September 26, 2010

Pumpkins

The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. In the conversion to vitamin A, beta carotene performs many important functions in overall health.

Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease. Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.

Pumpkins Nutrition Facts
(1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, without salt)
Calories 49
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 564 mg
Zinc 1 mg
Selenium .50 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Folate 21 mcg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg

Prickly Pear

The nutritional value of prickly pears and full prickly pear nutrition information:
  • Prickly pears are an excellent source of magnesium and calcium, and contain good amounts of potassium and fibre.
  • Prickly pears are an excellent source of magnesium which helps to relax the nerves and muscles, plays a part in bone health and also helps with blood circulation.
  • Prickly pears also provide a good fruit source of calcium which is needed for bone health. Calcium also plays a part in blood clotting and helps support nerve and muscle functioning.
  • A good source of vitamin C, prickly pears can help protect the cells and tissues from free radical damage, thereby helping to prevent cancer. Vitamin C also helps with dietary iron absorption.
  • Prickly pears also contain a good amount of potassium which helps the nerves and muscles to function properly and also maintains the bodies' acid balance. Potassium can also help lower the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Prickly pears contain good amounts of fibre which supports bowel regularity and therefore helps to prevent bowel cancer. Fibre also helps to maintain blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  • One prickly pear contains around 42 calories.

THE FULL NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF PRICKLY PEARS:
Prickly pears, raw
Refuse: 25% (Seeds, skin, and bud end)
Scientific Name: Opuntia spp.
NDB No: 09287 (Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion)

Nutrient Units 1.00 X 1 fruit without refuse
-------
103g
Proximates
Water
g
90.18
Energy
kcal
42
Energy
kJ
177
Protein
g
0.75
Total lipid (fat)
g
0.53
Ash
g
1.69
Carbohydrate, by difference
g
9.86
Fiber, total dietary
g
3.7
Minerals
Calcium, Ca
mg
58
Iron, Fe
mg
0.31
Magnesium, Mg
mg
88
Phosphorus, P
mg
25
Potassium, K
mg
227
Sodium, Na
mg
5
Zinc, Zn
mg
0.12
Copper, Cu
mg
0.082
Selenium, Se
mcg
0.6
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
mg
14.4
Thiamin
mg
0.014
Riboflavin
mg
0.062
Niacin
mg
0.474
Vitamin B-6
mg
0.062
Folate, total
mcg
6
Folic acid
mcg
0
Folate, food
mcg
6
Folate, DFE
mcg_DFE
6
Vitamin B-12
mcg
0.00
Vitamin A, RAE
mcg_RAE
2
Retinol
mcg
0
Carotene, beta
mcg
26
Carotene, alpha
mcg
0
Cryptoxanthin, beta
mcg
3
Vitamin A, IU    (1)
IU
44
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturated
g
0.069
4:0
g
0.000
6:0
g
0.000
8:0
g
0.000
10:0
g
0.000
12:0
g
0.000
14:0
g
0.000
16:0
g
0.054
18:0
g
0.010
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated
g
0.077
16:1 undifferentiated
g
0.002
18:1 undifferentiated
g
0.074
20:1
g
0.001
22:1 undifferentiated
g
0.000
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated
g
0.219
18:2 undifferentiated
g
0.192
18:3 undifferentiated
g
0.024
18:4
g
0.000
20:4 undifferentiated
g
0.000
20:5 n-3 (EPA)
g
0.000
22:5 n-3 (DPA)
g
0.000
22:6 n-3 (DHA)
g
0.000
Cholesterol
mg
0
Other
Alcohol, ethyl
g
0.0

Footnotes:

1 Green variety
USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22 (2009)

Pond Apple

A kind of black sheep of the Annonaceae family, the pond apple is found wild throughout much of the American tropics. The flesh is usually palatable, but often pales in comparison to the more illustrious members of its family, the cherimoya, sugar apple, soursop and atemoya. Some trees do produce nice fruits and the species has its admirers.

Description: A medium-sized tree to 40-50ft. Pond apple's can stand immense flooding and spend weeks at a time with their roots under water. The pond apple is very useful as a rootstock for other Annona species.

Hardiness: Hardy to at least 32F.

Growing Environment: N/A

Propagation: By seeds.

Uses: Usually eaten raw, but sometimes made into jellies and wine.

Native Range: Native throughout the West Indies and north to Florida. A predominant species in the Everglades.

Pomelo

The pummelo or pomelo is an exotic large citrus fruit that is an ancient ancestor of the common grapefruit. It is the largest of the citrus fruits with a shape that can be fairly round or slightly pointed at one end (the fruit ranges from nearly round to oblate or pear-shaped). They range from cantaloupe-size to as large as a 25-pound watermelon and have very thick, soft rind. The skin is green to yellow and slightly bumpy; flesh color ranges from pink to rose.

Like grapefruits, they can range from almost seedless to very seedy, from juicy to dry, from sweet to sour. It is sweeter than a grapefruit and can be eaten fresh, although membranes around the segments should be peeled. Pummelos commonly have 16 to 18 segments, compared to most grapefruit that have about 12 segments. Be sure to refrigerate and use quickly. Use as you would grapefruit sections. They are also good for jams, jellies, marmalades and syrups.

