Getting Fit With Zucchini

Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) is a summer squash. It is a variety of the same species as acorn squash, delicata squash, dodi marrow, gem squash, heart of gold squash, Kamo Kamo, pattypan squash, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, sweet dumpling squash, yellow crookneck squash, and yellow summer squash. In turn, they are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with chayote, watermelon, cucumber, horned melon, muskmelon, cantaloupe, Persian […]

Gorging on Guava

Guava (Psidium guajava) is a member of the Myrtaceae family, along with myrtle, clove, feijoa, allspice, and eucalyptus. Ranging in size from a chicken’s egg to an apple, the oval fruits have orange flesh beneath skin that varies in color from purplish black to red. Guava likely originated in Central America. Indigenous people domesticated wild guava trees at least […]

Appreciating Asparagus

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) belongs to the Asparagaceae. They share the order Asparagales with the Amaryllidaceae family, which includes chives, scallions, leeks, garlic, onions, shallots, and elephant garlic. Asparagus likely originated along the coastal regions of the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor. By around 20,000 BC, people were eating asparagus near Aswan in what is now Egypt. It has been used as a vegetable and […]

Craving Cranberries

Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) share the genus Vaccinium with blueberries and bilberries.  All these berries belong to the Ericaceae family, along with huckleberries, Rhododendron, azalea, heath, and heather.  They grow on long, running vines in acidic, sandy bogs and marshes. Cranberries are native to the northeast United States, Wisconsin, and the Pacific Northwest. Native American used crushed cranberries to preserve food throughout the winter. They also used […]

Staying Regular With Bran Flakes

The first modern commercial breakfast cereals were created by the American Seventh-day Adventists. The Adventists formed the Western Health Reform Institute in the 1860s. The Institute was later renamed the Battle Creek Sanitarium after its location in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Adventists manufactured, promoted, and sold whole-grain cereals. Cereal grains are member of the grass […]

Admiring Artichokes

The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus scolymus) is a variety of a species of thistle cultivated as a food. It belongs to the same species as cardoons. Both belong to the Asteraceae family, along with the herbs arnica, burdock, boneset, calendula, chamomile, cronewort (mugwort), coltsfoot, dandelion, echinacea, elecampane, feverfew, gravel root, grindelia, liferoot, milk thistle, tansy, yarrow, valerian, wormwood, and wild lettuce. […]

Savoring Salsa

Salsa is the spicy sauce typical of Central and South American cuisine, where its ingredients are indigenous. Tomatoes are native to Peru and Ecuador. Possibly as far back as 3000 BC, the Aztecs combined peppers, ground squash seeds, and other ingredients, even beans, with the tomatoes or tomatillos to produce a sauce. Domestication of these plants […]

Chopping Chives

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are the oldest and smallest species of the genus Allium, which includes scallions, leeks, onions, garlic, shallots, and elephant garlic. All of these species, belong, in turn, to the Amaryllidaceae family, which includes many ornamentals, such as the belladonna lily, tuberose, snowdrop, snowflake, daffodil, Cape tulip, Peruvian lily, and amaryllis. A perennial plant, chives are native […]

Honoring Bay Leaves

Bay leaves (Laurus nobilis) are also known as bay laurel. They come from the Lauraceae family, which also includes the more strongly flavored California bay leaf (Umbellularia californica), also known as the California laurel, Oregon myrtle, and pepperwood,  the Mexican bay leaf (Litsea glaucescens), and the cinnamon-flavored Indian bay leaf or malabathrum (Cinnamomum tamala). These bay leaves are […]

Squeezing Lemons

Lemons (Citrus limon or C. x limon) are yellow fruits that grow on a small evergreen tree native to Asia. They are shaped like a small American football and feature a yellow, dimple-textured outer peel. They belong to the genus, Citrus, which also includes grapefruits, limes, oranges, tangerines (mandarin oranges), and pomelos. The fruit is a modified berry with […]