Fish of the Week – Wahoo

September 10, 2013 at 8:44 AM | Posted in fish, Fish of the Week | Leave a comment
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Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) is a scombrid fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. It is best known to sports fishermen, as its speed and high-quality flesh make it a prize game fish. In Hawaii, the wahoo is known as ono. Many Hispanic areas of the Caribbean

Wahoo catch

Wahoo catch

and Central America refer to this fish as peto.

 

 

The body is elongated and covered with small, scarcely visible scales; the back is an iridescent blue, while the sides are silvery, with a pattern of irregular vertical blue bars and have razor sharp teeth. These colors fade rapidly at death. The mouth is large, and both the upper and lower jaws have a somewhat sharper appearance than those of king or Spanish mackerel. Specimens have been recorded at up to 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) in length, and weighing up to 83 kilograms (180 lb). Growth can be rapid. One specimen tagged at 5 kilograms (11 lb) grew to 15 kg (33 lb) in one year. Wahoo can swim up to 60 mph (97 km/h). They are some of the fastest fish in the sea.
The wahoo may be distinguished from the related Atlantic king mackerel and from the Indo-Pacific Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel by a fold of skin which covers the mandible when its mouth is closed. In contrast, the mandible of the king mackerel is always visible as is also the case for the smaller Spanish mackerel and Cero mackerel. The teeth of the wahoo are similar to those of king mackerel, but shorter and more closely set together.
The barracuda is sometimes confused with mackerel and wahoo, but is easy to distinguish from the latter two species. Barracuda have prominent scales, larger, dagger-like teeth, and lack the caudal keels and blade-like tail characteristic of the scombrid (mackerel).

 

 

Wahoo

Wahoo

Wahoo tend to be solitary or occur in loose-knit groups of two or three fish, but where conditions are suitable can be found in schools as large as 100 or more. Their diet is made up of other fish and squid.
Most wahoo taken have a trematode parasite living in their stomach, the giant stomach worm (Hirudinella ventricosa), which does not appear to harm the fish.

 

 

The flesh of the wahoo is white to grey, delicate to dense, and highly regarded by many gourmets. The taste is similar to mackerel, though arguably less pronounced. This has created some demand for the wahoo as a premium priced commercial food fish. In many areas of its range, such as Hawaii, Bermuda and many parts of the Caribbean, local demand for wahoo is met by artisanal commercial fishermen, who take them primarily by trawling, as well as by recreational sports fishermen who sell their catch.
Although local wahoo populations can be affected by heavy commercial and sports fishing pressure, wahoo as a species are less susceptible to industrial commercial fishing than more tightly schooling and abundant species such as tuna. Wahoo are regularly taken as a by-catch in various commercial fisheries, including longline fisheries for tuna, billfish and dolphinfish (a.k.a. mahi-mahi or dorado) and in tuna purse seine fisheries, especially in sets made around floating objects, which act as a focal point for a great deal of other marine life besides tuna. In 2003, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council issued a Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan for the Atlantic. However, the species as a whole is not considered overfished. In most parts of its range, the wahoo is a highly prized sport fishing catch. It reaches a good size, is often available not too far from land, and is a very good fighter on light to medium tackle. It is known in sports fishing circles for the speed and strength of its first run. The aggressive habits and razor-sharp teeth of the wahoo can be of considerable annoyance when targeting larger gamefish, however, such as tuna or marlin.

 

 

 

 

Grilled Marinated Wahoo
Ingredients:

1/2 cup Butter, melted (Blue Bonnet Light Stick Butter)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 fresh Garlic Cloves
1/3 cup fresh Cilantro
1 tablespoon Roasted Ground Cumin
2 tablespoons Zatarainn’s Cajun Seafood Seasoning
1 lemon, Juice of
6 Wahoo fillets, about 1/2 inch thick
Lemon wedge (to garnish)

 

Directions:

1 – Spray grill with nonstick spray or brush with vegie oil to prevent sticking. Preheat on high for about 10 minutes
2 – Mix first 7 ingredients in a blender. Purée into a smooth sauce.
3 – When ready to cook, brush both sides of fillets with sauce. Place fillets on grill and cook, turning once or twice. Brush more sauce as needed.
4 – Fish is done when it flakes easily (about 5 minutes). Serve with lemon wedges.

