2 3/4 kg.) An average-sized Mamey Sapote fruit is the size of a large potato. In fact, its thick, coarse russet-brown skin makes it look like a sweet potato.

Mamey Sapote fruit bruises easily when ripe, so it is usually picked and shipped when only partially ripe.

There will be one large, glossy black seed at the centre (occasionally up to 4 seeds.) Both the skin and the seed are inedible.

The flesh inside is a pale green when unripe, ripening to a salmony orangey pink. It has a slightly grainy texture.

Some describe the taste as a bit like pumpkin and almond; others describe the taste as pumpkin, avocado and honey, or peach and apricot. The truth is, the flavour varies by cultivar, though it will always be sweetish.

Named cultivars include Magaa, Pac, Pantin, and Tazumal.

Not closely related to other fruit called sapotes.

Cooking Tips
You can just peel and eat the fruit fresh, or use it to make smoothies, milk shakes or ice cream.

Nutrition
Per 100g: 107 calories, 1g protein, .5g fat, 28g carbohydrates, 22mg calcium, 6 mg sodium, 225mg potassium, 23 mg vitamin C.

Storage
Allow to ripen at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. Once ripe, store in fridge and use within 3 days. When ripe, it will yield to a gentle squeeze.

History
Native to Central America. Introduced into Florida in the late 1880s.

Also called
Calocarpum mammosum, Calocarpum sapota, Pouteria sapota (Scientific Name)
(practicallyedible.com)

November 7, 2009

Persimmon

Diospyros kaki Linn
Ebenaceae
Common Names: Persimmon, Oriental Persimmon, Japanese Persimmon, Kaki.

Related species: Black Sapote (Diospyros digyna), Mabolo, Velvet Apple (D. discolor), Date Plum (D. lotus), Texas Persimmon (D. texana), American Persimmon (D. virginiana).

Origin: The oriental persimmon is native to China, where it has been cultivated for centuries and more than two thousand different cultivars exist. It spread to Korea and Japan many years ago where additional cultivars were developed. The plant was introduced to California in the mid 1800's.

Adaptation: Persimmons do best in areas that have moderate winters and relatively mild summers--suitable for growing in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10. It can tolerate temperatures of 0° F when fully dormant. However, because of its low chilling requirement (less than 100 hours), it may break dormancy during early warm spells only to be damaged by spring frosts later. The leaves are killed by 26° F when growing. Trees do not produce well in the high summer heat of desert regions, which may also sunburn the bark.

DESCRIPTION

Growth Habit: The persimmon is a multitrunked or single-stemmed deciduous tree to 25 ft. high and at least as wide. It is a handsome ornamental with drooping leaves and branches that give it a languid, rather tropical appearance. The branches are somewhat brittle and can be damaged in high winds.

Foliage: Persimmon leaves are alternate, simple, ovate and up to 7 inches long and 4 inches wide. They are often pale, slightly yellowish green in youth, turning a dark, glossy green as they age. Under mild autumn conditions the leaves often turn dramatic shades of yellow, orange and red. Tea can also be made from fresh or dried leaves.

Flowers: The inconspicuous flowers surrounded by a green calyx tube are borne in the leaf axils of new growth from one-year old wood. Female flowers are single and cream-colored while the pink-tinged male flowers are typically borne in threes. Commonly, 1 to 5 flowers per twig emerge as the new growth extends (typically March). Persimmon trees are usually either male or female, but some trees have both male and female flowers. On male plants, especially, occasional perfect (bisexual) flowers occur, producing an atypical fruit. A tree's sexual expression can vary from one year to the other. Many cultivars are parthenocarpic (setting seedless fruit without pollination), although some climates require pollination for adequate production. When plants not needing pollination are pollinated, they will produce fruits with seeds and may be larger and have a different flavor and texture than do their seedless counterparts.

Fruit: Persimmons can be classified into two general categories: those that bear astringent fruit until they are soft ripe and those that bear nonastringent fruits. Within each of these categories, there are cultivars whose fruits are influenced by pollination (pollination variant) and cultivars whose fruits are unaffected by pollination (pollination constant). Actually, it is the seeds, not pollination per se, that influences the fruit. An astringent cultivar must be jelly soft before it is fit to eat, and such cultivars are best adapted to cooler regions where persimmons can be grown. The flesh color of pollination-constant astringent cultivars is not influenced by pollination. Pollination-variant astringent cultivars have dark flesh around the seeds when pollinated. A nonastringent persimmon can be eaten when it is crisp as an apple. These cultivars need hot summers, and the fruit might retain some astringency when grown in cooler regions. Pollination-constant nonastringent (PCNA) persimmons are always edible when still firm; pollination-variant nonastringent (PVNA) fruit are edible when firm only if they have been pollinated.

The shape of the fruit varies by cultivar from spherical to acorn to flattened or squarish. The color of the fruit varies from light yellow-orange to dark orange-red. The size can be as little as a few ounces to more than a pound. The entire fruit is edible except for the seed and calyx. Alternate bearing is common. This can be partially overcome by thinning the fruit or moderately pruning after a light-crop year. Astringency can also be removed by treating with carbon dioxide or alcohol. Freezing the fruit overnight and then thawing softens the fruit and also removes the astringency. Unharvested fruit remaining on the tree after leaf fall creates a very decorative effect. It is common for many immature fruit to drop from May to September.

November 1, 2009

Mabolo


Mabolo also known as velvet apple is native to the Philippines with its tree known as Kamagong. The mature leaves of mabolo tree are dark green, the newer ones are showy, pale green or pink with silky hair. The fruit often grow in pairs of threes on opposite sides of a branch. The Mabolo fruit has a thin, brownish-maroon skin coated with golden-brown hair. The skin gives off a strong, unpleasant cheesy odor, but once it is removed, the fruit is quite odor free and has a distinct, sweetish flavor. The seedless variety of mabolo is easily distinguished from the seedy ones as they are flatte
  • Scientific Name: Diospyros blancoi
  • Origin: Philippines
  • Varieties: Many cultivated varieties, distinguished by color, taste and quantity of hair on the twigs and leaves.
  • Tree height: 10-33 m
  • Fruit diameter: 8-10 cm
  • Season: towards end of hot season

Other Names:
  • India: Peach bloom
  • Malaysia: Sagalat (scarlet fruit) or buah mentega (butterfruit)

Nutrient Value per 100g: The fruit is considered a fairly good source of iron and calcium and a good source of vitamin B.
  • Calories: 504Protein: 0.75 g
  • Fat: 0.22-0.38 g
  • Carbohydrates: (other) 5.49-6.12 g
  • Fiber: 0.74-1.76 g
  • Sugar: 11.47 g

Medicinal uses:
  • Decoction of bark and leaves are used for skin problems. You can either drink or pour the tea on your bath water.
  • Decoction of bark is use as remedy for cough

Culinary uses: It is eaten fresh, as a dessert and for making drinks

Other uses: Use for making wooden combs and utensils

Serving Suggestion: Slice the flesh andseason with lime or lemon juice to be serve as dessert. The flesh is also diced and combined with that of other fruits in salads. The fruit should be refrigerated for a few hours before serving for the odor to be totally remove.