It is grown in many eastern countries including China, Japan, India, Fiji, Malaysia, and Thailand. It is also now grown in the Caribbean and in the United States, in California and Florida. In season November through March, Pummelos are especially popular for Chinese New Year. The Chinese believe the delectable Pummelo is a sign of prosperity and good fortune - good things will happen if they eat it. The peel is also used in Chinese cooking or candied. In general citrus peel is often used in southern Chinese cuisine for flavoring, especially in sweet soup desserts.

One-fourth of a Pummelo (152 grams) has 60 calories and provides 130% of the Vitamin C recommended for the day. It is sodium, fat and cholesterol free and is a source of potassium.

History:

The pomelo is native to southeastern Asia and all of Malaysia; grows wild on river banks in the Fiji and Friendly Islands. It may have been introduced into China around 100 B.C. It is much cultivated in southern China (Kwang-tung, Kwangsi and Fukien Provinces) and especially in southern Thailand on the banks to the Tha Chine River; also in Taiwan and southernmost Japan, southern India, Malaya, Indonesia, New Guinea and Tahiti.

The pomelo is also called shaddock after an English sea captain, Captain Shaddock, who introduced the seed to the West Indies in the 17th Century from the Malay Archipelago. The seeds produced fruit somewhat smaller than the current grapefruit, more like an orange. The size of the fruit and the fact that it grew in bunches or clusters like grapes prompted a 19th century naturalist to liken the new fruit to grapes, with which it has no botanical relationship whatsoever.

Pomegranate

pomegranate, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comPomegranate is a small tree up to 5 meter in height. The bark of the pomegranate tree is light brown with red buds and young shoots. The leaves are small, opposite, glossy and almost evergreen. The large and attractive pomegranate flowers are orange-red. The characteristic large pomegranate fruits are crowned with a calyx and contain numerous seeds in juice containing sacs.

Pomegranate juice is mainly used as a health drink. However, most phytochemicals can be found in the rind of the fruit. The roots and bark are also used.

The pomegranate has been traditionally used as medicines in many countries:

  • Diarrhoea. Pomegranate juice is a mild astringent, used to treat diarrhoea, and reduces some fevers.
  • Anti-parasites.The root bark is used to treat intestinal parasites, mainly tapeworm. The alkaloids narcotise the tapeworms so they lose their grip to the intestinal wall and are expelled. These alkaloids are also very toxic so they should not be used for self-medication.
  • Antioxidant. Pomegranate contains many phytochemicals with antioxidant action, such as ellagic acid. Ellagic acid has anticarcinogenic, antiatherogenic and antifibrosis activity.
  • Skin Whitening. Studies have shown that ellagic acid can suppress UV-induced skin pigmentation when applied topically or when administered orally. Mineka Yoshimura and colleagues have shown in their study "Inhibitory Effect of an Ellagic Acid-Rich Pomegranate Extract on Tyrosinase Activity and UV-induced Pigmentation" (Bioscience, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, 2005) that pomegranate extract has skin-whitening property. This effect was probably caused by the inhibition of proliferation of melanocytes and melanin synthesis.
  • Other facts. The pomegranate flowers are used to make a red dye. Pomegranate is used jewish ceremonials. The pomegranate juice is used for the production of grenadine. Because of its high tannin content the pomegranate rind can be used to tan leather.

September 25, 2010

Cape Gooseberry

The genus Physalis, of the family Solanaceae, includes annual and perennial herbs bearing globular fruits, each enclosed in a bladderlike husk which becomes papery on maturity. Of the more than 70 species, only a very few are of economic value. One is the strawberry tomato, husk tomato or ground cherry, P. Pruinosa L., grown for its small yellow fruits used for sauce, pies and preserves in mild-temperate climates. Though more popular with former generations than at present, it is still offered by seedsmen. Various species of Physalis have been subject to much confusion in literature and in the trade. A species which bears a superior fruit and has become widely known is the cape gooseberry, P. Peruviana L. (P. edulis Sims). It has many colloquial names in Latin America: capuli, aguaymanto, tomate sylvestre, or uchuba, in Peru; capuli or motojobobo embolsado in Bolivia; uvilla in Ecuador; uvilla, uchuva, vejigón or guchavo in Colombia; topotopo, or chuchuva in Venezuela; capuli, amor en bolsa, or bolsa de amor, in Chile; cereza del Peru in Mexico. It is called cape gooseberry, golden berry, pompelmoes or apelliefie in South Africa; alkekengi or coqueret in Gabon; lobolobohan in the Philippines; teparee, tiparee, makowi, etc., in India; cape gooseberry or poha in Hawaii.

