Coffee--Everything You Need to Know From Arabica to ZanzibarWritten by Larry Denton
With a gourmet cup of coffee costing almost as much as a luncheon sandwich these days, more and more people are making their coffee at home from an "old fashioned" drip coffee machine. Thanks to Starbucks and other vendors out there, coffee from a can or a jar just doesn't work anymore. Coffee has become second most valuable item of international trade, just behind petroleum. Worldwide, coffee lovers drink 2.25 billion cups a DAY! To satisfy that thirst, world's coffee growers, each year, produce about 6 million tons of green coffee beans and ship them to thousands of coffee roasters around globe. People who drink coffee range from those interested only in caffeine "buzz," to true aficionado, who, like wine connieseurs, are concerned with color, taste, quality and aroma.
Whether you order a cup a "joe", some hot "java" or a caffe macchiato, primary ingredient remains coffee bean. Coffee begins on a tree in a warm climate where rainfall is about 50 inches a year, soil is well drained and preferably volcanic (this is why Hawaiian Kona coffee is so highly prized). The fruit of coffee plant is called a "cherry" and is appropriately red in color. The heart of cherry, generally two beans, is separated from husk by hand and then air and sun dried. Separating bean from its outer husk, called "hulling" is done either mechanically or by hand. These green beans, as they are now known, have a shelf life of about two years.
The mythical story on discovery of coffee and its use by human beings, involves an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi. Kaldi watched in awe and amusement as his flock behaved very strangely each time they ate bright red fruit from a special plant. He tried berries and found himself suddenly alert and full of energy. The following day Kaldi reported his experience to a Muslim holy man at a nearby monastery who later gathered some berries which he found to have a bitter taste. Hoping to improve their flavor he roasted them in a fire, crushed them with a stone and boiled them in water. Almost immediately after trying his new concoction, his brain became more active and he was able to stay awake all night without being tired in morning. News of this miracle berry drink spread rapidly throughout Middle East and by 16th century, European travelers were praising drink in their journals. The secret was out!
The Wonderful World of PeanutsWritten by Lara Velez
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PEANUTS
By: Lara Velez
Before I begin with history of peanuts you should probably know that peanut is not a nut. The "pea"nut is actually more closely related to pea. It is a member of legumes family. Also, peanuts do not grow in trees like nuts do. They grow on ground. They start out as flowers, and eventually wind up burrowing underground. Under ground is where they become a delicious peanut.
OK - so where did these little guys come from you ask? Well, they are thought to have originated in South America...possibly Brazil or Peru. When Portuguese began to explore "The New World," they took peanuts back home with them. Portuguese traders took them as far as Asia and Africa.
In United States, peanuts became popular during Civil War. Then around 1900's many mechanical devices were invented to help with processing of peanuts. As a result their popularity increased even more. Speaking of inventions...George Washington Carver invented over 300 uses for peanut, including; medicine, ink, soap, shampoo, ice-cream, and axle grease.
Today, peanuts are eaten all over world. They have become a huge money making industry. In United States alone they contribute well over 4 billion dollars yearly to economy
Americans consume 700 million pounds or 3.3 pounds per person, of peanut butter per year….that's enough to coat floor of Grand Canyon.
To enhance flavor of a cola drink, Southerners put peanuts into bottle.
There are approximately 810 peanuts in an 18 oz. jar of peanut butter. The peanut is unusual because it flowers above ground, but fruits below ground.
Peanut oil has a very high smoking point. This allows peanut oil to be heated to a higher temperature than most oils, making it an excellent choice for frying. Since peanuts are a legume, they reduce need for additional fertilizers as they return nitrogen to soil as they grow. HEALTH BENEFITS Peanuts are packed full of healthy stuff, including; antioxidants, niacin, Vitamin E, monounsaturated fat, bioflavnoids, protein, and they have more resveratrol than grapes (which lowers LDL - aka "bad cholesterol") That's not all...Some medical researchers say that they lower risk of heart disease and provide protection from some types of cancer (colon, prostate, and breast). Well, as you can see there are some great reasons to eat peanuts...as if fact that they are delicious isn't enough. THE DARK SIDE Peanut proteins can act as powerful allergens, even in tiny amounts. That is why Peanut allergies are most common cause of death by food in United States. Some people can have a ruthless reaction just for inhaling scent of a peanut. People can die from very small amounts.