Mushrooms are a part of our human heritage, our collective consciousness. Ancient cultures used psilocybin, the “magic” mushroom, to open the “gates of heaven” and communicate with the gods. Fungi grows in every part of the world; in crevices, on trees, in cow poo. They’ve been used for over 3,000 years in Chinese medicine as a way to prevent cancer and heart disease and promote longevity.
Humans love onions. And onions love us.
They are one of the world’s earliest domesticated crops. Nine million acres are devoted annually to growing this staple crop. They are also one of the m
ost consumed foods in the world. Americans eat an average of 18 pounds of onions per person per year.
March is a month-long celebration of celery, so here’s what you need to know about this often overlooked veggie.
Celery has been consumed by humans for a long time now. It’s that vegetable that we grab at the store, because we were taught to by our parents or grandparents, and then it lives in the crisper (the vegetable drawer) long past its expiration date (value of vitamins), until it goes limp and brown and finally gets thrown away. Why is celery purchased then ignored? Deep in our genetic bones we know that celery IS good for us. At some level we know that if we eat it, we are helping our bodies in some way.
It has a crunch, it plays well with many other vegetables, we eat it by the pound, for Fourth of July Picnics, and BBQ parties, but what is the story behind this humble vegetable that is usually associated with corned beef?
Cabbage has long been cultivated by humans. We’ve spent several thousand years selectively gardening cabbages so that there are a handful of well-known varieties. Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower have been selectively bred for the tight florets they produce. Green and red cabbage provide larger heads with tight leaves. And then there’s the loose leaf cabbage known as kale.
The terms sweet potato and yam seem to be used interchangeably, but are they the same plant? The answer is no. The sweet potato comes from the Americas (Peru and Ecuador), and the yam is indigenous to Africa and Asia.
Yams are such a staple food that they are celebrated in East African culture. Most of the world’s yam crops are grown in Africa. They can get as large as 150 lbs or so, and have a scaly outer skin. They are starchier and drier than the sweet potato. And unless you are shopping in an international market, chances are what are labeled yams here in the U.S. are really sweet potatoes.
Winter is the time for hard squash, and Spaghetti Squash is fun to cook. It’s called spaghetti because when you cook it and then scoop the guts, it looks like spaghetti.
This particular squash is very hard and difficult to cut open, but will reward you with taste and flavor.
Have you ever faced the produce section in the grocery store and wondered about all that squash? The different varieties, how to cook them, what they even are?
And what about that pumpkin you carved a few weeks ago for Halloween? Was that actually edible?
Whether you bake, boil, fry, saute, puree, or otherwise cook the potato, here is some information that you might not know about this starchy tuber that we love to make into french fries and potato chips.
The potato’s beginnings: The potato originated in Peru in the High Andes, and was not only a staple food for the Incans, but served medicinally as well. The varieties we know today can be traced to the Country of Chili, but all DNA testing shows proof of an origination in Peru. It is said to have been cultivated as far back as 4,000-10,000 years ago.