Indian Dessert

A BIT ABOUT LADDOO

FUN FOOD FACTS

SO WHY IS IT BIG?

         Laddoo is a kind of Indian dessert and, besides the fact that it's name is super fun to say, there are a few other interesting bits of trivia about this amazing treat. So, keep reading if you want to hear more about laddoo, possibly one of the best things to come out of India..

        Still here? Good! Now, it's time to talk about laddoo! The first thing you need to know is that it is a type of Mithai, the Indian word for dessert. And there are sooo many types of Mithai! Nearly 200 types are listed on Wikipedia, with each type having many subtypes. And of course, not every kind of MIthai has even been documented on Wikipedia, so there could possibly be hundreds more in existence! America definitely hasn't invented that many individual types of dessert. But on the topic of laddoo, there are over 100 types of laddoo alone! Some of the most popular laddoo varieties are coconut laddoo, besan laddoo, atta laddoo, til laddoo, and murmura laddoo. Besan laddoo is Rishabh's favorite variety, and he recently brought some over from India to eat at home. Like quite a few other foods, laddoo is thought to have at one point been used as some sort of medicine, and were also possibly invented around 2600 BC. Some believe that the Hindu elephant god, Lord Ganesha was fed laddoo rather than modakas, another indian treat that is basically a sweet dumpling used in some Hindu prayers. There is a kind of laddoo called Tirupati that can only legally be made in Tirupati, India, their place of origin and, of course, what they were named after. In India, as well as other countries in South Asia, it is customary to celebrate the birth of a male child by passing out special laddoo. Until 2015, however, female babies often did not get celebrated with the same practice. Now, many families give out a kind of pink laddoo commemorate the birth of a girl. Jalebi, an orange street food in the shape of a ring is the official national dessert of India, but lots of people in the country unofficially think of laddoo as their national dessert. There is no one definition of Laddoo. Since India is such a big and populous country, the different varieties are based on the ingredients available in the area where each type of laddoo was invented. Regardless, if you ask anyone from India, it is likely that they will be familiar with the little round mithai. Remember how I told you that Laddoo used to be used as medicine? Well, in the popular Indian cartoon, 'Chhota Bheem', laddoo seems to have an even more powerful effect. In this show, a child named Chhota Bheem eats laddoo in order to become strong enough to defeat his enemies. He is shown growing huge muscles after eating the dessert and obliterating foes like fully grown, armed men and a large and aggressive bull. Laddoo is of course seen in pretty much every episode of this show, and the attention is well deserved. Chhota Bheem may have also increased the popukarity of laddoo with Indian children, an extremely admirable feat, since everyone should love laddoo. Have YOU tried laddoo, though?? If you haven't, you must immediately track some down and consume it. You can find it in the USA, so you shouldn't have any excuse not to have eaten this amazing food. Although there is no official Laddoo Day, laddoo is most commonly eaten on Diwali, the most widely celebrated holiday in India. This year, it will fall on October 24th. Go eat some laddoo.

                                                                                                          South_Sea_Dragon

RECIPE

Ingredients: 2 cup besan (Gram flour), 1 cup Sugar, 8 tbsp ghee, 5 cardamoms, 3 chopped cashews

Step 1: Put sugar in blender, add 5 cardamoms, and blend. Once the sugar becomes extra fine, stop blending, stir, and blend again.

Step 2: Fluff up besan in bowl before scooping into measuring cups. Add 1 1/2 tbsp ghee to heavy bottom pan and heat it. Then add chopped cashews and fry on medium heat until cashews become crunchier.

Step 3: Remove cashews and place them in bowl. Then add besan to the same pan and mix well. Fry on medium heat. Stir consistently while heating.

Step 4: Wait five minutes until your mixture turns a different color, then add the remainder of the ghee. Reduce heat to low, and do not stop stirring.

Step 5: Proper stirring will cause the besan to absorb all ghee and become lumpy. Fry and stir until your mixture becomes a singular clump and has reached a deep golden color. The stirring should last about 25 minutes.

