Plums- plum position for fantastic fruits

Plums- plum position for fantastic fruits

Plums were one of the first fruits domestically cultivated by humans. Evidence of the remains of the fruit have been found in Neolithic archaeological sites. They are members of the Prunus family, alongside apricots, peaches and cherries. Plums are considered  “drupes”, a fruit that has a hard stone surrounding the seeds.  China is the largest producer of plums in the world, producing 6,100,000 tonnes per year. There are over 2000 varieties of plum available throughout the world. The colour of plum skins can be red, purple, blue/black, green, yellow or orange. The flesh of the plum also comes in an abundance of colours including red, yellow, green and pink. Although there are many different varieties, they are classified into six general categories. Japanese American Damson Ornamental Wild European/Garden Green Gage Plums. The Green Gage is considered one of the best flavoured varieties of plum. Although it’s known for the flavour, Green Gages are not as visually appealing as many other varieties. The Green gage has a dull, dusty green colour that yellows slightly once ripe. Green Gages have been cultivated since the middle ages in France. There are many different French varieties of green skinned Gages, they are collectively known as Reine Claude. It is general belief that they were introduce to Great Britain during the 18th century by sir William Gage, when he obtained a tree from his brother who was a priest in France. Green Gages can be used for all manner of great tasting deserts and can even be used to flavour gin.   Damson Plums. The Damson has a distinct rich flavour, it is high in sugar and highly astringent. Damson skin...
Turnips and Swede – What is the difference?

Turnips and Swede – What is the difference?

Turnips Turnips are a cruciferous vegetable (member of the mustard family). Turnips thrive in cool climates. The turnip that we know is thought to have descended from the Wild Turnip which is native to Central Asia, the Mediterranean and the Near East. Turnips have been sold in England since the 16th century. The turnip was a staple with the Romans and across Europe before the potato. Turnips were used for both human and animal feed. When the first fleet went from England to Australia in 1787 turnips were planted on Norfolk Island in 1788. There are more than 30 varieties of turnip, the most familiar being the European type. This is a creamy/white globe with a purple top. The purple top comes from top of the vegetable being out of the soil and exposed to the sun. The taste of the turnip is sweet and slightly peppery. Perhaps due to it’s association with livestock fodder the turnip is not as popular in the U.K as it is in other parts of the world. The French serve them glazed, braised or sautéd, Italians put them in risottos. The Chinese sweet roast them whereas in they are enjoyed pickled in Japan and the Middle East. Turnip Records Scott and Mardie Robb grew the heaviest turnip on record, weighing 17.7 kg at the Alaska State Fair, Palmer, USA on 1.9.04. China produces the most turnips in the world a whooping 15,899,078 tonnes per year. This is over 10000000 tonnes more than the next five biggest producers (USA, Russia, Uzbekistan, Poland and the United Kingdom). Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United...
Dates – delicious, delightful, decadent

Dates – delicious, delightful, decadent

Dates also known as palm dates or Phoenix dactylifera are a flowering species of the palm family.  They have been cultivated by man since the beginning of recorded history. There are over 50 references to dates in the bible and 20 in the Qur’an. They have been a staple of Middle Eastern food for many thousands of years. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation dating between 5530 and 5320BC. In fact the oldest germinated seed belongs to a date palm and was carbon-dated at about 2000 years old. Fossil records show the date palms to have existed for 50 million years. Dates are Healthy. As well as being really old dates have many health benefits. A date is a good source of fibre, it contains the following vitamins and minerals: Calcium. Iron. Phosphorus. Sodium. Magnesium. Zinc. Thiamin. Riboflavin. Niacin. Folate. Vitamin A. Vitamin K. It is worth noting that dates are extremely high in sugar. Dates have many other extraordinary health benefits including: Weight loss. Relieving constipation, supporting regular bowel movements. Promoting heart health, reducing heart disease risk. Diarrhea relief. Impotence Iron-deficiency/anemia. Reducing blood pressure. Promoting respiratory and digestive health. Preventing colon cancer. Pregnancy deliveries. Reducing colitis risk. Chronic conditions such as arthritis. Hemorrhoid prevention. Prevention/cure of hang overs Medjool Dates. Medjool dates commonly known as the King (or in the US the Cadillac) of Dates was once reserved only for the royal family of the Sultan of Morocco. This variety is popular due to it’s large size and fantastic flavour. Medjools are classified as a soft date, although they are firmer than most other varieties of soft date. Medjool dates are exceptionally sweet, chewy and...
Cauliflower – healthy, seasonal produce

