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

Passiflora edulis

It’s a vine type tree that produce egg shaped purple or yellow fruits. The passion fruit mainly grows in warm areas, it’s found in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, , Indonesia, Peru, Hawaii, Mexico etc.

The passion fruit pictures you’ll be seeing below are taken in my own garden, Mount Lebanon, Lebanon. My tree usually blossoms end of June to mid July, after which egg shaped green eggs begin to show, end of July throughout August the green unripe fruit change in color to become purple in color, when the outer layer of the fruit gets wrinkled the fruit drops by itself out from it mother tree on to the floor. Then the fruits are collected from beneath the tree, cleaned, and cooled for consumption.

The fruit is usually cut through its middle (cross section) and the inner part is eaten by a spoon. The inner part is collected and used to make cake toppings, jams, syrups, juices, ice cream, mousses, cocktails, flavored cheese cakes, tarts, flavored yoghurt etc…

Health Benefits/ Nutritional Facts

It is a good source of fibers that are essential to the digestive system, colon etc. It’s also rich in antioxidants (prevent lipid oxidation within the body, thus help improve the body’s lipid profile, and are also associated with decreasing risks of cancer)

The passion fruit is rich in Vitamin A (helps the body to remove free radicals that cause skin and tissue damage, and it helps to improve vision) and Vitamin C (helps to repair tissue, helps prevent heart disease and cancer).

3 to 4 passion fruits make 1 fruit exchange that is around 60-70kcal.

“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.

Artichoke Overview and Health Benefits

Overview

Artichoke is the unopened flower of a Thistle (a flowering plant characterized by leaves of sharp tips).
Artichoke is well known in the Mediterranean region.
In Lebanon, it is widely served as a cold “mezza” (Lebanese cold appetizers) with Lemon, garlic, and olive oil dressing. The Artichoke hearts can be processed into pickles, or cooked (Meat and Artichoke Stew or with white sauce or with tahina: sesame paste).

Health Benefits

– Reduces bad cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol)
– Contains “inulin” a carbohydrate that stabilizes blood sugar levels in diabetic patients
– Improves liver functioning
– Relief Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms
– Helps improve digestive problem such as dyspepsia and helps the digestion process
– Reduce risk of cancer (ex. Breast cancer)

How?

Artichoke is an excellent source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin A, potassium, and manganese. Moreover, it contains compounds that help the flow of bile from the gallbladder (bile is essential for cholesterol regulation, liver and digestive functioning).

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).

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