March 20, 2009

Healthy Benefits and Facts of Plum Fruit

Plums are hard-pitted fruits like peachs, cherrys, almonds, and apricots. About 12 plum species are cultivated throughout temperate regions for their fruit and as flowering ornamentals. The Damson plum a small, oval, sweet fruit used mostly in jams-was first cultivated in ancient times in the region of Damascus.

The Japanese plum, probably originating in China, was introduced into the United States in 1870. The fruit is more pointed at the apex than that of the common European plum, and its varieties are yellow or light red but never purplish-blue.

Nutritional Facts:
· Low fat
· Saturated fat-free
· Sodium-free
· Cholesterol-free
· High in vitamin C

Bullock's Heart

The Custard-apple (Annona reticulata), known in English as bullock's heart or bull's heart, in Haiti as "Kashiman", in French as "Cashiman" in Hindi as sitaphal or Sita's fruit and in Urdu as "Shareefah", in Thai as "Noi-na," is a species of Annona, native to the tropical New World, preferring a low elevation, and a warm, humid climate. It also occurs as feral populations in many parts of the world including Southeast Asia, Taiwan, India, Australia, and Africa. It is a small deciduous or semi-evergreen tree reaching 10 m tall. The leaves are alternate, simple, oblong-lanceolate, 10-15 cm long and 5-10 cm broad. The flowers are produced in clusters, each flower 2-3 cm across, with six yellow-green petals.

The fruit is variable in shape, ranging from a symmetrical globose to heart shaped, oblong or irregular. The size ranges from 7-12 cm. When ripe, the fruit is brown or yellowish, with red highlights and a varying degree of reticulation, depending on variety. The flavor is sweet and pleasant, but inferior to that of the cherimoya or sugar-apple. The latter fruit is sometimes confused with this species. (

Benefits Of Custard Apple

Custard apple is a sweet fruit, which is widely grown across the world. The fruit is compound in nature, measuring 3¼ to 6½ inches (8-16 cm) in diameter. The shape of the fruit may be symmetrically heart-shaped, lopsided, or irregular. It may be nearly round or oblate, with a deep or shallow depression at the base. The skin or covering of custard apple is thin but tough, which is usually yellow or brownish when ripe. Beneath the thin covering, a thick, cream-white layer of custard like, granular, flesh is present, which surrounds seeds. The flavor of the fruit is sweet and agreeable. Besides, custard apple has many health and nutritional benefits. Given below is the nutrition value of the fruit.

Nutritional Value of Custard Apple
Given below is nutritional value per 100 gm of custard apple

* Thiamine (B1) - 0.05 to 0.08 mg
* Vitamin A -1 mg
* Riboflavin (B2) - 0.08 to 0.1 mg
* Natural Sugar - 14 to 18 gm
* Niacin (B3) - 0.5 to 0.8 mg
* Carbohydrate - 23.71 gm
* Iron - 0.7mg
* Total Acidity - 0.4 mg
* Energy - 76 to 96 cal (310 to 420 kJ)
* Protein - 1 to 4.3 gm
* Zinc - 0.2 to 2.7mg
* Magnesium - 32 to 88 mg
* Copper - 2.4mg
* Potassium - 250 to 578 mg
* Sodium - 4 to 14 mg
* Calcium - 17 to 22 mg
* Vitamin C - 22 to 43 mg
* Fibre - 1 to 3.2 g
* Total Soluble Solids (Brix) - 22.3%

Health  And Nutrition Benefits of Eating Custard Apple

* Custard apple is a storehouse of Vitamin C, which is an anti-oxidant and helps in neutralizing free radicals.
* Vitamin A present in the fruit is good for hair, eyes and healthy skin.
* Custard apple contains magnesium, which plays vital role in relaxing muscles and protecting heart against diseases.
* Potassium and Vitamin B6 are also present in custard apple.
* Copper is yet another useful ingredient of custard apple.
* It is a rich source of dietary fiber, which helps in digestion.
* As it contains low fat levels, it is good for maintaining optimum health.
* The paste of the flesh of the fruit can be used for local application on ulcers, abscesses and boils.
* The fruit, in its unripe form, can be dried, crushed and used for treating diarrhea and dysentery.
* Custard apple serves as an expectorant, stimulant, coolant and haematinic and is even useful in treating anemia.
* The seeds of the fruit have insecticidal and abortifacient properties. (

March 19, 2009

Summer squash

Summer squash species and varieties. Four species of the genus Cucurbita are called squash or pumpkins rather indiscriminately.
  • C. maxima includes the large winter squash (such as Hubbard and Banana) and some large pumpkins, and numerous smaller varieties such as Buttercup and Mooregold. On this species the peduncle (fruit stem) is spongy and swollen, not ridged.
  • C. pepo includes the small pie pumpkins, standard field pumpkins, acorn squash, vegetable spaghetti, zucchini, summer crookneck squash, pattypan, and most other summer squashes.
  • C. moschata includes butternut squash, among others
  • C. mixta includes the cushaw varieties.
While squashes and pumpkins are notorious for producing hybrids when grown within pollinator range of each other; the different species do not naturally hybridize with each other

Culinary uses

Though considered a vegetable in cooking, botanically speaking, squash is a fruit (being the receptacle for the plant's seeds), and not a vegetable.

Summer squash are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and niacin and winter squash are a good source of iron, riboflavin, vitamin A, and vitamin C (Herbst 2001). Summer squash are commonly prepared by steaming, baking, deep-frying, and sautéing, and winter squash is commonly prepared by removing the seeds and baking, steaming, or simmering them (Herbst 2001).

Summer squash Nutritional value per 100 g
  • Energy 20 kcal 70 kJ
  • Carbohydrates 3.4 g
  • Dietary fiber 1.1 g
  • Fat 0.2 g
  • Protein 1.2 g
  • Water 95 g
  • Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.14 mg 9%
  • Vitamin C 17 mg 28%
  • Potassium 262 mg 6%
**Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.

In addition to the fruit, other parts of the plant are edible. Squash seeds can be eaten directly, ground into paste, or (particularly for pumpkins) pressed for vegetable oil. The shoots, leaves, and tendrils can be eaten as greens. The blossoms are an important part of Native American cooking and are also used in many other parts of the world. (