Fish of the Week – Mahi-Mahi

June 11, 2013 at 8:57 AM | Posted in fish, One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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The mahi-mahi or common dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore temperate,

Bull (male) mahi-mahi caught in Costa Rica

Bull (male) mahi-mahi caught in Costa Rica

tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Also known widely as dorado, it is one of only two members of the Coryphaenidae family, the other being the pompano dolphinfish.
Being referred to as a “dolphin” causes it to be confused with the more widely known marine mammals called dolphins.
The name mahi-mahi means very strong in Hawaiian. In other languages the fish is known as dorade coryphène, lampuga, lampuka, lampuki, rakingo, calitos, or maverikos.
Purely coincidentally, but confusingly, the word mahi means fish in Persian.

 
Mahi-mahi can live up to 5 years (although they seldom exceed four). Catches average 7 to 13 kilograms (15 to 29 lb). They seldom exceed 15 kilograms (33 lb), and mahi-mahi over 18 kilograms (40 lb) are exceptional.
Mahi-mahi have compressed bodies and long dorsal fins extending nearly the entire length of their bodies. Their caudal fins and anal fins are sharply concave. They are distinguished by dazzling colors: golden on the sides, and bright blues and greens on the sides and back. Mature males have prominent foreheads protruding well above the body proper. Females have a rounded head. Females are also usually smaller than males.
Out of the water, the fish often change color among several hues (giving rise to their Spanish name, dorado, “golden”), finally fading to a muted yellow-grey upon death.
Mahi-mahi are among the fastest-growing fish. They spawn in warm ocean currents throughout much of the year, and their young are commonly found in seaweed. Mahi-mahi are carnivorous, feeding on flying fish, crabs, squid, mackerel, and other forage fish. They have also been known to eat zooplankton and crustaceans.
Males and females are sexually mature in their first year, usually by 4-5 months old. Spawning can occur at body lengths of 20 cm. Females may spawn two to three times per year, and produce between 80,000 and 1,000,000 eggs per event.
In waters above 34 °C, mahi-mahi larvae are found year-round, with greater numbers detected in spring and fall. In one study, seventy percent of the youngest larvae collected in the northern Gulf of Mexico were found at a depth greater than 180 meters. Spawning occurs normally in captivity, with 100,000 eggs per event. Problems maintaining salinity, food of adequate nutritional value and proper size, and dissolved oxygen are responsible for larval mortality rates of 20-40%. Mahi-mahi fish are mostly found in the surface water. They feed on Sargassum weeds. Their flesh is soft and oily, similar to sardines. The body is slightly slender and long, making them fast swimmers; they can swim as fast as 50 knots (92.6 km/h, 57.5 mph).

 
Mahi-mahi are highly sought for sport fishing and commercial purposes. Sport fishermen seek them due to their beauty, size, food quality, and healthy population. Mahi-mahi is popular in many restaurants.
Mahi-mahi can be found in the Caribbean Sea, on the west coast of North and South America, the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast of Florida, Southeast Asia, Hawaii and many other places worldwide.
Fishing charters most often look for floating debris and frigatebirds near the edge of the reef in about 120 feet (37 m) of water. Mahi-mahi (and many other fish) often swim near debris such as floating wood, palm trees and fronds, or sargasso weed lines and around fish buoys. Sargasso is floating seaweed that sometimes holds a complete ecosystem from microscopic creatures to seahorses and baitfish. Frigatebirds dive for food accompanying the debris or sargasso. Experienced fishing guides can tell what species are likely around the debris by the birds’ behavior.
Thirty- to fifty-pound gear is more than adequate when trolling for mahi-mahi. Fly-casters may especially seek frigatebirds to find big mahi-mahis, and then use a bait-and-switch technique. Ballyhoo or a net full of live sardines tossed into the water can excite the mahi-mahis into a feeding frenzy. Hookless teaser lures can have the same effect. After tossing the teasers or live chum, fishermen throw the fly to the feeding mahi-mahi. Once on a line, mahi-mahi are fast, flashy and acrobatic, with beautiful blue, yellow, green and even red dots of color.

