Monday, 27 August 2012


A pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae (which also includes gourds). It commonly refers to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita mixta, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata, and is native to North America. They typically have a thick, orange or yellow shell, creased from the stem to the bottom, containing the seeds and pulp. Pumpkins are widely grown for commercial use, and are used both in food and recreation. Pumpkin pie, for instance, is a traditional part of Thanksgiving meals in the United States, and pumpkins are frequently carved as decorations around Halloween. A pumpkin that has a little face carved in it and hollowed out and decorated with candles inside is known as a jack o'lantern; these are often used at Halloween, for example, to decorate windows.
In Australian English, the name 'pumpkin' generally refers to the broader category called winter squash in North America.


The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon (πέπων), which is Greek for “large melon". The French adapted this word to pompon, which the British changed to pumpion and later American colonists changed that to the word we use today, "pumpkin". The origin of pumpkins is not definitively known, although they are thought to have originated in North America. The oldest evidence, pumpkin-related seeds dating between 7000 and 5500 BC, were found in Mexico. Pumpkins are a squash-like fruit that range in size from less than 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) to over 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms).
Since some squash share the same botanical classifications as pumpkins, the names are frequently used interchangeably. In general, pumpkin stems are more rigid, prickly, and angular (with an approximate five-degree angle) than squash stems, which are generally softer, more rounded, and more flared where joined to the fruit.
Pumpkins generally weigh 9–18 lbs (4–8 kg) with the largest (of the species C. maxima) capable of reaching a weight of over 75 lbs (34 kg). The pumpkin varies greatly in shape, ranging from oblate to oblong. The rind is smooth and usually lightly ribbed. Although pumpkins are usually orange or yellow, some fruits are dark green, pale green, orange-yellow, white, red and gray.
Pumpkins are monoecious, having both male and female flowers on the same plant. The female flower is distinguished by the small ovary at the base of the petals. These bright and colorful flowers have extremely short life spans and may only open for as short a time as one day. The color of pumpkins is derived from the orange pigments abundant in them. The main nutrients are lutein and both alpha and beta carotene, the latter of which generates vitamin A in the body.


Luffa acutangula (Angled luffa, Ridged luffa, Vegetable Gourd, Silk squash, Sin qua) is a species of Luffa. It is commercially grown for its unripe fruits as a vegetable. Mature fruits are used to make cleaning sponges. Its fruit slightly resembles a cucumber with ridges. It ranges from central Asia and eastern Asia to southeastern Asia. They also grown as houseplants in places with colder climates.


Kohlrabi (German turnip) (Brassica oleracea Gongylodes group) is a low, stout cultivar of cabbage.
The name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus Rübe ~ Rabi (Swiss German variant) ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter, hence its Austrian name Kohlrübe.
Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem growth (a swollen, nearly spherical shape); its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts: they are all bred from, and are the same species as the wild cabbage plant (Brassica oleracea).
The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.

Kohlrabi against a cushion, Gurgaon,India
Except for the Gigante cultivar, spring-grown kohlrabi much over 5 cm in size tend to be woody, as do full-grown kohlrabi much over perhaps 10 cm in size; the Gigante cultivar can achieve great size while remaining of good eating quality. The plant matures in 55–60 days after sowing. Approximate weight is 150 g and has good standing ability for up to 30 days after maturity.
Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked.
There are several varieties commonly available, including White Vienna, Purple Vienna, Grand Duke, Gigante (also known as "Superschmelz"), Purple Danube, and White Danube. Coloration of the purple types is superficial: the edible parts are all pale yellow. The leafy greens can also be eaten.

Some varieties are grown as feed for cattle.
Kohlrabi is one of the most commonly eaten vegetables in Kashmir.[citation needed] Locally called monj, the vegetable is eaten along with the leaves (haakh). A Kashmiri household may have this on their dinner or lunch plates three to four times a week.[citation needed] Monj (kohlrabi) is made in many forms. There is a spicy version which the Pandits call dum monj, while as the nonspicy version is called monj-haakh.[citation needed]
In India, Kohlrabi is more commonly called Knolkhol (English) or Nookal (Hindi). It is also used extensively in Southern part of India. In Kannada, Kohlrabi is called Gedde Kosu or Navilu Kosu.


Momordica charantia, called bitter melon, bitter gourd or bitter squash in English, karavella in Sanskrit and karela in Hindi and Urdu, karla in Bengali and Marathi, pavakai (பாகற்க்காய்) in Tamil, hagala kayi in Kannada, kakarakaya in Telugu, and kudhreth narhy (kudret narı) in Turkish is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit, which is among the most bitter of all fruits. Its many varieties differ substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit. This is a plant of the tropics.
Karela originated in India, and it was carried to China in the 14th century.

