These interesting and informative challenges are courtesy of Chef Daniel Lesnes, Garibaldi Secondary School 

 #42 Fall 2018 

As an old root, I don't get no respect. Years of pickling have made me sour. But I can be baked, braised, used in soups, or grated in salads, dried. I'm not just another jarred item for the salad bar anymore. In fact my juice is often used in spas as part of a weight reduction program. Now I ask you, how trendy is that? My greens have regularly been used as components in mesclun, another happening product! Believed to have originated in Northern Africa, my root was popular with the Romans while peasants ate my leaves the Romans discarded. I have a thin skin and am very fleshy. My colours include, white, orange and red. Lemon juice is usually required for hand cleaning when working with me, as I bleed easily when bruised or watered. The infants are eaten raw while mature members of our family require cooking. As a pharma food I am said to stimulate appetite and we are easily digested. Bartolomeo Platina, Italian Renaissance humanist writer and gastronomist, recommended taking us with garlic to nullify the effects of "garlic-breath" Our roots are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Our leaves are also a good source of potassium as well as folic acid and magnesium. So, after all these years, I'm still the one! 


#41 Spring 2018 

Although my place of origin is unknown because of long cultivation, I probably originated from the Fertile Crescent, region straddling between Egypt and Mesopotamia. So been native to the Middle East my name daktylos (δάκτυλος) comes from the Greek meaning finger, after the shape of my fruit. Stories are telling the Nomadic tribes took me to the Sahara and the Moors brought me to North Africa and Spain. Spanish Missionaries brought me to California. I grow on trees typically reaching about 21–23 metres (69–75 ft) in height, growing singly or forming a clump with several stems from a single root system. In our family, the mans flower grows on a different tree than the woman's, and the female flower emits no scent to attract insects. Humans actually collect the pollen from the men and gently blow it on the female pods. After our boys are drained and our girls are blown, a paper bag is put over the ladies pods to generate heat and make sure the pollen does not blow away. When our ladies bear fruit a fruit stalk is tied to one of their lower leaves and a paper parasol wrapping is used to protect our fruit. Exhausting, isn't it? My average fruit contains 24 calories. I am rich in folic acid and fibre. I contain no sodium or fat. I am also cholesterol free. My skin is thin and papery and my flesh is cloyingly sweet. I am harvested green and unripe but I turn yellow, golden brown, black, or mahogany red when ripe. I am great stuffed, rolled, in cakes, or plain. Many countries have their own specialties using me, In Southeast Spain (where a large plantation exists including UNESCO-protected Palmeral of Elche) I am usually pitted, stuffed with fried almond, and served wrapped in bacon after been shallow fried. In Israel I am turned into syrup, termed "silan", used while cooking chicken and and also for sweet and desserts, and as a honey substitute. I am also one ingredient used to make Jallab, a type of fruit syrup very popular in Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon. In Pakistan, a viscous, thick syrup made from the ripe fruits is used as a coating for leather bags and pipes to prevent leaking. 


#40 Winter 2018 

Held sacred by some, I was a staple of ancient Mediterranean civilizations. I have over 600 relatives and we often stand for peace or prosperity. I have the highest sugar content of any fruit. My natural sweetness meant that, before the days of refined sugars, I was often used as a sweetener. Although commonly referred to as a fruit, I am actually the infructescence or scion of the tree, known as a false fruit or multiple fruit, in which my flowers and seeds are borne. I am a hollow-ended stem containing many flowers. The small orifice (ostiole) visible on the middle of me is a narrow passage, used by my pollinator to enter and pollinate my flower, whereafter I grow seeds. My skin comes in shades of brown, black, green, purple, and red. Originally hailing from Southern Europe, Asia, and Africa, I was brought to the North America by the Spanish Franciscan missionaries who set up in Southern California. I have a soft, juicy texture and a sweet, nut-like flavour. I am used fresh, dried, canned, in concentrates, and in purees. I am a good source of iron, calcium, and phosphorous. 


#39 Fall 2017 

Volume 20 Issue 1 I am a product of centuries of cultivation and selection. I am part of the cool-season crop grown in many parts of the world. I am indigenous to central Asia and Europe. I was very popular among the Greeks and Romans but my oldest friends are the Chinese who have known me for close to 5,000 years. I am starchy, crunchy, sweet and particularly petite. In my early days my look and taste was a bit of an eyesore, until my friend the famous botanist Gregor Mendel got a hold of me, fortunately, and greatly improved my appearance and taste over the years. I am raised with several brothers and sisters, I rarely grow alone. Our homes range from 1 to 6 inches in length. Each home contains as little as one or as much as ten of us. My skin can be slim and svelte or flat and swollen but always with curves in all the right places. I have over 1,000 varieties including smooth and wrinkled. For the most part you'll find my smooth frozen and my wrinkled canned. My colours range from green to grayish, whitish, or brownish. Before we are sold, we need to be graded by size, in which the smallest of us receive the label of highest quality for their tenderness. Then I am sold fresh, dried, or frozen. I contain small amounts of protein and I am rich vitamin B. I am often used as a cover crop as I provide nitrogen for the soil. I am mainly consumed in soups or a traditional side dish to accompany meat, and mixed with other vegetables. 


#38 Winter 2017 Volume 19 Issue 2 — published in Spring 2017 Volume 19 issue 3 

If you have not tried me yet, now is the time. I am THE SUPER GREEN, packed to the max with nutrition that puts me high on the list of the world's healthiest foods. Even spinach cannot come close in comparison to the number of nutrients that I provides. I am the Hercules of the cabbage family, able to withstand frost and snow. (Kryptonite ain't nothing but I can't leap tall buildings in a single bound. . . yet.) I am a staple winter vegetable, especially in rural areas of Ireland where I am used in colcannon. Originally cultivated in the Mediterranean region, I was an important crop in roman times and a staple food among peasants during the Middle Ages. I am a sprouting plant, and like broccoli or spring greens I'm heartless. I don't even have a head, pretty sad don’t you think, I just kinda hang out openly with curly, wavy, or toothed leaves. Although heartless and headless, I am the rainbow of colours ranging from reddish-brown to bluish green, pink, white and purple. As an adult I must be cooked to be digested, while my Peacock, and Nagoya varieties are often picked young and used as salad components or in mesclun's. I am so dammed pretty that I am often used just to line a plate, platter, sidewalk, garden, or hedge. With a flavour reminiscent of cauliflower and broccoli I can be braised, steamed, grilled, boiled, or stir-fried. Lately I have been transformed and eaten in chips form. Who knows what is going to be the next trend for me, I secretly dream to be the companion of chocolate one day, could you help me with this? Besides of that and on a more traditional note, I am great with bacon, garlic and cheese. Vinegar or lemon juice will help retain my colour when cooked. I will not fill you with numerous facts about me, believe me, every single food review, diet journal, good health, fitness tips, food critic… have stories about me, all so positive for your diet. Go ahead, next time you are at the market, grab me by the stem… 


