Food facts: Quince - Rye

Facts and quirky pieces of information about the food we eat always interest me, both from an historical and a nutritional point of view.

Did you know that people who eat a fair amount of fish have lower chances of depression? Or that Australians on average eat 8 - 9 times more salt per day than is required by our bodies.

Up until just over 100 years ago Americans didn't eat tomatoes - they thought they were poisonous! I'm including lots of these food facts on each of the recipe pages on this web site. More are listed here on this page:



Quinces are not eaten raw as they can be quite bitter. They are normally used in quince jellies. they perform well in jellies because they have such a high pectin content. they are also full of soluble fibre and are said to calm the stomach. The Greeks appreciated quinces and used to hollow them out and fill them with honey, or cooked it in pastry. In the Eastern world they are eaten salted and stuffed, often with lamb chickpeas or other legumes.


The word Quinoa is pronounced Kee-Nwar. It is regarded as the highly nutritional, super grain of the future even though it has been used by the Incas for thousands of years. It is capable of growing in dry, even mountainous areas. It is the seed of a leafy plant related to silver beet and spinach. Quinoa is cooked in much the same way as rice but it quadruples its size in cooking. It has a slightly nutty and mild taste. It can be used with savoury foods but can also be used as a breakfast cereal with honey, almonds and berries. It can also be processed into quinoa flour. Raw grains can be sprouted much like other seeds but the sprouting process is very fast. Sprouting boosts its nutritional content even more. Quinoa has a fairly high protein content, and has good amounts of phosphorous, magnesium, iron and calcium. It is a high fibre, gluten-free food that is considered easy to digest. It is available in white, red and black coloured varieties.


Radishes are members of the cruciferous family. They are used to add flavour and crunch to salads. The most popular part of the radish to eat is the tap root although the leaves can be eaten as a vegetable. Radishes come in several colours from white through to red.


Raspberries probably originated in Eastern Asia. They were used as a cure for sore eyes and throats and to cleanse the teeth. Raspberries can be grown from the Arctic to the Equator. They are a member of the rose family. they are a rich source of Vitamin C. Raspberry leaf tea is often drunk is the last few weeks of pregnancy as it stimulates the uterus for labour.


Rice is a staple food for over 50% of the world's population. There are many varieties of rice but the most widely used rice is long grained rice. The grains are five times as long as they are wide. Jasmine rice is a popular form of long grained rice. It is fragrant and is used extensively in Thai cuisine. Basmati rice is another popular long grained rice. It is grown in the foot hills of the Himalayas and is aged for twelve months after harvest. Arborio rice is a fat, short grained rice which is used in making risottos. Red rice comes from France and is a hard grain which takes about an hour to cook. Wild rice is not a true rice. It comes from an aquatic grass grown in North America. Wild rice is extremely nutritious containing all eight essential amino acids. Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice because it still retains the rice bran and germ which processing (into white rice) removes.


Rosemary is an ever green herb native to the Mediterranean area. It has needle like leaves that are very aromatic. It is used in meat dishes, most especially with lamb. Rosemary is very high in iron, calcium and vitamin B6. Rosemary is said to improve the memory and is used as a symbol or remembrance. It is also useful in the prevention and treatment of head lice.


Rye is a grain that is popular in the colder climates in which it likes growing, e.g. Russia, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. It is a very hardy crop that can withstand a great amount of wetness, drought and cold temperatures. Rye flour is low in gluten so it is often mixed with other flours that have a higher gluten content. Used by itself rye baked goods have a heavy texture. Rye is sometimes used in the making of whisky and vodka. It is good for the digestive system, contains a great deal of fibre and is a good source of vitamin E, protein and calcium.


Read other interesting food facts (in alphabetical order):

Allspice - Avocados
Allspice, almonds,amaranth, apples, apricots, asparagus, aubergines, avocados

Bananas - Buckwheat
Bananas, barley, basil, bay leaves, beans, beetroot, black berries, black currants, blueberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, buckwheat

Cabbage - Chestnuts
Cabbage, capsicum, caraway, cardamom, carrots, cashews, cauliflower, cayenne, celeriac, celery, cheese, cherries, chestnuts

Chicken - Cumin
Chicken, chickpeas, chicory, chilies, chives, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, coriander, corn, couscous, cucumbers, cumin

Dates - Fish
Dates, dill, eggplant, eggs, fennel, fenugreek, figs, fish

Galangal - Green Beans
Galangal, garlic, ginger, globe artichokes, gooseberries, grapefruit, grapes, green beans

Hazelnuts - Limes
Hazel nuts, honey, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, kafir lime leaves, kale, leeks, lemon balm, lemon grass, lemons, lentils, lettuce, limes

Macadamia Nuts - Mustard
Macadamia nuts, mace, mandarins, mangoes, maple syrup, marjoram, mar ow, melons, milk, millet, mint, miso, molasses, mushrooms, mustard

Nectarines - Oregano
Nectarines, nutmeg, oats, olive oil, onions, oranges, oregano

Papayas - Pumpkin
Papayas, paprika, parsley, parsnips, peaches, peanuts, pears, peas, pecans, pineapples, pine nuts, plums, potatoes, pumpkin

Quince - Rye
Quinces, quinoa, radishes, raspberries, rice, rosemary, rye

Sage - Sweet Corn
Sage, sea vegetables, seeds, silver beet, soy sauce, sprouted seeds, squash, strawberries, swede, sweet corn

Tamari - Zucchini
Tamari, tarragon, tempeh, thyme, tofu, tomatoes, triticale, turkey, turmeric, turnips, vanilla, walnuts, wheat, zucchini