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Butter

Did you know that pioneers made butter on the march using the motion of the wagons to agitate the cream? The scientific process of creating butter includes agitating whole cream until the fragile membranes that surround milk fat are broken, allowing fat droplets to form and join. More churning hastens the separation of cream into […]

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Mushrooms

Did you know that mushrooms have no chlorophyll, so they don’t need sunshine to grow and thrive? As a fungus, the mushroom lacks ability to use energy from the sun. Instead, it extracts carbohydrates and proteins from decaying, organic matter. Here’s an old Igbo proverb for you: “If you wish to eat a mushroom, you […]

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Zucchini

Did you know that zucchini plants originated in the Americas thousands of years ago and were re-popularized by Italian immigrants in the last century? Zucchini are summer squash (of the species cucurbita pepo), and are actually fruits, although we treat them as vegetables in the culinary sense. Here in the US, we call these familiar […]

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Ricotta Cheese

Did you know that ricotta cheese is not a true cheese? Making cheese requires the coagulation of the milk protein casein. Instead, ricotta is made by coagulating albumin and globulin, milk proteins left over in the whey during the process of making (true) cheese. The word ricotta means “re-cooked” in Italian – a great “whey” […]

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Chestnuts

Did you know the once mighty American chestnut trees were virtually wiped out by a deadly blight in the early 20th century? Fortunately, a renewed interest has been growing to save and replant native chestnut trees across the US. The American Chestnut Foundation is working to restore the American chestnut tree to its native range within the […]

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Heirloom Tomatoes

Did you know that all Heirloom tomato varieties are open-pollinated but not all open-pollinated tomato varieties are heirlooms? A little bit of a tongue twister, certainly, and perhaps just as confusing as the term “heirloom” itself. Heirloom plants (known as heritage plants in some parts of the world) were those grown during earlier periods of […]

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Blueberries

Did you know that botanists estimate blueberries have been growing on this earth for more than 13,000 years? Blueberries are the state fruit of my very own New Jersey, and my absolute favorites, so I hope they will continue to flourish for at least another 13,000 years! Try some in my hot-off-the-presses recipe: Blueberry Breakfast Cake. You can […]

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Mulberries

Did you know that mulberries are at the center of one of the world’s oldest love stories? Star-crossed lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe, agreed to tryst at the well-known white mulberry tree on the banks of a cool spring. When Pyramus arrived late and came upon a lioness with Thisbe’s veil in her mouth, he mistakenly […]

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Pound Cake

Did you know it’s called a pound cake because the original recipe called for one pound each of flour, butter, sugar and eggs? That makes sense, and it’s easy to remember, but what a massive cake that would make! Try this recipe for a more manageable pound cake, with a hint of hazelnut essence: Million […]

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Eggs

Did you know that a chef’s hat is said to have one pleat for each of the many ways eggs can be cooked? The French already knew 685 different ways of preparing eggs at the time of the French Revolution. Well, here’s one more – it takes only 5 eggs to make this simple, custardy Puerto Rican-style […]

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