Sweet Potato

The roots literally stem to the sweet potato.

  • A sweet potato is a vegetable that is the root of a dicot plant with the scientific name Ipomoea batatas, and the plant is from the family Convolvulaceae, the family of morning glories or bindweeds.
  • Some people refer to sweet potatoes as yams, despite the term technically reserved for totally unrelated vegetables from the Dioscoreaceae family, with the scientific name Dioscorea; thus creating confusion.
  • There are numerous varieties of sweet potatoes, and the skin can be coloured orange, beige, brown, red, yellow, or purple, while the flesh can be yellow, beige, orange, white, pink, purple, red, or violet, and they are generally a long, fat shape.
  • Sweet potatoes are commonly cooked through baking, frying, grilling or boiling; and both the leaves and root can be eaten.
  • Sweet potatoes are native to South and Central America, and they have been used in these areas since ancient times, and were likely cultivated there thousands of years ago.

Sweet Potato, Food, Vegetable, Root, Culinary, Ten Random Facts, Yam

  • China is the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the world, producing around 81.7 million tonnes (80.4 million tons) in 2011, totalling approximately 77% of the world’s production.
  • Sweet potatoes do not grow well in cold temperatures, preferring sunlight and the warmth it generates, and once harvested they are best stored in a dry, dark and cool environment, however, they should not be stored in the fridge.
  • Europe had not seen sweet potatoes until 1492, after Christopher Columbus brought back some of the vegetables from his original visit to America.
  • The skin of sweet potatoes may be commercially dyed or waxed, the former to increase the apparent quality and fool consumers, while the latter is used to protect the vegetable from moisture loss and to maintain its freshness.
  • Sweet potatoes have an extremely high content of vitamin A and are a good source of vitamins C and B6, fibre, potassium and manganese, and they contain many other vitamins and minerals.
Bibliography:
Sweet Potato, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_potato
Sweet Potato, 2015, The World’s Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64

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Parsley

Prepare your pasta to appear profound with a piece of parsley.

  • Parsley is a herb that grows as a biennial plant, and is native to some Mediterranean areas.
  • The scientific name of parsley is Petroselinum crispum, and it is one of two species in the Petroselinum genus, that is from the family Apiaceae, the family of carrots and celery.
  • Parsley is commonly added to dishes to flavour food, used as an ingredient in some condiments, and placed on plates or dishes as a garnish to increase the aesthetics of the food.
  • ‘Parsley’ comes from the Old English and French words ‘petersilie’ and ‘peresil’, which both originate from the original Greek word for the herb, ‘petroselinon’.
  • Myristicin, a volatile oil, is evident in parsley, which can negate potentially damaging molecules, like those found in smoke from cigarettes.

Parsley, Green, Herb, Leafy, Spice, Food, Culinary, Ten Random Facts

  • Parsley has been grown in its native area since ancient times, and it has been used for medicinal purposes; while the Greeks viewed the herb as sacred, and used it to for ornamental purposes in tombs and to decorate champions of competitions.
  • ‘Turnip root’ or ‘Hamburg root’ parsley is a variety of the herb that produces a root, similar in appearance to a parsnip, that can be eaten like a vegetable.
  • Fresh parsley should be washed before consumption to remove dirt and other impurities, and while it is best consumed fresh, it can also be purchased as a dried herb in supermarkets.
  • There are at least 30 varieties of parsley, and while they have different features, they are generally a vivid green colour and typically have a leafy appearance.
  • Vitamin K levels are extremely high in parsley, and the herb has significant quantities of vitamin C and vitamin A.

 

Bibliography:
Parsley, 2015, The World’s Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100
Parsley, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsley

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Radish

These radish facts are radical.

  • A radish is a savoury vegetable and the root of the plant Raphanus sativus, and there are many cultivated varieties of the vegetable.
  • Radishes are from the family Brassicaceae, the family of mustard and cabbages, and they generally have a sweet, peppery flavour, and are crunchy when raw.
  • Radishes grow quickly and some varieties can be harvested after as little as three weeks, although other varieties can take some months to grow.
  • Although there is no historical record of the origin of radishes, it is believed that they are native to Southeast Asia due to the plant growing in the wild there.
  • Radishes are coloured red, white, green, pink, purple, yellow or black depending on the variety, and they generally have white coloured flesh.

Red, Radish, Food, Culinary, Vegetable, Vegetation, Ten Random Facts, Australia, Bundle

  • Radishes are typically spherical or cylindrical in shape, and range from 2.5 to 60 centimetres (1 to 23.6 inches) in length, with leaves ranging from 10 to 60 centimetres (4 to 24 inches) in height.
  • Radishes are often eaten raw, as a side vegetable or in salads, and they can be made into juice or condiments like pickles, while the leaves can also be eaten, and are often used in soup.
  • Radish seeds can be used for sprouting purposes, and the seeds can also be made into oil.
  • In 2007, 6.35 million tonnes (7 million tons) of radishes were produced around the world.
  • Radishes are high in vitamin C and are good sources of folate and potassium.
Bibliography:
Radish, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radish
Radish, n.d, Good Food, http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/radish

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Choko

Do not choke on these choko facts.

