Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Prepare A Romantic Dinner At Home For Valentine's Day

Remember those pre-child days when you would go out to a fancy restaurant or spend the weekend at a romantic get-away to celebrate Valentine’s Day? That may not be an option this year, but you can still enjoy a romantic dinner with your spouse. Here are a few ideas on how you can easily create a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at home.

Creating The Menu
This is the perfect time for some “Grown-up” food. Cook a separate dinner for the kids or order in some pizza. Let the kids eat an early dinner and then send them off to play, or watch a movie while the two of you enjoy your meal. If your children are really young, you may want to put them to bed before you sit down for your Valentine’s Day dinner.

Cooking a restaurant inspired meal doesn’t have to be complicated. Pick up some mini-quiches in your grocers frozen food section and bake them up as an appetizer. For a first course pick up a can of gourmet style soup that you just need to heat up. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh herbs for visual appeal.

Choose a main dish that you can prepare ahead of time, so you can enjoy the evening. Good choices are baked salmon or chicken. Just place either one in a baking dish, add whichever marinade you prefer and refrigerate. When you are ready just bake it until it’s done. Serve with mixed greens and fancy store-bought vinaigrette. Grab French bread, or fix some wild rice.

Dessert could be anything from cheesecake with fresh fruit, to chocolate dipped strawberries to chocolate mouse that you can make ahead and refrigerate. Or serve assorted cheeses with a nice glass of red wine.

Setting The Scene
Set the table with a tablecloth, cloth napkins and candles. Take out your good china and crystal. Since dinner will be just for the two of you, you don’t have to worry about damaging any of your special tableware. Now is the perfect time to enjoy all these fancy goodies you received as wedding gifts.

Take the time to dress up, and do your hair and makeup. I feel sure you spouse will appreciate it and you will feel like you are actually going out. For even more fun get ready in separate rooms and ask your date to come pick you up.

Turn down the lights and light the candles. Play some soft, romantic music, or some songs that have special meaning for the two of you. You never know, with the right music, your romantic Valentine’s Day dinner may end with some slow dancing in your dinning room.

Staying in doesn’t mean you can’t have a wonderful romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. You never know, this may turn out to be the most romantic Valentine’s date yet.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Practices to Enhance Marketing of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are usually more difficult to market than to produce. There are ready markets available daily or weekly for grain and livestock in almost all areas of the United States. There are few similar markets for fruits and vegetables. Most commodities are produced in abundance and long established market channels may be closed to small scale or new producers.

A producer may need several years to establish a marketing program. The number of produce buyers has decreased rapidly in recent years. One major nationwide supermarket chain has plans to consolidate the number of buying stations for produce to eight in the United States. A grower has little chance of selling to a local store in a supermarket chain as purchases are made through a central warehouse. As the number of buyers has decreased, the number of producers has decreased, but their acreage has increased considerably. There is often a delay of four to six months after shipment in receiving payment in the wholesale market system when selling through a broker. This often presents a cash flow problem for many growers. Wholesale buyers have strict and specific product quality, grade, and packaging requirements. These purchasing practices and price squeezes have eliminated market availability to many producers.

The future shows more promise for large scale producers or small scale producers than for mid sized producers. The large scale producer can afford the large equipment needed for production, and the use of migrant labor. Small scale producers can use smaller equipment, often hand operated, and family or local labor to substitute for other equipment. Large producers are linked through brokers to supply produce over a relatively long season or year round and it is difficult for small scale producers to supply the quantity and quality required over a long period. Both types of producers can be highly successful or can go broke as production and marketing practices are highly volatile. A mid sized producer is less efficient, and often can't economically justify the purchase of needed equipment or substitute labor for equipment.

The small scale producer needs to seek local market channels. There are opportunities, but a producer must work to find them. Direct to the consumer markets bring highest prices to the producer, but also require more producer time in marketing. A diverse group of crops is ideal, since market demand changes rapidly. A commodity may sell well and bring high prices for a long period, but demand and prices may drop drastically over night. Supply and demand has a tremendous effect on marketability and prices of produce.

There are no federal support prices for fruits and vegetables to help the grower when market demand or prices drop. Pick-your-own was a popular practice a few years ago. Society has changed and many people do not have time for harvest. Most consumers would rather buy produce that is harvested, and a popular developing trend is to prepare produce for the market that is as near ready to eat as possible. Precut salads and green beans are good examples of this practice. Shelf life of precut produce is relatively short, and cooling is essential.

There are opportunities for small scale producers for on-farm markets, organized farm markets, locally owned supermarkets, and locally owned fruit and vegetable markets. When selling to any market, and especially to local supermarkets or fruit and vegetable markets, good communication between producer and buyer is essential. A producer needs to know what, when, and how much the buyer can use. The buyer needs to know what is available and when, as he has to keep the shelves stocked. Determining a fair price can be difficult. Daily market prices are available on the internet. County Extension personnel can access this information for producers. Retailers generally double the price paid to account for shrinkage and spoilage.

Crop and variety selection are critical factors in marketing. Buyers are indifferent to the origin of most crops. Locally grown produce is much preferred versus other crops, primarily due to the difference in quality (flavor). Preferences for locally grown fruit and vegetable crops are apparent for sweet corn, tomatoes, strawberries, and peaches. These commodities either are harvested for shipping before top quality is attained, or rapidly lose quality during post harvest handling and shipping.

Different varieties may be used in shipping markets as compared to local markets. The sweet corn shipping market uses mostly supersweet type varieties. Local markets may use supersweet type varieties, but usually prefer SE or SU type varieties. Certain crops or varieties are preferred in specific locations, and a ready local market may exist for a specific item that is not widely available.

A local Crossville, Tennessee market owner recently shared a list of items that he had difficulty in obtaining, and that he needed during the summer season. His list included Half Runner, McCaslan, Caseknife and Greasy beans; pickling cucumbers of 1.5 to 2 inch diameter; fresh highly flavored sweet corn (yellow, white and bicolor); Red Cayanne pepper; colored bell pepper; Kennebec and Yukon Gold potatoes; watermelons (seedy and seedless), strawberries; greenhouse tomatoes (fall, winter, and spring seasons); and highly flavored local tomatoes in the summer season. He had an idea for a tomato festival that included tomato varieties not routinely found in regular market channels. This would include Rutgers, Celebrity, cherry, beefsteak, pink, yellow, yellow and red striped, and pear shaped varieties. Many of these varieties are less productive and have other production problems, but have excellent flavor compared to the standard commercial hybrid varieties. There is a marketing opportunity through this market at Crossville, and similar situations probably exist in most locations in the United States. A producer needs to search for such market opportunities.
The budgets and profitability of crops is another factor in production.

Tomatoes have consistently been the most profitable crop for Tennessee producers. Greenhouse production is completely different, but is a rapidly growing enterprise in Tennessee. Sweet corn can be profitable, especially if a high plant population is used to provide high yields. We are planting twice the population (23,500 plants/A) than was planted several years ago, and are evaluating spacings for higher populations. Budgets that detail costs of production and likely returns are available for most crops, or a grower can develop their own budget.

Tree fruit production does not fit well into small scale agricultural production. The time between planting a tree and the first economic fruit harvest is relatively long. Large equipment is necessary to apply pesticides 10 to 12 times annually starting at the first bud break. Many pesticides are restricted use, and require special handling procedures. Trees need to be pruned at planting and annually in late winter.

Grapes offer some opportunity, but strawberries and blueberries are small fruit that offer more opportunity for small scale producers. Large fruit are required for successful marketing of strawberries and blueberries. Drip irrigation is needed in most areas for stand establishment and crop production. Overhead sprinkler irrigation is often necessary for frost protection. Strawberry production systems are changing from matted row to annual production. The culture of each system is entirely different.

Harvest of fruit and vegetable crops at the proper maturity is essential. Many crops have a very narrow harvest window, and proper maturity is needed to insure a marketable product. Crops that producers tend to harvest early are sweet corn and bell pepper. Sweet corn that is not fully mature has less flavor, and little usable grain. Immature bell pepper pods wilt rapidly and are not attractive. Crops that can easily be harvested too late are sweet corn, bell pepper, and green beans. Bell pepper may be harvested with some color showing. Most markets want a green or colored pepper pod, and not a partially colored pod. Sweet corn and green beans become tough rapidly is allowed to become overmature. Tomatoes are best harvested in the pink stage and harvesting twice a week may be needed for proper maturity. Pink tomatoes have full flavor. Fruit rot, cracking, and bruising may be less when harvest is at the pink stage.

Packaging of produce is a critical factor in marketing. Containers should protect the product and be attractive. Standard packs vary according to the type of product and the market demand, but many buyers require the use of standard size containers. Some routine container sizes are half bushels, bushels, 1 + 1/9 bushel, standard sweet corn crates to hold 4 ½ dozen ears, and pints or quarts for berries. Many different types of materials are used in containers. Waxed pasteboard cartons are very widely used. Snap bean and sweet corn buyers often prefer wire bound wooden boxes. Melons are often sold in bulk cardboard boxes that hold approximately 250 muskmelon. Many markets may require specific counts and product size. for the container.

