Creating Healthy Dishes With Crimini Mushrooms

Crimini or cremini mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) are known when white as common mushroom, button mushroom, white mushroom, cultivated mushroom, table mushroom, and champignon mushroom; when brown as Paris mushrooms (champignons de Paris), Swiss brown mushroom, Roman brown mushroom, Italian brown, Italian mushroom, brown cap mushrooms, and chestnut mushroom; and when mature as Portobello mushroom. Agaricus bisporus is native […]

Celebrating Celery

Celery (Apium graveolens) shares its species with celeriac. Both are in the Apiaceae family, along with other mostly aromatic plants with hollow stems and umbrella-like flower clusters. Included in this family are anise, caraway, carrot, chervil, coriander (including cilantro), cumin, fennel, hemlock, Queen Anne’s lace, parsley, dill, and parsnip. First appearing in English in 1664, the word “celery” derives from the […]


Blending Blueberries Into Your Diet

Blueberries are perennial plants with indigo berries in the Cyanococcus section of the genus Vaccinium, which also includes cranberries and bilberries.  All these berries belong to the Ericaceae family, along with huckleberries, Rhododendron, azalea, heath, and heather. Vaccinium species are classified according to their growth habit as high-bush and low-bush berries: High-bush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) grow on a highly branched, […]

Storing Winter Squash

Winter squash is a summer-growing annual fruit, representing several squash species within the genus Cucurbita. It differs from summer squash in that it is harvested and eaten in the mature fruit stage, when the seeds within have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind. At this stage, most varieties of this […]

Opening up to Okra

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), known in many English-speaking countries as lady’s fingers, bhindi, or gumbo, is a flowering plant in the Malvaceae family, along with cacao, cotton, and hibiscus. Okra likely originated in an area that includes present-day Ethiopia, the mountainous or plateau portion of Eritrea, and the eastern, higher part of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. It still grows wild […]

Savoring Summer Squash

Summer squash are squashes that are harvested when immature, while the rind and seeds are still tender and edible raw or cooked. Nearly all summer squash squashes are varieties of Cucurbita pepo, though not all Cucurbita pepo are considered summer squashes. They are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with chayote, watermelon, cucumber, horned melon, muskmelon, cantaloupe, Persian melon, Korean melon, […]

Munching Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots are the edible shoots (new bamboo culms that come out of the ground) of many bamboo species including Bambusa vulgaris and Phyllostachys edulis. In fact, there are over 70 genera of bamboo, separated into 1450 species. They belong to the Poaceae family, along with wild rice (Zizania), wheat (Triticum), rice (Oryza), corn (Zea), oats (Avena), barley (Hordeum), millet (Echinochloa) […]

Reaching for Raspberries

Raspberries are the edible fruits of several species in the genus Rubus. They belong to the Rosaceae family, which includes strawberries, blackberries, plums, apricots, peaches, cherries, quinces, apples, nectarines, almonds,  pears, and ornamental trees and shrubs (such as roses, meadowsweets, photinias, firethorns, rowans, and hawthorns). Within the raspberry family there are two major types, the red raspberry and the black raspberry. There is […]

Getting Excited About Eggplant

Eggplants (Solanum melongena) are members of the Solanaceae or nightshade family, which also includes peppers, tomatoes, goji berries, tomatillos, potatoes, tobacco, and petunias. The word eggplant in English dates to the British occupation of India, where white egg-shaped fruits were very popular in some areas, although in British English, it is now commonly referred to as aubergine. Brinjal, used in India, derives from the […]

Pleasing Your Palate With Plums

Plums are fruits of the genus Prunus, which includes apricots, peaches, cherries, nectarines, and almonds. They all belong to the Rosaceae family, along with strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, quinces, apples, pears, and ornamental trees and shrubs (such as roses, meadowsweets, photinias, firethorns, rowans, and hawthorns). There are between 19 to 40 species of plums, although only two species, the European plum […]