Monthly Archives: May 2009

Fruit Of The Week MANDARIN ORANGE

mandarin

The Mandarin orange, also known as mandarin or mandarine, is a small citrus tree (Citrus reticulata) with fruit resembling the orange. The fruit is oblate, rather than spherical. Mandarin oranges are usually eaten plain, or in fruit salads. Specifically reddish orange mandarin cultivars can be marketed as tangerines, but this is not a botanical classification.

The tree is more drought tolerant than the fruit. The mandarin is tender, and is damaged easily by cold. It can be grown in tropical and subtropical areas.

Varieties And Characteristics

The Mandarin orange is but one variety of the orange family. The mandarin has many names, some of which actually refer to crosses between the mandarin and another citrus fruit. Most canned mandarins are of the Mikan variety (derived from migan in Chinese), of which there are over 200 cultivars. One of the more well-known mikan cultivars is the “Owari”, which ripens during the late fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. Clementines, however, have displaced mikans in many markets, and are becoming the most important commercial mandarin variety.

The mandarin is easily peeled with the fingers, starting at the thick rind covering the depression at the top of the fruit, and can be easily split into even segments without squirting juice. This makes it convenient to eat, as utensils are not required to peel or cut the fruit.

The tangor, which is also called the temple orange, is a cross between the mandarin and the common orange. Its thick rind is easy to peel; and its bright orange pulp is sweet, full-flavored, and tart.

Biological characteristics

Citrus fruits varieties are usually self-fertile (needing a bee only to move pollen within the same flower) or parthenocarpic (not needing pollination and therefore seedless) (such as satsumas).

Blossoms from the Dancy cultivar are one exception. They are self sterile, therefore must have a pollenizer variety to supply pollen, and a high bee population to make a good crop.

Furthermore, some varieties, notably clementines, are usually seed free, but will develop seeds if cross-pollinated with a seeded citrus. Thus, great efforts are taken to isolate clementine orchards from any seeded citrus varieties.

Medicinal Use

-The dried peel of the fruit of C. reticulata is used in the regulation of ch’i in Traditional Chinese medicine

-The peel is also used to treat abdominal distention, enhance digestion, and to reduce phlegm.

Processing

Canned mandarin segments are peeled to remove the white pith prior to canning; otherwise, they turn bitter. Segments are peeled using a chemical process. First, the segments are scalded in hot water to loosen the skin; then they are bathed in a lye solution which digests the albedo and membranes. Finally, the segments undergo several rinses in plain water.

Recipes

You can Find number of recipes containing oranges in Ayesha’s Kitchen:

Flu Fighter

Vegetable Of The Week POTATO

Potatoes

The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family. The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species. Potatoes are the world’s fourth largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and maize.

Wild potato species occur from the United States to Uruguay and Chile. Genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species suggest that the potato has a single origin in the area of southern Peru, from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex. However, although Peru is essentially the birthplace of the potato, today over 99% of all cultivated potatoes worldwide are descendants of a subspecies indigenous to south-central Chile. Based on historical records, local agriculturalists, and DNA analyses, the most widely cultivated variety worldwide, Solanum tuberosum ssp. tuberosum, is believed to be indigenous to Chiloé Archipelago where it was cultivated as long as 10,000 years ago.

The potato was introduced to Europe in 1536, and subsequently by European mariners to territories and ports throughout the world.[8] Thousands of varieties persist in the Andes, where over 100 varieties might be found in a single valley, and a dozen or more might be maintained by a single agricultural household.[9] Once established in Europe, the potato soon became an important food staple and field crop. But lack of genetic diversity, due to the fact that very few varieties were initially introduced, left the crop vulnerable to disease. In 1845, a plant disease known as late blight, caused by the fungus-like oomycete Phytophthora infestans, spread rapidly through the poorer communities of western Ireland, resulting in the crop failures that led to the Great Irish Famine. 

