NATURES BEAUTY - LILY

Easter is upon us, and no flower is more associated with the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection than the lily. Traditional lore says white lilies emerged where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the earth in his final hours on the cross. The ancient Greeks believed lilies came from the breast milk of Hera, the queen of the gods. In Roman mythology, Venus, the goddess of beauty, was jealous of the flower’s white loveliness. A European legend says if you approach an expectant mother holding a lily….

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NATURES BEAUTY - SQUASH

Is squash a vegetable or a fruit? You would probably call a zucchini squash a vegetable, but you would most likely call a pumpkin a fruit. The definitive answer, from a botanical view, is squash are fruits because they contain the seeds of the plant.  Squash are some of the oldest cultivated crops on earth, believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America more than 10,000 years ago. The word squash comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means…..

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NATURES BEAUTY - CINNAMON

One of the best-loved spices of cooks and food lovers alike is cinnamon. Made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree, cinnamon has been around since the days of ancient Egypt, where it was used to embalm mummies. The tree is native to the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia. Indonesia and China produce three-quarters of the world’s supply of cinnamon today.

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NATURES BEAUTY - PINEBERRIES

The plants also have a low yield. But pineberries are still a delightful addition to any fruit bowl and can be used in jams, jelly and other recipes that call for strawberries.


People were skeptical there was such a thing as pineberries because a British grocery store that said it was going to carry them had previously fooled the public by advertising the “pinana,” a pineapple banana. Because the pineberries’ debut was announced around April 1, many shoppers assumed they were a joke. But they are for real. Pineberries are not yet readily available in local supermarkets because they do not ship well. They are, however, easy to grow at home. They require the same care and maintenance as regular red strawberries. You can order pineberry plants from certified growers (see Sources) and grow them in raised beds and larger containers. Plant them in a pineberry-to-regular-strawberry ratio of 4:1 for improved cross pollination, and give all the plants room to grow.


A few pineberry varieties are available, compared to the hundreds of varieties of the typical strawberry. The varieties currently being cultivated include the White

Pine (a very vigorous plant); White Carolina (more susceptible to diseases and requires regular application of organic or sometimes chemical fungicides); White D (yields slightly larger fruit that is still smaller than regular strawberries); and Natural Albino cultivars. According to www.strawberryplants.org, pineberry plants are grown just like regular strawberries, although they need a regular strawberry plant close by for pollination. Cross-pollination between a red strawberry variety and a pineberry will likely increase fruit yield in both plants.


What will they think of next? How about purple strawberries?


Sources:


TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler

Just when I was starting to think there was nothing new to write about for Nature’s Beauty, along come pineberries.


What is a pineberry? It is a recently developed strawberry cultivar that comes in such colors as pale pink, pale orange and white with red outer seeds (these are called achenes). Pineberries exposed to direct sunlight will usually have a more evident pink flush. And no, the pineberry is not a mutation or a product of genetic engineering or modification. Pineberries are related to the common domesticated garden strawberry. They are the result of crossbreeding – a hybrid of wild South American (particularly Chile) and North American strawberries.


Pineberries first appeared on the food scene thanks to the careful plant selection and cultivation of some Dutch farmers. The name is derived from fusing the words pineapple and strawberry. As this combo suggests, the pineberry is aromatic with a flavor reminiscent of pineapple, yet the fruit has the texture and feel of a strawberry. Hence its other name, the pineapple strawberry (ananaserdbeere in German).


Pineberries are currently produced in limited quantities in Europe and Belize. The first commercial cultivation occurred in 2010 in the Netherlands and Belgium. They were first imported to the United States in 2012. Because they are small – less than an inch long for the larger ones – they are not as profitable as either of their namesakes.