Fields of Barley

In the 15th century, barley comprised the sole grain used to brew beer throughout the Holy Roman Empire, which included beer-loving countries like Germany and the Czech country of Bohemia. Along with its cousin rye, these two popular grains were ground into flour and cereal to feed the poor masses. Once wheat was domesticated, the upper classes eschewed barley as peasant food and embraced wheat as their major grain. (Because of barley’s nutritional value, the peasants probably outlived the upper classes by many years.) In ancient Greece and Rome, bread was made from ground barley flour and became a staple for athletes. Its fiber content and nutritional value were highly prized.

In Ireland and Scotland, beer and scotch whisky are still made primarily with barley. In the U.K. barley wine (which is actually a strong ale) has been a popular English drink for centuries. And during the 1500s, a popular British folk song immortalized a character named John Barleycorn, presumably sung loudly in numerous pubs and taverns, praising the grain and its contribution to popular libations. In 1993, the popular British singer Sting wrote

The First Health Food

The word yogurt originated in Turkey, where the practice of fermenting milk caught on in a big way. Recorded history tells us that Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongol Empire, and his armies lived on yogurt. (So for all you men out there who think yogurt is for sissies, think again.) The first references to yogurt are in Turkish writings during the 11th century, but it is believed that yogurt was eaten with honey since the early Bible times. Other countries seasoned it with spices and seeds, enjoying its smooth creamy texture. There are as many versions as there are countries, and its popularity spread long before its health benefits were totally understood. Middle Eastern countries used yogurt in many dishes centuries before it found its way to Western Europe.

Because yogurt contains good bacteria, it was believed to have curative powers especially for digestive and intestinal abnormalities. Francis I, a powerful late fifteenth century French monarch, purportedly was relieved of his chronic diarrhea by a physician who prescribed a daily helping of yogurt, and word soon spread throughout Western Europe.

In the country of

The Forbidden Fruit

It seems that Catherine the Great craved Golden Pippin apples and had them brought to her palace in Russia. (When you’re a queen, you can order out for anything.)

Across the pond, another queen, Victoria, had a penchant for baked apples. She hired an expert nurseryman to breed a special variety for her alone, and as a result of her passion, the apple’s popularity during her reign (Victorian England mid-nineteenth century) exploded. Botanists and growers endeavored to create more varieties for both eating and, of course, that ever-popular cider, eager to name their newest species after their employers, usually a member of the royal family. The popular fruit was sold on the streets out of baskets and carts, both in the U.S. and abroad, especially during the Depression.

Apples came to America with the first colonists, who founded Jamestown in the year 1607. Knowing they would need to start farming immediately, they brought apple seeds and cuttings to plant orchards for the settlers. Even though some of the English varieties did not acclimate well to Virginia soil, new and tastier fruit was produced not

Healthiest Beverage in Your Regular Diet

We all know that coffee is loaded with antioxidants and valuable nutrients to improve our health.

Let’s know about scientifically proven 15 health benefits of coffee –

1. Enhances Our Physical Performance – Having a cup of coffee, usually a black coffee just an hour before physical exercise or workout can boost your performance by 12 %. Caffeine boost adrenaline levels in our blood stream. Adrenaline is our body’s “fight” hormone that helps our body for any sort of physical exertion.

2. Cure Pain – Just two cups of coffee can cure muscle pain that one gets a post workout by 48%, as stated in the Journal of Pain in March 2007.

3. Promote Mental Strength – It has been proven scientifically that coffee plays a vital role to bolster our brain. Researchers claim that individual who drinks 3-5 cup of coffee every day has about 65% less chance of developing mental disorder like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Moderate intake of coffee also helps you to stay focused and mentally alert.

4. May Help in Weight Loss – We know that coffee is loaded with antioxidants but do you know that it also contains potassium and magnesium that helps our body use insulin, regulate the sugar

Different Types Of Candies Prepared

The type produced depends on the temperatures and cooling period of syrup during its preparation.

