Monday, May 28, 2012

Nuts vs. Legumes



It’s A Nut Case

Everyone is nuts about nuts. Scientists, nutritionist, growers, consumers and kids absolutely love nuts.

Nuts come in an absolute variety of sizes, shapes, colors and flavors. But I have a secret to tell that I didn't know myself...  are you sitting down?

Some nuts aren't technically nuts at all! What we think of as the common nut can be fooling us! Well, it's time to "crack" the mystery.

Nuts vs. Legumes

The difference between nuts and legumes aren't always obvious by mere sight.Both legumes and nuts consist of a simple dry fruit carried inside a pod or shell, but upon examining the details, the two groups prove to have significant differences.

A nut will usually have only one seed and at most it will have two but, legumes often contain multiple seeds; it isn't uncommon for a pea pod to contain half a dozen peas, right?

Additionally, a true nut is always indehiscent, meaning it won't open on its own. The majority of legumes are dehiscent, opening naturally along a seam on two sides. Again, the pea pod is an obvious example of this.

The seed of a true nut is never attached
to the ovary wall, while legumes often contain seeds attached to their pods. legumes are known to replenish nitrogen in the soil, making legumes ideal for use in crop rotations.

Legumes contain starch, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Nuts contain protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Common types of legumes include black beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, navy beans and pinto beans. Soybeans are also considered to be a legume.

Peanuts (legume) are an all American favorite. They were indeed discovered by the native people and conquistador introduced them to the 'New World'. They grow underground and not on trees as like a walnut. Peanuts are also commonly called Goobers, which are actually legumes as like a pinto bean or navy bean. Peanuts are a favorite to Americans and used in numerous products. They pack a hearty serving of protein.

Serving: 32 peanuts
Nutrition: 159 cal; 14g fat; 7g protein
Fresh idea: use in stir-fry, brittle, peanut butter cookies or salads for extra crunch.

Walnuts (fruit) are my absolute favorite nut.. ahem.. legume. Baked goods just aren't the same without a fist full of walnuts. 

 Walnuts are one of the oldest tree fruits that man has ever discovered. That's right, walnuts are actually fruit! They've been traded along the Silk Road for centuries. The meaty kernels arrived in the America in the late 1700's and has been the tops of the tops for baking. Walnuts are really an American signature when it comes to baking.

Did you know that one handful of walnuts boasts more antioxidants than other shelled snacks. They're ultimate favorite amongst dieters, heat patients and diabetics.

Serving: 14 walnut halves
Nutrition: 183 cal; 18g fat; 4g protein
Fresh idea: Sprinkle over mushroom soup for added earthiness.

 Pistachios (seed). Legend has it that pistachio trees were planted in Nebuchadnezzar's famed gardens around 600 BC. Scientists have found the earliest pistachio trees in Syria, Persia (Iran) and Iraq.

Thomas Jefferson even tried growing pistachio trees at Monticello but, the cold weather was too harsh for the young trees. A gift from Jefferson to George Washington was made of pistachio trees.

These lovely tasting green seeds are loaded with vitamin B6 (20% of your daily value per ounce).

Serving: 49 pistachios
Nutrition: 158 cal; 13g fat; 6g protein
Fresh idea: Roll goat cheese in chopped pistachios for a salad topping

 Almonds (fruit) are botanically considered a fruit just like an apple or orange. This explains why they're so good in sweets and deserts. Besides their wonderful, one ounce of almonds supplies the same amount of polyphenols (health-promoting compounds) as a cup of green tea.

Serving: 22 almonds
Nutrition: 161 cal; 14g fat; 6g protein
Fresh idea: Slivered almonds are at home in a batch of granola, macaroons, dipped in dark chocolate, pesto.

Brazil nuts (actual nut) are unique with their high selenium content, whose antioxidant properties protect against heart disease, cancer, and aging. If you've never tried these, it's not too late. Brazil nuts are sold all year round and you can find them either in the shell (raw) or roasted out of the shell.

