Category Archives: Health

Essential Herbs and Spices

Without spices and herbs the act of cooking and the sensation of eating would be very boring. But what sort of flavor enhancers do we really need? This article will attempt to break down what spices and herbs any cook should have to get the most out of their creations. Its about more than salt and pepper although these two are essential; just wait until your have cumin and coriander but are caught without table salt.

On the subject of salt and pepper, getting some sea salt and fresh ground black pepper is a good idea. Both are frequently called for in recipes and pack more of a punch than their common table varieties.

If you don’t have fresh onions and cloves of garlic in your kitchen at all times, garlic salt and dried minced onion are great substitutes to keep on hand. Plus, garlic salt makes delicious garlic bread when dusted over bread that’s been buttered and toasted.

For delicious desserts, cakes cookies and cooked fruit always have: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Its pretty much impossible to overuse cinnamon, but a little of the spicey ginger goes a long way. Cloves are sweet, intense and make everything taste holiday. Nutmeg is less sweet than the other three and is more of a crossover spice as you are more likely to use it on poultry, in soups and sauces, or on vegetables.

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. There’s a reason these four were immortalized, they are endlessly useful and versatile. The ubiquitous green parsley is often used fresh as garnish, but also adds a subtle sweet flavor. Rosemary has a flavor like no other but is surprisingly subtle and can enhance most meats, soup and sauces. Sage is at its best when used in stuffing so be sure to stock up before Thanksgiving. Thyme smells wonderful and is indispensable for stocks and sauces.

If you enjoy Italian cooking you’ll need basil and oregano. Tomatoes and all things tomato sauce related aren’t complete without the licoricey mint of the basil or the harsh green smokiness of the oregano.

Curry is actually not a spice or and herb but a blend of about 16 spices including red pepper and ginger. As such it can be quite hot (though this depends on the blend you buy) and should be use sparingly but is essential for the distinct taste and aroma of Indian food.

Chili powder is also a blend of several spices, its flavor mainly drawing from red peppers, and is an integral part of all chilis and most Mexican dishes.

Paprika is also a red pepper spice but it unlike its relatives, it takes a lot before its taste becomes detectable. Use it for garnish and a more delicate heat.

There are also a lot of blends out there (Italian seasoning, Pizza seasoning, pumpkin pie spice) but for a hint of lemon and spice on poultry and vegetables, obtain some lemon pepper.

Sources:

“Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book” Des Moines: Better Homes and Gardens Books, 1996.

Gisslen, Wayne. “Professional Cooking”. 5th ed. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2003.

Source:

  1. Basic Spice Checklist | Real Simple
  2. Cayenne Pepper For Weight Loss
  3. What are the Top 25 Spices Every Kitchen Should Have – Spices Inc

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Easy Frozen Cocktails

Take the scorching heat, great friends gathered by the pool, add a frozen cocktail to your hand and you have the perfect summer day. Pina coladas, frozen margaritas and daiquiris are just a few of the frozen cocktails that refresh us during the dog days of summer. The simplest way to enjoy these refreshing treats is right at home and preparing them only requires a few essentials.

*Blender
*Crushed ice
*Ingredients
*Frozen glasses

EQUIPMENT
Unless you possess a slushy machine, you will need a quality blender that has sharp blades. If planning on preparing more than one type of frozen cocktail, consider having more than one blender so that flavors don’t get mixed. If you only have one blender, always rinse it out before preparing a different flavored cocktail. For most recipes you will need a measuring cup, measuring spoons and a jigger. A shot glass can be used as the jigger and a long spoon will make mixing easier. If mashing of fruit such as limes will be required, you may consider purchasing a muddler which is fairly inexpensive.

THE ICE
It is obvious that the bigger and harder the cubes, the more difficult it will be to get the consistency desired for a frozen cocktail. Crushed ice and ice chunks can be purchased and ice cubes can be made at home. Ice chunks and cubes should be placed into a freezer bag and crushed down into smaller pieces. A rolling pin works well for the crushing process, using caution not to bust the bag.