Local names

In some English texts, the plant or the fruit may be called by its local names, which include kugua (Chinese: 苦瓜, pinyin: kǔguā, "bitter gourd"); parya (Ilokano), pare or pare ayam (Javanese and Indonesian), pavayka or kayppayka (Malayalam:പാവയ്ക്ക, കയ്പ്പക്ക ), goya (Okinawan: ゴーヤー) or nigauri (Japanese: 苦瓜; although the Okinawan word goya is also used in Japanese), paakharkaai (Tamil: பாகற்காய்), hāgalakāyi (Kannada: ಹಾಗಲಕಾಯಿ), ma'reah (Khmer: ម្រះ), kaakarakaya(Telugu: కాకరకాయ), করলা (korola) (Bengali), ampalaya (Tagalog), muop dang (Vietnamese: mướp đắng) or kho qua (Vietnamese: khổ qua). It is also known as caraille or carilley on Trinidad and Tobago, carilla in Guyana, cundeamor is a small variety very common in Puerto Rico (actually is the Momordica balsamina), and cerasee or cerasse in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean, including parts of South America (although is known in Portuguese as melão de São Caetano - and Spanish-speaking areas, however is known by the Okinawan or Japanese names in others regions). It is karela in Hindi - and Urdu-speaking areas, कारले (karle) in Marathi. It is known as तीते करेला (tite karela) in Nepali. In Suriname, it is known as sopropo. The fruit is called kudret narı in Turkey, faaga in Maldives, and karavila in Sri Lankan(Sinhalese).

Two compounds extracted from bitter melon, α-eleostearic acid (from seeds) and 15,16-dihydroxy-α-eleostearic acid (from the fruit) have been found to induce apoptosis of leukemia cells in vitro. Diets containing 0.01% bitter melon oil (0.006% as α-eleostearic acid) were found to prevent azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis in rats.
Researchers at Saint Louis University claim an extract from bitter melon, commonly eaten and known as karela in India, causes a chain of events which helps to kill breast cancer cells and prevents them from multiplying.


The carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus, Etymology: from Late Latin carōta, from Greek καρότον karōton, originally from the Indo-European root ker- (horn), due to its horn-like shape) is a root vegetable, usually orange in colour, though purple, red, white, and yellow varieties exist. It has a crisp texture when fresh. The most commonly eaten part of a carrot is a taproot, although the greens are edible as well. It is a domesticated form of the wild carrot Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia. The domestic carrot has been selectively bred for its greatly enlarged and more palatable, less woody-textured edible taproot.


The carrot gets its characteristic and bright orange colour from β-carotene, which is partly metabolised into vitamin A in humans. Massive overconsumption of carrots can cause carotenosis, a benign condition in which the skin turns orange. Carrots are also rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants, and minerals.
Lack of vitamin A can cause poor vision, including night vision, and vision can be restored by adding it back into the diet. An urban legend says eating large amounts of carrots will allow one to see in the dark. The legend developed from stories of British gunners in World War II, who were able to shoot down German planes in the darkness of night. The legend arose during the Battle of Britain when the RAF circulated a story about their pilots' carrot consumption as an attempt to cover up the discovery and effective use of radar technologies in engaging enemy planes, as well as the use of red light (which does not destroy night vision) in aircraft instruments. It reinforced existing German folklore and helped to encourage Britons—looking to improve their night vision during the blackouts—to grow and eat the vegetable.
Ethnomedically, the roots are used to treat digestive problems, intestinal parasites, and tonsillitis or constipation.


A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name "mushroom" is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word "mushroom" is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella) or pores on the underside of the cap.
"Mushroom" describes a variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems, and the term is used even more generally, to describe both the fleshy fruiting bodies of some Ascomycota and the woody or leathery fruiting bodies of some Basidiomycota, depending upon the context of the word.
Forms deviating from the standard morphology usually have more specific names, such as "puffball", "stinkhorn", and "morel", and gilled mushrooms themselves are often called "agarics" in reference to their similarity to Agaricus or their place Agaricales. By extension, the term "mushroom" can also designate the entire fungus when in culture; the thallus (called a mycelium) of species forming the fruiting bodies called mushrooms; or the species itself.

Edible mushrooms
Main articles: Edible mushroom, Mushroom hunting, and Fungiculture
Known as the meat of the vegetable world, edible mushrooms are used extensively in cooking, in many cuisines (notably Chinese, Korean, European, and Japanese).
Most mushrooms sold in supermarkets have been commercially grown on mushroom farms. The most popular of these, Agaricus bisporus, is considered safe for most people to eat because it is grown in controlled, sterilized environments. Several varieties of A. bisporus are grown commercially, including whites, crimini, and portobello. Other cultivated species now available at many grocers include shiitake, maitake or hen-of-the-woods, oyster, and enoki. In recent years, increasing affluence in developing countries has led to a considerable growth in interest in mushroom cultivation, which is now seen as a potentially important economic activity for small farmers.