Toxicity: The fur in the mabolo skin may be irritating to sensitive skin.

October 27, 2009

Lichi Fruits

lichi,  fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.com
Lichi fruit is also spelled as Litchi, Lichee, Leechee, Lychee fruit. The lichi fruit is from the lichi tree that originates from China and is cultivated for its sweet fruits all over the world in warm climates. Lichi was imported to Hawaii in 1873, and Florida in 1883, and to California in 1897. Lichi fruit pericarp extract contains significant amounts of polyphenolic compounds and exhibits powerful antioxidative activity against fat oxidation in vitro. Lichi is a subtropical fruit that, once harvested, loses its red pericarp color because of browning reactions probably involving polyphenols.

Availability of Lichi Fruit

Lichi is available as the fruit in certain grocery stores, as lichi liquor, lichi juice and canned lichi. A lichi martini is popular in certain parts of the world.

Lichi Fruit and Lichi Nut

The lichi fruit often measures 3 to 4 cm long and about 3 cm in diameter. The outside of the lichi fruit is covered by a red, roughly-textured rind. I tis easily to peal the rind since it is not eaten. The inside of thy lichi fruit consists of a layer of sweet white flesh with a texture somewhat similar to that of a grape. The centre of the lichi fruit contains a single glossy brown nut-like seed, about 2 cm long and 1 cm in diameter. The lichi nut is not consumed since it is poisonous.

Lichi Fruit Research

Anticancer activity of lichi fruit pericarp extract against human breast cancer in vitro and in vivo.

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2006 Mar 21; Division of Experimental Oncology, National Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, P.R. China.

The purpose of this study is to confirm the anticancer activity of lichi fruit pericarp extract on human breast cancer in vitro and in vivo, and to elucidate the mechanism of its activity. Human breast cancer cells were tested in vitro for cytotoxicity, colony formation inhibition, BrdU incorporation, and gene expression profiling after treatment with lichi fruit pericarp extract.

The findings in this study suggested that lichi fruit pericarp extract might have potential anticancer activity on both ER positive and negative breast cancers, which could be attributed, in part, to its DNA damage effect, proliferating inhibition and apoptosis induction of cancer cells through up-regulation and down-regulation of multiple genes involved in cell cycle regulation and cell proliferation, apoptosis, signal transduction and transcriptional regulation, motility and invasiveness of cancer cells.

Anaphylactic reaction to lichi fruit: evidence for sensitization to profilin.
Clin Exp Allergy. 1995 Oct;25(10):1018-23. Department of Dermatology University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.

Due to the increasing popularity of exotic fruits in the Western diet, allergologists are confronted with allergic reactions to substances in these plants. The present report describes an anaphylactic reaction after the consumption of lichi fruit (lichi sinensis). The atopic patient also suffers from rhinoconjunctivitis due to a sensitization against pollen of the Compositae family, as well as from dyspnoea after eating sunflower seeds. Our goals were to determine crossreactivity between antibodies against lichi fruit and other plants and to characterize the allergen. Specific IgE against lichi fruits were detected by an EAST assay.

The allergen was characterized by immunoblot, immunoblot inhibition and EAST inhibition assays. Broad crossreactivity between lichi fruit and other plants was found and profilin identified as the protein responsible for the patient's complex allergy syndrome.

CONCLUSION: lichi fruit contains a significant amount of profilin. Consumption of this exotic fruit can cause severe anaphylactic reactions in patients being sensitized against the plant pan-allergen profilin.(raysahelian.com)

October 21, 2009

Litchi

litchi, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comAt first glance, the litchi is a fruit that looks like a strawberry with alligator skin, which is why some folks call them alligator strawberries in the South. The fruit is red like a strawberry, but the exterior is rough and tough. You must peel the litchi to get to the edible interior. Once peeled, the litchi looks like a peeled grape, and has a similar pearly grape-like texture. The tasty litchi flesh surrounds a large inedible seed. Its delicious sweet flavor is likened to a fusion of strawberries, watermelon, and grapes.

Litchis (also known as lychee and litchi nut) are native to Asia and have been a prized fruit in China for more than 2,000 years. They are grown in tropical climates, particularly Florida and Hawaii. Prime season for fresh litchis is June and July, but they are also available canned and dried. When dried, they are referred to as litchi nuts.

The litchi must be peeled to get to the edible flesh. The outer leathery skin also has a thin inner membrane that must be removed before eating, much like a pomegranate. As the ripened fruit ages, the skin and inner membrane lose water and become tougher, fusing together. If the skin comes off easily with the inner membrane, the storage time is greatly shortened.

Many folks simply use their fingernail to dig into the stem end and peeloff the skin from the lychee. If you're peeling a large quantity for a recipe, use a serrated knife to cut through the skin lengthwise all around the seed. If the litchi is very fresh, you'll need to gently peel away the skin and inner membrane much like peeling an orange. If the lychees have been stored for awhile, the skin and membrane will peel away easily, usually in whole halves after scoring around the seed.

If the lychees are very ripe, you can simply tear off one end of the skin, then pinch toward the opposite end to propel the fruit out of the skin and into your mouth or bowl.

Once the outer skin and inner membrane are removed, you'll find a fruit that looks much like a peeled green grape. The edible meat surrounds a large seed. Cut around the meat lengthwise to the seed, and pull the meat away from the pointed end of the seed. It should release from the seed fairly easily if the fruit is properly ripened.

Lychee / Litchi Selection and Storage

Select fruit with a bright coloring, light red to deep red, with no blemishes. The skin is naturally tough and leathery, but it should be pliable and not overly dull, dry or dark. If the fruit tastes bitter or sour, it is not ripe. Unfortunately, lychees cease ripening once picked. Avoid lychees that are cracked, leaking, or smell fermented.

Fresh litchis should be wrapped in a paper towel, placed in a perforated plastic bag, and stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. They will begin to ferment as they age, so use them quickly.

Lychees may also be frozen. Simply place the fruit, skin on, in a zipper bag, suck out the air, and seal.

Canned litchis are also available. Litchi "nuts" are the dried form of the fruit which look and taste much like a raisin.

