More Uncommon Facts About Common Fruit and Vegetables

Update your fruit and vegetable knowledge with this handy guide,

Welcome back to our series for foodservice professionals where we are discovering and uncovering details about the produce used every day in your commercial kitchen.

From fun facts to functional food tips, this guide is an opportunity to expand your culinary repertoire, learn about fruit and vegetable varieties you may not be familiar with, get practical tips on cooking and baking with various produce, and stock up on new recipes that are sure to dazzle and delight your customers.

What You Didn’t Know About Cucumbers

As we discovered in Part I of this series, contrary to popular belief, cucumbers are officially a fruit and not a vegetable. Either way, however, they are nutritious, delicious, and have been part of the human diet since ancient times. Originally grown in India and used for both culinary and medicinal purposes, some of cucumber’s therapeutic values include its soothing and cooling effects on the body which can alleviate sunburn, reduce swelling, reduce skin irritations, and nourish the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-diabetic properties (helping regulate blood sugar levels), while its high water content helps hydrate the body and get rid of toxins and waste materials.

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What You Didn’t Know About Common Fruit and Vegetables

Last updated on February 17th, 2020

Get familiar with the uncommon benefits of the produce appearing in eateries.

If you cook, bake, or cater professionally, this must-read is for you! In this factual yet fun-packed blog, you will discover what you didn’t know about some of the most common fruits and vegetables on the market. These are the same ingredients that you cook with daily, that you use to make decadent desserts, and that typically appear in your restaurants popular recipes and dishes.

Fruits and Vegetables Defined

Let’s begin our journey by learning what officially constitutes a ‘fruit’ and what properties define a ‘vegetable.’ At the same time, you will become privy to some surprising facts that will shake up some of what you thought you knew about the world of produce.

In a nutshell, foods that grow from a flower-based plant and that fit the criteria of having a fleshy and seedy inside are classified as fruits. On the other hand, vegetables come from plants that do not have seeds, and this applies to all edible parts of a plant, including its roots, stem, and leaves.

This makes potatoes, celery, carrots, and lettuce classic vegetables. However, many other types of produce popularly known as vegetables are really fruit! Case in point: Tomatoes, string beans, eggplants (think fleshy texture with seeds), pumpkins, squash, avocados, zucchini, and even cucumbers… by definition, these foods are technically fruit.

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How to Add Healthy Apricots to Foodservice Menus

Last updated on February 16th, 2020

Enjoy apricot cooking and baking tips, apricot recipes, apricot history, and more.

Whether you eat them raw, dried, or canned, there are countless ways to enjoy the healthy, tasty apricot. In fact, apricots are used to prepare a wide array of savory side dishes, sauces, oils, jams, and desserts. If you are a gourmet chef, professional baker, or own a restaurant or catering service, this blog will give you the 411 on cooking and baking with apricots. In addition, as we shine a sweet spotlight on this tart fruit, you will enjoy a myriad of new recipes to add to your menu while your customers enjoy being pampered by your new delightful apricot offerings.

Apricot Basics

Scientifically known as Prunus armeniaca, the apricot fruit has a thin, fuzzy, yellow or orange exterior with a tangy flesh and inedible pit inside. Less juicy – and hence less messy – than their peach, plum, and nectarine counterparts, they are perfect as a healthy snack and can be easily added to numerous recipes. Apricot oil can also be extracted from its kernel (seed) and like the fruit itself, it is packed with healthy benefits.

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Unique Fall and Winter Vegetables to Add to Your Restaurant’s Menu

Last updated on January 30th, 2020

Add these unique and largely unfamiliar fall and winter vegetables to your menu

With the fall vegetable season still in full bloom and the winter vegetable season looming, now is the perfect time for your restaurant, catering service, or other eatery to cash in on the plethora of delicious, nutritious vegetables currently available. To help your menu really stand out from the crowd, we have created a list of some the most unique fall and winter vegetables on the market, guaranteed to tweak your customers’ culinary curiosity, please their palates, and keep them coming back for more.

The selections – including shiso, fennel bulbs, crosnes, fiddleheads, celeriac, and many more – are some the most unusual, head-turning vegetables you have ever heard of. Add these veggies to your restaurant’s menu, combine them with some savvy business-boosting marketing techniques (think Pinterest and Instagram…), and what you have is a recipe for winter recipe success.

And that’s not all. If your chefs feel like they have exhausted their repertoire of recipe ideas for dishes made from run-of-the-mill potatoes, onions, squash, and other staples, it’s time to step out of the culinary box and sink your teeth into the likes of blue potatoes, tree onions, Hakerei turnips, delicata squash, Chinese water spinach, Chinese artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, dragon carrots, black radishes, white asparagus – and the list goes on.

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Why Okra Should Appear on Your Foodservice Menu

Nutritious and delicious okra, okra seeds, and okra water appearing on menus

If Okra, Okra seeds, and Okra dishes are not part of your restaurant’s current offerings or something your catering service provides, it’s time for you and your chefs to learn why okra should appear on your menu and how you and your customers can benefit from its many nutritious and tasty properties.

Let’s begin with the basics: What is Okra? A longtime favorite in Southern cooking and originally brought to the U.S. by Ethiopian slaves, Okra is a vegetable that comes from the same plant family as cotton and hibiscus. Also known as “ladies fingers” due to its unique finger shape, it has earned a reputation as a health food and has even been recommended as a way to help manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

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New Water Beverages Compete for the Top Spot

New, improved, and pioneering water beverages are in high demand.

