Healthy & Fun Fruity Facts

Meyer Lemons

Monday, May 16, 2022

<2 Minutes Reading Time

Tree.com & I thought you might be interested in the resources we created to recognize a tree that has the best of both worlds thanks to its hybrid fruit, health benefits, & ornamental features: the Meyer lemon tree!

Here are a few fun facts to celebrate this unique source of citrus sweetness & encourage people to plant one on their own:

  1. The Meyer lemon tree originated in China and was primarily known as a decorative plant for almost 100 years until it was brought to the US, where it became a food item.

  2. Many grocery stores don’t carry Meyer lemons, so you may need a tree of your own to access this fruit.

  3. In the 1960s, a virus nearly wiped out all Meyer lemon trees growing in California.

  4. One stock that was found to be virus-free was saved and used to develop the virus-free cultivar “Improved Meyer Lemon” tree, which is what we consume today.

You can learn more here: https://www.trees.com/meyer-lemon-tree#fun-facts

https://www.trees.com/meyer-lemon-tree-organic#fun-facts

🍋 Don't forget to pick up some of our Meyer Lemon and Vanilla Marmalade to easily enjoy any time of the year.

🌞 It's tart Sunshine in a Jar! A lemon lover's paradise, intensely lemony & sweet. https://store.jpsdelights.com/products?store-page=Meyer-Lemon-and-Vanilla-Marmalade-p293530134

Chocolate Part 6 of 6

Sunday, May 8, 2022

<3 Minutes Reading Time

131. Darker chocolates contain a higher percentage of cacao, whereas ones with lower percentages contain more milk products and sweeteners. The average milk chocolate bar can have as little as 10 percent of actual cocoa bean products, which is the minimum requirement for the FDA to consider a food a chocolate product.

132. For one of the most popular episodes of the series, titled "Job Switching," which is when Lucy works in a chocolate factory and things start running amuck on the conveyer belt, Lucille Ball heavily prepared for the episode before filming. She recruited a professional chocolate dipper, Amanda Milligan, to play the chocolatier beside her in the episode and taught her how to actually dip chocolate before filming came.

133. According to Smithsonian.com, M&M's are a common treat for astronauts to pack during their space endeavors. This is mainly because they are small, edible, but also fun for the astronauts to use as entertainment in zero gravity, according to the Smithsonian's reports.

134. The average chocolate bar contains insect fragments. The U.S Food and Drug Administration says “Anything more than 60 insect pieces per 100 grams of chocolate is rejected.”

135. A thief took $28 million worth of gems in 2007 after gaining the guard's trust at an Antwerp Bank by repeatedly offering them chocolate.

136. 1 in every 200 workers, or around 17,000 people in Belgium work in the production and promotion of chocolate.

137. One chocolate chip gives an adult enough food energy to walk 150 feet. Around 35 chocolate chips are enough for a mile or 875,000 chips would take them around the world.

138. The biggest chocolate sculpture ever made was a 10-foot-high Easter egg weighing 4,484 lbs (2,034 kg) in Melbourne, Australia.

139. In 1991, a chocolate model ship was made in Barcelona measuring approximately 42.5ft long, 28ft tall, and 8ft wide.

140. The largest chocolate ever made was in the Netherlands; the chocolate marzipan took 3 days and weighed 4,078 lbs (1,850 kg).

141. The largest cuckoo clock made of chocolate can be found in Germany

142. Japanese women give chocolate hearts to their loved ones on February 14th. The men a month later return the gesture on “Howaito” white day.

143. In the original Psycho film, the blood in the famous shower scene was actually chocolate syrup.

144. Blue packaged chocolate doesn’t sell in Shanghai or Hong Kong, as the Chinese relate blue with death.

145. Chocolate and chili is a well-known combination, but Firebox took it a step further producing the “instant regret chili chocolate” infused with 6.4 million Scoville chili extract.

146. Napoleon always had chocolate with him; he ate it whenever he needed an energy boost.

147. When chocolate is covered in a white speckled layer, it has “bloomed”. This is caused by the fat (cocoa butter) molecules inside the chocolate over time rising to the surface and recrystallizing. Bloomed chocolate is still edible but will be dry and less flavorful.

148. More than 7 billion chocolate chips are eaten annually.

149. American author Robert Cormier wrote a novel called The Chocolate War, due to its nature the book appeared in the American Library Association's “Top 100 banned/challenged books in 2000-2009”.

150. Global production of cocoa is currently forecast to decrease for the third year in a row, 2015/16 production is expected at 4.1 million tons vs. 2014/15 production of 4.2 million tons. 2013/14 production was 4.3 million tons.

151. Chocolate producers worldwide use around 20% of the world’s peanut crops and 40% of all almonds grown.

152. Chocolate actually inspired the Microwave. Percy Spence, a scientist working on WWII radar loved chocolate. When near a magnetron, he noticed a chocolate bar in his pocket had melted. He realized magnetrons could be used to heat food quickly and discovered the microwave oven.

153. Gorging on sugar-free chocolate acts as a severe laxative. At one producer’s factory, there are buckets of defective chocolates. Each bucket has a sign warning employees of the ramifications of over-consumption.

154. Approximately 70% of the nearly $500 million spent on candy during the week leading up to Easter is for chocolate. Approximately 71 million pounds of chocolate candy are sold during the week leading up to Easter.

155. Only 48 million pounds of chocolate are sold during Valentine’s week.

156. In contrast, over 90 million pounds of chocolate candy are sold in the last week of October leading up to Halloween.

Chocolate Part 5 of 6

Saturday, April 23, 2022

~3.5 Minutes Reading Time

105. Spanish royalty gave cakes of cacao in their dowries.

106. On December 6th during the feast of St. Nicholas, children in Holland put their clogs outside at night so Santa can fill them with chocolate money.

107. July 7th is National Chocolate Day in the UK, the day marks when chocolate was first brought to Europe on July 7, 1550. Some credit Christopher Columbus with this feat in 1504.

108. International Chocolate Day is celebrated on September 13th, & some celebrate National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day on November 7th.

109. In November, Germans celebrate St. Martin (a knight who shared his cloak with a beggar) with a lantern-lit parade, sweets, & steaming hot chocolate.

110. German chocolate cake was named for Sam German, who developed a sweet bar for Baker’s Chocolate–and was not from Germany.

111. April Fool's Day in France is called "Poisson d'Avril." The word "poisson" in French translates to fish, so children enjoy a piece of fish-shaped chocolate on this day while playing pranks on one another.

112. According to the artisan chocolatiers at Amano, the process of making chocolate from cocoa beans takes about a week. Larger companies like Hershey's can make a chocolate bar in two to four days due to their larger chocolate-producing machines.

113. Chocolate contains two doses of cocoa butter—the natural amount from the bean, plus an extra dollop to bump up creaminess.

114. Cacao percentage determines the amount of cocoa bean products by weight in a chocolate.

115. “Cacao” is how you say “cocoa” in Spanish.

116. Champagne & sparkling wines are too acidic to pair well with milk or dark chocolate. Try pairing a sweet bubbly with white chocolate & red wine with dark. In general, you want to match the sweetness level of the wine with the sweetness level of the chocolate.

117. Some cocoa certification programs are modeled on success with a similar product–coffee.

118. Chocolate can make dogs & cats ill–meaning no tastings for your furry friend, & more for you.

119. According to the BBC, research found that chocolate can actually stimulate your brain & releases more endorphins in the brain than kissing does. It was also shown to increase your heart rate faster than kissing as well. Researchers believe that this is caused by chocolate's concentration of phenylethylamine, a compound that increases endorphin production in the brain.

120. The man who created the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup was a farmer, by the name of Harry Burnett Reese, who was a former shipping foreman & dairy farmer for Milton S. Hershey, the founder of Hershey’s chocolate.

121. Terry’s produce over 350 million chocolate orange segments per year. 5 tons of chocolate is enough to make 28,000 Terry’s Chocolate Oranges.

122. America's favorite chocolate brand produces millions of those bite-sized chocolates we all love daily. They are all made by machine at Hershey's factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It actually got its name from the sound that the chocolate makes when coming out of a machine during the manufacturing process.

123. Cadbury Creme Eggs are one of the most popular chocolate candies in the world. According to the Cadbury website, the chocolate company produces up to 1.5 million of their famous creme eggs daily, & over 500 million made per year.

124. Three Musketeers bars used to have three individually flavored bars: chocolate, vanilla, & strawberry. But they decided to drop the strawberry one when prices began to rise for the fruit & eventually turned into one large chocolate bar.

125. Andes Candies were originally called 'Andy's Candys.' The creator of the now-famous chocolate, Andrew Kanelos, was going to name them after himself originally, but changed it for a funny reason: he realized that men did not like giving their wives & girlfriends boxes of candies with another man's name on them, according to the book Chicago's Sweet Candy History by Leslie Goddard.

126. The most valuable chocolate bar in the world sold for $687. This Cadbury chocolate bar had a much pricier tag than usual, & for good reason. At the time of being sold in 2001, this bar of chocolate was 100 years old & went on Captain Robert Scott's first Discovery expedition to the Antarctic, according to Guinness World Records.

127. In a small study at Indiana University, cyclists who drank chocolate milk after a workout had less fatigue & scored higher on endurance tests than those who had a sports drink. A study published by Medicine & Sports Science found that chocolate milk can actually help athletes recover faster after exercise. The study noted that this could be due to the drink's high protein & carb ratio.

128. According to the BBC the survey conducted for the Infosecurity Europe trade show in London in 2004 found that 79 percent of people were willing to give out personal information that could be useful for identity thieves, such as birthdays & mother's maiden names, for chocolate. 70% of people would give their passwords for a chocolate bar.

129. According to the History Channel, the U.S. Census Bureau noted that during the week of Valentine's Day, more than 58 million pounds of chocolate are sold, & makes up a large percentage of yearly chocolate sold in the US.

130. The Brussels Airport is the biggest chocolate seller in the world. They sell about 800 tons of Belgian chocolate per year.

Chocolate Part 4 of 6

Friday, April 22, 2022

~2.5 Minutes Reading Time

79. Red M&Ms are among the most popular today, but in the 1970’s, they were replaced with orange pieces for almost ten years. This was the result of a study that stated that red food dye was linked to cancers.

80. Ben & Jerry's made the first cookie dough ice cream. According to Ben & Jerry's website, the ice cream aficionados created the flavor after an anonymous suggestion was sent into their shop in 1984. They spent six years perfecting the ice cream before finally releasing it, and it became the massive hit it is today.

81. In 2008, Thorntons in London created the world’s largest box of chocolates at 16.5 feet tall and 11.5 feet wide. The box contained over 220,000 chocolates and weighed 4,805 pounds. Previously, the record was held by Marshall Field’s in Chicago with a box containing 90,090 Frango mint chocolates and weighing a whopping 3,326 pounds.

82. In 2013, Belgium issued a limited edition of chocolate flavored stamps.

83. Rudolph Lindt designed the first conching machine, its bed curved like a conch shell.

84. Contrary to popular belief, mice actually prefer chocolate over cheese every time! Mice love sweet smelling food so they would be more tempted by a piece of chocolate than a chunk of cheddar.

85. The History Channel noted that the chocolate industry bloomed into one of the most successful businesses in the world. Each year, the chocolate industry makes over $110 billion in sales around the world.

86. Chocolate has evolved into such a massive industry that between 40 and 50 million people depend on cacao for their livelihood. Over 3.8 million tons of cacao beans are produced per year.

87. Each cacao tree produces approximately 2,500 beans.

88. Because cacao trees are so delicate, farmers lose, on average, 30 percent of their crop each year.

89. There are an estimated 1.5 million cocoa farms in West Africa.

90. Most cocoa–70 percent–hails from West Africa.

91. Cocoa is raised by hand, on small, family-owned farms.

Assorted mixed chocolates. Chocolate bars, cocoa nibs, powdered cocoa, spreads, bon bons, truffles,

92. Cacao leaves can move 90 degrees, from horizontal to vertical, to get sun and to protect younger leaves.

93. Some cacao trees are more than 200 years old, but most give marketable cocoa beans for only the first 25 years.

94. Nearly all cacao trees grow within 20 degrees of the equator, and 75% grow within 8 degrees of either side of it. Cacao trees grow in three main regions: West Africa, South and Central America, and Southeast Asia/Oceania

95. The average size of a cocoa farm in West Africa is 7 to 10 acres.

96. Cote d’Ivoire is the single largest producer of cocoa, providing roughly 40 percent of the world’s supply.

97. Through some programs supported by industry and partners including foundations and governments, farmers are now earning between 20 percent and 55 percent more from their crops.

98. Most cocoa farms are not owned by the companies that make chocolate.

99. The price of cocoa can fluctuate daily–affecting farmers’ incomes.

100. The average West African cocoa family has eight members.

101. A farmer must wait four to five years for a cacao tree to produce its first beans.

102. In addition to tending cacao trees, family members may harvest bananas or other fruit crops.

103. Worldwide, 40 million to 50 million people depend upon cocoa for their livelihood.

104. An Indonesian cocoa farming community built a giant statue of hands holding a cocoa pod.

Chocolate Part 3 of 6

Thursday, April 14, 2022

~3.5 Minutes Reading Time

53. The spread of chocolate from Spain throughout Europe began in the sixteenth century with the expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal during the Inquisition. Some Jews who left Spain brought with them Spain’s secrets of processing chocolate.

54. From 1500 to 1900, Europeans documented 100-plus medical uses for chocolate, including treatment of dysentery, gout, fever, seizures, anemia, vision difficulties, urinary problems, and intimacy issues.

55. In 17th century Mexico someone suffered death by chocolate. Poison was injected into chocolate, killing a Spanish Bishop who banned the consumption of chocolate during church services. The Catholic Church once associated chocolate with heretical behavior, including blasphemy, extortion, witchcraft, seduction, as well as being an observant Jew.

56. The Natural History Museum found that chocolate milk was invented in the early 1700s in Jamaica by Irish botanist Sir Hans Sloane. The natives of the land gave him straight cocoa to drink, but could only stomach it when he mixed it with milk, according to the museum's research.

57. In 1730s Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin’s legendary print shop sold bibles, stationary tools, writing implements, handmade parchment, and one consumable — a drinkable chocolate. In Franklin’s colonial America, liquid cacao was nearly as popular as coffee and tea, but this drink was not your grandma’s hot chocolate — it was thick, strong, quite bitter, and contained no sugar.

58. Thirty-one years later, Franklin, writing under the alias Richard Saunders, touted chocolate as a cure for smallpox in his Poor Richard’s Almanac, colonial America’s most popular publication. He was not proven correct, however, as no sure cure for smallpox was ever found. (Twentieth-century vaccines did manage to eradicate the disease by 1980.)