 
The United States and the Caribbean countries are the primary consumers of this fish, but many European countries are increasing

Grilled mahi-mahi

Grilled mahi-mahi

their consumption every year.It is a popular eating fish in Australia, usually caught and sold as a by-product by tuna and swordfish commercial fishing operators. Japan and Hawaii are significant consumers. The Arabian Sea, particularly the coast of Oman, also has mahi-mahi. At first, mahi-mahi were mostly bycatch (incidental catch) in the tuna and swordfish longline fishery. Now they are sought by commercial fishermen on their own merits.
In French Polynesia, fishermen use harpoons, using a specifically designed boat, the poti marara, to pursue it, because mahi-mahi do not dive. The poti marara is a powerful motorized V-shaped boat, optimized for high agility and speed, and driven with a stick so the pilot can hold his harpoon with his right hand.

 
Depending on how it is caught, mahi-mahi is classed differently by various sustainability rating systems. It is also a potential vector of toxic microorganisms.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium classifies mahi-mahi, when caught in the US Atlantic, as a Best Choice, the top of its three environmental impact categories. The Aquarium advises to avoid imported mahi-mahi harvested by long line but rates troll and pole-and-line caught as a Good Alternative.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) classifies mahi-mahi as a “moderate mercury” fish or shellfish (its second lowest of four categories), and suggests eating six servings or fewer per month.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) classifies mahi-mahi caught by line/pole in the US as “Eco-Best” in its three-category system, but classifies all mahi-mahi caught by longline as only “Eco-OK” or “Eco-Worst” due to longline “high levels [of] bycatch, injuring or killing seabirds, sea turtles and sharks.”
The mahi-mahi is also a common vector for ciguatera poisoning.

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi

INGREDIENTS:
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1 clove garlic, crushed or to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 (6 ounce) mahi mahi fillets
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

 

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a shallow glass dish, stir together the honey, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ginger, garlic and olive oil. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper, and place them into the dish. If the fillets have skin on them, place them skin side down. Cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marinate.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove fish from the dish, and reserve marinade. Fry fish for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning only once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fillets to a serving platter and keep warm.
3. Pour reserved marinade into the skillet, and heat over medium heat until the mixture reduces to a glaze consistently. Spoon glaze over fish, and serve immediately.

 

Nutrition
Information
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Calories: 259
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 124mg
Sodium: 830mg
Amount Per Serving
Total Carbs: 16g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2g
Protein: 32.4g

 
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/ginger-glazed-mahi-mahi/

 

One of America’s Favorites – Spam

June 25, 2012 at 9:29 AM | Posted in Food | Leave a comment
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Spam (its name a portmanteau of the words “Spiced” and “Ham”) is a canned precooked meat product made by the Hormel Foods

Spam

Corporation, first introduced in 1937. The labeled ingredients in the classic variety of Spam are chopped pork shoulder meat, with ham meat added, salt, water, modified potato starch as a binder, and sodium nitrite as a preservative. Spam’s gelatinous glaze, or aspic, forms from the cooling of meat stock. The product has become part of many jokes and urban legends about mystery meat, which has made it part of pop culture and folklore. Through a Monty Python sketch, in which Spam is portrayed as ubiquitous and inescapable, its name has come to be given to electronic spam, including spam email.
In 2007, the seven billionth can of Spam was sold. On average, 3.8 cans are consumed every second in the United States.

Spam is typically sold in cans with a net weight of 340 grams (12 ounces). A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of original Spam provides 1,300kJ (310 Calories or kilocalories), 13 grams of protein (26% DV), 3 grams of carbohydrates (1% DV), 27 grams of total fat (41% DV), including 10 grams of saturated fat (49% DV). The cholesterol content of Spam is 70 milligrams (23% DV). A serving also contains 57% of the recommended daily intake of sodium (1369 milligrams). Spam provides the following vitamins and minerals: 0% vitamin A, 1% vitamin C , 1% calcium, 5% iron, 3% magnesium, 9% potassium, 12% zinc, and 5% copper.