INGREDIENTS
The better the ingredients, the better the drink. The ingredients used will depend upon which cocktails you have chosen to prepare. Use fresh fruit and juices whenever possible for fruit-flavored cocktails. Many frozen cocktails require simple syrup which can be made right at home. Use equal portions of water and sugar. Bring the water to a boil and then add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool. The simple syrup can be placed in a squeeze bottle for easy use.

Different drinks use different types of alcohol and there are also pre-made mixers to make the process even smoother. Need a few choices to get you started? Hundreds of recipes are available right here on the internet and over two hundred choices are available at this site alone:

http://www.drinksmixer.com/cat/11/

The deer killer and the Florida pina colada are my personal favorites.

GLASSES
The glasses should be well chilled in the freezer. Having a warm glass will melt the crushed ice turning a perfectly executed frozen cocktail into flavored water. The glass shape will vary depending upon the drink. Customary glasses include those with a v-shaped bowl or a tall, parfait style. Some frozen cocktails are also served in highball or hurricane glasses. There are no hard written rules about which should be used but try to use what is customary at professional bars or what style is recommended with the recipe.

PREPARATION
Customarily the order of the ingredients would be liquor first, the mixer, fruit and last is the ice. This can also change depending upon the different ingredients required for the frozen cocktail. The last two steps to remember are the most important-relax and enjoy.

Source:

  1. 29 Frozen Drinks To Put On Your Summer Bucket List – BuzzFeed
  2. Is Tea A Diuretic
  3. Frozen Drinks Recipes : Food Network

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Chipolte Mayonnaise Grilled Poblano Peppers Stuffed Jalapenos

Capsicum Annuum are peppers, sweet or hot, grown in most climates around the world. Peppers are most productive where the weather is warm and dry and depending on flavor intensity and fleshiness of the fruit, culinary use varies from vegetable, as with sweet bell peppers, to spice, as with cayenne or jalapenos.

Cultivars of Capsicum Annuum are especially low in calories, but very rich in Vitamin C which they tend to sustain even after the pepper is harvested. . Capsicum annuum, which are actually berries, are an important source of Vitamin A, with useful amounts of folic acid, fiber, and potassium. Their powerful antioxidant properties, derived from bioflavonoids, offer protection against heart and circulatory disease and some forms of cancer.

Leaves of the plants are mildly bitter and not nearly as hot as the fruits. In the Philippines, “dahon ng sili”, literally, chili leaves, is a fairly popular, simply cooked dish of greens. In Korean cuisine, the leaves are included in Kimchi pickles. Japanese cuisine also uses the leaves as a green vegetable.

In the New World, Capsicum Annuum fruit, members of the nightshade family, highlight a wide variety of dishes ranging from hot chocolate to salsa. Along with maize, they have been basic to diets of Mexico, Central and South America since as early as 8,000 B.C.

Poblano peppers, lightly charred on the grill and stuffed with wonderfully scented coriander rice, are a delicious vegetarian meal that presents peppers in their best light, www.helium.com/items/118743

Jalapeno, stuffed with shrimp and perfumed with ginger (remove some of the seeds and ribs to adjust heat), are sweet and spicy alternatives when deep-fried in a crisp batter.

For about 8 servings, combine in food processor bowl:

1/4 pound raw shrimp, cleaned and peeled
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsps Vietnamese fish sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Poblano or Anchos, Colorado, Anaheim, and Serrano are all popular members of the species.

Use this Chipotle mayonnaise to add sparkle to any sandwich, but especially a vegetable or seafood wrap on Middle Eastern flat bread.

Dry, smoked red jalapenos are sold as Chipotles canned with Adobo sauce in most markets. Combine chopped and mashed Chipotles and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice with your very best mayonnaise. Determine amounts by quantity of sauce required, but remember the Chipotles are extremely hot and it is easier to taste and add heat gradually.

An acquaintance with Capsicum Annuum with all the cultivars, degrees of heat, and flavors will add spice and sparkle to your meals.

Source:

  1. Roasted Jalapeno Mayo on Closet Cooking
  2. Birmingham Hospital Diet Plan
  3. PONCHO N PEPE'S MEXICAN GRILL & TEQUILA BAR

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Bread Bowl Baking

Bread bowls are fun and a unique way to serve soups, dips, salads and so much more.  These are great to serve main dish meals that are stews or soups in, and can be festive for guests when preparing dips or serving salads. 

