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For the horticulturist in all of us:

For the horticulturist in all of us:

Almond - Prunus dulcis
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Almond trees are self-incompatable, and require cross polination. Pollinators (honey bees) are absolutely essential for successful almond production. The top 10 almond varieties are ...
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Apple - Malus domestica
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Apple trees were probably improved through selection over a period of thousands of years by early farmers and there are many popular varieties. We have the top 20 listed here ...
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Banana - Musa spp
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The Banana tree produces the #2 Fruit Crop in the world. It is eaten fresh and used to make baby food, ice cream, baked desserts, flour, dried fruit, pastries, chips, fries, and as with most fruits, the fermented juices are made into beer and wine.
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Blackberry - Rubus spp
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Blackberry shrub varieties are classified by their growth habit - trailing, erect, semi-erect, and also as thorny or thornless. Varieties include Thornless Evergreen, Kotata, and Marion. The Marion variety is so popular in Oregon that growers there call them Marionberries.
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Blueberry - Vaccinum spp
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Three commercially important blueberry shrub species are recognized, along with two interspecific hybrids: 1. Northern Highbush blueberry (V. corymbosum L., 2. Rabbiteye blueberry (V. ashei Reade), 3. Lowbush blueberry (V. angustifolium Ait., V. myrtilloides Michx., primarily, but other species such as V. Brittonii and V. Lamarckii my co-exist), 4. Southern highbush (V. corymbosum hybrids with V. darrowi, V. ashei, and other southern Vaccinium species) and 5. Half-high highbush (V. corymbosum x V. angustifolium).
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Cocoa - Theobroma cacao
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The Aztec and Maya made a drink called chocolatl by grinding roasted cacao seeds with maize, vanilla, chili, annatto, and other spices. The scientific name for the cacao tree Theobroma translates as "food of the gods." Maybe that's why chocolate gifts and gift baskets are so popular.....
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Cashew - Anacardium occidentale
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Did you know that the Cashew tree is a member of the Anacardiaceae family, along with poison ivy and poison oak or that the alcoholic drink, Feni, is made from fermented cashew apple juice in India? Learn more about Cashews now by clicking here.....
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Cherry - Prunus avium, Prunus cerasus
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Maraschino cherries come mostly from sweet cherry trees, but a small proportion of sour cherries are brined for this purpose. Cherries with clear flesh are picked slightly early, then steeped in Marasca, a liqueur distilled from the fermented juice of wild cherries. Sour cherries are primarily processed into pie fillings.
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Chestnut - Castanea spp.
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We've all know the line in this song, "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." but have you ever really had a roasted chestnut? Why are chestnuts from the chestnut tree roasted in the first place? They are generally boiled or roasted to improve flavor and digestibility....
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Coconut - Cocos nucifera
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The palm tree family contains nearly 4000 species distributed among 200+ genera. The coconut palm tree, Cocos nucifera L., is the most economically important plant in the family, as it is used as both an ornamental and a food crop.
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Coffee - Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora
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Virtually all coffee from the coffee tree is used to make the familiar beverage, but small amounts are used to flavor ice cream, confectionary products, and liqueurs such as kalhua. Per capita consumption of coffee is about 10 lbs of beans per year.
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Cranberry - Vaccinium macrocarpon
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About 90-95% of the cranberry shrub crop is processed into juices and sauces. Juice blends have become more popular in recent years. A small portion of the crop is dried and used as a raisin substitute. The cran-raisins) are used in muffins, scones, cookies, and breads.
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Currant - Ribes spp.
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Currant bush crop generally becomes juice, jam or jelly. In France, a brandy is made from the black currant cultivar ‘Noir de Bourgogne’. Black currants are also used in many desserts, such as pies, while red currants are mostly made into jelly/jam.
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Date - Phoenix dactylifera
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Date trees produce fruit low in fat and protein, but higher in vitamins and minerals than many other fruits and vegetables. Dates are generally eaten out of hand. Pitted dates are also used in baking. Date paste is used for cake fillings and other processed products. Date syrup is used as a sweetener. Alcoholic beverages can be made from fermenting date syrup or juice.
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Fig - Ficus carica l.
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Figs can be eaten whole and raw, especially from fig trees in humid climates, but they are often peeled first. Processed figs are made into pies, pudding, cakes, other bakery products, jams, jellies and preserves. Fig paste is used in "Fig Newtons." The paste is a mixture of figs, wheat and corn flour, whey, syrup, oils, and other ingredients.