Mushroom and truffle output in 2005
A number of species of mushrooms are poisonous; although some resemble certain edible species, consuming them could be fatal. Eating mushrooms gathered in the wild is risky and should not be undertaken by individuals not knowledgeable in mushroom identification, unless the individuals limit themselves to a relatively small number of good edible species that are visually distinctive. A. bisporus contains carcinogens called hydrazines, the most abundant of which is agaritine. However, the carcinogens are destroyed by moderate heat when cooking.
More generally, and particularly with gilled mushrooms, separating edible from poisonous species requires meticulous attention to detail; there is no single trait by which all toxic mushrooms can be identified, nor one by which all edible mushrooms can be identified. Additionally, even edible mushrooms may produce allergic reactions in susceptible individuals, from a mild asthmatic response to severe anaphylactic shock.
People who collect mushrooms for consumption are known as mycophagists, and the act of collecting them for such is known as mushroom hunting, or simply "mushrooming".
China is the world's largest edible mushroom producer. The country produces about half of all cultivated mushrooms, and around 2.7 kilograms (6.0 lb) of mushrooms are consumed per person per year by over a billion people.


Green beans, also known as French beans (British English), string beans in the northeastern and western United States, snap beans or squeaky beans, are the unripe fruit of specific cultivated varieties of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris).
Green bean varieties have been bred especially for the fleshiness, flavor, or sweetness of their pods. Haricots verts, French for "green beans", may refer to a longer, thinner type of green bean than the typical American green bean. It is known in some parts of the world as the squeaky bean due to the noise it makes on one's teeth whilst eating.
The first "stringless" bean was bred in 1894 by Calvin Keeney, called the "father of the stringless bean", while working in Le Roy, New York.


The Brussels sprout is a cultivar in the Gemmifera group of cabbages (Brassica oleracea), grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm (0.98–1.6 in) in diameter and look like miniature cabbages. The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium and may have originated there.


Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anticancer properties. Although boiling reduces the level of the anticancer compounds, steaming, microwaving, and stir frying does not result in significant loss.
Brussels sprouts and other brassicas are also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.


Asparagus officinalis is a spring vegetable, a flowering perennial plant species in the genus Asparagus. It was once classified in the lily family, like its Allium cousins, onions and garlic, but the Liliaceae have been split and the onion-like plants are now in the family Amaryllidaceae and asparagus in the Asparagaceae. Asparagus officinalis is native to most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia,and is widely cultivated as a vegetable crop.

The second century physician Galen described asparagus as "cleansing and healing".[citation needed]
Nutrition studies have shown asparagus is a low-calorie source of folate and potassium. Its stalks are high in antioxidants.[citation needed] "Asparagus provides essential nutrients: six spears contain some 135 micrograms (μg) of folate, almost half the adult RDI (recommended daily intake), 20 milligrams of potassium," notes an article in Reader's Digest.[citation needed] Research suggests folate is key in taming homocysteine, a substance implicated in heart disease. Folate is also critical for pregnant women, since it protects against neural tube defects in babies. Studies have shown that people who have died from Alzheimer's Disease have extremely low to no levels of folate. Several studies indicate getting plenty of potassium may reduce the loss of calcium from the body.
Particularly green asparagus is a good source of vitamin C.[citation needed] Vitamin C helps the body produce and maintain collagen, the major structural protein component of the body's connective tissues.
"Asparagus has long been recognized for its medicinal properties," wrote D. Onstad, author of Whole Foods Companion: A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers and Lovers of Natural Foods. "Asparagus contains substances that act as a diuretic, neutralize ammonia that makes us tired, and protect small blood vessels from rupturing. Its fiber content makes it a laxative, too."
Water from cooking asparagus may help clean blemishes on the face if used for washing the face morning and night.[citation needed] From John Heinerman's "Heinerman's new Encyclopedia of Fruits and Vegetables": "Cooked asparagus and its watery juices are very good for helping dissolve uric acid (causes gout) deposits in the extremities, as well as inducing urination where such a function may be lacking or only done on an infrequent basis. Asparagus is especially useful in cases of hypertension where the amount of sodium in the blood far exceeds the potassium present. Cooked asparagus also increases bowel evacuations."
South Korean scientists discovered asparagus can help with hangovers. Research to be published in the Journal of Food Science, says extracts taken from leaves and shoots were found to boost levels of key enzymes that help break down alcohol.


Squashes generally refer to four species of the genus Cucurbita, also called marrows (mainly in British English). These species include C. maxima (hubbard squash, buttercup squash, some varieties of prize pumpkins, such as Big Max), C. mixta (cushaw squash), C. moschata (butternut squash), and C. pepo (most pumpkins, acorn squash, summer squash, zucchini). In North America, squash is loosely grouped into summer squash or winter squash, depending on whether they are harvested as immature fruit (summer squash) or mature fruit (autumn squash or winter squash). Gourds are from the same family as squashes. Well known types of squash include the pumpkin and zucchini. Giant squash are derived from Cucurbita maxima and are routinely grown to weights nearing those of giant pumpkins. For more details, refer to list of gourds and squashes.


The English word "squash" derives from askutasquash (a green thing eaten raw), a word from the Narragansett language, which was documented by Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, in his 1643 publication A Key Into the Language of America. Similar words for squash exist in related languages of the Algonquian family such as Massachusett.