Making bread bowls really can be quite rewarding and the recipe is a basic bread dough recipe.  When making a bread bowl, you want to use a bread recipe that is a hearty bread recipe, like sourdough or whole wheat, because these types of bread tend to hold up better under the stress of placing soup or stew in them.  I have included a recipe below.

Bread Dough:

    2 packages dry yeast

    1 tbsp sugar

    ¾ cups warm water

    ¼ cup shortening

   1 cup scalded milk

    4 cups bread flour

    2 tsp salt

Directions:

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let stand.Mix together the softened shortening, the scalded milk, and ½ the flour.  Add the yeast mixture and the salt, and then gradually add the remaining flour and mix. Knead, adding additional flour until a smooth dough that’s not sticky forms.Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes until doubled in size.Divide dough into four balls for large bread bowls or eight balls for smaller bread bowls.Place balls on cookie sheets and let rise until double in size (about 1 hour).Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. Brush each loaf with butter at the last five minutes of cooking and put back into the oven.  When bread is done it should sound hollow when thumped on.  Allow to cool completely.

When you are ready to use your bread bowls, cut a circular piece out of the top and remove.  Then scoop out the soft bread on the inside, fill with your favorite soup, dip, or salad and serve the soft bread pieces on the side! 

These bread bowls are easy to make and depending on the size, can give you a great alternative for your next dinner party.  You can use the small bread bowls for dips like hummus, dill, or seafood, and serve with fresh veggies on the side or crackers.  You can fill the larger bread bowls with hearty soups and stews like clam chowder, cheese-broccoli, creamy soups, and chili.  You can also fill the larger bowls with salads like a chef salad, a green salad with chicken or beef, a taco salad and much more.   Enjoy bread baking and enjoy using these bread bowls.

Source:

  1. Italian Bread Bowls Recipe – Allrecipes.com
  2. Hardgainer Meal Plan to Gain Weight
  3. 5 Cozy Bread Bowls to Hold Your Soup (and Your Dreams) | The …

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Candy Retro Candy Oldfashioned Candy c Andy Store

Candy

Our Love Affair With Retro Candy and Where You Can Buy it On Line

Retro candy has become a hot commodity. For kids the most pleasurable experiences often involve having a piece of their favorite candy. For me, some of the most memorable times I can recall included the eating of a ‘peanut pattie’, which is now on the retro candy list.  For my son Root Beer Barrels hit the candy retro button. What, though, is driving this desire to return to retro candies?

For one, when people are stressed they want to bring back happy memories. Secondly, when people are happy they reminisce about past happy times. Now reach back into your own memory and think about a time when you felt happy, comfortable, and satisfied. Was there a piece of candy involved?

Our most vivid memories are those that engage multiple senses. Old fashoned candies are often wrapped in fun packing,  sometimes with silly pictures, thus utilizing our sense of sight. The packing must be torn open, often crinkling between our fingers, employing the sense of touch. Once open, the irresistible odor rises to our nostrils giving us the pleasure of smell. Finally, the sense of taste goes into full swing as we tongue our sweet candy treasure. With four of the five senses engaged a memory is now locked into place.

Wanting to share these memories and a piece of their past, many new parents are also returning to their favorite retro candies. Perhaps a visit down south to grandma and grandpa’s always meant snacking on ‘moon pies’ while rocking on the front porch and trying to count the stars. Or was it taking those Sunday drives with dad to get the newspaper and getting to pick a nickels worth of penny candy for the ride home? For others it could have been as simple as the root beer barrels their grandpa always had in his top pocket. People love traditions, and when they become parents they want to pass on traditions, small as they may seem, that made them happy.

