Here are 13 facts you may not have known about Pomegranates:
- Pomegranates are one of the oldest fruits.
- In the Ancient Greek mythology, the pomegranate was also known as the “fruit of the dead”
- It was cultivated in Egypt around the time of Moses and existed very early in India.
- The pomegranate was brought to China around 100 BC.
- The pomegranate is a native fruit of the Middle East. Its name in Latin means “apple with many seeds,” but it actually looks somewhat like a petrified tomato.
- The Romans called the pomegranate a Punic apple because it arrived in Italy by way of Carthage (Punic). Its Latin name is Punica granatum (Carthage seeds).
- Spanish settlers brought the pomegranate to the U.S. in 1769 according to some sources.
- Pomegranates grown in the US are available from September to December. (So, this explains why the plethora I have seen in the stores lately.)
- The edible fruit is a berry and is between a lemon and a grapefruit in size, 5–12 cm in diameter with rounded hexagonal shape, and has thick reddish skin.
- A mature pomegranate is about the size of a large orange.
- Pomegranates will make a metallic sound when tapped when ripe.
- Pomegranates can be stored for two months in the refrigerator.
- Pomegranate juice has antioxidants, nutrients, and dietary fibers necessary for overall health and for preventing potential diseases. The entire fruit can be utilized for your health, including the pomegranate peels and pomegranate extract! Practically nothing is wasted when a pomegranate is used to its full potential. (Click HERE to learn about the health benefits. There are just too many to mention!)
I had never even heard of a pomegranate, until I met David Spivey. He always talks about how he would eat them off a neighbors bush, long before they started talking about how healthy they are. I’ll never forget the time he tried to juice one in our kitchen in Virginia Beach. The white cabinets and ceiling had juice spots all over them. He’s so messy! 😉
Do you eat pomegranates? Do you like them?
Get to know your food!
Here are 15 facts you may not have known about pumpkins:
- Pumpkins originated in Central America.
- The name pumpkin comes from the Greek word ‘pepon’, meaning ‘large melon’.
- Pumpkins are usually orange but can sometimes be yellow, white, green or red.
- Pumpkins are usually shaped like a sphere (ball) that have thick shells which contain pulp and seeds.
- Pumpkin plants feature both male and female flowers, with bees typically being involved in pollination (the transfer of pollen)
- Scientifically speaking, pumpkins are a fruit (they contain seeds) but when it comes to cooking, they are often referred to as vegetables.
- Pumpkins are 90 percent water, but they are full of nutrients. 100 grams of pumpkin produces around 26 calories of energy and contain potassium and Vitamin A.
- Pumpkin flowers are edible, but if you eat the flower, there will be no pumpkin.
- As a food, pumpkin can be baked, roasted, steamed or boiled.
- Pumpkin pie is a sweet dessert that originates in North America and is traditionally eaten during harvest time and holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
- Pumpkins are popular decorations during Halloween. The tradition of a carved pumpkin illuminated by candles, called a ‘jack-o-lantern’ is believed to have come from Ireland. There they carved faces into turnips, beet and other root vegetables as part of the Gaelic festival of Samhain.
- Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
- Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine. They also flattened strips of pumpkins, dried them and made mats.
- This year the largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 2,058-lb. It squashed the previous US record.
Since my birthday is on Halloween, I love pumpkins as decorations and as food. As a child, my daddy used to call me “Pumpkin”.
Next week is Thanksgiving here in the US. I wonder if my mama will have any pumpkin pie this year? What is your favorite pumpkin dish?
Get to know your food!
P.S. David and I will be having our annual pumpkin roll next week (if our pumpkins do not get too mushy). We take our decorative pumpkins and roll them down the mountain and see who’s goes the farthest. It may sound childish, but it is a lot of fun!! I hope one of these years we actually plant a seed by accident. Stay tuned… 🙂
Snap beans, green beans, or string beans…no matter which name you prefer, they are one and the same. Where we come from, they are called Snaps!
Here are 7 facts you may not have known about SNAPS:
- Snaps are actually immature dry beans.
- They used to be called string beans because of the string that ran along the outer side of the pod. By 1894, botanists successfully removed the string through breeding experiments.
