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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

STAR FRUIT - THE NUTRITION VALUE

STAR FRUIT or CARAMBOLA (Avverhoa carambola) are popular fruit grown in Malaysia. Department of Agriculture reported in 2015 total area planted with star fruit estimated 1,500 hectare located mostly in Selangor, Perak and Johore. Malaysia are the largest fresh star fruit to Europe region since few decade ago. The most popular variety of star fruits in Malaysia are B10 and B2 and B17. B17 are elongated shape star fuuit with very sweet and mostly for domestic market. The B2 variety is for domestic and export quality.  Star fruit has a star shaped tropical fruit with sweet and sour flavor. Carambola is native to Malayan Peninsula and cultivated in many parts of Southeast Asia, Pacific islands and China for its fruits. Although abundant and plentiful, carambola is yet to gain popularity, especially in the western world.  The genus averrhoa includes two well-known sorrel (Oxalidaceae) families of fruiting trees, carambola and bilimbi (tree cucumber). The fruit is recognized as belimbing manis in many South East Asian regions.
 


Star fruit is a small and bushy evergreen tree that grows very well under hot, humid, tropical conditions. The plant bears small lilac colour, bell-shaped flowers in clusters, which subsequently develop into oblong shaped fruits with characteristic five angled edges (sides or ribs) that appear like a starfish in cross sections (See writer under the carambola tree). Both sweet and sour varieties begin to yield under cultivable orchards, and ready for harvesting when the plants reach about 3-4 years old. Carambola fruit features light-green to yellow with attractive smooth waxy surface and weighs about 70-130g. Inside, its crispy, juicy pulp can either be mildly sweet or extremely sour depending upon the cultivar type and amount of oxalic acid concentration. In some seed types, 2-5 tiny edible seeds found at the center of each angled cavitiy.
 

Health benefits of star fruit according to the scientific reports are amazing.
Star fruit is one of the very low calorie exotic fruits. 100 g fruit just provides 31 calories, which is much lower than for any other popular tropical fruits. Nonetheless, it has an impressive list of essential nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins required for well-being. The fruit along with its waxy peel provides a good amount of dietary fiber. Fiber helps prevent absorption of dietary LDL cholesterol in the gut. The dietary fibers also help protect the mucous membrane of the colon from exposure to toxic substances by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Star fruit contains good quantities of vitamin-C. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant. 100 g of fresh fruit provides 34.7 mg or 57% of daily-required levels of vitamin C. In general, consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.



Star fruit is rich in antioxidant phyto-nutrients polyphenolic flavonoids. Some of the important flavonoids are quercetin, epicatechin, and gallic acid. Total polyphenol contents (Folin assay) in this fruit are143 mg/100 g. These compounds help protect from deleterious effects of oxygen derived free radicals by warding them off the body. In addition, the fruit is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). Together, these vitamins help as co-factors for enzymes in metabolism as well as in various synthetic functions inside the body. It also contains small amount of minerals and electrolytes like potassium, phosphorus, and zinc and iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus, counters bad influences of sodium. Medicinal uses of star fruit and its juice is often recommended in many folk medicine in Brazil as a diuretic (to increase urine output), expectorant, and to suppress cough. Try to buy fresh star fruit and eat as fresh cut fruit or as juice extract. Thanks.

By
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Precint 11, Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(23 Rejab 1436H)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

SAPODILLA - NUTRITION FACT

 
SAPODILLA (Manilkara zapota or Manikara sapota) are one of the unique tropical fruits grown in Malaysia for fresh consumption. Sapodilla or sapota (locally called as 'Ciku' in Malaysia and 'Sawo' in Indonesia ) is another popular tropical fruit in line with mango, banana, jackfruit, pineapple and many others. Sapota composes of soft, easily digestible pulp made of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose (See photo above). Sapota is a tropical evergreen, fruit-bearing tree belongs to the family of Sapotaceae  and able to reach 20 meters in height. Sapote thought to have originated in the central American rain forests, probably in Mexico and Belize. Today its cultivation has spread all over the tropical belt and is being grown as a major commercial crop in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia. The tree is one of fast growing, wind and drought resistant, and it flourishes well even under dry arid regions receiving scanty rains. However, water irrigation during summer would results in good fruit yields. Each sapodilla fruit is a berry; round or oval, measures about 10 cm in diameter, and weigh about 150 g. A tree bears as many as 2,000 fruits per year all year round but normally has two peak seasons.