Finally, there are those who just love anything retro, be it candy or clothing, music or books, some people just enjoy connecting with the past. Whatever the reason may be it doesn’t look like the retro candy craze will be cooling off any time soon. Take a look at the sites below to see if you can find the retro candy, or new candy that will make your taste buds dance and create happy memories.

www.oldtimecandy.com/index.html

www.rockofagescandy.com

www.sweetservices.com

www.groovycandies.com –

Source:

  1. Old Fashioned and Retro Candy – Home of Candy you ate as a kid®
  2. Grain-Fed vs. Grass-Fed: Which Beef is Healthier?
  3. Fresh Candy Shipped Fast! | CandyWarehouse.com Online Candy …

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Easy Salad Recipes

In my neck of the woods, it is finally spring again, and that means to me that salads are back on the menu! This is a great time of year to start eating healthy and get ready for bathing suit weather. Here are a few recipes for easy and fresh salads.

Fresh Strawberry Salad:

This is a very tasty and sweet salad. The balsamic vinaigrette dressing is the perfect tart compliment to the sweet strawberries!

Ingredients:

4 Cup chopped romaine lettuce

16 Oz. fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced into quarters

1/2 cup feta cheese

2 Tbs. sliced almonds

Dressing:

1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

2/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. sugar

Salt and pepper

In a large salad bowl, place the lettuce first and top with the strawberries, feta and almonds. In a separate bowl, add the vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and oregano, and whisk or blend in the oil until it is a creamy brown color.

Drizzle over the salad and enjoy!

Chicken and Goat Cheese Salad:

3-4 Cups Spring Mix, rinsed well and dried

2 cups cooked chicken, sliced into strips

4 Oz. Mandarin Oranges

3 Oz. goat cheese, crumbled

1/3 cup dried cranberries

Dressing:

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tsp peanut oil

2 tsp Mrs. Dash Seasoning

2/3 cup olive oil

Arrange spring mix in a large salad bowl, and top with chicken, oranges, cheese and cranberries. Make the dressing by whisking together all ingredients, drizzling in the oil last. Top the salad with the dressing and serve.

Salmon on Greens with Mint-Cucumber dressing:

Ingredients:

4 small salmon steaks

1 lemon, halved

2 tsp dried dill

Salt and pepper

Rub the halved lemon over both sided of each salmon steak. Sprinkled the steaks with dill, salt and pepper on both sides and broil on low for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the steaks are medium. Leave in slightly longer if you like your salmon more well done.

Salad Ingredients:

4 cups spring mix, washed and dried

1 large cucumber, chopped

4 TBS feta cheese

Dressing ingredients:

1 cup non-fat organic yogurt

10 mint sprigs

2 tsp chopped garlic

2 tsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper

While the salmon is cooking, arrange the lettuce on four plates with equal amounts of cucumber and feta cheese. To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse for 10-20 seconds.

Place the salmon steaks on each salad and drizzle with the dressing. Serves four hungry people!

Source:

  1. 50 Simple Salads : Recipes and Cooking : Food Network
  2. Buying Meat and Poultry: How to Make the Healthiest Choice
  3. 50 Summer Pasta Salad Recipes – Easy Ideas for Cold Pasta Salad

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Drinking Absinthe

So you want to unleash the Green Fairy? You want to dwell in the open mind and heightened sense of being that the Fairy brings. Well you will be one of the millions of people throughout history that have sought out the effects of Absinthe. It was originally created in the eighteenth century by a doctor to aide some of his patients. He used distilled wormwood and other herbs to heal their aches and pains. It was bought from him by Major Dubied, who in turn sold it in the mainstream market. By the nineteenth century, the fable of the green fairy had flown into the lifestyle and creative minds of the bohemian clique. France was particularly influenced by the makings of Absinthe. In America, Absinthe was imported in the late eighteen hundreds. New Orleans became the unofficial Absinthe capital of the United States. It was then, in turn, banned in parts of Europe and the United States.

Ernest Hemingway described the effects of Absinthe as, “brain-warming and idea changing”. It’s affects have made it as popular as it is today, even though the main element in Absinthe that caused hallucinations and other affects has been removed. It was said to give the drinker a heightened since of awareness, “a better sense of the universe”. To even the most skeptical drinker it is easy to say they experienced a different kind of drunkenness then what is achieved with other liquors. It was said that the drinkers of the old Absinthe, had such a level of heightened ideas that they could comprehend things non absinthe drinkers couldn’t. It was also fabled to be an extreme aphrodisiac. However, it was very unbecoming of a woman to drink Absinthe, especially in public. Most that did were labeled as loose women.

