Sunday, November 7, 2010


Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies produced by some fungi. The typical Mushrooms look like umbrellas. They consist of a stalk topped by a flat or cup-shaped cap. Their spores are produced on special cells called basidia, located on the underside of the cap.

There are more than 2,000 mushroom species exists And among them, Some are edible and delicious, while the remaining are poisonous. The poisonous mushrooms are used to be called as "toadstool".

Mushrooms are not formed until temperature and moisture conditions are right for them. During mild or warm weather, they often appear 7 to 10 days after a good rain.

Some Commonly Popular Mushrooms
  • Shiitake: (Lentinula Edodes) Shiitakes have led the way for other mushrooms acceptance in local and national markets. They can be grown on straw or fresh cut hardwoods, have a very well understood culture and can relied on for timely harvests. There are many very specific strains, some are better suited to certain regions or temperature regimen, while others are classified by either indoor or outdoor culture.
  • Agaricus: "White Button" (Agaricus. brunnescens) and "Portobello" (Agaricus portobello) also known as "Italian Agaricus".
  • Enoki: Also known as Enokitake mushrooms (Flammulina velutipes) and the winter mushroom.
  • Reishi: "Ganoderma lucidum" is widely used in the orient for its' medicinal properties.
  • Lions Mane: Considered to be edible and choice by mushroom fanciers. Hericium erinaceus is claimed to taste like lobster. Produces cascading, icicle-like clusters that enlarge to baseball size.
  • Hen Of The Woods: Also known as Maitake and Grifola frondosa (Polyporus frondosus). This mushroom has rapidly gained popularity and can produce enormous (up to #100) mushrooms. These prefer hardwood stumps.
  • Morel
  • Maitake
  • Nameko(Pholiota nameko): Japans No.2 mushroom after shiitake, very edible and is considered to be very choice; And are very easy to produce.
  • Oyster: Pearl (Pleurotus ostreatus), Pink (Pleaurotus djamor), Grey (Pleurotus pulmonarius and P. sajor-caju), plus several others. These are prized for their oyster-like flavor and ease of culture
  • Patty Straw: (Volvariella violaceae) This is one of the oldest mushrooms in cultivation and is very simple to produce in some kind of controlled temperature growing area due to their high temperature (86-95F) demand.
Some eating tips
- Do not eat mushrooms raw.
- Eat only mushrooms in good condition.
- Eat only one kind at a time and do not eat large amounts.
- Eat only a small amount the first time; even morels, generally considered to be excellent, may cause illness/allergy in some persons.

A collection of Mushroom Recipes

(Herbed Mushroom with White Wine)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Cauliflower is a cool season, crop garden vegetable belonging to the cabbage or cole family.

Few select varieties are: Snow Crown (early), Super Snowball (early), Self Blanch, Snowball 1 2 3. Cauliflower's maturity ranges from 60 days for early hybrids, 90 days for main season, to over 100 days for late varieties.

Cauliflower is best cooked barely tender, and snowy white.

Cultivation FAQ

Monday, November 1, 2010

Beet root

Ancient Greeks called the beet as teutlion and used it for their leaves, and both as a culinary herb and medicinally. The Romans were the first one to cultivate the plant for its root, and they also used the beet for medicinally purpose.

Beets contain a significant amount of vitamins A and C and also calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, protein and carbohydrates. Beets are also high in folate, dietary fiber and antioxidants.

They are high in betaine which is prescribed to lower toxic levels of homocysteine (which contributes to the development of heart disease, stoke and peripheral vascular disease). The highest levels of vitamins and other nutrients are available when the vegetables are eaten raw. The beet greens are high in vitamin A.

The juice of white beets has been used for cleansing digestive quality to “open obstructions of the liver and spleen – good for headache and all affections of the brain. The juice is also good for “blisters and blains of the skin and as a decoction in water and vinegar cleanses the head of dandruff and relieves running sores and ulcers.” White beet juice is also helpful for preventing baldness and shedding of hair. Red beet juice is known to help with yellow jaundice and when the juice is put in the nostrils, it is helpful for ringing in the ears and toothaches. It was used to treat illnesses relating to digestion and blood. Beet leaves were used as binding for wounds.

