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Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Rose Apple - Syzygium Malaccense.

I got hooked on the wonderful crunchy, and refreshing, juicy fruit, when I lived in Thailand. There, they were called Chmphū̀ (ชมพู่). A native of Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Guinea, Vietnam, and Thailand. It is common in the markets of those countries, and most sought after.

The scientific genus, Syzygium Malaccense translates as Rose Apple, and sometimes is called various names, such as Otaheite Apple, in Jamaica, and Mountain Apple, Pommerac, from the French. Don't confuse it with a namesake, Syzygium Jambos, which is nothing like it, (I've got two trees growing in my yard), and the Syzygium Aqueum, a bell-shaped relative.

The fruit is red, shaped almost like a pear, or even oblong. It contains a fairly large seed which is normally removed as the fruit is prepared for eating. I can't think of another fruit like it, as it has white flesh, and an almost bland taste.

Well worth the price of admission.

REFERENCE: 1 - Wikipedia


Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Lime Fruit

A lime, from Arabic and French, 'lim', is a hybrid citrus fruit, which is typically round, lime green, 3–6 centimetres (1.2–2.4 in) in diameter, and containing acidic juice vesicles. There are several species of citrus trees whose fruits are called limes, including the Key lime, Citrus aurantifolia, Persian lime, Kaffir lime, and Desert Lime.

Limes are an excellent source of vitamin C, and are often used to accent the flavours of foods and beverages. They are grown year-round in tropical climates, and are usually smaller and less sour than lemons, although varieties may differ in sugar and acidic content. Plants, with fruit called "limes", have diverse genetic origins - limes do not form a monophyletic group. 1

Limes were grown on a large scale in southern Iraq, and Persia, and the fruit was first grown commercially in what is today southern Iraq - Babylonia.

To prevent scurvy during the 19th century, British sailors were issued a daily allowance of citrus, such as lemon, and later switched to lime. The use of citrus was initially a closely guarded military secret, as scurvy was a common scourge of various national navies, and the ability to remain at sea for lengthy periods, without contracting the disorder, was a huge benefit for the military. The British sailor thus acquired the nickname, "Limey", because of their use of limes.

As compared to lemons, limes contain less vitamin C, but the amount is still an excellent source, providing 35% of the Daily Value per 100 g serving. Limes are a good source of dietary fibre, and contain numerous other nutrients in small quantities. 1

REFERENCE: 1 - Wikipedia - Lime (Fruit).


The Blueberry - 'Cyanococcus vaccinium'

Blueberries are perennial flowering plants, with indigo-colored berries, from the section Cyanococcus, within the genus Vaccinium, a genus that also includes cranberries, bilberries and grouseberries.

Species in the section Cyanococcus, are the most common fruits sold as "blueberries" and are native to North America - commercially cultivated highbush blueberries were not introduced into Europe until the 1930s.

Blueberries are usually erect, prostrate shrubs, that can vary in size from 10 centimeters (3.9 in) to 4 meters (13 ft) in height. In the commercial production of blueberries, the smaller species are known as "low-bush blueberries", (synonymous with "wild"), while the larger species are known as "high-bush blueberries".

The leaves can be either deciduous or evergreen, ovate to lanceolate, and 1–8 cm (0.39–3.15 in) long, and 0.5–3.5 cm (0.20–1.38 in) broad. The flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish. The fruit is a berry 5–16 millimeters (0.20–0.63 in) in diameter with a flared crown at the end; they are pale greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally dark purple when ripe. They are covered in a protective coating of powdery epicuticular wax, colloquially known as the "bloom". They have a sweet taste when mature, with variable acidity. 1

Despite their long-held popularity in North America, blueberries were slow to take off in Australia. The first attempt to grow them was in the early 1950s, by Karel Kroon and Ralph Proctor, from the Victorian Department of Agriculture. Unfortunately, they had little success.

Two decades later, the Victorian Department of Agriculture decided to try again. This time, David Jones successfully grew several blueberry plants; and his work was carried on by Ridley Bell and Margaret Tucker. Their dedication and enthusiasm towards the creation of an Australian blueberry industry saw the formation of the Australian Blueberry Growers' Association (ABGA) in the mid 1970s.

In the 1980s, the general public began to demand more blueberries, and more sophisticated growing and cultivation techniques were introduced. Since then, commercial production has taken off and the industry has never looked back.

Today, Australian blueberries are prized for their premium quality, delicious flavour, and consistency in size. 2

REFERENCE: 1 - Wikipedia - Blueberry... and, 2 - Australian Blueberries - History.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Clementine Orange - 'citrus × clementina'

A Clementine, citrus × clementina, is a hybrid between a Mediterranean citrus × deliciosa and a sweet orange, so named in 1902. The exterior is a deep orange colour, with a smooth, glossy appearance. Clementines can be separated into 7 to 14 segments. Similarly to tangerines, they tend to be easy to peel. They are almost always seedless, when grown commercially (without cross-pollination), and therefore are sometimes known as seedless tangerines. The clementine is also occasionally referred to as the Moroccan clementine. They are typically juicy and sweet, with less acid than oranges. 1

Even though clementines are seedless, they lose this characteristic when they get cross-pollinated by the bees, with some other fruit. On the other hand tangerines contain seeds so any cross pollination doesn’t affect this characteristic.

