The Tree Tomato: Tamarillo

Last week I was shown a small egg-shaped fruit that had a bitter soury taste. At the first glance, I didn’t know what it is. I ate it with the skin on, that was hard and bitter along with it’s loads of inner seeds. As I searched to know what is this fruit, I was amazed by the information I got and all the delicoius recipes used with it.

What’s Tamarillo?

A fruit originally from South America. An egg-shaped edible fruit, also known as the tree tomato or Dutch eggplant; the color varies from yellow, orange to red and purple. The taste is “sweet and sour” varying between tomatoes and cherries.

Tamarillos are and excellent source of Vit A, Vit C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium and magnesium. When ripe, they are usually eaten raw with a sprinkle of either salt or sugar. Yet, it’s widley used for cooking purposes, in purees, flavored yoghurts, ice cream and drinks. On the other hand it can replace tomatoes; it’s cooked in the same way and accompanies meat, chicken and fish. Moroever, it’s also cooked into jams.

For delicious recipes check out Pan Fried Salmon with Tamarillo Salas via Fuss Free Cooking and Chicken Tamarillo via the Food Network.

Reference:

Book: The Visual Food Lover’s Guide

“Remman”… Pomegranate Overview, Health Benefits and Nutrient Content…

Overview

Pomegranate is a tree (like a shrub) that produces a round brownish to dark colored fruits. The fruit contains small pink seeds covered with a juicy watery layer. Pomegranate grows in several varieties that range between sweet and sour. During processing the inner seeds are pressed and the juice is used to either produce juices, syrups such as the grenadine, jam or boiled and reduced to produce molasses.

Pomegranate juice is usually consumed with fish, turkey, meats (ex. Turkish kabab), and also included in iced tea products. Pomegranate molasses is widely used in salad dressing, marinades and sauces ex. fattouch, chicken liver, sausages, wings etc. Grenadine syrup is consumed as a cold drink or used in cocktails; some also use it in several recipes such as the Duck Recipes ex. Goose Liver with caramelized pears or apples, cinnamon and grenadine sauce).

It’s used to enhance the flavour, give a pinkish color to the food and to improve appetite.

Health Benefits

Pomegranates provide antioxidant (punicalagins) and anti-inflammatory protection (for sore throat), support healthy cholesterol levels, and help maintain a healthy blood pressure levels, thus improves the health of the arteries.

Moreover, it improves hormonal imbalances and hormonal shifts specifically during menopause, used in curing anemia (antioxidants and iron content).It also contains anti-aging components that nourish the skin and antibacterial effects against dental plaque.

Several studies were also done on the health benefits of pomegranate, several have shown a positive relationship with respect to cancer (prostate), infant brain health, colds and kidney disease.

Nutrient Content

Pomegranate is a rich source of antioxidants and a good source of vitamin B (riboflavin, thiamin and niacin), vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus.

Sumac and Lebanese Cuisine

Sumac is the berries of a shrub that mainly grows in the Mediterranean area. It is well known in all regions and harvested from almost all the mountains of Lebanon.

The sumac hangs on the branches of the shrub as clusters of dark red balls.

Sumac is harvested during the month of August, they are harvested during this season and then they are sun dried, the drying process can take several days up to weeks, when the sumac is completely dried; it is then grounded into a coarse powder. The main purpose of drying the sumac is to be able to use it during winter times.

The grounded sumac has a strong astringent acidic taste, where it’s used as a seasoning and a souring flavouring agent in the Lebanese cuisine, mainly in the “meza”. For example, the traditional Lebanese salad “fattouch” is characteristically served with sumac sprinkled on top. Traditionally, it was used with fried eggs, kabab, in stuffing { Fatayer ex. Fatayer Sulik}, and the famous Lebanese thyme mankoushe, others also add it to the tabboule salad.

Moreover, it is can be used as a substitute for lemon juice in salad dressing, and can also be added to meat and chicken marinades.

Sumac has considerable amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, some antioxidants (such as Tanin), and around 140Kcal per 100g. Some say it’s used as a herbal remedy for urinary disorders (yet I still don’t have any scientific evidence).

Open Sesame…

Sesame is a flowering plant… its seeds are rich in oil. The seeds are further processes to give sesame oil or stone grinded to give sesame paste know as Tahini…

Seeds, oils or pastes are greatly used in cooking… especially in the Lebanese cuisine…Seeds usually sprinkled on breads and pastries, while oils and tahini are usually used in appetizers such as the “Hommos” or in dishes such as the “Kebbe Karnabiyeh”…

Nutritional Benefits:

Sesame is rich in minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium…) and in vitamin E, thiamin, healthy proteins and dietary fibers. It contains some phyto-nutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids and flavonoid anti-oxidants and it’s also a rich source of poly-unsaturated fatty acids…

Sesame helps prevent high blood pressure, protect the liver from oxidative damage
(sesamin and sesamolin) and helps strengthen the heart and the nervous system (Vitamin E).

1 tablespoon of sesame (~10g) = 52 Calories.

Star Fruit… Just Beautiful

The Star Fruit, also known as “Carambola” mostly found in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia etc. When the fruit is cut in cross-section it looks like a five pointed star, that’s why it’s called “Star Fruit”.

It has a sour to sweet juicy taste; it’s green from the outside with a yellowish flesh and black brownish seeds in the center.

Nutrition and Health Benefits:

Star Fruit is rich in Vitamin C, Potassium, Dietary Fiber, Calcium; and is low in calories and sodium.

1.Vitamin C: antioxidant property that destroys free radicals preventing lipid oxidation (ex. can prevent cancer).
2.Potassium: helps prevent muscle cramps.
3.Dietary Fiber: prevent constipation.
4.Calcium: strengthens bones and teeth.
5.Calories: 1 cup of Star Fruit contains about 40 calories.

Caution:

Kidney failure, kidney stones, and kidney dialysis patients:

Star Fruit contains a considerable amount of oxalic acid. Oxalic Acid can be harmful to kidney failure, kidney stones, and kidney dialysis patients. Thus, if star fruit is consumed by such patients can lead to vomiting, nausea, impaired consciousness/mental confusion etc.
Moreover, it can also lead to hyperkalemia; which describes the high potassium electrolyte concentration in the blood; that in turn results in heart muscle weakness leading to abnormality of the heart beats….

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