In folk medicine a decoction from seeds was used as a remedy for tumors of the intestines and seeds boiled in water were a cure for genital tumors. When uridine is isolated from sugar beets it can be used with omega-3 to alleviate depression. Today beets are used as a universal cure-all and are used in the treatment of AIDS. Beets are recommended as a general tonic and help disorders of the blood, are an effective detoxifier and recommended to relieve constipation because of their high fiber content.

(uprooted beet roots)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cocoa bean, seed of Theobroma cacao (The Fruit of Gods)

A small Cacao tree usually 4–8 m tall and grow rarely up to 20 m. After 2-3 years the tree produces many cauliflorous flowers and fruits develop after about 5 years. The fruits grow for 150-180 days, contain 30-40 seeds surrounded with mucilaginous pulp, and produce 10-35 cm long pods with recalcitrant seeds. A good tree produces up to 40 pods a year.

There are three main varieties of cacao trees. The most common is Forastero, which accounts 90% of the world's cacao beans production. Rarest and most prized are the beans of the Criollo variety. Their aroma and delicacy make them sought after by the world's best chocolate makers. Finally, there is the Trinitario variety of cacao, which is a hybrid cross between Criollo and Forastero.

Cacao seeds are the source of commercial cocoa, chocolate, and cocoa butter. The Fermented seeds are roasted, cracked and ground to give a powdery mass from which fat is expressed. In the preparation of chocolate, this mass is mixed with sugar, flavoring, and extra cocoa fat. Milk chocolate incorporates milk as well. Cocoa butter is used in confections and in manufacture of tobacco, soap, and cosmetics.

Cocoa butter has been described as the world's most expensive fat, used rather extensively in the emollient "bullets" used for hemorrhoids.

Theobroma cacao, is native to South America. Cocoa cultivation began by Mayan tribes in Central America, since 1500 BC. Mayas and Aztec attributed divine origin to cocoa tree (brought by god Quetzacoatl). The precious cocoa beans were used as a currency. The sacred beverage called "chocolatl" was consumed from golden cups.

Cocoa butter is applied to wrinkles in the hope of correcting them.

(a split open Cocoa bean)

Pepper (Capsicum annuum)

Peppers are tender and warm-season vegetable. There are two types of peppers, Sweet peppers and Hot peppers.

Sweet peppers are large-fruited, mild-flavored and bell types. The sweet peppers include Bell, Banana, Pimiento and Sweet Cherry.

The hot peppers include Cayenne, Celestial, Large Cherry, Serrano, Tabasco, and Jalapeno. Hot peppers are usually allowed to ripen fully and change colors and are smaller, longer, thinner and more tapering fruits than sweet peppers.

Pepper cultivation FAQ

Pepper soup

Medicinal usage
As a medicinal plant, peppers have been used as a carminative, digestive irritant, stomachic, stimulant, rubefacient, and tonic. The plants have also been used as folk remedies for dropsy, colic, diarrhea, asthma, arthritis, muscle cramps, and toothache.

Prolonged contact with the skin may cause dermatitis and blisters, while excessive consumption can cause gastroenteritis and kidney damage.

Consumption of red pepper may aggravate symptons of duodenal ulcers. High levels of ground hot pepper have induced stomach ulcers and cirrhosis of the liver in laboratory animals.

Body temperature, flow of saliva, and gastric juices may be stimulated by peppers.

(variety of peppers)

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Cucumber is a tender, warm-season vegetable. Grown for slicing and pickling. Cucumbers are ready for harvest 50 to

70 days from planting.

A single 8 inch cucumber(about 10.5 ounces) provides 12% of the minimum amount of fiber needed daily.