Peppers and tomatoes are specific crops sold by uniform size. Peppers are usually boxed as extra large (40 to 50 -pods/1 + 1/9 bushel) to small (70 to 80 pods/1 + 1/9 bu box). This relatively uniform size allows the retail vendor to sell pepper pods by count. Prepacking in small consumer packages such as 3 potatoes or tomatoes is becoming more of a demand at the producer level. Local markets may have more or less stringent packaging requirements.

Product identification can be a useful tool in marketing. Certain areas or growers have developed a name for their product. Some examples are Vidalia onions, Granger County tomatoes, Washington apples, and Idaho potatoes. Product identification can work well for anyone who wants to stress and maintain quality. It should pay in repeat sales and prices received by the grower. We are considering this approach in Tennessee for Tri-X-Shadow seedless watermelon which has exceptional quality. An identification label could be attached to each melon citing the identification (maybe Tennessee Seedless).

Harvested fruits and vegetables are perishable, and quality loss starts immediately after harvest. Rapid marketing to insure freshness is a desirable feature of locally grown produce. Produce, not sold immediately, needs to be stored properly to maintain appearance, flavor, and quality. Time of harvest, cooling, and storing in shaded areas will help retain quality. Produce harvested early in the morning is cooler than if harvest is later in the day.

Quality of products such as green beans, sweet corn, peppers, and peaches benefit from hydrocooling. Hydrocooled produce needs to be kept in a cooler to maintain the proper storage temperature after hydrocooling. Products such as broccoli and sweet corn benefit from storage with ice in the container or placed on ice to maintain a low temperature and to avoid drying of the produce. Produce that has been cooled, should be maintained in cool.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Practical Tips For Buying Green Tea

Green tea is considered as the “true” tea that has undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Experts believe that the secret of green tea is the fact that it is rich in catechin polyphenols such as epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG; this is a powerful anti-oxidant which inhibits the growth of cancer cells and kills cancer cells without harming healthy body tissues and also believe that chemical compounds in green tea are effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels as well as inhibiting abnormal formation of blood clots.

Green tea may be useful as a glucose regulator, meaning it slows the rise in blood sugar following a meal. It does this by slowing the action of a particular digestive enzyme called amylase. This enzyme is pivotal in the breakdown of starches (carbohydrates), that can cause blood sugar levels to soar following a meal. This is pretty exciting stuff -- along with chromium, and possibly a vanadyl supplement, green tea might be the missing link in proper glucose management.

It is a special variety of tea that offers many benefits more than any other variety. In order for you to have the best cup of green tea, here are some tips on buying green tea:

1. Buy it in isolation. This is the best route to go if you have conclusively tied a result to a one particular ingredient.

2. Buy a trendy fat burner that contains a good quantity of green tea in its formulation. Containing a hearty dose of green tea is Xenadrine EFX. There are also lots of other products that have the same content as well. Be sure to look at the content of the product before buying it. Make sure that it has the content that will be able to keep you fit and healthy.

3. Drinking green tea is more advisable rather than drinking coffee or any kind of tea. You really don’t have to spend lots of money to get these things in your system. Coffee brings hypertension and infects certain glands in your system. It is recommended even by some physicians to intake green tea rather than coffee.

Aside from the tips on buying green tea I think its fair to say that the best green teas comes from China, after all they’ve been producing tea for hundreds of years. Green teas are made for masses. Some of the best green teas of china are Gunpowder, Young Hyson, Chunmee - excellent teas and economical, Lung Ching - a great favorite around the world with good reason, the charming tiny snail-like leaf of Bi Lo Chun is one that is gaining favor in the U.S. and the other lesser green teas known that we have been fortunate enough to get are Huang Shan Mao Feng, Tianmu Qing Ding, and Tianmu Yunding - all highly recommended.

You should start buying your greens soon after the spring harvest in May and June. Place them in airtight containers and they will last for months without breaking down. Luckily for us, so far away from China, adding a little more green tea will help when time comes that we get a bit older and in more need of a clean bill of health.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pourquoi Interesser Vos Enfants aux Jeux de Cartes

Les jeux de cartes offrent donc à tous une possibilité de se divertir dans le calme, mais permettent aussi a la famille de se retrouver, de communiquer, de partager et d'évoluer ensemble tout en développant ses capacités intellectuelles. Même dans les moments calmes, un enfant surtout encore assez jeune a besoin et d'attention et surtout d'occupation, alors que vous rechercheriez plutôt un moment de silence et de tranquillité.

En effet, la majorité de ces jeux demande un effort de concentration de par la stratégie requise et l'assimilation des règles de bases.

Les jeux de cartes permettent de faire travailler votre concentration, essentielle dans votre réussite professionnelle,personnelle et familiale. Pour cela, rien de plus simple. Fixez vous dans les premiers temps un temps de jeu rapide pour atteindre un but précis. Prenez ensuite une petite pause. Refaites la même deיmarche pour les parties suivantes. Pendant le temps fixe, ne vous détournez sous aucun prétexte de cette partie (téléphone, cigarette,une pause café). Vous constaterez rapidement qu'après quelques efforts surhumains que cela aurait pu vous demander, que cela n'a, au final, rien de compliquer. Pourquoi? Car vous vous y serez habitue.

Au niveau des enfants, le problème est similaire. Il est assez difficile pour eux, après une journée d'école, de rentrer directement a la maison et d'entamer immédiatement leurs devoirs.
Pour les convaincre qu'ils ont tout a y gagner, imposer leur un temps court de concentration au travers des jeux de cartes puis une pause et de nouveau une concentration courte sur une même partie. Ils constateront alors bien vite qu'ils auront d'avantage a gagner en restant concentre sur un problème 20 minutes et finir rapidement le devoir que de rester a papillonner 1 heure pour ce même travail.

Résultats aussi bien pour les adultes que les enfants: en restant concentrer sur des jeux, votre rapidité au travail sera décuplée grâce a cet entraînement régulier. En conséquence, vos temps de loisirs se rallongeront, et vous éviterez ainsi les mauvaises consciences relatives au travail bâclé et mal fait, tout en donnant d'avantage de temps a vos proches ainsi qu'a vous même.

Alors motivez-vous!
Les jeux de cartes suivants permettant ce développement ne sont qu'a titre d'exemple.

La Bataille est  idéale pour se défouler mais aussi pour rester concentré. Demande beaucoup d'astuce et permet de développer sa rapidité d'esprit dans une ambiance bonne enfant.

Le Domino:
Le but est de se débarrasser de toutes ses cartes, en complétant des séries posées sur la table. L'ordre des cartes est le suivant Roi/Dame/Valet/10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/As. Le jeu demande une certaine rigueur d'esprit et beaucoup de patience.

L'Euchre:
Date du XIXe siècle, est le jeu où apparait pour la première fois le Joker. Celui-ci se joue à 4 joueurs, en 2 équipes de 2, les deux partenaires étant assis l'un en face de l'autre. Le but est de faire 3 levées sur 5.L'Euchre permet donc de dévoiler d'avantage l'esprit d'équipe ou l'individualisme de vos enfants.

D'autres jeux lus connus sont jouables tel le Tarot, la belote, le Nain Jaune (vivement recommandé), Napoléon, le poker,Pyramide, le Rami,la crapette et bien d'autres encore.

Alors qu'attendez vous?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Poker Party: Was gibts zum Naschen

Spontan kochte und bereitete ich meine Wohnung zu, suchte mir ein Thema aus und dekorierte Tisch und Essen passend dazu. Als meine Freunde dann bei mir ankamen, waren sie alle von der Ambiente begeistert. Auch das Essen wurde zur Session, und plötzlich machte das Pokern viel mehr Spaß.


Meine erste selbst organisierte Poker-Party war eine voller Erfolg! Von nun ab sollten die meisten Poker Partys bei mir stattfinden. In die letzten Monate konnte ich ein paar Erfahrungen über Poker Partys und Naschereien sammeln. Hier habe ich meine erfolgreichsten Poker Party Themen zusammengefasst!


Mexikanische Taco Party
Um einen guten Mexikanischen Abend zu organisieren, braucht man nicht viel! Neben Tacos (gewürzte Chips) und Nachos (Fühlbare Chips Taschen) sollte man auch sogenannte Wraps bereit haben. Um nun die Tacos und Chips Taschen fühlen zu können müssen verschiedene Beilage vorbereitet werden. Die Auswahl an Beilagen und Dipp Saucen sind groß! Beliebt und lecker sind sing Hackfleisch, Bohnen, Avocado Dipp, Tomaten Dipp, Scharfe Beilagen, Mexikanisches Mais Salat oder auch ein Bohnen Salat. Geriebener Käse ist auch gerne gesehen!


Französische Baguette Fondue Party
Eine Fondue ist vielleicht der einfachste Weg einen leckern Party schmaus vor zu bereiten. Man braucht nur Schmelzkäse, Baguette und einen guten Wein. Fondue anmachen, Käse schmelzen lassen und in der Runde genießen!


Israelische Pitta Party
Pitta ist ein Fladenbrot. Ob nun die türkische Version (flach und groß) oder die israelische Version (dick und klein), beide schmecken lecker und können angeboten werden. Typisch israelische Beilagen sind folgende: Falafel (frittierte Bällchen aus Kichererbsen), Humus (pürierten Kichererbsen), Tahina (Sesam Mus), Hazil (Auberginen Salate), israelische Salat (Tomaten, Gurken und Zwiebeln kleinkariert mit Olivenöl, ein Schuss Zitrone und Petersilie), Matbucha,(pikante Tomaten Salat), Tabula ( Salat aus Couscous) etc. Dazu Oliven, Salzgurken, Nüsse und der Abend ist gemacht. Ein Schmaus aus dem Orient!


