Saturday, 18 September 2010

Red Globe Table Grapes

  • The Red Globe table grape is a variety of very large, seeded red grapes with firm flesh and crisp ruby red skin.
  • It is almost round, similar to a globe and hence the name given.
  • The Red Globe is popular for both eating and decorating during the holiday season.
  • It is mildly sweet and flavorful, not as tangy as Flame or as sweet as Thompson, with plenty of juice.
  • It can be grown outdoors in very warm areas with long growing seasons such as California or Australia, but in most of the world it is strictly a greenhouse grape. The majority of Red Globe production in the US and Australia are exported to Asia.
  • This variety of grape is considered as good quality grape even though it is seeded.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Potato / Aloo

English Name: Potato

Common Indian Name (Hindi): Aaloo

  • The potato is the most popular tuber vegetable in the world. Potato tubers are thick, uneven shaped stems (tuber) that grow underground.
  • Potatoes have a thin skin that is usually red, yellow, or brown. Inside the potato is pale flesh.
  • Nutritionally, potatoes are best known for their carbohydrate content. The predominant form of this carbohydrate is starch. A small but significant portion of this starch is resistant to digestion by enzymes in the stomach and small intestine, and so reaches the large intestine essentially intact. This resistant starch is considered to have similar physiological effects and health benefits as fiber: it provides bulk, offers protection against colon cancer, improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, lowers plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, increases satiety, and possibly even reduces fat storage. The amount of resistant starch in potatoes depends much on preparation methods.
  • Potatoes contain a number of important vitamins and minerals. Potassium, vitamin B6 and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.
  • Potatoes are a traditional heart and circulation remedy, but can be used to soothe inflammations and encourage the healing of skin infections, dermatitis, wounds and ulcers. Potato juice can be used to relief indigestion, and constipation. Grated potatoes mixed with olive oil, is useful for sunburn, cracked skin and swollen eyelids. Slices of potatoes are great for sores, chilblains, headaches and migraines.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Carrots / Gaajar

English: Carrots

Common Indian Name (Hindi): Gaajar

  • It is a root vegetable; the edible part is taproot with a crisp texture when fresh.
  • In the North India, carrot is pink-red in color comparable to plum or raspberry or deep red apple in color (without a touch of yellow or blue). Most of the varieties of carrots in world are from orange to yellow in color, comparable to Halloween’s pumpkins.
  • Ever since the late 1980s, baby carrots or mini-carrots (carrots that have been peeled and cut into uniform cylinders) have been a popular ready-to-eat snack food available in many supermarkets.
  • The carrot gets its characteristic and bright orange color from beta-carotene.
  • Beta- carotene is believed to be a strong anti- cancer, artery protecting and immune boosting antioxidant. The beta carotene contained in carrots is converted to Vitamin A. This is said to be vital for healthy skin and disease- resistant mucous membranes, which is the reason why eating carrots is seen as important for the protection of lungs and helps keep the respiratory system in good working order.
    Beta - Carotene is believed to reduce the chances of acquiring degenerative eye diseases as well as suffering from chest pain.
  • It is also reported that consuming carrots increases the skins resistance to ultraviolet light, so it helps in protecting against skin cancer along with premature ageing. Carrots are rich in fiber and may help reduce blood cholesterol and are said to combat constipation.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Baingan / Aubergine

English: Aubergine / Eggplant

Common Indian Name (Hindi): Baingan / Brinjal

  • The eggplant, aubergine, or brinjal (Solanum melongena), is a plant of the family Solanaceae (also known as the nightshades) and genus Solanum.
  • It bears fruits which are used as a vegetable in cooking. It is closely related to the tomato and potato and is native to India and Sri Lanka.
  • The fruit is botanically classified as a berry, and contains numerous small, soft seeds, which are edible, but are bitter because they contain (an insignificant amount of) nicotinoid alkaloid, which is a close relative of tobacco. Eggplant is richer in nicotine than any other edible plant.
  • As a native plant, it is widely used in Indian cuisine, for example in sambhar, chutney, curries etc. Owing to its versatile nature and wide use in both everyday and festive Indian food, it is often described (under the name brinjal) as the 'King of Vegetables'.
  • It helps to block the formation of free radicals and is also a source of folic acid and potassium.
  • It is believed that Aubergine contains properties that may help reduce cholesterol levels, decrease high blood pressure and protect the heart as well as containing anti-cancerous properties.
  • Aubergine supply the heart protective nutrient, Vitamin E. Aubergine is also a very useful source of potassium, which helps keep blood pressure at normal levels. Aubergine contains Vitamin K, which helps promote blood clotting and stops bleeding.
  • Eating Aubergine is reported to counteract detrimental blood effects from fatty foods. It features antibacterial properties, which may increase the amount of urine passed. Aubergine, tomatoes and potatoes are all part of the nightshade family, which is reported to exacerbate joint pain.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Mentha / Mint / Pudina

English Name: Mentha/Mint

Common Indian Name (Hindi): Pudina

  • Fresh mint is a perennial plant which is cultivated in many regions of the world these days. The most common and popular mints for cultivation are Peppermint (Mentha × piperita), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), and (more recently) apple mint (Mentha suaveolens).
  • Leaf colors range from dark green and gray-green to purple, blue, and sometimes pale yellow. The leaves have a pleasant warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams.
  • They have wide-spreading underground rhizomes and erect, square, branched stems.
  • The leaf, fresh or dried, is the culinary source of mint. Spearmint and peppermint are often the varieties of fresh mint that are used.
  • The substances that give the mints their characteristic aromas and flavors are menthol (the main aroma of Peppermint and Japanese Peppermint) and pulegone (in Pennyroyal and Corsican Mint). The compound primarily responsible for the aroma and flavor of spearmint is R-carvone.
  • The tender leaves of the mint plant are commonly found used in Middle Eastern cooking, as well as Thai and Vietnamese dishes. It pairs well with lamb, vegetables such as peas, fruits, salads, and of course chocolate!
  • Peppermint has high menthol content, and is often used as tea and for flavoring ice cream, confectionary, chewing gum, and toothpaste. The oil also contains menthone and menthyl esters, particularly menthyl acetate. It is the oldest and most popular flavor of mint-flavored confectionery. Peppermint can also be found in some shampoos and soaps, which give the hair a minty scent and produce a cooling sensation on the skin.