Cucumber cultivation FAQ's:

(cucumber in plant)


Mulberry trees are as ornamental as they are fruitful. The mulberry was once considered the "King of the Tree Crops"

Mulberry has various species are: White Mulberry, Black Mulberry, American Mulberry, Red Mulberry. Also there are few Hybrid forms exist between white and red mulberry.

The white mulberry is native to eastern and central China. The black mulberry is native to western Asia. The red mulberry is native to eastern United States.

The white mulberry fruits are generally very sweet but often lacking in needed tartness. Red mulberry fruits are usually deep red, almost black, and in the best clones have a flavor that almost equals that of the black mulberry. Black mulberry fruits are large and juicy, with a good balance of sweetness and tartness that makes them the best flavored species of mulberry. The refreshing tart taste of it, is in some ways reminiscent of grapefruit.

Rice (Oryza sativa)

Rice is cultivated primarily for it's grain, which is an important part of the diet in Asian counties.

Rice bran contains 15 to 17% oil, and is a source of vitamin B. Fermented or Sierra rice is consumed in the Andean highlands and is used exclusively there in the preparation of dry rice. Rice hulls are sometimes used in the production of purified alpha cellulose and furfural. Rice straw is used as roofing and packing material, feed, fertilizer, and fuel.

Rice is native to the tropics and subtropics of Southeast Asia. Almost 90% of the world's rice production is only from Asia as China and India being the largest producers.

(Rice field)

Peanut (Groundnut)

Peanut is an important oil and food crop; and being a 3rd major oil seed of the world, next to soybean and cotton.

It's seeds contains 25 to 32% protein and 42 to 52% oil. One Kilo gram of peanut is high enough in food energy and provides approximately the same energy value as 2 kilo grams of beef, 1.5 kilo grams of Cheddar cheese, one litre of milk, or 36 medium sized eggs.

The vines with leaves are an excellent high protein hay for horses and are used as ruminant livestock. The pods or shells serve as high fiber roughage in livestock feed, fuel, mulch, and are used in manufacturing fertilizer.

Peanuts are called in many local names, like earth-nuts groundnuts, goober peas, monkey nuts, pygmy nuts and pig nuts.

(Peanuts on it's plant)

Monday, August 9, 2010


The lucmo was first seen by Europeans in Ecuador in 1531. It is native and cultivated in the highlands of western Chile and Peru and possibly southeastern Ecuador where it is known to have been cultivated since ancient times.

The fruit is shape oblate, pointed or depressed at the apex; 3 to 4 inch long, with thin, delicate skin, brownish-green more or less overlaid with russet, and bright-yellow, firm, dry, mealy, very sweet pulp, permeated with latex until almost overripe. There may be 1 to 5 broad-oval, dark-brown, glossy seeds with a whitish hilum on one flattish side.

The mature fruits are edible after they have been picked from the tree and kept on hand for several days. The fully ripe fruits can be eaten raw, out-of-hand. It's flavor is appealing at first, but it become soon repulsive because of it's peculiar aftertaste.

The lucmo has been stewed in sirup, used as pie-filling, made into preserves, and used in making ice cream.

Kiwifruit (Chinese Gooseberry)

Kiwifruits are native to the Yangtze Valley of China. The Seeds from China were taken to New Zealand and planted in 1906. The kiwifruit is borne on a vigorous, woody, twining vine or climbing shrub reaching 30 ft. The fruit is colored brown, egg sized and covered with fuzz and up to 2 1/2 inch long.

When sliced, the cross-sections are very attractive. It has emerald-green flesh with rows of small, edible seeds, and a light cream colored center. Its flavor is similar to a blend between strawberry and pineapple.

Fresh kiwifruit can be eaten by peeled and sliced. The kiwifruit is high in vitamin C and can be used as a tenderizer when rubbed on meats.

Kiwifruits can be kept for up to six months, at a temperature slightly above freezing and at a relative humidity near 90%.