Friday, January 29, 2016

Health Benefits of Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is an annual vegetable, and is a low, stout cultivar of cabbage. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked.The name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus Rübe ~ Rabi (Swiss German variant) ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter. Kohlrabi is a commonly eaten vegetable in German speaking countries.

Edible preparations are made with both the stem and the leaves. One commonly used variety grows without a swollen stem, having just leaves and a very thin stem, and is called Haakh. Haakh and Monj are popular Kashmiri dishes made using this vegetable.

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.

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.

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.

Preparation and use
Kohlrabi stems are surrounded by two distinct fibrous layers that do not soften appreciably when cooked. These layers are generally peeled away prior to cooking or serving raw, with the result that the stems often provide a smaller amount of food than one might assume from their intact appearance.

The Kohlrabi root is frequently used raw in salad or slaws. It has a texture similar to that of a broccoli stem, but with a flavor that is sweeter and less vegetal.

Kohlrabi leaves are edible and can be used interchangeably with collard greens and kale.

Kohlrabi is an important part of the Kashmiri diet and one of the most commonly cooked foods. It is prepared with its leaves and served with a light gravy and eaten with rice.

Some varieties are grown as feed for cattle.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 113 kJ (27 kcal)
Carbohydrates 6.2 g
Sugars 2.6 g
Dietary fiber 3.6 g
Fat 0.1 g
Protein 1.7 g
Vitamin A equiv. (0%) 2 µg
Thiamine (B1) (4%) 0.05 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (2%) 0.02 mg
Niacin (B3) (3%) 0.4 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) (3%) 0.165 mg
Vitamin B6 (12%) 0.15 mg
Folate (B9) (4%) 16 µg
Vitamin B12 (0%) 0 µg
Vitamin C (75%) 62 mg
Vitamin D (0%) 0 µg
Vitamin E (3%) 0.48 mg
Vitamin K (0%) 0.1 µg
Calcium (2%) 24 mg
Iron (3%) 0.4 mg
Magnesium (5%) 19 mg
Manganese (7%) 0.139 mg
Phosphorus (7%) 46 mg
Potassium (7%) 350 mg
Sodium (1%) 20 mg
Other constituents
Water 91.00 g

Health benefits of Kohlrabi (Knol-khol)

Mildly sweet, crispy textured kohlrabi is notably rich in vitamins and dietary fiber; however, it has only 27 calories per 100 g, a negligible amount of fat, and zero cholesterol.

Kohlrabi is lower in saturated fats as well as cholesterol levels. This particular means a healthier heart and also circulatory system. Saturated fats are recognized for being “bad fats.” Higher amounts of saturated fats boost the dangerous cholesterol level within the blood. This may lead to numerous heart diseases like a cardiac arrest or perhaps a heart stroke.

Fresh kohlrabi stem is rich source of vitamin-C; provides 62 mg per 100 g weight that is about 102% of RDA. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin, and powerful anti-oxidant. It helps the human body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth, and gum. Its anti-oxidant property helps the human body protect from diseases and cancers by scavenging harmful free radicals from the body.

Kohlrabi, like other members of the Brassica family, contains health-promoting phytochemicals such as isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol that are supposed to protect against prostate and colon cancers.

It especially contains good amounts of many B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid, etc., that acts as co-factors to enzymes during various metabolism inside the body.

Kohlrabi’s immunity improving abilities could be related to its vitamin C content. A cupful of raw kohlrabi consists of roughly 140% of the RDA for vitamin C. Powerful defense mechanism is essential in avoiding all sorts of diseases-from the common cold to cancers and also cardiovascular diseases. In addition to vitamin C contribute to a healthy defense mechanisms, it also aids in enhancing iron absorption and enables in rejuvenating the vitamin E supply.

Knol-knol notably has good levels of minerals; copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and phosphorus are especially available in the stem. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

Kohlrabi consists of most of the phytochemicals regarded as crucial in cancer avoidance, which includes glucosinolates, which assist the liver detox carcinogens. The high anti-oxidant capabilities of kohlrabi assists limit free radical harm to the cells, which is extensively associated with various kinds of cancer.

