Cucumber

These facts are as cool as a cucumber.

  • Cucumbers are generally torpedo shaped edible fruit or vegetables, and a fruit bearing creeper vine from the family Cucurbitaceae, the family of gourds.
  • The scientific name for a cucumber is cucumis sativus, and some of the varieties are apple cucumber, continental or telegraph cucumber, lebanese cucumber and pickling cucumber.
  • Cucumbers are native to India although they have been grown in Egypt, Greece and Rome for thousands of years.
  • Bees (normally honey bees) are often transported to cucumber farms where there aren’t bees, because cucumbers need them to for pollination.
  • China was the top producer of cucumbers in 2010 with 40,709,556 tonnes (40,066,610 tons), producing over 70% of the world’s cucumbers.

Cucumber, Cut, Long, Telegraph, Green, Seeds, Plate, Raw, Australia, Ten Random Facts

  • Cucumbers have edible skin and seeds, and are most often eaten raw, but are also eaten cooked, sliced and pickled.
  • Cucumbers are made up of 90 – 96% water, and as a result they were often brought as provisions on desert trips.
  • Cucumbers can be green, white or yellow in colour, depending on the variety and the age of the fruit.
  • Cucumbers should not be stored near fruit, especially apples, tomatoes and melons, as they will age quicker.
  • Cucumbers have very little nutritional value, and the flavour is mostly contained in the seeds, which become bitter the older the cucumber gets.
Bibliography:
Cucumber, 2011, Fresh for Kids, <http://www.freshforkids.com.au/veg_pages/cucumber/cucumber.html>
Cucumber, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucumber>

Beetroot

Red, red and more red.

  • Beetroot is also known as beet, garden beet, table beet, and red beet.
  • Beetroot is commonly eaten in North America, Central America and Europe.
  • Beetroot is eaten grilled, roasted, boiled, raw, pickled, or in soup.
  • The leafy part of beetroot is also edible and is often boiled or steamed.
  • Beetroot is high in antioxidants, magnesium, sodium, potassium, betaine and vitamin C.

Beetroot, Red, Cut, Sliced, Tinned, Homebrand, Bowl, Many, Lots,Ten Random Facts

  • Since the red colouring in beetroot doesn’t break down when eaten, some beetroot consumers may think they have hematuria, blood in the urine.
  • Beetroots are proven to lower blood pressure and possibly prevent liver disease.
  • Sometimes beetroots are used as a dye.
  • Betanin, the red colouring from beetroot, is commonly used to enhance the colour of food such as icecream.
  • In the Middle Ages beetroots were used to cure blood and digestion sickness.
Bibliography:
Beetroot, 2013 Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beetroot>

Avocado

The pear shaped fruit and trees.

  • Avocados are native to Central Mexico and are also known as alligator pear or avocado pear..
  • Avocado trees are flowering plants from the family Lauraceae, the same family of cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel.
  • Avocado fruit have black or green, smooth or bumpy skin, depending on the variety, a large seed inside, and soft, creamy yellow to green flesh.
  • Avocado trees grow up to 20 meters (66 feet) in height and are often started from a pit, initially grown indoors.
  • Avocado fruit can grow from 7 cm (2.8 inches) to 20 cm (7.9 inches) long.

Avocado, Green, Vegetable, Fruit, Lots, Ripe, Ten Random Facts

  • Avocado fruit mature on the tree and then drop to the ground and ripen.  Once the avocado is cut, the flesh quickly turns brown.
  • Mexico grows more than one billion kilograms of avocado fruit per year, the most in the world.
  • Avocado fruit are rich in vitamins B, E and K, and potassium, and are high in fibre.
  • Avocado fruit and parts of the plant are toxic to many animals, including some birds.
  • Avocados are normally eaten raw in salad and on sandwiches, and in some countries combined to make juice, desserts, drinks, and dips.  Sometimes it is served cooked in certain dishes.
Bibliography:
Avocado 31 January 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avocado>

Tomato

Fruit or vegetable?

  • The tomato plant originated in America.
  • For botanists, a tomato is classified as a fruit but many people suggest it is a vegetable.
  • The tomato belongs to the nightshade family, due to it’s high amount of lycopene, which gives the tomato a reddish colour.
  • Tomato plants grow around 1-3 meters (3-10 feet) in height.
  • There are thousands of tomato cultivars – around 7500!

Red tomato, tomato stalk, Ten Random Facts

  • Tomatoes can be red, orange, yellow, green, pink, purple, black or white in colour.
  • China grows the most tomatoes in the world (41, 879, 684 tonnes in 2010).
  • When ripe, a tomato should be used within 1-2 days.
  • A tomato plant is normally vine like with yellow flowers.
  • The heaviest recorded tomato weighed 3.51 kg (7 lb 2 oz), in 1981.
Bibliography:
Tomato 12 November 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato>

Potato

Potatoes are a very interesting plants with a oval shape.

  • Potatoes are grown underground, in the soil and are categorised as a tuber.
  • Potatoes mostly contain a carbohydrate called starch.
  • The potato is believed to be first grown by the Incas.
  • There are over 100 different types of potato.
  • Potatoes come in a variety of colours including brown, green, yellow, red and purple.

Washed white potato, Ten Random Facts, Stub

  • Stubs, or newly harvested potatoes, can shoot and grow into a new potato plant.
  • Potatoes were the first vegetable to be grown in space.
  • When food was short in World War I and II, potatoes were commonly eaten as they were easily grown.
  • Potato plants are usually sprayed with chemicals after harvest, to kill remaining foliage.
  • Potatoes are rich in fibre and vitamins and contain barely no fat.
Bibliography:
Bentley, J 2005, Potatoes, Chrysalis Children’s Books, United Kingdom

Carrot

If you eat carrots and read facts you can see in the dark! Well maybe not the facts part.

  • Carrots contain carotene, or vitamin A, which helps you see in the dark.
  • Carrots are normally orange but certain varieties can be purple, red, white or yellow.
  • A fully grown carrot stem is normally 1 meter (3 foot) tall.
  • A mature carrot plant has a white flower.
  • The green leaves of a carrot are edible.

Five Orange Carrots, Ten Random Facts

  • The body only absorbs 3% carotene from a raw carrot while the body absorbs 42% carotene from cooked carrots.
  • To much carrot can make your skin orange because of the carotene.
  • Once planted, a carrot is ready for harvest after 4 months, and then they can be stored in a cool place for many months without becoming rotten.
  • Holtville, in California, has an annual carrot festival held in late January or early February that lasts ten days.
  • China was the largest producer of carrots by 2010 and is followed by the United States, Russia, Uzbekistan and Poland.
Bibliography:
Carrot 5 October 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrot>
Stanton, R 1988, Food Fun Book, Ellsyd Press, Chippendale

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