Sapota fruit has grey or brown, sandy and look like “kiwifruit” at glance but the outer surface but without the fuzziness. The young fruit are brown colour but it bwcome dark brown whe reach ripe stage. Unripe fruits possess white, hard, inedible pulp that secrete sticky latex containing toxic substance saponin. This milky latex gradually disappears and its white flesh turns brown as the fruit ripe. Once ripen, it becomes soft, aquires sweet taste and smooth or grainy texture with slight musky flavor. It contains about 3-10 black, smooth, shiny “biconvex or bean” shaped, inedible seeds, located at its center. The harvesting process of this fruit are critical due to the soft skin will damage upon drop to the dround. Therefore the farmers has to pluck manually each fruits. It was kept for few days for ripening process. Fresh sapota fruit process about RM 8.00 - RM10.00 per kilogram and worth eating as fresh fruit. The sweet taste and special aroma able to improve health. 


Health benefits of sapodilla according to the lab test are valuable. Sapodilla is one of the high calorie fruits in which 100 g provides 83 calories (almost same as that of calories in sweet potato, and banana). Additionally, it is a very good source of dietary fiber (5.6 g/100g), which makes it an excellent bulk laxative. This fiber content helps relieve constipation episodes and help protect mucousa of colon from cancer-causing toxins. The fruit is rich in antioxidant poly-phenolic compound tannin. Tannins are a complex family of naturally occurring polyphenols. Research studies found that tannins have astringent properties and shown to have potential anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic effects. Hence, these compounds may found useful applications in traditonal medicines as anti-diarrheal, hemostatic (stops bleeding) and as a remedy for hemorrhoids. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory effect of tannins help limit conditions like erosive gastritis, reflux-esophagitis, enteritis, and irritating bowel disorders. Some other fruits that also rich in tannins include pomegranate, persimmon and grapes. Sapote contains a good amount of antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C (24.5% of recommended daily intake per 100 g of fruit), and vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A has been known to offer protection from lung and oral cavity cancers. So also, consumption of foods containing vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and help scavenge harmful free radicals from the human body. Fresh ripe sapodilla is a good source of minerals like potassium, copper, iron and vitamins like folate, niacin and pantothenic acid. These compounds are essential for optimal health as they involve in various metabolic processes in the body as cofactors for the enzymes. That's all folks.


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Precint 11, Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(2 Rejab 1436H)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

BANANA - EATING ADVANTAGE


BANANA (Musa spp) is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows from the underground rhizome. It flourishes well under tropical, moisture-rich, humid, low-lying farmlands. Malaysia grow for more than 31,500 hectare of banana annually for domestic and export market. The popular variety planted by farmers are Pisang Berangan, Pisang Nipah, Pisang Rastali, Pisang Mas, Pisang Tanduk and many others. From DOA reported about 16 banana varieties are registered in National Plant Variety Listing. Banana has unique growth characteristics. In fact, the whole plant is a false stem (pseudostem). This pseudostem is consisting of broad leaves, together with their long petioles, overlapping each other in a disc-like fashion. The whole plant may reach upto 2 to 6 meters tall from the ground surface depending upon the cultivar types. At maturity, the rhizome gives rise to a flower (inflorescence) which is carried up along true core stem (smooth un-branched stem) which pass through the centre of pseudostem. The flower finally emerges out at the top in-between leaf clusters. The inflorescence subsequently develops to a huge hanging bunch, consisting of 3 to 20 hands (tiers), with each hand carrying at least 5-10 fingers (fruits). This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" about banana nutrition value.

