Posts Tagged Health

Loquat Fruit and Leaves

Loquats are one type of fruits that are first to appear in spring. While most other fruits don’t appear or ripen up until summer or autumn. The loquat tree is also considered to be an evergreen, as the leaves do not turn brown and fall, very much like citrus trees.

These fruit trees originated from China, but can bee seen growing in much warmer climates of the U.S., from Texas to California. Even in the warmer parts of Europe too. They are actually fast growing trees and very easy to propagate. The best part is that they are drought resistant trees. So this would be a great time to grow one, especially when water is scarce.

loquats

As seen here, the photo of young loquats and leaves growing in San Jose, Ca. This photo was taken in springtime. The leaves are glossy green in the front but fuzzy in the back. And the fruit itself can be a bit fuzzy like a peach too.

The fruit is tangy to sweet. But it is delicious when it ripens and turn yellow. Loquat fruit and leaves have high concentrations of Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Potassium, Vitamin A and Ascorbic Acid.

The leaves can also be used to make tea. I have made tea with some of the dried leaves and the taste is very light.

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Agave Syrup

I don’t think of myself as having much of a sweet tooth as I enjoy eating fruits more then candy. But once in a while I can satisfy my need for sweets with a cup of fruit infusion tea and add a small teaspoon of agave syrup. I also like to add it to my cup of coffee too. It has a light sweetness to it. But I have not tried it with pancakes or baking yet.

Agave syrup is something new I’ve come across. I have noticed some fruit drinks use agave syrup as a sweetener too. It’s much sweeter then honey and it’s from the same plant used to make tequila. It’s made from the nectar of the blue agave plant, which is grown mostly in central Mexico. In Popular Science’s article, Agave Nectar, A Sweetener for Any Occasion, they described how the juices are expressed from the core of the plants and then processed to produce the nectar. Then after the juices are extracted, they are heated to break down the carbohydrates.

agave

larryn2009 of flickr.com took this nice picture of blue agave plants at the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens. They look like they are easy to grow in a sunny climate. I might have actually seen a few of these grown as landscaping in California.

Time magazine wrote in it’s June 2008 issue that the future of agave syrup does look promising. It’s interest has grown amongst heath conscious people. And popularity has grown in countries such as Germany, New Zealand, and Japan. And in the U.S. , many food manufacturers want to add it to drinks, ice cream, ketchup, amongst other recipes.

Cane sugar and honey are fine as natural sweeteners, they are better than high fructose corn syrup. But agave syrup surpasses them all. And you don’t need to use as much, as the sweetness is concentrated. And if you are diabetic, the The Chicago Tribune adds, “It scores around 20 on the glycemic index, a measure of how quickly carbohydrates break down during digestion. Cane or beet sugar scores around 70. Agave nectar’s score is so low on the scale that diabetics can use it as a sugar substitute.” Ingested sugar is still burned as energy or stored as fat, so you still have to be careful to not over indulge on agave syrup. It has plenty of calories and you can find yourself needing to exercise more!

products-agaveflavourMadhava Agave comes in different flavors too. Imagine adding this to your morning coffee! Sweet Cactus Farms also sells agave syrup. And Madhava Agave has a great photo gallery of the farm and these interesting looking plants.

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