Category Archives: Food Fact of the Day

purple carrots

Food Facts of the Week

By | Food Fact of the Day | 5 Comments

As you know, I have started posting daily facts about food on The Food Blog’s facebook page. I encourage you to like us on Facebook (click here) so you could get these cool little facts delivered daily straight to your facebook stream.

Food Fact of the Day: How Potatoes Killed a Million People

by The Food Blog on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 6:01pm

The English wanted to eat beef, so most of Ireland’s good countryside soil was transformed into grazing land. Pushed to farm less productive soils, the Irish turned to the hardy potato, but a disease known as potato blight ravaged throughout Europe. The loss of the potato crop was felt the hardest by the Irish, where one third of the population depended entirely on potato for food. And so, between 1845 and 1852, Ireland experienced the Great Famine, during which 1 million people died and a million more emigrated.

If we needed any proof that a monoculture, the large scale growing of a singular crop, is a bad idea, the Irish potato famine is sufficient evidence. Today, the world’s agriculture is dominated by corn and soybean, the two largest monocultures history has ever witnessed. It’s easy to see trouble on the horizon. A key to the survival of our environment and species is a movement back to biodiverse farming, letting go of monolithic crops and going for a large variety of edible species.

 

Food Fact of the Day: The Colour of a Carrot

by The Food Blog on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 6:51pm


The carrot hasn’t always been orange – in its native Afghanistan and Central Asia, the carrot’s colour could be anywhere between a dirty white and a pinkish purple. The domestication of the carrot took place in both eastern and western regions of Central Asia. Before the first reports of orange carrots, purple root colour was apparently more popular in eastern regions, yellow more popular in the west.

Many people believe that orange carrots were bred by the Dutch to honor William of Orange (William III of England) though we find accounts of orange carrots that predate his reign. The Dutch story, with almost complete certainty, is not true.

You can still find purple carrots today. In Sydney, they’re now in season, and I have some at home. They’re beautiful little things, gnarled and twisted, with none of the uniformity of commercial carrots though the flavour is quite similar.

 

Food Fact of the Day: The difference between jam, jelly and marmalade

by The Food Blog on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 7:16pm

I recently read that UK producers of orange marmalade are trying to promote their product as orange jam. It seems the British feel the word marmalade is a bit old fashioned, and that perhaps only those from the Queen’s generation would buy something that sounded as yesteryear as marmalade. Jam is a much cooler word, no?

But what’s the difference between jam and marmalade, and what about jelly?

Glad you asked! The answer is quite simple really, and it’s a good bit of trivia to know. Marmalade is a conserve made from citrus fruits or ginger, whereas jam is from non-citrus fruit like strawberries. Jelly on the other hand is the conserve made purely from the juice of a fruit, rather than its pulp. Now wasn’t that interesting?

Find my easy recipe for wild blackberry and lemon zest jam here: http://thefoodblog.com.au/2009/09/wild-blackberry-and-lemon-zest-jam.html

Food Fact of the Day: Why Wine Experts are a Bunch of Wankers

by The Food Blog on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 8:42am

 

The following is an excerpt of Jonah Lehrer’s piece: The Subjectivity of Wine. Have a read and let me know what you think. To what extent is wine critiquing objective? Do you go to critics for opinion?

In 2001, Frederic Brochet, of the University of Bordeaux, conducted two separate and very mischievous experiments. In the first test, Brochet invited 57 wine experts and asked them to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn’t stop the experts from describing the “red” wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert praised its “jamminess,” while another enjoyed its “crushed red fruit.” Not a single one noticed it was actually a white wine.

The second test Brochet conducted was even more damning. He took a middling Bordeaux and served it in two different bottles. One bottle was a fancy grand-cru. The other bottle was an ordinary vin du table. Despite the fact that they were actually being served the exact same wine, the experts gave the differently labeled bottles nearly opposite ratings. The grand cru was “agreeable, woody, complex, balanced and rounded,” while the vin du table was “weak, short, light, flat and faulty”. Forty experts said the wine with the fancy label was worth drinking, while only 12 said the cheap wine was.