There are several different flavors of Spam products, including:
*Spam Classic – original flavor
*Spam Hot & Spicy – with Tabasco flavor
*Spam Less Sodium – “25% less sodium”
*Spam Lite – “33% less calories and 50% less fat” – made from pork shoulder meat, ham, and mechanically separated chicken
*Spam Oven Roasted Turkey
*Spam Hickory Smoke flavor
*Spam Spread – “if you’re a spreader, not a slicer … just like Spam Classic, but in a spreadable form”
*Spam with Bacon
*Spam with Cheese
*Spam Garlic
*Spam Golden Honey Grail – a limited-release special flavor made in honor of Monty Python’s Spamalot Broadway musical
*Spam Mild
*Spam Hot Dogs
In addition to the variety of flavors, Spam is sold in tins smaller than the twelve-ounce standard size. Spam Singles are also available, which are single sandwich-sized slices of Spam Classic or Lite, sealed in retort pouches.

As of 2003, Spam is sold in 41 countries worldwide, sold on six continents and trademarked in over 100 different countries.

In the United States in the aftermath of World War II, a troupe of ex-G.I. women was assembled by Hormel Foods to promote Spam from coast to coast. The group was known as the Hormel Girls and associated the food with being patriotic. In 1948, two years after the group’s conception, the troupe had grown to 60 women with 16 forming an orchestra. The show went on to become a radio program where the main selling point was Spam. The Hormel Girls were disbanded in 1953. Spam is still quite popular in the United States, but is sometimes associated with economic hardship because of its relatively low cost.
The residents of the state of Hawaii and the territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) consume the most Spam per capita in the United States. On average, each person on Guam consumes 16 tins of Spam each year and the numbers at least equal this in the CNMI. Guam, Hawaii, and Saipan, the CNMI’s principal island, have the only McDonald’s restaurants that feature Spam on the menu. In Hawaii, Burger King began serving Spam in 2007 on its menu to compete with the local McDonald’s chains. In Hawaii, Spam is so popular it is sometimes referred to as “The Hawaiian Steak”. One popular Spam dish in Hawaii is Spam musubi, where cooked Spam is combined with rice and nori seaweed and classified as onigiri.
Spam was introduced into the aforementioned areas, in addition to other islands in the Pacific such as Okinawa and the Philippine Islands, during the U.S. military occupation after World War II. Since fresh meat was difficult to get to the soldiers on the front, World War II saw the largest use of Spam. G.I. started eating Spam for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Some soldiers referred to Spam as “ham that didn’t pass its physical” and “meatloaf without basic training”.) Army soldiers commonly refer to SPAM as Special Army Meat due to its introduction during the war. Surpluses of Spam from the soldiers’ supplies made their way into native diets. Consequently, Spam is a unique part of the history and effects of U.S. influence in the Pacific.
The perception of Spam in Hawaii is very different from that on the mainland. Despite the large number of mainlanders who consume

Spam musubi (Hawaii)

Spam, and the various recipes that have been made from it, Spam, along with most canned food, is often stigmatized on the mainland as “poor people food”. In Hawaii, similar canned meat products such as Treet are considered cheaper versions of canned meat than Spam. This is a result of Spam having the initial market share and its name sounding more convincing to consumers.
In these locales, varieties of Spam unavailable in other markets are sold. These include Honey Spam, Spam with Bacon, and Hot and Spicy Spam.
In the CNMI, lawyers from Hormel have threatened legal action against the local press for running articles decrying the ill-effects of high Spam consumption on the health of the local population.
Spam that is sold in North America, South America, and Australia is produced in Austin, Minnesota, (also known as Spam Town USA) and in Fremont, Nebraska. Austin, Minnesota has a restaurant with a menu devoted exclusively to Spam, called “Johnny’s SPAMarama Menu”.
In 1992, SPAM Lite was introduced, and in 2001, SPAM Oven Roasted TURKEY was introduced.

 

Hormel Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota.

Spam is celebrated in a small local festival in Austin, Minnesota, where Hormel corporate headquarters are located. The event, known as Spam Jam, is a carnival-type celebration that coincides with local Fourth of July festivities, featuring parades and fireworks that often relate to the popular luncheon meat. Austin is also home to the Spam Museum, and the plant that produces Spam for most of North America and Europe. In addition to the periodic celebration, there is a national recipe competition where submissions are accepted at the top forty state fairs in the nation.