59. Cornell University reports that in 1753 Swedish physician Carl Linnaeus gave the cacao tree its botanical name, Theobroma cacao, which is Greek for “cacao, food of the gods.” Linnaeus, who originated taxonomy — the manner of naming and classifying all organisms — did not reference the divine this plainly in any other species names he dreamt up.

60. The first machine-made chocolate was produced in Barcelona, Spain, in 1780.

61. When English Buccaneers overran a Spanish ship loaded with cacao beans, they set it on fire, thinking the beans were sheep dung.

62. Some scholars link the growing popularity of chocolate houses in Europe, such as the Cocoa-Tree Chocolate House on St. James Street in London, with the beginnings of the Enlightenment. That was the drink on the table when 18th-century thinkers started to question long-held verities: the supremacy of the Church, the rights of kings, and potential for improvement in the common man and woman.

63. The English chocolate company Cadbury made the first chocolate bar in the world in 1842.

64. Until 1847, chocolate was a delicacy enjoyed in bitter liquid form. The British chocolate company Fry and Sons introduced the concept of “eating chocolate” after combining cocoa butter, sugar, and chocolate liquor. This concoction was more grainy than smooth but was still enjoyed by many. Nearly 20 years later, Fry revolutionized the world of sweets, releasing humankind’s first mass-produced chocolate bar.

65. Richard Cadbury, the son of Cadbury founder John Cadbury, made the first heart-shaped box of chocolates in 1861 for Valentine’s Day.

66. Nestlé, one of the biggest food companies in the world, was founded in 1866 by Henri Nestlé in Vevey, Switzerland. It did not start as a chocolate company, but actually as an instant milk product, according to the company's website.

67. Daniel Peter, a Swiss chocolatier and entrepreneur, spent eight long years trying to figure out a recipe for milk chocolate that would work. It wasn’t until 1875 that he realized that condensed milk was the answer to all his troubles.

68. The Cadbury Easter Egg is over 140 years old, according to the Cadbury website. The first egg was made in 1875 with dark chocolate and was filled with sugar-coated chocolate drops.

69. The famous chocolate maven didn't actually start making chocolate with his famous Hershey company. Milton Hershey actually started making caramels under the Lancaster Caramel Company in 1886, and began to sell chocolate in 1900.

70. William Cadbury (Grandson of Richard Cadbury, the founder of Cadbury) commissioned the design of the Cadbury logo in Paris 1905 by French designer George Auriol.

71. Hershey’s Kisses were first produced in 1907 and were shaped like a square. A new machine in 1921 gave them their current shape.

72. The Mars family, which founded the famous Mars candy company, named the popular candy bar after their beloved horse, Snickers, in 1930.

73. Chocolate chip cookies were discovered totally by accident. In 1938, a woman named Ruth Wakefield thought that adding chocolate chunks to her cookie batter would result in chocolate cookies. Instead, she stumbled upon the recipe for what would become the (world’s favorite cookie). Wakefield eventually sold the recipe to Nestle Toll House in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate.

74. M&Ms were created in 1941 as a means for soldiers to enjoy chocolate without it melting.

75. Nutella was invented during WWII, when an Italian pastry maker mixed hazelnuts into chocolate to extend his cocoa supply.

76. In 1947, hundreds of Canadian kids went on strike and boycotted chocolate after the price of a chocolate bar jumped from 5 to 8 cents.

77. The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie from 1971 was actually used as an advertisement for Quaker Oats. The film was funded by the food company in order to promote their new Wonka chocolate bar, which is why the film is named Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory instead of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory like the original book.

78. The famous chocolate river from the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory film was made with 15,000 gallons of water mixed with chocolate and cream. The river spoiled fairly

Chocolate Part 2 of 6

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

~3.5 Minutes Reading Time

27. Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.

28. Observational studies show a drastic reduction in heart disease risk among those who consume the most chocolate. Harvard University noted that chocolate can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. The university stated that middle-aged and older adults that ate 3.5 ounces of chocolate daily were less likely to suffer from heart disease in comparison to those who had less.

29. Studies have demonstrated that one of the major saturated fats in chocolate does not raise cholesterol like other hard fats–meaning chocolate can be enjoyed in moderation.

30. Research to date supports that chocolate can be enjoyed as part of a balanced, heart-healthy diet and lifestyle.

31. The average serving of milk chocolate has about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of decaf coffee.

32. Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it from sun damage. Researchers have found no link between acne and chocolate. In fact, German researchers suggest that flavonoids in chocolate absorb UV light, which help protect and increase blood flow to the skin, ultimately improving its appearance.

33. Chocolate has an antibacterial effect on the mouth, as eating pure cocoa has been shown to prevent tooth decay.

34. Chocolate is known to have extremely soothing properties. A study by Essex University found that people were more relaxed and actually paid attention and retained more information when just the smell of chocolate was around.

35. Cocoa or dark chocolate may improve brain function by increasing blood flow. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine.

36. Theobromine, the compound in chocolate that makes it poisonous to dogs, can kill a human as well.

37. A lethal dose of chocolate for a human being is about 10 kilograms (22 lbs), which is about 40 Hershey bars.

38. The first cacao trees were found in the Amazon River basin and the Venezuelan and Colombian Andes

39. The earliest known human consumption of cacao beans (the source of chocolate) took place in the highlands of Ecuador amongst the Mayo-Chinchipe people. As early as 3300 B.C., beans were toasted, ground, and blended with water, chili powder, and other zesty spices to produce a foamy drink.

40. The word “chocolate” comes from the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which referred to the bitter, spicy drink the Aztecs made from cacao beans.

41. Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (Montezuma II), the 9th emperor of the Aztecs, was one of the most wealthy and powerful men in the world. He was also known as The Chocolate King. At the height of his power, he had a stash of nearly a billion cacao beans.

42. Aztec emperor Montezuma, infamously known today for having an illness named after him, is perhaps the world’s first “chocoholic” — he is said to have consumed a whopping 50 cups of this cacao drink daily. Coincidentally, he lived to be 54 years old at a time when the life expectancy in his country was a mere 40. His royal court considered cacao more valuable than gold and also used it as a form of money.

43. Montezuma’s generals fed chocolate to their soldiers to increase energy and focus, a practice that colonists adopted during the Revolutionary War. In the U.S. Civil War, chocolate was fed to the injured to increase energy and hunger. Some in the military even chose to be paid in chocolate for their service.

44. During the Aztec reign, a slave could be bought for 100 cocoa beans.

45. According to Aztec legend, the god Quetzalcoatl brought cacao to earth but was cast out of heaven for giving it to humans. As he fled, he vowed to return one day as a “fair-skinned bearded man to save the earth.”

46. The ancient Maya are believed to be the first people to regularly grow cacao trees and drink chocolate.

47. In Mayan times the cocoa bean was used as currency as it was considered to be worth more than gold dust. Cultivation of the beans was restricted so the value of cocoa beans as money would not go down.

48. Mayans used chocolate in baptisms and in marriage ceremonies. It was also sometimes used in the place of blood during ceremonies. A drawing from the Mayan Madrid Codex shows gods piercing their ears and sprinkling their blood over the cacao harvest, indicating a strong association between blood and cacao in Meso-American tradition Mayan emperors were often buried with jars of chocolate by their side.

49. In the ancient Mayan civilization, humans were often sacrificed to guarantee a good cacao harvest. First, the prisoner was forced to drink a cup of chocolate, which sometimes was spiked with blood because the Maya believed it would convert the victim’s heart into a cacao pod

50. In Mayan civilization, cacao beans were the currency, and counterfeiting cacao beans out of painted clay had become a thriving industry. Goods could be priced in units of cacao: a slave cost 100 beans, the services of a prostitute cost 10 beans, and a turkey cost 20 beans. While the Spanish conquistadors horded gold, the Mesoamericans horded cacao beans. In some parts of Latin America, the beans were used as a currency as late as the 19th century.

51. Columbus’s son Ferdinand recorded that when the Mayans dropped some cacao beans, “they all stopped to pick it up, as though an eye had fallen.” Columbus, who was searching for a route to India, did not see the potential of the cacao market and mistook them for shriveled almonds

52. Chocolate first arrived in Europe during the 16th century in the form of Mesoamerica’s spicy cacao drink. It was brought back from Spain by explorer Hernán Cortés, who called it “the divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue…it permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.”

Chocolate Part 1 of 6

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

~3.5 Minutes Reading Time

  1. The scientific name for the tree that chocolate comes from, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.”

  2. The smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation. The mere smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which trigger relaxation. In fact, a 2013 study conducted at Hasselt University in Belgium showed that when the scent of chocolate was diffused in bookstores, sales of books increased by 22% of any genre and a whopping 40% more likely to buy cookbooks or romance novels.

  3. Chocolate also contains tryptophan, which the brain uses to produce serotonin, a hormone that causes generalized euphoria. So, eating chocolate really does make you happier!

  4. Chocolate has over 600 flavor compounds, while red wine has 200.

  5. It takes approximately 400 cacao beans to make one pound (450 gr.) of chocolate. Each cacao tree produces around 30 to 60 pods per year. Each pod contains around 40 beans. So, each tree only produces 2 to 3 pounds of chocolate per year. Add to that the fact that cacao pods are harvested by hand, and you’ll start to understand why good chocolate is expensive.

  6. According to the book And Then God Made Chocolate! by Sherry-Marie Perguson, each cacao tree only produces enough beans to make 10 regular-sized Hershey's bars a year.

  7. Chocolate is the only edible substance to melt around 32°C (90°F), just below human body temperature. That’s why chocolate melts in your mouth.

  8. Candy bars generally have less than 10 milligrams of caffeine, but the darker the chocolate, the higher the caffeine content.

  9. America consumes almost 50% of the world’s chocolate.

  10. According to the International Cocoa Organization, European’s account for almost half the world’s chocolate consumption. They estimate the average Brit, Swiss, or German eat 11 kilograms (24 pounds) of chocolate a year.

  11. The country whose people eat the most chocolate is Switzerland, with 22 pounds eaten per person each year. Australia and Ireland follow with 20 pounds and 19 pounds per person, respectively. The United States comes in at 11th place, with approximately 12 pounds of chocolate eaten by each person every year.

  12. The amount of chocolate a country eats on average is linked to the number of Nobel Laureates that country has produced.

  13. In celebration of its 100th birthday, Thorntons created the world’s largest chocolate bar – weighing a record breaking 5,792.50 kilograms (12,770 pounds).

  14. So many Toblerone bars are sold each year that, if they were to be laid end to end, they would go on for 62,000 kilometers (38,525 miles) which longer than the circumference of the Earth.

  15. Milky Way candy bars are not named after the galaxy. The name came from the malted milkshakes whose flavor they originally intended to mimic.

  16. Known as “The World’s Most Expensive Chocolate Bar,” the Wispa Gold Wrapped Bar is offered by Cadbury. It was designed as a marketing campaign to relaunch their brand of caramel chocolate bars, Wispa Gold. But this expensive version is actually wrapped in an edible gold leaf. It cost $1,430 per bar.

  17. To’Ak chocolate is one of the most expensive chocolates in the world, Each 50 gram (1.7 oz) bar is in a handcrafted Spanish Elm wood box individually engraved with the bar number.

  18. There are 2 types of cacao tree. Most chocolate comes from Forastero beans, which are said to be easier to grow but the Crillo bean makes much tastier chocolate.

  19. There is a rare fourth kind of chocolate in addition to the classic milk, dark, and white varieties: blond chocolate. Blond chocolate, named after its striking color, was actually made by accident by pastry chef Frédéric Bau, according to the chocolate's founding company, Valrhona.

  20. White Chocolate isn’t technically Chocolate, as it contains no cocoa solids or cocoa liquor. White “chocolate” contains cocoa butter instead. Since cocoa butter doesn't actually taste good on its own, it's mixed with milk fat, vanilla, and sugar for a sweeter flavor.

  21. Cocoa butter is a by-product made from crushing roasted cacao beans. As well as in chocolate it’s also used in cosmetic products including massage oils and skin cosmetics. It’s one of the most stable, highly concentrated natural fats and as it melts at just below average body temperature it’s easily dissolved into the skin, perfect for moisturizing creams and other products.

  22. Quality dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and a few other minerals. For dark chocolate to be beneficial, cacao or chocolate liquor should be the first ingredient listed, not sugar.

  23. Research suggests that dark chocolate boosts memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. Studies have also found that dark chocolate can improve the ability to see in low-contrast situations (such as poor weather) and promote lower blood pressure, which has positive effects on cholesterol levels, platelet function, and insulin sensitivity

  24. Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by one-third.

  25. The bioactive compounds in cocoa may improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure. Dark chocolate is actually beneficial for your heart health. A study conducted by Walden University's School of Nursing shows that blood pressure significantly decreased in participants, mainly due to the chocolate's heavy concentration of flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants.

  26. Cocoa and dark chocolate have a wide variety of powerful antioxidants. In fact, they have way more than most other foods.

Dragon Fruit

Monday, March 21, 2022

~2.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Dragon fruit is the fruit of several cactus species indigenous to the Americas. While the fruit is commonly known in English as dragon fruit, reflecting its vernacular Asian names; it also goes by the name pitaya or pitahaya.

  • The names “pitahaya” & “pitaya” come from Mexico, & “pitaya roja” in Central America & northern South America, possibly relating to pitahaya for names of tall cacti species with flowering fruit.

  • Pitahaya producing cacti of the genus Hlyocereus are originally native to Mexico. They were transplanted to Central America, probably by Europeans.

  • Dragon fruit is cultivated in Southeast Asia, the United States, Israel, Australia, Cyprus & the Canary Islands. Vietnam is its top producer.

  • Sweet dragon fruit comes from the genus Hylocereus, of the Cactaceae family, while sour dragon fruit is from the Stenocerus genus.

  • French missionaries were the first to export the fruit from central America to southeast Asia, where it was called dragon fruit. This name is supposed to derive from a legend, according to which, the fruit was the last breath exhaled by a dragon defeated in battle.

  • Dragon fruit grows on a climbing cactus plant that can grow from 15-20 feet high & can live for as long as two decades.

  • The flower buds of the fruit are edible when cooked.

  • The skin of the dragon fruit is usually pink, red, or yellow in color, with spiky leaf-like appendages generally tipped with green, & a red or white-colored flesh that has many small, black, edible seeds.

  • Dragon fruit has a mild flavor & is often compared to passionfruit, watermelon, raspberries & other fruit, depending on the species, & are usually sweet.

  • The large dragon fruit flowers require pollination during the night as they generally whither in the day & only last up to 24 hours, after which the fruit develops & is ready for picking from 30 to 50 days. Mature fruits that are not harvested will continue to grow larger but not sweeter. During the night, the dragon fruit flowers are pollinated by moths & bats. August & September are their peak months.

  • Dragon fruit seeds also contribute to their nutritional benefit. They contain protein as well as omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids that can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. The seeds also have a mild laxative effect.

  • Dragon fruit is low in calories but rich in vitamins, minerals & beneficial plant compounds such as polyphenols, carotenoids & betacyanins.