Step 6: Take pan off the stove. After cooling somewhat, stir for 2-3 minutes and add cashews. Add sugar when the mixture is lukewarm but NOT too hot. Mix well and knead with hands.

Step 7: Take smallish portions and roll into spheres. You should have enough to make 16 if you make them relatively small. 

Step 8: Congratulations! You just made besan laddoo! If you want to store them to eat later, keep in an airtight container, which should make them last for about 3 weeks. Enjoy!

Source: Swasthi's Recipes

A Feast

    PAST WEEKS

Tortilla Chips with Dips

A BIT ABOUT TORTILLA                   CHIPS

FUN FOOD FACTS

SO WHY ARE THEY BIG?

            So, the first thing I have to say, which may change your life, is that tortilla chips AREN'T Mexican! They were first made in the mid 1940s in Los Angeles, and their creation is credited to a woman named Rebecca Webb Carranza. So why do we associate them with Mexico, then? Ok, so what I said about tortillas not being from Mexico, isn't completely true. The tortillas themselves, used to make the chips, were actually invented around 2500 BC by Mesoamericans, specifically the Aztecs. The Aztecs, however, often did not consume these tortillas in chip form and instead preferred to eat them whole with meat or veggies inside. These people called their creation "tlaxcalli". When the Spanish conquistadors came along, they adopted the tortillas as a staple food and gave them a new name: "tortilla de patatas".  The word 'Tortilla' is a combination of the Spanish words 'Torta' and 'Illa', which together mean 'little cake'. I guess that means that tortilla chips would translate to 'little cake chips'. A few centuries after the conquistadors arrived, the tortilla began to be sold by street vendors and marketplace shops. Finally, in the 20th century, tortilla chips made their debut with our good friend Rebecca, who wanted to make a snack for a party she was having with some friends. The aforementioned friends loved them and she started selling her 'tort chips' as she called them for ten cents per bag. They were, of course, an instant success as they spread throughout California and the nearby state of Texas, and eventually arrived in the tortilla's home, Mexico. Tortilla chips were especially beloved in the state of Texas, where today they are the state's official snack! Unfortunately, Rebecca's story might not be entirely accurate. Jose Martinez, a Texan man who sold tortillas, had quite a lot of them left over after a big sale. Supposedly, Jose decided he wanted a snack, and so he toasted them, just for an experiment. The result was, as he claimed, was the first ever tortilla chips, years before Rebecca made her delicious party snack. Jose's downfall lies in the fact that he never decided to sell his masterpiece, and so lost all credit to Rebecca Carranza. Only a few years after Rebecca's 'invention', a man by the name of Ignacio Anaya was serving at a restaurant when a group of women entered. The problem was, Ignacio was without a chef. He went into the kitchen, grabbed some tortillas, cheese, and jalapenos, and toasted them together. When one of the women asked what the food was called so that she could order it again, he replied that it was "'nacio's special", and it is known today by the familiar name of 'Nachos'. There are 51 different brands of tortilla chips sold on the well-known website amazon.com, and tortilla chips were numbered the 3rd best salty snack sold in the USA after crackers in 1st place and potato chips in second. Sadly, you'll have to wait until next year if you want to start celebrating national tortilla chip day, since it's on February 24th. Mark your calendars so you don't forget by the time we get to that date!

                                                                                             South_Sea_Dragon

RECIPE

Ingredients: 6 Corn tortillas, extra virgin olive oil, salt

Step 1: Dry tortillas in oven, then cut each individual tortilla into six triangle shapes. These will be your chips.

Step 2: Pour your oil into the pan and place your 36 'chips' in the oil. Fry for around 2 minutes.

Step 3: Pull your snack out and apply a generous sprinkle of salt. 

Source: Simply Recipes

Food Photography

   Do you think you know your fun food facts?                      Test   your knowledge on this quiz!!

Image by amirali mirhashemian

A BIT ABOUT RATATOUILLE 

FUN FOOD FACTS

               SO WHY IS IT BIG?