The high anti-oxidant amounts in kohlrabi assists in combating asthma as well as lung difficulties.  Include this particular veggie on a regular basis as the juice ingredient, perhaps an excellent mix along with carrots, celery and also green apples.

In addition, its creamy color flesh contains small amounts of vitamin A, and carotenes.

Kohlrabi relieves stagnancy, improves stagnancy, and is also efficient for candida, viral infections and also edema. It may also help to stabilize sugar disproportion within diabetic as well as hypoglycemia individuals.

Kohlrabi leaves or tops, like turnip greens, are also very nutritious greens abundant in carotenes, vitamin-A, vitamin K, minerals, and B-complex group of vitamins.

Kohlrabi Recipe (Monji Haak/Ganth Gobi)

Serving Size: 3-4 people

½ kg or 1 pound monjihaakh/kohlrabi
Pinch of yeng/heeng/asafetida
2 whole green chilies/neel mertschwangan or red dry chili/wazel mertschwangan
1½ cup of water
Pinch of phu//soda/baking soda
Kashmiri spicy cake/masala/vari if available
3-4 tablespoons of vegetable cooking oil (or preferably mustard oil if available)
Salt to taste

Peel skin of the round green bulb. Cut kohlrabi into thin slices and strip leaves
into half.
Clean the kohlrabi by taking out loutish stalks and by checking for white
lines on leaves (from the store may contain bugs on the leaves. These
can be found as short white lines on the green leaf).
Wash the kohlrabi in a large sink filled with water to which may be added a small
amount of vinegar or salt to kill any insects. Move the Green leaves gently in the water
to remove sand and dirt. Repeat several times until water is clear.
Place kohlrabi  in colander to drain water and set aside for now.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pressure cooker or cooking pan at medium heat.
Add heeng/asafetida and sauté.
Add kohlrabi and stir well till kohlrabi shrivels.
Add salt and whole dry or green chilies as desired (to make red colored
add ½ tsp. of red chili powder and ¼ tsp. of badiyan and shonth).
Add water.
Add pinch of baking soda.
Boil kohlrabi .
Cover and cook green leaves for 3-4 whistles in pressure cooker or approximately 15
minutes if cooking in a pan until leaves is tender.
Open the lid of the cooker immediately to retain green color of leaves.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Health Nutrition Benefits of Quince

The quince is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae (which also contains apples and pears, among other fruits). It is a small deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities.

The tree grows 5 to 8 metres (16 to 26 ft) high and 4 to 6 metres (13 to 20 ft) wide. The fruit is 7 to 12 centimetres (2.8 to 4.7 in) long and 6 to 9 centimetres (2.4 to 3.5 in) across.

It is native to rocky slopes and woodland margins in South-west Asia, Turkey and Iran although it can be grown successfully at latitudes as far north as Scotland. It should not be confused with its relatives, the Chinese Quince, Pseudocydonia sinensis, or the Flowering Quinces of genus Chaenomeles, either of which are sometimes used as culinary substitutes.

The immature fruit is green with dense grey-white pubescence, most of which rubs off before maturity in late autumn when the fruit changes colour to yellow with hard, strongly perfumed flesh. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, 6–11 cm (2–4 in) long, with an entire margin and densely pubescent with fine white hairs. The flowers, produced in spring after the leaves, are white or pink, 5 cm (2 in) across, with five petals.

Quince is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including brown-tail, Bucculatrix bechsteinella, Bucculatrix pomifoliella, Coleophora cerasivorella, Coleophora malivorella, green pug and winter moth.

Four other species previously included in the genus Cydonia are now treated in separate genera. These are Pseudocydonia sinensis and the three flowering quinces of eastern Asia in the genus Chaenomeles. Another unrelated fruit, the bael, is sometimes called the "Bengal quince".

Some varieties of quince, such as 'Aromatnaya' and 'Kuganskaya' do not require cooking and can be eaten raw.However, most varieties of quince are too hard, astringent and sour to eat raw unless "bletted" (softened by frost and subsequent decay). High in pectin, they are used to make jam, jelly and quince pudding, or they may be peeled, then roasted, baked or stewed; pectin levels diminish as the fruit ripens. The flesh of the fruit turns red after a long cooking time. The very strong perfume means they can be added in small quantities to apple pies and jam to enhance the flavour. Adding a diced quince to apple sauce will enhance the taste of the apple sauce with the chunks of relatively firm, tart quince. The term "marmalade", originally meaning a quince jam, derives from marmelo, the Portuguese word for this fruit.