Lychee / Litchi Usage

Litchis are a natural addition to fruit salads and desserts. Add some to chicken salad or stir-fries for a sweet touch. They are also used in sweet-and-sour sauces as well as dessert sauces. (homecooking.about.com)

October 14, 2009

Lychee

Litchi chinensis Sonn.
Sapindaceae
Common Names: Lychee, Litchi, Leechee, Lichee, Lichi.

Distant Affinity: Akee (Blighia sapida), Longan (Dimocarpus longan), Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), Pulasan (N. mutabile), Fijian longan (Pometia pinnata).

Origin: The lychee is native to low elevations of the provinces of Kwangtung and Fukien in Southern China. Cultivation spread over the years through neighboring areas of southeastern Asia and offshore islands. It reached Hawaii in 1873, and Florida in 1883, and was conveyed from Florida to California in 1897.


Adaptation: Lychees require seasonal temperature variations for best flowering and fruiting, Warm, humid summers are best for flowering and fruit development, and a certain amount of winter chilling is necessary for flower bud development. Most varieties need between 100 and 200 hours of standard chilling (32° - 45° F). Cool winters with low rainfall are ideal for lychees. The trees become more hardy as they age. Mature trees have survived temperatures as low as 25° F when fully hardened off. Young trees may be killed by a light frost. Lychees can be successfully grown in frost-free coastal areas of California. There are trees in San Diego, California that are over 90 years old with no sign of decline in sight. It first fruited in Santa Barbara in 1914. They can be grown for a short period in a large container.

DESCRIPTION

Growth Habit: The lychee tree is handsome, dense, round-topped and slow-growing with smooth, gray, brittle trunk and limbs. Under ideal conditions they may reach 40 feet high, but they are usually much smaller The tree in full fruit is a stunning sight.

Foliage: The leathery, pinnate leaves are divided into four to eight leaflets. They are reddish when young, becoming shiny and bright green. Lychee trees have full foliage and branch to the ground.

Flowers: The tiny petalless, yellowish-green flowers are borne in in terminal clusters to 30 inches. Lychees are eye-catching in spring when the huge sprays of flowers adorn the tree. Flowering precedes fruit maturity by approximately 140 days.

Fruits: The fruit is covered by a leathery rind or pedicarp which is pink to strawberry-red in color and rough in texture. A greenish-yellow variety is not grown in California at present. Fruit shape is oval, heart-shaped or nearly round, 1 to 1-1/2 inches in length. The edible portion or aril is white, translucent, firm and juicy. The flavor is sweet, fragrant and delicious. Inside the aril is a seed that varies considerably in size. The most desirable varieties contain atrophied seeds which are called "chicken tongue". They are very small, up to 1/2 inch in length. Larger seeds vary between 1/2 to 1 inch in length and are plumper than the chicken tongues. There is also a distinction between the lychee that leaks juice when the skin is broken and the "dry and clean" varieties which are more desirable. In some areas lychees tend to be alternate bearers. Fruit splitting is usually caused by fluctuating soil moisture levels.

CULTURE

Location: Lychees need full sun, but young trees must be protected from heat, frost and high winds.

Soil: The tree needs a well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. A soil pH between 5.5 and 7.5 is acceptable, but plants grow much better in soils with a pH at the low end of this range. Apply a thick layer of organic mulch to the soil after planting.

Irrigation: The lychee will not tolerate standing water, but requires very moist soil, so water the tree regularly when it is growing actively. The trees are very sensitive to damage from salts in the soil or in water. Leach the soil regularly in the Southwest.

Fertilization: Young trees tend to grow slowly, and many gardeners tend to give them too much fertilizer in an attempt to push them along. Young trees should receive only light applications of a complete fertilizer. Mature trees are heavier feeders and should be fertilized regularly from spring to late summer. Use fertilizers formulated for acid-loving plants. Chelated iron and soil sulfur may be necessary in areas with alkaline soils.

Pruning: Prune young trees to establish a strong, permanent structure for easy harvest. After that, removing crossing or damaged branches is all this is necessary, although he trees can be pruned more heavily to control size. V-shaped crotches should be avoided because of the wood's brittle nature.

Frost Protection: Lychees need warmth and a frost-free environment, but can often withstand light freezes with some kind of overhead protection. When they are young, this can be provided by building a frame around the plants and covering it with bedding, plastic sheeting, etc. when frost threatens. Electric light bulbs can also be used for added warmth.

Propagation: Air-layering is the most common method of propagating lychees because grafting is difficult and seedlings are not reliable producers of quality fruit. To grow a plant from seed it is important to remember that seeds remain viable for no more than a day or two under dry conditions. Young seedlings grow vigorously until they reach 7 or 8 inches in height. They will stay at this height for up to two years without further noticeable growth. Wedge and bud grafts are possible, but seldom used.

When planting a Lychee, hole preparation is the same as for planting avocados. If planting marcots directly, most leaves should be removed. A round of hog wire covered with plastic gives excellent wind protection and also holds moisture in. In case of a freeze, one has only to throw a blanket over the top. The plastic should not touch the plant. This protection should be planned on and taken care of the day the plant goes into the ground.

Pests and Diseases: Mites, scale and aphids occasionally infest lychees. Birds are often attracted to lychees, eating both the immature and the ripe fruit. It may be necessary to cover the plants with a protective netting.

Harvest: The Fruit must be allowed to ripen fully on the tree. Overly mature fruit darken in color and lose their luster. The flavor lacks the richness associated with a certain amount of acidity. To harvest, snip off entire fruit clusters, keeping a short piece of the stem attached. Lychees can be stored for up five weeks in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen or dried. Lychees will begin to deteriorate within three days at room temperature. (crfg.org)

October 7, 2009

Lucuma Makes a Healthy Whole Fruit Sweetener

lucuma, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comMany South American cultures enjoy traditional healthy foods and culinary treats. If you were to visit Peru, you may be surprised to find that lucuma flavored ice cream is more popular than vanilla or chocolate. Lucuma is a South American fruit that is gaining popularity as a healthy, whole fruit sweetener. It has a similar taste to a mango and has a beautiful golden yellow color. It adds a healthy sweetness to smoothies, raw chocolate and cakes.

The Incan Fruit

The lucuma tree was first seen and reported by Europeans in Ecuador in 1531. The lucuma tree is an evergreen that has been cultivated since ancient times and was once hailed the "Gold of the Incas." As a native fruit to Peru, Chile and Ecuador, it has been spiritually revered because of its taste and healing power. It has been found depicted on ceramics at burial sites of the indigenous people of Peru by archaeologists. Today it is still a prominent feature in celebrations and life.

Because the lucuma fruit is so precious to South American countries, it is actually not allowed to be exported as a whole fruit. Instead, the powder is being exported and used to create delicious recipes.