If you thought you were up to speed with what’s new in the water beverage industry – think again! The oldest and most natural drink in the world has been given a modern-day facelift – and not just a makeover. In recent years, water has been experiencing a seemingly endless stream of modifications, additions, enhancements, and embellishments.

Competition in the water industry is on the rise. On one end of the spectrum, food-and-beverage moguls are busy trying to one-up each other in the realm of innovation, while smaller, local foodservice operators are stocking their refrigerators and updating their menus with a plethora of diverse water offerings.

No matter what type of restaurant, catering service, bakery, coffee shop, pizzeria, ice cream parlor, food truck, bar, fast-food joint, or other eatery you operate, staying competitive in the biz means keeping abreast of what H2O varieties your customers are craving and what ingredients and flavors your chefs can add to take your offerings to a new level.

A Waterfall of Varieties

Attributed in large part to the health-and-wellness movement and consumers’ shunning of artificial, synthetic, and sugar-laden products, the functional beverage sector (i.e. drinks that offer benefits beyond quenching your thirst) has experienced unprecedented growth and expansion. Walk down any supermarket drink aisle or scan a 2019 beverage menu and the choices are continually expanding. From bottled to canned, flavored, sparkling, collagen-infused, vitamin-infused, mineral-infused, protein-infused, alkaline-infused, carbonated, sweetened, and even chemically altered to increase the oxygen or hydrogen content, it is clear that the recent title wave of activity is more than just a trickling fad.

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How To Incorporate Figs in Your Restaurant Menu

Discover how you can add healthy figs to your restaurant menus.

Sweet and Healthy Figs Play a New Role on Restaurant Menus

Fig season is here and will continue through mid-November. If you work in foodservice and have not yet discovered the amazing flavors, textures, and array of colorful figs, it’s time to clear your plates and make room for a large serving of all thing’s fig-tastic. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn about the history of figs, fig fun facts, fig nutrients, fig varieties, how to cook and bake with figs and dried figs and enjoy some recommended recipes.

Figs in the Food Industry

Did you know that the edible fig is thought to be the first plant ever cultivated by humans? Eaten fresh, dried, cooked, or added to baking recipes, figs are naturally sweet, a rich source of fiber, and contain trace amounts of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Dried figs are especially packed with dietary fiber and provide 26% of the recommended daily value of manganese.

While previously the fruit has been overlooked by chefs, fig flavors and dishes are growing in popularity and are increasingly appearing on restaurant menus. Recently, they made headline news when the Swiss company Firmenich named fig the 2018 “Flavor of the Year,” while Internet searches for fig wedding cakes have seen a 500% increase in recent seasons.

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The Rise of Probiotic Beverages

Discover gut-friendly probiotic drinks and start adding them to your menu.

If you work in the beverage business, it’s time to drink in the latest buzz word in the biz: Probiotics. Whether you are a caterer, restaurant owner, or operate another type of eatery, probiotic drinks are dominating the market. In this update for foodservice pros, we’ll delve into why the fermented products are being included on multiple “top beverage trends for 2019” lists, and why you should be adding them to your menu.

The Dish on Probiotic versus Prebiotic

If you recall, we previously visited the topic of probiotics in our blog “How to Cater for Clients Who Want Gut-Friendly Foods,” where we learned that the body is full of ‘good’ bacteria that serve as digestive aids, that help prevent disease, and that provide a plethora of other health benefits.

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The Wonderful World of Ginger

Feature sensational ginger in your recipes and discover how to incorporate it in your recipes.

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Ginger! In both its raw and powdered forms, ginger has been named a ‘superfood,’ and for good reason. Well-known for its usage as a savory spice and as a medicinal plant, ginger is not only one of today’s top herbs for cooking and baking, it has also played a prominent role in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda nutrition for over 3,000 years where it hailed as both a potent anti-inflammatory and flavor enhancer.

From its origins as one the first spices exported to Europe from the Orient during the spice trade, and up until today, where ginger’s sharp, pungent taste and aroma is a star ingredient in many main course and dessert recipes – there are countless reasons why ginger should be at your chefs’ fingertips and why ginger recipes should feature prominently on your restaurant menu.

Ginger Quick Facts

Although the ginger plant has been around for millennium, its plethora of benefits continue to astound, so let’s indulge our taste buds with some juicy ginger facts.

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Your Complete Foodservice Guide to Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit popularity continues to rise in U.S. restaurants and food venues.

Attention all Foodservice Professionals! If you are looking for a business-booster and menu game-changer, set your sights on what is promising to be a rising star in the food-and-beverage industry: Dragon Fruit.

Even if you have never heard of dragon fruit before or have never prepared a dragon fruit recipe, now is the time to get on board because as this standout ingredient continues to gain traction in the U.S. and abroad, this is one business opportunity you do not want to miss out on.

So take a load off your feet, clear your trays, and prepare your palates for the full scoop on one of the coolest, strangest-looking, nutritious, and delicious tropical fruits on the planet.

Adventurous Consumers Love Dragon Fruit

If you work in the biz, you know that today’s daring diners are hungry for exciting and exotic tastes, for foods and beverages from around the world, and for ingredients with a wow factor. Moreover, they are willing to pay top-dollar at restaurants and food venues that provide them with unique experiences and dishes that they can post on Instagram and share online.
If ‘off-the-wall’ and ‘off-the-charts’ are what your customers are clamoring for, you can easily satiate their appetite by introducing them to the enticing world of dragon fruit.

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