Wednesday, October 22th

 

Quince


name of author: Raul

Scientific classification:
Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta - Class: Magnoliopsida - Order: Rosales Family: - Rosaceae Subfamily: Maloideae - Genus: Cydonia - Species: Cydonia oblonga

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) - Energy 60 kcal 240 kJ - Carbohydrates 15.3 g - Sugars 12.53 g - Dietary fiber 1.9 g - Fat 0.10 g - Protein 0.4 g - Water 83.8 g - Vitamin A equiv. 40 µg 4% - Vitamin C 15.0 mg 25% - Iron 0.7 mg 6% - Magnesium 8 mg 2% - Phosphorus 17 mg 2% - Potassium 197 mg 4%

Cydonia oblonga

Quince or Cydonia oblonga, is the sole member of the genus Cydonia and native to southwest Asia, Persia (Iran) and naturalized in the Mediterranean region. The Quince is often described as apple or pear like and are of the rose family (genera Chaenomeles and Cydonia). It is a small deciduous tree, growing 5 to 8 m. tall and 4 to 6 m. wide and related to apples, having pome fruit, which is bright golden yellow when mature and pear-shaped, 7 to 12 cm long and 6 to 9 cm broad. They prefer a rich soil in a moist area, but will tolerate lesser. The Quince is susceptible to fireblight disease caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora.

The immature fruit is green, having dense grey-white pubescence which rubs off before maturity in late autumn when the fruit changes colour to yellow with a strongly perfumed hard flesh. The leaves are alternately arranged, 6 to 11 cm long, having densely pubescent fine white hairs. The flowers, produced in spring are white or pink, 5 cm. across, having five petals. The flesh of the fruit has an almost gritty texture and the taste is tart or astringent, even when ripe. When stored for several weeks the grittiness diminishes and the flavor continues sweetening. Quince can be used for a while as room deodorizers.

Quinces are commonly grown in central and southern Europe where the summers are sufficiently hot for the fruit to fully ripen in a mixed orchard with several apples and other fruit trees. In Slavonia, Croatia when a baby is born, quince tree are planted as a symbol of fertility, love and life. In Lebanon, it is called sfarjel and also used to make jam. In Syria, Quince is cooked in pomegranate paste (dibs rouman) with shank meat and kibbeh (a middle eastern meat pie with burghul and mince meat) and is called kibbeh safarjalieh. In Iran, Quince is called beh and is used raw or in stews and jam; the seeds are used as a remedy for pneumonia and lung disease. In parts of Afghanistan, the Quince seeds are collected and boiled and then ingested to combat pneumonia. In Pakistan quinces are stewed together with sugar until they turn bright red. The resulting stewed Quince, called Muraba is then preserved in jars and eaten like jam. Quinces are still widely grown in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. In Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay the membrillo, as the Quince is called in Spanish, is cooked into a reddish jello-like block or firm reddish paste known as dulce de membrillo. It is then eaten in sandwiches and with cheese, traditionally manchego cheese. In Portugal, a similar sweet is called marmelada. A similar dish exists in Dalmatia, Croatia and in Hungary.

Quince

In the Canary Islands and some places in South America a Quince is used to play an informal beach toss-and-swim game, usually among young teens. When mixed with salt water a mature Quince will turn its sour taste to sweet. The game is played by throwing a Quince into the sea. All players race to catch the Quince and whoever catches it, takes one bite and tosses the Quince again, after which the whole process gets repeated until the Quince is fully eaten.

It's been speculated that the apple in the Garden of Eden was actually a Quince. In the Tudor and Stuart eras of England, Quince marmalade was considered an aphrodisiac.

Dried pits of the Quince fruit are used to treat sore throat and to relieve cough. The pits are soaked in water; the viscous product is then drunk like cough medicine. It is commonly used for children, as it is alcohol free and 100% natural.

Cooking with Quince: Quinces are used to make marmalade, spoon sweets, and jellies (they have a lot of natural pectin), pies or as additions to apple pies. Quince are delicious when cooked with meats. In Greece pork dishes are prepared with Quince, it is also good with lamb, turkey and duck. Quinces may be peeled, then roasted, baked or stewed. The term marmalade, originally meaning a quince jam, derives from marmelo, the Portuguese word for this fruit. Like so many other fruits, Quince can be used to make wine.

Raul on 10.22.09 @ 21:00 PM CST [more..] [No Comments]

 

Tuesday, November 7th

GRAPE AND WINE


name of author: Raul

Scientific classification:
Kingdom - Plantae Division - Magnoliophyta Class - Magnoliopsida Order - Vitales Family - Vitaceae Genus - Vitis Binomial name - Vitis vinifera

Species: Vitis acerifolia - Vitis aestivalis - Vitis amurensis - Vitis arizonica - Vitis x bourquina - Vitis californica - Vitis x champinii - Vitis cinerea - Vitis x doaniana - Vitis girdiana - Vitis labrusca - Vitis x labruscana - Vitis lincecumii - Vitis monticola - Vitis mustangensis - Vitis x novae-angliae - Vitis palmata - Vitis riparia - Vitis rotundifolia - Vitis rupestris - Vitis shuttleworthii - Vitis tiliifolia - Vitis vulpina - Vitis vinifera

Grapefield


For thousands of years, the fruit and plant of Vitis vinifera, the European grapevine, have been harvested for both medicinal and nutritional value; its history is intimately entwined with the history of wine.

