Asparagus

Long asparagus.

  • Asparagus are long, spear-headed, edible vegetables that are popular across the globe.
  • Asparagus can be green, white or purple in colour, and is native to west Asia, north Africa and Europe.
  • The scientific name of asparagus is ‘asparagus officinalis’, which is one of the 300 species in the asparagaceae family, although some other asparagus species are edible.
  • Asparagus are the young shoots of the perennial plant with the same name that grows from 1 to 1.5 metres (3 to 5 feet) in height.
  • Historically, asparagus was commonly eaten in Ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, Spain and Syria.

Asparagus, Green, Long, Sticks, Multiple, Spears, Lily, Ten Random Facts, Australia, Vegetable

  • Asparagus is is 93% water and very high in vitamin K, and is high in vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, folate and iron.
  • In 2010, China was by far the biggest producer of asparagus, harvesting nearly 7 million tonnes (7.6 million tons) of the vegetable.
  • The word ‘Asparagus’ has Latin, Greek and Persian origins, originally meaning ‘shoot’ or ‘sprout’ in Persian,  and was originally termed as ‘sperage’ in English.
  • After consumption, asparagus can cause a foul smell emitted from the consumer’s urine due to the organic chemicals found in the vegetable.
  • Asparagus is served and eaten in stirfries, soup, raw in salad, grilled, and pickled, and when raw or lightly cooked, it has a crunchy texture.
Bibliography:
Asparagus, 2013, The World’s Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=12
Asparagus, 2013, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus

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Broccoli

Don’t let the broccoli grow too high!

  • Broccoli is an edible flower head and colours rang from green to purple-green.
  • Broccoli is native to the Mediterranean region and is also known as ‘Italian asparagus’, due to the popularity of the vegetable in Italy.
  • Broccoli is from the family Brassicaceae, which is the family of cabbages, and its scientific name is Brassica oleracea italica.
  • Broccoli is often cooked, steamed or boiled, but can be eaten raw, with leaves of the plant sometimes included.
  • ‘Broccoli’ is named after the plural of ‘broccolo’, an Italian word, meaning the flower head of a cabbage, which comes from ‘brocco’ meaning ‘branch’ or ‘shoot’.

Broccoli, Green, Stalk, Woolworths, Vegetable, Ten Random Facts, Single, Australia

  • Broccoli is very high in vitamin C and vitamin K, and has significant cancer preventing and DNA cell repairing properties.
  • Broccoli likes growing in cool weather, being at best supply during winter and preferring temperatures from 18 to 23°C (64 to 73°F) during the day.
  • There are three types of broccoli typically grown, and the most common type, Calabrese, has large heads that are 10 to 20 centimetres (4 to 8 inches) in diameter.
  • In 2008, China produced over two fifths of the total world production of 19,000,000 tonnes (21,000,000 tons).
  • Bitter, yellow flower heads grow from broccoli, so they are best stored in temperatures less than 2°C (35.6°F) to prevent their onset.

 

Bibliography:
Broccoli, 2011, Fresh for Kids, http://www.freshforkids.com.au/veg_pages/broccoli/broccoli.html
Broccoli, 2013, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broccoli

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Celery

Green, long celery sticks.

  • Celery is from the family Apiaceae, which is the family of carrots and parsley, and its scientific name is Apium graveolens.
  • Celery is a crunchy and crisp vegetable that can be green, yellow green, white or reddish purple in colour, and can be eaten raw or cooked.
  • Celery is a biennial plant that grows up to one metre (3.3 feet) tall and generally has green, leafy tops, and is said to help keep one’s mouth and teeth clean.
  • There are three main types of celery – leafy celery, that has lots of leaves that are used and small stalks that are not generally eaten; stalk celery, where the stalks are mainly used and the leafy parts are generally not eaten; and root celery, known as celeriac, that is mostly grown for its edible roots.
  • Celery has white or cream coloured flowers that produce small edible seeds.

 Celery, Stick, Long, Leafy, Green, Vegetation, Australia, Ten Random Facts

  • Celery was first named in 1664, ‘celery’ coming from the French word ‘céleri’, which originally came from the Greek word meaning parsley, ‘selinon’.
  • Celery leaves and seeds are often used as herbs or spices while the stalks and leaves can be used as a vegetable in salads or main dishes.
  • Celery seeds can lower a rat’s blood pressure, and women should not consume large amounts of the seeds if they are pregnant.
  • All parts of celery, most notably the seeds, can cause an anaphylactic reaction in those people who are allergic to the vegetable,  that cannot be removed by cooking, and is not uncommon in some parts of Europe, where it is mandatory to label products that have or may contain celery.
  • Celery contains significant portions of vitamin A and folate, and is high in vitamin K, with one serve containing approximately 2/5 of the recommended daily intake.
Bibliography:
Celery, 2011, Fresh for Kids, <http://www.freshforkids.com.au/veg_pages/celery/celery.html>
Celery, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celery>

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Snow Pea

Open up the snow peas to find the hidden peas.