See also: Rapini (usually also classified as Brassica rapa subsp. rapa, but sometimes as subsp. rapifera)
The turnip or white turnip (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa) is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock.[citation needed]
In the north of England and Scotland, the name turnip, shortened to "neeps", often refers to the larger, yellow rutabaga root vegetable which is also known as the "swede" (from "Swedish turnip").


The turnip's root is high only in vitamin C. The green leaves of the turnip top ("turnip greens") are a good source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium. Turnip greens are high in lutein (8.5 mg / 100g).
One medium raw turnip (122g) contains the following nutritional information according to the USDA:[2]
Calories : 34
Fat: 0.12
Carbohydrates: 7.84
Fibers: 2.2
Protein: 1.10
Cholesterol: 0
Like rutabaga, turnip contains bitter cyanoglucosides that release small amounts of cyanide. Sensitivity to the bitterness of these cyanoglucosides is controlled by a paired gene. Subjects who have inherited two copies of the "sensitive" gene find turnips twice as bitter as those who have two "insensitive" genes, and thus may find turnips and other cyanoglucoside-containing foods intolerably bitter.


Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is an annual plant of the aster or sunflower family Asteraceae. It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable, but also sometimes for its stem and seeds. Lettuce was first cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who turned it from a weed whose seeds were used to make oil into a plant grown for its leaves. It spread to the Greeks and Romans, who gave it the name "lactuca", from which the modern "lettuce" ultimately derives. By 50 AD, multiple types were described, and it appeared often in medieval writings, including several herbals. The 16th through 18th centuries saw the development of many varieties in Europe, and by the mid-18th century cultivars were described that can still be found in gardens. Europe and North America originally dominated the market for lettuce, but by the late 1900s the consumption of lettuce had spread throughout the world.
Generally grown as a hardy annual, lettuce is easily cultivated, although it requires relatively low temperatures to prevent it from quickly flowering. It can be plagued with numerous nutrient deficiencies, as well as insect and mammal pests and fungal and bacterial diseases. L. sativa crosses easily within the species and with some other species within the Lactuca genus, and although this trait can be a problem to home gardeners who attempt to save seeds, biologists have used it to broaden the gene pool of cultivated lettuce varieties. World production of lettuce and chicory for calendar year 2010 stood at 23,620,000 metric tons (23,250,000 long tons; 26,040,000 short tons), over half of which came from China.
Lettuce is most often used for salads, although it is also seen in other kinds of food, such as soups, sandwiches and wraps. One type is grown for its stems, which are eaten either raw or cooked. Lettuce is a good source of vitamin A and potassium, as well as a minor source for several other vitamins and nutrients. Despite its beneficial properties, lettuce when contaminated is often a source of bacterial, viral and parasitic outbreaks in humans, including E. coli and Salmonella. In addition to its main use as a leafy green, it has also gathered religious and medicinal significance over centuries of human consumption.


Depending on the variety, lettuce is a good source of vitamin A and potassium, with higher concentrations of vitamin A found in darker green lettuces. It also provides some dietary fiber (concentrated in the spine and ribs), carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of fat. With the exception of the iceberg type, lettuce also provides some vitamin C, calcium, iron and copper, with vitamins and minerals largely found in the leaf.
[edit]Food-borne illness
Although most food-borne pathogens can survive on stored lettuce, they tend to decline in number during the storage period. The exception to this is Listeria monocytogenes, the causative agent of listeriosis, which multiplies in storage. However, despite very high levels of the bacteria being found on ready-to-eat lettuce products, a 2008 study found no incidences of food-borne illness related to listeriosis. The researcher posited that this may be due to the product's short shelf life, indigenous microflora competing with the Listeria bacteria or possible properties within the lettuce that cause the bacteria to be unable to cause listeriosis.
Other bacteria found on lettuce include Aeromonas species, which have not been linked to any outbreaks; Campylobacter species, which cause campylobacteriosis and Yersinia intermedia and Yersinia kristensenii (species of Yersinia), which have been found mainly in lettuce. Lettuce has been linked to numerous outbreaks of the bacteria E. coli O157:H7 and Shigella; the plants were most likely contaminated through contact with animal feces. A 2007 study determined that the vacuum cooling method, especially prevalent in the California lettuce industry, increased the uptake and survival rates of E. coli O157:H7.Salmonella bacteria, including the uncommon Salmonella braenderup type, have also caused outbreaks traced to contaminated lettuce.Viruses, including hepatitis A, calicivirus and a Norwalk-like strain, have been found in lettuce. The vegetable has also been linked to outbreaks of parasitic infestations, including Giardia lamblia.


The cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, and in the same genus as the muskmelon. The plant is a creeping vine which bears cylindrical edible fruit when ripe. There are three main varieties of cucumber: "slicing", "pickling", and "burpless". Within these varieties, several different cultivars have emerged. The cucumber is originally from India but is now grown on most continents. Many different varieties are traded on the global market.


The cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trellises or other supporting frames, wrapping around supports with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit. The fruit of the cucumber is roughly cylindrical, elongated with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 centimeters (24 in) long and 10 centimeters (3.9 in) in diameter. Having an enclosed seed and developing from a flower, botanically speaking, cucumbers are classified as fruits. However, much like tomatoes and squash they are often perceived, prepared and eaten as vegetables.Cucumbers are usually more than 90% water.