#37 Fall 2016 Volume 19 Issue 1 

Hey! Lets talk big, I mean BIG! In one form or another I am the most popular fruit of the New Year. Together, my relatives and I, comprise the world's single largest fruit crop (Seventy-two million tons grown each year worldwide). My Family consists of over ten thousand varieties! - You can't possibly imagine what the family reunions are like. All that inbreeding really shows. Don’t worry, we have space for it, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), more than 75,866 square kilometres of the world are dedicated to our family. And we are still expending… I am so glad to belong to this beloved family- Impressive so far, don’t you think? It took time to get there, my domesticated cultivation began 6,000-8,000 years ago, when agriculture became widely practiced in the Fertile Crescent and Anatolia. My flavour and qualities depend very much on the area and the type of land I am grown on as well as sunshine, watering and how I am harvested. Some like to pick me before I am ready, some wait and wait, even until frost is in the air, I have to shrivel then. I do not ripen after harvest. Indeed it was a prohibitionist who first made me into juice, making communion significantly more sober. The dusty film, called bloom, on my exterior that is often mistaken for pesticides, is actually a natural waterproofing produced by my cells in or near my surface to prevent my skin from cracking, protects me from extreme heat and from parasite attacks. That bloom also is a fresh pledge; it allows the transformation of my juice into a delectable beverage. I come in green, red, purple, and black and run the gamut of all shades in between. Always in fashion. My potential health benefits when you enjoy me are numerous; past studies associate them with prevention of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and constipation. I am sweet and tart, seedless, and seeded. I am used as an oil, a drink, a vessel christener, a souring agent (in Europe prior to vinegar), a snack, a friend on a lonely cold night, a syrup, a liquid for all kind of celebrations, jellies, jams, candies, cereals, and numerous baked goods. I am “sour”. I am the “wrath”. 


#36 Spring 2016 Volume 18 Issue 3 

In some regions, I am regarded as a weed, in other regions as an aquatic vegetable or herb. I have been grown in many locations around the world, and I have been classified as member of the mustard family. I require cool running water as my growing ground, and can often be found in the wild, around streams and brooks. Puritan diners have often held that I was a living example of “deivltry”; because I thrived in the darkness, and I would only be a health benefit if mingled with foodstuffs harvested in pure sunlight. Personally I think this is hooey! I have earned my reputation as a healing herb quite early. Around 400 BC, Hippocrates located the first hospital on the island of Kos close to a stream to ensure that I could be available as fresh as possible, for treating patients. In the 1700s, Nicholas Culpeper (author of Culpeper's Herbal) believed I could cleanse the blood. Modern science has identified more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals contained in this one herb – more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more vitamin C than oranges. And do you know that if I am part of your daily diet, I have ability to significantly reduce DNA damage to blood cells and further to resist DNA damage caused by free radicals, this is according to a two-year research project at the University of Ulster. Often used in sauce vert, my pungent flavour is slightly bitter and I have a peppery snap. My leaves are crunchy and always a shade of green. I can be used as a salad component, finely chopped and used as a seasoning, an ingredient in English tea sandwiches, or as a base for cream soup. I am also a popular garnish, putting that silly old parsley to shame. 


#35 Fall 2015, Volume 18 Issue 1 

Long a European favourite, we are common in northern parts of Europe, North America, including Mexico, in Asia, including Turkey and the Himalayas (including Kashmir, Nepal, and Bhutan), and in Africa including Zambia, Congo and Uganda. See! you don’t have any excuse for not having us in your plate. We have grown in the forest for as long as the trees. We tend to grow in clusters in mossy coniferous forests, but we are also often found in mountainous birch forests and among grasses and low-growing herbs. We grow in a symbiotic relationship with living trees, gathering moisture and minerals to feed the trees, and in return, trees offer us food in the form of photosynthesized carbohydrates. Because of that intricate relationship, we are almost impossible to cultivate and are not yet commercially grown (although researchers are trying). Some species of our family can grow quite large, up to six inches high, weighing close to half a pound, but usually, we are closer to half that size, with some of us being only a few ounces. We can only be handpicked, usually summer through late winter. Some say we smell woodsy and of apricot; our flavours are all exquisite, from pleasantly mild to flowery or nutty. Our name refers to our entire family, but is often applied only to the most favoured golden child, amongst the many colours we wear. We have a very particular shape, but don't blow me. You'll want us firm, plump, smooth, clean and unbroken. Everything in us is edible and we retain my firm texture when cooked. Enjoy us fresh or cook us with our best friends--chicken and other light meats, cream, starches and grains. You'll love us simply simmered in butter. We also make a wonderful sauté, stuffing, sauce or side dish. Only some of us are good dried, since many of us won't reconstitute well. We are very low in calories, mostly protein and carbohydrates, with traces of vitamins and minerals. Look closely and don't confuse us with a look-alike, poisonous Jack O'Lantern in North America. In 1836, the Swedish mycologist considered us "as one of the most important and best edible mushrooms.” A Pyrenees dog breed, wildflowers, restaurants, and the first string of a violin share our name. And believe it or not, some folks from Delta, BC like us soooooo much they have a Facebook page just for us, is it cool or what? check it out! 


#34 Spring 2015 Volume 17 Issue 3 

Accidents happen and that’s why I am here. The head gardener of our Botanical Gardens forgot about my roots left covered in soil in the cellar. He discovered that my roots produced lovely, pale, tight cone shaped heads. It took another few decades before my growing method was perfected but once introduced to the general public, I became as firmly established in my country’s cuisine as 'Moules frites' or chocolates. I really gained fame in 1850 when I helped save the capital of my country from famine. My common name comes from a relative's Latin surname and we both share a Latin first name. Members of the Composite family, our names have been interchanged through the years, but only I have a Flemish name and have been called white gold. I am an herb an it is my complex cultivated form that is a delicacy -- they cut off my head, hide me in the dark, and wait for my second growth. This sounds like torture, but this is the only way I can survive! Then I am sold wrapped in blue paper to protect it from light, I am very sensitive to it, and so preserve my pale colour and my delicate flavour. Usually a slender blonde, I'm 4-8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. I don’t get better as I get older, use me when I am fresh and crispy, enjoy my mild bitter sweet taste fresh in salads or stuffed, braised or gratinéed, I am excellent just with butter or in recipes with cured meats. When crossed with Radicchio, I'm red-tipped and milder, but will lose my flavour if cooked. My roots could be used as a substitute for coffee, in fact, they have been widely used during economic crises such as the Great Depression in the 1930s and during World War II in Continental Europe. I stimulate the appetite, cleanse the intestines, aid digestion, and contain folic acid, potassium, and vitamin C. 