  • One-cup serving (227 grams):

    • Calories: 136

    • Protein: 3 grams

    • Fat: 0 grams

    • Carbohydrates: 29 grams

    • Fiber: 7 grams

    • Iron: 8% of the RDI

    • Magnesium: 18% of the RDI

    • Vitamin C: 9% of the RDI

    • Vitamin E: 4% of the RDI

  • Dragon fruit contains the antioxidants vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene & betalain. Studies have linked diets high in antioxidants to a reduced risk of chronic disease.

  • Dragon fruit offers 7 grams of fiber per serving, making it an excellent choice for meeting your daily fiber needs.

  • Dragon fruit may promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, which is associated with a healthy gastrointestinal tract.

  • Dragon fruit’s high supply of vitamin C & carotenoids may offer immune-boosting properties.

  • Dragon fruit supplies iron along with vitamin C, a combination that may improve your body’s absorption of this important mineral.

  • Dragon fruit is a great source of magnesium, a nutrient needed for over 600 biochemical reactions in your body.

  • Look for one that is bright red. Some spots are normal, but too many bruise-like splotches can indicate that it’s overripe. Like avocado & kiwi, a ripe dragon fruit should be soft but not mushy.

  • Commonly, dragon fruit is eaten fresh or is accompanied by ice cream or other desserts. It can also be frozen or used in drinks, jams & jelly. To enjoy, add it to salads, smoothies & yogurt, or simply snack on it by itself.

Spondias Dulcis / June Plum / Ambarella

Sunday, March 13, 2022

~ 3.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Ambarella (Spondias dulcis) is a tropical tree with edible fruit. The plant grows on all types of soil, including acidic soils and oolitic limestone in Florida, as long as they are well-drained. The tree originated in Southeast Asia. It is widely cultivated in Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, and some parts of Africa for its leaves and fruits. Ambarella is a vigorous deciduous tree that grows about 10–25 m high or may grow to 45 m. The plant flourishes in humid and wet tropical areas. It is rather common in lowland primary forests, sometimes in secondary forests. The tree bears fruits abundantly from September to mid of January. Ambarella fruits grow in clusters of up to a dozen.

  • It is commonly called:

    • kedondong (Indonesia),

    • buah long long (Singapore),

    • pomme cythere (Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique),

    • June plum (Bermuda and Jamaica),

    • mangotín (Panama),

    • juplon (Costa Rica),

    • golden apple (Barbados and Guyana),

    • jobo indio (Venezuela), and

    • cajarana, caja-manga (Brazil)

  • It’s vaguely sweet, with a hint of tart acidity. The fruit is oval in shape, green in color with a tough skin. The flesh of the fruit is hard and contains a fibrous pit. The fruit turns golden-yellow when it ripens. It has flavors of pineapple and mango. The hard crunchy flesh is sour and thus, it is often eaten with salt, chili powder, sugar, or shrimp paste. Although the fruit can be eaten raw, the ripened fruit tastes the best.

  • The leaves and the bark of ambarella are widely used as a therapeutic agent as it contains flavonoids, saponin, and tannins. The fruit is dense in nutrients and improves overall health. One serving of ambarella fruit provides 48Kcal of energy, 1 gram of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrate, 233 IU of vitamin A, 30mg of vitamin C, 15 mg of calcium, 3 mg of iron, and 22 grams of phosphorus. The fruit also contains dietary fiber and Vitamin B complex constituents like thiamine and riboflavin.

  • The plant is grown as a living fence.

  • Wood is light-brown and buoyant and in the Society Islands has been used for canoes.

  • Bark yields a resinous gum.

  • Fruit is fed to the pigs and the leaves are given to cattle.

  • Ambarella fruit is used to make jams, jellies, and preserves. The fruit is added to soups, sauces, and stews as flavorings. In certain places, ambarella is used in a fruit salad or dried and made into a spicy paste to prepare certain dishes. The fruit can also be candied or processed into drinks.

  • Boosts Immune System – Golden apple fruit is rich in vitamin C. It improves the function of the immune system. It also improves the formation of collagen and accelerates the wound healing process. The fruit also contains antioxidants and helps prevent free radical damage.

  • Improves Skin Health – The vitamin C content of the fruit helps in tissue repair and nourishes the skin. It increases the production of collagen and improves the beauty of the skin. It is also used to treat skin diseases. The leaves of the tree are boiled and the extract is used as a substitute for body lotion and moisturizers. Traditionally, the root of the tree is used to treat itchy skin.

  • Helps Treat Cough – The leaf extract is used to treat cough. About 3 or 4 fresh leaves of the tree are boiled in two cups of water and allowed to stand for a few minutes. The concoction is strained and usually taken with honey. The fruit can also be used to treat cough. Two or three pieces of the fruit are shredded and the water is squeezed. A pinch of salt can be added to the extract and consumed thrice a day to relieve cough.

  • Helps Treat Digestive Problems – It is high in dietary fiber, which facilitates digestion and helps clear the bowel. The pulp of the fruit is recommended for those who suffer from constipation and dyspepsia (indigestion). The high water content of the fruit prevents dehydration. The bark of the tree is used as a remedy to cure dysentery. People suffering from diarrhea, dysentery, can take a herbal concoction of the tree bark to ease discomfort. The herbal concoction is prepared using 5 grams of bark. The clean bark is boiled in two cups of water until the water is reduced to half. The strained concoction can be consumed to provide instant relief for dysentery.

  • Improves Vision – The fruit is a good source of vitamin A. It plays an important role in visual perception. The compound of vitamin A known as retinol helps distribute images that are received by the retina of the eye. The decoction of the leaves is used as a wash for sore eyes.

  • Provides Energy – The fruit is high in sugar mainly in the form of sucrose, which provides instant energy. It is a natural and wholesome way to boost vitality and endurance.

  • Helps in Weight Loss – The fruit is low in fat, carbohydrate and high in dietary fiber. Though the fruit is low in calories, it provides the required nutrients to the body. Thus, it is an ideal fruit for weight loss. The water content of the fruit provides a feeling of fullness and also prevents overeating.

Mangosteen

Saturday, March 5, 2022

~ 2.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Mangosteen is a small, purple fruit from Southeast Asia. It has a hard outer skin & sweet, white, juicy flesh. This exotic, tropical fruit with a slightly sweet & sour flavor. People have described its taste as a mix of lychee, peach, strawberry, & pineapple.

  • Mangosteen produces dark-purple or red-purple fruit with a soft, thick rind on the surface. The flesh consists of 4 to 8 juicy, triangular segments that are white-colored. Each segment contains 1 to 4 seeds. Rind & seed are not edible.

  • Farmers tend to grow mangosteen in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, & Thailand. In these countries, people consume it as fruit, juice, traditional medicine, ice-creams, sorbets, mousses, yogurts, smoothies, cocktails & salad dressings.

  • The rind of mangosteen is used for leather tanning in China.

  • Mangosteen is often labeled as "superfruit" due to its high content of antioxidants (substances that prevent cell damage) & because of its high nutritional value.

  • The dried rind of mangosteen can be used in the treatment of dysentery, diarrhea, ulcers, pain, infected wounds, fever, & skin disorders such as eczema.

  • Mangosteen is the national fruit of Thailand.

  • Mangosteen is a perennial plant that can survive more than 100 years in the wild.

  • Fresh mangosteen is hard to find in the United States for two reasons.

  • First, mangosteen trees need a fully tropical climate & lots of time to grow. Small farms in Hawaii & Puerto Rico, which started in the 1990s, are only now starting to bear fruit.

  • Mangosteen produces pinkish-white flowers that grow solitary or arranged in pairs. Male & female flowers develop on separate trees (dioecious plants). Mangosteen is an apomictic plant, which means that female trees produce fruit without pollination.

  • Mangosteen tree starts to bear fruit 7 to 10 years after planting. It produces fruit two times per year. Depending on the age of the tree, mangosteen can produce from 200 to 3.000 fruit per season (older trees produce more fruit). Mangosteen is available from June to October.

  • Second, fresh mangosteen can harbor quarantine pests or non-U.S. native bugs that could threaten the ecosystem. It means mangosteen importers must sterilize the fruit before it enters the country. This sometimes affects the quality, taste, or shelf life.

  • Most fruits, including mangosteen, are low in fat, sodium, & calories, helping people maintain a moderate weight. They are also free from cholesterol.

  • The fruit, fruit juice, rind, twig, & bark are used as medicine.

  • Mangosteen provides a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, & fiber while being low in calories. These nutrients are important for maintaining many functions in your body.

  • A 1-cup (196-gram) serving of canned, drained mangosteen offers:

    • Calories: 143

    • Carbs: 35 grams

    • Fiber: 3.5 grams

    • Fat: 1 gram

    • Protein: 1 gram

    • Vitamin C: 9% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)

    • Vitamin B9 (folate): 15% of the RDI

    • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 7% of the RDI

    • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 6% of the RDI

    • Manganese: 10% of the RDI

    • Copper: 7% of the RDI

    • Magnesium: 6% of the RDI

  • The vitamins & minerals in mangosteen are important for maintaining many bodily functions, including DNA production, muscle contraction, wound healing, immunity, & nerve signaling.

  • Moreover, a single cup (196 grams) of this fruit provides almost 14% of the RDI for fiber — a nutrient often lacking in people’s diets. Plant compounds & fiber in mangosteen may have anti-inflammatory effects according to animal research. More studies are needed to understand how this fruit may reduce inflammation in humans.

  • Mangosteen contains vitamins with antioxidant capacity, as well as a unique class of antioxidant compounds known as xanthones. Test-tube & animal research indicates that xanthones in mangosteen may protect against cancer. However, high-quality human research on this topic is lacking.

  • Some animal & human research suggests that mangosteen may play a role in weight loss & obesity prevention. Still, more studies are needed.

  • Plant compounds & fiber in mangosteen may contribute to reduced blood sugar. Still, current research is insufficient.

  • Research suggests that mangosteen may increase your number of immune cells & reduce inflammation — potentially boosting immune health.

  • Research suggests that antioxidants & anti-inflammatory compounds in mangosteen may protect skin cells from damage associated with sun exposure & aging.

  • Research suggests that nutrients & other plant compounds in mangosteen may support optimal digestive, heart, & brain function.

Wood Apple / Aegle Marmelos / Bael

Friday, February 25, 2022

<3 Minutes Reading Time

  • Wood Apple or Bael fruit is a sweet, aromatic fruit that grows on the bael tree (Aegle marmelos), native to India and Southeast Asia. It's typically eaten fresh, dried, or in juice form. The fruit provides vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin C and has been found to act as an antioxidant.

  • It takes about 11 months to ripen on the tree and can reach the size of a large grapefruit or pomelo, and some are even larger. The shell is so hard it must be cracked with a hammer or machete. The fibrous yellow pulp is very aromatic. It has been described as tasting of marmalade and smelling of roses. The flavor is "sweet, aromatic and pleasant, although tangy and slightly astringent in some varieties". It resembles a marmalade made, in part, with citrus and, in part, with tamarind. Numerous hairy seeds are encapsulated in a slimy mucilage.

  • Bael fruit can be eaten fresh like other fruits. Its juice is used to make drinks and squashes, especially in the summer season because of its sweet and pleasant nature. In India, a drink called sherbert is made by adding milk and sugar to seeded bael fruit pulp. Bael fruits doesn’t split open even after getting ripened. Choose a pale-yellow, sweet-smelling fruit and try breaking the shell with a hard object. Scoop out the pulp to make this easy sherbet. Another popular drink is made by combining bael fruit pulp with tamarind. Take bael fruit, wash it and break the hard shell from all around. Once it broke, remove the pulp in a bowl. Mash the pulp till it softens and strain the mixture to remove any solid particles or impurities. You can add chilled milk, cardamom powder, jaggery, and black salt to the bael.

  • To make jam, pulp from mature, unripe bael fruit is mixed with citric acid and sometimes combined with guava for added sweetness. In Thailand, young shoots and leaves from the bael fruit plant are used as a seasoning. It is used in the preparation of candy, squash, toffee, and pulp powder. Bael tender leaves are used as salads.

  • There are several varieties of bael fruit. Smaller, hard-shelled varieties grown in Florida are used for medicinal purposes rather than fruit consumption. Larger and softer varieties with thinner rinds, higher sugar content, and fewer seeds are more suited for commercial growth. These include Kaghzi, Darogaji, Rampuri, Ojha, Khamaria, and Azamati.

  • Bael fruit is native to India and Southeast Asia and harvested between March and April. It is also found throughout the year in Florida. Bael fruit is picked when it's still yellowish-green. Let it sit until the stem separates from the fruit and the green tint disappears. Avoid fruit that is bruised or showing signs of mold.

  • Although bael fruit is not a proven cancer treatment, it may help reduce some of the cumulative damage that increases cancer risk over time.

  • Bael is used for constipation, diarrhea, diabetes, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

  • The unripe fruit, root, leaf, trunk, and branch are used to make medicine. Extensive experimental and clinical studies prove that Aegle marmelos possesses antidiarrheal, antimicrobial, antiviral, radioprotective, anticancer, chemo preventive, antipyretic, ulcer healing, antigenotoxic, diuretic, antifertility, and anti-inflammatory properties, which help it to play role in prevention and treatment of many diseases.

  • Bael contains chemicals called tannins, flavonoids, and coumarins. These chemicals help to reduce swelling (inflammation). This might help treat asthma, diarrhea, and other conditions. Also, some of these chemicals help to reduce blood sugar.

  • Preliminary studies on bael fruit suggest that it is fiber-rich, low-calorie fruit that provides some protein and very little fat. Bael fruit is an excellent source of riboflavin, 91.5% DV, and also provides vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium.

  • In different regions, it is known by varied names:

    • English name: Wood apple

    • Arabic: Safarjale

    • Bengali: Belpatthar ka paid

    • Hindi: Bael

    • Marathi: Belaache zaad

    • Tamil: Vilvamaran

    • Sinhala: Beli

    • Gujarati: Billu

    • Kannada: Belladi hannu

    • Konkani: Gorakamili

    • Malyalam: Koolam

    • Marathi: Bel

    • Odia: Baela

    • Urdu: Bael

    • Indonesia: Maja

    • Thai: Matum

Ginger

Thursday, February 17, 2022

~3 Minutes Reading Time

  • Ginger is not a root, actually, it is a rhizome. A rhizome is an underground stem. Ginger can be grown from rhizomes, available at grocery stores.

  • The mature ginger rhizomes can be harvested after 10-12 months. A ginger plant can grow as high as 4 feet.

  • The ginger plant is an herb.

  • Ginger is a part of the Zingiberaceae family. Turmeric & Cardamom are included in this family.

  • Ginger is native to southeastern Asia. Ginger is popularly grown in warmer regions & the tropics. India ranks number one in World’s production, & also amongst the top 10 global exporters.