Okra (US /ˈoʊkrə/ or UK /ˈɒkrə/; Abelmoschus esculentus Moench), known in many English-speaking countries as lady's fingers or gumbo, is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins. The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world.


Okra is a popular health food due to its high fiber, vitamin C, and folate content. Okra is also known for being high in antioxidants and is also often eaten as part of a weight loss diet since it is both fat-free and cholesterol-free.[6] Okra is also a good source of calcium and potassium.
Greenish-yellow edible okra oil is pressed from okra seeds; it has a pleasant taste and odor, and is high in unsaturated fats such as oleic acid and linoleic acid.The oil content of some varieties of the seed can be quite high, about 40%. Oil yields from okra crops are also high. At 794 kg/ha, the yield was exceeded only by that of sunflower oil in one trial.[9] A 1920 study found that a sample contained 15% oil. A 2009 study found okra oil suitable for use as a biofuel.


Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head (the white curd) is eaten. The cauliflower head is composed of a white inflorescence meristem. Cauliflower heads resemble those in broccoli, which differs in having flower buds.
Its name is from Latin caulis (cabbage) and flower,. Brassica oleracea also includes cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, and collard greens, though they are of different cultivar groups.
For such a highly modified plant, cauliflower has a long history. François Pierre La Varenne employed chouxfleurs in Le cuisinier françois.They had been introduced to France from Genoa in the 16th century, and are featured in Olivier de Serres' Théâtre de l'agriculture (1600), as cauli-fiori "as the Italians call it, which are still rather rare in France; they hold an honorable place in the garden because of their delicacy",but they did not commonly appear on grand tables until the time of Louis XIV


Cauliflower is low in fat, low in carbohydrates but high in dietary fiber, folate, water, and vitamin C, possessing a high nutritional density.[citation needed]
Cauliflower contains several phytochemicals, common in the cabbage family, that may be beneficial to human health.
Sulforaphane, a compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed, may protect against cancer.
Other glucosinolates
Indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that enhances DNA repair, and acts as an estrogen antagonist, slowing the growth of cancer cells.
Boiling reduces the levels of these compounds, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 75% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods, such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying, have no significant effect on the compounds.
A high intake of cauliflower has been associated with reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer.


Ginger or ginger root is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae). Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.
Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and has since spread to East Africa and the Caribbean.


Ginger is on the FDA's "generally recognized as safe" list, though it does interact with some medications, including warfarin. Ginger is contraindicated in people suffering from gallstones, as it promotes the production of bile.
An acute overdose of ginger is usually in excess of about 2 grams of ginger per kilogram of body mass, dependent on level of ginger tolerance, and can result in a state of central nervous system over-stimulation called ginger intoxication or colloquially the "ginger jitters".
Allergic reactions to ginger generally result in a rash, and although generally recognized as safe, ginger can cause heartburn, bloating, gas, belching and nausea, particularly if taken in powdered form. Unchewed fresh ginger may result in intestinal blockage, and individuals who have had ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease or blocked intestines may react badly to large quantities of fresh ginger. Ginger can also adversely affect individuals with gallstones.There are also suggestions that ginger may affect blood pressure, clotting, and heart rhythms.
Products in Taiwan made from Hebo Natural Products Limited (禾博天然產物有限公司) of China contained ginger contaminated with DIBP, some 80,000 nutritional supplement capsules made with imported ginger powder were seized by the Public Health Department of Taiwan in June 2011.
[edit]Similar ingredients
Myoga (Zingiber mioga Roscoe) appears in Japanese cuisine; the flower buds are the part eaten.
Another plant in the Zingiberaceae family, galangal, is used for similar purposes as ginger in Thai cuisine. Galangal is also called Thai ginger. Also referred to as galangal, fingerroot (Boesenbergia rotunda), or Chinese ginger or the Thai krachai, is used in cooking and medicine.
A dicotyledonous native species of eastern North America, Asarum canadense, is also known as "wild ginger", and its root has similar aromatic properties, but it is not related to true ginger. The plant also contains aristolochic acid, a carcinogenic compound.[citation needed]


Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo.With a history of human use of over 7,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.