#33 Winter 2015 Volume 17 Issue 2 

Some sources hold that the Romans (who called us diamond-makers) consumed us, because of our putative ability to enhance mental prowess. Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius January 14, 83 BC – August 1, 30 BC, roman politician and general who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic from an oligarchy into the autocratic Roman Empire) is said to have chewed on us for days, without effect, and ended up being trounced by Augustus Caesar at the Battle of Actium, so go figure. We have been described as old mens legs with clenched green fists clinging to them, for the record we are seriously offended. Others have said we are two of the three vegetables grown in Britain and this is just silly. A 2008 survey conducted by Heinz revealed that we are the most-hated vegetable in America. A similar poll in Britain found us at the top of the most-hated list there, too. Isn’t it too vilified to write about us like that? And yet, Brits grow about six times more of us than in the U.S. Believe me it is hard to live with such reputation. Originally cultivated in the 16th century, we are members of the cabbage family. We are high in vitamins A and C, potassium, and iron. We also contain folic acid which is said to protect against cervical cancer and some birth defects. See there is some good stuff in us. We are best boiled or steamed, adding butter, chestnuts, bacon bits, poppy seeds, sour cream, cheese, or white sauce. Some crazies even scoop out our center and insert tiny fish eggs. The nerve! However, we are confident there are many other ways to accommodate us and make us enjoyable to eat. You are Chefs after all, we certainly will appreciate your support and creativity on that matter. But remember, do not overcook us! you will make us smell like rotten eggs. So be careful. With our high levels of sulforaphane, we should be cooked for only four to six minutes, or blanched twice. Looking forward to be in your plate many times! So long! 


#32 Fall 2014 Volume 17 Issue 1

Let me introduce myself, I am a member of the rose family. My babies taste better than I do but they melt if you ship them. Romans valued me for my reputed therapeutic powers for everything from loose teeth to gastritis. I have grown wild for centuries and was not cultivated until the late 13th century. It was not until the 18th century, however, when my cultivation began to be pursued in earnest. Like many other perishable fruits at that time, I remained a luxury item only enjoyed by the wealthy until the mid-19th century. Once railways were built and more rapid means of transportation established, I was shipped to longer distances and was able to be enjoyed by more people. I am now one of the most popular commodity close behind bananas. Not too bad for something of my size!   I said I was a fruit but from a botanical point of view I am a false fruit, some even classify me as a nuts! not sure about this. Technically, I am an aggregate accessory fruit, meaning that my fleshy part is derived not from my plant's ovaries but from my receptacle that holds my ovaries. Each of my apparent “seed" on the outside of the “fruit” is actually one of my ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside it. Pretty complicated isn’t it.   My cultivars vary widely in size, colour, flavour, shape, degree of fertility, season of ripening, liability to disease and constitution of my plant. For purposes of commercial production, my plants are propagated from runners.   Life is difficult for everyone, around 200 species of pests are known to attack me both directly and indirectly. These pests include slugs, moths, fruit flies, mites, aphids and many others, the worst been caterpillars of a number of species of Lepidoptera feeding on my plants. I can fall victim to a number of diseases too. My leaves may be infected by powdery mildew, leaf spot, leaf blight, and by a variety of slime mold. My crown and roots may fall victim to red stele, verticillium wilt, Black root rot and nematode. My “fruits” are subject to damage from gray mood rhizomes rot, and leather rot. To prevent most of this, I should be planted every four to five years in a new bed, at a different site.   On average, studies show 2 days as the maximal time for my storage without major loss of vitamin C and polyphenol antioxidants. It's not that I become dangerous to eat or invaluable after 2 days. On the contrary, limited research indicates that my consumption may be associated with a decreased cardiovascular disease risk and that phytochemicals present in me have anti-inflammatory or anticancer properties in laboratory studies.   You can find me canned, frozen, dried, a liqueur, a jelly, and an ice cream, just to name a few.   Maybe I will meet you around a milkshake very soon! 


#31 Spring 2014 Volume 16 Issue 3 

Ok, Ok! I admit it. I am bitter, hey its in my family’s gene, especially in the long hot summer, but isn't everybody? Bitter yes, but that's no reason to tie me up with string or a ribber band, now is it? Sometimes I even get a bucket stuck on my head! Can you imagine? They say it’s to give me a milder flavour. There ought to be a law for this!! I am an annual, beautiful ground plant dating back at least to ancient Egypt and possibly used as bitter herbs at the Passover Seder. I have curly slender leaves that range in colour from yellow-white to yellow-green. I am large, loose, open headed, feathery light, and add beauty to any dish. I am primarily used in salads, but taste delicious in a sauté or by myself. I must say I am most popular in France, Belgium and Holland. The French, Ha! those French, they like me very much in salad with lardons (bacon bits) and poached egg. During the war my root was used to bring some flavour to coffee or even used as substitute. I'm not real sure, but if compared side by side there might have been a hairstyle named after me. 


#30 Spring 2013 Volume 15 Issue 3 

I was cultivated by the Incas thousands of years ago, and I am probably the most famous tuber today. I was not accepted in Europe until Sir Walter Raleigh debunked the theory that I was a poisonous member of the nightshade family. I am among the most popular snack foods. I am the world's fourth-largest food crop, following rice, wheat and maize.The United Nations FAO reports that my world production in 2010 was about 324 million tonnes. Just over two thirds of my global production is eaten directly by humans with the rest being fed to animals or used to produce starch. This means that the annual diet of an average global citizen in the first decade of the 21st century is about 33 kg (or 73 lb). In fact, humans can survive healthily with me, supplemented only with milk or butter, because I do not contain the vitamins A and D. My Long-term storage requires specialized care in cold warehouses. I can be fried, roasted, sautéed, mashed, shredded, baked, steamed, or used as a dough. I come in all sizes and many colors.I am even used to brew alcoholic beverages such as vodka, potcheen or akwavit…. 


