Monthly Archives: December 2017

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 and recorded a haunting ballad called “Fields of Gold” which seems to immortalize this thriving crop. In the U.S. Jack Daniel’s whiskey, the largest selling brand, is made with corn, rye, and malted barley. (note the different spelling of whisky, which is Scottish, and whiskey, which is American.)

Not to be written off as just another starch, centuries ago barley water and tea were often used for medicinal cures, and modern medicine recognizes the grain’s ability to help regulate glucose levels for diabetes, provide excellent high fiber and cardio benefits as well. In the U.S., northern states grow the majority of America’s crop, primarily Montana, Idaho and North Dakota, of which 25% is used for malting, 50% for animal feed. It is also a popular grain used in coffee substitutes. Worldwide production tops 144 million tons annually, with Russian the major producer of barley, France and Germany a distant second and third. Pearl barley is what most Americans recognize, added to soups and sometimes eaten as a grain instead of rice. Barley flakes make a hearty hot cereal, and barley flour can be mixed with wheat for a full-bodied bread or muffin.

Needless to say, like most grains, barley has been domesticated, cultivated and refined over the centuries to produce far more friendly crops and more uses than its ancient ancestor. Unfortunately, barley is not gluten-free and should be avoided by those with allergies. But for everyone else, a daily helping in some form can be highly beneficial. Consider tossing it into a variety of dishes, kneading it into dough, adding it to salads (cooked of course) and as an all-around grain to add fiber and nutrition to your menus. Barley may not be glamorous, but it sure packs a wallop nutritionally.

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 level in blood. It also helps in reducing our craving for snacks and sugary treats. It also helps in fat cell breakage and uses it as body fuel for any physical training.

5. Enhance Our Fiber Intake – A cup of coffee usually represents an involvement of around 1.8 grams of a fiber of the recommended intake of 19-38 grams. As per the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

6. Lower Risk of Diabetes – As per the Achieves of Internal Medicine, people who consume 5-6 cups of coffee every day has 22% less risk of diseases like diabetes. Shocking but about 11.8% men of America above the age of 20 years have diabetes. Hence, it has become a growing concern and due to this, it is receiving lots of attention from the medical community. Recently, it has been discovered by Harvard researchers that men consuming coffee had a significantly lesser risk of developing diabetes of type – II. However, it is essential to regulate your sugar intake.

7. Reduces Risk of Alzheimer ‘s disease – Alzheimer’s disorder is a know neuro-degenerative mental disorder, which is also a leading cause of dementia. This disease usually affects individual above the age of 65 years and unfortunately, till today, there is no any specific cure for this disease. However, substantial evidence has been provided in European Journal of Neurology that caffeine or elements of coffee can provide protection against this deadly disease.

8. Reduces Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease – This is other most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s. Similar to Alzheimer’s, there is no such specific treatment for this disease. Hence, precaution is very vital to reduce the risk of such diseases. As per few studies, coffee intake helps in reducing the risk of Parkinson’s diseases ranging from 30 to 60%.

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.


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 of 160 °C. After heating the syrup to this temperature, it is poured in moulds and then cooled till room temperature we get hard candy. To add color, food grade color is used.

2. Soft candy

Soft candy is subdivided in to two categories:

a. Cotton candy

Cotton candy is made by spinning sugar. The Machines used to make cotton candy has a spinning head covering a small bowl. Granulated sugar is poured in the bowl while it spins. Heaters melt the sugar, and this melted sugar is squeezed out through tiny holes by centrifugal force, and the molten sugar solidifies in the form of strands, then a stick, cone, or hands are used to collect the strands.

b. Marshmallows

The use of marshmallow to make a sweet dates back to ancient Egypt. It is prepared using egg whites, corn syrup and sugar. Now a days, marshmallows are prepared by process of extrusion. Extrusion is the process in which we force semi solid paste of sugar through small orifice to give it cylindrical shape.

I have covered common varieties here but there are many more types of candies available in the market.

You may be interested to know about other types of candies like jelly beans then you can search about it on Ezine to continue reading. I am also planning to write one article on jelly beans soon.

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. But American colonists used fruits from their orchards, replacing centuries of meat fillings, and it was during the American Revolution that the word “crust” replaced the less appealing term coffyn (original spelling). Probably a good idea, as our foodie President Thomas Jefferson would have frowned on serving desserts with coffyns at the White House. (His guests thanked him.)

In the summers when fruit was plentiful, early cooks prepared a crust, filled it with apples or peaches, and called it cobbler (sometimes referred to as a “crisp” or apple brown betty, both close cousins). The origin of red velvet cake plays a tug of war between New York and the South, making its debut in the mid-twentieth century, and each region has its own slightly different version. The red color came originally from beets, but now uses red food coloring, unless you really like beets. Banana pudding is always a hit, made with vanilla wafers, sliced bananas, vanilla pudding and whipped cream.

Okay, so what exactly is hummingbird cake? Basically a spice cake made with mashed banana, pineapple, pecans, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. It’s also a popular pie, which includes similar ingredients but poured into a pie crust. Old-timers swear you’ll sing like a bird when you take your first bite. (Why not nightingale pie? They sing more.) Or maybe it’s supposed to get your taste buds humming, You decide.