The master category that these fruits fall into is Mandarin oranges or "Mandarins." Compared to oranges in general, Mandarins tend to be smaller in size, have a looser peel, and are less tart. They originated in the Far East and were originally exported through North Africa, where they were all tagged with the name "tangerine," from the city of Tangiers. However, the name "tangerine" has become less generic and is now usually applied to only one kind of Mandarin orange as stores have come to market the different cultivars - so while all tangerines are Mandarins, not all Mandarins are tangerines. 2

REFERENCE: 1 - Wikipedia - Clementine, and, 2 - Eat Your Books - Sorting out Mandarin oranges - tangerines, clementines, satsumas, etc.


Brazil nut - Bertholletia excelsa

The Brazil nut, Bertholletia excelsa, is a South American tree in the fam. Lecythidaceae, and the name of the tree's commercially harvested edible seeds. The Brazil nut family is in the order Ericales, as are other well-known plants such as Blueberries, Cranberries, Sapote, Gutta-percha, Tea, Gooseberries, Phlox and Persimmons.

The Brazil nut tree is the only species in the monotypic genus Bertholletia. It is native to the Guianas, Venezuela, Brazil, eastern Colombia, eastern Peru, and eastern Bolivia. It occurs as scattered trees in large forests on the banks of the Amazon River, Rio Negro, Tapajós, and the Orinoco rivers.

The genus is named after the French chemist Claude Louis Berthollet. 1

The Brazil nut is a large tree, reaching 50 m (160 ft) tall, and with a trunk 1 to 2 m (3.3 to 6.6 ft) in diameter, making it among the largest of trees in the Amazon rainforests. It may live for 500 years or more, and according to some authorities, often reaches an age of 1,000 years. The fruit containing nuts are very heavy and rigid, and they pose a serious threat to vehicles and people passing under the tree. At least one person has died after being hit on the head by a falling fruit.

Though it is commonly called the Brazil nut, in botanical terms it is the seed from the fruit of this tree. To a botanist, a nut is a hard-shelled indehiscent fruit. An example of a botanical nut would be an acorn or a hazelnut. 1

REFERENCE: 1 - Wikipedia - Brazil Nut.


The Boysenberry

A Boysenberry, is a cross between a European Raspberry, Rubus idaeus, a Common Blackberry, Rubus fruticosus, an American Dewberry, Rubus aboriginum, and a Loganberry, Rubus × loganobaccus.

It is a large 8.0 gram (0.28 oz) aggregate fruit, with large seeds, and a deep maroon color, which changes to the typical boysenberry colour when the fruit is cooked, and made into jam, and pie. Boysenberries grow on low, trailing plants, and are characterized by their soft texture, thin skins, and sweet-tart flavour. Mature fruits leak juice very easily and can start to decay within a few days of harvest. 1

The Boysenberry is a large bramble berry, with many features that are direct reflections of its parentage. Its size, shape and colour are similar to the blackberry, bold in size, oval shaped, with onyx and ruby hues. Its flavour is rich, complex, and sweet, with just a hint of acid, similar to a loganberry.

Boysenberries can be used as you would blackberries in all applications. They are sweeter, therefore better for use alone with creams, in trifles, and to top fruit tarts. Complimentary pairings include coconuts, apricots, peaches, honey, rose, citrus, strawberries, raisins, hazelnut and hazelnut oil, exotic fruits, cardamon, cinnamon, mascarpone, fresh young cheeses, chicken, pork, chocolate, fino sherry and rum.

Although the Boysenberry's sweetness can be attributed to the raspberry, unlike raspberries, the Boysenberry does not have a hallow center, as its fruit is produced directly from the plant's flowers, 2 - in typical bramble style.

REFERENCE: 1 - Wikipedia - Boysenberry. and,
2 - Specialty Produce - Boysenberries.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Common Fig - 'Ficus carica'

The ficus carica is an Asian species of flowering plants in the Mulberry family, known as the Common Fig, or just the Fig. It is the source of the fruit, also called the Fig, and as such, is an important crop in those areas where it is grown commercially. Native to the Middle East and western Asia, it has been sought out and cultivated since ancient times, and is now widely grown throughout the temperate world, both for its fruit, and as an ornamental plant. The species has become naturalized in scattered locations, in Asia, and North America. 1

Although dried figs are available throughout the year, there is nothing like the unique taste and texture of fresh figs. They are lusciously sweet with a texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds. 2

Part of the wonder of the fig, comes from its unique taste, and texture. Figs are lusciously sweet, and feature a complex texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds. In addition, since fresh figs are so delicate and perishable, some of their mystique comes from their relative rarity. Because of this, the majority of figs are dried, either by exposure to sunlight, or through an artificial process, creating a sweet and nutritious dried fruit, that can be enjoyed throughout the year. 2

REFERENCE: 1 - Wikipedia - Common Fig.
and, 2 - The World's Healthiest Foods - Figs.