Serving: 25 Brazil nuts
Nutrition: 172 cal; 11g fat; 7g protein
Fresh idea: as is or topped with a bit of cream cheese to cut the bitter flavor.


Types of legumes
Many supermarkets and food stores stock a wide variety of legumes — both dried and canned. Below are several of the more common types and their typical uses.
Type of legumeCommon uses
Adzuki beans
Also known as field peas or red oriental beans
Soups, sweet bean paste, and Japanese and Chinese dishes
Anasazi beans
Also known as Jacob's cattle beans
Soups and Southwestern dishes; can be used in recipes that call for pinto beans
Black beansBlack beans
Also known as turtle beans
Soups, stews, rice dishes and Latin American cuisines
Black-eyed peas
Also known as cowpeas
Salads, casseroles, fritters and Southern dishes
Also known as garbanzo or ceci beans
Casseroles, hummus, minestrone soup, and Spanish and Indian dishes
Also known as green soybeans
Snacks, salads, casseroles and rice dishes
Fava beansFava beans
Also known as broad or horse beans
Stews and side dishes
LentilsSoups, stews, salads, side dishes and Indian dishes
Lima beans
Also known as butter or Madagascar beans
Succotash, casseroles, soups and salads
Red kidney beansStews, salads, chili and rice dishes
Soy nuts
Also known as roasted soybeans or soya beans
Snacks or garnish for salads

Types of nuts Calories Total fat
(saturated/unsaturated fat)*
Almonds, raw 163 14 g (1.1 g/12.2 g)
Almonds, dry roasted 169 15 g (1.1 g/12.9 g)
Brazil nuts, raw 186 19 g (4.3 g/12.8 g)
Cashews, dry roasted 163 13.1 g (2.6 g/10 g)
Chestnuts, roasted 69 0.6 g (0.1 g/0.5 g)
Hazelnuts (filberts), raw 178 17 g (1.3 g/15.2 g)
Hazelnuts (filberts), dry roasted 183 17.7 g (1.3 g/15.6 g)
Macadamia nuts, raw 204 21.5 g (3.4 g/17.1 g)
Macadamia nuts, dry roasted 204 21.6 g (3.4 g/17.2 g)
Peanuts, legume, dry roasted 166 14 g (2g/11.4 g)
Pecans, dry roasted 201 21 g (1.8 g/18.3 g)
Pistachios, dry roasted 161 12.7 g (1.6 g/10.5 g)
Walnuts, halved 185 18.5 g (1.7 g/15.9 g)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Free Mock Starbucks Frappaccino Recipe Ever!





I've looked the world wide web over for the perfect frappuccino iced coffee recipe that's similar to what you would find at the major coffee houses as like Starbucks, The Moka, Dunkin Donuts, Markus Coffee, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf etc. I've never found a recipe that is even close to the flavour and texture of the corporate mockfrappaccino blended coffee drink.

There's nothing like a cold frothy iced blended coffee beverage on hot day after doing gardening. It's a true reward for me but, I hate having to hop in the hot car to waist good gas, time and effort for just a 'beverage' so,  I've spend nearly a year trying to find the best recipe for a mockfrappaccino blended ice coffee. I'd give up and eventually pick-up where I left off in searching and trying recipes found by other java users who need a blended iced coffee fix.

Most recipes on the internet for frappaccinos are simply repeats. The flavours are similar but, they're always missing that "it" factor.

While catching up on garden news on the web the other day, I came across an article regarding American grown corn and its bi-products used in daily life.

As I kept skipping from one website to another reading about corn, a light bulb went off in my head (I call it divine interception) on how to improve my mockfrappaccino recipe!

Big corporate coffee houses actually put additives or fillers in their blended coffees make their blended beverages a consistent texture and flavour. The fillers are binders. They bind all ingredients to achieve smooth texture which heightens flavor.

Each branded coffee house uses different additives from one another. It's like a trademark to differ their recipes which are basically the same recipe just a pinch of this or that is changed.