There are several cultivars of banana that comes in different size (4”-9”inch), color (yellow to brown), weight (70-150g) and taste. Structurally, it has a protective outer skin layer and delicious, sweet and tart, creamy-white edible flesh inside.  Plantains are other cultivar types more often known as cooking bananas. They closely related to familiar fruit banana or dessert banana. Plantains are used as a staple diet in many parts of tropical African and Caribbean regions as well as in Thailand, Laos, and other Southeast Asian parts. When a banana plant is mature, the corm stops producing new leaves and begins to form a flower spike or inflorescence. A stem develops which grows up inside the pseudostem, carrying the immature inflorescence until eventually it emerges at the top. Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the "banana heart". (More are sometimes produced; an exceptional plant in the Philippines produced five. After fruiting, the pseudostem dies but offshoots will normally have developed from the base, so that the plant as a whole is perennial. In the plantation system of cultivation, only one of the offshoots will be allowed to develop in order to maintain spacing.The inflorescence contains many bracts (sometimes incorrectly referred to as petals) between rows of flowers. The female flowers (which can develop into fruit) appear in rows further up the stem (closer to the leaves) from the rows of male flowers. The ovary is inferior, meaning that the tiny petals and other flower parts appear at the tip of the ovary.
The banana fruits develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster, made up of tiers (called "hands"), with up to 20 fruit to a tier. The hanging cluster is known as a bunch, comprising 3–20 tiers, or commercially as a "banana stem", and can weigh 30–50 kg. Individual banana fruits (commonly known as a banana or "finger") average 125 gm of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter.The fruit has been described as a "leathery berry". There is a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with numerous long, thin strings (the phloem bundles), which run lengthwise between the skin and the edible inner portion. The inner part of the common yellow dessert variety can be split lengthwise into three sections that correspond to the inner portions of the three carpels by manually deforming the unopened fruit.[19] In cultivated varieties, the seeds are diminished nearly to non-existence; their remnants are tiny black specks in the interior of the fruit.

 

Health benefits of banana fruit as one of the most popular fruit throughout the world are well known. Banana is one of the high calorie, tropical fruits. 100 grams of fruit carry 90 calories. Besides, it contains good amount of health benefiting anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Banana fruit is composed of soft, easily digestible flesh made up of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that upon consumption instantly replenishes energy and revitalizes the body. Thus, for these qualities, bananas are being used by athletes to get instant energy and as supplement food in the treatment plan for underweight children. The fruit holds a good amount of soluble dietary fiber (7% of DRA per 100 g) that helps normal bowel movements; thereby reducing constipation problems. It contains health promoting flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin, ß and a-carotenes, albeit, in small amounts. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.

Banana is good source of vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine); provides about 28% of daily-recommended allowance. Pyridoxine is an important B-complex vitamin that has beneficial role for the treatment of neuritis, and anemia. Further, it helps decrease homocystine (one of the triggering factor in coronary artery disease (CHD) and stroke episodes) levels within the human body. The fruit is also a moderate source of vitamin-C (about 8.7 mg per 100g). Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.  Fresh bananas provide adequate levels of minerals like copper, magnesium, and manganese. Magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has a cardiac-protective role as well. Manganese is utilized as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Fresh banana is a very rich source of potassium. 100 g fruit provides 358 mg potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, countering bad effects of sodium.

Once ripen, bananas are very fragile and start decaying in short span of time. In the field, mature bananas generally harvested while they are still raw green and firm which makes them easier for transportation. In order to ripen, they usually subjected to ethylene spray or kept in close proximity with other ripe fruits. In the stores, choose banana fruits based on when you want to use them; greener ones should last for more days, while yellow and brown-spotted bananas should be eaten in a few days. Ready to eat bananas should be bright yellow, and emanate rich fruity aroma. Ripe banana peels off easily. Ripe, fresh fruits are nutritionally enriched and sweeter in taste than unripe, raw green ones. Avoid mushy or damaged bananas, as they are un-appealing. Bananas come with nature gifted protective outer layer of skin, and therefore, less likely to be contaminated by germs and dust.


Eat banana fruit as it is without any additions. Just discard its peel and enjoy. Fresh "banana-milkshake" with sugar syrup is a refreshing drink. Bananas have also been used to prepare fruit jams. Grilled banana fruit can be served on cake/ ice cream in the Caribbean style dessert. Banana chips (plantain) enjoyed as snack (produced from dehydrated or fried banana or plantain slices). Mashed ripe banana fruits can be added to cakes, casseroles, muffins, bread-pudding, etc. Plantains and raw unripe banana can be employed as vegetable in recipes. Safety profile fpr consume banana, oftentimes, banana fruits known to cause skin and systemic allergic reactions in sensitive persons. The fruit may be the cause of "oral allergy syndrome" in which the symptoms may include itching and swelling around the mouth or throat within hours after ingestion. The condition may be related to birch tree and other pollen allergies. The other type of allergic reaction is related to latex. The symptoms may include urticaria and sometimes potentially serious gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. That all folks!.