The fruit can be used to make a type of wine. Because of its often high acidity, which is mainly due to its malic acid content, these wines are usually sweet dessert wines that are high in alcohol. In the Balkans and elsewhere, quince brandy and quince liqueur are made. In Carolina in 1709, John Lawson allowed that he was "not a fair judge of the different sorts of Quinces, which they call Brunswick, Portugal and Barbary", but he noted "of this fruit they make a wine or liquor which they call Quince-Drink, and which I approve of beyond any that their country affords, though a great deal of cider and perry is there made, The Quince-Drink most commonly purges.

Quince is native to the Eurasian area, including Uzbekistan, Armenia, Turkey, Hungary, Macedonia, and other nearby regions. Historically, quince may have played a much larger role than most people expect. Some researchers actually think that when “apples” were referenced in ancient history, they were more likely talking about quince, which were much more common in those areas.

You can utilize quince in jams, jellies, and puddings, as well as used in a similar way to pears as a side dish or a breakfast food. Different countries use quince in different ways, often using the juice as a flavoring agent. However, the real benefit of quince is eating the skin and the fleshy fruit, since it is packed with beneficial nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phenolic compounds, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.

Nutritional Value of Quince
Given below is the amount of nutrients present in 100 gm of quince: 
Carbohydrates - 15.3 gm
Sugars - 12.53 gm
Dietary fiber - 1.9 gm 
Fat - 0.10 gm
Protein - 0.4 gm
Water - 83.8 gm
Vitamin A - 40 μg
Niacin (Vitamin B3) - 0.2 mg
Vitamin B6 - 0.04 mg
Folate (Vitamin B9) - 8 μg
Vitamin C - 15.0 mg
Calcium - 8 mg
Iron - 0.7 mg
Magnesium - 8 mg
Phosphorus - 17 mg
Potassium - 197 mg
Sodium - 4 mg
Energy - 60 kcal (240 kJ) 

Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Quince 

Being rich in dietary fiber, quince is good for those people who are trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy body.
Quince boasts of antioxidant properties, which helps the body fight against free radicals and reduces the risk of cancer.
Researches have revealed that quinces might be rich in various anti-viral properties.
Consumption of quince has been found to be beneficial for people suffering from gastric ulcer.
Quince juice is known to have tonic, antiseptic, analeptic, astringent and diuretic properties.
It is believed that eating quince is good for maintaining the optimum health of an individual.
Regular consumption of quince not only aids in digestion, but also helps lower cholesterol.
The presence of potassium in quince helps the body keep high blood pressure in check.
The vitamin C present in quince helps reduce the risk of heart disease in individuals.
If consumed on a regular basis, quince proves beneficial for those afflicted with tuberculosis, hepatic insufficiency, diarrhea and dysentery.
Those suffering from liver diseases and eye diseases would surely benefit from regular quince consumption.
Being rich in antioxidants, quince is believed to be helpful in relieving stress and attaining calm.
Quince is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, while having lots of vitamin C, dietary fiber and copper.
Quince juice is good for those suffering from anemia, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory illnesses, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and even asthma.
The juice as well as pulp of boiled or baked quince fruit serves as a good anti-emetic remedy.

Availability of Quince in India
Quince is a temperate fruit growing in just a few area of India, namely Jammu and Kashmir. Limited production also occurs in Himachal Pradesh. Sir Walter Roper Lawrence extolled the quinces growing near the Dal Lake as far back as his 1895 book, “The Valley of Kashmir.” These regions are some of the only areas capable of growing the fruit, as quince requires periodic cold temperatures nearing 7 Celsius in order to flower with a warmer, temperate climate throughout the rest of the year.

According to the 2000 edition of “The Journal of the Indian Botanical Society,” Kashmir cultivates approximately 470 hectares of quince, mostly in the Baramulla and Budgam districts. These trees possess great genetic variability, holding promise for improved and refined varieties. 