              RATATOUILLE! The name of this food sounds like jibberish spouted from a small child's mouth. In reality, it is the name of a delicious French dish, made famous by the Pixar movie of the same name. Its name comes from two French words (rata and touiller) meaning 'chunky stew' and 'to stir up' respectively. Even though it is neither very much stirred up in its final form nor much of a stew, these descriptors make some sense once you analyze the process of its creation. This dish is typically made up of the main ingredients of onion, zucchini, garlic, green peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant, drizzled with olive oil, although there are variations on this recipe, which can be served warm or cool. The reason its recipe is so adaptable is because it was originally invented as a Provencial peasant dish, made by farmers in the 18th century. And, by the way, it's name is actually pronounced RAT-UH-TOOEY because... well, it's French. This food can be served with a delicious mixture of herbs for extra authentic flavor, especially Herbs de Provence. Some historians actually believe that the original recipe for ratatouille was first made in the Basque region of Spain, though the modern recipe was definitely invented in France under the official name Ratatouille Nicoise. Many French chefs would resent and ridicule those who made ratatatouille without a specific set of Provencial herbs, which consisted of thyme, rosemary, serpolet, basil, and oregano. All the materials for ratatouille could be bought at your local grocery store, but the meal is always better when made with herbs and veggies for your own garden. Once a dish only for the poor farmers of french society, it is now made by the most prestigious chefs around the world, and has been seen as a rather fancy thing in recent years. The flavor of ratatouille is described as Tangy, spongy, acidic, soaking up all of the individual flavors together into one. Anyways, go tell everyone you know about this ridiculous sounding food, and go watch the movie 'Ratatouille' while you're at it to celebrate this deliciously unique example of French cuisine today!

                                                                                       South_Sea_Dragon

RECIPE

Ingredients: 2 eggplants, 6 large tomatoes, 2 yellow squashes, 2 zucchinis, 

6 tbsp olive oil, 1 diced onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 bell pepper, salt, crushed pepper, 28 oz crushed tomato, 4 tbsp fresh basil, 1 tsp minced garlic, 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, 2 tsp fresh thyme

Step 1: Preheat oven 375 degrees Fahrenheit

Step 2: Slice squash, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini into 1/16 in. segments

Step 3: Heat olive oil over medium heat, saute garlic, onions, and bell peppers for 10 min. Season with salt + pepper and add crushed tomatoes

Step 4: Stir, remove from oven, add basil, and stir again

Step 5: Arrange veggies in particular pattern and season with salt + pepper

Step 6: In small bowl, mix olive oil, pepper, salt, thyme, parsley, garlic, basil. Spoon herb seasoning over vegetables

Step 7: Cover creation with foil + bake for 40 min. Uncover and bake until veggies soften

Step 8: Serve while warm to impress your friends and family!

Source: Tasty

Image by Casey Chae

A BIT ABOUT GINGERBREAD

FUN FOOD FACTS

               SO WHY IS IT BIG?