Cauliflower – healthy, seasonal produce

Cauliflower, one of the most recognisable Cornish grown vegetables in our fridges, but how much do we know about the humble cauli? The cauliflower is a member of the brassica family like cabbage, kale and broccoli. The plant itself is a mass of compact flower heads that grow from the central stem to form the round head. The cauliflower is thought to be a have its origins in the North Eastern portion of the Mediterranean, particularly Turkey.  In the UK farmers have been growing caulis since the 17th century. Cauliflower cheese was first mentioned in Mrs Beeton’s 1861 book of Household Management. The cauliflower has also been an important part of Cornish farming; in 1837 the first profitable export of cauliflowers (referred to as broccoli) was taken from Hayle to Bristol. The consignment was taken up the Bristol Channel by a passenger ship called the Herald. This marked the beginnings of many exports including potatoes, strawberries and mackerel. Exports improved dramatically with the completion of the bridge across the Tamar which allowed transport from Penzance to Plymouth. Cauliflower Health Benefits. The cauliflower is quite a remarkable plant, and is packed full of vitamins and minerals including: Vitamin C Folate. Vitamin K (phylloquinone). Vitamin B-6. Vitamin B1 (thiamine). B2 (riboflavin). B3 (niacin). E (alpha-tocopherol). Calcium. Magnesium. Phosphorous. Potassium. Studies have also shown that cauliflower can have the following health benefits: Cardiovascular Health: Due to the presence of Vitamin K & Omega-3 reducing risks of conditions such as atherosclerosis. Stomach Disorders: As an excellent source of dietary fibre aiding digestion and elimination of toxins. Immune System: It is rich in antioxidants and immune-strengthening nutrients....
Kohlrabi & Mooli – Look different, taste great.

Kohlrabi & Mooli – Look different, taste great.

Kohlrabi & Mooli are two of the more unusual vegetables in our fridges. They are however increasingly popular among chefs throughout Cornwall and Devon. This week we take a closer look at these remarkable vegetables. Kohlrabi Kohlrabi is a member of the brassica family along side cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. The name is a German word and translates to cabbage turnip. The taste of Kohlrabi can be described as sweet, peppery cabbage-y, and turnip-y. The most familiar type has a pale green skin. Purple skinned varieties are also available, the inside of the both is white. The origins of this unique vegetable are unclear, but can be traced as far back as 1 AD. Roman Pliny the Elder references a similar vegetable as the Corinthian Turnip. The oldest known cookbook on dining in Rome, written by Apicius mentions kohlrabi in his preparations. During his reign (800 AD – 814 AD ) Charlemange, ordered kohlrabi to be grown in Aix-la-Chapelle, now Aachen located in Western Germany. This helps to explain the origins of the name. Health Benefits of Kohlrabi. Kohlrabi plays an important part in Chinese medicine and is an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C. Studies have also shown that kohlrabi can benefit the following: Digestive Health. Weight Loss Booster. Nerve and Muscle Function. Blood Pressure. Iron Deficiency. Bone Strength. Vision Health. Metabolism. Cancer Prevention. Mooli Mooli also know as Daikon radish, white radish, Asian radish, Oriental radish, Chinese radish, or Japanese radish, is one of the bigger radishes measuring between six to fifteen inches. This radish variety has a crisp white flesh with a sweet flavour with a spicy hint. The...