Drinking Absinthe varies from place to place, and time in history. In Paris when Absinthe first made its big debut, there was a ritual at most bars called “Green Hour”, which took place right before dinner. Everyone would down a shot of the green liquor.

When Absinthe first hit the scene, it was diluted with water and poured over a sugar cube to mask its harsh taste. Today, this tactic is taken a different way. In more modern times a sugar cube is placed on a spoon dipped in the Absinthe and set on fire and dropped back in the drink. The flame is blown out and the Absinthe is drunk quickly.

Most people who drink Absinthe do not drink it straight up. When at a bar it is a common misconception to be given a shot of Absinthe in a regular Whiskey shot glass. It is usually more approachable if you drink the shot in a larger glass with some cold water.

Of course there is the old art of the Absinthe fountain which isn’t as popular today as it used to be. Basically the fountain dispenses water into the glasses of Absinthe and over layers of sugar. Absinthe is very easy to find now. Everyone from Marilyn Manson to Van Gogh have Absinthe brands with their names on the bottle. So find some, pick a way to drink it, and enjoy the Green Fairy.

Source:

  1. Absinthe
  2. Healthy Homemade Applesauce Recipe
  3. 6 Ways to Drink Absinthe – wikiHow

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Curry Recipie

Tips for making curry.

Cumin. It has to be my favorite spice. The taste and the aroma. Have you ever heated in a dry pan cumin seeds and let them roast? The scent is fantastic and transports me to far off lands with ancient tongues and otherworldly flavors. Oh the romance of it all.

The other scent that I love is frying onions. Sweet, white onions that fill the kitchen with a most familiar smell. So if I put the two together I start to get the subtle hint of that most famous cuisine; Indian. So I fry the onions in ghee, a clarified butter that heats at a high temperature yet will not burn. This adds a most delicious flavor to the onions. After they have softened and exposed their sweetness I then add the cumin. If you do roast then grind the whole seeds the effect is fantastic. Yet already ground seeds will work well.

So the cumin is being turned into the onions, releasing its earthy taste. I then add some coriander seed, a little turmeric for color and digestiveness,some garam masala, salt,pepper, chopped garlic, grated fresh ginger and chilis.

Now garam masala is a pre mixed collection of spices that seems to be unique to the region it is used and the chef using it. It literally means “hot spice” hot as in temperature, and can include mace, cinnamon, bay, nutmeg, pepper and so on. You can try various types to find the one that suits you or you can develop your own unique recipe.

Now, you can use chili powder or you can use actual chilis. The seeds contain the heat so watch out. Oh and please wash your hands after chopping them, or use food preparation gloves. Do not rub your eyes immediately afterwards as I once did!

The other spice that I always use is cinnamon. For some reason this really adds an earthy sweetness to the dish that reminds me again of far off lands, exotic markets, oh and Christmas too!

It is now that I add the meat or vegetables that I will use as the basis for the meal. If meat, I’ll brown in the pan then add a little tomato puree, stir in, then add a little water to create a paste. You can if you wish add chopped tomatoes as well and stock.

I make sure there is enough liquid to provide a sauce but not too much that it waters it all down. Allow to simmer and serve with rice, lentils, bread or anything else that you desire.

Now as far as quantities go, I never measure my spices. I kind of improvise with amounts and types of spice used. One day lots of chilis and tomatoes, the next day less chili and natural yogurt stirred in towards the end. Coconut milk works well too.

Curry itself is just a generic term. It could relate to the tamil word “kari” which means sauce. So you can see that this is a sauce recipe. Tonight I fancy a chicken “sauce!” To make it this way is authentic; because it is authentic to me.

You put your whole self into the cooking and collect your spices from around your kitchen rather than using a generic curry powder. This colour of turmeric on my hands, the scent on my fingers of garlic and ginger, the aroma of heated cumin wafting through the house.

It’s almost a shame to eat it! Almost.

Source:

  1. Curry Main Dish Recipes – Allrecipes.com
  2. Does Eating Later Affect Weight Loss Efforts
  3. Chicken Curry Recipes – Allrecipes.com

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Details on growing and processing coffee

If you are a coffee drinker like me, you pretty much know that it’s a morning eye opener. a stimulant to keep you awake while racing to meet a deadline. The stuff you drink after you have had too much of that other stuff. Oh yeah, it comes from ground-up beans that are roasted.

