Archive for the ‘Products’ Category

Mango

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Mango

Mango belongs to the Anacardiaceae family, native to the tropical and subtropical region, such as East Asia, Myanmar, and India. Its fossils can be dated back to 25 to 30 million years ago. In the 4th and 5th centuries BC, Buddhist monks took mango plants on voyages to Malaya and East Asia, and carried to Middle East and East Africa by the Persian Traders in the 10th centuries. It was finally introduced to South America, Philippines and West Africa in the 15th centuries by the Portuguese explorers. The mango fruit is round or oval, similar to the shape of a kidney, in a smooth skin. Its color can be different between varieties, ranging from bright or golden yellow, to orange or greenish red. The size of the fruit is about 5cm to 15cm in length, weight around 6 ounce to 4 pounds. This fleshy fruit is juicy, sweet and fragrant, tastes like a mix of orange, pineapple and peach; and holds a large single pit in the core. It is a very popular ingredient in a lot of Southeast Asian cuisine; it can be used in salad, cooked dish, beverages, dessert or simply eaten raw. Amongst the different varieties of mango being cultivated in the world, Tommy, Kent, Haden and Ataulfo are the varieties that are widely available in Canada; and supplies mainly come from Mexico.

Nutritional Facts

Mango is an excellent source of vitamin C, and vitamin A, which will help in boosting the body immune system and maintaining healthy vision and skin. It is also a very good source of potassium, which can help in regulating blood pressure. The polyphenolic anti-oxidant compounds in mango are also suggested to be an effective agent in breast and colon cancer prevention.

Reference

Britannica Encyclopedia. (n.d.) Mango. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/362003/mango

Plant Culture. (n.d.) Mango – History. Retrieved from http://www.kew.org/plant-cultures/plants/mango_history.html

Power Your Diet. (n.d.) Mango Fruit Nutritional Facts. Retrieved from http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/mango-fruit.html

Young Coconut

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Young Coconut

Young coconut is the fruit from the palm tree. Its specific origin is unknown, but it is likely to be first cultivated in Southeast Asia region, such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka. Today, coconut is grown in a lot of tropical regions with high humidity, such a Philippines, India, and Thailand; and those which are available in Vancouver are usually imported from Thailand. Young Coconut is also called “tender coconut”; it is harvested before the coconut is fully matured. Immature coconut contains more coconut water and less meat; part of its husk is usually cut away to allow access to coconut water before it is sold to consumers. A typical young coconut contains around 300mL to 600mL of water; its water has a mild sweetness and a little tart, with a refreshing aroma. Inside the young coconut, there is a thin layer of white coconut meat, with a tender and gelatinous texture. It can be stored in the refrigerator to keep cold, and simply cut away the tip of the young coconut with a knife to expose the coconut water and meat when it is about to be served; it makes a great drink in a hot summer day.

Nutritional Facts

Young coconut contains significant amount of several nutrients, includes vitamin C, iron, calcium, and electrolytes. Amongst these different nutrients, the electrolytes that are in the coconut water give young coconut its unique property in preventing body dehydration. Electrolytes are minerals in the body fluid that carry electrical charge, which are important ingredients that are used in a lot of sports drink in the market; they can help to rehydrate the body and prevent the body from dehydration. Also, young coconut is also a good source of lauric acid, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which will help to strength the body immune system.

Reference

Hannigan, I. (2011, September 15) Nutritional Value of an Immature Coconut. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/544739-nutritional-value-of-an-immature-coconut/

Science Daily (2011, June 24) Deep History of Coconuts Decoded: Origins of Cultivation, Ancient Trade Route, and Colonization of the Americas. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110624142037.htm

Peach

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Peach

Peach belongs to the Rosaceae family, in the same family as apricot and nectarine and in the same cultivar group of the peach; it is cultivated throughout the temperate regions of the world. Peach was native to China; then it was spread through Asia, Mediterranean countries, and Europe; and finally introduced to America by the Spanish explorers in the 16th century. Peach tree cannot tolerate severe cold, but it needs a certain level of winter chilling to induce their growth after the annual dormant period. The peach develops from a single ovary in the flower that ripens into a fleshy and juicy exterior makes up the edible part of the fruit; and its hard interior is called the “stone” or “pit”. The fruit is usually round, but there is a specific type which is called the “flat peach” or “donut peach”; which is flattened with a depression in the middle which resemblance a donut hole. The peach skin is fuzzy, and the color is usually in golden yellow with blushes of red. Its soft and tender flesh can be white or yellow, and clingstone or freestone. In freestone types, the flesh separates from the pit easily, while clingstone types cling to the pit. Many of the white fleshed varieties are sub-acidic, which means they are lower in acidity and sweeter in taste in comparison to the yellow fleshed varieties. Yellow fleshed varieties are pink tinged around the pit, with a distinct aroma and a more pronounced flavour. In Canada, peach is at its peak season from May to late September; they are grown locally or imported from regions such as Washington or California. In BC, it is grown in South Okanagan, Similkameen and Creston Valleys; and peach product in BC along accounts for 20% of the Canadian production. The major peach varieties that are grown in BC are “Red Haven”, “Early Red Haven” and “Cresthaven”.