The annual diet of an average global citizen in the first decade of the twenty-first century would include about 33 kilograms (or 73 lbs.) of potato. However, the local importance of potato is extremely variable and rapidly changing. The potato remains an essential crop in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe), where per capita production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion of potato over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia. China is now the world’s largest potato producing country, and nearly a third of the world’s potatoes are harvested in China and India. More generally, the geographic shift of potato production has been away from wealthier countries toward lower-income areas of the world.

Description

Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60 cm high, depending on variety, the culms dying back after flowering. They bear white, pink, red, blue or purple flowers with yellow stamens resembling those of other Solanaceous species such as tomato and aubergine. The tubers of varieties with white flowers generally have white skins, while those of varieties with colored flowers tend to have pinkish skins. Potatoes are cross-pollinated mostly by insects, including bumblebees that carry pollen from other potato plants, but a substantial amount of self-fertilizing occurs as well. Tubers form in response to decreasing day length, although this tendency has been minimized in commercial varieties. 

Potato plantsAfter potato plants flower, some varieties will produce small green fruits that resemble green cherry tomatoes, each containing up to 300 true seeds. Potato fruit contains large amounts of the toxic alkaloid solanine, and is therefore unsuitable for consumption.

All new potato varieties are grown from seeds, also called “true seed” or “botanical seed” to distinguish it from seed tubers. By finely chopping the fruit and soaking it in water, the seeds will separate from the flesh by sinking to the bottom after about a day (the remnants of the fruit will float). Any potato variety can also be propagated vegetatively by planting tubers, pieces of tubers, cut to include at least one or two eyes, or also by cuttings, a practice used in greenhouses for the production of healthy seed tubers. Some commercial potato varieties do not produce seeds at all (they bear imperfect flowers) and are propagated only from tuber pieces. Confusingly, these tubers or tuber pieces are called “seed potatoes”.

Nutrition

Nutritionally, potatoes are best known for their carbohydrate content (approximately 26 grams in a medium potato). The predominant form of this carbohydrate is starch. A small but significant portion of this starch is resistant to digestion by enzymes in the stomach and small intestine, and so reaches the large intestine essentially intact. This resistant starch is considered to have similar physiological effects and health benefits as fiber: it provides bulk, offers protection against colon cancer, improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, lowers plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, increases satiety, and possibly even reduces fat storage (Cummings et al. 1996; Hylla et al. 1998; Raban et al. 1994). The amount of resistant starch in potatoes depends much on preparation methods. Cooking and then cooling potatoes significantly increased resistant starch. For example, cooked potato starch contains about 7% resistant starch, which increases to about 13% upon cooling (Englyst et al. 1992).

Potatoes contain vitamins and minerals that have been identified as vital to human nutrition. Humans can subsist healthily on a diet of potatoes and milk; the latter supplies Vitamin A and Vitamin D. A medium potato (150g/5.3 oz) with the skin provides 27 mg of vitamin C (45% of the Daily Value (DV)), 620 mg of potassium (18% of DV), 0.2 mg vitamin B6 (10% of DV) and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. Moreover, the fiber content of a potato with skin (2 grams) equals that of many whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals. Potatoes also contain an assortment of phytochemicals, such as carotenoids and polyphenols. The notion that “all of the potato’s nutrients” are found in the skin is an urban legend. While the skin does contain approximately half of the total dietary fiber, more than 50% of the nutrients are found within the potato itself. The cooking method used can significantly impact the nutrient availability of the potato.

Almost all the protein content of a potato is contained in a thin layer just under its skin. Citation needed] This is evident when the skin of a boiled potato is carefully peeled; it appears as a yellowish film. For maximum utilisation of this small, but valuable dietary source of protein, potatoes should be consumed whole, or peeled after cooking.

Potatoes are often broadly classified as high on the glycemic index (GI) and so are often excluded from the diets of individuals trying to follow a “low GI” eating regimen. In fact, the GI of potatoes can vary considerably depending on type (such as red, russet, white, or Prince Edward), origin (where it was grown), preparation methods (i.e., cooking method, whether it is eaten hot or cold, whether it is mashed or cubed or consumed whole, etc), and with what it is consumed (i.e., the addition of various high fat or high protein toppings) (Fernandes et al. 2006).