The season arrives in late fall—just as the surrounding trees slowly change colors, quince fruits go from brown to glorious yellow and herald their arrival with a fragrant, tropical smell.

Where to find Quince in India
Despite being unknown throughout the rest of the country, quince is common in Kashmir. Those frequenting the area during the autumn months are bound to stumble across these hardy fruits. In fact, most every Kashmiri has heard of quince based on its ubiquity in several regional dishes and stews. Quince is not shipped to many other parts of the country, making it rather difficult to find outside of these areas.

Taste of Quince
Quinces can be a bit like guava: immensely promising based on its powerful, glorious aroma, only to disappoint once bitten. Quince has a remarkably tough texture, making it nearly impossible to get a nibble of the dry fruit. These efforts to get even a small bite are not rewarded either, as the taste is astringent, tart, tannic and generally unpalatable.

Though California growers have managed to turn some varieties of quince into a soft, juicy and non-astringent fruit, such types are the exception and have not made their way to India’s soils.

Quince, like plantain, only comes alive when it’s cooked. When heated for a lengthy amount of time, its flesh turns a beautiful rosy color and becomes soft, tender, tangy yet mildly sweet from the concentrated sugars. Heating removes the bitter astringency of the fruit, making it significantly more palatable. Some cooking techniques also impart quince’s rich aroma into certain foods and drinks.

Quince Brinjal (Bumtchoonth Wangun)


1 quince, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 slender eggplant (light pink-purple ones preferred)
1 1/2 T fennel powder
2 t coriander powder
1 t ginger powder
1/2 t turmeric powder
1 t cayenne pepper powder
2 cloves
1 tejpatta
1 green cardamom
2 green chillies, slit (optional)
1/2 t Kashmiri garam masala
2 T yoghurt
a pinch hing
2-3 T mustard oil
salt to taste

Section the Quince- 10-12 slices
Make a thin paste of all the spice powders except the hing/ Asafoetida,  Keep aside,
Heat oil and saute the Quince sections
Drain and keep aside,
Saute the Brinjal slices till golden
Add Hing to the rest of the oil [ add more oil in tsps, if needed]
Add cardamom, cloves and tejpatta,
Turn down heat and add the spice paste,
Cook for a couple of minutes,
Add yogurt paste and cook for a couple of minutes,
Add the quince and eggplants,
Add the slit green chillies,
Add enough water to cover the vegetables
Cook on medium high for about 30 minutes until the quince is cooked.
Season with garam masala and serve.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Health Benefits Common Mallow

The common mallow is part of the large family of Malvaceae plants that include cotton, okra and hibiscus. It is an edible plant that has been used for medicinal care as well as food. The fruits are round and have cheese-like wedges which give the common mallow its nickname, cheese plant. Mallow stems are flexible and come from a central point, often lounging on the ground. This wild edible is used as herbal medicine in a variety of ways. It is an anti-inflammatory, diuretic, demulcent, emollient, laxative and an expectorant.

Malva neglecta is an annual growing to 0.6 m (2ft). It is also known as common mallow in the United States and also buttonweed, cheeseplant, cheeseweed, dwarf mallow and roundleaf mallow.[2] Although often considered a weed, this plant is often consumed as a food.This is especially true of the seeds, which contain 21% protein and 15.2% fat.The plant is an invasive species in the United States.

Other Names: button weed, cheese mallow, cheese weed, cheeses, dwarf mallow, garden mallow, low mallow, malice, round dock, round-leaved mallow, running mallow

Distinguishing Features: Common mallow is a winter or summer annual or biennial, freely branching at the base, with a prostrate growth habit. It is a low growing weed, with a deep fleshy tap root. The seeds germinate through the summer and broken stems can also root. This plant has stems that originate from a deep tap root and are low spreading with branches that reach from a few centimetres to almost 60 centimetres long.

Flowers: The flowers are borne either singly or in clusters in the leaf axils blooming from June to late autumn. They have 5 petals and are white, pinkish or lilac flowers that measure on average, 1 to 1.5 cm across.

Leaves: Common mallow leaves are alternate, on long petioles, circular to kidney-shaped, toothed and shallowly 5-9 lobed, 2-6 cm wide. Short hairs present on upper and lower leaf surfaces, margins and petioles.