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Precint 11, Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(4 Rejab 1436H)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

MANGOSTEEN - BENEFITS OF IT

 MANGOSTEEN (Garcinia mangostana) it is the fruit belonging to the family of Clusiaceae and native to Malaysia and Indonesia.This tree are  in the genus of Garcinia. There are about 7,450 CHE hectare of mangosteen grown in  2014 reported by DOA Malaysia especially in state of Johore, Perak, Selangor and Pahang respectively. The unique for its appearance and flavour of mangosteen is often revered as 'queen of the tropical fruits' especially in the oriental regions. This fruit are considered as the companion of the durian fruit so called 'king of the fruits'. This exotic, purple color fruit is quite popular for its snow-white, juicy, delicious arils all over the Asian countries, and in recent years by the European and American fruit lovers as well.  Mangosteen plant is an evergreen, erect tree reaching about 20- 60 ft in height. It commonly found in tropical rainforests of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines as well as in some cultivated orchards in Sri Lanka and India, where annual precipitation and relative humidity are favourable for its growth. Fresh purple fruits are available in the markets from June until October. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" the readers able to read information about the magnificent nutrition value for mangosteen.

Each tree bears several deep purple colored round shaped fruits, capped with light green calyx at the stem end. Completely matured fruit measures about 3-7 cm in diameter (See figure ). Its outer tough rind is about 7-12 mm thick, contains bitter yellow latex that stains clothes black. The mature fruits internally the fruit features 4 to 10 compartment and juicy, snow-white color, soft, fleshy, triangular segments as in oranges. Each segment may contain 1 - 4 off-white colored seeds. Seeds are inedible and bitter in taste. The flavor of the fruit can be described as sweet, fragrant and delicious.  Different species of Garcinia genus are grown all around the Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America all along the tropical belt. Cherapu or Button mangosteen (Garcinia prainiana) is native to Malaysia. It features somewhat flat, mandarin orange-like shape with thin rind that can be peeled very easily by hand, again as in oranges. Mesta are another varieties normally grown in Pahang State referred as better quality from local varieties. Lemon drop mangosteens (Garcinia madruno) are small size (2-4 cm diameter) fruits, native to Malayan peninsula. African mangosteen or Imbe (Garcinia livingstonei) is native to West Africa. They are slightly larger than lemon drop type.
 

Health benefits of mangosteen are rare discussed as this fruit are limited production due to their short perishability.  Delicious and juicy, mangosteen is one of the popular tropical fruits. It comprises an impressive list of essential nutrients, which are required for normal growth and development and overall nutritional well-being. This fruit is very low in calories (63 calories per 100 g) and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Nonetheless, it is rich in dietary fiber (100 g provides about 13% of RDA), which can be very important for individuals who are concerned about putting on excess body weight. Mangosteen is good in vitamin C and provides about 12% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against flu-like infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
Fresh fruit is a moderate source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin and folates. These vitamins are acting as cofactors the help body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Further, it also contains a very good amount of minerals like copper, manganese and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps control heart rate, and blood pressure; thus, it offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
Mangosteens are available fresh during summer months. Completely matured, deep purple color fruits are picked up either by hand or hook-and-basket method as in mangoes, without damaging them. Injury to outer skin results in percolation of bitter-latex into the edible flesh, which makes the whole fruit bitter and inedible. Mangosteen is now readily available in the supermarkets across the United States. While buying, look for fresh fruits that feel heavy in hand with firm green calyx at the stem end, and bright purple color skin as they indicate fresh arrivals from East Asian orchards. Avoid those appearing dry and blotched skins as they may indicate an old stock. At home, ripe fruits should be placed in cool well-ventilated place where they keep well for up to two weeks. For extended keeping quality store them inside the refrigerator.

Preparation and Serving tips by washing the fruit in water to remove surface dust. Fresh fruit has a thick soft rind, quite like in pomegranate but thicker in size. In general, the fruit is scored through the rind around an equatorial circumferential fashion using paring knife, and its upper half pulled up gently using the thumb to expose delicious arils inside. Prolonged exposure to hot conditions may cause its outer skin dry, brittle and may pose problems while peeling. The serving tips for fresh mangosteens are wonderfully delicious. Enjoy this exotic juicy fruit all alone without any additions. The fruit segments complement well with other fruit sections like papaya,watermelon, pineapple, grapes, etc. Mangosteen juice is very tasty thirst quenching cool drink to beat summer heat. Mangosteen clafouti prepared using corn flour and coconut milk is a delicious dessert. Thanks.