In seeking out a really good make-at-home mock frappuccino recipe, I figured out an additive that almost all of us (particularly backyard gardeners) have on hand. We use it for cooking, batter frying, seed germination, seed tapes, pesticide etc.

Yes, all coffee houses have add particular ingredients that help stabilize the froth, whip or blend of cold coffee drinks; otherwise, you'll blended drink separates quickly or turns back to a watering consistent quickly. There's nothing worse than a watered down Frappuccino, is there?

Drum role please... . Here's the "secret" ingredient that will keep your blended coffee drinks smooth, stayed blended longer and just great to look at. The additive or filler that you most likely have in your pantry that will bind all ingredients together is simple cornstarch! <applause!> <clap, clap, clap> <applause>... <I modestly curtsy> :O)

Corn stark will significantly make your at-home blended beverage smoother which creates a better flavour experience. Without a filler or binder the ice, water, milk and sugars want to separate due to the cold factor.

Here's my recipe that  I know you'll enjoy. Gratitude can be sent in the form of a donation to . I accept both PayPal and Google Checkout / Wallet. All proceeds will either go toward garden supplies, dirty martinis or my extreme coffee habit. wink.

Thank you kindly for your contribution. I'm most appreciative.

How To Grow Corn

Corn Is Super Easy To Grow. 
It Will Even Grow In Sand or Containers.

Corn will and has grown in desert arid conditions, great American plains to northern wetlands. A bountiful harvest is all about choosing the right variety for your general area and planting when the ground temperature rises above 50F and air temperature is 60F once the plant rises out of the soil.

I'm a big fan of heirloom corn and I always do my best to find a good hardy variety of sweet corn as like Golden Bantam,  Hookers Sweet Indian heirloom sweet corn, Hopi, Honey Pearl, Luther Hill sweet corn, etc.

From experience, I've been  successful by planting corn in the northern most part of your garden. Be sure that your corn doesn't block the sun for other plants near by.

Plant after a complete danger of frost has past. You'll regret it otherwise. Always plant in well drained soil. Most corn will grow in any soil conditions but, salty soil. 

Be sure to water the ground well before planting. This gives corn a good head start.

Corn may need additional water to make quality ears during a dry summer. Very hot weather can also have a negative effect on pollination of corn. For a continuous crop, stagger plantings a few weeks apart or choose corn varieties with different maturities. For instance, choose one variety of corn that may mature in 60 days or another that my mature in 80 days or so.

It's always best to find which variety suits your hardiness zone and soil but, in general I've not had a sweet corn that wouldn't grow in the heat of southern California desert. Native American Indians have been cultivating corn in the desert for centuries before Europeans arrived.


Yep, corn is monoecious (mon-ee-shuss). That means that there are both male and female flowers on each corn plant. American Native Americans called this two spirits. 

In some monoecious plants, male and female parts are in the same flower. In corn, male and female flowers are in different locations - the male flowers form a tassel which is at the top of the plant. At first it will stand straight and eventually it will lay over... uhem.

The female flower is located at the junction of leaves and stem. It consists of a collection silks enclosed in the husks of what will eventually become the ears. These silks or strands are the pollen-receiving tubes. Yep. Under a microscope the silks of a corn plant are actually tubes that wind-blown pollen from the male flowers (tassel) falls on the silks below and enter through the pours of the silks and follow the tube to it's final destination during pollination. Each silk leads to a kernel, and pollen must land on all silks for the ear to fill out completely with kernels. Missing kernels "skips" (ears only partly filled out with kernels) are often the result of poor pollination.

You can easily help pollination along on corn by either shaking stalks or gently running your hands up the tassels and sprinkle the pollen on the corn silks.

Basic Planting Guide For Corn

Plant corn about May 10 or when soils reach a temperature of at least 50F. Corn seed will not germinate in colder soils, decaying instead. The extra sweet varieties of corn require even warmer soil. The hotter the better. 

