Red D’Anjou Pear

 The Red Anjou

The Red Anjou originated as naturally occurring bud sport found on Green Anjou trees. Apart from the reddish-maroon skin colour, red Anjou pears are very similar to the Green Anjou, in shape, flavour and texture. They are great for adding colour to a fruit basket, bowl or salad.

What is a bud sport?

The word sport in botany, means a natural genetic mutation as a result of faulty chromosomal replication. The sport results in a segment of the plant that is distinctly different from the parent plant in appearance (phenotype) and genetics (genotype)
A bud sport is the natural mutation that occurs in a single branch in a tree. In many cases the new character (trait) can be handed down to the plant’s offspring.
Many varieties of fruits are ‘sports’ such as the ‘Red D’Anjou’ which is derived from the ‘Green D’Anjou’ where the difference is only in the skin colour.

Availability: October-May

Avocado

Persia americana

How to Cut Avocado myfavouritepastime.com_3635

Avocado belongs to the family Lauraceae which also includes the Bay Laurel (Bay leaves) and Cinnamon.

It’s also popularly known as Alligator Pear, because it looks like a leathery pear or Butter Fruit or Butter Pear.

It’s a native to central America and has been cultivated in the USA since the mid 1800s in Florida and California, which produces 90% of US fruit. It’s currently cultivated in the tropical and Mediterranean types of climates throughout the world.

Producers: Mexico is the largest producer and exporter of avocado. Other main producers are, California, New Zealand, Peru and South Africa.

Varieties

There are several cultivars of avocado the most common being ‘Hass’, which accounts for 80% of the cultivated avocados in the world, and produces fruit all year round. The flesh has a nutty, rich flavour with 19% oil and the fruit turns purplish black on ripening. Continue reading

Garam Masala

Garam Masala myfavouritepastime.comA spice mixture used in Indian cookery. The exact mix varies according to the cooks taste and regions but the following spices are typically used, whole: Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin and black pepper. The whole spices are roasted together, then ground into powder.

Because the spices are not raw, garam masala may be added to dishes in the final stages of cooking or sprinkled over as a final seasoning before serving the food. It can be made in large quantities and stored in airtight containers.

Okra

Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench

Member of cotton or Cocoa Family (Malvaceae)

Okra is commonly known as Lady’s finger, Common okra, Okro, Gombo or Gumbo, Bindi Its origin is uncertain but it’s widespread in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions and is particularly popular in West Africa, Middle East, Caribbean, India, Phillipines, Thailand and Brazil. In the USA, Florida, Georgia and Texas are the leading producers.
The species grown in West Africa is called Abelmoschus caillei and is popularly known as West African Okra. More than 6 million tonnes of okra are produced a year.

Part of the Plant Used

The okra plant is a stout annual, erect herb, up to 4m tall with a well branched, stem covered with stiff hairs.

All the edible plant parts are mucilaginous, resulting in the characteristic “goo” or slime when they are cooked. (All young parts of the plant are said to be edible.)

The plant is mainly grown for its young immature fruits (pods) that are popular as a cooked or fried vegetable. Cooked okra exudes a gooey and slimy juice due to the presences of mucilage.  Okra  is a key ingredient in the thick piquant soup called gumbo and is popularly used in soups and stews.

Okra’s flavour and texture are unique. It’s tastes is somewhere between that of eggplant and asparagus and it especially marries well with tomatoes, peppers and corn. Continue reading

Brussels sprout

Brassica oleracea– Gemmifera Group.

Also known as Chou de Bruxelles (FR), Couve de Bruxelas (Po). It is a descendant of the common cabbage.

Brussels sprout, possibly originated in the area now called Belgium around 13th century, later moving to southern Netherlands, and the rest of north western Europe where it’s an important autumn and winter crop. It’s named after the capital of Belgium.

It’s grown for the enlarged buds (sprouts) formed in the leaf axils of erect, long stemmed plants. The buds (sprouts) are 2.5-4cm (1-1.6 inches) in diameter. They resemble miniature heads of cabbage, are consumed cooked and mostly purchased fresh, but frozen sprouts are also available.

They are similar to cabbage in taste but slightly milder in flavour and denser in texture.The characteristic flavour and taste is determined by presence of glucosinolates which are naturally occurring organic compounds that contain sulphur and nitrogen. Nutritionally, Brussel sprouts, have the same cancer inhibiting properties like cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. Continue reading