The History

In Old days steam power was used in factories. Candy making and consumption increased during 19th century. In early days of its development preparation was done mostly by hand. It used to be prepared at home or in small, local shops. Increased machine involvement caused prices to come down and consumption increased.In the late 19th century early 20th century, candy was considered sweet and friendly, so preparing it at home, giving to friends and relatives was the trend. But over time its manufacturing developed in to a big industry. There had been a time when it even got the status of alternate meal. At that time there was very little awareness about nutrition. It was only in late 20th century that people were made aware, that these give empty calories and their popularity came down.

Safety

Making candy can be hazardous at times, due to the high temperature of sugar. The temperature often exceeds 150 degrees Celsius. Even small splashes can cause burns.

Types Of Candies

They are basically 2 types of candies. Hard Candy and Soft Candy.

1. Hard candy

Hard candy, is a candy prepared from syrups heated to a temperature

Southern Desserts

In most convenience stores, you can’t miss the display of Moon Pies (not really pies but more like sandwich cookies) sitting on the counter, just begging to be snatched up. They’re a southern tradition, kind of like their version of s’mores, made with graham crackers and marshmallow filling, then dipped in chocolate or butterscotch coating. Don’t try to make them yourself. Opt instead for a chocolate or lemon chess pie, which is easy, served in a single crust and contains a dense, sugary filling. Another no-brainer, fruit cobblers can be single or double crust, baked in a casserole dish and can have a crumbly topping sprinkled over the fruit filling, rather than a pie crust topping. Southerners like to use buttermilk biscuits on top. Sugar pie, originally from southern Indiana, is basically a custard base with lots of brown sugar or molasses, single crust. (Diabetics beware.)

Pies came to America with the first English settlers. Early colonists baked their pies in long narrow pans called “coffins” which also referred to a crust. (Not very appetizing for sure.) Centuries earlier, most pies were filled with meat and eaten as a main course, and early desserts were kept simple, featuring fruits and nuts.

Bakers Blue Label Marie Biscuits

Have you ever tried putting something on top of these biscuits? You can make miniature jam cakes that fill you up with sweetness like no other. If you don’t have a cake around somewhere in the fridge this is a perfect substitute.

Marshmallows work perfectly too. This is possibly one of the best sweet treats to make for yourself. All you need to do is place a marshmallow between two of the Marie Biscuits and put it in the microwave for a couple of seconds. A delicious melted marshmallow treat.

If you are having a party and want different treats besides cupcakes or tarts you can make sweet treats yourself. Dress up this biscuit with chocolate and sprinkles and serve it as a delicious dessert on the buffet tables. This works well for New Year parties, Easter parties or Birthday parties.

Most cheesecakes have a base that uses this biscuit. You can either make the traditional cheesecake or Tiramisu.

Traditional cheesecakes can either be baked or chilled. Crush the biscuits and layer them on the bottom of the pan. To give the base extra excitement you can add lemon juice, orange juice or zest prior to adding the mixture to the pan. Make

Coffee Culture in India

These fast expanding cafes are the prime spot for people to catch up or spend a few hours either working, reading or just whiling away the time. Equipped with free wifi and air-conditioning, these cafes are also fast becoming the venue of choice for informal work meetings. Where until only 20 years ago, cappuccino, latte and double shots would have been alien words, today’s Indian not only knows the difference between them but can also discern between a medium, dark or light roast and are on the hunt for the best coffee machine.

But even this pattern of coffee consumption is changing. Whereas earlier Indians were satisfied with drinking coffee at cafes and tea at home, the same no longer holds true, people now want to enjoy cafe quality coffee at home and are not shying away from purchasing coffee machines and single origin coffees to take their love for coffee to the next level. Another reason for this trend is the high level of sugar and artificial flavouring present in the signature coffee drinks of many cafes, which does not sit well with the health conscious youth of today. Contrast this with the scenario of only a few years ago

The Food of the Gods

Aztecs considered cacao the food of the Gods, hence its scientific name theobroma cacao. As for the Maya, they believed that the Gods discovered the cacao plant in a sacred mountain where other food items were also found, and later the Feathered Serpent gave it to humankind to cultivate. There are numerous ancient tablets with medicinal, ceremonial and culinary references to it. It was also made into a powder that was smoked.

