Ethnocultural Vegetables in Canada Part II
Most crop producers in Canada should be familiar with some form of amaranth, a close relation to pigweed. But people around the world – including those in India, Africa, South Asia, China, and some parts of Europe – also value the plant as a leafy vegetable.
This “miracle melon” is known by many names, including bitter gourd (Chinese), karela or karella (India), cerasee/cerasse (Caribbean) and nigauri (Japanese). It is a member of the cucurbit family and is widely grown in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean for its fruit, considered the bitterest fruit in the world.
Bottle gourd is also known as calabash, opo squash, and long melon. It is another vine crop grown for its fruit, which can be harvested young as a vegetable or allowed to mature, dry and be used as a utensil or musical instrument.
These two species of pepper like it hot and in areas without a winter frost (obviously not in Canada) can grow into a large perennial shrub. The plant, which produces a densely branched stem about two-feet high, produces off-white flowers. The fruit can be green, yellow or red, depending on ripeness. The plant can be especially productive in warm, dry climates. The C. frutescens variety of hot chili pepper can be insect or self-pollinated. The fruit typically grows erect and can be very small, starting out yellow and changing to red with maturity. “As the peppers grow bigger and bigger,…
Literally meaning large root in Japanese, the Daikon radish is also known as white radish, Japanese radish, Oriental radish, Chinese radish, lo bok and mooli (India). Popular throughout Asia, the radish is mild in flavour, white and very large. It basically resembles a giant white carrot and can be up to 14-inches long. The plant can tolerate high temperatures but requires plenty of moisture. In Ontario growing conditions, it can mature in 50 to 60 days, depending on the variety. The harvested roots can be stored in a cool, dry place for a few weeks but if left in the…
Also known as aubergine, melongene, brinjal and guinea squash, there are basically two types of eggplant in demand as world crops: Chinese eggplant, which is long and banana-shaped, and Indian eggplant, which is small (about one to two inches across) and round.
Also known as winter melon, white gourd, wax gourd, and ash gourd, fuzzy melon is a vine crop producing a very large fruit that is fuzzy when immature. The young melon has thick white flesh that is sweet. As it matures, the fruit loses its “hair” and develops a waxy coating and long shelf life. Fuzzy melon needs warm weather to grow but the resulting fruit can be stored for up to a year, like winter squash.
Indian kaddu is also known as a vegetable marrow or a variety of squash. It is a warm season crop that is relatively easy to grow with most varieties maturing 85 to 95 after planting. Not a lot of information is known about this crop, although, according to Ahmed Bilal, a research associate with the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (VRIC), research trials in 2009 showed the crop could easily be produced under southern Ontario growing conditions. During the research trials, the kaddu seed was started in the greenhouse with the seedlings transplanted to the field at a density rate…
A member of the mallow family, okra is also known as lady’s fingers, gumbo (Swahili), bhindi (India) and huang sukui (Chinese).
Maca – also known as maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira and ayak willku – is an annual plant native to the high elevations of Peru and Bolivia. It is grown for its fleshy bulb, similar in shape to a radish or turnip, which is used as a root vegetable and medicinal herb.
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