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Gooseberry - Ribes spp.
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Gooseberries are made into jams, pies and dessert items. They add color and flavor to dishes, generally having a tart "acid punch." They are versatile in use, ranging from sweet or sour sauces, flavor heighteners (like lemon), to various pies, jellies, jams, and wines. Dessert puddings are popular in Europe. Gooseberries can be used for meat accompaniments or in foul stuffing.
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Grape - Vitis spp.
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Did you know that you can generally tell the grape vine cultivar based on its food usage? Thompson Seedless (table and raisin grapes), Concord (juice and jelly grapes), Cabernet Sauvigon, Merlow, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Chardonnay, Sauvigon Blanc, and Riesling (wine grapes)
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Grapefruit - Citrus spp.
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Grapefruit trees are thought to be a hybrid of pummelo trees and sweet orange trees that occurred naturally somewhere in the Caribbean between the time of Columbus's voyages and its introduction to Florida in 1809. Americans derive about 26% of total vitamin C from citrus fruits, the highest proportion from any single food group. All other non-citrus fruits contribute another 16%, for a total of 42% from fruit consumption.
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Hazelnut - Corylus avellana
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Most Hazelnut shrub crop is utilized immediately for the holiday market (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Premium nuts are sold in-shell, and exported. A large portion of the crop is cracked and kernels are used for cereals, confectionery (mostly in baked goods) and in canned mixed nuts.
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Juneberry - Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt.
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Juneberries are most often processed into pies, jellies, jams, syrups, or wine. Fruit harvested early is best for processing, and fully mature fruit are best for fresh consumption or wine. The plains indians used Amelanchier berries to make pemmican, a staple food consisting of dried lean meat, fat, and dried berries.
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Kiwifruit - Actinidia deliciosa
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Did you know that kiwifruit grows on vines? In New Zealand, wine, jam, and other products are made from fresh fruits. Kiwi goes well with avocado, raddichio and endive, and can be used in seafood, chicken, ham, or duck dishes with ginger dressings. Fruits contain high quantities of proteolytic enzymes like actinidin (similar to papain in papaya), and can be used to tenderize meat.
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Kumquat - Fortunella spp.
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Originally classified with citrus, Kumquat trees were then moved to their own genus, named after Robert Fortune, who introduced kumquats to Europe. They are native to southern China, but can be grown around the world into subtropical areas. Unlike citrus fruits, the peel of the fruit is edible, and usually sweeter than the pulp
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Lemon - Citrus limon Burm. f.
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The main lemon tree cultivars are Lisbon (oval to round, more pronounced stylar end furrow and point) and Eureka (oval, less pronounced stylar end). Meyer is a cold hardy, larger fruited cultivar used as an ornamental or containerized plant, and is probably a lemon hybrid. Femminello and Verna are the major cultivars in Italy and Spain, respectively.
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Lime - Citrus aurantifolia L.
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Key lime trees and Tahiti lime trees produce the two main varieties. Key limes are small, round, and seedy, and turn yellow under Mediterranean conditions. Tahiti limes are larger, green, and shaped like lemons.
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Loquat - Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.
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Loquats are excellent, yet relatively uncommon fruit trees. Most often eaten fresh, but due to bruising, are rarely marketed this way. Loquats are most often found canned in heavy syrup. The loquat is a cold-tender evegreen, native to southeast Asia. It has been grown in Japan for over 1000 years.
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Macadamia nut – Macadamia integrifolia, M. tetraphylla
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Most of the macadamia tree crop is used for confectionery, but whole kernels are roasted and salted and sold in jars or cans, usually in “gourmet” sections of markets. Macadamias are considered to be among the finest table nuts in the world. Unfortunately, they contain high quantities of oil, and are therefore very fattening.
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Mango – Mangifera indica
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Mango trees produce some of the finest fresh fruit in the world (it can be dried, pickled, or cooked as well). Mangos are higher in vitamin C than citrus fruits. Green mangos are the tropical equivalent of green apples – tart, crisp, and somewhat dry, often eaten with salt. They are cooked or used in salads in the tropics. About 25% of mangos are processed into juices, chutneys, sauces, or dried. The large seed can be processed into a flour, and the fat it contains can be extracted and substituted for cocoa butter.