Grapes are the fruit that grow on a woody vine. The grapevine belongs to the family Vitaceae. Grapes grow in clusters of 6 to 300, and can be black, blue, golden, green, purple, red, or white. They can be eaten raw or used for making jam, grape juice, jelly, wine and grape seed oil. Raisins are the dried fruit of the grapevine, and the name actually comes from the French word for "grape". Wild grapevines are often considered a nuisance weed, as they cover other plants with their usually rather aggressive growth. The leaves of the grape vine itself are considered edible and are used in the production of dolmades.

The Etymology of the word wine comes from the Old English WIN, which derives from the Proto-Germanic WINAM which derives from the Latin VINUM, which means WINE or the VINE and derives from the Proto-Indo-European word WIN-O and probably from ancient Greek OINOS.

Wine is an alcoholic beverage produced by the fermentation of the juice of fruits, usually grapes. Although a number of other fruits †such as plum, elderberry and blackcurrant †may also be fermented, only grapes are naturally chemically balanced to ferment completely without requiring extra sugars, acids, enzymes or other nutrients. Non-grape wines are called fruit wine or country wine. Other products made from starch based materials, such as barley wine, rice wine (sake), are more similar to beers. Beverages made from other fermentable material such as honey (mead), or that are distilled, such as brandy, are not wines. The English word wine and its equivalents in other languages are protected by law in many jurisdictions.

Raul on 11.07.08 @ 20:42 PM CST [more..] [No Comments]

 

Friday, October 27th

CHESTNUT


name of author: Raul

Chestnuts (Castanea), including the chinkapins, are a genus of eight or nine species of trees and shrubs in the beech family Fagaceae, native to warm temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The name also refers to the edible nuts produced by these trees. Most are large trees to 20-40 m tall, but some species (the chinkapins) are smaller, often shrubby. All are deciduous.

chestnuts

The leaves are simple, ovate or lanceolate, 10-30 cm long and 4-10 cm broad, with sharply pointed, widely-spaced teeth, with shallow rounded sinuses between. The flowers are catkins, produced in mid summer and have a heavy, unpleasant odour. The fruit is a spiny cupule 5-11 cm diameter, containing one to seven nuts. Chestnut trees thrive on acidic soils, such as soils derived from granite or schist, and do not grow well on alkaline soils such as limestone. When wanting to grow chestnut trees on such soils, the practice was to graft them onto oak rootstocks. Neither the horse chestnut (family Sapindaceae) nor the water chestnut (family Cyperaceae) is closely related to the chestnut, though both are so named for producing similar nuts.
Raul on 10.27.06 @ 08:56 PM CST [more..] [1 Comment]

 

Saturday, September 23rd

FIGS


name of author: Raul

Many of today's popular foods, including olive oil, beans, grain to name a few, figs are believed to be one of the first fruits to be dried and stored by mankind. Fresh figs are still produced in great quantities all along the Mediterranean and is the largest fig producer in the world. Fig trees are native to The Mediterranean area, although they may be found more extensively from Asiatic Turkey to northern India. Their ability to store easily by drying made them, along with various grains and raisins, a dependable long-term food source. The same can just as truly be said about them today.Today, they are also found growing on a commercial basis in numerous other countries around the world. They are also often grown as large decorative potted trees in greenhouses or "sun rooms" in cold climates. In keeping with their curious reproduction scheme (Figs blossom inside themselves), figs are the only fruit which fully matures, then partially dries, before falling from its tree a perfectly ripe piece of fruit.

 

figs

 

There are literally hundreds of fig varieties. Each year, fresh figs are harvested in late summer and early fall. The fig plant is cultivated as a bush from 1 meter (3 feet) tall, to large trees over 10 meters (33 feet) tall. Their wide, coarse deciduous leaves are easily identified. The sweet fruit develops above the points of shed leaves, or in the axil of leaves of the current year, with one or two figs set together. Depending upon local temperature and rainfall, there may be one or two crops harvested per year.They are available all year long, however, because most of them are dried and conveniently packaged.

Figs come with a lofty history dating back to 2900 B.C. They were highly esteemed during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. They were held sacred in all the countries of Southwestern Asia, also in Egypt, Greece, and Italy. Symbolically, figs stood for abundance, unity, true understanding, knowledge, fertility and faith. The Bible prophets Micah and Isaiah described "sitting under one�s own grapevine and fig tree" the perfect symbol of peace and contentedness in ideal times. The Greeks insisted figs were "more precious than gold." Fig wreaths crowned the heads of Olympic athletes in times of victory. They were Cleopatra�s favourite fruit, and the prophet Mohammed probably said it best. "If I should wish a fruit brought with me to Paradise, it would be the fig."

Figs in Muslim Spain: Although figs may not have had the economic importance of olives, they afford an excellent example of the intensification of agriculture in Islamic Spain, manifest in the dazzling variety of the fruit available to consumers.

In the tenth-century Calendar of Cordoba, the Latin ficus (fig) translated the Arabic shajar "trees" (the specific word for fig is teen), indicating that the fig was so numerous that it became, by antonomasia, the tree.


Raul on 09.23.06 @ 07:38 PM CST [more..] [No Comments]