  • Cultivation of Ginger can be during an entire year but the best time to plant them is at the end of winter & early spring.

  • Ginger was a common trade product from the East to Europe by the 11th century CE.

  • Ginger was introduced to the West Indies & Mexico by the Spanish after their conquest of these two countries, & by 1547 ginger was being exported from Santiago to Spain.

  • Presently, natural ginger ales made with fresh ginger are available as a digestive tonic. Years back Jamaicans & early American settlers used to make beer from ginger.

  • The generic name of this spice is “Zingiber” which is derived from the Greek zingiberis. This word in turn comes from the Sanskrit name of the spice, singabera.

  • The English nomenclature i.e. “ginger”, comes from the mid-14th century, from Old English gingifer; also from Medieval Latin gingiber. It is also derived from Greek name zingiberis, & from Prakrit (Middle Indic) singabera.

  • Ginger rhizomes are often used to flavor breads, sauces, curry dishes, confections, pickles, ginger ale & ginger beer.

  • Chinese & Ayurvedic practitioners have relied on ginger for at least 3,000 years for its anti-inflammatory properties, & have used it as a “carrier” herb, one that enables other herbs to be more effective in the body.

  • Ginger is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties. In a recent study, taking 5 grams of ginger a day for 3 months lowered people’s LDL cholesterol by an average of 30 points.

  • Gingerol appears to have protective effects against cancer. However, more studies are needed. Gingerols keep oral bacteria from growing. These bacteria are the same ones that can cause periodontal disease, a serious gum infection.

  • Just 1–1.5 grams of ginger can help prevent various types of nausea, including chemotherapy-related nausea, nausea after surgery, & morning sickness.

  • According to studies in animals & humans, ginger may help improve weight-related measurements. These include body weight & the waist-hip ratio.

  • There are some studies showing ginger to be effective at reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis, especially osteoarthritis of the knee. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, which means it reduces swelling. You might get relief from pain & swelling either by taking ginger by mouth or by using a ginger compress or patch on your skin.

  • Ginger has been shown to lower blood sugar levels & improve various heart disease risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes. One recent small study suggested that ginger may help your body use insulin better. Larger studies are needed to see if ginger could help improve blood sugar levels.

  • Ginger appears to speed up the emptying of the stomach, which can be beneficial for people with indigestion & related stomach discomfort. If you live with chronic indigestion, also called dyspepsia, ginger could bring some relief. Ginger before meals may make your system empty faster, leaving less time for food to sit & cause problems.

  • Ginger appears to be very effective against menstrual pain when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period. In studies, women who took 1,500 milligrams of ginger powder once a day for 3 days during their cycle felt less pain than women who didn’t.

  • There’s some evidence, in both humans & animals, that ginger can lead to significant reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol, & blood triglyceride levels. In a recent study, taking 5 grams of ginger a day for 3 months lowered people’s LDL cholesterol by an average of 30 points.

  • Animal studies suggest that ginger can protect against age-related damage to the brain. It can also help improve brain function in middle-aged women.

  • Ginger may help fight harmful bacteria & viruses, which could reduce your risk for infections. They’re especially good at halting the growth of bacteria like E.coli & shigella, & they may also keep viruses like RSV at bay.

  • Ginger won’t whisk away muscle pain on the spot, but it may tame soreness over time. In some studies, people with muscle aches from exercise who took ginger had less pain the next day than those who didn’t.

  • Some studies show that bioactive molecules in ginger may slow down the growth of some cancers like colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin, breast, & prostate cancer. But much more research is needed to see if this is true.

Lychee

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

~4 Minutes Reading Time

  • Lychee is the sole member of the genus Litchi in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. Other popular fruits in this family include rambutan & longan. It’s a tropical tree native to the Guangdong & Fujian provinces of China, where cultivation is documented from 1059 AD.

  • China is the main producer of lychees, followed by India, other countries in Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, South Africa, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, & the United States.

  • Unofficial records in China refer to the lychee as far back as 2000 BC.

  • Wild lychee trees still grow in parts of southern China & on Hainan Island.

  • There are many stories in the Chinese tradition of lychee being used as a delicacy in the Chinese Imperial Court. In the 1st century, fresh lychees were in such demand at the Chinese Imperial Court that a special courier service with fast horses would bring the fresh fruit from Guangdong.

  • It was the favorite fruit of Emperor Li Longji’s favored concubine Yang Yuhuan. The emperor had the fruit delivered at great expense to the capital.

  • The lychee attracted the attention of European travelers, such as Juan Gonzalez de Mendoza, based on the reports of Spanish friars who had visited China in the 1570s giving the fruit high praise.

  • Lychee was first described & introduced to the West in 1656 by Michael Boym, a Polish Jesuit missionary, who was at the time part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

  • The lychee was scientifically described by Pierre Sonnerat on a return from his travels to China & Southeast Asia.

  • Lychee requires cold weather during the winter for the successful development of flower buds & warm, moist weather with high temperatures during the summer for the production of fruit.

  • Lychee is a medium-sized tree that can reach 40 to 50 feet in height.

  • It has a short trunk covered with smooth, grey or black bark & low spreading, brownish-red branches.

  • Lychee develops evergreen, shiny, leathery, green leaves composed of 2 to 4 thin leaflets arranged in pairs.

  • It produces individual male & female flowers, meaning it’s a monoecious plant, gathered in long terminal clusters composed of up to 3,000 flowers.

  • It blooms from November to February in the northern hemisphere & from April to August in the southern hemisphere. The flowers are fragrant & they attract bees, who are the main pollinators of lychee.

  • Lychee looks like a bumpy strawberry with roundish, sharp protuberances. Botanically speaking, lychee is a drupe. The fruit grows arranged in dense clusters of 3 to 50; it ripens 100 to 120 days after pollination. Lychee is known as the “Chinese strawberry” because it comes from China & looks like a strawberry. The fruit is a symbol of love & romance in China.

  • Lychee has rough skin on the surface that can be pink or reddish-brown colored. The edible flesh is succulent, white & translucent. Each lychee fruit has one large, shiny brown seed.

  • Lychee has a floral aroma & a sweet taste that resembles a mix of grape & pear. The flesh has a texture similar to that of a grape.

  • Lychee seeds contain toxic compounds that can induce unpleasant side effects in the digestive system after consumption.

  • It’s a natural diuretic. It alleviates pain associated with kidney stones & reduces the formation of blood clots.

  • Lychee is a perennial plant that can survive around 1,000 years in the wild.

  • It can be eaten fresh, in the form of fruit salads, or it can be used in ice cream, juice, jelly, jam, syrup, & various beverages.

  • Lychee is a rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins C, B1, B3, B9 & minerals such as copper, potassium, calcium & magnesium. 100g of the fruit contains 66 calories.

  • Lychees are primarily composed of water & carbs, most of which are sugars. Compared to many other fruits, they’re low in fiber. They’re also high in vitamin C & offer decent amounts of copper & potassium.

  • The health effects of lychees have not been studied directly. However, they contain several nutrients & antioxidants that are important for health.

  • Like most fruits & vegetables, lychees are a good source of antioxidants & other healthy plant compounds. These include epicatechin & rutin. Fresh lychees don’t contain any Oligonol, as is often claimed.

  • A 2015 study indicates that lychee flesh is a rich source of plant compounds called proanthocyanidins. According to the study, proanthocyanidins may have the following health benefits:

    • antioxidant

    • anti-diabetic

    • anti-angiogenic

    • anti-carcinogenic

    • anti-inflammatory

    • cardioprotective

    • Proanthocyanidins are also present in other fruits such as apples, blueberries, & grapes.

  • Lychee is quite low in calories; 100 grams contains only 66 calories. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol & is rich in dietary fiber, thus making it an ideal option for those who are trying to shed some pounds.

  • Lychee has a significant amount of water content & fiber, which has a soothing effect on the stomach. The fiber regulates bowel movements by ensuring its smooth passage through the digestive tract. It also adds bulk to the stool & increases your digestive health.

  • Lychee proves to be a good antioxidant as it contains a high amount of Vitamin C that improves the immune function of the body.

  • Lychee contains good amounts of flavanol, which is known to treat inflammation & tissue damage caused by inflammation.

  • Lychee is loaded with essential nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese & copper. These minerals are known to increase calcium absorption in the bones & improve the health of the bones.

  • Lychee carries balanced potassium & sodium levels, which help the blood vessels to relax & maintain proper blood pressure.

  • According to several researchers, lychees are loaded with antioxidants which help in promoting cardiovascular health.

  • You can find fresh lychee in some grocery stores. Asian supermarkets often sell canned & dried lychees. Canned lychees often have sugar added. Check the label to see if they’re in sugar-sweetened syrup or their own juice.

  • In the US, lychee season begins in May & runs through the summer. You can refrigerate fresh lychee fruit for 5 to 10 days. It can also be frozen whole with the peel on. Dried lychee can be stored for up to 1 year at room temperature.‌

  • Some ways to use fresh or canned lychee include:

    • Using lychee juice (from a can of lychee fruit) to make a cocktail

    • Stir-frying it with pork, chicken, or shrimp

    • Chopping up lychee & mixing it with avocado, lime juice, cilantro, & onion to make a salsa

    • Make a fruit salad with lychee fruit, pineapple chunks, melon, & other favorite fruits.

Z

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

~1 Minute Reading Time

  • Zhe fruit tree's scientific name is Maclura tricuspidata. Zhe is a fruit tree native to East Asia like China and Nepal and has been naturalized in Japan.

  • Zhe tree can grow up to 6 meters.

  • When the trees are young they have thorns, but when they have a mature age, they will disappear.

  • Although zhe fruits look like mulberry, but they are not classified the same as mulberry.

  • When ripe, zhe fruit color is red or maroon and contains rich red flesh inside them with 3-6 seeds per fruit.

  • Other names are : che, cudrang, silkworm thorn, Chinese mulberry, and mandarin melon berry.

  • Ziziphus fruits also called jujube fruit have been a staple in Asian fare for hundreds of years. The Chinese use them for their medicinal properties and they’re reputed to have a soothing effect on the nerves.

  • There are three main varieties of Ziziphus fruit, and all are edible. You can eat them raw as long as you catch them before they get too ripe. Once they fully ripen, they dry out. At that point, they taste better if you dehydrate them.

  • Zigzag vine fruit, melodorum leichhardtii, is a fruit native to eastern Australia that is orange in color and has a pleasant piquant orange-sherbet flavor.

  • Zig-zag vine trees can grow well in the rainforest, monsoon forests, vine thickets, and gallery forests.

  • This fruit is generally used to make sauces in gourmet dishes and is not eaten raw.

  • Zig-Zag vine is also called: wild banana, merangara, and acid drop vine.

  • Zalzalak fruits are native to Iran, and they look like red persimmons or red versions of the black sapote. They’re shaped more like an oval than a circle.

  • They taste both sweet and sour.

  • They have numerous health benefits. People eat them to prevent heart disease and they are also high in antioxidants.

Yubari

Monday, November 29, 2021

>20 seconds reading time

  • The Japanese Yubari cantaloupe melon (also known as Yubari king) is one of the most expensive fruits on the planet.

  • At an auction, two of these melons sold for the sum of $23,500 per pair! In Japan, paying exorbitant prices for luxury fruit is a huge trend and a common gift in business relationships.

Ximenia

Sunday, November 21, 2021

>30 seconds reading time

  • Ximenia is an African tree that produces a small fruit sometimes referred to as yellow/tallow plum or sea lemon

  • The small fruit is less than 2 inches long and contains one seed. Depending on the variety, the ximenia is yellow, orange, or red with white spots when ripe. An Ethiopian variety goes yellow. There will be 1 seed in each fruit.

  • The fruit tastes tart and bitter and is a favorite of birds.

  • The tree grows up to 20 feet (6 meters) tall and has rough, dark-grey bark. It has long, green shiny leaves and thorny branches. The tree can reproduce itself by seed (it grows true to seed), or via root suckers. It flowers from August to October.

Watermelons

Saturday, November 13, 2021

~1 minute reading time

  • Watermelons are aptly named: 92% of a watermelon is water, and 6% is sugar.

  • Square watermelons are watermelons grown into the shape of a cube for easier stack and store. The Japanese created them to fit more compactly in fridges and be able to be cut more easily (without rolling). They were invented by graphic designer Tomoyuki Ono in 1978. They are very expensive, with prices as high as $100. Since the advent of the square watermelon, other watermelon shapes have been introduced, such as hearts and pyramids.

  • Many years ago, explorers used hollowed-out watermelons to carry water on board their ships. Watermelons aren’t just giant and nutritious but they can also play a key role in keeping you hydrated. In the days before modern plumbing when water became plentiful, people used to carry around watermelons on long trips to stay hydrated. Due to its thick skin and the fact that it’s 92% water, explorers and desert-faring folks carried the fruit around so they had something to drink. This is why watermelons make great food for picnics, beach visits, or other outdoor activities that take place predominately when it is hot outside. Bring it along, it can keep you from getting dehydrated!

  • "Check the bottom of the watermelon for a creamy yellow spot -- if this spot is white or greenish, your melon may have been picked before it was fully ripe," Lindhe told HuffPost Australia.

  • "Additionally, ripe watermelons should be dark green in color overall. Also, since the ripest watermelons have the most water, melons that are relatively heavy for their size should be riper."

V

Friday, November 5, 2021

<1 minute reading time

  • Voavanga fruit is a round fruit that is green in color with white dots.

  • is a popular fruit in some African countries. It is also called the Spanish tamarind.

  • Velvet apple fruit tree is an exotic tropical fruit tree native to the Philippines. They are found wild in primary and secondary forests and also cultivated in the yard.

  • They are protected by law. It is illegal to export velvet apple timber from the country without special permission from the Bureau of Forestry.

  • Velvet apple fruit has a skin covered in a fine, velvety fur which is usually reddish-brown, and soft, creamy, pink flesh, with a taste and aroma comparable to fruit cream cheese. Just like a peach, it’s covered in a fine down that makes it feel like velvet. If you were to eat it, you’d find that it also tastes like a peach.

  • They are also found in tropical countries like Indonesia, India, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka.

  • They are also known as: peach bloom, velvet persimmon, mabolo, mabola, sagalat, bisbul, kamagong, and talang.

U Part 2

Thursday, October 28, 2021

1.5 minutes reading time

  • Ububese fruit is native to Africa and can be found in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

  • It’s a rich source of fiber

  • Ububese fruits have creamy flesh that is somewhat of a cross between papayas, cantaloupe, and custard.

  • The shape of Ububese fruit is round or oval with a diameter of 1.7 to 3 centimeters and it can grow up to 4 centimeters long. These fruits are dark yellow or reddish with a network patterned on their outer surface. The pulp of the ripe Ububese fruit is not only nutritious but also sweet and delightful. These fruits have several flat, brown, and oval-shaped seeds in them that have a caruncle at one end.