Japanische Sushi Party
Sushifans aufgepasst, Sushi selbst machen ist nicht schwer und auch nicht teuer. Natürlich braucht man die zuständigen Zutaten. Bambusmatte, Sushi Reis, Reisessig, Nori-Blatt (Algenblätter), Wasabi und Gari (süßer eingelegter Ginger) kann man meistens schon im Supermarkt finden, sonst im Asia Shop. Die restlichen Zutaten werden nach belieben gewählt: Gemüse, Fleisch, Fisch, Früchte! Die schwerste Arbeit ist das Vorbereiten des Reises, doch danach geht’s ans Rollen!!! Ob nun der Gastgeber sein Sushi rollt oder der Gast selber ist eine "Geschmacksfrage". Sushi Selbermachen macht enorm Spaß und schmeckt richtig lecker!



Pfannkuchen Party
Pfannkuchen sind einfach gemacht und so vielfältig! Ob nun salzig oder süss, sie können zu allem kombiniert werden. Bereiten sie die Pfannkuchen neutral und legen sie mehrere Beilagen dazu (Fleisch, Salate, Käse, später zum Dessert Schokolade, Schlagsahne, Konfitüre und Zucker).

Griechische Tsatsiki Party
Für alle Griechen Fans, man was köstliches ohne Fleisch, aber mit Brot!
Griechischer Salat besteht aus Tomate, Gurke, Paprika, Oliven und Schafskäse. Tsatsiki, ein Joghurtgericht mit Knoblauch, Gurke und Olivenöl. Briam, ein Salats aus Auberginen, Zucchini und Paprika in einer Tomatensoße. Dolmadakia, Weinblätter gefüllte mit Reis, Gewürzen und Zwiebeln. Weiter beliebt sind Skordalia (Knoblauchsalat) und Tirosalata (Feta Creme).


Dies ist nur eine kleine Auswahl an  Poker  Party Nasch Ideen! Natürlich kann man Ideen kombinieren oder ändern. Solche Themen Partys machen den Abend meistens zur perfekten Erlebnis! Viel Spaß beim Vorbereiten und Bon Appetit!





Article Body:
Bis vor ein paar Monate wurde ich immer auf Poker Partys bei Freunden zu Hause eingeladen. Zu Essen gab es dann meistens nur Pizza oder Chips, was mir eher als langweilig und ungenüsslich vorkam. Eines Tages entschied ich mich ein Poker Abend selbst zu organisieren.


Spontan kochte und bereitete ich meine Wohnung zu, suchte mir ein Thema aus und dekorierte Tisch und Essen passend dazu. Als meine Freunde dann bei mir ankamen, waren sie alle von der Ambiente begeistert. Auch das Essen wurde zur Session, und plötzlich machte das Pokern viel mehr Spaß.


Meine erste selbst organisierte Poker-Party war eine voller Erfolg! Von nun ab sollten die meisten Poker Partys bei mir stattfinden. In die letzten Monate konnte ich ein paar Erfahrungen über Poker Partys und Naschereien sammeln. Hier habe ich meine erfolgreichsten Poker Party Themen zusammengefasst!


Mexikanische Taco Party
Um einen guten Mexikanischen Abend zu organisieren, braucht man nicht viel! Neben Tacos (gewürzte Chips) und Nachos (Fühlbare Chips Taschen) sollte man auch sogenannte Wraps bereit haben. Um nun die Tacos und Chips Taschen fühlen zu können müssen verschiedene Beilage vorbereitet werden. Die Auswahl an Beilagen und Dipp Saucen sind groß! Beliebt und lecker sind sing Hackfleisch, Bohnen, Avocado Dipp, Tomaten Dipp, Scharfe Beilagen, Mexikanisches Mais Salat oder auch ein Bohnen Salat. Geriebener Käse ist auch gerne gesehen!


Französische Baguette Fondue Party
Eine Fondue ist vielleicht der einfachste Weg einen leckern Party schmaus vor zu bereiten. Man braucht nur Schmelzkäse, Baguette und einen guten Wein. Fondue anmachen, Käse schmelzen lassen und in der Runde genießen!


Israelische Pitta Party
Pitta ist ein Fladenbrot. Ob nun die türkische Version (flach und groß) oder die israelische Version (dick und klein), beide schmecken lecker und können angeboten werden. Typisch israelische Beilagen sind folgende: Falafel (frittierte Bällchen aus Kichererbsen), Humus (pürierten Kichererbsen), Tahina (Sesam Mus), Hazil (Auberginen Salate), israelische Salat (Tomaten, Gurken und Zwiebeln kleinkariert mit Olivenöl, ein Schuss Zitrone und Petersilie), Matbucha,(pikante Tomaten Salat), Tabula ( Salat aus Couscous) etc. Dazu Oliven, Salzgurken, Nüsse und der Abend ist gemacht. Ein Schmaus aus dem Orient!


Japanische Sushi Party
Sushifans aufgepasst, Sushi selbst machen ist nicht schwer und auch nicht teuer. Natürlich braucht man die zuständigen Zutaten. Bambusmatte, Sushi Reis, Reisessig, Nori-Blatt (Algenblätter), Wasabi und Gari (süßer eingelegter Ginger) kann man meistens schon im Supermarkt finden, sonst im Asia Shop. Die restlichen Zutaten werden nach belieben gewählt: Gemüse, Fleisch, Fisch, Früchte! Die schwerste Arbeit ist das Vorbereiten des Reises, doch danach geht’s ans Rollen!!! Ob nun der Gastgeber sein Sushi rollt oder der Gast selber ist eine "Geschmacksfrage". Sushi Selbermachen macht enorm Spaß und schmeckt richtig lecker!



Pfannkuchen Party
Pfannkuchen sind einfach gemacht und so vielfältig! Ob nun salzig oder süss, sie können zu allem kombiniert werden. Bereiten sie die Pfannkuchen neutral und legen sie mehrere Beilagen dazu (Fleisch, Salate, Käse, später zum Dessert Schokolade, Schlagsahne, Konfitüre und Zucker).

Griechische Tsatsiki Party
Für alle Griechen Fans, man was köstliches ohne Fleisch, aber mit Brot!
Griechischer Salat besteht aus Tomate, Gurke, Paprika, Oliven und Schafskäse. Tsatsiki, ein Joghurtgericht mit Knoblauch, Gurke und Olivenöl. Briam, ein Salats aus Auberginen, Zucchini und Paprika in einer Tomatensoße. Dolmadakia, Weinblätter gefüllte mit Reis, Gewürzen und Zwiebeln. Weiter beliebt sind Skordalia (Knoblauchsalat) und Tirosalata (Feta Creme).


Dies ist nur eine kleine Auswahl an  Poker  Party Nasch Ideen! Natürlich kann man Ideen kombinieren oder ändern. Solche Themen Partys machen den Abend meistens zur perfekten Erlebnis! Viel Spaß beim Vorbereiten und Bon Appetit!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Poker Hands: Best and Worse Starting Hands in Texas Holdem

The basic poker lesson is when to hold and when to fold. Knowing whether your initial deal is worth staying in the game or if you should call it a day, is one of the most important decisions to make at the beginning of the poker game. One of the most common beginner’s mistakes is holding onto the worst pair of hole cards instead of folding and protecting your money.


Therefore, if you are a novice poker player, one of the first things you should memorize is which initial hands are worth holding and which hands leaves you no choice but to fold. Since Texas Holdem is the most popular poker variation, here you can find lists of the best and the worth Holdem poker starting hands.

Best Poker Hands

If you are lucky to be dealt one of these initial hands, you are definitely having an excellent beginning:

Pair of Aces: as known as American Airlines or pocket rockets, it is the best possible Texas Holdem starting hand.

Pair of Kings: not as good as a pair of Aces but still an excellent way to open a game of Texas Holdem.

Pair of Queens: if you want to look at the bright side, you will be beaten only by Kings and Aces.

Ace and King: if they are of the same suit, your condition is even better, since you can form the nut flush at ease.

Pair of Jacks: unless the flop shows either a Queen, King or an Ace, you have decent chances of winning with this promising starting hand.

Ace and Queen: the same as Ace and King, a suited hand would increase your chances of stepping out as a winner.

King and Queen: unless the community cards contain an Ace, you are in a good shape with this starting hand and even better if it is suited

Ace and Jack</b>: even if appears unsuited, this starting hand is still worth holding.

King and Jack: still one of the best Texas Holdem starting hands, but be careful with it, especially when unsuited.
Ace and Ten: the Ace upgrades it to a pretty good hand, although requires a cautious play since it can be beaten by any of the starting hands mentioned above.


Worst Poker Hands

These hands would suit you well if you play some of the lowball variations, but if you play traditional Texas Holdem poker, the best advice would be to fold.

2 and 7: if you are dealt this hand, especially unsuited, you cannot even make a straight. Even if suited you should be so lucky to form a low flush or the lowest pair. In one word: fold.

2 and 8: same as the previous hand; pair of 8s is still a low pair.

3 and 7: although it can beat the previous hands, it still a worthless pair of cards

3 and 8</b>: again, hardly even a low straight.