Hawaii also holds an annual version of Spam Jam in Waikiki during the last week of April.
The small town of Shady Cove, Oregonis home to the annual Spam Parade and Festival, with the city allocating $1500 for it.

The Spam-mobile

The Spam Jam is not to be confused with Spamarama, which is a yearly festival held around April Fool’s Day in Austin, Texas. The theme of Spamarama is gentle parody of Spam, rather than straightforward celebration: the event at the heart of the festival is a Spam cook-off that originated as a challenge to produce an appetizing recipe for the meat. The festival includes light sporting activities and musical acts, in addition to the cook-off.

Here’s the link to the Spam web site:
http://www.spam.com/

Nut of the Week – Macadamia Nuts

February 6, 2012 at 11:44 AM | Posted in diabetes, diabetes friendly, Food, nuts | Leave a comment
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Macadamia is a genus of nine species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, with a disjunct distribution native to eastern

Macadamia integrifolia foliage and nuts

Australia (seven species), New Caledonia (one species M. neurophylla) and Sulawesi in Indonesia (one species, M. hildebrandii).

They are small to large evergreen trees growing to 2–12 m tall. The leaves are arranged in whorls of three to six, lanceolate to obovate or elliptical in shape, 6–30 cm long and 2–13 cm broad, with an entire or spiny-serrated margin. The flowers are produced in a long, slender, simple raceme 5–30 cm long, the individual flowers 10–15 mm long, white to pink or purple, with four tepals. The fruit is a very hard, woody, globose follicle with a pointed apex, containing one or two seeds.

The genus is named after John Macadam, a colleague of botanist Ferdinand von Mueller, who first described the genus. Common names include macadamia, macadamia nut, Queensland nut, bush nut, maroochi nut, queen of nuts and bauple nut; Indigenous Australian names include gyndl, jindilli, and boombera.

The nuts are a valuable food crop. Only two of the species, Macadamia integrifolia and Macadamia tetraphylla, are of commercial importance. The remainder of the genus possess poisonous and/or inedible nuts, such as M. whelanii and M. ternifolia; the toxicity is due to the presence of cyanogenic glycosides. These glycosides can be removed by prolonged leaching, a practice used by some Indigenous Australian people for these species, as well.

The two species of edible macadamia readily hybridize, and M. tetraphylla is threatened in the wild due to this. The nut was first described by Europeans south of Brisbane in 1828 by the explorer and botanist Alan Cunningham. One of the locations where wild nut trees were originally found was at Mount Bauple near Maryborough in southeast Queensland, Australia. Locals in this area still refer to them as “bauple nuts”. The macadamia nut is the only plant food native to Australia that is produced and exported in any significant quantity.

The first commercial orchard of macadamia trees was planted in the early 1880s by Charles Staff at Rous Mill, 12 km southeast of Lismore, New South Wales, consisting of M. tetraphylla. Besides the development of a small boutique industry in Australia during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, macadamia was extensively planted as a commercial crop in Hawaii from the 1920s. Macadamia

Macadamia nut in its shell and a roasted nut

seeds were first imported into Hawaii in 1882 by William H. Purvis. The young manager of the Pacific Sugar Mill at Kukuihaele on the Big Island, planted seed nuts that year at Kapulena.

The Hawaiian-produced macadamia established the nut internationally. However, in 2006, macadamia production began to fall in Hawaii, due to lower prices from an over-supply.

Outside of Hawaii and Australia, macadamia is also commercially produced in South Africa, Brazil, California, Costa Rica, Israel, Kenya, Bolivia, New Zealand, Colombia and Malawi. Australia is now the world’s largest commercial producer – accounting for roughly 40% of the approximately 100,000 tonnes of nut in shell per year produced globally.

