June 15, 2009

Feijoa Fruits

Few fruit bearers have received as much initial high-level attention and yet have amounted to so little as this member of the Myrtaceae, Feijoa sellowiana Berg. It is the best known of only 3 species in the genus which the German botanist, Ernst Berger, named after Don da Silva Feijoa, a botanist of San Sebastian, Spain. The specific name honors F. Sellow, a German who collected specimens in the province of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. The paucity of vernacular names is indicative of its lack of popularity. In Uruguay, it is called, in Spanish, guayabo del pais. It has been nicknamed "pineapple guava", "Brazilian guava" and "fig guava". The term "guavasteen" has been adopted in Hawaii. The most unlikely term, "New Zealand banana", has shown up in agricultural literature from that country.


The plant is a bushy shrub 3 to 20 ft (0.9-6 m) or more in height with pale gray bark; the spreading branches swollen at the nodes and white-hairy when young. The evergreen, opposite, short-petioled, bluntly elliptical leaves are thick, leathery, 1 1/8 to 2 1/2 in (2.8-6.25 cm) long, 5/8 to 1 1/8 in (1.6-2.8 cm) wide; smooth and glossy on the upper surface, finely veiny and silvery-hairy beneath. Conspicuous, bisexual flowers, 1 1/2 in (4 cm) wide, borne singly or in clusters, have 4 fleshy, oval, concave petals, white outside, purplish-red inside; 5/8 to 3/4 in (1.6-2 cm) long, and a cluster of numerous, erect, purple stamens with round, golden-yellow anthers. The fruit is oblong or ovoid or slightly pear-shaped, 1-1 1/2 to 2 1/2 in (4-6 cm) long and 1 1/8 to 2 in (2.8-5 cm) wide, with the persistent calyx segments adhering to the apex. The thin skin is coated with a "bloom" of fine whitish hairs until maturity, when it remains dull-green or yellow-green, sometimes with a red or orange blush. The fruit emits a strong long-lasting perfume, even before it is fully ripe. The thick, white, granular, watery flesh and the translucent central pulp enclosing the seeds are sweet or subacid, suggesting a combination of pineapple and guava or pineapple and strawberry in flavor. There are usually 20 to 40, occasionally as many as 100, very small, oblong seeds hardly noticeable when the fruit is eaten.

Food Uses

When preparing feijoas for eating or preserving, peeling should be immediately followed by dipping into a weak salt solution or into water containing fresh lemon juice. Both of these methods will prevent the flesh from oxidizing (turning brown). The flesh and pulp (with seeds) are eaten raw as dessert or in salads, or are cooked in puddings, pastry fillings, fritters, dumplings, fruit-sponge-cake, pies or tarts, or employed as flavoring for ice cream or soft drinks. Surplus fruits may be peeled, halved and preserved in sirup in glass jars, or sliced and crystallized, or made into chutney, jam, jelly, conserve, relish, sauce or sparkling wine.

The thick petals are spicy and are eaten fresh by children and sometimes by adults. The petals may be plucked without interfering with fruit set.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*

Moisture 84%
Protein 0.9%
Fat 0.2%
Carbohydrates* 10%
Ash 0.5%
Potassium 166 mg
Sodium 5 mg
Calcium 4 mg
Magnesium 8 mg
Phosphorus 10 mg
Iron 0.05 mg
Ascorbic Acid 28-35 mg

*Analyses reported in the literature.

**Sugar 6% compared to 13% in the orange.

The fruit is rich in water-soluble iodine compounds. The percentage varies with locality and from year to year but the usual range is 1.65 to 3.90 mg/kg of fresh fruit. Most types are high in pectin, so that 3 lbs (1.4 kg) of jelly can be made from 1 lb (.45 kg) of fruit. (hort.purdue.edu)

Common Cold Home Remedy Using Elephant apple

Elephant apple, dailyfruits.blogspot.com Conditions Treated: Infectious Diseases Specific Conditions Treated: Common Cold Ingredients Used: Elephant apple