2 and 6: only if the community cards will feature 3, 4 and 5, you will have a chance of forming a straight. However, do not count on it, especially if there are more than 3 attendances in the game.

2 and 9: thanks to the presence of the 9 you are in better shape than with the former hands, still you cannot form a straight and even a pair of 9s would be beaten by pairs of 10s, Jacks, Queens, etc.

3 and 9: the same thing: higher than 8 lower than almost any other hand.

4 and 9: as mentioned above; foldem.

2 and 10: even though Doyle Brunson had won two WSOP bracelets with this starting hand, unless you have the talent and experience of Brunson, do not hold this hand.

5 and 9: also known as Dolly Parton, this hand would get you nowhere near the final table.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Poker Betting Limit: How to Pick One 4 U

Before you head for the nearest empty chair at an open poker table, hold on. There is one very important factor that you must check and verify before you start playing.

What? Check the betting limit of that particular table.
Why? This is what determines the professional skills of the poker players you will face and will also help you calculate approximately how much cash you need for this particular round of betting.

For the Casual Poker Fan:
You should try and begin by selecting a table with a low limit. Here, you will enjoy the relatively casual ambience and friendly opponents, who will not have a lot of experience playing and thus you stand a fair chance of winning. The slight problem with such games is that such kinds of tables are difficult to locate. In addition, those playing at such tables tend to play in a very conservative manner and this slows down the flow of the game. If you are still interested in looking for such tables you will be able to find them at the downtown casinos and gambling halls or at poker rooms not located on the Las Vegas strip itself such as the Palace Station.

Wish to Play Texas Holdem Instead?
Here too, select the lower limit games such as the 4/8 version. In this game, you will be allowed to increase only by four dollars and hence the name. Then, when you come to the last two betting rounds, you will have to double it to eight dollars. Likewise, you can also find the following limits: two and then four, three and then six, four and then eight, eight and then sixteen, fifteen and then thirty, thirty and then sixty and the last one which is pretty different to find (and which unless you are prepared to dish out large sums, you should avoid.) forty and then eight during the last two rounds of betting.

How Many Chips Should You Purchase In Such Games?
What you can do is multiply the end limit by about twenty and then make sure you have that amount. For example, if you wanted to join a table where the limit is two  and then four. Multiply four into twenty and you get eighty. So, this is the sum of chips you must bring in to the game by buying them from the cash counters in the casino.

Another option is playing Texas holdem with no limits whatsoever, but beware. Such games pull pros and then you will find yourself at a big disadvantage.

For the Experienced Poker Player:
Most pros prefer playing Texas holdem than other poker games. And such professionals opt for games with no limit or that have a high limit of at least fifteen dollars. Beware, these tables (You can find them in the top casinos such as the Bellagio and others on the strip.) are places where you can lose hundreds of dollars in minutes so unless you are aware of this or unless you want to swim with the sharks because you consider yourself a shark too, stay away.

Conclusion:
Note that sometimes the tables might be occupied and it might take you a while to get a seat. Remember that this is not an <a href="http://www.gambling-portal.com">online casino</a> where tables are always open. Have patience and wait and do not leave and just join a higher or lower limit table than the one you have decided on. Remember that the outcome of your casino experience depends on this decision.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Plenty Of Garlic Gadgets Available For Garlic Lovers

No kitchen is complete without a few accessories all developed for the sole purpose of extracting the delicious flavor of garlic. No matter if a person is of an Italian descent, an Italian food lover, a professional chef, or a regular person who likes the taste of garlic, the proper garlic tools are necessities. Garlic is a strong smelling and tasting, and specific garlic gadgets make the cloves easier to peel, crush, chop, press, roast, and grate.

Garlic is an ingredient present in many recipes. Since it can have a strong flavor, it is sometimes used in small amounts. However, there are many people who love the taste of garlic and can’t seem to get enough of it. For these people, garlic can be added to recipes in bulk. Since garlic must be removed from its skin before it is used, several tools can assist in making this sometimes difficult job much easier.

Most garlic tools can be purchased for a relatively small amount of money, some as little as a few dollars. However, there are quite a few tools which all do different things to a clove of garlic, and a person may or may not need all of them. The need for the tools depends on how much garlic a person tends to use in their daily or weekly cooking.

Garlic Peeler
No matter if a single garlic clove or a whole head of garlic is being used for a recipe, everyone can benefit from a garlic peeler. Anyone who has ever tried to peel individual garlic cloves using their fingernails knows how tedious it can be. A garlic peeler can greatly speed up the peeling process and it is very easy to use. By placing a clove or garlic in a garlic peeler, the skin of the garlic sticks to the peeler and the inside of the garlic clove is left for cooking. Using this tool will speed up the garlic peeling process and at the same time it will alleviate the everlasting garlic smell that can remain on fingers.

Garlic Roasters
True garlic lovers should not live without a garlic roaster. While a piece of aluminum foil can serve as a makeshift garlic roaster, an official roaster, made out of a terra cotta plate, a rounded lid, and ventilation holes, is the best way to roast a head of garlic. Placing an entire head of garlic (with the top cut off) in a roaster and drizzling it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and baking for about one hour will yield a delicious, soft head of garlic. Individual garlic cloves can be squeezed out of the head and spread directly on a cracker or a piece of bread for a delicious treat.

Garlic Slicers
It’s very difficult to cut garlic into very thin pieces using a knife, and it takes a lot of practice and experience to slice garlic in an efficient manner. So, if a large number of garlic slices is needed for a recipe, a garlic slicer can come in very handy. Garlic slicers ensure that pieces of garlic are uniform in shape and thickness, and they are as easy to use as cheese graters!

Garlic Keepers
Most people come home from the grocery store with a bag full of garlic heads and throw them in the refrigerator. This, however, is not a recommended place to store garlic. In fact, garlic should not be stored on a kitchen counter either since direct sunlight is not good for it. Garlic keepers can be cute accessories to add to any kitchen, as they come in many styles. Storing heads of garlic in a garlic keeper allows the garlic to remain in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

Garlic Press
Simply chopping a clove of garlic into a million pieces with a knife and a chopping board does not produce the same effect as a piece of garlic that has been put through a garlic press. A garlic press is a tool that squeezes the garlic and presses it into tiny pieces. Some recipes call specifically for pressed garlic, and there is really no way to obtain pressed garlic without using this specific tool.

There are numerous other garlic tools and gadgets available, and most are very inexpensive. The best way to determine what is needed in a specific kitchen is to evaluate the daily, weekly and/or monthly garlic consumption in a household, and judge what tools would make preparing the garlic easier for the cook.

Monday, February 20, 2012

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Potted Whiskey

It would be appropriate for a people-based profile of whisky to begin by naming the first whisky maker. Sadly, no-one knows who he was. In fact, no-one knows who the first distiller was. It is clear that from AD 4 onwards, alchemists in China, India, Arabia, Egypt and Greece were using distillation to make turpentine, medicines, makeup (al-kohl, our alcohol) and perfumes, but there is no evidence that they adapted brewing techniques to make whisky.

How the Irish and Scots got in on the act is equally mysterious. The Celts may have known about distillation, but apart from a couple of enigmatic references in the 6th century AD there's no proof. What is agreed is that distillation arrived in Scotland with the monks of the Celtic Church, suggesting that distillation was already taking place in Ireland - perhaps Irish monks had encountered the art in Sicily or Andalucia, or through their ancient trading links with the Phoenicians.

By the time Friar John Cor bought his famous eight bolls of malt in 1495 - the first record of whisky making in Scotland -distillation was widely practised across Europe. It is hardly surprising that the first distillers were monks: the water of life, aquavitae (uisge beatha in Scots Gaelic) was a medicine made in monastic laboratories, and markedly different to today's whisky. Flavoured with heather, honey, roots, herbs and spices - partly to hide off-flavours, partly because it was a medicine -this medieval mix was closer to a crude whisky liqueur.

Until the beginning of the 19th century the top Irish brands were flavoured in this way. It was only when whisky began to be made in great houses and crofts alike that it became recognisable as the drink we know today. Distillers have always used the main crop of their region as the base for their spirits, and in Scotland and Ireland that meant barley. Making whisky was a means of using up surplus grain: in winter, cattle could be fed on the grains left after mashing and crofters could use their whisky as part-payment of rent. Made in batches in small pot stills, the process used for malt whisky today, whisky soon became an integral part of rural life.

When crofter-distillers from Scotland arc Ireland were driven off their land from 1 ~4; onwards, whisky spread to America and Canada. Though rye whiskey had been made as early as 1640, it was this sudden wave of immigrants that established whiskey as North America's spirit. They, too, used the local grains - rye, corn and wheat - and by 1783 commercial production had kicked or: in Kentucky.

By 1825, the whisky industry in Scotland and Ireland was controlled by men of capin. Gone were the days of the crofter-distiller making enough to fuel the craic and the ceilidh and pay the rent. New legislation ushered in a building programme of new malt distilleries across the Highlands and in Ireland. At the start of the 19th century Irish whiskey had the highest international reputation, with the heavily-peated Scottish malts considered an acquired taste. Then in 1827, Robert Stein invented a continuous still (see pages 86-87), which not only mace distilling less labour-intensive but produced lighter, grain-based whisky which could be mass produced. Adapted in 1831 by Aenea-Coffey, the continuous still changed whisky production forever.