A Healthy Sweetener

Lucuma is an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals including plentiful concentrations of beta-carotene, which makes it a powerful immune system booster. It is rich in iron, B2 and B1. It`s also high in niacin, which makes it a cholesterol and triglyceride balancer.

The fruit has a slightly breast like appearance and has been associated with fertility and nourishment by the cultures who have enjoyed it. It is a great sweetener for women who are breastfeeding.

Naturally Sweet and Delicious

Lucuma has a uniquely sweet, fragrant and subtly maple-like taste that will bring your desserts to life without making your blood sugar levels skyrocket. This naturally occurring sweetener actually gives your body healing goodness, unlike many sweeteners which offer empty calories and nothing of any value. Its low sugar content makes it a healthy alternative to sugar for people who have diabetes and other illnesses, as well as those growing numbers of people who want to enjoy delicious delights while maintaining vibrant health.

Lucuma Ice Cream

As mentioned above, lucuma ice cream has been popular in South America for years. Now it is becoming increasingly popular among people who enjoy a raw food, sugar free diet. Here is a simple recipe for this healthy and delicious dessert.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups really raw cashews, soaked
1/2 cup coconut cream, coconut meat, or raw coconut butter
1/2 cup organic lucuma powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup raw agave nectar
1 whole vanilla bean
1 1/2 Tbs psyllium hulls
Approximately
1/2 cup best water available
1/4 cup maca powder
Celtic Sea salt to taste (or use any highly mineralized salt)

Directions

Put all the ingredients of 
lucuma ice cream in a blender or food processor and blend until it is a thick, creamy consistency. Put in a freeze proof container and freeze until it is ice cream. An ice cream maker is not required, but can be used. (naturalnews.com)

October 1, 2009

Loquat Fruit Facts

Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.
Rosaceae
Common Names: Loquat, Japanese medlar, Nispero.

Distant Affinity: Apples (Malus spp.), Medlar (Mispilus germanica), Stone Fruit (Prunus spp.), Pears (Pyrus spp.) and others.

Origin: The loquat is indigenous to southeastern China. It was introduced into Japan and became naturalized there in very early times. It has been cultivated in Japan for over 1,000 years. It has also become naturalized in India and many other areas. Chinese immigrants are presumed to have carried the loquat to Hawaii. It was common as a small-fruited ornamental in California in the 1870's, and the improved variety, Giant, was being sold there by 1887. Japan is the leading producer of loquats, followed by Israel and Brazil.

Adaption: The loquat is adapted to a subtropical to mild-temperature climate. Where the climate is too cool or excessively warm and moist, the tree is grown as an ornamental but will not bear fruit. Well established trees can tolerate a low temperature of 12° F. The killing temperature for the flower bud is about 19° F, and for the mature flower about 26° F. At 25° F the seed is killed, causing the fruit to fall. Extreme summer heat is also detrimental to the crop, and dry, hot winds cause leaf scorch. High heat and sunlight during the winter often results in sunburned fruit. The white-fleshed varieties are better adapted to cool coastal areas. In a large tub the loquat makes a good container specimen.

DESCRIPTION

Growth Habits: The loquat is a large evergreen shrub or small tree with a rounded crown, short trunk and woolly new twigs. The tree can grow 20 to 30 ft. high, but is usually much smaller than this--about 10 ft. Loquats are easy to grow and are often used as an ornamental. Their boldly textured foliage add a tropical look to the garden and contrast well with many other plants. Because of the shallow root system of the loquat, care should be taken in mechanical cultivation not to damage the roots.

Foliage: Loquat leaves are generally eliptical-lanceolate, 5 to 12 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide. They are dark green and glossy on the upper surface, whitish or rusty-hairy beneath, thick and stiff, with conspicuous parallel, oblique veins. The new growth is sometimes tinged with red. The leaves are narrow in some cultivars and broad in others.

Flowers: Small, white, sweetly fragrant flowers are borne in fall or early winter in panicles at the ends of the branches. Before they open, the flower clusters have an unusual rusty-wooly texture.

Fruit: Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 1 to 2 inches long with a smooth or downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin. The succulent, tangy flesh is white, yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on the cultivar. Each fruit contains three to five large brown seeds. The loquat is normally pollinated by bees. Some cultivars are self-infertile and others are only partially self-fertile. Flowers of the early and late flushes tend to have abnormal stamens and very little viable pollen. Thinning of flowers and young fruits in the cluster, or clipping off all or part of flower and fruit clusters is sometimes done to enhance fruit size. Under most conditions the loquat tends to develop an alternate-bearing pattern, which can be modified somewhat by cluster thinning in heavy production years. For the highest quality fruit the clusters are sometimes bagged to protect from sunburn and eliminate bird damage.

CULTURE

Location: Loquats are wind tolerant and grow best in full sun, but also do well in partial shade. The round headed trees can be used to shade a patio. Loquats also make attractive espaliers.

Soil: Loquats grow well on a variety of soils of moderate fertility, from light sandy loam to heavy clay and even limestone soils, but need good drainage.

Irrigation: Loquat trees are drought tolerant, but they will produce higher quality fruit with regular, deep watering. The trees should be watered at the swelling of blossoms and 2 to 3 waterings should be given during harvest time. The trees will not tolerate standing water.

Fertilizing: Loquats benefit from regular, light applications of nitrogen fertilizers, but too much nitrogen will reduce flowering. A good formula for applications of chemical fertilizer is 1 lb. of 6-6-6 NPK three times a year during the period of active growth for each tree 8 to 10 feet in height. To control excessive growth, other authorities recommend fertilizing only once a year in midwinter.

Pruning: Judicious pruning should be done just after harvest, otherwise terminal shoots become too numerous and cause a decline in vigor. The objective of pruning is a low head to facilitate fruit thinning and harvest. Prune also to remove crossing branches and thin dense growth to let light into the center of the tree. Loquats respond well to more severe pruning.

Propagation: Generally seeds are used for propagation only when the tree is grown for ornamental purposes or for use as rootstock. For rootstock the seed are washed and planted in flats or pots soon after removal from the fruit and the seedlings are transplanted when 6 to 7 inches high. When the stem is 1/2 inch thick at the base, the seedlings are ready to be top-worked. Loquats can be propagated by various grafting methods, including shield-budding or side-veneer grafting and cleft-grafting. The use of loquat seedling rootstock usually results in a comparatively large tree with a high canopy. Cultivars grown on quince rootstock produce a dwarfed tree of early bearing character. The smaller tree has no effect on fruit size and gives adequate fruit production with the advantage of easier picking. Loquat cuttings are not easy to root. Grafted trees will begin to bear fruit in 2 to 3 years, compared to 8 to 10 years in seedling trees.

