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Archive for the ‘Fruits’ Category

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

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

Pineapple

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Pineapple

Pineapple got its name from a combination of the Spanish, “pina” and the English, “apple”. When Christopher Columbus brought the pineapple back from Guadeloupe to Spain in 1493; Spanish saw the fruit’s resemblance to a pine cone, so they called it “Pine of the Indies”; English called it “apple” because of its delicious fruits. Later, the two names combined and become, “pineapple”, the name that we commonly use nowadays. Pineapple was native to Tropical America, and it was introduced to different countries around the world by Portuguese explorers in the 16th century. It is now cultivated in a lot of tropical area; such as Hawaii, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Southeast Asia. The pineapple fruit is a fuse of the individual berries in the central stalk of the plant; the leaves are the continued growth of the stalk beyond where the fruit is attached. Side shoots are grown at the leaf axils of the main stem after the first fruit is grown, they can be remove for propagation, or left on the plant for the growth of a second fruit.

Nutritional Facts

The juicy, sweet and fragrant fruit of pineapple contain bromelain, which is a mixture of substance that can be extracted from the stem and core of fruit. Bromelain contains protein-digesting enzymes, which helps with the digestion in the intestinal tract. Bromelain can also help in prevention of excessive inflammation, blood coagulation, and tumor growth. Pineapple is also a very good source of Vitamin C, Manganese, and Vitamin B1; which will defend the body cells against free radical attack, maintain proper body immune function, and produce sufficient energy for the body.

Reference

Ombrello, T. (n.a.) The Pineapple. Retrieved from http://faculty.ucc.edu/biology-ombrello/pow/pineapple.htm

The World’s Healthiest Food (2012) Pineapple. Retrieved from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=34

Apples

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Apples

There are over 5,000 apple varieties in the world. China, United States, and Iran are the three top apple growing countries; Canada is also one of the top apple growing countries in the world. There are about 50 varieties of apples that are locally grown in Canada, such as, Spartan, Red Delicious, Mcintosh, Ambrosia, Golden Delicious, Golden Russett, Paula Red, Fuji, etc. Each variety has its own taste, texture and appearance. In British Columbia, apples are available year around because they are stored in Controlled Atmosphere (CA) rooms after they are picked from the trees. This process helps to control the breakdown and ripening of fruit.

Nutritional Facts

“An Apple a day keeps the doctor away”
Apples are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium; and are a rich source of antioxidant compounds, dietary fiber and Vitamin C. Therefore, apples may help to reduce risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, colon cancer, and lung cancer.

Reference

Unite States International Trade Commission. (February, 2010). Apples – Industry And Trade Summary. Retrived from http://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/ITS_4.pdf

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. (2008, May 27). Agri-Food Trade Service – Canadian Apple Industry. Retrived from http://www.ats-sea.agr.gc.ca/can/4480000-eng.htm.