Author Jean Morrison
Food facts: Sage - Sweet Corn
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:
Sage is a herb with greyish green leaves. It is often used in meat dishes. It was used medicinally before it was ever used as food. It is considered a tonic for the liver, kidneys and stomach. Often sage is used as a tea to help with digestive problems and to help regulate the menstrual cycle. It has been known to be used for spiritual and supernatural purposes.
Sea vegetables have played a major part in the cuisine of Asian countries for centuries. They can be used as the major component of a recipe or just as a highlight by way of flavouring. They are used in soups, stews and stir fries. In the West, nori would be the most well known sea vegetable. It is the only one that is used without needing to be soaked prior to usage. It is famous in Japanese cooking particularly in its role as the wrapping for sushi. Other sea vegetables are laver, arame, wakame and kombu. Sea vegetables are very nutritious, having more protein than meat and more calcium than milk.
Seeds are usually quite small in size but they are packed with nutrition and flavour. They are used in both sweet and savoury recipes. The most popular in our cuisine are sesame, sunflower, poppy and pumpkin seeds. In general, seeds contain a large amount of iron and vitamin E. They are said to reduce cholesterol in the blood. This is particularly so for sunflower seeds. Seeds can be incorporated into breakfast cereals, baking and in salads.
Silver beet (Swiss Chard)
Silver beet is a member of the beet family. Silver beet leaves are dark, ribbed, green and glossy with their stems being white or coloured from yellow through to red. The leaves of younger plants can be shredded and used in salads. Older leaves can be used as a cooked vegetable. Some people only eat the leaves but others eat the chopped stems as well. Silver beet contains a great deal of fibre and is packed with vitamins. Silver beet should be eaten promptly after picking as it does not survive well in the refrigerator.
Soy sauce is made by fermenting soy beans with other ingredients such as wheat, salt water and a yeast culture. It is left to ferment for between six months and three years.
Many seeds, pulses and grains can be sprouted to create a nutritious food that can be eaten in salads or added at the last minute to cooked foods such as stir fries. Sprouted seeds contain vastly more vitamins than non-sprouted seeds. This is especially so for vitamins B and C. Seeds can very easily be sprouted at home with very little equipment needed. A handful of seeds can be placed in a large jar with water. The water is rinsed around the seeds and then tipped out. A piece of muslin can be held tight over the mouth of the jar to retain the seeds yet allow the water to drain out. The watering and draining process should be repeated 2 - 3 times per day. Depending on the seeds used you can have edible sprouts in 3 - 4 days. When the sprouts have matured they should be removed from the jar and placed in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Because they have a high water content all squash are low in calories.
Strawberries are rich in Vitamin B complex and vitamin C. They also contain potassium and have good skin cleansing properties. they are the only fruit to have its seeds on the outside. The average strawberry has 200 seeds. There is a museum in Belgium just for strawberries. Strawberries are a member of the rose family.
Swedes are spherical root vegetables that have a pale orange flesh. They should be peeled and can then be used grated in salads or used cooked in stews or casseroles. Prior to pumpkins being readily available swedes were carved out for use at Halloween.
Corn is also known as maize and it belongs to the grass family of plants. We are mainly accustomed to the yellow variety but corn can also be blue, red, black and multi coloured. Humans have cultivated corn for over 10,000 years. Corn can not only be eaten as corn on the cob but it can be processed into cornflour, corn syrup, grits and popcorn. It is also used in the manufacturing industry for products that are not edible such as for cardboard and for bio degradable containers. It is also needed for the manufacture of alcohol and ethanol. Corn is an excellent carbohydrate, rich in vitamins A, B, and C and fibre.
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