Pests and Diseases: In California there are few pests that bother loquats. Occasionally infestations of black scale may appear. Fruit flies are a serious pests in areas where they are problem. Birds will also peck at the ripe fruit and damage it, and deer will browse on the foliage.

Fire blight caused by Erwinia amylovora is a major enemy of the loquat in California, particularly in areas with late spring and summer rains or high humidity. The disease is spread by bees during flowering. Fire blight can be controlled somewhat by the use of preventive fungicides or bactericides and by removal of the the scorched-looking branches, cutting well into live wood. The prunings should be burned or or sealed in a plastic bag before disposal. Crown rot caused by Phytophthora and cankers caused by Pseudomonas Eriobotrya are also occasional problems.

Harvest: Loquat fruits should be allowed to ripen fully before harvesting. They reach maturity in about 90 days from full flower opening. When ripe the fruit develops a distinctive color, depending on the cultivar, and begins to soften. Unripe fruits do not ripen properly off the tree and are excessively acid. Harvest time in California is from March to June. The fruit is difficult to separate from the cluster stems without tearing and must be carefully clipped individually or the whole cluster removed and the fruit then snipped off. Ripe fruit may be stored in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.

The loquat is comparable to the apple in many aspects, with a high sugar, acid and pectin content. It is eaten as a fresh fruit and mixes well with other fruits in fresh fruit salads or fruit cups. Firm, slightly immature fruits are best for making pies or tarts. The fruits are also commonly used to make jam, jelly and chutney, and are delicious poached in light syrup. Loquats can also be used to make wine.

Commercial Potential: In California, only in the coastal areas from Santa Barbara to San Diego counties is the fruit produced regularly in quantity and of sufficiently good quality to make commercial production feasible. Harvesting is somewhat labor intensive and the difficulty of handling the fragile fruit in addition to the relatively short self life and storage ability, limit the loquat as a major commercial fruit. Even so, the availability of loquats when few or no other local fruits are in the market is a factor in their favor. The fruit is also popular in ethnic markets and is offered in limited amounts in specialty fruit stores and through Farmer's Markets in many communities.(crfg.org)

September 29, 2009

Health Benefits of Longan

longan, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comLongan also known as "dragon's eye" (because of an ovoid, white eye shaped mark on the pit). The longan is China's gift to Southeast Asia, where it was brought by Chinese emigrants hundred of years ago. The evergreen longan tree has heavily foliaged branches with leathery leaves which have a glossy surface and underneath are covered with minute hair. The flowers are pale yellow and hairy. The juicy pulp, which is easily separated from its shell, is white and translucent. Embedded in it is a large, shiny jet black seed. The fruit has a juicy and sweet taste.
  • Scientific Name: Dimocarpus longan
  • Origin: Southern China, Myanmar
  • Tree height: 10-20 m
  • Fruit diameter: 1-3 cm
  • Season: fruits twice a year (end of dry season and late summer)
  • Varieties: Numerous, many longan varieties follow a fruiting cycle whereby a good crop year is followed by 1-2 or more bad years.
Longan is frequently eaten fresh or from the can in which it floats in its own juice, the longan can also be cooked with delicious results. In general, the fruit is considered tastier than the lychee but it is not as juicy. Longan is sometimes used instead of lychees or cherries in fruit salads, sweet and sour dishes and as garnish for cocktail drinks. The Javanese and the Chinese dry the fruit and then use it as a tea drink.

Names of Longan in different countries:
  • English: longan, lungan, dragon eye
  • Spanish: longán, longana
  • French: longanier, oeil de dragon
  • Indonesia, Malaysia: leng-keng
  • Burma: kyet mouk
  • Cambodia: mien
  • Laos: lam nhai, nam nhai
  • Thailand: lamyai pa
  • Vietnam: nhan
Nutrient Value: per 100 g

  • Vitamin A 28 IU
  • Vitamin B10.04 mg
  • Vitamin B2 0.07 mg
  • Niacin 0.6 mg
  • Vitamin C 6-8 mg
  • Protein 1 g
  • Calcium 2-10 mg
  • Phosphorous 6-42 mg
  • Iron 0.3-1.2 mg
  • Carbohydrate16-25 g
  • Fat 0.1-0.5 g

Health / Medicinal Benefits:

  • Longan is used as remedy for stomach ache, insomnia, amnesia, and dropsy.
  • The fruit is said to invigorate the heart and spleen, nourish the blood and have a calming effect on the nervous system.
  • A spoonful of longan tonic made of equal quantities of longan flesh and sugar simmered in water till it is reduced to a syrup consistency is recommended twice a day.
  • A decoction of the dried flesh is taken as a tonic and treatment for insomnia and neurasthenic neurosis.
  • In Vietnam, the "eye" of the longan seed is pressed against snakebite in the belief that it will absorb the venom.
  • The seeds are administered to counteract heavy sweating, the pulverized kernel, which contains saponin, tannin and fat, serves as a styptic (substance that draws together or constricts body tissues and is effective in stopping the flow of blood or other secretions).
Other Uses

  • The seeds contain saponin that is used like soapberries for shampooing the hair.
  • The seeds and the rind are burned for fuel.
  • The wood is used for posts, agricultural implements, furniture and construction. (hubpages.com)

September 27, 2009

Loganberry

loganberry, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comLoganberry, a trailing plant of the rose family, closely related to the blackberry. It was first discovered in the garden of J. H. Logan, of Santa Cruz, California, in 1881. The loganberry produces large purplish-red, tart berries. The berries are marketed fresh, frozen, and canned, and are used to make jam, preserves, and juice.

The loganberry grows best in cool, moist climates. It is propagated by layering inserting the tip of a stem, or cane, into the soil, where the cane then sends down roots and forms a new plant. The plants are trained on wires parallel to the ground.

The loganberry is a hybrid of several species of the genus Rubus of the family Rosaceae. (http://science.howstuffworks.com/fruits/loganberry-info.htm)

Loganberry contain vitamin C, K, folate and dietary mineral copper. Rich in fiber. Maintains good health and involves in weight loss. (http://www.mynutritionandhealth.com/Fruits.asp)

September 25, 2009

Lingonberry

lingonberry, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comThe Lingonberry, or dry ground Cranberry, is a common wild fruit species found in our northern forests. It is closely related to the bog cranberry, which is the cranberry that is widely used in North America and Europe for holidays and special occasions.Traditionally, northern people around the world have made extensive use of the Lingonberry. People from Northern Europe, Canada, as well as Alaska consider this fruit to be an important diet staple. Historical references suggest that many European explorers, and Native people considered Lingonberries one of the most important edible wild fruits.

The Lingonberry has many common names: Norway calls it "Tyttebaer"; Sweden refers to it as "Lingon"; Finland calls it "Puolukka"; and in parts of Alaska and Canada it is known as the "Rock Cranberry" or "Mountain Cranberry". Some have compared the Lingonberry to the commercially grown Cranberry; but, the Lingonberry has a distinct, very intense flavor like no other berry.