  • It is a yellow-colored fruit with a luscious sugary taste. You can eat them preserved, cooked, or raw.

  • Umbu fruit grows in the Caatinga, a chaparral shrub.

  • Umbu fruit is also known as Brazil plum, and it is native to northeast Brazil. It is light yellow to red in color, and is round and small, 2-4 cm in size, with a rugged and hardened outer skin. There are many varieties of umbu, some the size of cherries and others as big as lemons.

  • The fruit can be eaten fresh or made into juice. They can also be made into jams or sweetened preserves. Another delicacy made from umbu is umbuzada, a rich beverage that can substitute a full meal.

  • Urava fruit grows on tropical tree called mangrove apple tree or gedabu.

  • It is very sour in taste.

  • Urava, also known as mangrove apple or perepat, is a curious-looking fruit. Small and spherical, they look like a tiny hat. The outer skin is thick and green in color. They are quite widespread and are found mostly in mangroves.

  • Just like the urava fruit, the leaves of the urava tree are also edible. In Sri Lanka, the pulp of the fruit is mixed with coconut milk and made into a milkshake.

  • Usuma fruit is a small orange to red fruit that is similar to peanut butter, therefore, also known as peanut butter fruit.

  • Because of its unique and pleasant taste, it’s great for milkshakes, smoothies, jams, and juices, or just eaten fresh!

  • Originated from the Andean region, usuma fruit is native to South America.

  • Umbrella fruit is a sour fruit, grown in tropical regions all over the world – especially in Asia and Africa. It is green and yellow in color, crisp in texture, and mildly acidic — with hints of pineapple and mango

U

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

<3 minutes reading time

  • Ube is also often called the purple yam. It’s a type of tuber that’s known for its deep purple color, but you can also find it in white.

  • You’ll usually find ube in Asian countries, where it is cooked into many desserts, including cakes & pastries. It has recently started to appear in the United States.

  • They are starchy root vegetables that are rich in carbs, potassium, vitamins A & C, anthocyanins, & phytonutrients, all of which are important for maintaining good health. They have been shown to protect against cell damage & cancer. They may help promote blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. They also have a low glycemic index, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes.

  • The resistant starch in ube helps increase the growth of Bifidobacteria, which are healthy bacteria that play a vital role in maintaining your gut health.

  • Ulluco is native to Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, & to a lesser extent in Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, & Chile. It is one of the most economically important & widely grown plants in the Andean region of South America.

  • Most people eat only the tuber, although you can eat the leaf, which has a taste like spinach. The leaves & tubers of this plant are found to contain high levels of nutrients like carotene, calcium, & protein.

  • One of the most striking features of this vegetable is that its tubers are varying in color which includes yellow, pink, purple, & red colors. Some are even candy-striped with waxy & shiny skins.

  • Health benefits: Removes skin spots, consists of a good amount of Vitamin C, Eliminates acne problems, Prevents & protects us against rheumatism, Eliminates stretch marks, Removes the scars, Delays cell aging, Anti-inflammatory, & antibacterial food, Relieves & cures digestive problems, Fights Alzheimer’s, contains B complex, Good for growing children & pregnant women, high content of Zinc & Calcium

  • With a slightly sweet taste, ulluco is a great source of protein, carbs, & vitamin C, especially to the people living at high altitudes in the mountainous regions of South America. It also has less than 2% fat content.

  • In Bolivia, ullucos are a traditional food in Catholic Holy Week celebrations. They are not suitable for baking or frying but they can be cooked in many other ways. One of the more popular forms is pickled ullucos.

  • An ugli fruit is a cross between a grapefruit & a mandarin orange. It's about the size of a grapefruit but tastes a bit sweeter & has wrinkly skin that peels easily. This fruit comes from Jamaica & is also grown in the US. Despite its name, it's not that ugly although it can look strange because its yellowy-green skin is thick, rough & puffy, & sometimes a bit blotchy. It is also known as Jamaican tangelo.

  • It was developed by Trout Hall Ltd in 1924 in Jamaica.

  • Ugli fruit has a fragrant rind & the flesh is very juicy that contains 70% vitamin C, 2% iron, & 8% dietary fiber, & is low in calories.

  • Ugli fruit taste is sourer than an orange & less bitter than a grapefruit. It is slightly larger than grapefruit & doesn’t have a lot of seeds. It is rich in vitamin C.

  • The polyphenol & anti-inflammatory antioxidants flavonoid compounds in Ugli fruit may help us to protect against viral infections, allergies, & fungal conditions.

  • Ugni fruit is a very fragrant, purplish-red fruit that looks like berries. They are very small, only growing up to about 1/2 inch wide. Each fruit grows on a 1-inch stalk.

  • The fruit has a very delicate flavor, somewhat like strawberries, but with a bit of tartness to it. The seeds are very small.

  • Some of the commercial strawberry flavors are actually made from ugni berries, not strawberries.

  • It grows on an evergreen shrub related to myrtle, which grows up to 15 feet tall. It can be grown from seed or cuttings. It has glossy, dark-green leaves, & small, white or pink, bell-shaped flowers in the spring. -The fruit appears in the autumn. There is not much fruit before the third year. By its third year, each Ugni bush will bear about 2 pounds of fruit. After that, each year, fruit production will increase by another 2 pounds per year.

  • Australian growers have coined & trademarked the name “Tazziberries” for the fruit. They are being grown in Australia in Victoria & Tasmania. New Zealand growers are marketing it as “NZ Cranberries.”

  • Ugni is native to Chile & Bolivia. It was identified in 1844. Part of its scientific name is in honor of Juan Ignacio Molina (1737-1829.)


Tomatoes

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

<1.5 minutes reading time

  • Tomatoes are not a veggie but a fruit. They are regarded as the world’s most popular fruit and have more genes than humans.

  • Tomatoes are actually fruits and are made of 94.5% water. The tomato plant originates from the

  • nightshade family (which includes eggplant, potato, capsicum, and chilli) from Central America.

  • A farmer in Oregon managed to successfully grow a ‘tomacco’ plant. This is a hybrid of a tobacco and tomato plant. This fascinating endeavor, straight out of a Simpsons episode, managed to bear fruit for a year and a half! Now the question is, does it get smoked or eaten?

  • Fruits and vegetables are defined differently, depending on whether you’re a gardener or a chef. The word ‘fruit’ is a botanical term, and ‘vegetable’ is a culinary term. The Oxford Dictionary defines fruit as being developed from the ovary of a flowering plant, containing the seed of the flower. The term ‘vegetable’ refers to the edible parts of plants, such as the roots, stems, and leaves (think potatoes, celery, and lettuce) and which are not strictly the fruit of the plant from which they come. So, a tomato can be considered a fruit and a vegetable. These common veggies are actually fruit: Zucchini, Eggplant, Olives, Peapods, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Butternut Pumpkin, Avocado, Peppers

  • In the extreme case of Nix vs. Hedden in 1893, a Supreme Court in the United States had to settle a case between a food importer and tax collector, who contested whether the tomato was a fruit or vegetable. The importer wanted to label the tomato a fruit (which had a lower import tax) but the tax collector demanded that it be recognized as a vegetable. Verdict: The court ruled that the tomato was most commonly known as a vegetable and should therefore be treated as such when imported.

Tangerines

Monday, October 4, 2021

~2.5 minutes reading time

  • Tangerines protect against heart disease blood clots and can lower your cholesterol. A fabulous little fruit, isn’t it? It is low in carbs, fats, proteins, and calories,. Also known as mandarin oranges, tangerines are a tasty and refreshing citrus fruit packed with nutrition, including vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, folate, fiber, and potassium to name a few. One tangerine has half the vitamin C you need for the whole day!

  • Tangerines are named after the place from where they were first shipped to Europe – Tangier in Morocco.

  • they are the second-most produced citrus fruit in the world, after the sweet orange. Around 21 million metric tons are harvested from two million hectares around the globe.

  • China sells and produces more tangerines than any other country, providing almost half of the global supply. Spain, Brazil, and Turkey are also large producers of tangerines.

  • Tangerines have been cultivated for over three thousand years in counties like Japan and China.

  • However, this amazing fruit did not arrive in the US until the mid-nineteenth century. The first batch of tangerines was brought to America when the Italian consul in New Orleans decided to plant it on the grounds surrounding the consulate. From New Orleans, the tangerine was taken to Palatka, Florida and it became a commercial crop like other citrus fruits. Florida has become famous for its production of oranges as well as tangerines. Most of the tangerines produced in the United States come from Florida and California.

  • A tangerine tree is much smaller than most of the other citrus fruit trees. A mature tree is usually between 15 and 20 feet tall.

  • Tangerines are easier to peel than other citrus fruits and are sometimes known as ‘easy peelers’.

  • Tangerines used to be nicknamed the ‘Christmas Orange’ because they were often stuffed in children’s Christmas stockings.

  • Tangerines are typically in their prime from late October through January.

  • Because tangerines are easily crossed with other types of citrus, about 200 different types of tangerines have been created.

  • Tangerine essential oil can be used to help soothe anxious feelings and manage stress.

  • The peel contains a super-flavonoid, or antioxidant, called tangeretin. Super-flavonoids have shown promise in studies as an effective way to lower cholesterol.

  • When selecting tangerines you should look for the ones that do not have any blemishes and are slightly heavy for their size and are firm to slightly soft. Also when choosing any type of citrus fruit, including tangerine and grapefruit, choose the ones that have thinner skins. This means that they are really juicy and should be very sweet. You will want to avoid tangerines that feature soft spots, dents, cuts, or mold.

  • The color of a tangerine is generally not a good indication of sweetness, so do not be fooled into thinking the brightest orange tangerines are the sweetest.

  • Tangerine trees grow best in subtropical environments where the nights are cool

  • The secret to storing them is to make sure they stay chilled but not necessarily cold.

  • Tangelos are a cross between tangerine and grapefruit. They are generally very juicy and have a mild sweet flavor.

  • If you enjoy your fruit being really sweet, you will want to try honeybell tangerines. These honey tangerines are known for their sweet, honey flavor and are the sweetest tangerines produced. If you don’t like seedy fruit, this seedless tangerine is a great option.

  • Citrus fruits are actually a kind of berry with a tough, leathery rind, known as a hesperidium.

  • A single citrus plant can have as many as 60,000 flowers, but only 1 percent of those flowers will turn into fruit.

  • Citrus fruits that are grown in tropical climates without a proper winter will stay green on the outside. That’s because citrus fruit needs to get cold to turn orange or yellow.

Strawberries

Sunday, September 26, 2021

~1 minutes reading time

  • Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. The average strawberry—which, by the way, isn’t technically a berry—contains about 200 seeds.

  • Unlike some other fruits, strawberries don’t continue to ripen after being picked, so if they don’t look ripe, they never will be.

  • Strawberries and cream is a popular dessert during the British summer, famously consumed at the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

  • There is a museum in Belgium dedicated to strawberries. In the gift shop at Le Musée de la Fraise (The Strawberry Museum), you can buy everything from strawberry jam to strawberry beer.

  • Strawberries are actually flowering plants that belong to the rose family. When strawberries first became commercial products, the plants were cultivated in straw. Many think that's where they got their name.

  • Strawberries are not really berries at all. They are the enlarged receptacle of a flower.

  • If you bite into an apple you would expect to find the "seeds" inside. With the strawberry, the "seeds" are on the outside. Actually, strawberry seeds aren't really seeds. They are 'achenes', which are actually tiny fruits that contain seeds.

  • The strawberry was first cultivated in Brittany, France almost 300 years ago, however ancient herbiaries list strawberries as a medicinal cure as early as the 13th century.

  • Strawberries are not berries or even a fruit, technically. Berries are defined as having their seeds on the inside. The plant produces a fleshy "false fruit" aka pseudocarp from its flower, and what we think of as the seeds on the outside are the "true" fruits.

  • Wild strawberries can be yellow

  • Strawberries have more Vitamin C than oranges.

Rhubarb

Saturday, September 18, 2021

~7.5 minutes reading time

  • Rhubarb originally grew in Asia and later exported to Europe in the 14th century by way of the Silk Road trade route thanks to Marco Polo, eventually making its way to North America via Ben Franklin, who sent the seed in the early 1800’s.

  • Rhubarb is a laxative. 3,000 years ago, rhubarb was used specifically for medicinal purposes. It was dried and consumed as a purgative (cleansing of the bowels), a carminative (reduce excess gas), and for ulcer treatment.

  • Rhubarb can be used for the purification of the blood, to induce vomiting (and elimination of toxins), prevent disease of gums, and as a cure for constipation.

  • Besides in the treatment of various disorders, rhubarb can be used as a source of food, pigments, and fibers.

  • Due to the numerous beneficial properties of this plant, rhubarb was more valuable than cinnamon in the 16th century in France and more expensive than opium in the 17th century in England.

  • Rhubarb saved the 1770’s Canadian fur traders from dying! Isolated on forts with a fiber-less diet of fish and meat, prolonged constipation was a major problem and could be deadly. Rhubarb grew well and became a necessity in the tradesmen’s medicinal forts due to its laxative effects and high vitamin C content, preventing any form of constipation or scurvy from occurring.

  • The darker the red stalk, the sweeter the rhubarb! The older, more traditional variety of green stalks are more mellow in flavor. If your rhubarb stalks are green, they’re not underripe or something. Some cultivars have greener stalks than others. The red color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, the same chemicals that make the leaves of some deciduous trees turn red in the autumn. All rhubarb is quite bitter in taste and therefore a great substitute for cranberries, and a good match with a sweeter fruit like strawberries.

  • Rhubarb is a perennial plant that can survive from 10 to 15 years in the wild. It is supremely tough and cold-hardy, so you usually have to do something really, really horrific to kill it once it becomes established. Like, drive over it with a truck. Or set it on fire. And it may even survive those things.

  • Rhubarb can reach 6 to 10 feet in height. Cultivated varieties are usually smaller. Rhubarb giants are common in Alaska where the summer days are very long and the extra hours of sun help the rhubarb grow. It prefers a temperate climate, moderately moist soil, and areas that provide plenty of sun.

  • Rhubarb likes cool weather and is best harvested in mid-spring to early summer.

  • Rhubarb develops long, thin stalks with rounded ridges on the surface. They grow from a short, thick rhizome. The color of the stalks varies from deep red to light green. The flesh is always white-colored. Stalks (petioles of the leaf) are the edible part of rhubarb. The shape of the rhubarb stalks resembles celery.

  • Fresh stalks have a sour taste and they are usually dipped in sugar before consumption. Small amounts of oxalic acid are found in the stalks, which we eat – the acidity gives rhubarb its “tang.” (You’ll find small amounts of oxalic acid present in sorrel and spinach, as well).

  • Rhubarb stalks are a rich source of dietary fibers, vitamin K and C, and minerals such as calcium, manganese, and potassium.

