Even if your stay on the island hasn’t been long enough, it is impossible for you to be unfamiliar with the local culinary culture and nutrition customs.
Have you ever noticed how Cypriots shop for groceries? Sacks full of fresh potherb, local potatoes and onions, tremendous amounts of other vegetables, never ending queues at the butchery section – all these are typical attributes of a day in a supermarket in Cyprus. In justice to the stores, one can always rely on an almost unlimited choice of fresh goods and that is what makes the island a truly remarkable place.
Today we will talk about seasonal fruits and vegetables. (Our dear vegan and vegetarian readers will find this article an especially pleasurable read)
A Diet. Cyprus Style
Kolokasi is not, strictly speaking a vegetable, but a root. It is grown in the South-East Asia, in the Middle East, on the Greek island of Ikaria and in Cyprus. However, I tried it for the first time while on holiday in Hawaii, USA. Locals call it Taro and make a lot of things out of it, starting from yummy chips and ending with baking products.
In Cypriot village culture Kolokasi is referred to as “sweet potato”. It is rarely consumed in its raw form with countless number of precipices available on how to cook the root. One of the most beloved Cypriot dishes is pork stewed with Kolokasi. “Sweet potato” could also be roasted in tinfoil, fried, boiled and mashed, just as one would go about the normal potato.
Also, beware that the root is rich with carbohydrates and therefore sustains a substantial amount of calories and should not be abused if one is aiming to maintain a slim figure.
What are the advanatages of Kolokasi?
It contains many minerals vital for our bodies such as: magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and high concentration of potassium
It is hard to find a person who is not aware of avocado and how key of an ingredient it is for some salads, especially for Mexican guacamole. Avocado crops grow on an evergreen herb of the same name and are rich with vitamins and minerals. Countries located in tropical and subtropical climate zones, for instance: Southern states of The USA, Brazil, African countries, Israel, - are biggest avocado producers in the world.
When using avocado for food, one must be especially careful with leaves, rind and stone of the vegetable, for they contain a toxin called persin which may cause allergy and digestion problems in humans. Also, in most cases, the crops sold in the shops are still quite hard, therefore they need some time to fully ripe and become soft; then they can be healthily consumed. To determine the readiness of avocado is fairly easy: the pulp must have a tender consistency and its taste must loosely mimic the blend of butter and mushed potherbs with occasional flavour of pine nuts.
How to cook?
Avocado pulp is widely used in so called cold meals, namely salads. Avocado goes well with red fish, and can be utilized as a substitute for butter in sandwiches and other snacks. To prevent quick oxidizing and blackening of the vegetable it is advised to spray avocado with lemon or lime juices.
What are the advantages of avocado?
It contains health giving vegetable fat, vitamin E, potassium (which is a mineral needed for our heart to function optimally). Yet another great compound found in avocado is glutathione, one of the strongest antioxidants found in nature. As with kolokasi, avocado is very nutritious and contains relatively high number of calories, a fact which signifies certain limitations concerning avocado consumption for people who pursue weight loss.
Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family. It can serve as a perfect meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner and what makes it even more perfect is the ability to neglect counting excessive calories while eating it, broccoli simply has none! Moreover, broccoli’s overwhelming advantage has been proven by many bio-chemical researches. If appropriated for 100 calories of a product, broccoli seems to have more percentage of protein than veal. Essentially, this little cabbage is a perfect substitute for meat, to great avail of our vegeterian friends. Broccoli is also rich with vitamins C and K; and in regards to vitamin A concentration it tops the list of all cabbage family plants. In addition it has been concluded that chemical elements contained in broccoli help to battle cancer cells in human body.
However, just a few days of storing broccoli at room temperature will half the amount of vitamin C in it. In order to preserve the plant’s qualities it is best to store it in the freezer.
When cooking broccoli it is important not to over boil, keeping the pot on fire for too long will result in the loss of all its perks. It is better to practice steaming or blanching instead. Brocolli would make a perfect filler for salads, pies and baked puddings. In addition, broccoli pottage soup with fresh cream is a renown gourmet experience, definitely worthy of trying.
Quite a few pepper strains are grown in Cyprus. Those include: red pepper, yellow pepper, green pepper, horn pepper as well as juicy and beautifully looking florina pepper.
Peppers of all kinds are almost calorie free. The usual concentration is 30 calories for every 100 grams of a vegetable. The crops themselves are fragrant and exceptionally tasty. Essentially, on chemical level peppers are a goldmine of antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E.
When it comes to the amount of vitamin C present, sweet pepper is an absolute heavyweight champion among all vegetables combined. A daily vitamin C norm for an adult person can be satisfied with just 1-3 crops of green pepper for instance. Green pepper juice is commonly prescribed during diabetes; it also stimulates hair and nail growth.
Peppers can be consumed raw or cooked (as in the case of famous Russian traditional dish: peppers, stuffed with minced meat), can be added to a salad or soup, fried with scrambled eggs, or served as a meal on its on. You decide!
Artichoke crop is a semi developed flower bud of a plant with the same name, consisting of layers of small scales. Originating from the Mediterranean, artichokes has gained popularity in the USA in the recent years.
Artichokes can be consumed in their raw form, stewed, fried, added to salads or used as tinned food.The only tricky part is peeling of the artichoke, for the edible part is considerably smaller than the entire bud sold in a store. The vegetable is considered a product low on calories with 50 ccal per 100 grams ratio. Artichokes posses a peculiar but pleasant taste and contain a balanced set of nutritious elements and compounds including calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B carotene and inulin. In order for the vegetable to maintain its advantages, meals containing artichokes must be eaten immediately after having been cooked.
Sometimes commonly referred to as “the blues” (especially in Russian-speaking countries)In fact aubergines also come in white colour and may even bear a stripped pattern on their rind. Supposingly, aubergines were first cultivated in India. In ancient Greece they were called “the apples of madness” due to the fact that the state of lost contact with reality was mistakingly attributed to the use of this vegetable as food. Nowadays, however, based on scientific research, aubergines are known to be extremely powerful aphrosidiacs. Aubergines are utilized in almost every national cuisine. They are dried, fried, boiled, baked, stewed, steamed, grilled, marinated, even eaten raw.Substances contained in aubergines are famous for their fat decomposing ability, therefore the crop is highly recommended by dietologits for people who are trying to lose weight. In addition an abergine possesses high levels of potassium, a mineral beneficial to our heart activity. Regular consumption of aubergines positively attributes to the pH balance in our bodies.
Courgette or Zucchini
This crops range in colour from dark green to almost white. In the USSR, zucchini paste was one of the most popular dippers and it is still celebrated in many Eastern European countries. Zucchinni can be consumed all around the clock with zero harm to the waist size. 100 grams carry only 16 calories. Zucchinis are stuffed with potassium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamins C and B. Zucchinis can be served raw or cooked and are very easy to store. Dark coloured strains won’t rot even if kept at room temperature for an entire year! Light coloured zucchinis are more vulnerable to the environment and their peel becomes yellowish over time which signifies that the vegetables have spoiled. The word “zucchini” used in American English is of Italian origin and if translated means: “little pumpkin”. The alternative nomenclature: “courgette”, used primarily in British English comes from French language; and was borrowed after the Norman conquest of England in 1066.