Composition

Lingonberries are rich source of fibers, sugar, vitamin A,vitamin C and magnesium. Lingonberries also consist of large amount of flavonoids and lignans. Lignans and flavonoids are believed to be anti-cancer. Lingonberries are also rich in benzoic acid, thus, they are often used as antimicrobial agents in food preparations. [http://www.arctic-flavours.fi/english/puolukkaen.htm, http://www.arctic-flavours.fi/english/more.htm May 16, 2005]

Lingonberries can be used fresh or frozen, incorporated into sauces, syrups, jellies, fillings, as well as drinks. Lingonberries have a one of a kind taste, that puts them in a class by themselves, and will complement any meal.

September 23, 2009

Lime Fruit


The lime is a small tree, crooked and prickly, only reaching as a rule a height of 8 feet. The leaves are ovateoblong, and the stalk is not winged like that of the orange and lemon tree. The flowers are small and white and the fruit about half the size of a lemon, with a smoother, thinner rind, having a greenish tinge in its yellow. In Jamaica it is often planted for fences.

Botanical: Citrus acida (ROXB.)

Family: N.O. Rutaceae

Synonyms : Citrus acris. Limettae Fructus.

Parts Used : The juice, the fruit.

Habitat : West Indies, especially Montserrat. A native of Asia.

In London nurseries several varieties are found, the principal ones being the Chinese spreading, the West Indian, the Common, the broad-leaved and the weeping.

The juice is principally used in the manufacture of citric acid, and for medicinal purposes is often used indiscriminately with that of the lemon, although its flavour is not so popular.

Oil of Limes is used for flavouring purposes, especially in mineral waters and artificial lime-juice cordials, consisting of sweetened solutions of tartaric acid.

Constituents

The National Formulary IV of America has defined and standardized Lime Juice as follows: the expressed juice of the ripe fruit of Citrus medica acida, containing in each one hundred mils not less than 5 gm. nor more than 10 gm. of total acids, calculated as crystallized citric acid (H3C6H5O7 plus H2O: 210.08). It is clear or slightly turbid, pale yellow or greenish-yellow, with the characteristic odour and taste of limes. Specific gravity 1.025 to 1.040 at 25 degrees C.

It must be free from sulphuric acid, and may contain 0.04 gm. of SO2 in each 100 mils, but no other preservatives nor artificial colours.

The rind contains a volatile oil including the terpene limonene and citral.

Medicinal Action and Uses

Antiscorbutic. Used in dyspepsia with glycerine of pepsin.

Dosage

Of 40 per cent glycerite of pepsin and 60 per cent. Lime juice, 2 fluid drachms.

Other Species

C. Limetta, grown in Italy, yields an oil resembling oil of Bergamot, called Italian Limette oil. It contains 26 per cent ling acetate. After standing it forms the yellow deposit limettin. It differs from the distilled West Indian oil of Limes. (botanical.com)

September 5, 2009

Almond Health Benefits

Almond (Prunus dulcis), are native to the Middle East, its fruit is actually not a nut, but a drupe consisting of the outer skin covered with hard shell. Almonds are usually sold in the form of still shelled or also with shells that have been released.

Although almonds are from the Middle East, but now many countries a lot of it is grown, including the United States, Spain, Syriac, Italy, Iran, Morocco, Turkey, and China.

Almonds can be consumed directly, and also with processed. Sliced ​​almonds can be added to ice cream, chocolate, or cake. Almonds can also be made into "almond milk", especially designed for people who have lactose intolerance and also vegetarians.

Almonds contain 49% oil, which is composed of 62% omega-9 fatty acids, 24% omega-6 fatty acid, palmitic acid and 6%. Amigdalae oleum, is a kind of oil obtained from almonds, which is classified as glyceryl oleate. This oil has a mild aroma and taste of nuts, alcohol insoluble, but readily soluble in chloroform or ether.

In relation to health , almonds contain 26% carbohydrate (12% dietary fiber, 6.3% glucose, and 0.7% starch). Also almonds are rich in vitamin E, which is 24 mg per 100 grams.

Almonds, Nuts Rich Benefits:
  • Almonds also have a lot of unsaturated fatty acid content, which can lower LDL cholesterol. Other nutrients found in almonds are vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
  • Almond claimed to have the benefit of accelerating the movement of food in the colon, and preventing colon cancer.
  • Several recent studies linking the almonds with a decrease in LDL cholesterol.
  • Almond also has anti-inflammatory / inflammation, strengthen the immune system and protects the liver.
  • But for some people, almonds can lead to allergies whose symptoms vary from local symptoms (eg contact urticaria) to systemic symptoms (eg, angioedema, urticaria, or also in abdominal discomfort / respiratory tract).
References:
  1. White, G. Vitamin E and Minerals: Nutrition from Nuts. AllAboutVision.com.
  2. Davis PA, Iwahashi CK (April 2001). "Whole almonds and almond fractions Reduced aberrant crypt foci in a rat model of colon carcinogenesis". Cancer Lett. 165 (1): 27-33.
  3. Spiller GA, Jenkins DA, Bosello O, Gates JE, Cragen LN, Bruce B (June 1998). "Nuts and plasma lipids: an almond-based diet lowers LDL-C while preserving HDL-C". J Am Coll Nutr 17 (3): 285-90.
  4. Puri, Har Sharnjit Singh (2002). "Almond (Prunus amygdalus)". Rasayana: Ayurvedic Herbs for Longevity and Rejuvenation (Traditional Herbal Medicines for Modern Times, 2). Boca Raton: CRC. pp. 59-63

August 29, 2009

Lemon Nutrition Facts

Lemons are sour tasting fruit that form part of the citrus family. They are yellow or green in color and both the juice and rind are used in cooking, baking and may also be added to drinks for a zesty flavor.

About 5% of the lemon juice is acid. Its pH is around 2 to 3 and it is what gives lemons their sour taste.

Lemons are believed to have some heath benefits due to their chemical structure and unique flavonoid compounds. Lemons have anti-oxidant properties which are believed to fight off free radicals and cancer cells. According to old housewife's tales and now Ayurvedic medicine, having a cup of hot water with a squeeze of lemon juice has been used to release toxins from the liver.

Most notably, lemons are jam-packed with vitamin C. A mere tablespoon of lemon juice has 7 mg of the vitamin and is considered a source. A half-cup of juice meets 100% of the RDA for vitamin C. One lemon would also contain about 12 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of sodium. Lemons contain no fat and no sugar.

In a research study, presented at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology's Annual, 2004 Meeting, the inability to identify the smell of lemons was among the top ten smells that could predict Alzheimer's disease.