  • Each rhubarb stalk ends with a large, triangular, drooping leaf with a prominent midrib. Unlike stalks, leaves are not edible. They contain a high percent of oxalic acid which is toxic for humans. If eaten in large doses, the leaves can cause throat closure due to their high levels of oxalic acid, which is a poisonous acid used in stain remover, inks, and metal polish.

  • Leaves of rhubarb contain substances that repel insects. By boiling the leaves in water, people can produce a homemade insecticide that can eliminate pests from the garden.

  • Contrary to popular belief, even though rhubarb leaves are poisonous, they actually can be composted. The acids in them will break down like any other natural chemical found in plants and will not cause the compost to become toxic. Just make sure you chop those gigantic leaves up so that they’re easier for your composter to break down quickly. And you might not want to put too many in the composter at once, as not to upset the balance of the carbon to nitrogen ratio.

  • Rhubarb blooms in summer and produces small greenish-white or red flowers arranged in large clusters. Flowers are designed for pollination by wind. They are also able to perform self-pollination.

  • Even though most people consume rhubarb as a fruit in cooking and often eat it in desserts., botanically speaking it belongs to the group of vegetables. It is a part of the Polygonaceae buckwheat family. It's also known as the smartweed family which also includes sorrel. A New York court ruling in 1947 made it an official fruit in the United States to avoid the high tariffs imposed on imported vegetables. (It was cheaper at the time to bring fruits into the country).

  • Rhubarb’s binomial name is Rheum rhabarbarum – the specific epithet is from Latin and means “root of the barbarians.

  • The term rhubarb means a heated dispute. Ever wonder what background actors on stage are yelling about during a play? In the 1930’s, the word “rhubarb” would be repeated as their go-to ‘conversation’. This method was so popular that the Merriam-Webster dictionary added a heated dispute to the definition of rhubarb. In the 1940’s, it was commonly used as a descriptor of the on- and off-field shenanigans of fans and players at raucous baseball games.

  • In the United Kingdom, it is common to force an early rhubarb crop under pots in January and February. A second crop is planted outdoors for later harvest.

  • 90% of the world’s sweetest rhubarb is located in The Rhubarb Triangle of West Yorkshire, England. England was the first country to grow rhubarb for eating (not just medicinal purposes). The variety of rhubarb called Victorian Rhubarb was easy to grow, reliable, and consistently sweet and tender. So began the jams, jellies, custards, and tarts.

  • Rhubarb is often consumed in combination with strawberries, blueberries, and peaches and used for the preparation of various cakes, pies, fruit salads, and muffins.

  • Rhubarb is also known as "pie plant" because it is most commonly used for the preparation of pies.

  • Rhubarb can be also consumed in the form of jams, jellies, smoothies, and wines.

  • Fibers obtained from rhubarb can be used for the manufacture of paper.

  • f you like to dye textiles with natural plant-based dyes, rhubarb leaves make a good mordant (just be really careful while handling them!). The roots will produce a brown dye that can be used for the dyeing of hair. Leaves and stalks are sources of yellow and red dyes.

  • Store harvested rhubarb stalks in the fridge and use them up as soon as you can. Rhubarb freezes well so that’s an option if you have a huge harvest.

  • Do not harvest rhubarb in the heat, as the stalks will quickly wilt.

  • Speaking of harvesting rhubarb – pull or cut? Always pull! If you cut the stalks, you might encourage rot. And never, ever, take more than half of the stalks of the plant at a time.

  • If your rhubarb is damaged by a late spring frost, you can remove most of the stalks (leave at least 3 to 5 on the plant) and allow the plant to regrow – it should produce another crop shortly. Don’t eat the frozen stalks.

  • Rhubarb has really pretty, dramatic flowers – and as long as you don’t allow them to set seed, you can enjoy the flowers for a very brief time. You can keep harvesting the rhubarb stalks while the plant flowers – the quality of the produce does not suffer. If the plants set seed, however, the energy that would be devoted to the creation of delicious stalks is then diverted to the seeds, which you don’t want. You’ll end up with smaller stalks as a result. So if you want flowers AND yummy stalks, watch carefully to remove the blooms at just the right time.

  • 1 pound of fresh rhubarb yields about 3 cups chopped or 2 cups cooked

R

Friday, September 10, 2021

>1 Minute Reading Time

  • In early Christian artwork, raspberries were used to symbolize kindness.

  • Most raspberries are red, but some are actually white, yellow, or black.

  • Raspberries and blackberries are called aggregate fruit. They are made up of hundreds of little fruits. Each one contains a seed.

  • Until 2015, raisin farmers in the United States had to set aside a certain amount of raisins to the “national raisin reserve.” There is even a Raisin Administrative Committee to enforce the law. This was done to control the price of raisins. U.S. raisin farmers aren't allowed to sell all the raisins they grow; they must contribute to a "national raisin reserve" if supply exceeds demand. The Raisin Administrative Committee is currently pursuing a legal vendetta against farmer Marvin Horne for refusing to contribute to the reserve and selling all of his raisins instead. This isn't as crazy as it sounds; most fruit growers sell according to rules set by associations intended to offset market fluctuation and protect their economic interests. But raisins are naturally more reservable than fresh, perishable fruit — & the RAC seems hell-bent on getting this raisin outlaw to toe the line.

  • The leaves of the rhubarb plant are extremely poisonous. The leaves contain kidney-damaging and potentially fatal amounts of oxalic acid, "a chemical compound found in bleach, metal cleaners and anti-rust products." But the stalks are totally safe to eat, which, thank goodness, because they sure make tasty pie.

Quince

Thursday, September 2, 2021

~2.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Because apples were unknown in the ancient world, a quince might well have tempted Eve, and the golden apples of the Hesperides, given to Aphrodite by Paris of Troy, were probably quinces, too.

  • Quince is best known for its strong, tropical, and fruity aroma. This fruit was an inevitable part of wedding ceremonies in ancient Greece. Bride consumed quince to ensure pleasantly smelling, "perfumed lips".

  • Ancient Greeks associated the quince with fertility, and it played an important role in wedding celebrations. It was offered as a gift, used to sweeten the bride’s breath before entering the bridal chamber, and shared by the bride and groom. Thanks to these associations, the quince has become known as the “fruit of love, marriage, and fertility.”

  • In Greece, quince was sacred to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility.

  • Quince was popular and often consumed in ancient Rome. Romans usually prepared quince by mixing it with honey and leek.

  • The alchemist and confectioner Nostradamus left several written recipes for quince compote in his book. His writings explained that chefs who peeled the fruit before cooking it did not know what they were doing, as the skin actually accentuates the smell of the fruit.

  • In the Middle Ages, quince was highly valued. It was often served at tables of monarchs and aristocrats, who ate it at banquets and luxury culinary events as a sign of their greatness.

  • The medicinal qualities of quince have been appreciated to be true since ancient times. Shakespeare wrote that quince was the “stomach’s comforter.”

  • Quince is a small tree that can reach 16 to 26 feet in height.

  • Quince develops simple, ovate leaves with smooth margins. They are pale green-colored due to a dense layer of white hairs on the surface. Leaves are alternately arranged on the branches.

  • Quince produces large, pink, or white individual flowers at the end of the branches. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs.

  • Quince blooms during the spring and summer. Flowers attract bees (natural pollinators), but they are also able to perform self-pollination.

  • The fruit of quince is large pome. The fruit has yellowish-white flesh filled with stone cells and numerous seeds in the middle. The surface of the fruit is covered with yellow skin that has a rough and woolly texture.

  • Quince which grows in the temperate regions produces unpalatable, tart, and astringent fruit that needs to be thermally processed before consumption (high temperatures destroy tannins, bitter compounds). Quince can be consumed in the form of compotes, preserves, jellies, or as an ingredient of dishes made of seafood, poultry, and lamb.

  • Quince which grows in tropical areas produces fruit with soft flesh which tastes like a blend of apple and pear. Tropical quince can be consumed raw.

  • Quince is rich in Vitamins A, B, and C, fiber, as well as minerals like potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Also, quince is rich in certain organic compounds like catechin, epicatechin, limonene, and various other phytonutrients, all of which contribute to the health benefits of quince.

  • Quince is often used as a rootstock for grafting the pears. Created hybrids remain small in size, but they produce a substantial amount of fruit that reaches maturity more quickly.

  • Turkey is the greatest manufacturer of quince in the world with nearly 128.000 metric tons of fruit produced each year.

  • Health benefits include an ability to help prevent cancer, aid in weight loss, improving digestive health, reducing cholesterol, boosting immune system strength, preventing gastrointestinal diseases, soothing inflammation, increasing the health of your skin, decreasing blood pressure, preventing allergic reactions, & stimulating circulation in the cardiovascular system.

  • Mucus obtained by soaking the seed of quince into the water can be used in the treatment of skin irritation and gastrointestinal discomfort.

  • Quince is a perennial plant that can survive more than 50 years in the wild.

  • The term “marmalade”, originally meaning a quince jam, derives from marmelo, the Portuguese word for this fruit.

P

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

~1.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Low-acid white-fleshed peaches are the most popular kinds in China, Japan, and neighboring Asian countries, while Europeans and North Americans have historically favored the acidic, yellow-fleshed cultivars. In China, peach is a symbol of good luck, protection, and longevity.

  • Donut peaches are a natural mutant peach variety, not a human-engineered fruit. And not, alas, a cross between a donut and a peach. But they ARE delicious — firmer and more sweet and fragrant than most boring old spherical peaches. The lil flatties originated in China but have found enthusiastic fans worldwide in recent years.

  • Pear trees can grow up to a whopping 60 feet tall and can be over 300 years old.

  • Pears ripen from the inside out – and are the only fruit to do so.

  • World’s most expensive pear is Buddha shaped pears $9.00 each. These pears look exactly like a Buddha statue, even down to the facial details. A mold was made by Chinese farmer Xianzhang Hao of the Hebei province.

  • The name pomegranate derives from medieval Latin pōmum meaning “apple” and grānātum eaning “seeded.”

  • One pomegranate can hold more than 1,400 seeds or 'arils'. Contrary to the Torah-based myth that every pomegranate has 613 seeds.

  • Pomegranates are high in vitamin C, K, folate, and fiber.

  • Pumpkin seeds contain more protein than an equal amount of ground beef. Broccoli also has more protein per calorie than steak. Guess those vegetarians and vegans were on to something.

  • Peppers are great even if most people use them as a spice rather than using them as a food. A little-known fact about cayenne peppers is that they can promote the clotting of blood over wounds. According to experts, you can sprinkle some cayenne pepper into a wound where it will act as gauze. This will help stop the bleeding. Eating cayenne pepper can also help equalize blood pressure and promote clotting from the inside. That means it doesn’t matter if you eat it or literally put it on the wound, it will help it heal faster.

  • In October 1995, NASA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison collaborated to help grow the first vegetable to be grown in space: potatoes.

  • The shiniest living thing on Earth is an African fruit known as pollia condensate

  • Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that grows papayas to market and sell.

  • Consuming passion fruit might help with falling asleep and lowering anxiety levels.

Pineapples

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

~1.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Pineapples regenerate! You can plant pineapple leaves to grow a new plant. You can grow a pineapple by twisting the crown off a store-bought pineapple, allowing it to air dry for a few days, and then planting it.

  • Is that pineapple in your kitchen ripening too slowly? Stand it on the spiky end. Pineapples are actually berries and it’s ripening can be speeded up by making it stand upside down (leafy side down).

  • Pineapple has protein bromelain that degrades meat. So, if you put a piece of pineapple somewhere in your mouth it will start eating you.

  • A pineapple is not an "apple" it is actually a berry.

  • Each pineapple plant only produces one pineapple per year.

  • Most fruits develop in 3 to 4 months, but it takes about 18 months to two years for a pineapple to grow to its full size.

  • The name "pineapple" came from European explorers who thought the fruit looked like a pinecone with flesh like an apple.

  • Canned pineapple was first made in 1901 but wasn't widely available until engineer Henry Ginaca invented a machine in 1911 that could remove the outer shell, inner core, and both ends of 100 pineapples in less than a minute! This machine, known as the "Ginaca machine", is still used in pineapple canneries today.

  • You can't put fresh pineapple in Jell-O because the bromelain content prevents gelatin from setting. Canned pineapple, on the other hand, can be added to Jell-O because the canning process destroys the bromelain.

  • The pineapple is a combination of many individual flowers, or berries fused together around a core. Pineapples contain about 75% of the daily recommended amount of manganese for strong bones. It takes three years for a pineapple to mature.

  • Believe it or not, it’s absolutely true. A little-known fact about pineapple is that it contains an enzyme called bromelain. If you read other sources they all say pretty much the same things. This enzyme breaks down proteins in your mouth, namely your taste buds. This can wreck your palate for the rest of the day until your mouth can heal itself. A fun fact that a lot of people throw around is that the enzyme bromelain is used in meat tenderizers. Pineapple is a fruit and that means it’s great for you, but you should probably let a freshly sliced pineapple sit in the fridge for a bit before eating it so the enzymes can break down.

  • As pineapples were so expensive in colonial times, people would simply rent these flavorful fruits and show them off to others as a sign of wealth.

O

Monday, August 9, 2021

<1 Minutes Reading Time

  • Onions can make you cry and make your breath smell terrible. Believe it or not, the reason onions do those things are the exact same reason why onions are good for you. Onions contain over 100 sulfide-containing compounds. These contain a number of health benefits such as the prevention of asthma and some types of cancer. Onions are related to leeks, garlic, chives, and scallions. While they don’t all have the same level of health benefits, they do all have similar health benefits.

  • Olives are actually fruits and their trees can be old – really old – standing tall for more than 1,500 years.

Oranges

Sunday, August 1, 2021

<2 Minutes Reading Time

  • The color orange is named after the orange fruit. Before orange made its way from China to Europe, yellow-red was called simply that: yellow-red, or even just red. Orange peel can be used by gardeners to sprinkle over vegetables as a slug repellent.

  • Oranges are the largest citrus crop in the world.

  • Brazil is the leading orange-producing country in the world while Florida and California together produce nearly 25 billion pounds of oranges each year!

  • Florida oranges may be greener than California oranges because the night temperatures in Florida are warmer, which causes more chlorophyll to migrate into the peel; they are still ripe and sweet though.

  • There is more fiber in an orange than in most other fruits and veggies.

  • Technically the orange is a berry called hesperidium, indicating that the fruit has sections and grows on evergreen trees.

  • The peels of oranges contain essential oils that are used aromatherapy, cleaning products, and cooking.

  • Contrary to what most of us think, this fruit was not named for its color. Instead, the word orange comes from a transliteration of the Sanskrit 'naranga', which comes from the Tamil 'naru', which means "fragrant."!

  • The peel of an orange fruit has four times more fiber than the actual fruit. There are also a significant amount of antioxidants in the peel too. You can get some of those benefits by grating some peel into your next meal. Wonder if candied peels count too?