     Gingerbread originated in it's earliest form in ancient Greece and Egypt, where it was used in ceremonies. Gingerbread houses were invented in the 16th century by Germans, while Queen Elizabeth I herself is credited with the first gingerbread man's creation. She is believed to have created them to look similar to some prestigious guests who were coming visit her. It is even a Swedish tradition to make a wish with gingerbread in your palm and crush it. If the gingerbread cookie breads into three pieces, your wish will come true. Making gingerbread cookies is undoubtedly a beloved and timeworn holiday tradition, and many people have found ways to make unique gingerbread creations and customs! The largest gingerbread house ever made was in Bryan, Texas, in 2013. This colossal treat is 60 feet long, 42 feet wide, and 10.1 feet tall, able to comfortably fit a family of five. Plus, it's completely edible! There is also a restaurant made out of gingerbread that you can dine in during the Christmas season. Unfortunately, the house itself is not on the menu. The city of Nuremberg, Germany was first recognized as the gingerbread capital of the world in the 1600's, it it holds this title to this day. In England, gingerbread was once thought to have medicinal properties. The first cookbook written in America was produced by Amelia Simmons in 1976 and contained 7 recipes for gingerbread alone. The record for the largest gingerbread village was set by a man named Jon Lovitch, sous chef at the New York Marriot Marquis hotel, whose town contained 135 homes, 22 commercial buildings, and a train and cable car. The most expensive gingerbread house, sold for around $78,000 was made by the British retailer VeryFirstTo. June 5th is considered National Gingerbread Day in the US. William Shakespeare seems to have enjoyed some good gingerbread, as in his play "Love's Labours Lost" he writes "An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy ginger-bread." Much like figgy pudding, the earliest recipes for gingerbread often did not contain ginger and could not technically be called bread. Around 3 million ounces of ground are sold every year around the holidays, enough to make 450 million gingerbread men. Hand in hand, the gingerbread men could circle the earth approximately one and a half times. In Germany, gingerbread cookies were once actually used to pay taxes! In the Middle Ages, ladies would give gingerbread to their favored knight before competitions and tournaments to bring them luck. Whether you prefer gingerbread men or houses, there is a gingerbread custom out there that is right for you. Perhaps try learning more about one or two of these and attempting them yourself!

 

                                                                                               South_Sea_Dragon 

RECIPE

Ingredients: 2/3 cup softened unsalted butter, 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, 2/3 cup molasses, 1 large egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tbsp ground ginger, 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground allspice,  1/2 tsp ground cloves

Step 1: Beat butter in a large bowl at medium speed until creamy. Add sugar and molasses and beat until combined

Step 2: Beat in egg and vanilla on high speed for around two minutes

Step 3: Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in another bowl. Mix the contents of both bowls in the large bowl

Step 4: Divide dough into two separate portions and place both onto large pieces of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and pat both portions into disc-like shape

Step 5: Chill dough. This can take from three hours up to 3 days

Step 6: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper

Step 7: Remove chilled cookies from the refrigerator, cover work surface, rolling pin, and hands with lots of flour.

Step 8: Roll discs until only 1-inch thick and cut into shapes, placing these shapes on the baking sheets

Step 9: Bake for up to ten minutes, then take cookies out and allow them to cool

Step 10: Decorate with frosting and serve to friends and family!

Gugelhupf

A BIT ABOUT
FIGGY PUDDING

FUN FOOD FACTS

               SO WHY IS IT BIG?

      If you have ever heard the song "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", you may be wondering what figgy pudding is and why the carolers in the song are repeatedly demanding it from the listener. This strange 'treat' was once used as a way to fast in preparation for Christmas and was originally made up of mutton, prunes, raisins, and various types of alcohol and spices. Figgy pudding, although originally rather savory, gradually became more and more sweet as fruit became more common and easy to come by, and grains, vegetables, and prunes were added. In the early 1800's the famous Christmas song mentioning figgy pudding was written, and was sung by poor carolers who went from door to door boldly asking the richer residents to bring them figgy pudding so that they may have something to eat for Christmas Day. At one time the Puritans actually banned figgy pudding, along with the entire Christmas holiday, believing that it was a wasteful celebration which threatened central beliefs of Christianity. Eventually, Christmas and figgy pudding were reinstated as a Christmas staple by King George I. Surprisingly, figs have never actually been included in any official recipe for figgy pudding, put were sometimes included as a substitute for other fruits, eventually giving this food the name that it is known by today. The pudding was made to be shaped like a cannonball, put into an intense blaze, and aged, to be saved during advent until around Christmas time. Figgy pudding is still made today, and can sometimes be found in supermarkets around the time of Christmas. In many British traditions, a silver six pence coin is hidden within the pudding to be found by a lucky winner. A certain 'Christmas Pudding' (possibly figgy) is even mentioned in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". Here is an excerpt from the passage: 

"In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered—flushed, but smiling proudly—with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top."

