Mouthwatering Watermelon

Mouthwatering Watermelon

Watermelon is as integral a part of the summer experience as building sandcastles at the beach or catching fireflies on a warm evening. Easily filling the role of dessert, it is as tasty as it is fun to eat. Even as adults, we love the flavor of this melon, whether it is paired with a cheese in a salad or used as the foundation for an adult beverage. Though August is now in the rear view mirror and the apple picking season is just around the corner, Colchester Neighborhood Farm continues to harvest this sweet summer vegetable…yes, I said vegetable, because technically, it is considered both a fruit and veggie. And here are few more fun facts to consider about this sweet summer staple.

According to the website, betweenusparents.com, Americans consume more watermelon than any other melon. Cantaloupe comes in second place and honeydew in third place.

A cousin to the cucumber, pumpkin, and squash family, watermelon is considered both fruit and vegetable. However, according to the website, livability.com, in 2007, the state of Oklahoma removed any ambivalence about how to categorize the gourd when it passed a bill declaring it a vegetable, and the official state vegetable, at that.

According to the website, thetowndish, early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

In China and Japan, watermelon is given as a hostess gift similar to our tradition of bringing flowers.

In Israel and Egypt, the sweet taste of watermelon is often paired with the salty taste of feta cheese.

Egyptian hieroglyphics indicate that the first-ever watermelon harvest took place roughly 5,000 years ago. The sweet fruit (vegetable) often was sealed into the tombs of kings because, really, who couldn’t use a snack in the afterlife.

An estimated 40,000 visitors check out the soaring 154-foot watermelon-shaped water tower each year in Lulling, Texas, home of the annual Watermelon Thump event, named for the sworn-by method of “rind-thumping” for checking a melon’s ripeness.

The seedless variety of watermelons was invented 50 years ago.

According to Guinness World Records, the world’s heaviest watermelon, weighing 268.8 lbs. (121.93 kg) was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 2005.

It takes approximately 90 days to grow a watermelon….from planting to harvesting.

The United States ranks 5th in worldwide production of watermelon. Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Arizona consistently are the leading producers.

Every part of the watermelon is edible, including the seeds and the rind. In fact, the first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1776 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.

Though the summer season and its harvest is winding down, the workers at Colchester Neighborhood Farm are still picking plenty of organically grown vegetables and fruits, including watermelon, which lets the taste of summer linger just a little longer.

Colorful Facts About Chard

Colorful Facts About Chard

You can certainly file this list of fascinating facts about chard under “things I will probably never need to know,” but, then again, there’s no telling when one of these pieces of trivia will present itself as a clue on Jeopardy and you will end up sounding—and feeling—like a genius when you shout out the answer.  Boasting the colors of the rainbow, red, yellow, purple, and orange, chard is the leafy green that can dress up any dish. It comes in three varieties: rainbow, green—better known as Swiss—and red chard.  Packed with nutrients but containing very few calories, Swiss chard is at the top of every dieter’s list. Colchester Neighborhood Farm is currently harvesting this oh-so-good-for-you vegetable.

Here are some other lesser known, but equally interesting, tidbits of information about chard.

Though it is harvested between June and August, chard is available year round.

According to fullcircle.com, Swiss chard is called such because the botanist who discovered it came from Switzerland.  However, the plant originated in Sicily. As a result of its origins, Swiss chard is an integral part of Mediterranean and Italian cuisine.

According to webmd.com Chard comes from the Latin word cardus, meaning thistle.

It is a member of the beet family, but its roots are inedible, so don’t even think about it!

Like other leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, chard is packed with Vitamins K, A, and C.

It is also rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, and dietary fiber.

Swiss chard can reach up to 28 inches tall!

Chard has been around for a while. Dating back to the fourth century B.C., Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote about the leafy vegetable.

According to the website whfoods.com, the ancient Greeks and later the Romans once revered this vegetable because of its medicinal properties.

The best way to store chard is to place it in a plastic bag and to squeeze as much air out of the bag while wrapping the chard tightly. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. Do not rinse the vegetable until just before ready to use.

Chard can be used in juices but most websites recommend cooking it, since it can have a somewhat bitter taste. It can be steamed, braised, boiled or cooked in a stuffing. Most sites recommend cooking the leaves the way you would spinach and cooking the stems in the same manner you cook asparagus. Including this powerhouse in your diet is definitely a healthy move! To purchase this and other healthy and organic vegetables, visit Colchester Neighborhood Farm in Plympton.

What A Little Gem The Cucumber Is…

  1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. 
  2. Feeling tired in the afternoon?  Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber.  Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours. 
  3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower?  Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror; it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance. 
  4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds?  Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long.  The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area. 
  5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool?  Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite.  Works great on wrinkles, too!
  6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache?  Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free.  Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache.
  7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge?  Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders, and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
  8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes?  Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe; its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water. 
  9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge?  Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone! 
  10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa?  Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water.  The chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams. 
  11. Just finished a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints?  Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath.  The phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath. 
  12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel?  Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean; not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean. 
  13. Using a pen and made a mistake?  Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing.  It also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!