Recipes

Number of recipes containing potatoes can be Found in Ayesha’s Kitchen:

Potato Egg Salad

Potato Fritters

Khattay Aalu

Potato Cheese Balls

Aalu Mattar kii Sabzi

Potato Cheese Rolls (Desi)

Ayesha’s Kitchen Special Chicken Rolls

Aalu Pakoray

Potato Chicken Puff Patties

Baked Chicken With Vegetables

Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is one of the well known breads and you can Find it in any pasta shop, pizza shop or Italian cuisine. It is mouth watering tasty …

Ingredients:

  • 1 French bread loaf
  • 3 scoops of soft butter
  • 1 tspn garlic paste / 1 tspn garlic powder
  • 1 chopped spring onion
  • Salt and black pepper to season

Procedure:

-Cut French bread loaf diagonally leaving 1 inch distance.

-Mix butter, salt, pepper, spring onion and garlic and make soft paste.

-Apply this paste to both of the sides of French bread slices.

-Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius 30 minutes before baking.

-Place glazed slices on baking tray and bake For 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy.

-Prepare a beautiful basket For them. Place them and immediately serve with any pasta or lasagne.

Outcome:

Tasty, hot and crispy garlic bread is ready to be served.

Garlic Bread

Tips:

-Serve them immediately after baking or they will get soggy.

Servings:

This will serve Four people.

FRUIT OF THE WEEK Papaya

pawpaw

The papaya is the Fruit of the plant carica papaya in the genus carica. It is native to the tropics of the Americas, and was cultivated in Mexico several centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classic cultures. It is sometimes called a big melon or a pawpaw but the north American pawpaw is a different species, in the genus asimina.

It is a large tree – like plant, the single stem growing From 5 to 10 metres talls, with spirally arranged leaves confirmed to the top of the trunk; the lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and Fruit were borne. The leaves are large 50-70 cm diameter, deeplypalmately lobed with 7 lobes. The tree is usually unbranches if unlopped. They appear on the exils of the leaves, maturing into the large 15-45 cm long, 10 – 30 cm diameter Fruit. The Fruit is ripe when it Feels soft and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue. The Fruit’s taste is vaguely similar to pineapple and peach, although much milder without the tartness.

It is the First Fruit tree to have its genome deciphered.

Uses

Green papaya Fruit and the tree’s latex are both rich in an enzyme called papain, a protease which is useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat Fibres was utilized For thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers, and is also marketed in tablet Form to remedy digestive problems. Green papaya is used in Thai cuisine, both raw and cooked.

Papain is also popular as a tropical application in the treatment of cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made From Fermented papaya Flesh, and is applied as a gel – like paste.

Allergies And Side Effects

Papaya is Frequently used For hair conditioner but should be used in small proportions. Caution should be taken when harvesting, as papaya is known to release a latex Fluid when not quite ripe, which can cause irritation and provoke allergic reaction in some people. The papaya Fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves also contain carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid which can be dangerous in high doses.

It is also commonly believed to induce abortions and is best avoided by pregnant women.

Excessive consumption of papaya, as of carrots, can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of soles and palms which is otherwise harmless.

Recipes:

Papaya recipes can easily be Found in Ayesha’s Kitchen.

VEGETABLE OF THE WEEK Spring Onion (Scallion)

V00228b

A scallion, also commonly known as spring onion, green onion or salad onion, is associated with various members of the genus Allium that lack a Fully – developed bulb. Harvested For their taste, they tend to be milder than other onions and may be steamed or set in salads in Western cookery and cooked in many asian recipes. Diced scallions are often used in soup, noodle and seafood dishes, and in sauces in eastern dishes, after removing the bottom quarter inch or so of the root end.