     Figgy pudding is a beloved addition to many Christmas dinner tables, and various recipes have been passed on through families from generation to generation. While it is unlikely that you have ever tasted figgy pudding before, perhaps you could find a way to incorporate it into the festivities this Christmas season.

                                                                                             South_Sea_Dragon

RECIPE

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups chopped dried pitted dates, 1/2 cup chopped dried figs, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 100 grams softened butter, 1 cup superfine sugar, 2 eggs, 2 1/2 cups self rising flour, 75 grams grated dark chocolate, whipped cream. Sauce: 2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups heavy cream, 200 grams butter, fresh quartered figs, vanilla ice cream

Step 1: Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Step 2: Put dates, dried figs, and water into a moderately sized saucepan and boil over medium heat

Step 3: Remove the pan from the heat and add baking soda to the mix. Wait 5 minutes for it to cool before pureeing in a blender

Step 4: Use a hand mixer to cream the sugar and butter in a large bowl. Add eggs and beat. Pour flour, pureed date mix, and chocolate into  bowl

Step 5: Distribute your mixture into four buttered ramekins and put into oven for up to 25 minutes

Step 6: To create the sauce, mix the sugar and cream in a medium bowl over low heat. Once the sugar dissolves, raise the heat to a boil, then lower the heat again to simmer for 5 minutes

Step 7: Add butter and stir. Then remove the ramekins from your oven and let them sit on the counter for about 10 minutes. Use a knife to cut a cross on  the tops of the pudding so that sauce may be added

Step 8: Pour the sauce on your puddings, first into the crosses, then over the entire pudding, and allow it to soak in slightly

Step 9: Top with fresh figs, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream, and enjoy a tradition Christmas favorite!

Source: Food Network

Image by Phillip Larking

A BIT ABOUT
SAGE

FUN FOOD FACTS

              SO WHY IS IT BIG?

     Sage is a member of the mint family with a rather pleasant smell and taste. There are hundreds of different varieties of this herb, over 900 to be more specific, and it's flowers come in four different colors, blue, white, purple, and pink.  Sage grows on a bush, prefers sunlight, and sprouts up in meadows and fields. This plant can grow well even with very little soil. One bush can live for six to ten years and grow to be more than two feet tall. Sage also happens to be a very historical plant, and has been used in food for around 2000 years. The ancient Greeks used it to preserve meat and the Romans used it to heal sore throats and wounds. It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. In the 1600's, the Chinese traded the herb with the European people for tea. In the new world, Americans began rubbing their teeth with it in an attempt to clean them. It is native to the Mediterranean, being cultivated in Italy, Albania, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, England, Canada, and the United States. Sage is eaten both whole and ground, and it's scientific name  derives from the Latin word ‘salveo’ which means ‘salvation’, ‘to be in good health’, ‘to save’, ‘to heal’. For some reason, sage is also considered to be a very good rodent repellent. The honey from the sage plat's nectar is in high demand in Europe due to it's somewhat spicy flavor. Tea and mouthwashes are also made of sage. Juice from the leaves can be used to soothe insect bites. A NCBI study on sage reports: 'For a long time, sage (Salvia) species have been used in traditional medicine for the relief of pain, protecting the body against oxidative stress, free radical damages, angiogenesis, inflammation, bacterial and virus infection, etc., Several studies suggest that sage species can be considered for drug development because of their reported pharmacology and therapeutic activities in many countries of Asia and Middle East, especially China and India. These studies suggest that Salvia species, in addition to treating minor common illnesses, might potentially provide novel natural treatments for the relief or cure of many serious and life-threatening diseases such as depression, dementia, obesity, diabetes, lupus, heart disease, and cancer. This article presents a comprehensive analysis of the botanical, chemical, and pharmacological aspects of sage. 'In general, experts agree that sage is a very useful herb to have around, so perhaps you should consider purchasing some sage next time you go to the store, or even grow some sage in your garden at home.