When crushed, Allium sativum yields allicin, an antibiotic and antifungal compound (phytoncide) discovered by Chester J. Cavallito and colleagues in 1944. It has been claimed that allicin from crushed garlic can be used as a home remedy to help speed recovery from strep throat or other minor ailments because of its antibiotic properties[citation needed]. Fresh or crushed garlic also affords the sulfur-containing compounds alliin, ajoene, diallyl polysulfides, vinyldithiins, S-allylcysteine, and enzymes, B vitamins, proteins, minerals, saponins, flavonoids, and Maillard reaction products, which are not sulfur-containing compounds. Furthermore, a phytoalexin (allixin) was found, a nonsulfur compound with a γ-pyrone skeleton structure with antioxidant effects, antimicrobial effects, antitumor promoting effects, inhibition of aflatoxin B2 DNA binding, and neurotrophic effects. Allixin showed an antitumor promoting effect in vivo, inhibiting skin tumor formation by TPA and DMBA initiated mice. Analogs of this compound have exhibited antitumor promoting effects in in vitro experimental conditions. Herein, allixin and/or its analogs may be expected useful compounds for cancer prevention or chemotherapy agents for other diseases.
The composition of the bulbs is approximately 84.09% water, 13.38% organic matter, and 1.53% inorganic matter, while the leaves are 87.14% water, 11.27% organic matter, and 1.59% inorganic matter.
The phytochemicals responsible for the sharp flavor of garlic are produced when the plant's cells are damaged. When a cell is broken by chopping, chewing, or crushing, enzymes stored in cell vacuoles trigger the breakdown of several sulfur-containing compounds stored in the cell fluids (cytosol). The resultant compounds are responsible for the sharp or hot taste and strong smell of garlic. Some of the compounds are unstable and continue to react over time. Among the members of the onion family, garlic has by far the highest concentrations of initial reaction products, making garlic much more potent than onion, shallot, or leeks.Although many humans enjoy the taste of garlic, these compounds are believed to have evolved as a defensive mechanism, deterring animals such as birds, insects, and worms from eating the plant.
A large number of sulfur compounds contribute to the smell and taste of garlic. Allicin has been found to be the compound most responsible for the "hot" sensation of raw garlic. This chemical opens thermotransient receptor potential channels that are responsible for the burning sense of heat in foods. The process of cooking garlic removes allicin, thus mellowing its spiciness. Allicin, along with its decomposition products diallyl disulfide and diallyl trisulfide, are major contributors to the characteristic odor of garlic, while other allicin-derived compounds, such as vinyldithiins and ajoene show beneficial in vitro biological activity.Because of its strong odor, garlic is sometimes called the "stinking rose". When eaten in quantity, garlic may be strongly evident in the diner's sweat and garlic breath the following day. This is because garlic's strong-smelling sulfur compounds are metabolized, forming allyl methyl sulfide. Allyl methyl sulfide (AMS) cannot be digested and is passed into the blood. It is carried to the lungs and the skin, where it is excreted. Since digestion takes several hours, and release of AMS several hours more, the effect of eating garlic may be present for a long time.
This well-known phenomenon of "garlic breath" is alleged to be alleviated by eating fresh parsley. The herb is, therefore, included in many garlic recipes, such as pistou, persillade, and the garlic butter spread used in garlic bread. However, since the odor results mainly from digestive processes placing compounds such as AMS in the blood, and AMS is then released through the lungs over the course of many hours, eating parsley provides only a temporary masking. One way of accelerating the release of AMS from the body is the use of a sauna.[citation needed]
Because of the AMS in the bloodstream, it is believed by some to act as a mosquito repellent, but no clinically reported evidence suggests it is actually effective.


A pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum.Each pod contains several peas. Peapods are botanically a fruit, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a (pea) flower. However, peas are considered to be a vegetable in cooking. The name is also used to describe other edible seeds from the Fabaceae such as the pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan), the cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), and the seeds from several species of Lathyrus.
P. sativum is an annual plant, with a life cycle of one year. It is a cool season crop grown in many parts of the world; planting can take place from winter to early summer depending on location. The average pea weighs between 0.1 and 0.36 grams. The immature peas (and in snow peas the tender pod as well) are used as a vegetable, fresh, frozen or canned; varieties of the species typically called field peas are grown to produce dry peas like the split pea shelled from the matured pod. These are the basis of pease porridge and pea soup, staples of medieval cuisine; in Europe, consuming fresh immature green peas was an innovation of Early Modern cuisine.
The wild pea is restricted to the Mediterranean basin and the Near East. The earliest archaeological finds of peas date from the neolithic era of current Syria, Turkey and Jordan. In Egypt, early finds date from ca. 4800–4400 BC in the Nile delta area, and from ca. 3800–3600 BC in Upper Egypt. The pea was also present in Georgia in the 5th millennium BC. Farther east, the finds are younger. Peas were present in Afghanistan ca. 2000 BC, in Harappa, Pakistan, and in northwest India in 2250–1750 BC. In the second half of the 2nd millennium BC, this pulse crop appears in the Gangetic basin and southern India.


According to etymologists, the term pea was taken from the Latin pisum, which is the latinisation of the Greek πίσον (pison), neut. of πίσος (pisos), "pea". It was adopted into English as the noun pease (plural peasen), as in pease pudding. However, by analogy with other plurals ending in -s, speakers began construing pease as a plural and constructing the singular form by dropping the "s", giving the term "pea". This process is known as back-formation.
The name "marrowfat pea" for mature dried peas is recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary as early as 1733. The fact that an export cultivar popular in Japan is called Maro has led some people to assume mistakenly that the English name "marrowfat" is derived from Japanese.


The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family that was domesticated in Europe, in pre-Roman times. They are grown and consumed throughout the world. Radishes have numerous varieties, varying in size, color and duration of required cultivation time. There are some radishes that are grown for their seeds; oilseed radishes are grown, as the name implies, for oil production. Radish can sprout from seed to small plant in as little as 3 days.