Height: This plant can grow anywhere from 10 to 60 cm in length.

Habitat: The common mallow likes to grow in lawns, gardens, roadsides, waste areas and cropland. It originated in Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa and is also in the Americas and Australia.

Edible parts: All parts of this plant are edible. The leaves can be added to a salad, the fruit can be a substitute for capers and the flowers can be tossed into a salad. When cooked, the leaves create a mucus very similar to okra and can be used as a thickener to soups and stews. The flavour of the leaves is mild. Dried leaves can be used for tea. Mallow roots release a thick mucus when boiled in water. The thick liquid that is created can be beaten to make a meringue-like substitute for egg whites. Common mallow leaves are rich in vitamins A and C as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and selenium.

Health Benefits 

Common mallow has many similar health uses as marshmallow (Althaea officinalis).

Common mallow is a popular herb to treat respiratory problems since it has healing properties that may help the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract. The herb contains a lot of mucous substances that cover the inflamed tissue with a protective layer.

A tea made from the leaves or flowers may be used as a remedy for cough, catarrh and hoarseness. The flowers and leaves should be allowed to soak for a few hours in lukewarm water before use. To preserve the medical properties of the plant, don’t use boiling water.

Today, the dried flowers and extracts are used in many commercial tea blends and over-the-counter medication intended as a relief for coughs.

Tea made from the herb is said to help nursing mothers to produce more milk.

Malva sylvestris has also its uses as a source of food. The seeds taste similar to young hazel nuts and they can easily be included in green salads along with the leaves and flowers. The use of common mallow in the kitchen is mostly forgotten but it definitely deserves to make a comeback.


Common Mallow and  Lotus Root
Common Mallow(Sochal) is a wild vegetable found anywhere on the road sides, parks, playgrounds, grazing lands etc. It can also be grown in our kitchen gardens easily. Tastes fabulous after cooking.

75o g Common Mallow leaves (mallow leaves).
250 g nadir (lotus stem).
Salt to taste.
3 saboot sookhi laal mirchi (red dried whole chillies).
1.5 table spoon laal mirch powder (red chilly powder).
1/4 table spoon saunth powder (ginger powder).
1 medium size pyaaz (onion).
3-4 ladles of mustard oil.
1 pinch hing (asafoetida).
Clean Common Mallow, wash 3-4 hours before cooking to drain off the water, peel off the nadir, cut into round chips, wash and keep aside. Cut and wash onion.
Heat oil in a deep pan, fry nadir and keep in a bowl.
Fry onions till brown and turn the stove on low flame, put mirchi powder and stir till dark red colours appears.
Add salt, hing, ginger powder, stir and add Common Mallow leaves and stir gently so that oil and other contents mix with the leaves evenly.
As soon as sap of the leaves start coming out add fried nadir and saboot mirchi.
Cook on low flame with occasional stirring till the liquid dries up and oil appears.
Serve the vegetable with boiled rice.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Health Benefits of Purslane

Portulaca oleracea (common purslane, also known as verdolaga, pigweed, little hogweed, red root, pursley, and moss rose) is an annual succulent in the family Portulacaceae, which may reach 40 centimetres (16 in) in height.It has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems and alternate leaves clustered at stem joints and ends. The yellow flowers have five regular parts and are up to 6 millimetres (0.24 in) wide. Depending upon rainfall, the flowers appear at anytime during the year. The flowers open singly at the center of the leaf cluster for only a few hours on sunny mornings. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod, which opens when the seeds are mature. Purslane has a taproot with fibrous secondary roots and is able to tolerate poor, compacted soils and drought.

