Moringa: The Hot New Superfood

We’ve seen many new superfood crazes over the years, but the moringa is proving to be one of the biggest and hottest new superfood ever.  New superfruits all turned out to have even more impressive health benefits and previous ones.  For example, the dragonfruit introduced an appealing looking peel and flesh, packed with antioxidants and vitamins.  The acai berry, another superfruit, became known to benefit the immune system and even promote weight loss.  Now, the moringa is being known as an amazing new powerfruit.


Packed with nutrients–no wonder the moringa is the world’s new superpower fruit.

It’s considered one of the richest fruits in nutritional value.  This fruit has been consumed by people for years as a nutrient-filled food good for the whole body.  The moringa’s bright green leaves, which are part of what makes it a superpower food, contain an impressive amount of  vitamins A, B, and C, as well as protein and numerous minerals and antioxidants.  If you’ve never eaten the leaves of the moringa, you might be surprised at their taste and how well they go with your food.  You can chop the leaves up and sprinkle them on salads and add them to omelets, or stir-fry with other veggies.  No matter what dish its put into, moringa leaves will turn it into a healthy food.

Moringa leaves are often ground up and sold as moringa leaf powder.  This powder can be stirred into drinks or used to make tea, and provides just as many health benefits as leaves that are not ground up.  Buy a can of powder and add some to your daily morning shake–it’s incredibly easy, and incredibly good for your body.  Most people who eat this product use between one teaspoon and one tablespoon of powder every day.

It’s not only the leaves of the amazing fruit that are valued–the seeds are also very healthy.  The seeds of this extraordinary superfruit contain about 40% oil that is high in a fatty acid called oleic acid.  The defatted meal contains more than 60% protein and is even used in water purification to clean out unwanted sediments.

These incredible health benefits of the moringa makes it one of best new superfruits. One great product I recommend is the [amazon asin=B007VHHROC&text=100% Pure Organic Moringa Oleifera Leaf Powder Superfood].  This product provides a great amount of antioxidants, minerals and various other nutrients.

Cherimoya: Numerous Tastes

The unique cherimoya, or chirimoya, is a fruit thought to be native to the Andes.  It was cultivated in Spain, from where it spread through Italy and Portugal.  Cherimoya fruits can now be found in Egypt, Morocco, Israel, Taiwan Australia, and other places. Numerous  places in the Americas, such as California, have also produced these exotic fruits.

You’ve probably never seen or heard of this fruit, with its oval shape and slightly bumpy texture.  The cherimoya is around 10-20 cm. long and 7-10 cm in diameter around the size of a grapefruit.  Inside the yellow-green skin, the flesh is smooth and white with several dark-colored seeds.  The cherimoya has another name, the custard apple, which comes from the creamy, sherbet-like texture of the fruit.


Have you ever known a fruit that tastes like bubblegum?

It’s the delightful taste of the cherimoya that gives most of its uniqueness.  Mark Twain called this “the most delicious fruit known to man.” The tastes that people commonly describe the cherimoya to possess are a mixture of pineapple, banana, strawberry, and peach.  Many say that it has a similarity to bubblegum!  Like the name “custard apple”, the nickname “ice cream fruit” comes from the taste of the fruit; people often eat the flesh of cherimoyas chilled.  But beware–the seeds are poisonous when crushed.

Cherimoya trees can live through cool periods (so it does not become dormant) but does not like much snow.  They can thrive from altitudes of 4,300 ft. to 8,500 ft.  The fresh fruits provides an impressive amount of antioxidants, vitamins, an minerals.


Dead Man’s Fingers: an Eerie Fruit

You might have heard of the starfruit, dragonfruit, or blood orange, but have you ever heard of dead man’s fingers?  It has a very strange name, but it is a fruit and can be eaten.  The shape and color of dead man’s fingers are also quite unique; the fruit is a bluish-black to greenish pod, which hangs with other pods from the branches. Soft, with a skin-like peel, these clumps of fruits hang eerily like a human hand.

dead man's fingers

Since these creepy fruits ripen near Halloween…

Originated from China, the fruit is around 4-10 cm long and 3 cm in diameter, containing small, black 1 cm wide seeds.  The flesh is translucent and glutinous, sweet with a taste similar to watermelon, which ranges from bland to very sweet.  It’s often described to have a gelatinous taste, perhaps like jelly.  To add to the eerie fun of this fruit, it ripens in the fall, near Halloween.

Dead man’s fingers are also grown as an ornamental plant; it has eye-catching blue fruits and attractive drooping flowers.  The type of dead man’s fingers that come from China are the most commonly cultivated.  They grow well in cooler temperatures and fertile soil.

Don’t confuse the fruit called dead man’s fingers with the others.  There are 3 types of dead man’s fingers– one is the fruit shrub (what this article is about), another is a mushroom, and the last a type of coral or seaweed.

Snowberry: the Poison Berry

The unique snowberry,  often called the waxberry, Ice Apple or ghostberry, is a fruit native to North and Central America. These 1-2 cm berries are soft, ranging from white to pinkish red in color (one species, however, is purple).  Inside, the flesh of this fruit looks just like  sparkling, fine snow.


