MR. GREENS "FRESH TIPS"
October 26, 2001
Our last PRODUCE MAN PUZZZZLE dealt with Sweet Potatoes: What is the difference between a Sweet Potato and a Yam? All Yams are Sweet Potatoes, but not all Sweet Potatoes are Yams. Now are you even more confused? A true "yam" is a trailing vine plant in Africa. The word "yam" for sweet potatoes began at the University of Louisiana. At the early part of the 20th Century, a sweet potato scientist was looking to develop a new variety of sweet potato, one that was more moist, was sweeter, and had better color. When he came up with this new and different sweet potato, he didn't want to confuse people about it, so he gave it a totally different name, the Yam. And we've been confused ever since. Actually, just remember that the Yam is simply a variety of Sweet Potato. Kind of like the Red Delicious is simply a variety of Apple. This week's PUZZZZLE deals with the Mini Pumpkin: What caused the Mini Pumpkin to be grown in the United States? See next week's "Fresh Tips" for the answer.
CRANBERRIES: Did you know that there are 440 cranberries in one pound? 4,400 cranberries in one gallon of juice? 440,000 cranberries in a 100-pound barrel? Seven of 10 cranberries sold in the world today come from Ocean Spray, a grower cooperative started in 1930. If you strung all the cranberries produced in North America last year, they would stretch from Boston to Los Angeles more than 565 times. Because of an oversupply of cranberries, growers this year will be harvesting about 35% fewer cranberries. That could keep prices on the higher side throughout the cranberry season.
Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. They are grown on sandy bogs or marshes. Because cranberries float, some bogs are flooded when the fruit is ready for harvesting. If all the cranberry bogs in North America were put together, they would comprise an area equal in size to the tiny island of Nantucket, off Massachusetts, approximately 47 square miles.
Native Americans, long before the Pilgrims arrived in 1620, mixed deer meat and mashed cranberries to make pemmican - a convenience food that kept for long periods of time. They also believed that cranberries had medicinal value, and were used by medicine men as an ingredient in poultices to draw poison from arrow wounds. Cranberry juice was a natural dye for rugs, blankets and clothing. The Delaware Indians in New Jersey used the cranberry as a symbol of peace. Cranberries have had a variety of different names since their discovery. Eastern Indians called them "sassamanesh." Cape Cod Pequots and the South Jersey Leni-Lenape tribes named them "ibimi," or bitter berry. The Algonquins of Wisconsin called the fruit "atoqua." But it wasn't until German and Dutch settlers came up with "crane berry," because the vine blossoms resembled the neck, head and bill of a crane, that we arrive at what we know today as the cranberry.
Cranberries are unlike any other fruit in the world. From Cape Cod to Washington State, the cranberry has played a role in holiday culture and family health & wellness for years. Its unique health benefits and refreshing, tart taste put it in a league of its own when it comes to healthy refreshment. American recipes containing cranberries date from the early 18th Century. Legend has it that the Pilgrims may have served cranberries at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. During World War II, American troops required about one million pounds of dehydrated cranberries a year. The hearty cranberry vine thrives in conditions that would not support most other crops: acid soil, few nutrients and low temperatures, even in summer.
Epidemiological evidence has long supported the role of naturally occurring anti-cancer agents in fruits and vegetables in reducing the risk of many diseases, including cancers and heart disease. A variety of compounds produced by plants, such as flavonoids, have been investigated for their anti-cancer activity. Cranberries are a rich source of these compounds, which may have anti-cancer activity. Other research being presented at Experimental Biology continues to support the potential benefit of cranberry juice in protecting against cholesterol oxidation. Last year, The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science issued a report calling for increases in daily intake of the antioxidant vitamins C and E to exploit their role in maintaining good health. New research supports a potentially broader range of benefits for fighting bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enteritidis, as well as E. coli.
FIRST GREAT EVENTS OF THE 21ST CENTURY
NOVEMBER - 2001
American Indian Heritage Month
Aviation History Month
Charles Dickens Holiday Season
Good Nutrition Month
Great American Smokeout
Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone
Holiday Charity Events
Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Mickey Mouse birthday, 1928
National Adoption Month
National Alzheimer's Disease Month
National Diabetes Month
National Georgia Pecan Month
National Fall Harvest Month
National Family Caregivers Month
National Fig Week
National Healthy Skin Month
National Lifewriting Month
National Marrow Awareness Month
National Split Pea Soup Week
New York City Marathon
Peanut Butter Lovers' Month
Vegan Awareness Month
Victorian Christmas Season
Winter Festival of Lights
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