#30 Winter 2013 Volume 15 Issue 2 

I was used in Germany as an aid to fertility. Want more? O. K. I was grown by the Egyptians in about 2780 B. C. , when I was included in the rations given to the workers on the Great Pyramid. Want more? O. K. I am the root of a plant in the mustard family. My skin can vary in color from white to red to purple to black (and many shades in between). In shape and size I can be round, oval, elongated, and can run the gamut from globes 1/2 inch thick in diameter to oblong giants 1 1/2 feet in length. My flavour is mild to peppery depending on variety and age. I am eaten raw, cooked, or as a sprout. My stems are surrounded by two distinct fibrous layers that do not soften appreciably when cooked. You have to peel away these layers layers prior to cooking or serving raw, with the result that my stems often provide a smaller amount of food than you might assume from my intact appearance. My leaves are edible and can be used interchangeably with collard and kale. I am also used extensively in Southern part of India. I am a very important part of the Kashmiri diet and one of the most commonly cooked foods. They prepare me with my leaves and serve me with a light gravy and rice. Don’t say it out loud, but some of my varieties are grown as feed for cattle. And finally, in his book “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” the nutritionist Jonny Bowden describes me as a cross between an octopus and a space capsule. 


#29 Fall 2013, Volume 15 Issue 1 

You want all of me and I'm yours, year round with peaks in the spring and fall. If you like me because you think I'm Asian or Chinese, I guess that I should admit that my origins are probably really Mediterranean, even though I'm the main type of my variety eaten in Japan and China. If you like 'em young, I'm for you, since I'm really only half-grown when chosen. I'm thin-skinned, bright, light, fresh, crisp and sweet, and that's what you like about me. Some call me flat and thin, but I'm a broad known for my model figure and I figure well in a model's diet as well. While you delight in every part of me, it's seldom my seeds that make you yearn for me, unlike others of my sort. It's my tiny seeds' immaturity that lets me keep my slender profile. If you wait until I grow and swell, you'll find me inedible. You love me when I'm raw and can take me plain or dressed. But, get me all hot and stirredup and you adore me. Don't wash me until you need me though, because I'm very delicate. Just treat me to a light shower and gently pat me dry, then go ahead and pinch me at the top and bottom. Pull my string or just eat it; either way, I'm a taste treat with tempting texture and I'm a source of vitamin C and potassium, as well as iron, folic acid, magnesium, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and phosphorus. 


#27 Winter 2012 Volume 14 Issue 2 

I am never alone. Wanting to be pure and simple my whole life, but it was just not meant to be. I guess my first association was Greek. Then I went wild and since then I have been associated with Italians, Mexicans, golden showy, beautiful, wooly white, and happy hills. While I might be as old as the hills, that flavor won't make you happy unless you want something scentless, tasteless and green. Keep that in your medicine cabinet to make poultices help with your everyday scorpion bites, sore muscles, and hair loss. The Greeks and the Romans discovered me first and I was considered a medicine by many, including Pliny and Dioscorides. Then the colonists brought me to America for their gardens, but I escaped, becoming wild once again. Free in the new land, I searched for good ground. Along the way I meet and fell in love with the tomato, a relationship that has been nurtured ever since. I also flirted a lot with zucchini, and was often the toast of the cucina. Then I met my sister (so they tell me) Marge and the confusion began again. Will it be her green leaves or my white flowers?Coarse rigini from Greece, or dried for a sprinkle?Her sweet oil or my intense concentrated oil? Did you know it takes 200 pound of my leaves to produce a single pound of my oil? Anyway, no matter what I end up being called, I am essential in pizza, pasta, and many chili powders. I am popular in blossom, in fresh green leaf, or dried. I am often used as a healing tea. My nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin A, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. Don't carry me in a baggie or you'll be suspect. 


#25 Fall 2011 Volume 14 Issue 1 

I have often been the symbol of hospitality. I was also often used as an air freshener and was placed in the rooms of houses, synagogues and temples to clear and freshen the air and rid the smell of unpleasant odours from rooms. Greek mythology says I was turned into this by Pluto's wife Persephone when she was angered by me. I have over 30 species and I can say proudly I am widely used in commercial medicine products, and very much appreciated by many cooks and Chefs for my aromatic and flavoursome qualities.  Although I may be consumed in small quantities, the vital nutrients obtained are still beneficial to one's health. I am often a major part of a traditional English afternoon.  Did I mention I am one of the five ingredients of one of the most famous rum-based highballs? 


#25 Summer 2011 Volume 13 Issue 3 

We’re native to India and may be 10,000 years old. The Romans loved us. Then Americans declared us only fit for cows in the late 1600's. But today, we join the Queen for tea between slices of buttered bread. Smooth or warty, we always have glossy skin and almost white flesh. Ranging from 3 inches to 2 feet in length, generally the English are the longest, while American's are shorter and fatter. The Chinese hang weights on us sometimes to make us grow longer and stronger. Big or small, long and firm, with seeds or not someone wrote a book listing why we are better than a man in 100 ways. We do hang out with real climbers, who may need some guidance, constraint or support, so we don't end up rolling on the floor or taking over the party. Peel us if we're waxed, scrub off any spines, and gut us if you burp. Eat raw, steam or sautéed. Leave in vinegar, but not the freezer. We're a must for Greek salads and gazpacho. Combined with yogurt, we counter Middle Eastern spices. Great with fish, dill, and tomato. A source of potassium, calcium, folate, and vitamin C, we're fat free, cholesterol free and sodium free. We're a diuretic, purifier, and relaxant. Use us as a cool astringent to soothe your skin. From fields and greenhouses, we come for you all year with a summer peak. 