Compared to other common edible nuts such as almonds and cashews, macadamias are high in fat and low in protein.[9] They have the highest amount of beneficial monounsaturated fats of any known nut, but also contains approximately 22% of omega-7 palmitoleic acid, which has biological effects similar to saturated fat. They also contain 9% protein, 9% carbohydrate, and 2% dietary fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

Macadamias are toxic to dogs. Ingestion may result in macadamia nut toxicosis, which is marked by weakness and hind limb paralysis with the inability to stand, occurring within 12 hours of ingestion. Depending on the quantity ingested and size of the dog, symptoms may also include muscle tremors, joint pain and severe abdominal pain. In high doses of toxin, opiate medication may be required for symptom relief until the toxic effects diminish. Full recovery is usually within 24 to 48 hours.

Macadamia oil is prized for containing approximately 22% of the omega-7 palmitoleic acid, which makes it a botanical alternative to

Chocolate-covered macadamia nuts

mink oil, which contains approximately 17%. This relatively high content of “cushiony” palmitoleic acid plus macadamia’s high oxidative stability make it a desirable ingredient in cosmetics, especially for skincare.

The trees are also grown as ornamental plants in subtropical regions for their glossy foliage and attractive flowers. Macadamia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Batrachedra arenosella.

Macadamia nuts are often used by law enforcement to simulate crack cocaine in drug stings. When chopped, the nuts resemble crack cocaine in color.

Fruit of the Week – Custard Apple

December 12, 2011 at 1:40 PM | Posted in baking, Food, fruits | 1 Comment
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The custard-apple, also called bullock’s heart or bull’s heart, is the fruit of the tree Annona reticulata. This tree is a small deciduous or semi-evergreen tree sometimes reaching 33 ft tall and a native of the tropical New World that prefers low elevations, and a warm,

Cross Section of Custard Apple

humid climate. It also occurs as feral populations in many parts of the world including Southeast Asia, Taiwan, India, Australia, and Africa.

The fruits are variable in shape, oblong, or irregular. The size ranges from 2.8 in to 4.7 in. When ripe, the fruit is brown or yellowish, with red highlights and a varying degree of reticulation, depending on variety. The flavor is sweet and pleasant, akin to the taste of ‘traditional’ custard.

The custard apple is believed to be a native of the West Indies but it was carried in early times through Central America to southern Mexico. It has long been cultivated and naturalized as far south as Peru and Brazil. It is commonly grown in the Bahamas and occasionally in Bermuda and southern Florida.

Apparently it was introduced into tropical Africa early in the 17th century and it is grown in South Africa as a dooryard fruit tree. In India the tree is cultivated, especially around Calcutta, and runs wild in many areas. It has become fairly common on the east coast of Malaya, and more or less throughout southeast Asia and the Philippines though nowhere particularly esteemed. Eighty years ago it was reported as thoroughly naturalized in Guam. In Hawaii it is not well known.

The custard apple tree needs a tropical climate but with cooler winters than those of the west coast of Malaya. It flourishes in the coastal lowlands of Ecuador; is rare above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In Guatemala, it is nearly always found below 4,000 ft (1,220 m). In India, it does well from the plains up to an elevation of 4,000 ft (1,220 m); in Ceylon, it cannot be grown above 3,000 ft (915 m). Around Luzon in the Philippines, it is common below 2,600 ft (800 m). It is too tender for California and trees introduced into

custard apple

Palestine succumbed to the cold. In southem Florida the leaves are shed at the first onset of cold weather and the tree is dormant all winter. Fully grown, it has survived temperatures of 27º to 28ºF (-2.78º to 2.22ºC) without serious harm. This species is less drought-tolerant than the sugar apple and prefers a more humid atmosphere.

The custard apple has the advantage of cropping in late winter and spring when the preferred members of the genus are not in season. It is picked when it has lost all green color and ripens without splitting so that it is readily sold in local markets. If picked green, it will not color well and will be of inferior quality. The tree is naturally a fairly heavy bearer. With adequate care, a mature tree will produce 75 to 100 lbs (34-45 kg) of fruits per year. The short twigs are shed after they have borne flowers and fruits.

In India, the fruit is eaten only by the lower classes, out-of-hand. In Central America, Mexico and the West Indies, the fruit is appreciated by all. When fully ripe it is soft to the touch and the stem and attached core can be easily pulled out. The flesh may be scooped from the skin and eaten as is or served with light cream and a sprinkling of sugar. Often it is pressed through a sieve and added to milk shakes, custards or ice cream.