  • A choko is the fruit of a vine with the scientific name Sechium edule, that is a perennial and grows vigorously.
  • ‘Chokos’ are also known by eighteen other names, including ‘cho-cho’, ‘pear squash’, ‘mirliton’, ‘chayote’, ‘vegetable pear’ and ‘christophine’.
  • Chokos are native to Mexico, in southern North America, and they were later grown in Europe, other parts of America and Australasia.
  • Chokos are from the family Cucurbitaceae, the family of gourds, and the fruit of the plant, as well as the leaves, roots and seeds are edible.
  • Chokos are typically shaped as a pear with significant ridges and are a mid to light green colour.

Choko, Green, Gourd, Vegetable, Australian, Wrinkled, Ten Random Facts, Chayote

  • Chokos have a length ranging from 10 to 20 centimetres (4 to 8 inches) and are usually used as a vegetable and peeled before cooking.
  • Chokos are most often cooked, although they can be eaten raw, and are typically used in stir-fry, relish, soup, salads, seasoned or as side vegetables, and can also be used in baked goods.
  • It has been commonly suggested that the apple pies of Australia’s McDonald’s fast food outlets contain chokos, however, this is incorrect.
  • Chokos are high in folate and are a good source of vitamin C and manganese.
  • Chokos can positively affect the cardiovascular system and limit inflammation, while the leaves can be made into a tea for medicinal purposes.
Bibliography:
Chayote, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chayote
Choko, 2014, Burke’s Backyard, http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/2001/archives/2001_archives?p=1320

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Malabar Spinach

Malabar spinach is not spinach at all.

  • Malabar spinach is eaten like a leafy vegetable, and is a perennial vine, although it is often grown as an annual in cooler climates as frost affects the plant.
  • ‘Malabar spinach’ is also known as ‘creeping spinach’,  ‘climbing spinach’, ‘Indian spinach’, ‘Chinese spinach’, ‘vine spinach’, ‘Vietnamese spinach’ and ‘Ceylon spinach’.
  • Malabar spinach has the scientific name of Basella alba, a white flowering, green stem variety, or Basella rubra, a plant that has red stems.
  • Malabar spinach is from the family Basellaceae, the family of some flowering plants including a number of other vines, with edible leaves and roots.
  • In a tropical environment, a Malabar spinach vine can grow up to a height of 10 metres (33 feet).

Malabar Spinach, Green, Glossy, Plant, Compost, Leaf, Vegetable, Food, Ten Random Facts

  • Malabar spinach has thick, green glossy leaves that can grow quite large, and berries that contain a red liquid that can be used as dye.
  • Malabar spinach leaves are commonly used in Asian cuisine, either cooked or raw, and they are said to have pepper and citrus flavours when raw, as well as being high in iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, fibre and other vitamins and minerals.
  • Malabar spinach, although named ‘spinach’, is not from the spinach family at all, although it tends to resemble spinach when it is cooked.
  • Malabar spinach is a great thickener for soup and other dishes, due to the mucilage (glutinous carbohydrate) content in the plant, that tends to cause the leaves to become slimy if they are cooked for more than a short time.
  • Malabar spinach grows best in a sunny area and warm climate, and is a great summer vegetable.
Bibliography:
Basella Alba, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basella_alba
Malabar Spinach, 2013, Survival Food Plants, http://www.survivalfoodplants.com/malabar-indian-spinach-basella-alba/
Stunning (Malabar) Spinach, 2013, A Farm of Your Home, http://www.afarmofyourhome.com/stunning-malabar-spinach/

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Pumpkin (Winter Squash)

Pumpkin… a versatile vegetable.

  • Pumpkins are also known as ‘winter squash’ depending on where you live, and are part of the Cucurbita genus, which also includes gourds and summer squash.
  • Pumpkins are typically roundish-flat with indented stripes, have thick skins that allows them to be stored longer than summer squash, and generally deep orange to strong yellow, but sometimes red, green, greenish blue, cream or white, in colour.
  • Pumpkins are from the family Cucurbitaceae, which is the family of gourds, and are mostly native to Central America, especially Mexico.
  • Pumpkins are generally eaten cooked, and can be served as a cooked vegetable, or be made into soup, puree, baked goods like bread, or a sweet pie.
  • Pumpkins are commonly carved, and lighted, to make Jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween, or made into pie for Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States.

Pumpkin, multiple, Orange, Spherical, Seven, Box,Ten Random Facts, Halloween, Australia

  • Pumpkins grown on large vines, usually on the ground, and once a fruit has matured it will generally weigh between 2.7 to 8.2 kilograms (6 to 18 pounds), depending on the species.
  • ‘Pumpkin’ came from the word ‘pepon’, meaning ‘large melon’ in Greek.
  • Pumpkin weighing competitions are common across the globe, with a world record set in 2012 for the heaviest pumpkin ever grown, being 911.3 kilograms (2009 pounds) in mass, and was grown by Ron Wallace from Rhode Island, United States.
  • Pumpkins are made up of approximately 90% water and are extremely high in vitamin A, and a good source of vitamin C.
  • The flowers of pumpkin plants are sometimes eaten, and the seeds are commonly consumed as a snack, and they can also be ground into meal or flour and used in baking.
Bibliography:
Curcubita, 2013, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucurbita
Pumpkins, n.d, Hospitality Services Group, http://www.hsgpurchasing.com/Articles/pumpkin.htm

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