#23 Winter 2011 Volume 13 Issue 2

 I AM EVERYTHING AND MORE! People have the nerve to call me just a berry, but you'd never see me that way. A cliché; of 70's nouvelle cuisine, I originated in China over 700 years ago, but they only used me as a childhood tonic. The French call me “vegetable mousse,” and I must admit that I'm a rampant climber, deciduous and attractive. When cut, I release actinic and bromic acids to curdle your milk, soften your meat, and keep your gelatin nervous. Caress my skin if you want to eat it; on a picnic enjoy my fruit, then use my skin to patch your bicycle tires; or after dessert save my skins to make pillowcases. See, I told you I'm everything and more. On the culinary side, it took an inventive marketing mom to really make me famous in the U. S. While of few of my plants are hermaphrodites, we usually work as a harem, one male for every four or five females producing 100 lbs. of fruit on one vine. You'll find me year-round, since my two main producers have complementary seasons. I'm also a handler's delight, since I have a resilient skin and can last 3-4 weeks in your refrigerator or 6 months in cold, humid storage. Even after 6 months, I retain 90% of my Vitamin C. I need room temperature to really ripen. I get sweeter and mushier as I ripen, despite losing some vitamin content. Scoop, peel, slice, chunk, juice, or just bite in; use me like a strawberry or melon. Even with all my attributes, it just isn't enough; they're marketing my smooth-skin baby cousins and my new gold variety. I have ten times more Vitamin C than lemons and lots of potassium, and I'm diuretic and laxative. One oval berry can have as many as 1400 seeds, containing essential fatty acids. 


#22 Fall 2010 Volume 13 Issue 1 

I am a sweet, nutlike tuber of the genus Trapa. I am three or four sided and most popular in the cuisines of China, Japan, and Thailand. My roots are anchored to the bottoms of lakes or ponds, my leaves are at the surface, and I am formed at the bottom or in the middle. I am an aquatic vegetable. Although indigenous to Southeast Asia, I also grow prolifically in southern Europe and the eastern United States, particularly in the Potomac River, where my thick growth often hinders navigation. I have a crispy white flesh and can be eaten raw, slightly boiled, grilled, pickled, or tinned. I am rich in carbohydrates (about 90 percent by dry weight), especially starch (about 60 percent by dry weight), and I am also a good source of dietary fiber, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, potassium, copper, and manganese, I am most frequently used in stir-fry. I am also available canned, (whole or sliced), or as a powder for flour. Because my seeds were often used in making rosaries, I am sometimes called a “Jesuit's nut”. 


#22 Spring 2010, Volume 12 Issue 3 

I’m nuts. I'm native American. I was a staple food of native Americans dating back to 1528. In 1919, the 36th Texas Legislature made my tree the ‘state tree’ of Texas. My commercial growing production in the United States did not begin until the 1880s. Today, the U. S. produces between 80% and 95% of the world's production, with an annual crop of 150–200 thousand tons. My name come from an Algonquian word meaning “tough nut to crack”. My trees prefer temperate climates and are widely grown in Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas, and as far north as Virginia. My hard thin shell averages about one inch in length. I am golden brown on the outside and beige in the middle. Clinical research published in the Journal of Nutrition (September 2001) found that eating about a handful each day may help lower cholesterol levels similar to what is often seen with cholesterol-lowering medications. Research conducted at the University of Georgia has also confirmed I contain plant sterols, which are known for their cholesterol-lowering ability. I am a good source of protein and fiber. I also contain some iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins. I am used for eating out of hand, in sweet and savory dishes, but probably most famous for stuffing, cookies, and pies. 



Utilized as a food by the North American Indians for thousands of years, I probably originated in the southwestern part of North America. My cultivation dates back to 900 BC. Europeans learned of me in the 16th century and I was developed as a commercial oilseed by the 19th century. Today my most popular growing regions are Argentina, China, France, Russia, Spain and the United States. Summer is definitely my season, and my name is sort of derived from it. My thick hairy stem can be anywhere from 3 to 20 feet tall and my famous flower, a flat round brown edged disk edged with yellow petals, can grow to be 20 inches in diameter. Every part of my plant is useful. My seeds are edible raw, roasted, chopped, ground or eaten as sprouts. The oil from my seeds is very popular, as it is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. This oil is used in salad and cooking oils, margarine and shortenings, and has even proven useful as a diesel fuel additive. My flowers are a source of a substance used to treat malaria, while my petals are used for making dye. Bee colonies are often placed in my fields for pollination and the production of honey. As a pharmafood, I am an excellent source of potassium, which promotes the reduction of sodium by means of urination. I am also considered an expectorant, relieving the symptoms of coughs, colds, and asthma. I have even been known to help poor vision. If planted accordingly, I make a great summer fence. A model for the pattern of my florets’ head was proposed by H. Vogel in 1979. This is expressed in polar coordinates r = c √n, θ = n X137. 5º, where θ is the angle, r is the radius or distance from the center, and n is the index number of the floret and c is a constant scaling factor. It is a form of Fermat's spiral. The angle 137. 5° is related to the golden ratio and gives a close packing of florets. This model has been used to produce computer graphics representations. I am a typical example of nature helping developing technology. 

The answer: SUNFLOWER


Shakespeare wrote that I am for remembrance. Don Quixote mixes me in his recipe of the miraculous balm of Fierabras with revolting results. I have also been the symbol of love and death since ancient Greece and Rome, where my use in marriage and funeral rites signified an enduring affection. I have been asked to smile a little smile in a song, placed in hair to help with the memory during examinations, and put under pillows to prevent nightmares. I am considered easy to grow for beginner gardeners, and am pest-resistant. I might be part of your turkey or the basting brush. I also flavour wine, butter, marinades, oils, vinegar, tea, and jelly. Legend states that my light blue flowers received their colour when Mary, fleeing to Egypt, placed her blue cloak over my bush. My fresh and dried leaves are used frequently in traditional Mediterranean cuisine; they have a bitter, astringent taste, which complements a wide variety of foods. When burned they give off a distinct mustard smell, as well as a smell similar to that of burning which can be used to flavour foods while barbecuing. I am extremely high in iron, calcium, and Vitamin B6. 



I am one of the oldest known vegetables, as I was eaten by the Chinese several thousand years ago. Eaten with vinegar before a meal I can temper the worst of stomach aches and / or hangovers. I am red, pink, green, blue, purple, or white and sometimes variegated. I can be in head or leaf form. I contain a good amount of vitamin C and some vitamin A. I was used as Krations when Ceasar invaded Britain. Once a year I am used in great quantity. I am grown all over the planet and can survive all types of climates. 