The leaves have been employed in tanning and they yield a blue or black dye. A fiber derived from the young twigs is superior to the bark fiber from Annona squamosa. Custard apple wood is yellow, rather soft, fibrous but durable, moderately close-grained, with a specific gravity of 0.650. It has been used to make yokes for oxen.

The leaf decoction is given as a vermifuge. Crushed leaves or a paste of the flesh may be poulticed on boils, abscesses and ulcers. The unripe fruit is rich in tannin; is dried, pulverized and employed against diarrhea and dysentery. The bark is very astringent and the decoction is taken as a tonic and also as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery. In severe cases, the leaves, bark and green fruits are all boiled together for 5 minutes in a liter of water to make an exceedingly potent decoction. Fragments of the root bark are packed around the gums to relieve toothache. The root decoction is taken as a febrifuge.

Fruit of the Week – Guava

October 17, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Posted in baking, Food, fruits | 1 Comment
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Guavas are plants in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) genus Psidium (meaning “pomegranate” in Latin), which contains about 100 species of tropical shrubs and small trees. They are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Guavas are now cultivated and naturalized throughout the tropics and subtropics in Southeast Asia, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Florida and Africa.

Apple Guava

The most frequently encountered species, and the one often simply referred to as “the guava”, is the Apple Guava (Psidium guajava).[citation needed]

Guavas are typical Myrtoideae, with tough dark leaves that are opposite, simple, elliptic to ovate and 5–15 cm long. The flowers are white, with five petals and numerous stamens.

The genera Accara and Feijoa (= Acca, Pineapple Guava) were formerly included in Psidium.

Psidium species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, mainly moths like the Ello Sphinx (Erinnyis ello), Eupseudosoma aberrans, E. involutum, and Hypercompe icasia. Mites like Pronematus pruni and Tydeus munsteri are known to parasitize the Apple Guava (P. guajava) and perhaps other species. The bacterium Erwinia psidii causes rot diseases of the Apple Guava.

The fruit are not only relished by humans, but by many mammals and birds as well. The spread of introduced guavas owes much to this fact, as animals will eat the fruit and disperse the seeds in their droppings.

In several tropical regions, including Hawaii, some species (namely Strawberry Guava, P. littorale, and to a lesser extent Apple Guava Psidium guajava) have become invasive species. On the other hand, several species have become very rare due to habitat destruction and at least one (Jamaican Guava, P. dumetorum), is already extinct.

Guava wood is used for meat smoking in Hawaii and is being used at barbecue competitions across the United States. In Cuba the leaves are also used in barbecues, providing a smoked flavor and scent to the meat.

Guavas are cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries for their edible fruit. Several species are grown commercially; apple guava (P. guajava) and its cultivars are those most commonly traded internationally.

Mature trees of most species are fairly cold-hardy and can survive as low as 5 °C (41 °F) for short periods of time, but younger plants will not survive. They are known to survive in Northern Pakistan where they can get down to 5°C or lower during the night. A few species – notably strawberry guavas – can survive temperatures several degrees below freezing for short periods of time.

Guavas are also of interest to home growers in temperate areas, being one of the few tropical fruits that can grow to fruiting size in pots indoors. When grown from seed, guavas can bloom and bear fruit as soon as two years, or as long as eight years

In Hawaii, guava fruit is eaten with soy sauce and vinegar. Occasionally, a pinch of sugar and black pepper are added to the soy

Ripe apple guavas

sauce and vinegar mixture. The guava fruit is cut up and dipped into the sauce.

In Pakistan and India, guava fruit is often eaten raw, typically cut into quarters with a pinch of salt and pepper and sometimes cayenne powder/masala. Street vendors often sell guava fruit for a couple of rupees each.

In the Philippines, ripe guava is used in cooking sinigang.

The fruit is also often prepared as a dessert, in fruit salads. In Asia, fresh guava slices are often dipped in preserved prune powder or salt. In India it is often sprinkled with red rock salt, which is very tart.

Because of the high level of pectin, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, marmalades (Brazilian goiabada), and also for juices and aguas frescas.