Nutritional value

Radishes are rich in ascorbic acid, folic acid, and potassium. They are a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, and calcium. One cup of sliced red radish bulbs provides approximately 20 cal, largely from carbohydrates.


The aubergine, eggplant, brinjal eggplant, melongene, brinjal or guinea squash (Solanum melongena) is a plant of the family Solanaceae (also known as the nightshades) and genus Solanum. It bears a fruit of the same name, commonly used in cooking. As a nightshade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato. It is domesticated in India from Solanum incanum.
It is a delicate perennial often cultivated as an annual. It grows 40 to 150 cm (16 to 57 in) tall, with large coarsely lobed leaves that are 10 to 20 cm (4–8 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (2–4 in) broad. Semiwild types can grow much larger, to 225 cm (7 ft) with large leaves over 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) broad. The stem is often spiny. The flowers are white to purple, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. The fruit is fleshy, has a meaty texture, and is less than 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter on wild plants, but much larger in cultivated forms.
The fruit is botanically classified as a berry and contains numerous small, soft seeds which are edible, but have a bitter taste because they contain nicotinoid alkaloids; this is unsurprising as it is a close relative of tobacco.

Health Properties

A 1998 study at the Institute of Biology of São Paulo State University, Brazil, found eggplant juice to significantly reduce weight, plasma cholesterol levels, and aortic cholesterol content in hypercholesterolemic rabbits.
The results of a 2000 study on humans suggested that 'S. melongena infusion had a modest and transitory effect, no different from diet and exercise.
A 2004 study on humans at the Heart Institute of the University of São Paulo found no effects at all and did not recommend eggplant as an alternative to statins.
The nicotine content of aubergines, though low in absolute terms, is higher than any other edible plant, with a concentration of 0.01 mg per 100g. The amount of nicotine consumed by eating eggplant or any other food is negligible compared to being in the presence of a smoker. On average, 9 kg (20 lbs) of eggplant contains about the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette.


Case reports of itchy skin or mouth, mild headache, and stomach upset after handling or eating eggplant have been reported anecdotally and published in medical journals (see also oral allergy syndrome). A 2008 study of a sample of 741 people in India, where eggplant is commonly consumed, found that nearly 10% reported some allergic symptoms after consuming eggplant, while 1.4% showed symptoms within less than 2 hours. Contact dermatitis from eggplant leaves and allergy to eggplant flower pollen have also been reported. Individuals who are atopic (genetically predisposed to developing certain allergic hypersensitivity reactions) are more likely to have a reaction to eggplant, which may be because eggplant is high in histamines. A few proteins and at least one secondary metabolite have been identified as potential allergens. Cooking eggplant thoroughly seems to preclude reactions in some individuals, but at least one of the allergenic proteins survives the cooking process.


The red cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. rubra) is a sort of cabbage, also known as red kraut or blue kraut after preparation. Its leaves are coloured dark red/purple. However, the plant changes its colour according to the pH value of the soil, due to a pigment belonging to anthocyanins (flavins). On acidic soils, the leaves grow more reddish while an alkaline soil will produce rather greenish-yellow coloured cabbages. This explains the fact that the same plant is known by different colours in various regions. Furthermore, the juice of red cabbage can be used as a home-made pH indicator, turning red in acid and blue in basic solutions. It can be found in Northern Europe, throughout the Americas, and in China.
On cooking, red cabbage will normally turn blue. To retain the red colour it is necessary to add vinegar or acidic fruit to the pot.
Red cabbage needs well fertilized soil and sufficient humidity to grow. It is a seasonal plant which is seeded in spring and harvested in late fall. Red cabbage is a better keeper than its "white" relatives and does not need to be converted to sauerkraut to last the winter.


"Onions" redirects here. For the name and those bearing it, see Onions (surname).
This article is about the plants. For other uses, see Onion (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with The Onion.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. cepa
Binomial name
Allium cepa L.

The onion (Allium cepa), which is also known as the bulb onion, common onion is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion (A. fistulosum), Egyptian onion (A. ×proliferum), and Canada onion (A. canadense). The name "wild onion" is applied to a number of Allium species. Onion is most frequently a biennial, although it can also be a triennial or a perennial.

The vast majority of cultivars of A. cepa belong to the "common onion group" (A. cepa var. cepa) and are usually referred to simply as "onions". The Aggregatum Group of cultivars (A. cepa var. aggregatum) includes both shallots and potato onions.

Allium cepa is known exclusively in cultivation.but related wild species occur in Central Asia. The most closely related species include Allium vavilovii (Popov & Vved.) and Allium asarense (R.M. Fritsch & Matin) from Iran. However, Zohary and Hopf warn that "there are doubts whether the A. vavilovii collections tested represent genuine wild material or only feral derivatives of the crop."


Wide-ranging claims have been made for the effectiveness of onions against conditions ranging from the common cold to heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other diseases.They contain chemical compounds believed to have anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and antioxidant properties, such as quercetin. Preliminary studies have shown increased consumption of onions reduces the risk of head and neck cancers.