You'll have a better success rate at growing really sweet corn if the ground temperature is  at least 60F. You can warm soil by covering with black plastic and punching holes through it to plant seed. The rate at which corn grows is heavily influenced by warm soil and air temperatures. The month of May is usually a good month to begin corn all around America. We have longer growing seasons here in southern California and so, I'm lucky to begin corn March.

Because corn is wind-pollinated, plant it in blocks of rows, rather than in a long, single row, which would result in poor pollen distribution on the silks and many kernel "skips".

If your ground is mostly sandy, you'll have better success by simply pushing the seeds into the ground rather than making drills or mounds. 

Plant two or three seeds 12-15 inches apart, in rows 30-36 inches apart. Shorter, earlier varieties can be spaced somewhat closer.

Plant seeds 1 - 1 1/2 inches deep, except for extra sweet varieties, which should only be planted three-fourths an inch deep.

Some folk say that your corn should be knee high before July 4th to determine if your corn is growing properly.

If both or all three seeds in a spot germinate, thin out the poorer seedlings, saving the best plant from each spot. Be sure to isolate extra sweet varieties from all other types of sweet corn because, cross pollination with other types can result in tough, starchy kernels.

Water the block-rows well before and after planting. Good soil moisture is especially critical for the germination of  the extra sweet corn variety. Extra sweet corn must absorb more water than other types of sweet corn for germination to occur. As plants grow and weather becomes warmer, watering frequency must increase. Your ground doesn't have to be saturated all the time.

Water the seeds a bit every day to moisten the soil but, give your corn a really good soaking with a sprinkler or grab yourself a cold beer and plan to stand in place for a good 20 minutes. 

Your corn will be more successful if it gets more deep waterings less frequently than frequently shallow waterings. You'll actually use less water as well and benefit the plants.

Most corn varieties will produce shoots or "suckers" at the base of the plants. Researchers and backyard gardeners have determined that sucker removal does not increase yield or benefit the plants so, save yourself a backache and leave the suckers alone.

I used to pull the suckers because, the new garden informants were saying that it will send more energy to the plants. I've always found that it opens your plants up to disease, pests and the smell of a freshly cut corn stalk attracts animals.

In a nut shell, plant most corn in full sun about a thumb knuckle and a half deep when the ground temperature is warmer than 50. Plant in blocks of rows about 36 inches apart. Plant 2-3 seeds about 12-15 inches apart (some varieties can be planted closer),  pull the weaker plants which can be transplanted and water deeply.

I've often started corn early in coffee cans by tossing in a few kernels. When the corn is about 6 inches tall, I'll then transplant them.



Old time favourite is the sisters: corn, squash and beans. Other good companion plants are beets, bush beans, cabbage, cucumber, cantaloupe, squash, pumpkin, herbs: basil, parsley, peas, early potatoes, watermelon, etc.


My trusted favourite fertilizer is still ordinary cow manure. I'm also a huge fan of manure tea (seeped cow manure / compost tea).

You can also try bloodmeal, partially rotted manure or a liquid fertilizer. Corn needs plenty of moisture. Be sure to hill soil around the base of the plant when they are about 6” high. This will help the roots to anchor and cool.

It's a good idea to use a mulch to keep down weeds and conserve moisture particularly if you're not going to companion plant by planting either squash or beans in and around your corn.


Corn is ready when the ears are completely filled and a pierced kernel shows a milky white liquid. A very good sign of corn cob readiness is when the silks turn brown and crisp.


Victory Seed, Burpee, Stoke Seed Company, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Eden Brothers, Gurney's, Sustainable Seed Company, Seed Exchange, Seeds of Change etc.

American Corn Based Products - Eat Up!

God Bless America and all the products that are derived from corn! The United States is the world's largest producer and exporter of corn. America is also the leader when trying to feed the world. We're most generous when it comes to food trade.

Got Corn?