Guava juice is very popular in Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, Egypt, Mexico, and South Africa.

“Red” guavas can be used as the base of salted products such as sauces, substituting for tomatoes, especially for those sensitive to the latter’s acidity. In Asia, a drink is made from an infusion of guava fruits and leaves. In Brazil, the infusion made with guava tree leaves (chá-de-goiabeira, i.e. “tea” of guava tree leaves) is considered medicinal.

Guavas are often included among superfruits, being rich in dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, folic acid, and the dietary minerals, potassium, copper and manganese. Having a generally broad, low-calorie profile of essential nutrients, a single common guava (P. guajava) fruit contains about four times the amount of vitamin C as an orange.

However, nutrient content varies across guava cultivars. Although the strawberry guava (P. littorale var. cattleianum), notably containing 90 mg of vitamin C per serving, has about 25% of the amount found in more common varieties, its total vitamin C content in one serving still provides 100% of the Dietary Reference Intake for adult males.
‘Thai maroon’ guavas, a red apple guava cultivar, rich in carotenoids and polyphenols

Guavas contain both carotenoids and polyphenols like (+)-gallocatechin, guaijaverin, leucocyanidin and amritoside – the major classes of antioxidant pigments – giving them relatively high potential antioxidant value among plant foods. As these pigments produce the fruit skin and flesh color, guavas that are red-orange have more pigment content as polyphenol, carotenoid and pro-vitamin A, retinoid sources than yellow-green ones.

Fruit of the Week – Papaya

July 25, 2011 at 9:35 AM | Posted in Food, fruits, low calorie, low carb | 1 Comment
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The papaya (from Carib via Spanish), papaw, or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, the sole species in the genus Carica of the plant family Caricaceae. It is native to the tropics of the Americas, and was first cultivated in Mexico several centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classic cultures.

The papaya is a large tree-like plant, with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 metres (16 to 33 ft) tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk. The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and fruit were borne. The leaves are large, 50–70 centimetres (20–28 in) diameter, deeply palmately lobed with 7 lobes. The tree is usually unbranched, unless lopped. The flowers are similar in shape to the flowers of the Plumeria, but are much smaller and wax-like. They appear on the axils of the leaves, maturing into the large 15–45 centimetres (5.9–18 in) long, 10–30 centimetres (3.9–12 in) diameter fruit. The fruit is ripe when it feels soft (like a ripe avocado or a bit softer) and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue. Carica papaya was the first fruit tree to have its genome deciphered.

Originally from southern Mexico (particularly Chiapas and Veracruz), Central America, and northern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most tropical countries. In cultivation, it grows rapidly, fruiting within 3 years. It is, however, highly frost sensitive, limiting papaya production to tropical lands.

In the 1990s, the papaya ringspot virus threatened to wipe out Hawaii’s papaya industry completely. Cultivars that had been genetically modified to be resistant to the virus (including ‘SunUp‘ and ‘Rainbow’), were then introduced there. There is still no conventional or organic method of controlling the ringspot virus. In 2004, it was found that papayas throughout Hawaii had experienced hybridization with the genetically modified varieties and that many seed stocks were contaminated. By 2010, 80% of Hawaiian papaya plants were genetically modified.

Two kinds of papayas are commonly grown. One has sweet, red (or orangish) flesh, and the other has yellow flesh; in Australia these are called “red papaya” and “yellow papaw”, respectively. Either kind, picked green, is called a “green papaya.”

The large-fruited, red-fleshed ‘Maradol’, ‘Sunrise’, and ‘Caribbean Red’ papayas often sold in U.S. markets are commonly grown in Mexico and Belize.

‘SunUp’ and ‘Rainbow’, grown in Hawaii, are genetically modified to be resistant to the papaya ringspot virus.

The ripe fruit of the papaya is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads, and stews. Green papaya is used in south east Asian cooking, both raw and cooked. Papayas have a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies.

The black seeds of the papaya are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground and used as a substitute for black pepper.

In some parts of Asia, the young leaves of papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach. In some parts of the world, papaya leaves are made into tea as a preventative for malaria, although there is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this treatment.

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