Distillers in the Scottish Lowlands seized the new invention and by the 1850s grocer and wine merchants such as John Walker. George Ballantine, James Chivas, John Dewar and Matthew Gloag began blending malt with the light grain, and the public sa: up and took notice. The Irish resisted, for a time. Distillers including John Jameson and John Power, who were already enjoying international prestige with their pot-still whiskies, refused to use the continuous method, dismissing it as an adulteration o: 'real' whisky.

The North Americans had no such qualms and Coffey's patent still was soon adopted in America and Canada. This interest, along with James Crow's research into quality control in Kentucky, improved consistency. The Canadians were so enamoured of the Coffey still that, in 1875, they passed legislation decreeing that Canadian whisky could only be made from grain distilled in a continuous still, and aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels. The quality-oriented, modern industry was taking shape. Even at this stage there was no indication that whisky would become the world's best-selling spirit. Brandy was still more popular, but the vine parasite phylloxera vastrix put paid to that when, from the 1870s onwards, it wiped out Europe's vineyards - and the brandy industry with them.

It is entirely possible that American whiskey would have become the world's dominant player, were it not for the growth of the Temperance Movement in the US which led to Prohibition in 1919. At that time, Irish whiskey was selling more in America than Scotch, but while Scotch and Canadian whisky managed to retain a quality image, Irish whiskies lost their biggest market overnight and were being (badly) copied by bootleggers. Their reputation plummeted. At the same time, Irish independence led to the ban of Irish products in Britain and the Empire. With no markets left, the Irish industry imploded and blended Scotch took over.

This was the situation until the late 1970s when, through industry complacency, or the inevitability of changing fashion, young drinkers turned away from brown spirits or the global whisky industry fell into deep depression. Blended Scotch has struggled hard to regain consumer confidence in its old markets, though it has enjoyed success in southern Europe and Asia. But in America, northern Europe and Britain, malts have kept the whisky dream alive. This recent fascination with premium whisky has also boosted the American whiskey industry and sparked a new optimism in Ireland and Canada. There are now more quality whiskies on offer than ever before, and a renewed interest in how they are made and the people who make them.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

POSTHARVEST HANDLING OF CITRUS

FRUIT MATURITY AT HARVEST

In tropical and subtropical countries, the development of the fruit is affected by the temperature. Maturity of the rind and maturity of the flesh of the fruit are not synchronized. The fruit is edible even when the rind still remains green .

Mature fruit vary in size, even those on the same tree With sweet oranges such as Valencia or Liucheng, harvesting should begin with the smaller fruit which mature first.

With mandarins such as Ponkan, it is the end of the fruit furthest from the stem which turns yellow first. Harvesting should begin with the large fruit. Smaller fruit, or those which are slow to turn color, should be harvested later on in the season.

TIME OF DAY FOR HARVEST

It is best to harvest citrus on a clear, sunny day with low humidity. The fruit should be harvested as soon as the dew has evaporated. On a cloudy day, the fruit should be harvested in the afternoon. Fruit should not be harvested at all on a rainy day.

HARVESTING METHOD

To prevent physical damage to the fruit, the worker should trim his/her fingernails, wear gloves, and use special harvesting scissors with rounded ends to cut the fruit. To harvest the fruit, it should be held in one hand, and the other hand used to cut the fruit stem together with a few leaves . Then the fruit is brought close to the chest and the rest of the stem is cut off smoothly, close to the fruit .

CONTAINERS USED FOR HARVESTING

The container used for newly harvested fruit should be solid, with good ventilation Fruit in flexible containers tend to crush each other, causing bruises. The bottom of wood or bamboo containers should be lined with newspapers, a paper bag or a fertilizer sack. It is important to move containers as little as possible, and not to leave them standing in the sun

GRADING AND STORABILITY

Citrus are graded by size. This can be done by hand or by machine. If the grower is grading citrus manually, it is best not to judge the size only by eye, but to use some kind of measuring device. A simple way to check fruit size is to cut a series of round holes in a thin wooden board or a piece of thick cardboard, according to standard market sizes for that variety (Fig. 6). A revolving drum type machine is often used by farmers in Taiwan. Other low-cost grading machines are also available.

Fruit of different sizes should not be mixed together, or the market price the grower gets may be only that of the smallest fruit.

The optimum size for fruit varies from one variety to another. Generally, large fruit fetch the highest price. However, in the case of mandarins such as Ponkan, large fruit (8.5 cm in diameter) and extra large fruit (9.0 cm in diameter) have a low level of total soluble solids and low acid content. They have a thick peel and little juice, and do not store well. They should be consumed soon after harvest.

Medium sized (8.0 cm in diameter) and small-sized (7.5 cm in diameter) Ponkan fruit have a higher level of total soluble solids and a higher acid content, so that the flavor improves after short-term storage.

In the case of oranges such as Valencia and Liucheng, the total soluble solids and acid content fall as fruit become larger. Small fruit (6.0 - 6.5 cm in diameter) have a thin rind and high total soluble sugars and acid, but also are more likely to rot in storage. They should be consumed fresh. Medium sized fruit (7.0 - 7.5 cm in diameter) have a low incidence of fruit rot after storage. Tests have shown they still have a good flavor after two months of storage. Large fruit (more than 7.5 cm in diameter) have a low incidence of fruit rot but a poor flavor after storage, because of their low level of total soluble sugars and their low acid content.

TREATMENT AFTER HARVEST

Only fruit which have not been damaged in harvest are used for storage, although it is difficult to harvest fruit without some minor damage. Sometimes a chemical treatment is applied to the fruit before storage, to reduce the incidence of postharvest diseases.

Citrus fruit age during storage. The stem becomes first yellow, then brown. Finally, it drops off, leaving a vulnerable place on the fruit which may be infected by fungus diseases. A treatment of 10 to 40 ppm 2,4-D can prevent the fruit stem from drying up and dropping off.

The chemical thiabendazole (40% diluted at 500X) can be sprayed onto fruit one or two weeks before harvest. Alternatively, fruit can be soaked for three minutes immediately after harvest. The treatment reduces the incidence of fruit rot during storage. Iminoctodine 25%, (diluted at 2000X) can be used as a spray four days before harvest, or used to soak the fruit before they are packed. It also reduces the incidence of fruit rot.

OTHER TREATMENTS BEFORE STORAGE

After harvest or chemical treatment, fruit should be kept in the shade for a few days before they are put into a PE plastic bag. The bag should be 0.02 - 0.03 mm thick. Keeping the fruit in the shade in this way is a curing treatment, to reduce the water content of the peel. This reduces cell activity in the peel, which otherwise might soften the fruit.

The time needed for water loss or evaporation depends on the temperature, the length of time the fruit is to be stored, and the thickness of the peel. If temperatures are high, citrus fruit need a longer period of curing. They also need a longer period of curing if they are to be stored for a long time, or if they have a thick peel.

On average, it takes from three to seven days to reduce the fruit weight by about 3%. A higher water content than this causes to condense inside the plastic bag, leading to stem rot. Water loss may cure minor wounds on the peel and reduce the incidence of rot during storage.

Fruit which are to be stored for a long period are wrapped in plastic, to reduce water loss. Sometimes only one fruit is kept in each bag. This is the case with mandarins such as Ponkan. However with other varieties such as Valencia or Tonkan, several layers of fruit can be stored in each bag.
If the fruit are to be stored for more than two months, PE film is used, wrapped around stacked crates of fruit to form a pillar.

STORAGE

Plastic crates or boxes are used for storing fruit. Mandarins such as Ponkan should be stored with only one or two layers per box. Sweet oranges such as Valencia or Liucheng should be stored with three or four layers per box. Too many layers in one box may cause bruising of the fruit.

Boxes should be stacked inside the storage room in a way that maintains good ventilation. For the first few weeks of storage, ventilation windows should be left open. Throughout the storage period, the windows should be left open at night or in cold weather, in order to cool the fruit.

When temperatures are high in the day time, the ventilation windows should be closed. Sunlight should not be able to penetrate inside the storage room. Any rotting fruit that are found should be removed.

Storage rooms should be constructed in places where cold air can flow into the room at night. The storage room should have a high roof, to allow better circulation of cold air at night. Ventilation windows should be small but there should be a large number of them, to allow better air circulation. It is recommended to that some ventilation pipes should be buried under ground, to bring in cool air through the floor of the room.

The roof and walls should have good heat insulation, to keep temperatures as cool as possible. The storage room should be insect-proof and rat-proof. A good storage room is the key for extending the shelf life while maintaining fruit quality. The room should be kept clean, and all rotting fruits should be removed. Before storage, the room should be sanitized by washing the walls and floor with 5% formalin.

Another way of storing fruit is to leave them on the tree. In California, Valencia oranges can be left on the tree for five months, from May to October. In Taiwan, this has been tried for the very similar Liucheng orange. However, the harvest can only be delayed for one month and then the fruit drop to the ground.