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomists,
Precint 11, Putrajaya,
WP, MAlaysia.
(9 Rejab 1436H)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

STRAWBERRY - NUTRITIOUS FRUITS


STRAWBERRY (Fragaria x ananassa) is a small, low-lying, spreading shrub and botanically,the plant is a low-growing runner (creeper) belonging to the family of Rosaceae in the genus of Fragaria. The strawberries in Malaysia are grown commercially in highland area especially at Cameroon Highland and Lojing. There are about 1,100 hectare CHE of strawberries grown annually using fertigation technology and in the glasshouse structure in that area. Most fruits are for fresh consumption and processing. Strawberries bears small white flowers which eventually develop into small conical, light green, immature fruits. They turn red upon maturity with each berry featuring red pulp with tiny, yellow color seeds piercing through its surface from inside. Its top end carry a green leafy cap and stem that is adorning its crown. Each berry features conical shape, weighs about 25 grams and measures about 3 cm in diameter. The berries have the taste that varies by cultivar, and ranges from quite sweet to acidic.  Although wild varieties are sometimes available in the market, large-scale production uses the modern "plasticulture" system. In this method, raised beds are formed each year, fumigated, and covered with plastic, which prevents weed growth and crop spoiling. Delicious, rich-red, sweet, yet gently tart strawberries are among the most popular berries. These berries are native to Europe, however, nowadays cultivated as an important commercial crop in many temperate regions all over the world. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" contain about strawberries nutritious fruits and how to consume.
 

Health benefits of strawberries depends on fruit quality. Strawberry is low in calories (32 cal each 100 g) and fats but rich source of health promoting phyto-nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Strawberries have significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyaninsand ellagic acid. Scientific studies show that consumption of these berries may have potential health benefits against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases. Strawberry has an ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a measure of anti-oxidant strength) of about 3577µmol TE per 100 grams. Fresh berries are an excellent source of vitamin-C (100 g provide 58.8 mg or about 98% of RDI), which is also a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation and scavenge harmful free radicals.
The fruit is rich in B-complex group of vitamins. It contains very good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folic acid. These vitamins are acting as co-factors help the body metabolize carbohydrate, proteins and fats. Strawberries contain vitamin A, vitamin E and health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin, and beta-carotene in small amounts. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Furthermore, They contain good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, fluorine, copper, iron and iodine. 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. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Fluoride is a component of bones and teeth and is important for prevention of dental caries.



The selection and storage oh strawberries can be available year-round in the stores but are fresh and plentiful from spring through mid-summer in temperate country but in Malaysia are all year round. Choose berries that feature deep red with attached green caps, plump, shiny, free of sand and mold. Avoid those appear dull, sunken or flattened and those with signs of mold, cuts or discolored patches on the surface. Unripe berries have green or yellow patches on their surface. Since the berries cease ripening soon after their harvest, unripe berries should be avoided as they are likely to be sour and of inferior in quality. They perish early and therefore, should only be purchased a few days prior to use. Before storing inside the refrigerator, sort out any damaged and those affected by mold so that they should not spoil healthy ones. Place them in a wide bowl or spread out on a plate covered with a paper towel. They keep fresh inside the refrigerator for a day or two. Use them as early as possible. For extended storage, place them in the freezer compartment.

For preparation and serving tips better to wash strawberries, dip them in cold water in a large bowl for few seconds and swish gently few times. This helps remove any sand and insecticide/fungicide residues. Then, gently pat them dry using a paper towel or cloth. This method also helps berries bring back to normal room temperature, enriches their flavor and taste. Then remove the stems and caps by simply sniping off with your fingers or using a paring knife. For serving tips it was best to slice fresh strawberries can be a great addition to fruit or green salad. They can be a great snack between meals. Dried strawberry slices can be added in muffins, pie, cakes and are used in cereal flakes as a breakfast meal. The berries are a popular addition to dairy products; as in strawberry flavored ice cream, milkshakes, smoothies and yogurts. As safety profile for strawberries fruits taken may cause serious allergic reactions in some sensitized individuals. Some of the most common symptoms of strawberry allergy include swelling and redness of mouth, lips and tongue, eczema, hives, skin rash, headache, runny nose, itchy eyes, wheezing, gastrointestinal disturbances, depression, hyperactivity and insomnia. Individuals who suspect allergy to these fruits may want to avoid them. Such delicious Cameroon Highland Strawberries plucked from the farms. Thanks!.