Soft, white, conspicuous snowberries–unfortunately they’re poisonous.

Snowberry shrubs are considered good dwelling places for animals; for example, birds can easily make nests in the branches.  Snowberries are an important food source for pheasants, quails, and grouse in the wintertime, and for mammals such as bears.  Snowberry bush stems are food for mice and rabbits as well as deer and elk which feed on its vegetation.  Various insects such as types of butterflies and moths eat from its leaves.

Though these conspicuous berries can be ingested by numerous animals, unfortunately they are toxic to humans.  If they are eaten, the person will probably feel dizziness and vomiting.  These berries, when smashed into water, foam up.  Strangely, however, Native Americans used the snowberry to settle the stomach after meals, and to kill fish in streams.

The snowberry bush is quite attractive.  In the spring, or perhaps the summer, sunlight shines through the round green leaves, speckled with white and pink berries.  Many berries stay on the bush during winter, and provide animals with food in case its scarce.  Otherwise, they drop to the ground.  Seeds are spread by birds to regrow into more bushes.

Abiu: Tastes like Caramel Candy!

The abiu is a delicious creamy fruit native to the headwaters of the Amazon.  This unique fruit grows on a medium height tree in hot and humid tropics and subtropics.  With an elliptical, round, or pointed shape, the yellow colored abiu has a taste that is different from most other fruits.


Ever heard of a fruit that tastes like creme caramel?

The fruits have pearly white translucent pulp that is usually soft, like custard, though some types are firmer.  It can contain 1-4 oval-shaped and dark-colored seeds.  Unripe fruits have a gummy latex within them that hardens in air.  The gel-like flesh is described as having a mild sweet with a distinct flavor resembling creme caramel candy and sometimes even a bit of pineapple! This delicious fruit with jelly flesh is can be eaten just by itself and tastes best as a chilled treat.

People in Columbia who want to eat the abiu are often recommended to grease their lips beforehand so that the latex in the fruit will not stick.  Abiu can be sliced in half and the pulp easily scooped out with a spoon.  However, you should try to avoid the unpalatable latex near the bright yellow-green skin.  It’s usually eaten by itself, but sometimes is used in juices and sorbets, and added to ice cream.

The abiu provides many things of nutritional value, such as vitamin A and C, phosphorus and calcium.  If you want to have healthy eyes, vitamin A will help you.  Abiu also has a high amount of fiber, which is essential to the digestive system.  In Brazil, the fruit is eaten to treat coughs, bronchitis and other related irritations.  The latex inside abiu fruits are put on abscesses and used as a vermifuge or purge.






Are Coconut Milk and Water the Same Thing?

Coconut milk and coconut water may sound very similar, as they both contain the word “coconut” and is some sort of liquid from the coconut.  However, coconut milk and coconut water are 2 different things, from different parts of the coconut.

coconut water

A refreshing splash of coconut water.

Coconut water is the clear liquid that comes from the inside of young coconut. It’s been a popular drink in tropical areas, such as India, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Africa.  Coconut water is sold either fresh, bottled, or canned.  Coconut water drinks sometimes include coconut pulp or coconut jelly.

Street vendors often sell coconuts for drinking.  The vendors often cut it open right in front of the customers to ensure freshness.  Recently, coconut water has been sold as an energy or sports drink that will keep you hydrated.  Coconut water has a high amount of potassium and minerals, and is known to have a low amount of calories, fat and carbohydrates.  It also provides cytokinins, which are essential to cell growth. The drink can even be fermented and made into coconut vinegar.

Coconut milk, on the other hand, is made from coconut meat.  Its made by either pressing grated coconut meat, or bringing out the aromatic taste by pouring hot water or milk through the snowy white grated pile.  The milk has a rich, sweet taste which is probably due to its oil content. Most of the fat is saturated fat.  Coconut milk is often sold canned, sometimes mixed with water to fill it up.  However, it spoils easily after a few days.  There can be thick or thin milk–thick with 20-22% fat content and thin with 5-7%  fat.  Coconut milk is used in many recipes, such as a  Piña colada and even ice cream.

When left to settle, a thick cream floats to the surface of the milk.  Coconut cream is often separated and used in recipes requiring cream.

Coconut: the Fruit with Endless Uses

The coconut is an exotic and delicious tropical fruit (sometimes referred to as a nut or seed) that might have originated from around Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.  When still on the palm and untouched, a coconut has 3 layers: the exocarp (outer skin), the mesocarp (middle layer), and the endocarp (layer that surrounds the seed.  When we see coconuts in the supermarket, however, only the endocarp is not removed.

The parts of the coconut have varying culinary uses.  Coconut oil comes from the seed, and is used for cooking and frying.  The snowy white part of the seed, known as the coconut meat, can used in desserts, dried or fresh.  Coconut chips are now sold to tourists in the Caribbean, Hawaii and some other tropical regions.  The dried coconut meat is often used in sweets such as candy bars.  Coconut butter is a term used for hardened coconut oil, but is also be used for foods made from coconut oil, meat, and milk.  Coconut flour has also been developed for cooking and baking.