Friday, February 17, 2012

POST HARVEST MANAGEMENT

Curing

The only post-harvest treatment required for the long storage of bulb onions is a thorough curing of the bulbs. Curing is a drying process intended to dry off the necks and outer scale leaves of the bulbs to prevent the loss of moisture and the attack by decay during storage. The essentials for curing are heat and good ventilation, preferably with low humidity. This dries out the neck and the two or three outer layers of the bulb. The outermost layer, which may be contaminated with soil, usually falls away easily when the bulbs are cured, exposing the dry under-layer, which should have an attractive appearance. Onions are considered cured when neck is tight and the outerscales are dried until they rustle. This condition is reached when onions have lost 3 to 5% of their weight.

If onions cannot be dried in the field, they can be collected in trays, which are then stacked in a warm, covered area with good ventilation.

In cool, damp climates, onions in bulk ventilated stores are dried with artificial heat blown through the bulk at a duct temperature of 30 degrees Celsius.

Onions can also be cured by tying the tops of the bulbs in bunches and hanging them on a horizontal pole in a well-ventilated shades. Curing in shade improves bulb colour and reduces losses significantly during storage
Grading

Onions after curing are graded manually before they go in to storage or for marketing. The thick neck, bolted, doubles, injured and decayed bulbs are picked out so also misshapen small bulbs. Sorting and grading is done after storage also to fetch better price. The outer dry scales usually rub off during the grading process, giving the onions a better appearance for market. It has been experienced that if storage is arranged after proper sorting and grading losses in storage are reduced.

For local market the onions are graded based on their size.

Extra large onion (>6 cm dia.)

Medium (4-6 cm dia.)

Small (2-4 cm dia.)

The extra large onions have great demand and fetches very good price.
General Characteristics

The bulbs shall:

•    be reasonably uniform in shape, size colour and pungency of the variety /type
•    be mature, solid in feel, reasonably firm with tough clinging skins.
•    be throughout cured and dried.

•    be free from dust and other foreign material.

•    be free from defective, diseased, decayed and damaged bulbs caused by seed stems, tops
•    oots, moisture, dry sun scald burn, sprouting, mechanical or other injuries and staining.

•    be free from moulds, soft rot and insect attack.
•    % of seed stem or bolted bulbs shall not exceed 20% in Nasik kharif onions.

Bangalore and Krishnapuram onions will be free from bottle necks or doubles.

Grade designations and definitions of quality for export of onions:

Different size but not below 15

1. Tolerance for size in big onions: For accidental errors in sizing, not more than 5 % by weight of the bulbs in any lot may be of next lower grade than the minimum diameter prescribed in Nasik, Saurashtra, Bellary or Poona onions. In case of Podisu, this error in sizing not more than 10 % by weight. In this case, smallest onion in bunch would be taken for measuring the diameter.

2. Defective, diseased and damaged shall mean malformed bulbs and the bulbs internally or externally damaged, diseased or discoloured material affecting the quality. The decayed onions shall not exceed 2% in any lot.
General: The grade shall be allowed to be packed only against irrevocable letter of credit.

# NS grade: This is not a grade in its strict sense but has been provided for the onions not covered under regular grade. Onions under this grade shall be exported only against a specific order from foreign buyer inducting the quality.

Packaging

Packing should be small for easy handling during transit and may vary according to market demand. Onions are packed in jute (hessian) bags for transporting to yard or brought as loose. For safe handling, 40 kg open mesh jute bags having 200-300 g weight should be used in domestic market. For export, common big onions are packed in 5-25 kg size open mesh jute bags.

Bangalore Rose and multiplier onions are packed for export in 14-15 kg wooden baskets. Nylon net bags, when used for packing have resulted in less storage loss because of good ventilation.

Handling

Bulbs intended for storage must be free from cuts and handled with extreme care. Onions should not be dropped on to non-resilient surface from more than 6 feet height. If onions are to be stacked after packing in store or trucks, the better height is 2-2.5 metres. Losses due to rot is reported to be more if onions are stored in gunny bags than in loose or wooden crates.

Storage

Proper storage of bulbs is necessary both for consumption and also for seed production. Onions should not be stored unless adequately dried either in the field or by artificial means. It is necessary to dry the neck tissue and outer scales until they rustle when handled otherwise the bulbs will rot in storage. Sprouting in onion is controlled by temperature. The temperature between 10-25°C increases sprouting. Rooting is influenced by relative humidity (RH).

More the relative humidity, more is rooting. Weight loss is more when temperature is above 35°C. Under ambient conditions the onions are stored at a temperature of 30-35° C with RH of 65-70%. In cold storage, temperature is maintained at 0-2°C while the RH is kept at 60-75%.

Sprouting is checked effectively if Maleic Hydrazide at 2500 ppm is sprayed at 75-90 days after transplanting. Effect is, however, more pronounced in kharif season than in rabi season. The storage rots could be checked if proper cleanliness is maintained in store and crop is sprayed with 0.1% Carbendazim after 90 days of transplanting and just before harvest. In India, the farmers practice different storage methods. The onions are bulk stored in special houses with thatched roof and side walls are made up with bamboo sticks or wire mesh for good air circulation. In North India, the sides are also covered with gunny cloth. Onions are stored in these sheds by spreading them on dry and damp proof floor or racks. Periodical turning of bulbs or removal of rotten, damaged and sprouted bulbs should be done. Well-ventilated improved storage structures with racks or tiers having two or three layers of bulbs would be desirable for proper storage.

The salient features of improved storage structures are as below
•    Construction of storage godown on raised platform helps in reduction of moisture and dampness

•    Use of Mangalore tiles roof or other suitable material prevents built up of high temperature inside.

•    Increased centre height and more slope is better for air circulation and preventing humid microclimate inside godown.

•    Bottom ventilation provides free and faster air circulation to avoid formation of hot and humid pockets between the onion layers.

•    Avoid direct sunlight on onion bulbs to reduce sunscald, fading of colour and quality deterioration.

•    Restriction on width of each stack to 60-70 cm for cool humid weather, 75-90 cm for mild and humid weather and 90-120 cm for mild and dry weather conditions

•    Restriction of stacking height to 100 cm for small and multiplier onion and hot weather and 120 cm for mild weather and for big onion to avoid pressure bruising.

•    Cubicles should be made instead of continuous stack leaving sufficient space for ventilation from all the sides.

One cubic metre area of store accommodates about 750 kg onions.
Transport

Onion stocks are transported in bullock carts, tractor trolleys and trucks as also railway wagons are used for longer distance movement within the country. Onions are transported in ventilated ships as well as sailing vessels / motorboats for export to Gulf and South-East Asian countries. It is also shipped in 3.5m containers or 7m containers by loading on ships.
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2.1    Pre-harvest Operations

The condition of onion leaves is a good indicator of the maturity and general state of the bulb. Bulb onions which are to be stored should be allowed to mature fully before harvest and this occurs when the leaves bend just above the top of the bulb and fall over. As a practical guide, farmers should conduct sample counts on the number of bulbs, which have fallen over in a field; and when the percentage of bulbs, which have fallen over, reaches about 70-80% then the entire crop should be harvested. Harvesting could commence earlier when 50-80% of the tops have gone over, before it is possible to see split skins exposing onion flesh Storage losses at optimum maturity are normally lower than those harvested before the tops collapse. Bulbs generally mature within 100-140 days from sowing, depending on the cultivar and the weather.

Spring onions mature for harvesting after 35-45 days from sowing. Harvested crop should be allowed to dry or cure and ripen in the sun for several days after lifting. Onions can yield up to 5 t.ha-1 under good growing and management conditions.

2.2    Harvesting & Transport

Manual harvesting is the most common practice in most developing countries. This is normally carried out by levering the bulbs with a fork to loosen them and pulling the tops by hand. In developed countries, especially in large scale farms, mechanical harvesting is commonly used. The harvesting techniques adopted are influenced by weather condition at harvest time. In areas where warm, dry weather occurs reliably, the curing and bagging of the crop can be done in the field (two phase harvesting). In wetter, temperate regions, mechanical harvesting and artificial heating and ventilation for drying are essential for reliable production of high quality bulbs on a large scale.

The following steps are followed during two-phase harvesting of onions: (a) mowing the leaves (if necessary); (b) stubbing, undercutting and sieving the onions to remove stones and clods; (c) roll the soil in the row to get a plane surface; (d) drying the bulbs (windrowing) 8 to 10 days in the field; (e) turning the bulbs 1 to 2 times; (f) harvesting, sieving and hand-grading, overloading into a trailer or in crates; and (g) transport. For one phase harvesting usually commercial potato harvesters have been adapted. After mowing the leaves the crop is immediately harvested, sieved, hand graded and loaded onto the trailer. Because of the additional operations involved, labour costs for two-phase harvesting are about 30 to 100 % higher than for one phase harvesting. The main disadvantage of one-phase harvesting is the high energy consumption required for mechanical drying. Using combine harvesting, the standardised working hours has been calculated to be 2.7 to 2.9 hr.ha-1 for stubbing, 2.4 to 2.6 hr.ha-1 for turning and 8.9 to 11 hr.ha-1 (KTBL, 1993).

Harvested bulbs are placed in containers (basket, bins) or tied into bunches and placed directly on the floor of a trailer for transport. These trailers can be pulled by an animals (such as donkey) or mechanical transport such as a tractor. Both packaging and transport systems must be selected to ensure minimum handling damage to produce. Hard surfaces should be cushioned with leaves, foam or other appropriate force decelerators.