Among all varieties, Asian white onions have the most eye irritating chemical reaction.

In India some sects do not eat onions as they believe them to be an aphrodisiac; various schools of Buddhism also advise against eating onions and other vegetables of the Allium family.

In many parts of the undeveloped world, onions are used to heal blisters and boils. A traditional Maltese remedy for sea urchin wounds is to tie half a baked onion to the afflicted area overnight. A similar traditional cure is known in Bulgaria. Half-baked onion with sugar is placed over the finger and fingernail in case of inflammation.

An application of raw onion is also said to be helpful in reducing swelling from bee stings. In the United States, products that contain onion extract are used in the treatment of topical scars; some studies have found their action to be ineffective, while others found that they may act as an anti-inflammatory or bacteriostatic and can improve collagen organisation in rabbits.

Onions may be beneficial for women, who are at increased risk for osteoporosis as they go through menopause, by destroying osteoclasts so they do not break down bone.

An American chemist has stated the pleiomeric chemicals in onions have the potential to alleviate or prevent sore throat. Onion in combination with jaggery has been widely used as a traditional household remedy for sore throat in India.

Shallots have the most phenols, six times the amount found in Vidalia onion, the variety with the lowest phenolic content. Shallots also have the most antioxidant activity, followed by Western Yellow, pungent yellow (New York Bold),[28] Northern Red, Mexico, Empire Sweet, Western White, Peruvian Sweet, Texas 1015, Imperial Valley Sweet, and Vidalia. Western Yellow onions have the most flavonoids, eleven times the amount found in Western White, the variety with the lowest flavonoid content.

For all varieties of onions, the more phenols and flavonoids they contain, the more reputed antioxidant and anticancer activity they provide. When tested against liver and colon cancer cells in laboratory studies, 'Western Yellow', pungent yellow (New York Bold) and shallots were most effective in inhibiting their growth. The milder-tasting cultivars (i.e., 'Western White,' 'Peruvian Sweet,' 'Empire Sweet,' 'Mexico,' 'Texas 1015,' 'Imperial Valley Sweet' and 'Vidalia') showed little cancer-fighting ability.

Shallots and ten other onion (Allium cepa L.) varieties commonly available in the United States were evaluated: Western Yellow, Northern Red, pungent yellow (New York Bold), Western White, Peruvian Sweet, Empire Sweet, Mexico, Texas 1015, Imperial Valley Sweet, and Vidalia. In general, the most pungent onions delivered many times the effects of their milder cousins.

The 3-mercapto-2-methylpentan-1-ol in onion was found to inhibit peroxynitrite-induced mechanisms in vitro.

While members of the onion family appear to have medicinal properties for humans, they can be deadly for dogs, cats, and guinea pigs.


The word "tomato" may refer to the plant (Solanum lycopersicum) or the edible, typically red, fruit that it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler climates.

The tomato fruit is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes and sauces, and in drinks. While it is botanically a fruit, it is considered a vegetable for culinary purposes (as well as by the United States Supreme Court, see Nix v. Hedden), which has caused some confusion. The vegetable is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.

The tomato belongs to the nightshade family. The plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. It is a perennial in its native habitat, although often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual.


Tomatoes are now eaten freely throughout the world, and their consumption is believed[who?] to benefit the heart, among other organs. They contain the carotene lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants. In some studies, lycopene, especially in cooked tomatoes, has been found to help prevent prostate cancer, but other research contradicts this claim.Lycopene has also been shown to improve the skin's ability to protect against harmful UV rays. A study done by researchers at Manchester and Newcastle universities revealed that tomato can protect against sunburn and help keeping the skin looking youthful.Natural genetic variation in tomatoes and their wild relatives has given a genetic plethora of genes that produce lycopene, carotene, anthocyanin, and other antioxidants. Tomato varieties are available with double the normal vitamin C (Doublerich), 40 times normal vitamin A (97L97), high levels of anthocyanin (resulting in blue tomatoes), and two to four times the normal amount of lycopene (numerous available cultivars with the high crimson gene).


"Green pepper" redirects here. For green peppercorns, see Black pepper.
Red, yellow, and green bell peppers. In some countries these three different-coloured peppers are sold in packs of three and are known as "traffic light peppers".

Bell pepper, also known as sweet pepper or a pepper (in the United Kingdom) and capsicum (in India, Australia and New Zealand), is a cultivar group of the species Capsicum annuum. Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow, orange and green. Bell peppers are sometimes grouped with less pungent pepper varieties as "sweet peppers". Peppers are native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Pepper seeds were later carried to Spain in 1493 and from there spread to other European, African and Asian countries. Today, China is the world's largest pepper producer, followed by Mexico.

Nutritional value

Compared to green peppers, red peppers have more vitamins and nutrients and contain the antioxidant lycopene. The level of carotene, like lycopene, is nine times higher in red peppers. Red peppers have twice the vitamin C content of green peppers.[6] Also, one large red bell pepper contains 209 mg of vitamin C, which is three times the 70 mg of an average orange.