  • In sub-tropical growing regions (like Brazil, the country that grows the most oranges in the world) there are never temperatures cold enough to break down the chlorophyll in the fruit's skin, which means it may still be yellow or green even when it's ripe. But because American consumers can't fathom such a phenomenon, imported oranges get treated with ethylene gas to get rid of the chlorophyll and turn them orange.

  • This also means that Florida oranges tend to be yellower than California oranges, because they're grown further south.

  • Orange peels have over four times the amount of fiber of the actual fruit. It also contains more antioxidants than the actual fruit. The only downside is that it’s difficult to find a way to eat it. The best way is to grate it up like cheese into an orange zest. You can use that to season all sorts of foods. This is how they make orange chicken in Chinese restaurants. Not bad for a part of the fruit that almost everyone simply throws away.

  • If you plant a single orange seed, you’ll probably get more than one plant from it.

  • Some oranges-mainly those grown in tropical areas of land-are green and/or yellow in color

Nopal

Saturday, July 24, 2021

<1 Minutes Reading Time

  • Nopal, commonly referred to as “prickly pear cactus” in English, is a staple in Mexican dishes. Nopales have citrus and tart flavor characteristics, making them easy to use in a side dish or to include in the main course. The high liquid content allows you to avoid adding liquid when making a stir fry. Nopales can also be consumed raw. Popular Mexican nopal dishes include huevos con nopales, and tacos de nopales.

  • Nopal plants are easily shareable. All you need to do is find a friend or neighbor with a nopal plant, cut off a piece and plant it in your own yard. This is a popular tradition among Mexican families and is an easy addition to any garden.

  • Nopal plants spout twice a year: in the spring and the fall. This is the best time to eat fresh nopal, as they are at their juiciest.

  • It’s one of the most drought-tolerant vegetables. With water conservation of rising concern, growing drought-tolerant plants for consumption is more important and popular than ever. Nopales are a darling of drought tolerance and only need to be watered once a month!

N

Friday, July 16, 2021

~1 Minutes Reading Time

  • Nectarines can be a pale white color, instead of their typical yellow, on the inside.

  • A nectarine (Prunus persica variety nectarina) is a fuzzless variety of peach. Fuzziness is a dominant trait of peaches. The expression of a recessive allele is thought to be responsible for the smooth skin of nectarine fruits, which lack the fuzzy trichomes (plant hairs) characteristic of peach fruits.

  • Occasionally when peach trees are crossed or even self pollinated they will produce some fruit whose seeds will grow into nectarine trees and others which will be peach trees. Nectarines will sometimes appear on peach trees, and peaches sometimes appear on nectarine trees!

  • It is impossible to tell which seeds from nectarine trees will produce nectarine bearing trees, so commercial growers take branches which produce nectarines and graft them onto peach trees. The branches will continue to produce nectarines.

  • In appearance, nectarine trees are the same as peach trees, and are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Tree size and shape, leaves, and even buds look the same. Nectarines, however, are smaller and smooth skinned (looking more like plums), golden yellow with large blushes of red (ripe fruit looks the same as unripe - the color does not change significantly, but they do get sweeter and softer). Their yellow flesh has a noticeable pink tinge, with a distinct aroma and a more pronounced flavor.

  • There are over 100 varieties of nectarine, both freestone and clingstone varieties, the same as for peaches. (Freestones flesh separates from the 'pit' easily, while clingstones cling to the 'pit'). Nectarines are more delicate than peaches, bruising very easily.

  • Nectarines, like peaches, probably originated in China over 2,000 years ago and were cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. They spread via the Silk Road and were grown in Great Britain in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, and were introduced to America by the Spanish.

  • Today, California grows over 95% of the nectarines produced in the United States.

  • The name ‘nectarine’ comes from the sweet food the gods eat, sweet as ‘nectar’.

M

Thursday, July 8, 2021

<10 Seconds Reading Time

  • Miracle fruit is a fruit that, when eaten, causes sour foods to taste sweet for at least an hour or two after consumption.

  • The mangosteen is known as the “queen of fruits.”

Mangos

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

<30 Seconds Reading Time

  • The world’s most popular fruit? The mango.

  • Orangutans love eating mangoes! Mangoes are the most loved and the No 1 fruit in the world.

  • Mangoes were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago. In fact, the paisley pattern which was first developed there is based on the shape of a mango. The Mango fruit is highly prized among the Tamil culture, as it is a symbol of health, peace and prosperity.

  • Mangos are known as “the King of Fruit” throughout most of the world.

  • A mango tree can grow to be 100 feet tall.

L

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

<30 Seconds Reading Time

  • According to The Reams Biological Ionization Theory (RBTI), the lemon is the ONLY food in the world that is anionic (an ion with a negative charge). All other foods are cationic (the ion has a positive charge.) This makes it extremely useful to health as it is the interaction between anions and cations that ultimately provides all cell energy.

  • Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.

  • Lemons are a cross between sour oranges and citrons.

  • Most lime species are natives of Asia.

  • The loganberry is a mix of blackberries and raspberries.

  • The seeds of lychee are poisonous and should not be consumed.

Kiwis

Monday, June 14, 2021

<15 Seconds Reading Time

  • A kiwi fruit has twice as much vitamin C as an orange.

  • Kiwi fruits are actually berries and grow like grapes on vines that can be up to 6 feet tall.

  • The tangy, fuzzy fruit is also rich in potassium and copper.

  • Kiwi fruits were originally called “melonettes”

  • Kiwis, at one time, were known as Chinese Gooseberries.

Jackfruits

Sunday, June 6, 2021

<10 Seconds Reading Time

  • The jackfruit has been determined to be the largest tree fruit in the world. The jackfruit can weigh as much as 100 pounds. There has been jackfruit that has grown as tall as 4 feet in height!

Honeydews

Saturday, May 29, 2021

<30 Seconds Reading Time

  • The honeydew was revered as a sacred food by the ancient Egyptians.

  • Napoleon and Pope John Paul II both considered Honeydew melons their favorite fruit. 

  • Honeydews were first cultivated in Persia and northern Africa nearly 4,000 years ago, and later by ancient Greeks and Romans. Introduced to western and northern Europe during the Middle Ages, melons were harvested by the Spaniards and later the French and British. Christopher Columbus brought over the first honeydew seeds to North America on his second expedition. The honeydew melon was introduced to California by Spanish missionaries in 1683. 

  • Honeydew is the American name for the cultivar White Antibes that has been grown for many years in southern France and Algeria.

  • The honeydew is considered the sweetest melon.

  • Honey Dew melons are also known as “Temptation Melons.”

  • The ancient Egyptians considered honeydew (melon) to be a sacred fruit.

Grapefruits

Friday, May 21, 2021

<45 Seconds Reading Time

  • Taking a prescription cholesterol drug? Stay away from grapefruit, which contains an enzyme that can negate the drug’s effects. Drinking Grapefruit juice while taking some prescription medications can cause instant overdose and death.

  • Persons taking certain prescription drugs have to be careful what fruit they consume. Eating a grapefruit, which is a good source of Vitamin C, can become life-threatening. Since the grapefruit contains compounds which change how your body metabolizes certain drugs, the body can absorb larger amounts of the drug than is beneficial, which can cause medical problems and death.

  • Grapefruit can cause dangerous reactions with some prescription medications. From the New York Times, last year: "For 43 of the 85 drugs now on the list, consumption with grapefruit can be life-threatening, Dr. Bailey said. Many are linked to an increase in heart rhythm, known as torsade de pointes, that can lead to death."

  • "Under normal circumstances, the drugs are metabolized in the gastrointestinal tract, and relatively little is absorbed, because an enzyme in the gut called CYP3A4 deactivates them. But grapefruit contains natural chemicals called furanocoumarins, that inhibit the enzyme, and without it the gut absorbs much more of a drug and blood levels rise dramatically."

Grapes

Thursday, May 13, 2021

<1 Minute Reading Time

  • About 71% of the world’s grapes are used for wine, 27% as fresh fruit, and 2% are used to make raisins.

  • It takes about 1,1 kg (2.5 pounds) of grape for the production of one bottle of wine.

  • Grapes don’t always grow in perfect bunches like the ones at the grocery store. They can actually group together in clusters that range from 6 to 300 grapes.

  • Grapes, when heated in a microwave, will actually explode.

Figs

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

  • Want calcium but don’t like milk? Try a half-cup of figs, which has as much calcium as a half-cup of milk.

  • Figs have a 55% natural sugar content, making them the sweetest of all fruits.

  • Figs are believed to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest cultivated fruit consumed by humans. Figs are high in fiber, iron, and potassium. Fig Newton cookies have been around since 1891, a testament to the popularity of figs. Sumerian tablets dated all the way from 2500 B.C. show the use of figs for cooking. Neolithic sites from 5000 B.C. revealed remains of fig trees during excavations. Fig trees can easily live 100 years!

E

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

<10 Seconds Reading Time

Eggplants are actually fruits and not veggies. In fact, they are botanically known as berries.

Facts Brought to You by the Letter D

Monday, April 19, 2021

Reading Time

  • Dragon Fruit is full of vitamin C and is even said to help reduce acne.

  • Durian: Indonesia and Malaysia are home to the durian which is known as the ‘king of fruits in many South Asian countries. This fruit is covered in little spikes and is said to smell horrendous, which can smell like a combination of rotten eggs, sweaty socks, wet garbage, and underlying notes of sweetness. . In some places, like Japan and Thailand, it is unlawful to keep the durian fruit in public because of its pungent odor.

C Our Fun Facts

Sunday, April 11, 2021

<2 minute reading time

  • The African horned cucumber is one of the oldest fruits, with its origin of over 3,000 years ago in Africa. It is also called the ‘blowfish fruit’ because of its spine covered yellow outer shell. People use the juice of the African horned cucumber for eczema and renal problems.

  • A cucumber is not a vegetable but a fruit.

  • The COCO DE MER palm tree has the earth’s largest fruit, weighing 42 kg and seeds weighing 17 kg.

  • The European cantaloupe and the American cantaloupe, are both cantaloupe but they are totally different fruits. The European cantaloupe has a smooth gray-green skin while the American cantaloupe has a tough net-like skin.

  • Cantaloupe originated in ancient times in India and Africa but soon found their way to Europe.

  • Cantaloupe is named for the papal gardens of Cantaloupe, Italy, where some historians say this species of melon was first grown.

  • Cantaloupe was first introduced to North America by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1494.

  • Cantaloupe is the most popular melon in the United States.

  • Cantaloupes are in the lead for most popular melon in the U.S.

  • In several English-speaking countries, including “Down under” in Australia, cantaloupes are actually referred to as Rockmelons. They are also considered a luxury and are commonly given as gifts in Japan!

  • Coconuts are an extremely popular fruit which contains antioxidants and many vitamins and minerals. The name coconut comes from 16th century Portuguese sailors. It is believed that the three holes on the coconut resembled a face, so the fruit was honored with the word ‘coco,’ meaning ‘grin’ or ‘grinning face.’ The nut part was added later on with the English language.

  • Chilli Peppers are often used as a spice, but they have the power to promote wound healing and blood clotting. Cayenne pepper helps regulate blood pressure and heal injuries. Whether you eat cayenne pepper or sprinkle it into a wound, it will help you heal faster. Pepper power to the rescue!

  • Coffee beans are the pit of a berry, and thus a fruit. Coffee has psychoactive properties and can make you hallucinate. 100 cups of coffee can give the human body a lethal dose of caffeine.

  • Cherry farmers hire helicopter pilots to air-dry their trees after it rains so that the cherries don't split open. Pilots get paid hundreds of dollars a day to be on stand-by during the summer in case it rains and trees need an emergency blow-drying. It sounds ridiculous, but it's worth it for farmers who raise the delicate, expensive fruit. The job is dangerous; pilots are often injured in orchard crashes.

  • Cherries are said to help calm one’s nervous system.

Cranberries

Saturday, April 3, 2021

~1 minute reading time

  • Cranberries don't actually grow underwater.

  • Despite what you might imagine based on those Ocean Spray commercials, it's only at harvest time that sandy cranberry bogs are artificially flooded with water. Cranberries have air pockets inside that let them float, which makes them easy to pick en masse.

  • But that's only for berries that are destined to be juice, jelly, Craisins, etc. Whole fresh cranberries — the kind you buy in bags at Thanksgiving — are never flooded, instead getting "dry-harvested" by picking machines that comb the berries out.

  • This magic property (which is thanks to the same air pockets that lets cranberries float) was discovered in 1880 by the compellingly named cranberry innovator John "Peg Leg" Webb, who dropped a bunch of cranberries down the stairs. Growers today actually still test berries' athletic abilities to determine their quality, and sort them accordingly, with a tool called the "bounce board separator" — the higher the bounce, the better the berry.

B Side Facts

Friday, March 26, 2021

~1 minute reading time

  • In many countries around the world, Brussels sprouts reign as the least enjoyable vegetable out there. Some claim that their bitter flavor prevents true enjoyment and cooking them to remove the bitterness is more of an art than a skill. What you likely don’t know is that Brussels sprouts are among the most nutritious veggies out there. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, has virtually no calories, no fat, no cholesterol, and it even fills you up. You can find a variety of recipes that help deal with the occasionally bitter flavor but you should definitely try to pack more of these puppies into your diet.

  • Broccoli got a bad rap a few years ago when President George W Bush proclaimed that he would never eat it again. Sadly, that was probably a bad move because broccoli is actually quite good for you. Aside from the usual nutrition one garners from eating veggies, broccoli in general has a great deal of protein. Calorie for calorie, there is more protein in broccoli than steak. Since it doesn’t come with all those saturated and trans fats or cholesterol, you can get all the protein you need with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Let’s not forget all of the other awesome nutrition it provides. Pumpkin seeds are also a good choice as they have more protein than a similar amount of ground beef.

  • Blueberries were called “star berries” by Native Americans because the five points of blueberry blossoms make a star shape.

  • Blackberry juice was used to dye clothes.

  • There are more than 1,000 known species of blackberries.

Banana Facts

Thursday, March 18, 2021

~3 minutes reading time

  • Bananas can cheer up your mood! They are the only fruit that contains amino acids, tryptophan plus Vitamin B6, which together help the body produce serotonin. So, if you are ever feeling down, make sure to eat a banana. It’s a win-win.

  • Humans and bananas have 50% of the same DNA.

  • Bananas are a natural antacid. Feeling a bit of heartburn? Down a banana and you’ll feel better. Bananas are also a great way to chase away muscle cramps, thanks to their potassium content.

  • Want your bananas to ripen more quickly? Put them in a brown paper bag with a tomato.

  • Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world: in fact, over 100 billion bananas are eaten around the world every year, and around 51% of these are eaten at breakfast time.

  • Horticulturists believe bananas to have originated up to 10,000 years ago and some scientists believe they may have been the world’s first fruit.

  • A banana is not a fruit, it is a herb! Bananas are considered an herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem (or trunk) the way a tree does. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk, or pseudostem.