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Room 308, Hotel Rosa Pasadena,
Brinchang, Cameroon Highland,
Pahang, Malaysia.
(12 Rejab 1436H)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

POMEGRANATE - HEALTH FRUITS

  

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) or BUAH DELIMA in Malay are exotic fruits and nutritious. Pomegranate fruit is one of the most popular, nutritionally rich fruit with unique flavor, taste, and heath promoting characteristics. The tree was categorised as deciduous tree belonging within the Lythraceae family from genus Punica and the fruit is thought to originate in the Sub-Himalayan range of North India. There are no report from DOA about the planting of this fruit in Malaysia but I estimated less than 20 hectare CHE respectively. Most pomegranate fruits are planted as a hobby by those who rally know the technology and able to buy the planting materials. One pomegranate fruits weighed about 200 - 300 gram priced at RM10.-00 - RM12.00  per fruit at IOI Shopping Mall, Putrajaya. Many health drinks for beautification of skin are formulated from this fruit extracts. The product claims that this health drinks able to promote health and whiter skin colour. This plant are rare to many local farmers. Along with sub-arctic pigmented berries and some tropical exotics such as mango, it too has novel qualities of functional foods, often called as “super fruits.” Botanically the matured tree are able to produce a small size
fruit-bearing. 


Pomegranate tree grows to about five
and eight meters tall (See next picture). It is cultivated at a commercial scale in vast regions across Indian sub-continent, Iran, Caucuses, and Mediterranean regions for its fruits. Completely grown-up tree bears numerous spherical, bright red, purple, or orange-yellow coloured fruits depending on the cultivar types. Each fruit measures about 6-10 cm in diameter and weighs about 200 gm. Its tough outer skin (rind) features leathery texture. Interior of the fruit is separated by white, thin, spongy, membranous, bitter tissue into discreet compartments. Such sections, packed as sacs, filled with tiny edible sweet, juicy, pink pulp encasing around a single, angular, soft or hard (in case of over mature fruits) seed. The red ripe fruits are easily harvested manually or mechanised.

 

Health benefits of Pomegranate are nutririous fruit known from decade ago. The fruit is moderate in calories; 100 g provides 83 calories, slightly more than that in the apples. It contains no cholesterol or saturated fats. It is a good source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, providing about 4 g per 100 g (about 12% of RDA), which aid in smooth digestion and bowel movements. The fruit is suggested by nutritionists in the diet for weight reduction and cholesterol controlling programs. Regular inclusion of fruits in the diets boosts immunity, improves circulation, and offers protection from cancers. Certain ellagitannin compounds such as Granatin B, and Punicalagin are found abundantly in the pomegranate juice. Studies suggest that punicalagin and tannins are effective in reducing heart-disease risk factors by scavenging harmful free radicals from the human body. Total antioxidant strength of pomegranate fruit measured in terms of its oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) is 2341 µmol TE/100 g. The fruit is an also good source of antioxidant vitamin-C, provides about 17% per 100 g of daily requirement. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents by boosting immunity. Regular consumption of pomegranate has also been found to be effective against prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), diabetes, and lymphoma. Further, it is an also good source of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), folates, pyridoxine and vitamin K, and minerals like calcium, copper, potassium and manganese.
 

According to many reports, world’s best pomegranates are grown in the southern states of Afghanistan in Kandahar, Balkh, Helmand and Nimruz provinces (See picture). The pomegranate fruit is judged ripe when it develops distinctive color and impart metallic sound when tapped by the finger. Fruits must be picked up before they turn overmature, otherwise, their seeds get harder, inedible, and the whole fruit tend to crack open and damage. In the store, choose pomegranates that have smooth skin, free from any bruises, cuts or mold. At home, store the fruits in cool dark place at room temperature for 5-8 days or more. In general, they possess a long shelf life. You can also place them inside the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. or preparation and serving method normally wash pomegranate fruit in cold water or rinse in tepid water to bring to normal temperature if kept in the cold storage. Pomegranate is one of the most extensively cultivated fruits for food, juice, flavor, and color, making it a common ingredient in new functional foods often called “super fruits." To experience its rich flavor, eat fresh fruit as it is without adding anything. The fruit is eaten out of hand by making superficial vertical incisions over its tough skin and then breaking it apart.