Cinnamon & Honey WOW!

Honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot.  It will do what some call turning to sugar.  In reality honey is always honey.  However, when left in a cool dark place for a long time it will do what I rather call “crystallizing”.  When this happens I loosen the lid, boil some water, and sit the honey container in the hot water, off the heat and let it liquefy.  It is then as good as it ever was.
Never boil honey or put it in a microwave.  To do so will kill the enzymes in the honey.

Facts on Honey and Cinnamon:
It is found that a mixture of honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases.  Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world.  Scientists of today also accept honey as a ‘Ram Ban’ (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases.
Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of diseases.
Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm diabetic patients.

Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada, in its issue dated 17 January, 1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon as researched by western scientists. (Note:  Take a moment to consider the source…)

HEART DISEASES:
Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply on bread, instead of jelly and jam, and eat it regularly for breakfast.  It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack.  Also, those who have already had an attack, if they do this process daily, are kept miles away from the next attack.  Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heart beat.  In America and Canada , various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as you age, the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and veins.

ARTHRITIS:
Arthritis patients may take daily, morning and night, one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder.  If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured.  In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon honey and half teaspoon cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week, out of the 200 people so treated, practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain, and within a month, mostly all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain.

BLADDER INFECTIONS:
Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it.  It destroys the germs in the bladder.

CHOLESTEROL:
Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of cinnamon powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water, given to a cholesterol patient, was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours.  As mentioned for arthritic patients, if taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured.  According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

COLDS:
Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days.  This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and clear the sinuses.

UPSET STOMACH:
Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from the root.

GAS:
According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that if honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

IMMUNE SYSTEM:
Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks.  Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts.  Constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacterial and viral diseases.

INDIGESTION:
Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.

INFLUENZA:
A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ‘ingredient’ which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

LONGEVITY:
Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age.  Take four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of boiling water to make a tea.  Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day.  It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age.  Life spans also increase and even a 100 year old, starts performing the chores of a 20-year-old.

PIMPLES:
Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste.  Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it next morning with warm water.  If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the root.

SKIN INFECTIONS:
Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.

WEIGHT LOSS:
Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder in one cup of boiled water.  If taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person.  Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

CANCER:
Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully.  Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder for one month three times a day.

FATIGUE:
Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body.  Senior citizens, who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts, are more alert and flexible.  Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, taken daily after brushing teeth and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M. when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, increases the vitality of the body within a week.

BAD BREATH:
People of South America , first thing in the morning, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water, so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

HEARING LOSS:
Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing.  Remember when we were kids?  We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!

Colchester – A History Lesson

Did you know that Colchester was Britain’s First Roman City?  It’s the first-ever town in Britain, founded as a Roman soldiers’ outpost shortly after Claudius’ 43AD landing.  Colchester, England is located just 55 miles from London in Essex; its history runs deep including a wealth of ancient history remaining above ground.  Take a quick and engaging tour watching the following video…

To learn more about Britain’s Colchester, check out this Wikipedia link —> History of Colchester

Trivia: Potatoes

How much do you know about potatoes?

  • The average American eats approximately 126 pounds of potatoes each year.
  • The potato is a relative of tobacco and the tomato.
  • Potatoes require less water to grow than other staple foods such as wheat, rice and corn.
  • Up until the late 18th century, the French believed that potatoes caused leprosy.
  • The potato is the fourth most important crop in the world after wheat, rice and corn.
  • Marie Antoinette wife of Louis XV was known to wear potato blossoms as a hair decoration. 
  • The potato, which originated in Peru, took a long journey to reach North America.  The Spaniards took it back to Spain in the 16th century; from there it made its way to Italy and northern Europe, then to Bermuda and the Virginia colonies of North America. 
  • Antoine-Auguste Parmentier was an 18th century agronomist who convinced the common French people to accept the potato as a safe food.  He used reverse psychology by posting guards around potato fields during the day to prevent people from stealing them.  He left them unguarded at night.  So, every night, the thieves would sneak into the fields and leave with sacks of these precious potatoes! 
  • It is most likely that Europe’s entire potato crop in the 1800s originated from only 2 plants brought back to Europe by the Spaniards.  This lack of genetic diversity is one of the probable causes of the devastating potato blight of the late 19th century.
  • The first permanent potato patches in North America were established in 1719, most likely near Londonderry (Derry), New Hampshire.
  • The ‘Idaho’ potato or ‘Russet Burbank’ potato was developed by Luther Burbank (1849-1926) in 1871.
  • During the Alaskan Klondike gold rush, (1897-1898) potatoes were practically worth their weight in gold.  Potatoes were so valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for potatoes.
  • In 1952, Mr. Potato Head was born, and was also the first toy to be advertised on television.
  • Instant mashed potatoes (dehydrated potatoes) were introduced commercially in 1955.  Just add milk.
  • Potatoes and lettuce are the two most popular fresh vegetables in the U.S.
  • Idaho is the ‘Land of Famous Potatoes’
  • Clark is the Potato Capital of South Dakota.  Clark is home to the world famous Mashed Potato Wrestling contest.
  • U.S. potato production in 1998 was 47.5 billion pounds