Purslane, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 84 kJ (20 kcal)
Carbohydrates 3.39 g
Fat 0.36 g
Protein 2.03 g
Vitamin A 1320 IU
Thiamine (B1) (4%) 0.047 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (9%) 0.112 mg
Niacin (B3) (3%) 0.48 mg
Vitamin B6 (6%) 0.073 mg
Folate (B9) (3%) 12 μg
Vitamin C (25%) 21 mg
Vitamin E (81%) 12.2 mg
Calcium (7%) 65 mg
Iron (15%) 1.99 mg
Magnesium (19%) 68 mg
Manganese (14%) 0.303 mg
Phosphorus (6%) 44 mg
Potassium (11%) 494 mg
Zinc (2%) 0.17 mg
Other constituents
Water 92.86 g

Approximately forty varieties currently are cultivated

Soft, succulent purslane leaves have more omega-3 fatty acids than in some of the fish oils. If you are a vegetarian and pledge to avoid all forms of animal products, then here is the answer! Go for this healthy dark-green leafy vegetable and soon you will forget fish!Botanically, this herbaceous leafy vegetable belongs to the family of Portulacaceae and scientifically known as Portulaca oleracea.

Other common names in place for this green leafy are pursley, pigweed, or verdolaga.
Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable plant. Studies have found that purslane has 0.01 mg/g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin B, carotenoids), and dietary minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. Also present are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish betacyanins (visible in the coloration of the stems) and the yellow betaxanthins (noticeable in the flowers and in the slight yellowish cast of the leaves). Both of these pigment types are potent antioxidants and have been found to have antimutagenic properties in laboratory studies.

100 grams of fresh purslane leaves (about half a cup) contain 300 to 400 mg of alpha-linolenic acid. One cup (250 ml) of cooked leaves contains 90 mg of calcium, 561 mg of potassium, and more than 2,000 IUs of vitamin A.

A half-cup of purslane leaves contains as much as 910 mg of oxalate, a compound implicated in the formation of kidney stones. Cooking purslane reduces overall soluble oxalate content by 27%.

When stressed by low availability of water, purslane, which has evolved in hot and dry environments, switches to photosynthesis using Crassulacean acid metabolism (the CAM pathway): At night its leaves trap carbon dioxide, which is converted into malic acid (the souring principle of apples), and, in the day, the malic acid is converted into glucose. When harvested in the early morning, the leaves have ten times the malic acid content as when harvested in the late afternoon, and thus have a significantly more tangy taste.

Purslane is native to Indian sub-continent and now distributed widely across the continents but actually as a wild weed. There exist varieties of pusley with variation in leaf size, thickness, and leaf arrangement and pigment distribution. This hardy herb plant requires relatively less water and soil nutrients and grows well sunny sunny climates. The plant grows up to 12-15 cm in height as a low-lying spread.

Pursley is widely grown in many Asian and European regions as a staple leafy vegetable. Its leaves appear thick, contain mucilaginous substance, and have a slightly sour and salty taste. Leaves and tender stems are edible. In addition to succulent stems and leaves, its yellow flower buds are also favored, especially in salads.

Purslane seeds, appear like black tea powder granules, are often used to make some herbal drinks.

Health benefits of Purslane

This wonderful green leafy vegetable is very low in calories (just 16 kcal/100g) and fats; nonetheless, it is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Fresh leaves contain surprisingly more omega-3 fatty acids (a-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant. 100 grams of fresh purslane leaves provide about 350 mg of alpha-linolenic acid. Research studies show that consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and help prevent the development of ADHD, autism, and other developmental differences in children.

It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, (1320 IU/100 g, provides 44% of RDA) one of the highest among green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is a known powerful natural antioxidant and an essential vitamin for vision. it is also required to maintain healthy mucusa and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese.

Furthermore, present in purslane are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish beta-cyanins and the yellow beta-xanthins. Both pigment types are potent anti-oxidants and have been found to have anti-mutagenic properties in laboratory studies.

Purslane Indian Recipes 
Kulfa Saag

Kulfa leaves 1 kg
Oil 125 gm
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Red chili 4 (whole)
Ginger 1/2 inch (sliced thinly)
Onion 125 gm (sliced)
Salt to taste
Red chili powder to taste
Green chili 6 (whole)
Garlic clove 4 (sliced)
Cumin ½ pinch

Cooking Directions
Clean and wash kulfa saag/leaves and then cut it thinly.
Add saag in pot and cook on low flame.
The leaves will release water during cooking and it will cook in its own water.
Now heat half the oil in a pot and add onion, fry till golden.
Then add turmeric, green chili, red chili powder and whole red chili. Cook these spices for a while.
Now add kulfa saag/leaves and cook on low heat.
When water dries, then heat the remaining oil in a frying pan. Fry ginger, garlic and cumin in it for tempering (baghar).
Pour it over kulfa saag.
Delicious kulfa saag/leaves is ready to serve with gram flour bread.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Health Benefits of Cabbage