Find the original article here: http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2007/11/the_subjectivity_of_wine.php

 

Food Fact of the Day: How to get the most flavour out of saffron

by The Food Blog on Monday, April 4, 2011 at 9:45am

Saffron is the world’s only truly precious spice. Where the cultivation and production of all other spices has become quite a simple matter, it still takes 140 handpicked saffron flowers to yield 1 gram of dried saffron stigmas, which are the part of the flower we use for cooking.

Worth more than its weight in gold, literally, saffron needs a cook who understands it and knows how to maximise the extraction of its flavours. Take a lesson from the Iranians, growers of the world’s finest saffron: gently pan-roast the threads of saffron until aromatic and then grind them with a mortar and pestle with a pinch of sugar. The sugar’s abrasiveness helps break down the saffron threads into a powder, so salt can also be used. Mix the lot with a tablespoon or two of boiling water and saffron is ready to be used in marinades, rice dishes or whatever else the recipe calls for. The extracted flavour is much stronger than what you’d get by simply soaking the threads in hot water.

 

 

Food Fact of the Day – Week’s Summary

By | Food Fact of the Day | 7 Comments

I have started posting daily facts about food on The Food Blog’s facebook page. I encourage you to like us on Facebook (click here) so you could get these cool little facts delivered straight to your facebook stream. Each Sunday, however, I will be posting all these facts on the blog. This week is our first week, so there’s only 2 food facts, which are very much worth reading.

Food Fact of the Day: How to make the whitest, creamiest hummus

by The Food Blog on Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 12:04pm

Making hummus white and creamy as opposed to yellow and chunky is one of the biggest issues facing the world today. Though, truth be told, if you follow a few rules, you will be able to guarantee yourself consistent and delicious hummus. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Soak your chickpeas overnight and add a teaspoon or two of sodium bicarbonate into the mix. Bicarb is essential for smooth hummus, but the next day, make sure you rinse the chickpeas under cold water for at least 3 to 5 minutes
  2. Boil it to an inch of its life. If you have a pressure cooker, now’s the time to use it. If you don’t, at least an hour and a half of boiling is needed. The chickpeas need to become super soft
  3. Drain your chickpeas but reserve some of the boiling liquid. Blend the chickpeas when still hot in a food processor on their own until they are completely smooth.
  4. Use only Lebanese tahini. I love the Kalajiyeh brand. Tahini from other countries is usually darker and has a different, more bitter flavour. Add tahini, the lemon juice, crushed garlic and salt after you’ve processed the chickpeas into the food processor and process again.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning. If you want your hummus to be runnier, as tahini has the characteristic of sucking up moisture, use some of the preserved boiling liquid. Remember, when hummus cools down, especially if you refrigerate it, it becomes less runny.
  6. To make the hummus whiter, process the hummus and add an ice cube or two as the machine is running until the ice is encorporated. The colour will become paler.

 

Food Fact of the Day: How what we eat is actually fossil fuel

by The Food Blog on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 4:27pm

Plant usable nitrogen (fertilizer), until we learned how to manufacture it, was exclusively produced by bacteria on roots of legumes and by lightning that would occasionally free up the nitrogen to fall down with the rain (fertility rain). That’s why farmers used to rotate crops, so that the nitrogen using crop (corn for example) was alternated by a nitrogen producing crop (legumes). Today’s technology frees up the atmosphere’s nitrogen through an unsustainable process that burns fossil fuels. We feed our plants with fossil fuel derived nitrogen. Fossil fuel gives us nitrogen that gives us corn that gives us factory farmed cows that we eat. We are no longer dependant on the sun for our food, which, as a medium to long term strategy, is unsustainable. Ask for grass fed beef and chemical free fruit and veg.