The species most commonly associated with the name is the Welsh onion, Allium Fistulosum. Scallion is sometimes used For Allium ascalonicum, better known as the shallot. The words scallion and shallot are related and can be traced back to the Greek askolonion as described by the greek writer Theophrastus; this name, in turn, seems to originate From the Philistine town of Ascalon. The shallots themselves apparently came From Farther east.

Other Names And Varieties

Scallions have various common names throughout the world. In some, countries, green onions are called shallots, and shallots are referred to by alternative names such as eschallot or eschalotte.

  • Argentina: cebolla de verdo
  • Australia: shallots
  • Austria: jungzwiebel
  • Bolivia: cebolla verde
  • Brazil: cebolinha verde
  • Bulgaria: Fresh onion
  • Cambodia: slirk k’tum
  • Canada: green onion
  • Quebec: echalote
  • China: cong
  • Chile: cebollin
  • Colombia: rama or cebolla larga
  • Cuba: cebollino
  • Czech republic: jami cibulka
  • Dominican republic: puerro
  • Egypt: basal axdar
  • Finland: vihersipuli
  • France: ciboule
  • Germany: winterzwiebel
  • Italy: cipollotti

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Escallion

The scallion is a culinary herb. Grown in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, it is similar in appearance to the scallion, Welsh onion and leek, though said by Jamaicans to be more Flavoursome. Like these others, it is a relatively mild onion that does not Form a large bulb.

The Jamaican name is probably a variant of scallion, although like scallion, this term is itself used loosely at different times to denote the spring onion, the leek, the shallot and the green stalk of the immature garden onion. The spelling escalion is recorded in the eighteenth century; scallion is older, dating From atleast the Fourteenth century. To add to the confusion, the spring onion is known in some countries as the eschallot. The term scallion is now not current in English outside its Jamaican usage.

Scallion is a common and much prozed ingredients in authentic Jamaican cuisine, in combination with thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic and allspice (called primento). Recipes calling For scallion sometimes suggest the use of leek as a substitute, though in salads, scallions would be more appropriate; neither is seen by Jamaicans as truly adequate. Jamaican dried spice mixtures that include scallion are available commercially. Fresh scallion is difficult to Find and expensive outside Jamaica itself.

Recipes:

Spring onion recipes can be easily Found in Ayesha’s Kitchen:

Vegetable Mushroom Rice

Fruit Of The Week GRAPE

grapes

A grape is the non – climacteric Fruit, botanically a true berry that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or used For making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, and wine, grape seed extracts, raisins and grape seed oil. Grapes are also used in some kinds of candy.

Description

Grapes grow in clusters of 6 o 300, and can be crimson, black, dark blue, yellow, green and pink. “White” grapes are actually green in colour, and are evolutionarily derived From the red grape. Mutations in two regulatory genes of white grapes turn off production of anthocnins which are responsible For the colour of red grapes. Anthocyanins and other pigment chemicals of the large Family of polyphenols in red grapes are responsible For the varying shades of purple in red wines.

History

Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics show the cultivation of grapes. Scholars believe that ancient Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans also grew grapes both For eating and wine production. Later, the growing of grapes spread to Europe, North Africa, and eventually to the united states. Native grapes in North America grew along streams; however, the First cultivated grapes in California were grown by Spanish Franciscan Friars looking to make a sacramental wine For the California Missions. The First table grape vineyard in California is credited to an early settler by the name of William Wolfskill in Los Angeles Area. As more settlers came to California, more and more varieties of European grapes were introduced, some For wine-making, others For raisins and some For eating Fresh.

Today in the United States, approximately 98% of commercially grown table grapes are From California (California Table Grape Commission).

Distribution And Production

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 75, 866 square kilometres of the world are dedicated to grapes. Approximately 71% of world grape production is used For wine, 27% as Fresh Fruit, and 2% as dried Fruit. A portion of grape production goes to producing grape juice to be reconstituted For Fruits canned “with no added sugar” and “100% natural”. The area dedicated to vineyards is increasing by about 2% per year.

Recipes

You can Find number of Grapes recipes in Ayesha’s Kitchen under the category of “Grapes”.