Adding a New Twist of Flavor With Peppermint

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a branching perennial herb of Mediterranean origin. It is actually a natural hybrid between watermint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). In addition to peppermint and spearmint, other plants in the Mentha genus include apple mint, orange mint, watermint, curly mint, and Corsican mint. Mint belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, along with basil, beebalm, giant hyssop, ground ivy, […]

Fighting Cancer With Cauliflower

Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea Botrytis) takes its name from the Latin caulis (cabbage) and flower. It’s actually a variety (breed or race) of the species Brassica oleracea, to which cabbage, kale, collards, kholrabi, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and broccolini also belong. It belongs to the Brassicaceae family, along with along with bok choy, rapini, napa cabbage, turnips, mustard, watercress, arugula, radishes, and horseradish. Cauliflower has a compact head (called a “curd”), with an average size of six inches in […]

Making an Easy Salad With Mixed Baby Greens

Mesclun is a salad mix of assorted small, young salad leaves which originated in Provence, France. The name comes from Provençal mescla, and literally means “mixture.” The traditional Provençal mesclun includes chervil, arugula, leaf lettuces, and endive in equal proportions. Modern American iterations may include an undetermined mix of fresh and available leaf lettuces, spinach, arugula, chard, mustard greens, dandelion, curly endive, escarole, mizuna, mâche (lamb’s lettuce), radicchio, sorrel, chicory, watercress, parsley, […]

Selecting Sorrel

Common sorrel or garden sorrel (Rumex acetosa), often simply called sorrel, is a perennial herb that is cultivated as a garden herb or leaf vegetable (pot herb). Other names for sorrel include Belleville sorrel, spinach dock, sour dock, and narrow-leaved dock. “Dock” refers to any plant with big leaves. The name “sorrel” can be confused with the hibiscus […]

Taking a Shot of Wheatgrass Juice

Wheatgrass juice is a food prepared from the young leaves of the wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. It belongs to the Poaceae family, along with bamboo, wild rice (Zizania), rice (Oryza),  corn (Zea), oats (Avena), barley (Hordeum), millet (Echinochloa) and rye (Secale). Wheatgrass was used more than six thousand years ago by ancient early Mesopotamians. Five thousand years ago, the Priests, Pharaohs, and other powerful […]

Singing the Praises of Açaí

Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) berries come from an Amazon palm (Euterpe oleracea). Açaí belongs to the Arecaceae family along with coconuts, oil palms, dates, and heart palms. The açaí palm has 3-10 tall, thin trunks that grow 15-25 meters high. Açaí berries hang from branches in clusters that look like groups of blue bottles. Each açaí berry is about the size of a small […]

Enjoying Curly Endive and Escarole

Endive (Cichorium endivia) belongs to the chicory genus, which includes several similar bitter-leafed vegetables. Species include wild chicory (Cichorium pumilum), and common chicory (Cichorium intybus), which includes radicchio, puntarelle, and Belgian endive. Endive belongs 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, […]