Nutritional Facts

Peach is low in calories, and it is fat free. Peach contains 10 different vitamins, includes vitamin A, C, E and K; which will help in body anti-oxidation, vision maintenance, tissue building, and blood clotting capabilities. Peach also contains a good amount of potassium, which will help in maintaining a healthy blood pressure, prevention of kidney stones and bone loss. Also, the fiber content in peach is essential to a smooth and healthy digestion, prevention of constipation and cholesterol regulation.

Reference

Cespedes, A. (2011, March 28) What Are The Health Benefits Of Peaches? Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/408214-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-peaches/

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. (2004) An Overview of British Columbia’s Peach, Nectarine, Apricot, Plum and Prune. Retrieved from http://www.al.gov.bc.ca/treefrt/profile/stonefrt.pdf

Britannica Encyclopedia (n.d.) Peach. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/447786/peach

Nectarine

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Nectarine

Nectarine was originated from China more than 2,000 years ago. In the late 16th century, nectarine was grown in the Great Britain, and it was introduced to America by the Spanish explorers in the early 17th century. Nectarine belongs to the Rosaceae family, in the same family as apricot and peach, and in the same cultivar group of the peach. Several genetic studies have concluded that nectarine is created due to a recessive allele, whereas the fuzzy skinned peach is the dominant allele. Therefore, the appearance of nectarine is very similar to peach, but it is smaller in size and its skin is smooth and in golden yellow with blushes of red. Its flesh can be white or yellow, and clingstone or freestone. In freestone types, the flesh separates from the pit easily, while clingstone types cling to the pit. Many of the white fleshed varieties are sub-acidic, which means they are lower in acidity and sweeter in taste in comparison to the yellow fleshed varieties. Yellow fleshed varieties are pink tinged around the pit, with a distinct aroma and a more pronounced flavour. In Canada, nectarine is available from May to late September, grown locally or imported from regions such as California and Washington. In B.C., it is primarily grown in South Okanagan or Similkameen regions, and it is harvested in July and August. The major varieties of nectarine that are grown in BC are “Redgold”, “Independence” and “Fire Brite”.

Nutritional Facts

Nectarine is low in calories, and it contains no saturated fat. It has a high concentration of anti-oxidant, such as vitamin A and E, lutein, zeaxanthin and ß-cryptoxanthin; which can help to protect body against harmful free radicals, lung and oral cavity cancers. Nectarine also contains a good level of B-complex vitamin and minerals, which can help to regulate heart rate and blood pressure.

Reference

Center of Diseas Control. (n.d.) Fruit of the Month: Nectarine. Retrieved from http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/month/nectarine.html

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. (2004) An Overview of British Columbia’s Peach, Nectarine, Apricot, Plum and Prune. Retrieved from http://www.al.gov.bc.ca/treefrt/profile/stonefrt.pdf

Apricot

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Apricot

Apricot belongs to the Rosaceae family, in the same family as nectarine and peach; it is cultivated throughout the temperate regions of the world. Apricot is native to China, it was introduced to the United States in the 18th century by Spanish missionaries, and it is now cultivated in Central and Southeast Asian, Southern Europe and North Africa. The apricot fruit is round to oblong in shape, similar to the shape of a peach. It has a soft, velvety, golden yellow to orange colour skin and flesh, with a single pit in the core. The flesh is not too juicy, but smooth and sweet with a faint tartness that lies between a peach and a plum. Apricot is in season from May through September in North America; the fresh fruit that is available in the winter months is usually imported from South America or New Zealand. Apricot can be eaten raw as a fresh fruit, but also dried, cooked, preserved as jam, or distilled into brandy and liqueur; moreover, its pit can also be extracted into essential oil.

Nutritional Facts

Apricot is a good source of vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant which quenches free radical damages to cells and tissues, and protects eye’s lenses against radical damage. It is also a good source of fiber, which can prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive system. Moreover, the high beta-carotene content of apricot helps protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which may help in heart disease prevention.