Cacao consumption has always been favored by the most refined, being enjoyed by both ancient Aztec kings and high-society Europeans during the 1800’s. Today it’s synonimous with Valentines’ Day and is often used by lovers who wish to express their adoration.

The brain on cacao secretes the same chemicals and feel-good hormones that are produced when we make love, or when an athlete experiences the runner’s high. Prominent among them is serotonin, the chemical of wellbeing. It also contains anandamide, which translates literally as the chemical of bliss, and so many minerals -many of which are often lacking in the standard American diet- that it’s nature’s own mineral supplement.

When eaten in its raw form, it has anti-depressant properties, increases pleasure and alleviates stress. There are very few foods this highly

The Misunderstood Superfood

There is a specific type of chocolate that is beneficial. And for those of us with a super-sweet tooth, it’s not the especially appealing kind.

Dark Chocolate. That’s right. And it has to be at least 70% cacao to be any good to you inside and especially out.

We really don’t have to get into it’s origins. It’s pretty commonly known that chocolate comes from the cacao beans in the tropical regions of the world, like Africa, Madagascar, and South America. Just like coffee, it’s much more familiar to us consumers once it’s been roasted and processed much further from its natural state. But we need to understand that the less processed our chocolate, the more beneficial it is.

Right out of the cacao bean, the pulp and seeds are referred to as cacao. It doesn’t become cocoa until it’s been roasted and ground up good. So when you are in the store and you see “70% cacao” or “88% cacao”, you usually know you’re getting the real unadulterated stuff. Dark chocolate contains more cacao and therefore retains it’s naturally-occurring compounds that the media sing praises about. Trouble is, that good-for-you components, also known as flavonoids or flavonols, are naturally bitter. When you’re

A Guide to Its Uses and Health Benefits

The grains were a staple diet of farmers in many parts of India. However, with the passage of time and with the introduction of other grains, Jowar lost its prime position on the dining table. But modern research and its time-tested health benefits are restoring its past glory.

These white millets can be consumed by preparing various delicious recipes. Jowar grains can be boiled and stews or soups can be prepared. The white grains can be ground into fine powder and can be used as flour for making bhakris or bread. Jowar flour is used to make sumptuous omelette and dosa which are easy to digest by both the children and elderly alike.

Health Benefits of Jowar flour:

The nutritive value of Jowar is high. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. These gluten-free millets are loaded with high amounts of fibre. Fibre helps keep the stomach full and aids in maintaining the proper functioning of the digestive tract. A fibre rich diet lowers the risk of obesity, stroke, etc.

Jowar flour contains high amounts of iron. Iron is essential for the body to produce energy and red blood cells. It also contains good amounts of phytochemicals, which help prevent and treat

The New Generation Natural Sweetener

In the past couple of decades, cases of diabetes, the numbers of people who are obese, and other obesity related lifestyle disorders, including hypertension and arthritis, have increased many times over.

The Culprit Is Excessive Consumption of Sugar

Statistics show that teenagers in United States consume over 19 teaspoons of sugar every day, whereas the permissible limit of sugar consumption, for maintaining a good health is only 6-8 teaspoons per day.

The source of this sugar is not just desserts & candies, but also soft drinks and fruit juices. Alternately, many people get a high dosage of sugar from their early morning tea or late evening coffee.

Do Natural Sugar Substitutes Hold The Answer?

A switchover to natural sweeteners is often considered to be right way to minimize sugar consumption is our diet. With natural sweeteners, one can reduce the calorie intake, and keep the blood sugar levels in check.

This is sure to work great, in particular if one is afflicted by diabetes, or if one is fighting obesity or hypertension.

Natural Sugar Substitutes: A Boon for Diabetics

Whenever an individual is afflicted with diabetes, a major challenge which needs to be taken care of is keeping the blood glucose levels, or blood sugar levels in

Cured Tuna Heart

The tuna heart, dried and salted, is a specialty of Sicilian and Sardinian cuisine, similar to bottarga and appreciated by lovers of seafood. The processing of the heart of tuna is similar to that of fish roe. The heart is salted and placed between two tables under a press. After 20 days it is placed to dry in the shade, in a ventilated area. The cured tuna heart has a strong taste, therefore it doesn’t require special seasoning. It is used in appetizers, just seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, in salads or grated flakes on pasta.