Cabbage or headed cabbage (comprising several groups of cultivars of Brassica oleracea) is a leafy green or purple biennial plant, grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. Closely related to other cole crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, it descends from B. oleracea var. oleracea, a wild field cabbage. Cabbage heads generally range from 0.5 to 4 kilograms (1 to 9 lb), and can be green, purple and white. Smooth-leafed firm-headed green cabbages are the most common, with smooth-leafed red and crinkle-leafed savoy cabbages of both colors seen more rarely. It is a multi-layered vegetable. Under conditions of long sunlit days such as are found at high northern latitudes in summer, cabbages can grow much larger. Some records are discussed at the end of the history section.

It is difficult to trace the exact history of cabbage, but it was most likely domesticated somewhere in Europe before 1000 BC, although savoys were not developed until the 16th century. By the Middle Ages, it had become a prominent part of European cuisine. Cabbage heads are generally picked during the first year of the plant's life cycle, but plants intended for seed are allowed to grow a second year, and must be kept separated from other cole crops to prevent cross-pollination. Cabbage is prone to several nutrient deficiencies, as well as to multiple pests, and bacterial and fungal diseases.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports that world production of cabbage and other brassicas for 2011 was almost 69 million metric tons (68 million long tons; 75 million short tons). Almost half of these crops were grown in China, where Chinese cabbage is the most popular Brassica vegetable. Cabbages are prepared in many different ways for eating. They can be pickled, fermented for dishes such as sauerkraut, steamed, stewed, sautéed, braised, or eaten raw. Cabbage is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and dietary fiber. Contaminated cabbage has been linked to cases of food-borne illness in humans.

Health benefits of cabbage
The health benefits of cabbage include frequent use as a treatment for constipation, stomach ulcers, headaches, obesity, skin disorders, eczema, jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eye disorders, heart diseases, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Fresh, dark green-leafy cabbage is incredibly nutritious; but very low in fat and calories. 100 g of leaves provide just 25 calories.

The vegetable is a storehouse of phyto-chemicals like thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane, and isothiocyanates. These compounds are powerful antioxidants and known to help protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood.

Fresh cabbage is an excellent source of natural antioxidant, vitamin C. Provides 36.6 mg or about 61% of RDA per 100 g. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.

Total antioxidant strength measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value) is 508 µmol TE/100 g. Red cabbages contain more antioxidant value, 2252 µmol TE/100 g.

It is also rich in essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that our body requires them from external sources to replenish.

It also contains a adequate amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for the red blood cell formation.
Cabbage is a very good source of vitamin K, provides about 63% of RDA levels. Vitamin-K has the potential role in bone metabolism through promoting osteotrophic activity. So enough of vitamin K in the diet would gives you healthy bones. In addition, vitamin-K also has established role in the cure of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage inside their brain.

Cabbage Curry Recipe

Ingredients (240 ml cup used)
1 tbsp. oil or as needed
½ tsp cumin / jeera
¼ to ½ tsp mustard
¾ to 1 tsp ginger or ginger garlic paste or grated
1 large thinly sliced onion
1 large finely chopped tomato
salt as needed
a pinch of turmeric
½ tsp red chili powder
¾ tsp garam masala or sambar powder as needed
¼ cup green peas or 2 tbsp. chana dal (soaked and cooked)
2 to 3 cups chopped cabbage
few finely chopped coriander leaves

Remove the outer leaves of cabbage and cut to quarters. Soak them in salted water for sometime. Cut and discard the core. Chop the cabbage and set aside. Alternately, chop the cabbage and add to salted water. Drain off and set aside.
Add oil to a hot. When the oil turns hot, add mustard and cumin. when they begin to sizzle, add ginger garlic and fry till it turns aromatic.
Add sliced onions and fry till they turn transparent.
Add tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Fry until the tomatoes turn mushy and soft. Add spice powders and fry for a minute for the raw smell to go away.
Add green peas and then saute for a minute.
Add chopped and drained cabbage. Stir for the masala to coat the cabbage well and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
Fry until the cabbage is cooked to your liking. If needed cover and cook.
Sprinkle Coriander leaves.
Serve with rice or roti.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

The Brussels sprout is a member of 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 and gained its name there.