Reference

Britannica Encyclopedia (n.d.) Apricot. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/30806/apricot

The World’s Healthiest Foods. (n.d.) Apricots. Retrieved from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=3

Okra

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Okra

Okra is also known as the “Lady’s Fingers” or “Gumbo”, the seed pod of a tropical leafy flowering plant that is native to Ethiopia. It has been cultivated by Ancient Egyptians since 1200 BC; then, it was introduced to North America and Europe in the 17th century. Its skin can be smooth or ribbed, usually in medium or dark green; and its seeds are clustered in the core of the pod. When okra is cooked, gelatinous fluid will be exuded from the skin and surround the seeds in the seed pod, which makes it soft and slimy. This viscous fluid gives okra its most defining culinary characteristics, as an ingredient that can be added to thicken soups, curries and stew. The flavour of an okra resemblance to a cross of eggplant and asparagus, and it is a popular cooking ingredient in Middle East, Caribbean, and South America. It can be used in soup, curries, stew, salad, deep fry and pickled dishes. Okra is at its peak season in the summer months. The seed pod is picked a few days after the plant flowers, while it is unripe, tender and usually within 3 inches long; because mature okra is tough and it is not recommended for certain recipes.

Nutritional Facts

Okra is low in calories and sodium, and it contains no fat or cholesterol. It contains soluble and insoluble fiber, which can help in maintaining the health of the heart and digestive system. Okra also has a high level of calcium, potassium, phosphate, vitamin B-6, folate and lutein, which can help to maintain a healthy vision and blood pressure level.

Reference

Toffelmire, A. (n.d.) Healthy Foods: Okra. Retrieved from http://chealth.canoe.ca/channel_section_details.asp?text_id=5082&channel_id=44&relation_id=48476

Discovery Health. (2012) Okra. Retrieved from http://health.discovery.com/convergence/truth/foodarticles/okra.html

Pear

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Pear

Pear belongs to genus Pyrus, natives to the Northern Hemisphere. It consists of about 20 species of which half are found in Europe and Northern Africa; and half in Asia. This has given rise to two groups of pears, the soft-fleshed European pears and the crisp-fleshed Asian pears. The precise origin of European pear is unknown, but it is believed to be existed since prehistoric times, due to the discovery of dried pear slices in Swiss cave dewelling of the Ice Age. Nowadays, there are wide varieties of pear available in the market; such as Anjou pears, Bartlett pears, Bosc pears, Comice pears, and Seckel pears. Among all the different varieties, Anjour pear, Bartlett pear, and Bosc pear are the most commonly found pear varieties in Vancouver. Pears are available from around August to May or June next year; they are grown locally in B.C. or imported from other places, such as Washington, California, and Australia; depends on the varieties. Anjous pear is firm and dense, mild in flavor; Bartlett pear is aromatic and juicy; Bosc pear is sweet, dense and crispy. They can all be eaten raw or used in cooked dishes, dessert, beverages, and pastries; depends on their textures and flavors. Pears are harvested when the fruit is fully mature, but before ripening occurs; in order to keeps the fruit’s flavor at a peak and stops the flesh from becoming soft and gritty before it reaches consumer’s hand.

Nutritional Facts

Pears have no cholesterol, sodium, or saturated fat. They offer a natural, quick source of energy, due largely to their high amounts of fructose, glucose, and the sweetest of known natural sugars, levulose. Pear is a nutrient dense food, providing more nutrients per calorie. It also contains a good level of dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin C, which will help in sustaining blood glucose level and blood pressure level, preventing damage of metabolic process by free radical, improving the immune system and promoting the healing of cuts and bruises.

Reference

Janick, J. (n.d.) The Pear in history, Literature, Poplar Culture, and Art. Retrieved from http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/pearinhistory.pdf

Watson, M. (2012) Guide to Pear Varieties. Retrieved from http://localfoods.about.com/od/pears/ss/Pear-Varieties.htm

Produce Oasis (2012) Pears. Retrieved from http://www.produceoasis.com/Hierarchy_Folder/MainFruits_folder/L2fruits_folder/Pears.html

Fiddlehead Fern

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Fiddlehead Fern

Fiddlehead fern is the coiled frond at the tip of a young fern, harvested for the purpose as an edible vegetable. It is usually harvested before the frond opens and reaches its full length, because it will be tough and stringy when it is uncoiled. Fiddlehead is only available in spring for a very short period, and they grow in moist and shaded areas, places like forest and river bottoms. There are different types of fiddlehead, and several of them are commonly eaten; such as ostrich fern, cinnamon fern, lady fern and bracken fern. It has a pleasantly crunchy and tender texture, with a fresh flavor reminiscent of a mix between asparagus and green bean. However, fiddlehead is toxic, which may cause nausea, lethargy, dizziness, and headache. Ostrich fern is the safest consumable fern amongst all. Raw fiddlehead has been associated with a few food-borne disease cases since 1994; therefore, it is usually sautéed, steamed, boiled or baked for consumption.