Today coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide, but all of the information we have in reference to our favorite drink comes from personal experience or commercials. How many of us actually know what really goes into the drink that keeps the world on its toes?

A very brief history

Ethiopian tribesmen used coffee as a food until the tenth century. They mixed the coffee cherries with animal fat and rolled them into balls. On the Arabian Peninsula, coffee was made into a hot drink. The Arabs closely guarded their coffee plants, but an enterprising smuggler found a way to bring the seeds home to India.

Eventually word of this amazing new drink spread and coffee seeds found their way to their current homes in the Equatorial zone know as the “Bean Belt”. This is the area covering the middle of the globe bounded by the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. The rich soil and mild temperatures in the Bean Belt provide the perfect environment for the growth of coffee seeds. We now have plantations in more than 50 countries around the world.

Brazil is currently the leading producer of green coffee (processed coffee beans which have not been roasted) followed by Vietnam, Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico, and India. American coffee grows on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano on Kona, the largest island of Hawaii. Kona coffee is a connoisseur’s delight.

Coffee grows on evergreen trees covered with dark green waxy leaves. The two most commonly grown species of coffee trees are the Coffea Arabica and the Coffea Canephora (Robusta). A few years after a tree is planted, white blossoms will appear followed by the coffee cherries. Of the 2,000 beans produced by a coffee tree each year, approximately 400 will be of top quality.

There are many different varieties of coffee such as Liberica, Excelsa, Moka, Bourbon, Martinique, and others, but the two main varieties are Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica

From the original Ethiopian coffee trees, Arabica is mild and aromatic and is considered more suitable for drinking. Because of this, it is the most popular coffee worldwide accounting for three quarters of the worlds coffee production. Arabica beans come from Latin America, eastern Africa, Arabia, and Asia.

Robusta

This variety comes from central Africa, and Southeast Asia, with some coming from Brazil. Robusta coffee accounts for about 30 percent of the coffee produced worldwide. It is bitter tasting with at least 50 percent more caffeine than Arabica. However, Coffea Robusta is a hardier plant less susceptible to disease. It is less expensive than Arabica, and used in many commercial blends.

Anatomy of the bean

The outer skin, called the exocarp, is thick and bitter. The fruit beneath this layer is the mesocarp. It is extremely sweet with the texture of a grape. Beneath the fruit is the parenchyma. This mucilaginous layer helps to protect the beans. Then we have the endocarp, a parchment layer that covers the two coffee beans.

The final covering is a membrane known as the spermoderm, or silver skin, that covers each of the two beans. Nature must have had advanced warning about the revolutionary impact these little beans would have upon humankind and insured their survival with multi-layered protection.

How coffee grows

Originally farmed in the shade of trees, today’s coffee farmers prefer to use sun cultivation for their coffee trees. Now growing them in rows beneath the full sun. This enables the berries to ripen quickly with higher yields from each tree.

Only one coffee harvest takes place each year, and depending upon the proximity of the plantation to the equator, the bright red cherries are picked from September to May. The ripest cherries are picked first while the under-ripe fruit is left on the trees for later pickings. Cherries that are too ripe are sorted out in processing. Picking takes place over a few days while ripeness is at its peak.

There are two different methods used for processing the harvested coffee cherries. Geographical location usually determines which method is used.

Dry processing

This simple method, also called “unwashed” or “natural”, involves letting the harvested cherries dry in the sunlight on elevated wooden trays. The cherries must be raked and turned periodically while drying to avoid mildew.

Next the dried skin, pulp, and parchment are removed from the bean. The process takes about two weeks. This method produces coffee with less acidity and more body. However, it can only be used in the hot and dry climates of countries such as Brazil, Ethiopia, and Yemen. These countries are the largest worldwide producers of dry-processed coffees.

Wet processing

Sometimes called washed coffee, this process involves placing the ripe cherries in water where floating cherries, which are considered defective, are removed. With the use of mechanical equipment, usually within 24 hours of harvesting, the skin and the pulp are washed away leaving the coffee in parchment form.