FORAGING

Preparations: Container to gather up sage, plant snippers

Step 1: Sage can grow almost anywhere under almost any condition. If you cannot find sage in your area, consider planting your own garden

Step 2: This plant needs lots of sunlight, whether you grow it in a pot or outdoors, and like any other plant, also requires water

Step 3: Once it is planted, your sage plant should frequently sprout leaves to be gathered, and eventually used in your cooking. There is a proper way to trim sage, which can be accomplished with plant snippers

Step 4: This simple plant can be used in too many delicious foods to count, so look up some recipes online for inspiration

Source: Grow Forage Cook Ferment

Almonds

A BIT ABOUT ALMONDS

FUN FOOD FACTS

          SO WHY ARE THEY BIG?

     Hello again! Are you ready to learn jut how interesting almonds truly are? Well, if you are, prepare to shed a whole knew light on a regular old food that you probably take for granted. To start off, did you know that one of the most troublesome problems for almond farmers is paying for their rented bees? This is because almonds rely entirely on bees for their pollination and growth, so with lots and lots of bees, you won't end up with very many almonds when it comes time to harvest. And to add to the troubles of these poor farmers, bees are some of the most fussy workers imaginable. They will utterly refuse to work in the rain, at night, in the early morning, or when there is frost on the ground. But if bees are too fussy and expensive, you could always just pickle the underdeveloped green almonds. This strange snack is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. You would probably be better off going with regular almonds, especially because of their amazing health benefits. These benefits are so evident, in fact, that even some of the first travelers to the United States were able to recognize it. This is why the almond became one of the first foods to be awarded a qualified 'health claim' in the US. According to Wikipedia: 'A health claim on a food label and in food marketing is a claim by a manufacturer of food products that their food will reduce the risk of developing a disease or condition.' Almonds help to slow absorbtion of sugar and carbs, and recent studies show that almonds eaten in the mid-morning can help moderate your blood sugar throughout the day. People have been cultivating and eating these nuts for a long time, and there are even record of almonds being served to ancient pharaohs. Yes, the almond is truly an amazing nut! And yet, what if I were to tell you that the almonds that you know and (maybe) love are not actually nuts at all! Indeed, they are actually considered to be drupes, a kind of fruit in which the outer fleshy part surrounds a shell. In this case, we eat the shell, and not the fruit, but some examples of drupes in their fruit form are peaches, plumbs, and cherries. To keep the facts going, did you know that the almonds that you eat and the almonds used for almond oil are actually two totally different types of almonds. Sweet almonds are edible, while bitter almonds are not, and are only used for almond oil and such things. The fruit that surround the almond is green and somewhat fuzzy, and it is actually quite edible, although it is also very sour. Almonds are used to make nougat, many pastries, cookies, cakes, and other sweets and desserts. 40% of the world's chocolates are used by chocolate makers to make chocolate masterpieces, 90% or more of the world's almonds are eaten in the US, and California supplies around 80% of the world's almonds. And finally, there are many, many different ways to say 'almond'.  These include: Amande, mandel, almendra, mandorla, amýgdalo, amygdal, iwz, xìngrén, amondo, baadaam, mindal', badāma, 'alemona, almón, mandel, amêndoa, migdałowy, bajame, ālimonidi, nush, badam, bādāma, mindaĺ, badem, bar dan see, ametlla, amandula, mandle, amandel, migdalo, pili, manteli, améndoa, nushi, zanmann, txiv ntoo, möndlu, almọnd, kacang almond, bādāmi, a l mong, almonde, amondeu, beîv, an mon, mandeļu, migdolų,  amygdala, lewż, aramona, büils, amondi, migdale, sekati, almon, āmanḍ, mandľový, mandelj, yicib, mlozi, ʙodom, Pātam koṭṭai, Xạl mxn d̒, myhdalʹ, quả hạnh, iamangile, mandl, almondi, and i-alimondi. So... yeah. I hope you enjoyed this weeks Fun Food Facts.