Food Uses

In addition to being canned whole and preserved as jam, the cape gooseberry is made into sauce, used in pies, puddings, chutneys and ice cream, and eaten fresh in fruit salads and fruit cocktails. In Colombia, the fruits are stewed with honey and eaten as dessert. The British use the husk as a handle for dipping the fruit in icing.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*

  • Moisture 78.9 g
  • Protein 0.054 g
  • Fat 0.16 g
  • Fiber 4.9 g
  • Ash 1.01 g
  • Calcium 8.0 mg
  • Phosphorus 55.3 mg
  • Iron 1.23 mg
  • Carotene 1.613 mg
  • Thiamine 0.101 mg
  • Riboflavin 0.032 mg
  • Niacin 1.73 mg
  • Ascorbic Acid 43.0 mg
*According to analyses of husked fruits made in Ecuador.

The ripe fruits are considered a good source of Vitamin P and are rich in pectin.

Toxicity

Unripe fruits are poisonous. The plant is believed to have caused illness and death in cattle in Australia.

Other Uses

Fruits: In the 18th Century, the fruits were perfumed and worn for adornment by native women in Peru.

Medicinal Uses: In Colombia, the leaf decoction is taken as a diuretic and antiasthmatic. In South Africa, the heated leaves are applied as poultices on inflammations and the Zulus administer the leaf infusion as an enema to relieve abdominal ailments in children.

Poha

Cape gooseberry, called Poha in Hawaii, was distributed by early explorers and first reported in England in 1774. A commercial crop in many countries, the poha is often found in Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. First reported on the Big Island in 1825, the fruit is common in the wild as well as cultivated for home and commercial use around the state.

The plant is low growing shrub with velvety leaves and yellow bell-shaped flowers.

Mature fruit is round and orange skinned with many edible seeds. It is juicy and sweet with a distinctive flavor.

Poha is also known as golden berry in many English-speaking countries. In Australia, it is marketed under the cultivar names ‘Golden Nugget’ and ‘New Sugar Giant’. Growers in New Zealand often take cuttings from plants that produce the sweetest fruit for propagation.

Often eaten fresh, poha is made into jelly and jam as well as canned whole. In Europe it is dipped into chocolate or used to decorate cakes. The fruit is also used in a wide variety of sauces.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion

Moisture 78.9 g
Protein 0.054 g
Fat 0.16 g
Fiber 4.9 g
Ash 1.01 g
Calcium 8.0 mg
Phosphorus 55.3 mg
Iron 1.23 mg
Carotene 1.613 mg
Thiamine 0.101 mg
Riboflavin 0.032 mg
Niacin 1.73 mg
Ascorbic Acid 43.0 mg

Health Benefits Poha :  is a source of phosphorus, that helps the body to process vitamins and aids in the conversion of food to energy. The primary benefit of phosphorus is the building of bones and teeth when balanced with calcium and magnesium. Poha also contains a cross section of different bioflavonoids (vitamin P), which help with anti inflammation and act as natural blood thinners.

Pupunha

Palmito (or heart of palm) is somewhat of a staple vegetable in Brazil. It is widely used in salads and also in hot preparations such as savory pie filling, pizzas, stews, sauces, stir-fry — pretty much the possibilities are endless. Just the same as you can find anywhere else in the world, palmito is most commonly sold preserved with salt water in jars or cans. In such form they are pretty tasty straight out of the can. Palmito can be harvested from pretty much any palm tree. Most varieties of the palm tree die after the bud is cut for its inner core. Almost all types of palmito that were native to the coastal area that spans from the state of Bahia down to the east coast of Argentina became threatened with extinction due to over harvest in the wild. Brazilian authorities had to intervene making it illegal to harvest wild varieties (now only a few indigenous groups have permission to harvest following their ancestors’ sustainable methods). This change in policy made necessary for producers to invest in planting varieties that regenerate after being cut. The three types of palmito that are consumed the most come from the açaí, juçara, or pupunha palm tree. Açaí and pupunha are both native to the Amazon region.

Pupunha is increasing in popularity because it is a sustainable variety, meaning that when the stem is cut the root does not die and the plant can be cut again next season. According to EMBRAPA (the Brazilian’s government agricultural research department) additional advantages of pupunha is that the plant grows from seed to harvest-ready tree in only eighteen months. The palmito cut from pupunha is considered of superb taste and good size. In fact, the entire plant can be used but the most desired parts are the heart of palm and the fruit which is also called pupunha. EMBRAPA also mentions that pupunha is a crop that has little impact on the environment with a high yield per acre.

As my first station assignment inside D.O.M.’s prep kitchen I am working with garde manger chef Thiago Flores. One of the first tasks he showed me was how to process the raw pupunha segments. The raw pupunha palm is very perishable so it must be worked in a temperature controlled environment to avoid developing an acidic taste. To clean it, first you peel the outer part of the palm (what would be the bark on a regular tree) – this skin is removed and saved for garnish. Inside there is another layer that is too hard to eat so it is also peeled and discarded. Lastly, the top and bottom are trimmed by slicing a 1cm segment off from each end.

The pupunha used at D.O.M. comes from São Cassiano, a farm located in Jaú in the state of São Paulo. According to their website the pupunha heart of palm is a low calorie food that is a good source of fiber and it is also rich in iron, potassium, zinc, and calcium. Palmito can also be used as a source of protein for vegetarian diets.