Ginger or ginger root is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family: Zingiberaceae.
Ginger is native to southern China, from where it is spread to the Spice Islands and other parts of Asia, and subsequently to West Africa and to the Caribbean. Ginger appeared in Europe, via India, in the 1st century CE as a result of the lucrative spice trade.
Ginger is a herb that is used as a spice and also for its remedial qualities. The underground stem (rhizome) can be used fresh, powdered, dried, or as an oil or juice.
Agave is a perennial plant, classified under the monocots. Chiefly Mexican, agaves are also native to the southern and western United States and central and tropical South America. They are succulents with a large rosette of thick, fleshy leaves, each ending generally in a sharp point and with a spiny margin; the stout stem is usually short, the leaves apparently springing from the root. Along with plants from the related genus Yucca, various Agave species are popular ornamental plants.
Agave nectar (sometimes called agave syrup) is most often produced from the Blue Agaves that flourish in the volcanic soils of Southern Mexico. Agaves are large, spikey plants that resemble cactus or yuccas in both form and habitat, but they are actually similar to the familiar Aloe Vera.
Agaves come in many sizes and colors. There are over 100 species. Due to the Blue Agave’s high carbohydrate content (which results in a high percentage of fructose in the final nectar), Blue Agave is the preferred species for producing nectar. Though there are other species used to produce agave nectars, such as the Maguey Agave, the premium nectars are produced from 100% Weber Blue Agave.
The taste of agave nectar is analogous, though not identical, to honey. Many people who do not like the taste of honey find agave a more palatable choice. It also has none of the bitter aftertaste associated with artificial sweeteners.
WHY AGAVE OVER OTHER SWEETENERS
It can be a challenge for even experienced cooks to substitute artificial sweeteners for sugars without compromising food quality or palatability. An artificial sweetener may be suitable for reducing the caloric content and glycemic index of a dish, but they lose their usefulness in many other culinary applications where a sugar is needed for more than its ability to sweeten. Continue reading
‘Organic’ is a rather odd name since all food is organic, meaning that it’s made from living things. But it seems to have stuck. Organic farming is called ‘biological farming’ in some countries. Then there’s biodynamic farming and permaculture. All these slightly different types or farming are sustainable which is the most important thing to remember. Confusing, isn’t it!
What’s so great about organic food? Continue reading
Just yesterday my dad was saying “so the dal (pulses) you ate yesterday was organic”. I got really excited and I asked “Really? Show!!!!” And then when I read the packet there were no certifications. It said organic, but it wasn’t really organic and this is just one instance out of the many instances that keeps happening all over the world.
So how to identify if a product is organic or sold only in the pretext of it being organic. I thought, it will be great if I can share how to identify between actual organic product and “so-called” organic products.
It is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. Requirements vary from country to country, and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include:
“Save the Planet…Buy Organic”
“YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!” Just a few days ago my friend was saying this to me and I made a not-so-witty joke saying “oh really, if you eat a cupcake, then you’re a cupcake?” Ha-ha, she said and made a straight face! Well what she said really does make sense now that I think about it. Imagine, if we eat potatoes all day we would become round and plump like a potato…
(Photo credits: Sahiba Pannu, my high school friend)
Today’s consumer is becoming more and more cognizant about their well-being; the Indian market is offering rising potential for health friendly food segments such as that of organic food. Organic food serves as a promising substitute for the population concerned about the consequences of high amounts of chemical pesticides in food items – both in terms of self – consumption as well as the ill impact on the environment. The affinity of an individual towards consumption of organic food items is highly dependent on the awareness levels, spending capacity and accessibility available to the individual. With growing awareness towards healthy food, increasing income levels, and shifts in consumer behavior, the country’s nascent organic food market is fast transforming into the world’s fastest growing market. In addition, mounting export market coupled with government’s support has propelled the market that will further boost the demand for organic food products in the country.