It is not easy to find this excellent product, and even in Italy only few gourmet stores sell it.

Yet, today you can buy dry tuna heart, even in the United States, thanks to some new specialty food online stores.

But why is tuna fish so important in the Mediterranean diet? Tuna belongs to the Thunnidae family that can reach a length of over 3 meters and whose most succulent part is the belly. Yet, smaller tuna fishes are the most valuable ones since their meat is softer and more tasty.

The nutritional properties of tuna are remarkable; it is so good for human health that it

Yogurt Wars

Now, if you’ve followed me, you’ll know random chemicals shouldn’t be in your food. Yet, the competitors are stating that it’s perfectly OK.

The other has a chemical sweetener that was downgraded to ‘use with caution’ recently. Enough science made it through the bureaucracy to force the government to recognize it as something potentially unsafe. Why would you eat something that is needs to be eaten with caution? It’s directly saying that this poison is OK as long as you don’t eat too much of it.

You need to make healthy choices. One of those healthy choices is to avoid any food product with chemicals, colors, sugars, and things you just don’t know what they are.

Let’s face it, these things may make life easier now, but they will make life harder later on.

There are better alternatives. One is to make your own yogurt. It’s actually really easy. First, you need whole milk (not low fat or all you get is runny mush) and a good, organic yogurt starter. For me, I buy a starter from one of the several companies that put quality ahead of high CEO salaries.

As a side note, I purchased a starter pack with 6 different kinds of

Chili Will Save Your Life!

It’s pretty obvious chillies are ultimate flavour enhancers. However, most people are unaware that these peppers have amazing, super powered health benefits!

It seems that not only are you able give your food a flavour hit, but it helps you with weight loss. So if you’re keen to “drop a few”, make sure to include chilli peppers into your diet plan! This is a good way to boost your metabolism.

According to studies published in Cancer Research (2006), chillies can actually help lower the risk of prostate cancer. This is due to their ability to kill off cancer cells, while causing no harm to others. Another positive outcome is that as a treatment it shows that chilli peppers also reduce the growth of cancer cells.

Diabetes. A word most unpleasant! However, have no fear the chilli pepper is here! Thanks to compounds within the pepper, they immensely lower your risk of developing diabetes. Wow that’s so amazing!

Looks like it’s time to man up and eat some more chilli. According to random studies, chopped up chillies have the positive health benefits of increasing your immune system’s ability to function. How cool is that? Having some sinus problems? No problem! Get your chilli cayenne

Benefits of Pears

If you are concerned about losing weight and gaining energy, pears may be an easy solution for you. They are a hypoallergenic fruit, less likely to produce adverse reactions. Pears or pear juice can be safe for infants to adults.

Improve your overall health! Get started eating or juicing pears. This delicious, healthy, fruit is easy to incorporate into food and juicing recipes. Find regular or organic pears at your local grocery stores or farmers markets. Grow your own pear trees at home.

Generally, pears are elongated in shape. They are narrow at the stem and wider at the opposite end. Some pears have a round shape, similar to apples. They are also similar to apples having seeds in their core. They vary in color from green, yellow, brown, red or a combination of these colors.

There are over 3,000 varieties of pears grown around the world. Each variety has distinctive characteristics, texture and flavor. Common pears include: Anjou, Asian, Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Concorde and Seckel.

BENEFITS of PEARS – Skin

Anti-Aging: Pears are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Combat damaging free radicals. Reduce fine lines, wrinkles, age spots. Firm. Tone. Reveal natural glow.

Improve Complexion: Flush out toxins.

Moisturize and Smooth: Pears have natural humectants. Relieve dry flaky

The Good, the Bad and the Bitter

Cortez proceeded to pillage their country and take over their lands, which included the cacao plant.

