It’s high season for kale and apples, and Katherine just can’t stop talking about epicuticular wax
There is something nostalgic about kale and its softly glowing dusky cast that suits late autumn and early winter. It looks rustic and thick-skinned, steeled against falling temperatures and short days. It even shrugs off winter rains. Water beads up and rolls right off its leaves. Kale’s ageless still-life look is due to its extraordinary epicuticular wax, a legacy of the first plants to survive on dry land. Continue reading
Victory with creating a gluten-free quick bread recipe inspires Jeanne to give you a brief primer on the evolutionary history of gluten within the grass family.
We were perhaps a little too enthusiastic this fall in our apple picking at a local orchard and our acquisition of interesting squash at our farmer’s markets. Our freezer now contains many bags of applesauce and squash puree. We must now “do something,” as we say, with all of it, meaning use the purees as ingredients. Lately I’ve been working on incorporating the purees into nutritious (low sugar, high protein, whole grain) quick breads. On my doctor’s recommendation, that quick bread also needs to be gluten-free. Increasing appearances of the phrase “gluten free” on restaurant menus and product labels are noble efforts to accommodate the needs of people who have celiac disease or other dietary sensitivities to gluten. Baking without gluten is a challenge, as gluten is what gives wheat dough its elasticity and allows yeasted wheat bread to rise. The internet makes gluten-free baking more accessible by the day, but I haven’t yet found someone else’s recipe that really does what I want, so I’ve been working on my own. I’m fairly pleased with the latest result (below) and thought I would use the occasion to give you a brief evolutionary history of gluten and the botanical family that makes it: the grasses. Continue reading
Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized
Tagged apple, glutelin, gluten, gluten free, grain, grass, Jeanne L. D. Osnas, monocot, phylogeny, Poaceae, prolamin, pumpkin, quick bread, recipe, teff, Triticeae, wheat
The three edibles from the order Dipsacales (mâche, elderberry and valerian) inadvertently make their way into Jeanne’s evening.
As I added some dried valerian (Valeriana officinalis) root to my bedtime tea mixture, I realized that in doing so I had inadvertently incorporated the only three common edibles from the order Dipsacales into my evening: elder, mâche, and valerian. These three make the Dipsacales a lonely but interesting and delicious branch of the asterid group of eudicots (see our phylogeny page for phylogenetic contextualization of the asterids):
Orders with edibles in the asterids, Dipsacales in red
Posted in Flavor, Fruit, herbs, Uncategorized
Tagged Dipsacales, elder, elder flower, elderberry, herbalism, Jeanne L. D. Osnas, mache, phylogeny, sambuca, Sambucus, syrup, valerian, Valeriana, Valerianaceae