Gravitating Toward Grapes

A grape is a berry of the deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis, which contains about 60 different species. Vitis is one of 11 genera of the Vitaceae family, and is the only genus that humans use for food. The Vitaceae  family includes other woody vines such as Boston ivy and Virginia creeper. The Vitis species are grouped […]

Grabbing a Grapefruit

Grapefruits (Citrus × paradisi) are subtropical fruits. They belong to the genus Citrus, which also includes lemons, oranges, tangerines (mandarin oranges), and pomelos. The fruit is a modified berry with tough, leathery rind called a hesperidium. As with other citrus fruits, grapefruit peels contain many volatile oil glands in pits. Their inner flesh is composed of eight to ten segments, called carpels, made up […]

Cooking Cardoons

Cardoons (Cynara cardunculus), are thistle-like plants that share a species with globe artichoke. Both are in 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. The family also contains the foods sunflower seeds, lettuce, endive, and sun chokes (also […]

Reconsidering Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is a variety of lettuce with crisp leaves which grows in a spherical head resembling cabbage. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is an annual plant of the Asteraceae family. The Asteraceae family contains the herbs arnica, burdock, boneset, calendula, chamomile, chicory, cronewort (mugwort), coltsfoot, dandelion, echinacea, elecampane, feverfew, gravel root, grindelia, liferoot, milk thistle, tansy, yarrow, valerian, wormwood, and wild lettuce. It also […]

Leaking the Good News About Leeks

Leeks (Allium porrum) share the Allium genus with chives, scallions, garlic, onions, 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. Rather than forming a tight bulb like the onion, the leek produces a long cylinder of […]

Having a Taste of Hubbard Squash

Hubbard squash refers to a group of winter squashes, although the original “True Hubbard” is still available. Besides the squashes that have Hubbard in their actual names, Boston marrow, delicious, golden delicious, and redskin are also Hubbard squashes. The squashes in this group are very large and irregularly shaped, with hard, bumpy skin that ranges in […]

Munching on Maitakes

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees, particularly oaks. It is commonly known among English speakers as hen-of-the-woods, ram’s head, and sheep’s head. In the United States supplement market, as well as in Asian grocery stores, the mushroom is known by its Japanese name maitake (舞茸), […]

photo of a bucket of sweet potatoes

Sweetening Your Life With Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) belong to the family Convolvulaceae, along with morning glories and over 1,000 other plants. It is the only species in the family that is widely cultivated for food. The large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots of the sweet potato are a root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as […]

Bagging Rutabagas

Rutabagas are also known as swedes (from Swedish turnip), yellow turnips, or neeps. Their name comes from the Swedish word Rotabagga, meaning “root bag.” Rutabagas belong to the species Brassica napobrassica, and are members of the Brassicaceae family, along with cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, kholrabi, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, broccolini, bok choy, rapini, napa cabbage, turnips, mustard, watercress, arugula, radishes, horseradish, daikon, land cress, and shepherd’s purse. Rutabagas originated in Scandanavia or Russia […]

Beating Disease with Beets

Beets, also known in North America as beetroots, table beets, garden beets, or red or golden beets, refers to any of the cultivated varieties of Beta vulgaris grown for their edible taproots, especially B. vulgaris L. subsp. conditiva. Beets are varieties of the same species as chard and belong to the same family of Amaranthaceae as spinach, palak, epazote, […]