Clusters of juice sacs are lifted out, and the white membrane, pith, and rinds are separated from the arils. Alternatively, hold the section of fruit upside down and beat gently with wooden stick, so that its seeds drop down detached. Separating its juicy, delicate arils is simplified by performing this task in a bowl of cold water, whereby its seeds settle down at the bottom and pulp and pith float. Remove water and gently pat dry seeds using soft cloth. Arils also make an attractive garnish when sprinkled on salads and dishes.  Fresh fruits make fantastic refreshing juice. Pomegranate juice can be used in soups, jellies, sorbets, sauces as well as to flavor cakes, baked apples. It is used in the preparation of traditional Persian recipes such as fesenjan, made from pomegranate juice and ground walnuts; rice pilaf, and delicious ash-e-anar soup. Pomegranate concentrate is a popular item used in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipes. The juice is concentrated to about 250% stronger, and when added in cooking, gives unique flavor and intense sweet taste. That's all folks.


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Precint 11, Putrajaya
Malaysia.
(6 Rejab 1436H)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

PINEAPPLES - THE BEST OF IT


PINEAPPLE (Ananas comosus) as I know belongs to the Bromeliaceae family, from which one of its most important health-promoting compounds, the enzyme bromelain, was named. The Spanish name for pineapple, pina, and the root of its English name, reflects the fruit's visual similarity to the pinecone. Pineapples are actually not just one fruit but a composite of many flowers whose individual fruitlets fuse together around a central core. Each fruitlet can be identified by an "eye," the rough spiny marking on the pineapple's surface. Pineapples have a wide cylindrical shape, a scaly green, brown or yellow skin and a regal crown of spiny, blue-green leaves. The fibrous flesh of pineapple is yellow in color and has a vibrant tropical flavor that balances the tastes of sweet and tart. The area closer to the base of the fruit has more sugar content and therefore a sweeter taste and more tender texture. Although thought to have originated in South America, pineapples were first discovered by Europeans in 1493 on the Caribbean island that came to be known as Guadalupe. When Columbus and other discovers brought pineapples back to Europe, attempts were made to cultivate the sweet, prized fruit until it was realized that the fruit's need for a tropical climate inhibited its ability to flourish in this region. By the end of the 16th century, Portuguese and Spanish explorers introduced pineapples into many of their Asian, African and South Pacific colonies, countries in which the pineapple is still being grown today. In Malaysia pineapple are grown commercially in Johore and few other states for about 14,000 hectare annually.

 

Since pineapples are very perishable, and modes of transportation to bring them stateside from the Caribbean Islands were relatively slow centuries ago, fresh pineapples were a rarity that became coveted by the early American colonists. While glazed, sugar-coated pineapples were a luxurious treat, it was the fresh pineapple itself that became the sought after true symbol of prestige and social class. In fact, the pineapple, because of its rarity and expense, was such a status item in those times that all a party hostess had to do was to display the fruit as part of a decorative centerpiece, and she would be awarded more than just a modicum of social awe and recognition. In the 18th century, pineapples began to be cultivated in Hawaii, the only state in the U.S. in which they are still grown. In addition to Hawaii, other countries that commercially grow pineapples include Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Brazil and Mexico and few other tropical countries. 

Pineapples have exceptional juiciness and a vibrant tropical flavor that balances the tastes of sweet and tart. They are second only to bananas as America's favorite tropical fruit. Although the season for pineapple runs from March through June, they are available year-round in local markets. Pineapples are a composite of many flowers whose individual fruitlets fuse together around a central core. Each fruitlet can be identified by an "eye," the rough spiny marking on the pineapple's surface. Pineapples have a wide cylindrical shape, a scaly green, brown or yellow skin and a regal crown of spiny, blue-green leaves and fibrous yellow flesh. The area closer to the base of the fruit has more sugar content and therefore a sweeter taste and more tender texture. Pineapple is an excellent source the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. For example, the key oxidative enzyme superoxide dismutase, which disarms free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells), requires manganese. In addition to manganese, pineapple is a good source of thiamin, a B vitamin that acts as a cofactor in enzymatic reactions central to energy production.

Fresh pineapple.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Precint 11, Putrajaya
WP, Malaysia.
(10 Rejab 1436H)