                                                                                                             South_Sea_Dragon

FORAGING

Preparations: Patience, an almond sapling, bees, a small shovel, a sunny, dry environment, lots of water, a pruning tool, large amounts of fertilizer, a tarp, a long pole,  a rubber mallet, plastic netting, disposable plastic containers, garden hose, some mulch

Step 1: Find a sunny place at least 20 feet away from buildings, power lines, or other trees. This will be the place where you plant your almond sapling.

Step 2: Use a garden hose to spray off the rootball without harming the roots.

Step 3: Dig a whole deep enough for your saplings roots and gently place the plant down in the hole.

Step 4: Refill your hole with well-draining soil, then water the plant with at least one gallon of water and place a layer of mulch around the base of the tree.

Step 5: Prune the tree by cutting off any small twigs near the base of the plant.

Step 6: Now... Wait for five or so years for the tree to fully develop and start growing almonds. This is the part where you'll need patience.

Step 7: So, theoretically you have returned to The Big Foods after five years of waiting and taking care of your tree with proper watering and the occasional small amount of fertilizer. Well, if you have, then let's continue.

Step 8: Start inspecting your tree as August begins, and harvest when the hulls of about 95 of the fruits have split. Spread a tarp below the tree to collect fallen nuts.

Step 9: Collect the ripe fruit that you can easily reach, and get the higher fruit with a long pole, and hit the thicker branches with a rubber mallet to gather the rest.

Step 10: Gather your almonds quickly and immediately begin removing the hulls by hand. Put the hulls in a compost pile.

Step 11: Spread the almonds out in a single layer on a large tray. Cover the tray with loose plastic netting and set it out in the sun. Keep it out during the days and bring it back inside when the sun sets. 

Step 12: Shake the nuts to test their readiness. They will rattle when dry enough. Store the nuts in disposable plastic containers and store at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for one or two weeks.

Step 13: Remove the almonds from the containers, place them in new containers, and destroy the old ones. Store your almonds in the container for up to eight months.

Step 14: Refrigerate at around 32 degrees Fahrenheit for a year, then freeze at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for a year or more. 

Step 15: You almonds are finally ready to be eaten. If you actually completed this, you have an insane amount of patience. Keep taking care of that tree!

Sources: MasterClass, SFGATE

Image by Ladimir Ladroid

A BIT ABOUT PERSIMMONS

FUN FOOD FACTS

  SO WHY ARE THEY BIG?

      Persimmons are a strange and unique orange colored fruit (though they technically belong to the berry family) with around 2000 varieties that are typically in season from September to December. Although there are so many varieties, only to of them are commercially available, so the others are harder to find. Persimmons can be found growing in many parts  of North America, but they were actually originally grown in China. The Chinese variety is also the sweetest kind of persimmon, and this delicious fruit/berry is loved by people throughout the country, and even the world! Persimmons have other ways of being eaten than simply being devoured fresh. You can also eat them dried, canned, or even made into types of bread or cookies! Persimmon trees have been given the very important job of growing the persimmons, which can sprout from the trees up to seven years after being planted. These trees look quite beautiful no matter where they grow, and they can even reach up to 70 feet tall if treated with care. They have also been known to grow small bell-shaped flowers of various colors, ranging from white to green. In the past, the fruit has been mistaken for a tomato.  Koreans use persimmons to make a spicy fruit punch called sujeonggwa, as well as a special type of persimmon vinegar. In Korean folklore, dried persimmons were used to scare away tigers.  Persimmons are apparently very good for you, as Just Fun Facts says: The health benefits of persimmons include ability to improve eye health, reduce signs of aging, prevent various types of cancer, improve digestion, boost your immune system, lower cholesterol, increase your metabolism, promote weight loss, strengthen your bones, boost cognitive function, lower blood pressure, and take care of your skin.    Despite this, persimmons have never been as widely popular as apples or oranges, which is why you may never have eaten one.  The word persimmon means dry fruit, but the scientific name of this berry is much less humble. In fact, when translated from Greek, the scientific name means 'food of the gods'. There is even a special ki