Healthy & Fun Fruity Facts
Why is sugar needed to make preserves?
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
~1 minute reading time
Apart from adding sweetness, sugar helps prevent bacteria from growing in the preserves and it also aids in the gelling. Sugar holds onto the water molecules and lowers the water activity (the amount of water in food) which makes it harder for microorganisms to grow. Sugar is what makes it shelf stable for so long. For example, strawberries are 90% water, so they need equal parts of fruit to sugar. The sugar draws the water out of the fruit and forms a chemical bond preventing anything else from reacting and bonding to the water. The sugar dissolves in the juices the fruit releases when the heat breaks down its cell walls. As it’s boiling, the sugar concentration is increasing and it becomes thicker. If there is too much water the pectin can’t form a strong enough gel and the jam becomes runny. The sugar also helps to cover the sour taste of the citric acid found in the lemon juice which is necessary for the pectin strands to form chains to gel into a network. Although with too much sugar your jelly will crystalize and the fruit will become hard.
Preserving Traditions: Exploring Different Preserve Types & Techniques
Sunday, May 21, 2023
~3 Minutes Reading Time
12 Different Types of Preserves
Preserves come in various forms, each with its own unique characteristics and flavors. Understanding the distinctions between these delicious spreads can help you choose the perfect one for your palate. Here are the different types of preserves:
Jams: Jams are thick and firm fruit spreads made by combining chopped fruits, sugar, and pectin. Unlike jelly, jams retain the pulp, seeds, and skins of the fruit. There are two common methods of making jams: a long, slow cooking process to concentrate the fruit and sugar, or a shorter cook time with added natural fruit pectin. Jams made with pectin are brighter in color and generally more flavorful. They have a gel-like consistency and can be made with various fruits.
Chutneys: Chutneys originated in India and are relishes made from a combination of fruits, spices, herbs, sugar, and vinegar. While Indian chutneys encompass a wide range of ingredients, the fruit chutneys popular in the US are influenced by British-Indian traditions and often contain vinegar. They are made by reducing fruit, sugar, and vinegar into a thick paste and can be enhanced with ingredients like garlic, onions, raisins, or tamarind. The choice of fruits for chutneys is diverse, including mango, apple, pear, peach, cranberry, dried fruits, and citrus.
Mostardas: Mostardas are Northern Italian fruit sauces with a touch of mustard that traditionally accompany meat dishes. To make mostardas, the liquid released from fruits like apples, pears, or figs is heavily reduced. The fruit is then cooked in this liquid and mixed with mustard powder and sometimes white wine. Mostardas are flavorful condiments that pair well with breakfast foods, cheeses, or as a delightful addition to a ham and biscuit sandwich. They can even be enjoyed by adding a dollop to yogurt.
Compotes: Compotes consist of whole fruits or large pieces of fruit cooked with sugar until the fruit retains its shape. The cooking process is brief, resulting in a sweet fruit mixture that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with whipped cream as a dessert. Think of compotes as a sweet fruit soup with a slightly looser consistency, especially when prepared with less sugar.
Conserves: Conserves are thick, flavorful spreads made by stewing a combination of two or more fruits with sugar. They can be firmer than jams and often include ingredients like nuts, raisins, dried fruit pieces, or coconut. Similar to old-fashioned jams, conserves are cooked to the gelling point, resulting in a thick consistency.
Preserves: Preserves are typically less firm than jams and made with small, whole fruits or small fruit chunks mixed with sugar. The texture of preserves can vary, ranging from a thin, honey-like consistency to a soft jelly. True preserves do not retain their shape when spooned onto a plate and are often chunky. The term "preserves" is often used as an umbrella term to refer to various types of fruit spreads and preserved products.
Jellies: Jellies are bright, shiny, translucent fruit spreads made from the juice of the fruit and sugar. Unlike jams, only the juice of the fruit is used, and the solids are strained out. Jellies have a firm texture that resembles "Jell-O" and can be made from fruit juice, sugar, and pectin. They spread evenly and are often made from a variety of fruits.
Marmalades: Marmalades are fruit spreads that include the peel of the fruit. They are typically made from citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, boiled with sugar and water. Marmalades have a sweet and tart flavor profile and a consistency similar to jams. While citrus fruits are most commonly used, marmalades can also be made from exotic fruits like pineapple, mango, kumquat, or prickly pear. The inclusion of the fruit peel gives marmalades a slightly bitter edge and a more sophisticated flavor.
Fruit Butters: Fruit butters are smooth and finely pureed fruit spreads that contain no dairy products or actual butter. They are made by cooking fruit pulp with sugar and spices over low heat for an extended period. Fruit butters, such as apple butter, have a thick texture similar to applesauce but with concentrated flavors. They are less sweet than other fruit preserves due to a lower sugar content.
Confits: Confits are fruits that are seasoned and cooked with honey or sugar until they reach a jam-like consistency. Savory confits may also incorporate ingredients like garlic or fennel, with a savory oil such as virgin olive oil used as the preserving agent.
Konfyts: Konfyts are a type of jam eaten in Southern Africa. They are made by boiling fruit, sugar, and adding a hint of ginger.
Fruit Spreads: The term "fruit spreads" is a generic term that encompasses jellies, jams, and fruit butters. It refers to various fruit-based spreads used to enhance the flavor of bread, pastries, and other foods.
By understanding the characteristics of each type of preserve, you can explore a wide range of flavors & textures to find your personal favorites. Whether you prefer the chunkiness of preserves or the firmness of jellies, there's a delightful preserve waiting for you!
Monday, May 16, 2022
<2 Minutes Reading Time
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
The scientific name for the tree that chocolate comes from, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.”
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.
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!
Chocolate has over 600 flavor compounds, while red wine has 200.
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.
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.
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.
Candy bars generally have less than 10 milligrams of caffeine, but the darker the chocolate, the higher the caffeine content.
America consumes almost 50% of the world’s chocolate.
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.
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.
The amount of chocolate a country eats on average is linked to the number of Nobel Laureates that country has produced.
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).
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.
Milky Way candy bars are not named after the galaxy. The name came from the malted milkshakes whose flavor they originally intended to mimic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by one-third.
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.
Cocoa and dark chocolate have a wide variety of powerful antioxidants. In fact, they have way more than most other foods.
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):
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
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:
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
Bengali: Belpatthar ka paid
Marathi: Belaache zaad
Kannada: Belladi hannu
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.
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
~4 Minutes Reading Time
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
<3 minutes reading time
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
<1.5 minutes reading time
Monday, October 4, 2021
~2.5 minutes reading time
Sunday, September 26, 2021
~1 minutes reading time
Saturday, September 18, 2021
~7.5 minutes reading time
Friday, September 10, 2021
>1 Minute Reading Time
Thursday, September 2, 2021
~2.5 Minutes Reading Time
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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’.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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."
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.
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!
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
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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
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
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Saturday, April 3, 2021
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B Side Facts
Friday, March 26, 2021
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Thursday, March 18, 2021
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5 A+ Fruity Facts
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
According to one study, avocados are the most nutritious fruits in the world.
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.
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.