Category - Food

Fruits and Vegetables That You Should Grow In Your Backyard

Fruits and Vegetables That You Should Grow In Your Backyard

In many houses, there are plenty of unused spots in the backyard that can be tilled and enriched with organic compost. The produce that we get in supermarket is often commercially grown, which is potentially exposed to pesticides, herbicides and factory-made fertilizers. Fortunately, we can grow many of them in our backyard and we can be sure that they will remain safe for consumption. Strawberries are vulnerable to bugs infestation and it is quite rare to find those without pesticide contamination. Fortunately, strawberry is easy to grow in our own backyard. In order to avoid bugs infestation, we could use a closed hydroponic and aquaponic garden.

Lettuce, spinach and other leafy produce could also be grown in our house. Leafy vegetables represent a broad group of plants, which may include spinach, cabbage, lettuce and others. When growing vegetables in our backyard, we should avoid using manure or any kind of fertilizer made from fecal matter. Harmful bacteria could find their way into nooks and crannies of vegetables; which make salad quite dangerous. Contaminated vegetables could cause the outbreak of salmonella or E. coli. Again, it is a good idea to choose aquaponic garden to grow your lettuce and other leafy vegetables.

Fertilizer that is typically used in aquaponic garden should be quite safe, because it doesn’t come from fecal matter. Handling traditional garden can be quite tricky; because when it rains, it could be quite muddy. Buying tomatoes from the supermarket can be particularly risky. In fact, the plant is the first ever that was altered genetically. Scientists aimed to make tomato plants that can be harvested better, yield bigger tomatoes, are more resistant to drought, can withstand pests and have better flavour. There’s still a huge controversy associated with GMO or genetically modified organisms. Because the genes of these plants are altered artificially, the consumption of modified fruits and veggies could have harmful effects to our health, such as antibiotic resistance, allergies and cancer.

When growing tomatoes at home, you should learn how to eliminate pests, bacterial and fungal outbreak. As an example, blight is a very contagious type of fungus that can eradicate tomato crops really quickly. Peppers can also be grown easily in your home and they could also become a wonderful snack, as an example, grilled bell pepper. In many areas, bell pepper is quite expensive, so growing your own can be a wonderful option. Not to mention that bell pepper that you purchase may contain some amount of pesticides and other chemicals.

Celery is also a wonderful plant that we can use as snack. A big stick of salary with some peanut butter should become a tasty and nutritious snack. You can also add granola, raisin and roasted sunflower seeds to improve the taste and nutritional level. Just like other vegetables, celery can also be exposed to pesticides and chemicals. It is also a good thing to know that celery grows quite fast.

How Commercially Grown Produce Can Be Risky For Your Health?

How Commercially Grown Produce Can Be Risky For Your Health?

Fruits and vegetables are healthy, but industrially grown produce may not be the healthiest for you. The way they are processed and stored could reduce vitamin content. Pesticides are the most likely chemicals that contaminate your food. They are intended to kill bugs and you may ingest chemicals that are intended to eradicate living organisms. When pesticides enter your body, they could stop at anywhere. Other than for killing bugs, commercial growers also need to eradicate weeds and other unwanted plants. They steal nutrients from the soil, which are intended for the actual vegetable plants and fruit-bearing trees. Excessive uses of herbicide could be linked to prostate cancer, breast cancer and other cancer types.

Preservatives could also be used to ensure that food remain usable longer. It is not only intended to slow down the natural decay, but also the visual appearance. The shelf life of the food could be reduced by the contamination of bacteria and the effects of enzyme. Foods with sulphites added are preserved. People who have allergic reactions to preservatives could suffer from sneezing, breathing difficulty, swollen throat and hives. Sulphites neutralize thiamine or vitamin B1, which is essential for the prevention of diabetes, inner working of nerve impulses and the metabolism carbohydrates. Genetic modification could be implemented to make plants grow better and produce more food. Some variants of canola, corn and soybean are genetically modified, which could have an effect on our body. Protein and fatty acids from these plants could also be slightly modified as unwanted side effects, which may cause problems in our body.

Processed fruits and vegetables could have food additives to lower costs, enhance flavours, improve appearance and increase shelf life. The FDA already approved more than one thousands of additives. Constant consumption of food additives could cause brain damage, birth defects, kidney damage, liver damage, migraine headaches, allergies and cancer. The sheer availability and common usages of food additives make it very hard for us to avoid them. However, we could be able to significantly reduce exposure by consuming fresh produce. If we need to eat processed food, as an example during camping and emergency situations; you should read the ingredients on the labels. A general rule is that if a substance has numbers in its name or difficult to pronounce, then it is likely artificially manufactured or heavily processed from existing natural sources.

Food can also be irradiated to destroy insects, viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms. In reality, irradiation also degrades texture, smell and flavour of the food. Studies have shown that animals fed with irradiated foods could cause various health problems. Risks of consuming irradiated food may include stunted growth on toddlers, immune system failure, organ damage, mutation, stillbirths, tumor, cancer and premature death. Food storage and transport could also reduce the nutritional values of food, especially if they are stored for a prolonged period of time in specific places. Because eating commercially grown fruits and vegetables are risky; you should know where you get them.