Like the other senses, the sense of smell is affected in dementia, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the ability to smell and identify some odors disappears faster than the other senses. The 10-smell odor identification system was founded to be a better predictor of Alzheimer's disease than the brain and memory imaging tests that are used as the standard. (health.learninginfo.org)

August 26, 2009

Palembang Duku Fruit: Palembang, Sumatra

Ask any sidewalk duku vendor in Jakarta and chances are they will earnestly tell you that the round yellow fruit they sell come all the way from Palembang. The truth is, however, that there is hardly a duku tree to be found in the capital of South Sumatra province.

Where does Palembang’s duku fruit come from then? Ogan Komering Ulu, Ogan Komering Ilir, Muara Enim, Musi Rawas and Lahat regencies, all in South Sumatra, none close to Palembang as Khairul Saleh explains.

The good news is that Palembang duku tastes sweeter than duku fruit from other provinces and that explains why sidewalk vendors will tell you that their duku came from Palembang.

South Sumatra has long supplied Jakarta and other big cities on Java with the fruit, the scientific name of which is lansium domesticum corr. In fact, people in Jakarta and other cities in Java often enjoy the fruit ahead of South Sumatra residents themselves. The reason is economic. At the peak of duku season, the fruit sells for Rp 1,000 (US$0.11) per kilogram in South Sumatra, compared to between Rp 6,000 and Rp 9,000 in Jakarta.

Aside from Jakarta, Palembang duku are also exported to Bandung, Surabaya and Semarang. In the 1990s, duku from Belatung and surrounding areas were exported to Singapore by a wholesaler in Cirebon, West Java. After strict sorting, the fruit was packed in standard containers and transported by air from either Palembang and Lampung. The exports lasted for seven years, but due to an unknown reason, suddenly stopped.

For the long journey to Java, duku fruits are packed in specially designed wooden boxes measuring 20 cm long, 20 cm high and 40 cm wide. A box weighs between 15 and 18 kilograms.

Come harvest time, plantation owners, village youths who serve as tree climbers and deliverers, middlemen and box makers are all engaged in the horticultural business.

According to Subrandianto, 36, a duku farmer in Belatung village, Lubuk Batang district, Ogan Komering Ulu (OKU) regency, duku trees have been handed down through generations and many are hundreds of years old.

“For us, duku trees are inherited from parents and even ancestors so their existence should be preserved,” Subrandianto said.

Dozens of villages around Belatung also produce duku, including Lubuk Batang Lama and Lubuk Batang Baru, Belimbing, Durian, Kerto Mulyo and Kepahyang. The products of these villages are known for their very sweet taste, just like those of Rasuan, now famous at Kramat Jati wholesale market in East Jakarta.

Duku trees are not so difficult to maintain and farmers spend little money on fertilizer. The generally sandy soil of plantations or the land close to Ogan River are ideal for duku because of the steady water supply and natural fertilizer formed by falling leaves.

“Monkeys, squirrels and bats are the only pests when the harvest season comes,” said Subradianto, who said he had inherited around 100 duku trees from his parents.

Theoretically, a duku tree takes at least 12 years to bear fruit. Subrandianto said it all depended on soil conditions and trace elements.

“Most duku trees (in the province) bear fruit after 15 years, some even 20 years. The long period it takes for duku trees to bear fruit has prompted us to treat duku as an auxiliary crop rather than a primary source of income,” he said.

Duku, which is round or sometimes oval, belongs to the Meliacceae family. It has smooth and thin brownish yellow skin containing sap. Its segmented flesh is translucent white and tastes sweet. The flesh constitutes between 64 and 77 percent of the fruit.

Apart from being consumed fresh after peeling, some parts of duku have other health benefits. In the season when mosquitoes transmit diseases, the fruit’s skin can be used as a repellent. Villagers in the Philippines dry duku skin in the sun and burn it to keep insects away.

The skin also serves as an anti-diarrheal drug due to its oleoresin content. Duku seeds can be used to cure fever by grinding them into fine power, as done by villagers in Malaysia. The Duku’s bark is also effective in treating dysentry and malaria. Those stung by scorpions can be cured with a duku bark power paste.

The fruit’s skin indicates the age of a duku tree. Thick-skinned duku usually come from young trees. The thicker the skin is, the younger the duku tree is. Duku trees aged over 40 bear sweeter fruits than younger trees.

With improved communications and transportation, wholesalers from different parts of South Sumatra and even Jakarta now come to duku producing regencies to buy the fruit long before the harvest time.

Wholesalers usually buy duku in three ways. The first is what they call an on-the-tree purchase. This basically means that buyers purchase duku in plantations wholesale. As the purchase agreement is made before the harvest season, often one month before the harvest time, wholesalers usually use the services of assessors to predict the yield of each tree.

Experienced assessors can estimate the quantity of a duku harvest by the size of duku tree trunk. A duku tree trunk with a diameter of a drum can produce around one ton, while those of a medium size aged over 20 years can yield 300 to 600 kilograms and aged over 60 can bear 800 and 900 kilograms.

“Experienced assessors of duku tree production capacity will not miss by much,” Subrandianto said.

The second is buying under the tree, meaning wholesalers buy duku plucked by reapers or climbers, which are weighed and paid for in cash. The reapers themselves work for plantation owners.
The last method is buying through middlemen, who collect duku and offer the fruit to villages from remote plantations. These intermediary collectors are locals, including women and children.

In the past, some wholesalers used chemicals, such as calcium carbide painted onto duku trees, to speed up the fruit’s ripening process, especially when the price is increasing. While the trick works, the practice often causes the duku tree to become barren in the next harvest season.

“They (the wholesalers) have been blacklisted and will no longer be allowed to buy duku in Belatung and the surrounding areas,” said Subradianto.

Khairul Saleh (indonesialogue.com)

August 22, 2009

Longkong Fruits

I ate this fruit several weeks ago, just one day after my first blog. I was just too lazy to post a new one... Anyway, here I am. Longkong is a tropical fruit, grown mostly in southern of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It's in the same species of langsat. In fact, they are very similar, except langsat's skin is more yellow, smoother, and its seeds are more bitter. Longkong used to be an expensive fruit, however, in recent years, its price came down. Now it's very affordable at around 30-50 Baht per kilogram. That day, I went to a fresh food market in Lampang province, and bought longkong (1/2 kg), mangosteen (3 kg), and rambutan (1 kg). I ate them all within 2 days hehe. Unfortunately, because of my laziness, I only took the picture of longkong.

Longkong has abundant of vitamin B, phosphorus, and I think it may have some vitamin C because it's sour. After peeled out the skin, you could see translucent meat inside. The meat is sweet, tasted little sour, soft, and slimy. If you find small seeds inside, you can also eat them. But the bigger the seeds, the bitter they taste.