2.3    Curing & Drying

Both curing and drying remove excess moisture from the outer layers of the bulb prior to storage. The dried skin provides a surface barrier to water loss and microbial infection, thereby preserving the main edible tissue in a fresh state. Drying also reduces shrinkage during subsequent handling, reduces the occurrence of sprouting, and allows the crop to ripen before fresh consumption or long-term storage (Opara and Geyer, 1999). This process of dehydration is sometimes called ‘curing’, but the use of the word ‘curing’ for onion drying is rather inaccurate since no cell regeneration or wound healing occurs as in other root crops such as yam and cassava. Drying reduces bulb weight and since they are sold mostly on a weight basis, achieving the desired level of dehydration is critical. Weight losses of 3-5% are normal under ambient drying conditions and up to 10 % with artificial drying.

In traditional small-scale operations, onion drying is carried out in the field in a process commonly called ‘windrowing’. It involves harvesting the mature bulbs and laying them on their sides (in windrows) on the surface of the soil to dry for 1 or 2 weeks. In hot tropical climates, the bulbs should be windrowed in such a way to reduce the exposed surface to minimise damage due to direct exposure to the sun. In wet weather, the bulbs can take longer time to dry and may develop higher levels of rots during storage. The side of the bulb in contact with wet soil or moisture may also develop brown strains or pixels, which reduce the appearance quality and value. Obviously, successful windrowing is weather dependent and therefore cannot be relied upon for large scale commercial onion production business. Bulbs harvested for storage require in total 14-20 days of ripening or drying before being stored. Harvested onions may also be placed in trays, which are then stacked at the side of the field to dry. In some tropical regions, the bulbs are tied together in groups by plaiting the tops, which are then hung over poles in sheds to dry naturally.

Harvested bulbs can also be taken straight from the field and dried artificially either in a store, shed, barns, or in a purpose-built drier. This method is commonly used when crops are stored in bulk but it can also be applied to bags, boxed or bins. Under this method, bulbs are laid on racks and heated air is rapidly passed across the surface of the bulbs night and day [O’Connor, 1979; Brice et al., 1997]. Drying may take 7-10 days and is considered complete when the necks of the bulbs have dried out and are tight and the skins shriek when held in the hand. The control of humidity level in the store is critical. Under very high humidity, drying is delayed and fungal infection can increase. However, if relative humidity is too low (below 60%), excessive water loss and splitting of the bulb outer skins can occur, resulting in storage losses and reduction of bulb value. Placing onions on wire mesh in well ventilated conditions and using air at about 30°C, 60-75% rh and 150 m³.h-1.m-3 is generally recommended for mechanical drying of onions.

2.4    Cleaning

Freedom from any impurity, which may materially alter the appearance or eating quality, is essential. Soil and other foreign materials must be removed and badly affected produce must be discarded. Cleaning may be carried out using air or by manually removing unwanted materials on the bulb surface.
Care should be taken to avoid physical injury on the bulb during these operations.

2.5    Packaging

General Information

Good packaging for onions must meet the following criteria: (a) strong enough to retain the required weight of onions under the conditions of transport and storage, (b) allow sufficient ventilation for the air around the bulbs to maintain relative humidity in the required range, and (c) in many circumstances, provide a means of displaying legally required and commercially necessary information (Brice et al., 1999).

There are many traditional methods of holding onions for transportation and/or storage that do not fit into conventional packaging classifications. These include 'string of onions', shelves and loose bulk In 'string of onions' packing, the bulbs are tied together by means of their tops to produce a bunch of bulbs is also a form of packaging. This is suitable for transporting small quantity of crop, and during storage, the bunches are hung from the roof or from special racks. Shelves for onion handling and storage are made from either wooden slats or metal mesh on a wooden or metal frame, and are usually fixed in position with the bulbs loaded and unloaded in the store.

Ventilation (natural or forced) is usually achieved by passing air over the shelves. To achieve adequate aeration of the bulbs, the depth of bulbs on the shelves should be limited to 10 cm.

Onions are also stored loose bulk (instead of containers) by heaping the bulbs directly on the floor or elevated platform. Because they are not restrained, the bulbs roll during store loading to completely fill the storage space. Bulk storage permits maximum utilisation of store space, and uniform aeration is easier to achieve than in stacks of bags or other rigid packaging.

However, where bulk storage is to implemented, the retaining walls must be strengthened when storing larger quantities of bulbs, and arrangements need to be made for rebagging before subsequent marketing. It is also difficult to inspect bulbs regularly under these storage conditions. Loose bulk handling of onion is most suitable for large-scale operations where forced ventilation can be provided during long-term storage. Soft cultivars (which are also generally sweet) 'Vidalia Sweets' should not be stored in loose bulk because of their high susceptibility to compression and impact damage.

Onions can be packaged and stored in a variety of containers such as boxes, cartons, bags, bulk bins, pre-packs, plastic film bags, and stretch-wrapped trays. Packages typically contain 25 kg and above, especially for transporting crop from field to store and/or during storage. The same 25 kg bags or smaller bags may be used from store to market place. Decision on which type of packaging to use depends on crop size, length of storage and marketing requirements. A problem with packaging onions in boxes, net bags and bulk bins is that if they are too large, and airflow pattern tends to be around rather than through them. Under this condition, the respiration heat of the bulb results in a warm, humid environment in the centre of the package, which can result in decay or sprouting. To avoid these problems in large stores, the capital investment in packaging may be quite substantial.

Onion Bags

Sacks and nets used for onion packaging fall into three groups: (i) general-purpose jute sacks, as used for many agricultural commodities, (ii) open-weave sacks of sisal-like fibre, (iii) open-mesh nets, normally of plastic materials and (iv) big bags, used alternatively to crates, containing up to 1000 kg . Jute sacks are readily available in most developing countries, but their disadvantages include: (i) generally too large - may contain 100 kg onions, hence difficult to handle and an increased risk of mechanical damage; (ii) bulbs are not visible through the fabric, and it is difficult to monitor condition during storage; (iii) there is some resistance to airflow if they are used in an aerated store; (iv) difficult to label effectively; and (v) recycled sacks may encourage spread of post harvest diseases.

 Sisal sacks are made from sisal-like hard fibres and have an open weave, with thick threads spaced between about 10 and 15 cm apart. The rough nature of the fibre provides a sufficiently stable weave. These sacks are similar to jute sacks, but will allow limited visibility of the onions and impedance to airflow is less.

Open-mesh nets are the most widely used package for onions, and they are normally red or orange in colour. The slippery nature of plastics can result in the movement of the threads allowing large holes to open up. To overcome this problem, alternative nets are industrially produced to give fully stable mesh and stronger bag. The principal techniques include: (i) using extruded net from high-density PVC, (ii) knitted (warp-knitted) and asymmetric construction, and (iii) special weave in which weft threads are double, and twisted. They are also slowly degraded by sunlight, and should not be left outdoors for long period before use. In comparison with the other types of bags, they offer several advantages, including: (i) light weight, small bulk when empty, (ii) usually available in 12.5 and 25 kg sizes, (iii) fairly good visibility of bulbs, (iv) excellent ventilation, (v) hygienic, (vi) easy closing (draw-string types only), (vii) and crop brand and marketing information may be printed around the middle of the bag for easy identification.

Rigid Packages

A range of rigid containers is used to package onions for transportation, marketing, and/or storage (Opara and Geyer, 1999). The principal rigid containers are trays (10-15 kg of onions each), boxes (up to 25 kg), and bulk bins (up to 1000 kg). These types of packaging enable segregation of onions into different cultivars or sources. Choice of packaging material is important as wooden bins, for example, are liable to termite attack, and weathering during off-season. Rigid containers are also expensive, need regular maintenance and a forklift is required for handling larger containers. Where rigid containers are used for onion storage, building design is simpler than that for large-scale loose bulk storage as reinforcement of retaining walls are not required to support the bulbs. Handling damage of bulbs during filling and emptying can be high, but damage is reduced during store loading and unloading operations in comparison with loose bulk handling and storage.

Stacking of containers must be carried out with care and to ensure that the ventilation air is forced through the containers of bulbs and not around them. One of the main advantages of rigid containers is that they facilitate regular inspection of produce, and when problems occur with the stack, the area affected is often limited to a few trays, boxes or bins which may be more easily isolated and removed than in loose bulk handling system.

Onion Pre-packs

Onions are commonly sold in retail outlets in pre-packs with a capacity of 0.5-1.5 kg. Pre-packing offers the following advantages over single bulbs in heaps or bags: (i) price can be attached to produce, (ii) the collation of a number of pieces into one unit of sale may promote sale of a larger quantity than would be purchased otherwise, (iii) provides a clean odourless unit for the customer to handle, and (iv) reduces time spent at the check-out. The use of weight/price labelling machines and bar-coding has reduced the need to pack to fixed nominal weights. During preparation for retail, the quantity of produce is measured by hand or machine and filled into the pack. Then the actual weight and price and/or bar-code are automatically calculated and printed on a label, which is attached to the package. This mechanised weighing and labelling system assists the packer in accurate record keeping and avoids losses due to inaccurate pack weights. The three main types of onion pre-packs are nets, plastic film bags, and stretch-wrapped trays
2.6    Bulk Storage

General Requirements

The objectives of onion storage are to extend the period of availability of crop, maintain optimum bulb quality and minimise losses from physical, physiological, and pathological agents. Bulbs selected for storage should be firm and the neck dry and thin. Discard thick-necked bulbs because they are most likely to have high moisture content than optimum for storage, and therefore would have short storage life. Skin colour should be typical of the cultivar. Microbial infections such as Aspergillus niger occur during production of onions but these will only develop on the bulbs during storage where the storage environment is conducive for their growth. Prior to storage, crop must be cleaned and graded, and all damaged or diseased bulbs removed.