#18 January 2009, Volume 11 Issue 2 

I am a plant of the genus Musa, and though you would never know it, I am a perennial herb and grow a new tree trunk every year. I die back to my roots after I have flowered and fruited. According to Ochse I am the highest daily consumption fruit in the world. Known for both cooking and eating types, my variation aboundin tropical regions where I am grown, but we're limited in temperate climates. My earliest written record of cultivation is from India, dated back to the 6th century BC. The Greeks began to enjoy my wonderful flavor when the army of Alexander the Great noticed me in India in the 4th century BC. Already well established, I debuted in China around 200 AD and was instantly acclaimed as exoticand rare. I had arrived!! From here it was nothing but up. Disraeli, in 1831, called me the most delicious thing in the world. In 1899 two American importers formed the United Fruit Company, making me available and inexpensive around the globe. Some republics are even named after me. What can I say, it makes us proud. Primarily eaten out of hand,I am also used in interesting desserts, breads, candies, and sauces. In the produce world I am used to ripen tomatoes, and avocados due to the large amount of ethylene gas I produce.  


#17 September 2008, Volume 11 Issue 1 

My first recorded use is in China in about 2700 B. C. Originally I was used medicinally as a powerful laxative, and a known cure for venereal diseases. It was not until the eighteenth century that my stalks became popular for eating. My leaves contain oxalic acid and are toxic. I'm field grown from late winter to early summer, and hothouse grown all year, but my field flavor is stronger. Although I am often used as a fruit, I am a member of the buckwheat family, an almost indestructible perennial, whose stalks grow up to two feet long. Often combined with strawberries or ginger, I am awesome as a fruit soup, pie, sauce for meats, jam, sorbet, or ice cream. I can even be fried or poached. 



I was enjoyed in the dark ages, often mentioned in the Bible, cultivated by the Egyptians who turned me on to the Romans, who introduced me to the Celts, and I ended up as the national vegetable of Wales. Not bad for an allium, but it wasn't always that easy. We still hold the memories of the dark times, the 16th to 18th centuries, where the aristocracy turned up their nose at me and I had to rely on the common folk for acceptance, but let's not go there. I have finally shed the title of “poor man's asparagus”, and rightfully so. I can go almost anywhere, can be used in just about anything, or make a hearty dish on my own. Known as the king of soup onions I have been seen in the finest soups, sauces, and broth. My family is large, but we all act about the same, except for the enormous elders. They're nasty, but I guess that can't be helped when your insides stiffen up like a tree. I range from 9 to 11 inches in height and am best when about 1 inch in diameter. My behavior is not wild or rampant so my delicate sweet mild flavor imparts best from my white base, which remains underground until harvest. Sublime in potato pies or casseroles, I also excite when braised in cream or simmered in butter. Soups and towns are named after me, but after that 150-year snuffing, I just want to be everywhere. From babies for garnish to woodies for display, you'll enjoy using me in your daily preparations as well as dinner for the Duke and Duchess. I provide an excellent source of folic acid and a good source of iron, potassium, vitamins C, B6, and calcium. Would it be bragging to say I make Mother Nature proud?


#15 January 2008, Volume 10, Issue 2 

I am the number one cash crop in the United States. Originating in East Asia(Manchuria), I arrived on the U. S. shores with the Mathew Perry expedition. I have more protein and calories than any other legume. I grow on a small bush two to six feet high. I am raised in a velvety pod that can be gray, yellow, black, white or brown. I have an amazing amount of uses. In my infant stage I am used in salads as a sprout. I am fermented, used as coffee substitute, made into cheese, jam, flour, grits, or used for imitation beef, ham, or chicken. Industrially my oil is used for soap, paint or vanishes. I am also a very popular cooking oil. When brewed I make a wonderful sauce, but often my sauce is packaged without any of me in it. It’s truly a shame that water, salt, vegetable protein, corn syrup, and caramel color, cheaply replace my rich tangy flavour. I must be cooked to neutralize the anti-nutrients I contain (phytic acid, and trypsin). If defatted or dried, I will store moderately well. If fresh, I must be refrigerated or I will turn rancid in short order. When they dry us we are used in stews and casseroles but our pleasant hazelnut like flavour is best when fresh. Today, one of my varieties has been blanched and become very popular in the market place, but don't use me as an answer, only my primary name gets you on my list. I am low in carbohydrates and an extremely economical source of protein. We also provide good sources of iron, B1 and B2 along with linoleicc acid, an Omega-3 fatty acid. 

The answer: SOYBEAN

#14 September 2007, Volume 10, Issue 1 

I am a member of the rose family and was probably first cultivated by the chinese prior to 2000 BC. I was spread westward by silk dealers. I now grow well all over the warmer temperate parts of the world. Although most popular dried, or in jams and jellies, I have a “sweet brightness of golden velvet”; when eaten fresh. I am a jam, jelly, glaze, dipped in cholocate, salted, smoked, stuffed and sheeted. My kernels contain small amounts of prussic acid which is destroyed when I am roasted. My kernels are also responsible for the flavor and texture of amaretti do Saronno. 


#13 May 2007, Volume 9, Issue 2 

I was very abundant on Mount Olympus, the home of the gods. I have numerous varieties and my trees are common throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States, though Europe produces my largest size. I am sweet and starchy but my skin needs to be peeled, boiled, or roasted off. I can be roasted, mashed, boiled, steamed, grilled, pureed, or soaked in concentrated sugar syrup until I am translucent, or used as baking flour. I am usually raised with two siblings in a catkin. I combine marvelously with chocolate to make rich puddings. In some parts of Italy I am known as “mountain bread” 


#12 May 2007, Volume 9, Issue 2 and #16 May 2008, Volume 10, Issue 3 

I am delicate, petite, pretty, and succulent; a garnish for champagne! I grow in many places, but thrive in the coolest regions of the Northern Hemisphere. My European varieties derive from the species Rubus Idaeus while my American varieties mostly come from Rubus Strigosa. I was barely seen until the 18th century when I became popular on the dessert table. I am frigid and require cool temperatures. In any real amount of heat I will rebel, perish, leak and stain in revolt. Today you will find me in fruit salad, served with peaches and cream, or pureed and used in jellies, coulis, sorbet, and puddings. I can also be used as a sauce for wild game. My family covers a rainbow of colors, ranging from white to yellow, orange, pink, red, purple and black. My Scottish cousins are always the Envy of the family. Whenever we have a reunion (which gets rarer and rarer these days), they constantly brag about their cool damp climate and strut around the table like they are the best in the world. Actually, they are, and believe you me they know it! Each year, as the demand increases, they seem to be growing us larger and firmer, larger and firmer, so maybe we'll catch up to the quality of our not so distant cousins! I am certainly welcome on a dessert tray, but my association with discolored skin makes me unpopular in a bikeathon or 10K event. I am High in fiber, a good source of vitamin C, and contain traces of vitamin A and calcium. 