- Snaps are categorized into two different groups, bush or pole beans, based on growth. If the bean plant needs support to grow, they are known as pole beans; if the beans can grow on their own without added support, they are known as bush beans.
- If you plant a green bean plant today, you can eat its beans within 60 days.
- Snaps should be picked when they reach a length of 4-5 inches long and before the developing seeds begin to bulge on the bean. They should also snap when broken to indicate turgor and freshness of the bean, hence the name SNAPS.
- Snaps are found to be a good source of some B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, plus some phytonutrients (lutein, zeaxathin, beta-carotene, etc.). They are also considered a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and manganese.
- Snaps promote weight loss and overall body health, reduce blood cholesterol levels, can play a role in slowing the aging process, and help to keep a healthy blood pressure.
I have to say my favorite way to eat them is in a big ol’ pot of ham hock liquor, but I do like them sauteed also. What’s your favorite way to eat snaps?
Here are 10 facts you may not have known about bell pepper:
- Bell peppers can be found in a rainbow of colors and can vary in flavor.
- Bell peppers are the only member of Capsicum genus that does not produce capsaicin, a lipophilic chemical that can cause a strong burning sensation (or simply the hot taste) when it comes in contact with mucous membranes. The absence of capsaicin in bell peppers is related to a recessive form of a gene that gets rid of capsaicin. It is actually why the are called sweet pepper at times.
- Peppers are actually fruits, because they are produced from a flowering plant and contain seeds.
- Peppers were named by Christopher Columbus and Spanish explorers who were searching for peppercorn plants to produce black pepper.
- In terms of nutrition, it is a fact that bell peppers are rich sources of antioxidants and vitamins.
- Go for the red peppers! Compared to green peppers, red peppers are known to have more vitamins and nutrients and contain the antioxidant lycopene. The level of carotene is nine times higher in red peppers. Red peppers have twice the vitamin C content of green peppers.
- The white inner cavity of the bell pepper (usually cut off and discarded) is a rich source of flavonoids and can be eaten. However, many do not know this fact about peppers.
- Bell peppers can be eaten at any stage of development. However, recent research has shown that the vitamin C and carotenoid content of bell peppers tends to increase as the pepper ripens. Bell peppers are also typically more flavorful when completely ripe.
- Bell peppers are not seasonal fruits. They are available all year round.
- Traditional Chinese medicine uses bell peppers as a natural treatment for certain medical conditions relating to digestive issues and blood circulation such as indigestion, loss of appetite, swelling frostbite (Injury or destruction of skin and underlying tissue) and stagnation.
I’m talking about a different kind of pepper this week. David and I got some strange looking purple and white peppers from our local farmers market a few weeks ago. They were very mild and delicious. Growing up, I always hated bell peppers. I started eating poblanos at Mexican restaurants and somehow have developed a taste for peppers of all kinds. I guess it is true that your taste buds change as you get older.
Is there a food that you couldn’t stand as a child that you love now?
Here are 4 facts you may not have known about basil:
- In some cultures basil is a sign of love and devotion between young couples.
- Besides its aroma, basil has high nutritional value. Basil is rich source of vitamins A, B6, C and K and minerals such as iron, manganese and magnesium.
- Basil contains chemicals which repel insects. Certain experiments showed that basil is toxic for mosquitoes.
- The name ‘basil’ is derived from the old Greek word basilikohn, which means ‘royal’, reflecting that ancient culture’s attitudes held towards this herb were very noble and sacred.
GET TO KNOW YOUR FOOD!
One of the earliest known benefits of red beet is its use as an aphrodisiac during the Roman times. And it wasn’t all folklore as it has been found to contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
Beets can increase blood flow due to their nitrates. Increased blood flow to the genital areas is one of the mechanisms Viagra and other pharmaceuticals create their effects. Beets also contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.Who knew?!?. Maybe you should try them. Click HERE for our new way to cook them.
A cup of asparagus contains 70 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin K, which helps transport calcium to your bones, and 20 percent of your vitamin A, which helps your immune system.
Learn how to prepare asparagus: HERE. Want a recipe for asparagus? Click HERE!