Nutrients, phytochemicals and research
Raw Brussels sprouts contain excellent levels of vitamin C and vitamin K, with more moderate amounts of B vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin B6 (USDA nutrient table, right); essential minerals and dietary fibre exist in lesser amounts (table).

Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contain sulforaphane, a phytochemical under basic research for its potential anticancer properties. Although boiling reduces the level of sulforaphane, steaming and stir frying do not result in significant loss.

Consuming Brussels sprouts in excess may not be suitable for patients taking anticoagulants since they contain vitamin K, a blood-clotting factor. In one such reported incident, eating too many Brussels sprouts may have countered blood-thinning therapy.

VARIETIES: There are several different varieties of hybrid Brussels sprouts currently being grown in the US. Hybrid varieties replaced the open-pollinated types produced prior to the 1960's because of the need for more uniform maturation of the plants due to the switch from hand harvesting to machine. Some of the original varieties developed, particularly Jade Cross, had several characteristics that were desirable, though they tasted rather bitter. The current varieties have an improved taste, as some are almost sweet. The first variety of the season in California is a hand-picked variety called Confidant. It matures rather rapidly, allowing harvesting to begin approximately 90 days after transplanting. The sprouts mature from the bottom of the plant up and are usually picked 4 to 5 times over 8-10 weeks. Confidant is a medium green color, and has a fairly mild taste. This variety is harvested from late June through early October. Following the handpicking comes the first of the machine-harvested sprouts. The first variety that matures in 140-160 days from transplanting is also Confidant, though they are topped between 90-100 days so that the sprouts mature uniformly along the stalk . They are slightly darker green, denser, with tightly wrapped leaves. These are usually available from October through November. The late season varieties are Genius and Cobus. They take from 180-195 days from transplanting to harvest, and they are available from December through January.  These varieties are used because of their better tolerance of the winter weather.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 179 kJ (43 kcal)
8.95 g
Sugars 2.2 g
Dietary fibre 3.8 g
Fat 0.3 g
Protein 3.38 g
Vitamin A equiv. 38 µg (5%) 
beta-carotene    450 µg (4%) 
lutein zeaxanthin 1590 µg

Thiamine (B1) (12%) 0.139 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (8%) 0.09 mg
Niacin (B3) (5%) 0.745 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) (6%) 0.309 mg
Vitamin B6 (17%) 0.219 mg
Folate (B9) (15%) 61 µg
Choline (4%) 19.1 mg
Vitamin C (102%) 85 mg
Vitamin E (6%) 0.88 mg
Vitamin K (169%) 177 µg
Calcium (4%) 42 mg
Iron (11%) 1.4 mg
Magnesium (6%) 23 mg
Manganese (16%) 0.337 mg
Phosphorus (10%) 69 mg
Potassium (8%) 389 mg
Sodium (2%) 25 mg
Zinc (4%) 0.42 mg
Other constituents
Water 86 g

Cooking and Preparation

The most common method of preparing Brussels sprouts for cooking begins with cutting the buds off the stalk. Any surplus stem is cut away, and any loose surface leaves are peeled and discarded. Once cut and cleaned, the buds are typically cooked by boiling, steaming, stir frying, grilling, or roasting. To ensure even cooking throughout, buds of a similar size are usually chosen. Some cooks will make a single cut or a cross in the center of the stem to aid the penetration of heat. Brussels sprouts can be pickled as an alternative to cooking.

Overcooking will render the buds gray and soft, and they then develop a strong flavour and odour that some dislike. The odor is associated with the glucosinolate sinigrin, an organic compound that contains sulfur: hence the strong smell. For taste, roasting Brussels sprouts is a common way to cook them to bring out flavor. Common toppings or additions for Brussels sprouts include Parmesan cheese and butter, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, bacon, pistachios, pine nuts, mustard, brown sugar, and pepper. Another popular way of cooking Brussels sprouts is to saute them.