The answer: RASPBERRY


My best quality is usually judged by my fingers, but often they are too heavy so my hand gets broken. My name comes from the Sanskrit word for ‘horny root’ due to my knobby appearance. My flavour is peppery and slightly sweet, while my aroma is pungent and spicy. I can be grated, dried, ground, slivered, pickled, or ailed. I am in cookies, bread, beer, and tea. I am an essential ingredient in Chinese, Indian, and Arab dishes. I am excellent for use in marinades and stir-fry. (I was also a movie star lost at sea. )For dessert I have been candied and ice creamed. 


#10 March 2005, Volume 8, Issue 2 

They should calculate my weight in diamonds! I am originally from the Middle East and Central Asia. I have been cultivated there for thousands of years. I am a member in good standing of the Umbelliferae family (you may have heard of my cousin hemlock, I know Socrates has). I am a biennial plant and have hundreds of varieties ranging in height, thickness and colour. In fact my various colours almost cover the entire rainbow including, white, orange, red, purple, and if left out too long, black. I am produced globally but my largest crops come from the United States, China, England, France, Japan, and Poland. My uses are truly universal. Need to soothe a burn? Use me raw as a compress for immediate relief. Menstrual cramping got you bloated? Don't run to the medicine cabinet, head for the refrigerator and munch on me. Wanna make your wine more interesting? Use me in the fermentation process and cheer the results. On the culinary side, I have one danger. Excessive consumption will make your skin colour, my primary skin colour. This is a great alternative to the tanning salon. You will enjoy me in crudités, soups, salads, sandwiches, cookies, cakes, or classically glazed with brown sugar and butter. I am a dieter's delight with my way low calories, and don't even talk to me about fat, I have none! I am 87% water yet rich in vitamin A and Potassium. My slender shape also contains Vitamin C, Thiamin, Folic Acid, and Magnesium. My oil is rich in Vitamin E. These days you could very well find me skinned and topless, but don't worry, that gets me to the plate more quickly. Children thrive on my babies, horses love the old folks. Why, with this many colours shapes and uses, everyone will find a variety that suits them. You shouldn't have to jump in a hole to enjoy me any more. 


#9 November 2004, Volume 8 Issue 1 

I am famous for playing hard to get, yet the few that are graced with my presence find me on a small tropical tree cultivated in parts of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia,Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. I am the reigning queen member of the Guttiferaceae family and am actually referred to as “Queen of the Tropical Fruits”. I grow at my own leisure, which is usually a timely fashion, and I am difficult to propagate, even down right persnickety. My thick vibrant skin is strikingly handsome. I share the same purplish red skin color as a pomegranate, but I am far more beautiful, both inside and out. My insides are segmented into small pulpy white to ivory sections. My pulp is delicate, yet powerfully sweet and juicy. My exotic flavor has been described as a mixture of pineapple, apricot, orange and grape. Taste me and I will practically melt in your mouth. My pulp can be pureed and used as a topping for ice cream, sherbet or tossed in a fruit salad. Most take delight in scooping me right out of my chilled skin. In Indonesia, lucky for them, I am actually abundant, and I am often used in recipes for pickles and vinegar. If you are blessed with fashion sense, you may be wearing my eye catching color on your belt, shoes, wallet or gloves because my skin contains tannins, used for dying certain materials. I contain potassium and vitamin C as well as traces of iron and niacin. If my name were broken down you would find the name of another member of the fruit family, but believe me there is no relation. 



Lettuce leaf or herb, you decide. It's important to know that I'm not even hurt, but there is so much in a name. I am considered ancient, but this does not make me bitter, however I’ve been known to be sour. I am available from early Spring to late Autumn. My leaves are large and green with a broad base. I am known for my high acid content. My main varieties are Wild, Round-leafed, Garden and French. Cooks prefer my French variety, Rumex scutatus, because it is less acidic. Ancient Greeks and Romans used me for my acidity as an aid in digestion. I am often found hanging in the herb garden with my buddy lovage but even solo I add tartness to a variety of dishes including green salads sandwiches, cream-based sauces, omelets, soups, quiches, soft cheese, veal, pork, and fish. You could quite possibly find me on a Seder plate as well. My leaves are very rich in potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Although I have a potent bite, I can also be used as a tenderizer, especially to meat before stewing and braising. Don’t be fooled by my English name, I will not make you high, but I may make you pucker. 

The answer: SORREL

#6 November 2003, Volume 7 Issue 1 

You can call me nuts, but I am a legume, a good standing member of the pea family. I may not be up there with, Chevrolet, and apple pie, but a baseball game wouldn't bethe same without me. While South America and China both claim my origin, I'll go with the Peruvians who in the 15th century were so awed by my existence, they buried pots of us along with their mummified dead. The long journey into the hereafter requires nourishment, you know, and we were there to provide. By the centuries end Columbus' travels had made me a sensation in Portugal and other countries of the Old World. The Portuguese continued my expansion throughout Africa, the Philippines and East Asia. From Africa, I found my way across the ocean again to North America. Today India is my prime producer, with China and America not far behind. I actually form underground, but it is a long strange trip. I grow in subtropical and temperate regions. My plant is bushlike (we're not fond of broccoli either) and I can grow up to 30 inches high. I grow small yellow flowers for a two to three month period that open in the morning at sunrise for fertilization and drop dead by noon. In the days that follow the stems of my flowers grow longer and bend down, toward the ground. These stems then penetrate the ground with a 1 to 3 inch depth. Here the stems expand, ripen, and grow into seed bearing pods. When harvested my pods are dried and become brittle where my thin netted tan colored pod opens to reveal my brownish -red skin that can be eaten plain or brined and roasted. Famous for my oil that can withstand high heat without breaking down I am also well known for my butter. I expand when cooked, and will continue to cook when removed from heat. I am crushed, ground, blended, and served with, meat, fish, poultry, sauces, salads, soups, and desserts. I am 85% unsaturated fat, rich in protein and calories. I am an excellent source of thiamine, niacin, magnesium and potassium. All these wonderful attributes and I am probably best remembered as a comic strip. Good Grief!! 

