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Glossary

Cantaloupesearch for term

The most popular type of melon in the US, cantaloupe is a favorite among sweet tooths for its candy-like flavor.

It is immediately recognizable by its brown, shell-like rind that can be easily removed to expose the soft, orange flesh beneath.

Being descended from tropical fruits, cantaloupe does best in warm climates where it can complete its lengthy ripening process.

As a result, summer is usually the most ideal season for harvesting cantaloupe.

The melon can be used in a variety of ways, namely as part of a salad, a dessert or an appetizer, like cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto for example.

It is always good practice to vigorously wash and scrub the surface of the cantaloupe before prepping it for a meal, as it can harbor bacteria pathogens like Salmonella.

Chayotesearch for term

The chayote is a part of the gourd family, along with melons, cucumbers and squash.

Known for its pear-like shape and its fruity, fresh flavor, it is an essential ingredient to any imitator of Cajun or Creole cuisine.

Though the chayote originated from Mexico, the word itself deriving from ancient Aztec, it spread quickly across the Caribbean Ocean, then over to Louisiana.

Due to its toughness when eaten raw, the squash is hardly ever used uncooked in a dish, save for in salads or salsas.

When lightly cooked, it takes on a crispy quality, which is particularly accentuated in spicy dishes.

In any case, the chayote is always a healthy means to get your daily intake of amino acids and vitamin C.

The fruit is not the only edible part of the chayote though; the roots, stems, seeds and leaves go well in a stir fry, for example.

When grown in a garden, the chayote needs space to spread out, so it wouldn’t thrive in an average-sized plot.

Though a bit prickly both in texture and in nature, the chayote is an eminently versatile base ingredient for any spice fiend.

Click on the link for a killer recipe from the Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/chayotes-relleno-recipe.html

Dry Farmingsearch for term

Dry farming seems like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Especially given California’s current looming drought, one would think that dry farming was a problem and not a productive strategy of yielding the desired harvest.

Dry farming is done successfully contingent on the soil’s ability to retain the moisture it does receive, even if it’s not very much. Essentially nature will determine which crops are sustainable in a particular environment. The soil should be manipulated when it is at its peak of moistness, and sealed with a layer of dry soil to prevent evaporation. 

In this process the use of irrigation is unnecessary, therefore dry farmers save money. Another benefit is that the dry layer of soil deters the growth of weeds.

Grapes are the most commonly grown on dry farms, not only in California but Italy and Greece as well. Wine grapes in particular are successfully grown using this method in wine capitals such as Napa Valley. Other crops that thrive using dry farming include tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupes, winter squash, olives, garbanzos, apricots, apples, various grains, and potatoes.

Information courtesy of http://agwaterstewards.org/index.php/practices/dry_farming/

Lycheesearch for term

Part of the soapberry family, lychee thrives in tropical and subtropical environments, especially throughout southeast Asia.

The lychee tree itself stands over 33-92 ft. while its fruits are about the same size as nectarines.

Once the coarse pink-red outer layer is pulled off, the translucent white lychee “meat” is exposed and ready to eat!

Its flavor is so delicate, sweet and refreshing that it was often served as a dessert for Chinese Imperial Court in ancient times.

Lychee is still consumed today in many different parts of Asia, both as food and as drink.

Try it with boba if you ever find it as an option!

National Food Holidayssearch for term

Every day of the year, some food is being celebrated somewhere.

Some holidays are declared by the President or by Congress, by other federal organizations such as the USDA, FDA, or CDC, or by State, County, or City governments. Others can be designated by private groups and individual companies.

Whether or not your local restaurants adhere to the National Food Holiday fad is not always clear though; that’s why it never hurts to ask!

Sometimes, a bar might offer discounts during Negroni Week or a free pint on IPA day. In August, a restaurant might even dish out some exclusive panini recipes from the vaults, since it’s National Panini Month.

If you keep your eyes and ears open, you might just get a cheaper lunch out of the deal! Or if you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll even get a free one.

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