We all eat, use, wear and basically live corn every day. Corn is 'the' wonder crop of the world particularly the Americas. Instead of playing 'I Spy With My Little Eye' game... try playing 'I Spy Corn!. Whether you reside in an industrial city, artsy fartsy neighbourhood, suburbia, Manhatten or Alaska. 

Your day is absolutely made easier due to American corn bi-products as like paper products, paste/glue, spark plugs, U.S. Post Office uses corn based glue for postal stamps, popcorn, tires (corn starch used so tires don't adhere to molds), toothpaste, paint & varnish (corn & corn cobs are used), instant coffee and tea (processed with corn so granules don't stick together in package), pesticides, corn nuts, fertilizers, cosmetics, plastics, foods (soups, peanut butter, corn syrup, jam, potato chips, corn syrup, relish, lemonades, juices, sodas, cheese, margarine, flouer, meal, oil, etc. soaps, vitamins, animal litter, beer, aspirin, pharmaceuticals, gypsum, drywall, liquor, binders, cereals, grits, feed, sweeteners, antibiotics, amino acids, ethanol, fiber, protein, .....ugh! I'm out of breath!


You get the point. Not only is America an icon regarding corn production and agriculture around the world.. . but, we're also leaders in corn based products that basically keeps the world trucking along.

Did You Know?

Photo by Joe Munroe

The Garst family welcomes Nikita Khrushchev in 1959 (Roswell Garst, center; Khrushchev, third from right).

Coon Rapids, Iowa USA was crawling with Russian Spies?

It's true. On September 23rd, 1959 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and his friends had made a visit to Iowa to learn more about the American corn industry and agriculture. 
Premier Khrushchev actually had a good ol' American friend from Iowa who was a corn salesman. Roswell Garst had invited his friend to learn more about cutting edge American agriculture technology. The event drew thousands of people, reporters, G-men dressed like farmers etc.
It seems that Russia was experiencing an agricultural hardship and welcomed American ingenuity. 
Corn is easy to grow and very delicious to eat. I don't know of any backyard gardener that doesn't have a block of corn growing in their garden. There are hundreds of corn variety from sweet to basic field corn. Indian corn (also called flint corn, Makki, Bhutta, makka etc.) is a wonderful decoration and even more importantly a great source of protein when ground up for flour.
If you've never eaten foods made from ground Indian corn as like tortillas, biscuits, Indian corn stew, pudding, flat bread etc.. . well then, you should. They're foods that are part of the American fabric which was once our identity in America. 

We went from being a corn culture to a processed food society. Folks would rather eat a ding don zinger before eating corn. 

Society was told during the 1990's that corn is bad for you. Hundreds of generations of cultures have survived off of corn. Now scientists are stating that their is an enzymes and hormones in corn that actually helps weight. 

Corn is a carbohydrate and it's loaded with energy and nutrients. Eaten in moderation without a lot of butter can be a nutritious food source. 

Don't confuse hole corn with corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup when eaten in bulk can lead to diabetes and obesity. Hole corn is full of fiber which will make you feel full as well as make you 'regular'. 

Corn is an American national symbol during holidays, Native Americans, States, iconic products made by General Mills or Kellogg, we decorate with corn stalks and cobs, we celebrate by making candy corn to eating corn on the cob and drinking fine corn distilled liquors. 

Native Americans taught the early settlers how to plant the three sisters which included corn. 

Corn is All-American and feeds the world and many animals. There's nothing more beautiful and delicious than a fresh ear of corn either BBQ'd, boiled, microwaved or baked. It's your American birthright to enjoy corn. So eat up! 

Jenny Jones' Home Made Microwave Popcorn
 3 Ingredients Corn, Paper Bag, Stapler


  • 1/4 cup plain popping corn
  • 1 paper lunch bag
  • 1 stapler
  1. Pour popping corn into bag.
  2. Fold top of bag over and staple shut with 2-3 staples.
  3. Microwave on high for about 1 1/2 minutes or until popping has almost stopped.