The answer: Peanut

#5 June 2003, Volume 6 Issue 3 

I help create the anticipation in ketchup. I also help thicken soups and stews, but more about that later. I am the proud edible seed pod in the Hibiscus family. Related to cotton some people would prefer to eat that, but they just don't know. I began in the Asiatic tropics, and while you did not find me in any Egyptian tombs, they documented me growing by the River Nile in the early 13th century. My first serious cultivation was in Western Africa (Ethiopia), where bloody raids ensued from tribal crop envy. From there, I migrated to the West Indies, Middle East, and India. The Moorish invasions of Europe brought me into Spain, and the African Slaves made me a standard in the Southern United States. From the USA I went to South America and thanks to India by the 19th century I was Chinese as well. Known as the poor mans food, and only able to grow in tropical and warm temperate climates, I still maintained worldwide recognition. Here's why. I'M GOOD! I have a thin, smooth or downy covered edible skin that is mostly green and occasionally tinged with yellow. Recently I have been seen wearing a deep dark red, but it's just an overcoat. If you heat me my red coat comes off (usually) and we turn back to green. My ridged fruits (I really am a fruit, but you wouldn't dare use me that way) are finger size and angular. We form after our red centered yellow flower opens atop my eight-foot perennial stalk. When opened or cooked we exude a milky liquid that acts as a thickener and scares many of you away. Don’t be scared, if you don't like my juice, get me while I'm young (2'-4"). The older I be, the more gum you will see, which fills Americans with glee! We are also less fibrous and more digestible in our youth. Fresh or dried I am a thickener. I am 100% useful. My leaves and shoots are devoured throughout Africa. My seeds are ground the world around and used as a substitute for coffee. Our pods are eaten fresh, used in curries, and relished in Greece and Egypt. In America, I am stewed, fried and used as a natural thickener and a major ingredient in some very important soups. Sub me out for any dish calling for asparagus or eggplant for a tasty variation. I also combine well with onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Scramble me with your morning eggs for a flavour that will keep you going all day. You will benefit from my potassium, magnesium, and folic acid. I am easy to digest, mildly laxative, and with my emollient agents I'm no sin for your skin. 

The answer: Okra

#4 February 2003, Volume 6 Issue 2 

Pliny said I could prevent fatigue, but he didn't know my prices and shelf life! Pilgrims in the Middle Ages put me in their shoes before long journeys on foot. Named after the French word for “little dragon” and related to wormwood,I can be strangled by my roots if not regularly divided. Due to my serpentine root system I am a good treatment for snakebite. I am also considered to enhance the growth of most vegetables when planted among them. I will sweeten your breath and numb your tongue if chewed. I prefer France in the Spring and Russia in the Winter. Often associated with vinegar or fish, I am also good with mustard, chicken, fresh salads, lamb, potatoes, artichokes, cheeses, eggs and sour cream. As a pharma-food I am known to stimulate appetite, relieve flatulence, and help ease toothaches. I am able to protect foods as an antioxidant. As a useful antifungal I am also an ingredient in perfumes, soaps and cosmetics. 


#4  November 2002, Volume 6 Issue 1, also published in June, 2004 Volume 7 Issue 3 as #7 

No strings on my head, but I do have a frond. When my coiled frond pokes through the soil it is a solid indication of SPRING! A foragers dream, they have not figured out (or bothered to) how to cultivate me. Introduced to French settlers by Malacite Indians in 1783, the French developed our culinary capabilities. I am only available to harvest for about two weeks before I unfurl into graceful greenery of inedible plumes. The eastern United States is my prime terrain, but I have a darker, grayer variety harvested in the Pacific Northwest that you will see a month before me. My taste is a cross between asparagus, green beans, and artichokes, with a very appealing chewy texture. I am an excellent source of vitamin A and a reasonably good source of vitamin C and fiber. I can be steamed, simmered, braised, sautéed, or boiled. I am excellent as a side dish with hollandaise, maltaise or butter sauces. I can also be drizzled with any vinaigrette, or added to salads, raw. If you want me, you had better move quickly, as I am gone in the blink of an eye. 


#3 June 2002, Volume 5 Issue 3 

I am the first seasoning whose use was ever recorded. I date back as far as 3000- BC Assyria. There is some confusion about my actual origin. While some believe Africa, others insist on India. Frankly, I don't care, I'm just proud to be number one. I have been used in China for over 2000 years but I never made to the inside, I'm still considered a foreigner there. My arrival in the States is attributed to the African Slaves and this is why I was initially very popular in southern cooking. I am an annual who grows tall and straight with deeply veined egg-shaped leaves and lovely pink and white flowers. I get plucked when I'm green (doesn't everyone?) to avoid bursting. I am popular all over the world where I am regularly used in sweet and savory food. My latest fad is to be blackened, but you'll find me in white and brown as well. Toast me for more intense flavor. I impart a slightly sweet, nutty flavor essential in specific types of bagels, breads, pastes, halvah, noodles, meats, fish, and of course, oil. In fact, I am 50% oil, so be careful, if you keep me too warm I'll go rancid. Best to keep me in an airtight container, and keep my bedroom cool and dark. In this condition I'll give you a good 3 months, in the icebox I'll give you 6 months, and frozen I can go for a year. My fat is largely unsaturated and when dried I provide magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc copper as well as dietary fiber and riboflavin. I help your nervous system, bowels, and make a fine massage oil. Although my name is often use to "open" doors, I've never seen it work. 

The answer: Sesame Seeds

#2 March 2002, Volume 5 Issue 2 

Grown in hot regions all over the world, I am the most popular of all tropical fruits. Carib Indians hung me whole or a crown of my leaves above the entrance to their huts as a sign of welcome and a promise of food and drink. I am native to the lowlands of Brazil, and spread throughout the world easily propagated by cuttings. I have dwarf siblings whose core is completely edible, and I have monster parents who weigh over eleven pounds. If you want me sweet you better pick me ripe because I have no reserve of starch to turn to sugar. I can be used fresh, sauteed, broiled, grilled, frozen, canned, or juiced. I am famous as a cake and in fruit salads. I have been used as a sore throat remedy and a meat tenderizer and I am object of art, in furniture, floors, jewelry, and paintings. 


#1 November 2001, Volume 5 Issue 1 

I originated in the Middle East, grown in Spain during the 8th century, and it was the Spaniards who brought me to North America. Although I am a rich source of iron as well as vitamins A and C, I also contain oxalic acid which inhibits the body's absorption of calcium and iron, so my nutritional value is somewhat diminished. I have a slightly bitter taste, which is prized by some and disliked by others. I am flat or curly, big or small, and always green. I come fresh, canned, or frozen. I can be used in salads, as a side dish, steamed, boiled, or even rolled up like a grape leaf. You will need me to be strong for Olive Oil! 


© BCCASA 2014