  • Being easy to digest and highly nutritious, these are the first fruits offered to babies.

  • There are over 100 different kinds of bananas and not all of them are yellow. Some varieties are actually red.

  • It is also the most interesting fruit in the world.

  • In the 1950s, a disease called the Panama Disease all but wiped out an entire species of banana which motivated farmers to use the Cavendish banana which we all eat today. The bananas we eat are actually all cloned from a single banana plant in southeast Asia which means that every single banana is exactly the same banana.

  • There are over 1,000 different varieties of bananas in nature but most of them are not good to eat. Most bananas sold in stores today are the Cavendish Banana chosen because of its resistance to a fungal disease. Although it is resistant to that one disease, it is now being threatened by others and because of a lack of genetic diversity, the entire banana species is at risk of being eradicated.

  • Bananas, as we know them, are in danger of being completely wiped out by disease. Despite the fact that there are more than 1,000 banana varieties on earth, almost every single imported banana on the commercial market belongs to a single variety, called the Cavendish. These bananas became dominant throughout the industry in the 1960s because they were resistant to a fungal disease (called Panama Race One) that wiped out what had previously been the most popular banana, the Gros Michel. But signs point, pretty convincingly, to the Cavendish's own demise within the next decade. Here's why:

  • Cavendish bananas are sterile and seedless, so they reproduce asexually (through suckers that grow off the "mother" plant), meaning that each plant is genetically identical.

  • This lack of genetic diversity makes all Cavendish bananas vulnerable to the threat of Tropical Race Four, a new, even more, devastating fungal disease.

  • Race Four has already wiped out Cavendish bananas throughout Asia and Australia. Most growers view it as only a matter of time before the disease makes its way to Latin America, where it will make short work of the plantations that supply North American consumers.

  • If you're interested to know more, read this fascinating 2011 New Yorker report on growers' efforts to cope with Race Four, or check out journalist Dan Koeppel's book Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World. And then eat a banana while tears stream down your face.

  • Bananas get artificially ripened (after being shipped) to one of seven "shades" of ripeness. Bananas are shipped green because they're too delicate and perishable otherwise, so distribution facilities use extremely precise storage technology to then trick bananas into ripening before they go to market.

  • "The most popular shades are between 2.5 and 3.5, but much depends on the retailer’s size and target market. The grocery chain Fairway, which sources its bananas from Banana Distributors of New York, expects to hold bananas for a couple of days, and will therefore buy greener bananas than a smaller bodega that turns its stock over on a daily basis. 'Street vendors,' Rosenblatt notes, as well as shops serving a mostly Latin American customer base, 'like full yellow.'"

  • The Banana Distributors of New York in the Bronx is one of just three facilities that process about 2 million bananas each week for all of New York City's stores and vendors.

  • Bananas are a favorite fruit around the world. It tastes good, it’s high in potassium, and it’s delicious when placed in a dish with ice cream and chocolate syrup.

5 A+ Fruity Facts

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

  1. According to one study, avocados are the most nutritious fruits in the world.

  2. Avocados contain the most fat of any fruit or vegetable on the planet. Since avocado trees release an enzyme that prevents the fruit from maturing fully while on the tree, farmers can use the trees to store avocados until ready to go to market.

  3. Avocado leaves can prove fatal to various types of birds.

4. The almond is a member of the peach family and is not actually a nut.

5. The Asian Pear is sometimes referred to as a Nashi. Because of their texture, they are sometimes referred to as Apple pears, but they’re not related to apples. Even though it looks like a cross between an apple and a pear, the resemblance is only skin deep.

Apples

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

~2 minutes reading time

  • Apples float because 25% of their mass is air.

  • An apple tree will start bearing fruit 8-10 years after it is planted.

  • The average apple tree produces 400 apples each year.

  • There are more than 7,500 varieties of apples cultivated around the world and none of them are native to America. Actually, they’re said to have originated from Kazakhstan.

  • 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States.

  • The apple is the official state fruit of Washington, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

  • The apple is popularly known as the supposed forbidden fruit of Eden. But this is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible! Contrary to popular belief, there is no mention of an apple as the forbidden fruit in the Bible. It is referred to as "fruit from the Tree of Knowledge" with no specification as to which kind of fruit. It was Hugo van der Goes who first implicated the apple as the forbidden fruit in his 1470 A.D. painting, 'The Fall of Man'. After that, it became popular to depict the apple as the forbidden fruit.

  • There is a classic story that Sir Isaac Newton came up with his law of gravity when an apple fell on his head.

  • In Chinese culture, the word for apples is pronounced as ‘ping’ which also stands for peace. This is why apples are a popular gift to give when visiting someone in China.

  • Eating an apple is a more reliable method of staying awake than consuming a cup of coffee as it gives you more energy. The natural sugar in an apple is more potent than the caffeine in coffee.

  • Apples are a member of the rose family of plants along with pears, peaches, plums, and cherries.

  • Apples come in all shades of reds, greens, and yellows.

  • Every American eats 19.6 pounds of apples every year.

  • The science of apple growing is called pomology.

  • The apple you're eating might be a year old. Apples are one of those fruits that are available for sale year-round, even though the actual season for harvesting is rather short. Apples are for sale in grocery stores and farmers' markets year-round, even though their harvesting season (at least in the U.S.) only lasts a few months in the fall. Thanks to increasingly sophisticated cold storage technology, apples are able to be stored and preserved, between the gap of being harvested and actually making it to market. So in short, an apple purchased and eaten today may actually be up to a year old. It's possible (and/or likely) that the crisp, juicy apple you're eating in August 2020 was actually harvested in October 2019.

  • Apples increase mental alertness, thanks to their high levels of boron. Eating an apple will deliver a more healthy energy boost, than drinking a cup of coffee. Thanks to its high carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral content, apples have the perfect storm of nutrition to help you stay energized all day.

  • Apples are also a member of the rose family. If you ever don’t feel like paying for a dozen roses, just get a dozen apples … basically the same thing!

  • People were pretty serious about playing catch in ancient Greece. If a boy tossed an apple at a girl it was seen as a marriage proposal. If she caught it, she accepted.

  • Applesauce was the first food eaten in space by an American astronaut.

  • The longest unbroken apple peel was as long as an Olympic-sized pool.

Did You Know?

Monday, February 22, 2021

~20 seconds reading time

  1. The stickers placed on fruits are made out of edible paper, meaning that they are, technically, able to be consumed.

  2. Some fruits that most people haven’t ever heard of–but are worth learning more about–include the following: cotton candy grapes, lemon cucumbers, kiwi berries, cherimoya, jackfruit, pomelo, water apples, etc.

3. Some nutritionists call guavas a “superfruit.” Others under this title include apples, bananas, grapefruit, citrus fruits, and cantaloupe.

4. Bananas, like apples and watermelons, can float.

5. When put in a bowl with bananas, pears will ripen faster than normal.

25 Fruity Facts

Sunday, February 14, 2021

~7 1/2 minutes reading time

  1. The study of fruits is called POMOLOGY.

  2. Fruits are important sources of dietary fiber, vitamins (especially vitamin C), and antioxidants. A lot of people knew this one already but what they don’t know are the benefits of fiber. It can help keep your bowel movements regular, help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and help you feel fuller for longer. Pretty much all of those things can lead to you feeling healthier, losing weight, and eating less bad food.

  3. Red-colored fruits keep your heart strong.

  4. Orange -colored fruits tend to keep your eyes healthy.

  5. Yellow-colored fruits prevent you from getting sick.

  6. Green-colored fruits help in making your bones and teeth strong.

  7. Dark green veggies have more vitamin C when compared to light-colored veggies.

  8. Purple and blue fruits help enhance memory. A new fad among chefs around the industry are purple vegetables. In some grocery stores you can find a lot of vegetables in purple including carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, corn, and asparagus. Purple vegetables have anthocyanins. Early studies suggest that this flavanoid has a lot of health benefits such as the prevention of heart disease, some cancers, improved general health, and could even protect our brains as we age. If you find some purple veggies, give them a try because they’re pretty awesome. You can also find anthocyanins in high quantities in blackberries.

  9. In most cases, the outside of the fruit or vegetable in question is more nutritious than the inside. The stalk, rind or skin of a fruit is typically more nutritious than the actual fruit. So, if you peel your fruits before eating them, you may be making a nutritional mistake. On many fruits and veggies such as carrots, apples, and cucumbers, a good percentage of the nutrition is actually stored in the skin. That means when you peel them, you’re actually peeling away nutritious benefit. The skins also contain a lot of fiber and we’ve already talked about all the great things that fiber can do.

  10. Dried fruits are delicious, but can be higher in calories than fresh fruits as the process of drying reduces the water content and volume. Enjoy, but in moderation.

  11. Apples, cherries, apricots, pears, plums, peaches and raspberries are all members of the rose family.

  12. Pumpkins and avocados are not vegetables. They are fruits.

  13. In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants formed from the ovary after flowering. In common language usage, “fruit” normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of a plant that are sweet or sour, and edible in the raw state, such as apples, bananas, grapes, lemons, oranges, and strawberries. Many botanical fruits are known as vegetables in common language such as tomato, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, cucumber, olives, beans, green beans, and peas. Also, botanically, a cereal grain, such as corn, rice, or wheat, is also a kind of fruit.

  14. Blackberries and strawberries are not technically berries as they are derived from a single flower with more than one ovary, making them an aggregate fruit. True berries are simple fruits stemming from one flower with one ovary and typically have several seeds including, the tomato, pumpkin and watermelon.

  15. There’s a tree called SALAD TREE that sprouts 3 to 7 different fruits in the same tree.

  16. Grapes, once picked, are unable to ripen. This is unlike the banana or orange, which are typically picked green, and then allowed to ripen in warehouses.

  17. Most commercial fruits shown for sale at supermarkets are clones. Which, when you actually look at supermarket displays of perfectly identical apples and oranges and peaches, isn't that shocking. This genetic manipulation of fruit is caused through grafting, so that customers are able to purchase fruit they have a consistent look and taste. Producers want specific varieties of fruit, called cultivars (say, Fuji apples or Bosc pears) to remain perfectly consistent, without all the unpredictable genetic mutations you get with old-fashioned sexual reproduction (pollinating flowers, planting seeds, and seeing what the heck comes up). If natural pollination occurred, the fruit for sale might be more like picking from a box of chocolates. There would be a lot more unexpected results!

  18. The clone tree armies are grown by grafting. If you ate a Macintosh apple and planted the seed, the tree it grew would produce apples that looked and tasted nothing like Macintoshes. So, instead of planting seeds, growers attach a cutting from the genetically desirable tree onto an existing branch or sapling (called the "rootstock") so that the grafted bit produces apples genetically identical to those on the tree it was cut from. If you look closely at the tree in the photo, you can see that there are multiple types of apples on the different branches, all grafted onto one rootstock tree.

  19. With seedless fruit, like some citrus, the necessity of grafting is even more extreme: Since the trees don't produce seeds (originally a genetic mutation that was noticed and propagated because it's so darn convenient), they're incapable of reproducing without being cloned by humans.

  20. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that eating fruits and veggies are required for a truly healthy diet. However, a little known fact is that some fruits and veggies contain toxic chemicals. The most widely known toxin in fruits is cyanide. Cyanide is a toxin found in certain fruits, like apples, peaches, apricots, and cassava roots. Potatoes contain occasionally harmful amounts of a toxin called solanine, which can cause paralysis, hallucinations, or death. There are rarely enough in potatoes to cause harm and farmers grow them in a specific manner to keep the toxin low. Even so, if you’ve consumed any of these fruits or veggies, you’ve been exposed to toxic chemicals and they’re not from pesticides for once. Thankfully, you can consume these plants without worrying, as the toxin levels are very low.

  21. People who have an allergy to latex are more likely to be allergic to mangoes and kiwis.

  22. Grapes and raisins can be fatal to dogs and other pets as it can cause kidney failure.

  23. Japanese Yubari cantaloupes are the most expensive fruit in the world; two melons once sold at auction for $23,500. People in Japan pay astronomical prices for luxury fruit like tattooed apples and coddled cantaloupes, usually given as gifts. Demand has dropped in recent years, but the numbers are still pretty staggering.

  24. It’s a wildly popular rumor that frozen veggies and fruits aren’t as nutritious as their frozen counterparts. This simply isn’t true. Studies by the FDA have confirmed that any decrease in nutrition from freezing vegetables is negligible at best. So you can eat it fresh, frozen, or even drink it and you’ll get the same benefits! Do keep in mind that if you drink it, it has to be 100% juice. A brand with only 10% is obviously not going to be more nutritious.

  25. There is a long-standing myth out there that you can eat some fruits and vegetables that require more calories to digest than they actually give. Unfortunately, this is total hogwash. There are foods out there that have very few calories. For instance, a stalk of celery has between six and ten calories. There is a metric called TEF (Thermal Effect of Food) that measures how many calories are used to digest food. Generally speaking, it’s only about 10% to 20%. That means a ten-calorie stalk of celery still gives you eight calories even after digestion. Now you know! All fruits and all vegetables are low in calories. You can eat two pounds of vegetables and barely crack 300 calories. This is why you hear nutrition professionals, doctors, and other health-conscious people tell you to eat them for snacks. A back of chips contains fat, oil, and a lot of calories. A pound of carrots contains none of those things. It is absolutely absurd how much fruit and vegetables you can eat before the calories start stacking up. One stalk of celery is about ten calories. For the average 2,000 calorie diet, you would have to consume 200 stalks of celery. Good luck with that!

Honey

Saturday, February 6, 2021

~3 1/2 minutes reading time

Since ancient times, honey has been used as both food and medicine. It’s very high in beneficial plant compounds and offers several health benefits. Honey is particularly healthy when used instead of refined sugar, which is 100% empty calories.

1. Honey Contains Some Nutrients:

Nutritionally, 1 tablespoon of honey (21 grams) contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar, including fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose. It contains virtually no fiber, fat, or protein. It also contains trace amounts — under 1% of the RDI — of several vitamins and minerals, but you would have to eat many pounds to fulfill your daily requirements. Where honey shines is in its content of bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants. Darker types tend to be even higher in these compounds than lighter types.

2. High-Quality Honey Is Rich in Antioxidants

High-quality honey contains many important antioxidants. These include organic acids and phenolic compounds like flavonoids. Scientists believe that the combination of these compounds gives honey its antioxidant power.

Interestingly, two studies have shown that buckwheat honey increases the antioxidant value of your blood.

Antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, and some types of cancer. They may also promote eye health.

3. Honey Is “Less Bad” Than Sugar for Diabetics

The evidence on honey and diabetes is mixed. On one hand, it can reduce several risk factors for heart disease common in people with type 2 diabetes. For example, it may lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammation while raising “good” HDL cholesterol.

However, some studies have found that it can also increase blood sugar levels — just not as much as refined sugar