Buying longkong is somewhat like buying lottery. Sometimes you get a very sweet one, sometimes very sour. Normally, I'll buy only a small amount, not over 1 kg, so if it come out bad, I'll not be so disappointed. Luckily, this one is acceptable, tough not the best. But I finished them within 5 minutes anyway. Mangosteen and rambutan were so good that I didn't want to waste my time taking their photos. I promise to go for mangosteen next time (aka queen of fruit, in Thailand, we left the king for the most lethal fruit on earth, durian!!) (freshfruit-boomboom.blogspot.com)

August 19, 2009

Langsat Fruit

langsat, duku, fruits health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comLansium domesticum Corr. A somewhat less edible fruit of the family Meliaceae, the langsat, Lansium domesticum Corr., is also known as lansa, langseh, langsep, lanzon, lanzone, lansone, or kokosan, and by various other names in the dialects of the Old World tropics.

Description

The tree is erect, short-trunked, slender or spreading; reaching 35 to 50 ft (10.5 to 15 m) in height, with red-brown or yellow-brown, furrowed bark. Its leaves are pinnate, 9 to 20 in (22.5-50 cm) long, with 5 to 7 alternate leaflets, obovate or elliptic-oblong, pointed at both ends, 2 3/4 to 8 in (7-20 cm) long, slightly leathery, dark-green and glossy on the upper surface, paler and dull beneath, and with prominent midrib. Small, white or pale-yellow, fleshy, mostly bisexual, flowers are home in simple or branched racemes which may be solitary or in hairy clusters on the trunk and oldest branches, at first standing erect and finally pendant, and 4 to 12 in (10-30 cm) in length.

The fruit, borne 2 to 30 in a cluster, is oval, ovoid-oblong or nearly round, 1 to 2 in (2.5-5 cm) in diameter, and has light grayish-yellow to pale brownish or pink, velvety skin, leathery, thin or thick, and containing milky latex. There are 5 or 6 segments of aromatic, white, translucent, juicy flesh (arils), acid to subacid in flavor. Seeds, which adhere more or less to the flesh, are usually present in 1 to 3 of the segments. They are green, relatively large–3/4 to 1 in (2-2.5 cm) long and 1/2 to 3/4 in (1.25-2 cm) wide, very bitter, and sometimes, if the flesh clings tightly to the seed, it may acquire some of its bitterness.

Origin and Distribution

The langsat originated in western Malaysia and is common both wild and cultivated throughout the Archipelago and on the island of Luzon in the Philippines where the fruits are very popular and the tree is being utilized in reforestation of hilly areas. It is much grown, too, in southern Thailand and Vietnam and flourishes in the Nilgiris and other humid areas of South India and the fruits are plentiful on local markets. The langsat was introduced into Hawaii before 1930 and is frequently grown at low elevations. An occasional tree may be found on other Pacific islands.

The species is little known in the American tropics except in Surinam. There it is commercially grown on a small scale. Seeds were sent from Java to the Lancetilla Experimental Garden at Tela, Honduras, in 1926 and plants arrived from the same source in 1927. The trees have grown well but are usually unfruitful, occasionally having a small number of fruits. There are bearing trees in Trinidad, where the langsat was established in 1938, and a few around Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, that have been bearing well for about 60 years. There were young specimens growing on St. Croix in 1930.

Southern Florida does not have climatic and soil conditions favorable to the langsat, but the rare-fruit fancier, William Whitman, has managed to raise two bearing trees in special soil and tented for the first several years. Winter cold has caused complete defoliation and near-girdling at the base of the trunks, but the trees made good recovery. Other specimens have survived on the Lower Keys in pits prepared with non-alkaline soil. There have been attempts to maintain langsats at the University of Florida's Agricultural Research and Education Center in Homestead, but the trees have succumbed either to the limestone terrain or low temperatures.

Varieties

There are two distinct botanical varieties: 1) L. domesticum var. pubescens, the typical wild langsat which is a rather slender, open tree with hairy branchlets and nearly round, thick-skinned fruits having much milky latex; 2) var. domesticum, called the duku, doekoe, or dookoo, which is a more robust tree, broad-topped and densely foliaged with conspicuously-veined leaflets; the fruits, borne few to a cluster, are oblong-ovoid or ellipsoid, with thin, brownish skin, only faintly aromatic and containing little or no milky latex. The former is often referred to as the "wild" type but both varieties are cultivated and show considerable range of form, size and quality. There are desirable types in both groups. Some small fruits are completely seedless and fairly sweet.

'Conception' is a sweet cultivar from the Philippines; 'Uttaradit' is a popular selection in Thailand; 'Paete' is a leading cultivar in the Philippines.

Food Uses

The peel of the langsat is easily removed and the flesh is commonly eaten out-of-hand or served as dessert, and may be cooked in various ways.

Varieties with much latex are best dipped into boiling water to eliminate the gumminess before peeling.

The peeled, seedless or seeded fruits are canned in sirup or sometimes candied.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*
Moisture 86.5 g
Protein 0.8 g
Carbohydrates 9.5 g
Fiber 2.3 g
Calcium 20.0 mg
Phosphorus 30.0 mg
Carotene (Vitamin A) 13.0 I.U.
Thiamine 89 mcg
Riboflavin 124 mcg
Ascorbic Acid 1.0 mg
Phytin 1.1 mg (dry weight)
*According to analyses made in India.The edible flesh may constitute 60% of the fruit.

Toxicity

An arrow poison has been made from the fruit peel and the bark of the tree. Both possess a toxic property, lansium acid, which, on injection, arrests heartbeat in frogs. The peel is reportedly high in tannin. The seed contains a minute amount of an unnamed alkaloid, 1% of an alcohol-soluble resin, and 2 bitter, toxic principles.

Other Uses

Peel: The dried peel is burned in Java, the aromatic smoke serving as a mosquito repellent and as incense in the rooms of sick people.

Wood: The wood is light-brown, medium-hard, fine-grained, tough, elastic and durable and weighs 52.3 lbs/ cu ft. It is utilized in Java for house posts, rafters, tool handles and small utensils. Wood-tar, derived by distillation, is employed to blacken the teeth.

Medicinal Uses: The fresh peel contains 0.2% of a light-yellow volatile oil, a brown resin and reducing acids. From the dried peel, there is obtained a dark, semi-liquid oleoresin composed of 0.17 % volatile oil and 22% resin. The resin is non-toxic and administered to halt diarrhea and intestinal spasms; contracts rabbit intestine in vitro.









The pulverized seed is employed as a febrifuge and vermifuge. The bark is poulticed (hort.purdue.edu)