The parchment is then placed in large tanks of water to ferment for a period of 12 to 48 hours. The next step involves the mechanical drying of the parchment to remove the mucilage, a slimy covering called the parenchyma. The beans beneath this layer are then dried and hulled to remove all the remaining layers.

They are sometimes polished by machine to remove the silver skin. Some traces of this thin skin, which is similar to rice paper, may still remain and will be removed during the roasting process.

Grading and sorting

After processing, the beans are graded and sorted by hand to remove the small, damaged, and lightweight beans. Buyers pay premium prices for bigger and heavier beans.

The coffee that is shipped is called green coffee. It is unroasted and stored in large sacks or plastic-lined containers. The next stop is the cupping house. This is where coffee is graded by tasters.

Roasting

This involves heating the green coffee beans at temperatures ranging from approximately 400 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit in large tumbling drums to keep the beans from burning. As their moisture dries out during the roasting process, the beans change in color from green to a yellowish gold, and then brown.

Roasted beans are labeled as light, medium-light, medium, medium-dark, dark, or very dark. Darker roasts have less fiber content and are smoother with a sugary flavor. Lighter roasts have more caffeine and are slightly bitter.

Decaffeinated coffee is produced before roasting by soaking green coffee beans in hot water or steaming them. A solvent is then used to dissolve the caffeine-containing oils.

Roasting times vary

Lightly roasted coffee requires seven minutes of roasting time.

Medium roast requires nine to 11 minutes and is sometimes referred to as “city roast”.

Dark roast, also known as French or Viennese coffee, takes 12 to 13 minutes.

The darkest roast, known as espresso, requires 14 minutes of roasting time during which the beans will begin to smoke and their sugars caramelize and burn.

Next time you order that “cup of Joe”, which by the way is a phrase dating back to 1914 when Josephus Daniels (then Secretary of the Navy) banned the serving of alcohol on ships, you’ll know a bit more about it than just its great taste and that it’s a terrific stimulant to get you going.

Source:

  1. Coffee production
  2. Flax Seeds Nutrition Facts: Why & What is it Good For You
  3. 10 Steps from Seed to Cup – National Coffee Association of U.S.A.

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Coffee region processes

There are two kinds of coffee beans: Robusta and Arabica. The Robusta beans have 2% caffeine because these beans are very hardy. Robusta beans are used for commercial coffees (you know, the ones that are already pre-ground at the local supermarket that make a stiff, yet stale tasting cup of coffee).

The Arabica beans have less caffeine (about 1%), but they are considered the best because of the higher quality of taste, smoothness, and flavors. Most quirky and quaint coffee shops use the Arabica bean because it does have a better flavor and richer roast than the Robusta beans.

Arabica beans grow best in rich mountain soil. It takes typically three to five years for the coffee ‘cherries’ to come to fruition. Depending on the combination of climate, rain, sunshine, and shade.

Coffee’s taste is drastically influenced from whatever region in the world that it is grown and cultivated in: soil, altitude, and climate. All coffee is grown between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer where the air is warm and humid. There are four major regions that coffee is grown to a specific art: Latin America-Caribbean, Asia and Pacific Islands, East Africa and Arabia, and North America.

The North America regions are the biggest exporters of coffee, and America is the biggest importer of coffee. Hawaii is well known for growing Kona Coffee, a specialty coffee. In Hawaii, coffee trees grow on in the soil of active volcanoes.

Latin American- Caribbean coffee is where the majority of coffee is produced because the equatorial climate is perfect for growing coffee plants. The largest manufacturer of coffee in the world is Brazil. They produce about thirty-five percent of the world’s supply of morning caffeine. Most of Brazilian coffee growers use the dry process (sun-dried) to craft coffee.

Columbia is the second largest producer of coffee at twelve percent; however, Colombian coffee is the most prevalent coffee sipped in the United States. Another country that is recognized for their exceptionally high quality of coffee is Costa Rica. They are the ninth largest producer of coffee internationally.

Costa Rica is so serious about their coffee economy that they have banned the Robusta coffee plant, deeming it lower quality. Costa Rica focuses entirely on the Arabica coffee plants.