How To Freeze Fruits Properly?

How To Freeze Fruits Properly?

Fruits don’t last long, especially after they are peeled. Deep freezing is convenient and easy, because you can eat small cubes of frozen fruits directly. However, when freezing fruits; you should know more than a few details about them. You need to treat fruits that are low in acid content before deep freezing them. Once cut, fruits with low natural acid could go brown and discoloured. Discoloration can be prevented by adding some amount of ascorbic acid to your fruits. Because ascorbic acid is essentially vitamin C, we also make the fruit more nutritious. However, you should determine the amount carefully and it is a good idea to avoid adding too much of the substance.

When you do this, you should mix two pints of cold water with 1 ½ teaspoon of powdered ascorbic acid. Cut fruits into bite-sized cubes and soak them in the solution for about 5 minutes. Drain the fruits and you can proceed with the deep freezing step. This method should work well with apricots, apples, bananas, avocados, nectarines, cherries, quinces, persimmons, pears, plums and peaches. Fruits with high acid content will freeze especially well and you don’t need to soak them in ascorbic acid solution. They don’t get discoloured when cut, frozen and thawed.  Berries have relatively high acid level. Before freezing, you can wash them ice cold water and dry them before freezing. Black and red currants can be frozen quite well and won’t degrade too much when thawed.

After being thawed, currants and berries can be used to make pies and jam all the year around. Other fruits with high level of acid include raspberries, boysenberries, blackberries, sour cherries, rhubarb, strawberries, oranges, grapefruits, guavas, gooseberries, papaya, melon, plums, pineapple, lemon, mango, pineapple and passion fruits.  Before freezing, you remove the stone, core and peel. Good container should be polyethylene bag and you remove the air inside the bag. Then you can seal it with a wire twist. This will allow you to thaw the frozen fruits more quickly with flowing water, without soaking the fruits. Half frozen fruits can be eaten with icing sugar or condensed milk, if the fruit is sour and has low sugar level.

There are many ways you can do to process frozen fruits. You can use sugar syrup for fruits with higher acid level that is not too sweet. You should be able to improve the taste of fruits, by using the syrup sugar. It is a good idea to ensure that the frozen fruits can be consumer directly, by preparing it for immediate consumption with only toothpicks. When putting fruits inside the polyethylene bag, you should leave about one inch of head room, so there’s a space for liquid to expand. Whatever you do, the bag should be sealed carefully, labelled and then frozen. You may also freeze boiled fruits. Sour-tasting fruits can be boiled in sugar syrup to improve the taste. Drain and put them in the bag for easier freezing process.

How To Reduce Health Risks Of Grilling?

How To Reduce Health Risks Of Grilling?

When summer finally hits the neighbourhood, it is time to move the cooking space outdoor. Food generally tastes really nice when grilled and it’s a wonderful thing when you can eat under the shade. The direct touch of fire could work wonder on our food. However, the usual summer treat comes with own hidden dangers and they can be overlooked quite easily. The underdone steak and burned finger tips are the least of your worries. The smoky and charred flavour of barbecued food is unbeatable for some people. However, you could actually generate some amount of cancer-causing substance in your food. When meat proteins and fats interact directly with high temperatures through barbecuing, frying, grilling and broiling, HCA or heterocyclic amines will form in greater amount.

HCA is known as a type of carcinogen and it is associated with the higher risks for colon cancer. Due to this concern, you should try to make grilled food healthier. The first thing that you can do is to go meatless. Grilling doesn’t have to be associated with meat and in many cases; you should be able to take meat out of the overall equation. Marinated sliced potato, tomato and onion could taste really good. You can marinate them with some spices, cider vinegar and olive oil. When you do this, it is a good idea to choose a steady medium fire. With good non-meat alternatives, you should still get the wonderful smoky flavour, with the dreaded HCA threat. If you can’t remove meat from your grilling session, you should avoid chicken whenever possible.

Grilled chicken could have 17 times of HCA of well done steak, 70 times compared to grilled salmon and 100 times compared to well done burger patty. By properly marinating your food, it is also possible to reduce the amount of HCA. Rubbing your meat with virgin olive oil mixed with salt, pepper, lemon juice, finely chopped garlic and onion should significantly reduce the formation of HCA, because the meat surface isn’t directly exposed to open fire. Rubs based on rosemary extract could make your grilled steak tastes much better. Chlorophyll and other substances in green leaves are natural protection against cancer-causing compounds. So, it is important for you to increase the intake of chlorophyll-rich food in our summer diet.

Cytochrome P450 is a type of enzyme found in our liver and it could cause toxic molecules, HCAs to become a sticky, as an unintended side effect. It means that these compounds could bind with the internal surface of the intestines quite easily. This causes stomach and colon cancers become more likely to happen. You may eat good portion of lightly steamed vegetables and swallow a chlorella tablet after a meal of grilled food. Simple freshly peeled fruits is a good dessert for you food. It is recommended to eat fruit as is. Anything you add to your fruit could increase the intake of sugar, which is not a good thing. Pineapple, papaya, mango and watermelon could be consumed directly as dessert. Peel these fruits directly after you finish your main meal, so you are able to obtain the maximum freshness of the food.