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Mayhaw – Cratagus spp.
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Fruit from the Mayhaw tree is said to make the world’s greatest jelly. (A jar can cost as much as $9.00.) They are rarely eaten fresh; more often processed into jelly, butter, syrups, or wine. Mayhaws are fairly high in potassium and calcium, vitamin C and ß-carotene.
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Oil Palm – Elaeis guineesis
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The African oil palm tree is native to tropical Africa, from Sierra Leone in the west through the Democratic Republic of Congo in the east. It was domesticated in its native range, probably in Nigeria, and moved throughout tropical Africa by humans who practiced shifting agriculture at least 5000 years ago. About 90% of the palm oil produced finds its way into food products, with industrial uses accounting for the remaining 10%. Palm oils are used in a wide variety of foods, primarily margarine, shortening, and vegetable cooking oil. Palm oil is used as a replacement for cocoa butter and butter fat, and in ice cream and mayonnaise. It is stable at the temperatures used in deep frying, and is used quite often for fried foods.
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Olive – Olea europaea
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Worldwide, most olive tree crop is made into olive oil, with smaller amounts canned in a number of different styles. California production is somewhat anomalous in that the vast majority is a single product, ...
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Papaya – Carica papaya
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Papaya tree fruit grown in Hawaii is utilized largely for fresh market (93%), with small amounts processed into juices and other processed foods. Young leaves can be cooked and eaten as a green vegetable. Green or unripe papaya is used as a vegetable or salad garnish as well, but must be boiled first to denature the papain in the latex.
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Pear – Pyrus communis, Pyrus pyfifolia
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Two major pear tree fruit species are commercially cultivated: 1. the European pear: Pyrus communis L. This species does not occur in nature, and possibly derives from P. caucasia and P. nivalis (snow pear). This is the major pear of commerce. and 2. ...
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Pistachio – Pistacia vera
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Pistachio trees are dioecious, meaning that there are separate male and female trees. The standard male cultivar is called Peters and the main female cultivar (and the primary pollinizer) is called ...
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Pomegranate – Punica granatum L.
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Pomegranate juice was once used to make Grenadine syrup but it's been replaced by the infamous corn sweetener and DF&C red dye 40. Homemade grenadine (for the perfect Tequila Sunrise) can be made with 2 cups of seeds/arils and 2 cups of sugar, boil to reduce and strain out the seeds. If your local big box grocer doesn't carry it, real pomegranate juice can be found in middle-eastern specialty grocery stores.
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Quince – Cydonia oblonga mill.
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Quince is rather dry and bland in a raw state, and is most often made into jam or used in cooking. It is common in mediterranean cuisine, often in stews or as accompaniments to long-cooked dishes (roasts, etc.) as they hold their color and texture well when cooked. The peel is often bitter and should be removed.
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Raspberry – Rubus spp.
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The Red Raspberry bush is indigenous to Asia Minor and North America and there is evidence that the fruits were gathered from the wild by the people of Troy and the foothills of Mt. Ida around the time of Christ. Records of domestication were found in 4th century writings of Palladius, a Roman agriculturist, and seeds have been discovered at Roman forts in Britain. Hence, the Romans probably spread cultivation throughout Europe. The British popularized and improved raspberries throughout the middle ages, and exported the plants to New York by 1771.
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Strawberry – Fragaria X ananassa
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Prior to the relatively recent development of F. X ananassa, wood strawberries (F. vesca) and Musky strawberries (F. moschata,) were cultivated in Europe and Russia for centuries. These species were largely supplanted by cultivation of the strawberry plant we know (F. X ananassa) over the last 250 years.
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Tangerine - Citrus reticulata
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Tangerine, mandarin, or satsuma. Due to the success of breeding with these tree types, many cultivars and hybrids have been produced or formed naturally, some erroneously given species status. I prefer to use C. reticulata for all tangerines, but other species names sometimes given in the literature include: C. unshiu (Satsuma), C. deliciosa (Willowleaf), C. reshni (Cleopatra), C. nobilis (King), and C. temple (Temple).
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Walnuts – Juglans spp.
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Walnuts are marketed primarily as shelled kernels (76%), with the remainder in-shell. Much of the shelled kernels are processed into baked goods, candies, cereals, and other snack foods.
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