Nutritional Facts

Fiddleheads are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and are rich in niacin, magnesium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus. They are also rich in antioxidants and bioflavonoids, which are plant chemicals that help protect against disease.

Reference

Health Canada (2011, April 12) Food Safety Tip For Fiddlehead. Retrieved from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/kitchen-cuisine/fiddlehead-fougere-eng.php

Lively, R. (2012) Fiddlehead Facts. Retrieved from http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/qa/fiddlehead-facts.aspx

Specialty Prodcue (2012) Fiddelhead Ferns. Retrieved from http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Fiddlehead_Ferns_551.php

Asian Pear

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Asian Pear

The texture and flavour of Asian pear is different from the European pear; Asian pear includes a group of pears which are crispy and juicy. They do not change texture after picking or storing in a cold storage, so they are ready to eat any time after they are harvested. Asian pears have been grown commercially in Asia for centuries; nowadays, countries such as, China, Korea and Japan grow pears for domestic consumption, and also for export to other countries, includes Canada and United States. There are 3 types of Asian pears; the first type is a round fruit with green-to-yellow skin, an example of this would be a Ya Pear; the second type is a round fruit with bronze-colored skin and light bronze-russet, the examples would be the Yuan Huang Pear and Singo Pear; and the third type is a pear-shaped fruit with green or russet skin, the best example of this type of pear would be the Fragrant Pear. They are at their prime quality when they ripen on the tree, and their ripening time varies. These pears are usually firm to touch when ripe; they are crisp, juicy, and slightly sweet with some tartness near the core when they are ripe and ready to eat. Tress of some varieties can tolerate the cold to about -20°F; and the rootstock of some of the varieties can tolerate temperature as low as -40°F. One of the biggest challenges for Asian pear farming would be the protection of the fruit’s tender skin during harvesting and transportation. Therefore, a lot of wrapping materials and paddings are used in the picking buckets and the fruit storing containers to minimize bruising and brown marking on the fruits.

Nutritional Facts

Asian pear contains no fat, cholesterol or saturated fat. A medium-sized Asian pear contains about 50 calories. It is a good source of fiber if it is consumed with the skin; and it is also a good choice for people who are on low-carb diets because of its low carbohydrates content. In comparison to European pear, Asian pear has a slightly higher amount of Vitamin C.

Reference

Beutel, J.A. (1990) Asian Pears. Retrieved from http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1990/v1-304.html

Leigh, K. (n.d.) Asian Pear Nutrient. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/about_5421236_asian-pear-nutrition.html

Lychee

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Lychee

Lychee is a tropical tree fruit that is native to southern China and Southeast Asia. Its history of cultivation can be traced back as far as 2000 BC according to records in Chinese history. The translucent glossy white flesh of lychee is covered by a roughly textured rind, similar to the flesh texture of grape; about 1 to 2 inches in size. It is sweet and succulent with “perfume” flavor. There are over 40 varieties of lychee worldwide, about 10 of them are available in Canada. Among all the different varieties, “Fei Zi Xiao” is one of the premium kinds of lychee, which gets its name from an interesting story. “Fei Zi Xiao” is also known as “The Concubine Smiles”. It is so-called because the emperor of Tang Dynasty, Tang Ming Huang ordered relay house to transport this perishable fruit fresh from the south of China to the palace in the north for the enjoyment of his beloved concubine, Yang Gui Fei. Therefore, this particular kind of lychee, favored by Yang Gui Fei, is named as “Fei Zi Xiao” because it makes the concubine smiles.

Nutritional Facts

Lychee is low in calorie, it contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; but it is an excellent source of Vitamin C and dietary fiber. The fiber content in every 100g of fresh lychee equals to 119% of daily-recommended value. Lychee contains an anti-oxidant, oligonol, which have several anti-oxidant and anti-influenza virus actions; it also helps in improving blood flow in organs, body weight maintenance, and skin protection from harmful UV rays. Lychee is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins, such as thiamin, niacin and folates; and minerals, such as potassium and copper.

Reference

Tourney, A. (2011 March 28) Nutrition in Lychee Nuts. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/408600-nutrition-in-lychee-nuts/