Description: A Common Cold is an infection of your upper respiratory tract, your nose and throat. It's usually harmless, although it may not feel that way. If it's not a runny nose, sore throat and cough, it's watery eyes, sneezing and congestion, or maybe all of the above. In fact, because any one of more than 200 viruses can cause a common cold, symptoms tend to vary greatly. Unfortunately, if you're like most adults, you're likely to have a common cold two to four times a year. Children, especially preschoolers, may have a common cold as many as six to 10 times annually. Elephant apple bark extracts are very effective in treating infectious diseases. Elephant apple bark extracts contain potent microbicidal components and their efficacy is comparable to any conventional anti-biotics like Gatifloxacin or Roxithromycin. Elephant apple bark extracts are also devoid of adverse effects associated commonly with anti-biotics. Elephant apple is also known as Feronia limonia, Monkey fruit and Curd fruit.

Directions For Use: Boil 50 gms of crushed Elephant apple bark in 250 ml of water for 30 minutes. Strain and drink the extracts, thrice daily for a week. The symptoms of Common Cold are resolved in a week.

Not To Use With: No specific precaution needs to be followed while using this treatment. Elephant apple is safe and can be used with full confidence for treating Common Cold.

Side Effects: None are seen. Elephant apple is safe and can be used with full confidence for treating Common Cold.

Expected Results: The symptoms of Common Cold are resolved in a week with the medicinal benefits of Elephant apple. (mamaherb.com)

June 3, 2009

Common Elderberry

Elderberry or Sambucus canadensis. The berries have few calories and lots of nutrition. They provide very large amounts of potassium and beta-carotene, as well as sugar and fruit acids, calcium, phosphorous and vitamin C.

Looking at or even thinking about the elderberry bush evokes a flood of magical associations and images of the past, European ladies dousing their white skin with elder flower water, and crystal goblets filled with elderberry wine. In European folklore, fairies and elves would appear if you sat underneath an elder bush on midsummer night. The lovely elder possessed potent magic, with the ability to drive away witches, and kill serpents. Carrying the twigs in your pocket was a charm against certain diseases. One of these tales bears some truth: Sleeping under the elder supposedly produces a drugged, dream-filled sleep, the fragrance is actually a mildly sedative. Perhaps the visions of fairies and elves resulted from dreaming under an elder bush.

My experience with the elder indicates that much of its charmed reputation among Europeans and Native Americans comes from its ability to heal. The flowers and fruit are medicinal. Hippocrates already recognized this in 400 B.C. (He used a smaller European species with similar properties, that doesn’t grow in America.)

Due to their diuretic and detoxifying properties, people eat elderberries to lose weight. The flowers have been used in cosmetics since ancient times. Distilled elder flower water softens, tone and restores the skin. Elder flower infusion cleanses the skin, lightens freckles, and soothes sunburn. Its Bioflavinoids promote circulation and strengthen the capillaries.

An infusion or tincture is astringent, expectorant and diaphoretic, great mixed with yarrow and peppermint for colds, flu, and asthma. Herbalists also use it to soothe children’s upset stomachs and relieve gas. It’s even applied externally for swelling, rashes, and chilblains (frostbite-like trauma to wet skin), and as an eyewash for conjunctivitis and eye inflammation. You can even steep the flowers in oil to make a soothing massage lotion that relaxes sore muscles, and also soothes burns and rashes. Like the flowers, elderberry infusion is astringent and diaphoretic, good for colds, excessive mucus, and sore throat. You can also boil them in vinegar to make a black hair dye.

In 1899, an American sailor accidentally discovered that cheap port wine, which is colored with elderberries, relieved his arthritis. Other port wines didn’t work. I don’t recommend drinking alcohol, which causes more problems than it helps, but this result indicates elderberries’ possible anti-arthritic properties. Another use for the wine goes back to the movie: "Arsenic and Old Lace." Two old ladies laced it with arsenic to put lonely old men out of their misery!

Many older herb books recommend using elderberry leaves, roots, or bark medicinally, probably because Indian herbal experts used them. This doesn’t guarantee safety: Never use these parts of the elderberry. They’re poisonous. They contain a bitter alkaloid and glycoside that may change into cyanide. Children have been poisoned using elderberry twig peashooters, and adults have been poisoned using hollowed twigs to tap maple trees. However, there is a benefit to the toxicity: People use dried, crumbled elderberry leaves in their gardens as a natural insecticide. (wildmanstevebrill.com)