Asia-Pacific coffees also have ideal climates for the growth of coffee plants, and these subtropical and tropical areas create very unique and greatly desired gourmet coffees. Indonesia is the largest producer of coffee in this region and the third largest producer in the world. Indonesia has three islands that are renowned for the quality and flavor of their beans: Java, Sulawesi, and Sumatra.

Java is identified for aged coffee, where beans are stored in a warehouse for two or three years. Sulawesi is known for combining sweetness and earthiness in using the dry processing method. Sumatra produces a rich and unique coffee.

Surprisingly, India is also a great coffee producer, about twenty-five percent of Asia’s production. Indian growers like to infuse flavors into their beans: pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, and clove.

Africa-Arabia is the birthplace of coffee, where it was first discovered, and is considered to be the finest grower of coffees in the world. Each of the coffees from this area have intensely distinct flavors characterized by dryness, acidity, fruit and chocolate hints, intense aromas, and dark flavors.

Ethiopia, coffee legend has it, is where coffee trees were first discovered. Their coffee has a full-flavored texture that is earthy and full-bodied. Yemen and the Ivory Coast are famous for the quality of their coffees. Yemen is now synonymous with Mocha (also a city in the country), which is indicative of high quality coffee.

Other coffee producing countries that are quite famous to coffee drinkers are Kenya, Congo, and Tanzania. Because Africa-Arabia is the birthplace of coffee, they have a huge influence on the international coffee industry.

Coffee harvesters, when they observe that the coffee cherries are ready to pick, strip the branches of the fruit by hand, and begin the process to dry and peel the outer layer of the fruit.

There are two ways to process coffee so we, in the United States (the number 1 consumer of coffee internationally), can enjoy a flavorful, exciting cup of coffee whenever we choose: dry and wet processing.

Dry processing is allowing the beans to be sun dried for nearly three weeks. Then, the beans are sifted by hand to remove the outer layers to get to the caffeine-inducing inside.

Wet processing is when the outer layers are removed from the bean straight away. The beans are put into a washed process that involves fermentation (which makes the remaining outside slough easier to remove) and rinsing.

Like everything, from sports to modeling to singing, the best beans are selected for roasting based on size and looks and packed up for external roasting. Usually the best beans are sent to external roasters outside of the country, and the inferior beans are kept for roasting at a local level.

Coffee’s roast all depends on how long it has been “cooked.” Beans are roasted from 370 degrees to 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. The green fruit (coffee bean), changes to a brown or dark brown (depending on how long they are roasted and what flavor is desired) and splits open, emanating the delicious aroma of what we think defines the smell of coffee.

The longer the beans are roasted, the darker in looks and flavor they become. There are light, medium, dark, and extra dark roasts available. Roasters prefer to name the roasts after countries where coffee is generally preferred a certain way: American Roast, light; French Roast, medium; Italian Roast, dark; and, the ultimate potency of darkness, Turkish Roast, extra dark.

All of this information is interesting, yet the most important part of coffee is how you drink it. There is a method to truly enjoying your coffee every morning. After experimenting with what flavor or region of coffee you prefer, make sure you grind your whole bean to the specific coffee maker you have at home in your kitchen.

Grinding the beans for a specific coffee machine ensures that you will have the best coffee possible. Put the grounds in your coffee pot or French Press (a way to brew stronger, richer coffee).

First, smell the coffee because this is the primary indication of what this cup you have prepared has to offer.

Second, slurp your coffee. This helps to spread the coffee over your taste buds. By doing this, you get the full scope of the flavor and weight that coffee has to offer your tongue.

Take your time drinking your coffee; savor the creation in your cup.

There are many ways to enjoy your coffee and to keep enjoying it throughout your entire love affair of coffee. The important thing to remember is not to just drink it because you need your buzz in the morning to get you going, but to drink it because you enjoy the feel, the taste, the flavor of coffee.

http://www.ringsurf.com/online/2074-coffee_growing_regions.html
http://www.chilipaper.com/FNCC/where_coffee_is_grown.htm

Source:

  1. Coffee
  2. Genetically Modified Salmon Debate
  3. Cafe Imports | Coffee Processes

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