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Archive for the ‘Seasonal Fruits’ 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

Strawberry

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Strawberry

Strawberry plants are shallow rooted, with most of the roots in the top 15 cm of soil, and require a well-drained soil at least 20 cm deep. Strawberry can be grown in coarse, sandy soils, but it cannot tolerate drought, therefore, fertilization and irrigation are very important in
strawberry farming. In Canada, Strawberry planting usually starts in March; fruits are ripened and harvested in June. In North America, strawberries have been grown for fruit production since about 1835; Strawberries are grown in all provinces of Canada, and Quebec is accounted as the biggest strawberry producing province amongst the provinces.

Nutritional Facts

Strawberry is low in calories and fat free. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Potassium, fiber, and various antioxidants. It detoxifies body and helps to reduce the risk of heart diseases and cancers. Also, its antioxidants help to improve skin and hair condition.

Reference

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. (2005, April). Crop Profile For Strawberry In Canada.
Retrieved from http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2009/agr/A118-10-17-
2005E.pdf

Articlesbase. (2007). Nutrients Found in Strawberries. Retrieved from http://
www.articlesbase.com/home-and-family-articles/nutrients-found-in-strawberries-
256625.html