Sweet, delicious coconuts, outer layers removed.

Coconut water and coconut milk are often mixed up as the same thing, but they are not.  Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young coconuts, and is a popular drink in the tropics, such as the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands, and India.  Recently, coconut water has been used in sports drinks, because of high potassium and minerals.

Coconut milk is far different from coconut water.  Its made by either by pouring milk or water through grated white coconut, or by simply pressing grated coconut.  It can be refrigerated, and when settled, coconut cream will float to the top.

The coconut’s various parts produce even more products such as nectar, which will be discussed more deeply in another article, as well as more information on coconut milk, water, and other foods.


Rhubarb: a Delicious Fruit/Veggie

When you look at a few rhubarb stalks, you may think that it is a vegetable, not a fruit.  In fact, until 1940s, it was considered a vegetable.  Then, since rhubarb was used as a fruit in the United States, it was classified as a fruit.

Rhubarb grows in crisp stalks with large leaves.  The stalks can be eaten in pies and jams, but rhubarb leaves are poisonous so make sure you do not eat them.  These plants like cool, damp areas, and experts have traced them back to China, Mongolia, Siberia, and other cold places, where they were often used as medicine.


Is rhubarb a fruit or vegetable?

Rhubarb stalks, rich and tart, are most commonly sliced and put in pies, jams and other desserts or stewed with sugar.  When the stalks are sliced into pieces and mixed with sugar then stewed, spices such as cinnamon are added.  Ginger also pairs well with rhubarb.  Apples or strawberries may also be cooked with to sweeten.  After the slices soften, they can be made into jam.  The mixture could also be cooked until mushy and then used as filling for pies, pastries, and other sweets.  Rhubarb is most often eaten in these sweet tangy ways, though it can be used in savory foods as well as desserts.

Apart from being used in delicious foods, rhubarb is also commonly used for medicine.  When eaten, it is good for the digestive system, liver and gall bladder, and can help cure diarrhea.  Some think that it even improves your appetite if you eat a little before meals.  Rhubarb can also be used externally to treat burns.

Miracle Fruit: Extraordinary Effects

The miracle fruit, as you might notice from its name, is truly a miracle. Also known as the miracle berry or miraculous berry, it originated in West Africa and has the amazing property of reducing the sour taste and sweetening sour foods.  With long, dark green leaves, the plant produces a bright red, single seeded, oval-shaped fruit that can reach 2-3 cm long.

miracle fruits

Ever heard of these miraculous fruits?

The miracle fruit, though it has low sugar content, covers most the sour taste of  foods such as lemons and limes but keeps the sweet flavor.  The fruit by itself has a mild, tangy taste.  When the fleshy inside  of a berry is chewed, the pulp coats taste buds in the mouth and a seemingly miraculous effect takes place–sour things no longer taste sour but sweet.  This amazing effect lasts for 30-60 minutes, until saliva washes away the molecules.

Sour foods are not the only foods that the miracle fruit effects. Many other foods such as tomatoes, grapefruit, pickled food, even cream cheese, vinegar and pizza obtain a sweet, extraordinary taste to it.  In West Africa, where the miracle fruit originated, local people have often picked the berry from bushes and chewed it before eating meals.

The miracle fruit contains a molecule called miraculin,  which is responsible for the sweet effect.  The miraculin molecules stick to taste buds on the tongue, and when other foods are eaten, activates the sweet receptors causing everything to taste sweet.

Cloudberries: Tasty Recipes

The cloudberry, known by locals as the “baked-apple berry”, is one of the species of salmonberry.  Initially it is a pale red and turns to a golden-amber color when ripe.  Ripe cloudberries have unique, tart taste, which changes to sweet and creamy when overripe.


Ripe cloudberries, ready to be picked.

Cloudberries are often made into jams, tarts, liqueurs and  juices.  In Sweden, these raspberry-like fruits are used as an either fresh or jam topping for waffles, ice cream and pancakes.  In Finland, cheese is paired with cloudberries, with plenty of sugar and cream.  Norwegians make a sweet dessert called multekrem, from cloudberries mixed with whipped cream and sugar.  If it is not served as this dessert, the “cloudberry cream” can also serve as jam and even be used in ice cream.  Fresh cloudberries are also put into cakes and pastries with marzipan.

Canadians eat cloudberries in a slightly different way than Scandinavians.  They are often used to flavor special type of beer.  Sometimes cloudberries are made into jam in Canada, but differently from in Norway, Sweden, or Finland.  In Alaska, seal oil and reindeer or caribou fat is mixed with the berries to make an ice cream called agutak.

Cloudberries are rich in vitamin C content.  They also have a large amount of vitamin E, especially in seed oil.  75 grams of cloudberries would be enough to provide the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.  Norwegian sailors and Inuits used these juicy fruits as a protection against a disease called scurvy, which comes from not enough vitamin C. Cloudberries also have the most fiber out of all other wild berries.