  • Snow peas are edible legumes and pea pods that are known as a vegetable, and are believed to be native to the Mediterranean area.
  • Snow peas are also called ‘Chinese pea pods’, ‘Chinese pea’ and ‘mangetout,’ which means ‘eat it all’ in French.
  • Snow peas are from the family Fabaceae, which is the family of legumes, beans and peas.
  • Snow peas contain peas that can be harvested once ripe, although they may taste different to typical peas, and are not normally eaten at this stage.
  • Snow peas are very high in vitamin C, and are a good source of vitamins A and K as well as iron and magnesium.

Snowpea, Green, Bowl, Lots, Vegetable, Legume, Ten Random Facts, Fresh

  • Snow peas are often eaten raw and cooked in stir-fries, and can also be added to salads or other main dishes.
  • Snow pea pods don’t have the inedible fibre that most pea pods have, which is why you can eat the pods.
  • Snow peas grow on a vine that grow 0.6 to 2 meters (2 to 6.5 feet) in height and the peas are generally picked ten days after the white flower is pollinated.
  • Snow peas are quite similar to typical peas except they have a softer pod and taste crisper and sweeter.
  • Snow peas are harvested when the pod is 7 to 10 cm (2.7 to 4 inch) in length and when the peas inside are just starting to bulge.
Bibliography:
Fernando N, Snow Pea and Sugar Snap Pea, 2009, Victoria Government Department of Environment and Primary Industry, < http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/horticulture/vegetables/vegetables-a-z/snow-pea-sugar-snap-pea>
Snow Pea, 2013, Wikipedia, < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_pea>

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Eggplant

Eggplants do not grow eggs!

  • Eggplants are native to India and are known as ‘aubergines’ in Europe and ‘eggplants’ in America, and are also called ‘brinjal’, ‘melongene’ and ‘guinea squash’.
  • An eggplant’s scientific name is solanum melongena and the belong to the family Solanaceae, which is the family of nightshades, and they are related to tomatoes and potatoes.
  • Eggplants are typically dark purple vegetables that grow 12 to 25 cm (4.5 to 9 inches) in length and have a spongy light coloured flesh, although they come in all different shapes, sizes and colours including an almost black colour, green, orange, white, and yellow.
  • Eggplant plants are a perennial tropical plant that grow to 40 to 150 cm (16 to 57 inches) in height and have a white to purple coloured flower.
  • Eggplants were named ‘eggplants’ in the 1700s in Europe, because some eggplants were white in colour and looked like bird eggs.

Eggplant, Purple, Fat Long, Black, One, Single, Australia, Vegetable, Ten Random Facts

  • Eggplants behave like a sponge during the cooking process, and can be baked, fried, stewed, grilled, steamed and stuffed, whilst also featuring in two of the most famous eggplant dishes, moussaka and  ratatouille.
  • Eggplants become more bitter with age, although are usually cooked to avoid or reduce the often bitter taste they have, and are sometimes cut, salted and rinsed before cooking to remove some of the bitterness and so that they absorb less oil or other liquid.
  • China produced 58% of the total world production of nearly 42 million tonnes (41 million tons) of eggplants in 2010, and cultivated eggplants use more than 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of land worldwide.
  • Eggplants have the highest nicotine content than all edible plants, although you would need to eat 9kg (20 pounds) of eggplant to match the quantity of nicotine in one cigarette.
  • Some people are allergic to eggplants, which can cause reactions of itchiness, headaches and stomach irritation.
Bibliography:
Eggplant, 2013, World’s Healthiest Foods, < http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=22>
Eggplant, 2013, Wikipedia, < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggplant>

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Onion

Sniff, Sniff – it’s the onions.

  • Most edible onions are from the family Allium cepa, which is from the family of Allium which is the family of onions, leeks, garlic and chives.
  • Onions are a type of bulb with fleshy layers, and are also known as ‘bulb onions’ and ‘common onions’, and range in size from 2.5 – 11.5 cm (1 – 4.5 inches).
  • Onions are a vegetable that are often used in stir-fries, stews, casseroles, soups, pasta dishes, and other main meals, and they can be eaten raw in salads, and can be included in sauces and condiments like gravy, chutney or pickles.
  • Onions have been cultivated and eaten for thousands of years, and it is thought that Ancient Egyptians believed that onions symbolised eternity, or eternal life, and so they were often used in burials, and have even been found in the eye sockets of the pharaoh Ramses IV.
  • Onions were thought to have raised a dog’s, cat’s or cattle’s fertility, however, it is dangerous to let some animals eat onions, including cats, dogs, guinea pigs and monkeys, as they are poisonous to them as they make the animal anemic, which can be fatal.

 Onion, Cut, Halve, Brown, Orange, Skin, Rings, Australia, three, Ten Random Facts

  • Onions are yellow/brown, red/purple or white in colour, and their skins can be used to make a dye, and onion juices can be used to make a repellent against moths.
  • Onions have large cells, so they are sometimes used for scientific purposes as a teaching tool about cell structure.
  • Onions contain approximately 89% water and are a good source of fibre and manganese, and are very high in vitamins C and B6, as well as folic acid.
  • Red onions, known as Spanish onions, generally have a milder flavour than other varieties, and for this reason are often used raw as a garnish or in salads.
  • Onions are said to lower insulin levels in diabetics, help maintain good healthy bones, have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, help protect the body from some common cancers,  have cardiovascular benefits, and reduce cholesterol.
Bibliography:
Onion, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onion>
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