Back in Spain, Cortez had no idea what he had stumbled upon until some enterprising chemists added sugar and honey to the bitter beverage and happily introduced a drink which became the forerunner of hot chocolate, ushering in the world’s love affair with chocolate. By the 17th century, Europe’s elite was happily guzzling the newly prized beverage (were waistbands expanding concurrently, one wonders). And with the promise of aphrodisiac, as well as medicinal powers, small wonder that it took off.

But, alas, until it was mass produced in the latter part of that century, the masses could only dream about it, as the cost was too high and the Easter bunny only a far off fantasy. In the early 1800’s, the Dutch discovered a process to make powdered beans less bitter and paved the way for our present day cocoa, still called “Dutch chocolate.” Soon, solid chocolate was created, and Katy bar the door, Europe developed an insatiable sweet tooth. Mid-1800’s. a resourceful gentleman by the name of Joseph Fry took chocolate paste and a few other ingredients and pressed it into a mold, which hardened

The Benefits of Eating Fresh Oysters

The best way to preserve them is to place them on a bed of ice or in a perforated box with damped clothe wrapped around them. Ensure that the oysters will not suffocate in the melted ice or submerge under water in a case or cooler-remember that oysters are living creatures that will deplete the quantity of oxygen present in a small volume of water very quickly.

For the last 700 years edible oysters have been a part of the human diet but may have been eaten in a raw or cooked form for a longer time. The meat inside the oyster is the edible part; once the shell has been cracked open, the meat can be cooked in various ways.

Oysters contain lots of vitamins, minerals and organic compounds. Other components of nutritional value include Selenium, iron, manganese, copper, vitamin B12, vitamin D and high levels of protein. They are also a huge source of water, omega-3 fatty acid, antioxidants and cholesterol. They also contain sodium, potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C.

These elements make oysters a very healthy food that can greatly increase the health and overall functions of the body.

Eating oysters can help in boosting the immune system. The

To Shroom or Not to Shroom

Although you love their culinary value, don’t run out after the next rainfall and pluck those little toadstools sprouting on the lawn for your morning omelet. Many are highly poisonous, and it takes knowledgeable pickers to differentiate. The more popular types around the world are shitake, morel, oyster, chanterelle and cremini, which are flavorful, more costly and of course favored over the white variety by discriminating chefs. (Frenchmen wouldn’t dream of using our bourgeois white button variety.) Many species require cooking and should never be eaten raw, such as the morel. Tasty large portobello make an ideal meat replacement and a popular choice among vegetarians. The prized ruffle tops the list in its native France, and other countries pay through the nose to import them. (Those French. Nothing but the best for their discriminating palettes.)

While mushrooms presumably date back to the cavemen, the earliest documented usage goes back to ancient China, where mushrooms were consumed for medicinal as well as culinary purposes. (Long before explorer Marco Polo trekked over to China.) Always on top of the latest food discoveries, Romans enjoyed them as a food, but since all mushrooms are not edible, those inventive emperors employed food tasters to determine

Foxtail Millets Are Beneficial to Health

Foxtails are cheaper to acquire and easy to cultivate having a crop cycle of about 60-90 days. Its early maturity and efficient consumption of water make it suitable for cultivation in the dry area. A warm season crop, typically planted in late spring, it has the longest history of cultivation among millets.

In China, foxtail millet is the most common millet and one of the main food crops, especially among the poor. In Europe and North America, it is planted at a moderate level for hay and silage and birdseed. However, in South India, especially in rural Andhra it has been a regular diet among people. It belongs to the old culture of Tamil. In old Tamil texts, it has been associated with Lord Muruga and Valli.

This easily cultivable crop is highly rich in fibre, protein and low in Glycemic Index. Foxtail is ideal for reducing cholesterol of body, controls blood sugar and aids in metabolism rate. As an antioxidant, it removes all acidic elements from the body.

Use in Diabetics:

Regular use of foxtail is a good guard against coronary diseases and reduces chances of cardiac arrest and fatalities. Being a diabetic friendly food, it contains a fair amount of phenolic