Careful harvest and pre-storage treatments with minimal mechanical loads are important to achieve a long storage period. Both store room temperature, relative humidity, and atmospheric composition affect the length of storage that can be achieved. Several technology options are available for bulk storage of onions, including low-temperate storage, high-temperature storage, ‘direct harvest’ storage and the use of controlled atmosphere (CA) stores. The recommended storage conditions under these systems are summarised below.

Storage at Low Temperature

For successful low temperature storage, good ventilation and a low level humidity in the range of 70-75% is essential. To maintain good quality crop, the period of storage varies but may be up to 200 days. For maximum storage period and minimum losses bulbs should be fully mature at harvest, and dried until the ‘neck’ of the bulb is tight. For large-scale commercial storage, onions are usually stored under refrigeration and the most commonly recommended conditions are 0°C with 70-75% rh. Regular ventilation and monitoring of both temperature and relative humidity in the store are necessary to avoid significant fluctuations in environmental conditions. During the first few days of storage the fans should provide an adequate airflow, to remove water in the outer skins and to dry bruises. High air speed is needed for a period of up to 1 week, until the skin of the upper onion layers in the bulk rustles. Excessive humidity in-store will lead to the development of roots and promote rotting while higher temperatures will result in sprouting and promote development of pathological disorders such as Botrytis rots (Thompson, 1982) Bulbs freeze below -3°C and a range of storage temperatures and relative humidities have been recommended for safe storage of onions (Table 5).  Spring (green) onions store best at about 0°C and very high humidity (95%) (Table 6). The maximum length of storage under these conditions varies from just a few days to about 3 weeks.

Ventilation must be carefully applied inside the store to achieve the required temperature and humidity levels without inducing condensation of water on the surface.

Onion Storage at High-temperature

Onions can be stored at high temperatures of over 25°C at a range of relative humidities (75-85%) which is necessary for minimising water loss.
Storage at temperatures of 25-30°C has been shown to reduce sprouting and root growth compared to low-temperature storage (10-20°C). However, weight loss, desiccation of bulbs, and rots occurred at high temperatures, making the system uneconomic for long periods of storage that is required for successful onion marketing (Thompson et al., 1972; Stow, 1975). In tropical climates, high-temperature storage of onions can be achieved under both ambient and heated storage conditions. Under these conditions, ventilation must be carefully applied inside the store to achieve the required temperature and humidity levels.

‘Direct Harvest’ Storage

The need to cure onions can pose considerable challenges in situations where the climatic condition is unpredictable during the harvest period. To overcome these problems, the 'direct harvest system' has been developed and used extensively, particularly by growers in the UK, since the early 1980s. The bulbs are harvested while green, topped, loaded into store, dried and cured using well controlled ventilation system, and thereafter held in long-term low-temperature storage as required (Table 7). During stage I, removal of excessive surface moisture is achieved at high airflow rates, ignoring the rh of the air. Stage II is completed when the skins have been cured on the bulb. Adequate control of the storage condition at the various stages is critical to the success of this storage system in maintaining required bulb quality.

A is used in combination with coldstorage to extend the storage life of onions. Recommended air composition and temperature regimes are summarised in Table 8. Spring onions generally tolerate higher CO2 and O2 levels than bulb onions, and the levels of CO2 and O2 combination required varies depending on the storage temperature (Table 9). Commercial CA storage of onion bulbs is limited partly because of variable success and inconsistent effects on bulb quality. However, high carbon dioxide (0-5%) and low oxygen (1-3%) levels in combination with low temperature storage has been shown to reduce sprouting and root growth (SeaLand, 1991; Hardenburg et al., 1990). The combination of CA storage (5% CO2, 3% O2) and refrigerated storage (1°C) also resulted in 99% of the onion bulbs considered marketable after 7 months storage; however, 9% weight loss occurred (Smittle, 1989).

Onion response to CA storage varies among cultivars. Therefore, experiments should therefore be conducted under local conditions to determine the appropriate level of gas composition suitable for safe storage of local cultivars. CA storage generally increases the pungency of characteristic cultivars. For the 'Viladia Sweets' which are known for their sweetness and low pungency, the recommended storage conditions are (Smittle, 1989): 1 ºC, 70-80% rh, 3% O2, 5% CO2, 92% N2, and ventilation rate of 5.m3.h-1.m3 of onions.

2.7    Processing

Onion bulbs are generally chopped into desired sizes and shapes using a knife. Many commercial devices are also available for chopping onions. In some food preparations, the onions are blended with other ingredients to produce the desired flavour.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pizza

Title:
Pizza

Word Count:
553

Summary:
The pizza pie is an ubiquitous symbol of both Italian cooking and Americana. Oven-baked, thin-crust or deep-dish, round or square, it is a common favorite throughout the United States, with a wide number of regional variations.

The most traditional pie is the pizza Napolitano, or Neapolitan pizza. Made of strong flour, the dough is often kneaded by hand and then rolled flat and thin without a rolling pin. The pizza is cooked in an extremely hot wood-fired stone oven for on...


Keywords:
pizzas ,Neapolitan pizza,cheese


Article Body:
The pizza pie is an ubiquitous symbol of both Italian cooking and Americana. Oven-baked, thin-crust or deep-dish, round or square, it is a common favorite throughout the United States, with a wide number of regional variations.

The most traditional pie is the pizza Napolitano, or Neapolitan pizza. Made of strong flour, the dough is often kneaded by hand and then rolled flat and thin without a rolling pin. The pizza is cooked in an extremely hot wood-fired stone oven for only sixty to ninety seconds, and is removed when it is soft and fragrant. Common varieties of Neapolitan pizza include marinara, made with tomato, olive oil, oregano, and garlic, and margherita, made with tomato, olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and mozzarella cheese.

New York was home to the first pizza parlor in the United States, opened in Little Italy in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi. It is not surprising, then, that New York-style pizza dominates in the Northeastern part of the country. It is thin-crusted, and made with a thin layer of sauce and grated cheese. The dough is hand-tossed, making the pie large and thin. As a result, it is served cut into slices, traditionally eight, which are often eaten folded in half. It can be served with any number of toppings, including pepperoni, the most popular topping in the United States, or as a “white pizza”, which includes no tomato sauce and is made with a variety of cheeses, such as mozzarella and ricotta.

Chicago is also home to a major variety of pizza.The Chicago-style pizza is deep dish, meaning it is made in a pan with the crust formed up the sides, or even with two crusts and sauce between, a so-called “stuffed” pizza. The ingredients are “reversed” in a Chicago pizza, with cheese going in first, and then sauce on top. This particular form of pizza was invented in 1943 at Uno’s Pizzeria in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.

The Midwest also plays host to the St. Louis style pizza. This thin-crust delicacy is made using local provel cheese instead of mozzarella, and is very crispy. Heavily seasoned with oregano and other spices, with a slightly sweet sauce, it is difficult to fold because of the crust and is often cut into squares, instead of served in slices.

A Hawaiian pizza is an American invention that has nothing to do with Hawaii save that one of the main ingredients is pineapple. The pineapple is put atop the pizza, along with Canadian bacon, giving a rather sweet taste very different from pizzas closer to the Italian original. Hawaiian pizza is very common in the Western United States.

In fact, a number of esoteric pizzas are common on the West coast, and “gourmet” pizza is often referred to as “California-style” pizza. This is an example of fusion cuisine, and many of the pizzas go far beyond the common tomato sauce and cheese. Thai pizza, for example, can include bean sprouts and peanut sauce, while breakfast pizza, as the name implies, may be topped with bacon and scrambled eggs. As a “gourmet” food, California pizzas are often individual sized, serving two people at most, and are not cut in slices like other common types of pizza pie.

Pizza is as diverse as America itself, with almost infinite variations – all of them delicious.



The pizza pie is an ubiquitous symbol of both Italian cooking and Americana. Oven-baked, thin-crust or deep-dish, round or square, it is a common favorite throughout the United States, with a wide number of regional variations.

The most traditional pie is the pizza Napolitano, or Neapolitan pizza. Made of strong flour, the dough is often kneaded by hand and then rolled flat and thin without a rolling pin. The pizza is cooked in an extremely hot wood-fired stone oven for only sixty to ninety seconds, and is removed when it is soft and fragrant. Common varieties of Neapolitan pizza include marinara, made with tomato, olive oil, oregano, and garlic, and margherita, made with tomato, olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and mozzarella cheese.

New York was home to the first pizza parlor in the United States, opened in Little Italy in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi. It is not surprising, then, that New York-style pizza dominates in the Northeastern part of the country. It is thin-crusted, and made with a thin layer of sauce and grated cheese. The dough is hand-tossed, making the pie large and thin. As a result, it is served cut into slices, traditionally eight, which are often eaten folded in half. It can be served with any number of toppings, including pepperoni, the most popular topping in the United States, or as a “white pizza”, which includes no tomato sauce and is made with a variety of cheeses, such as mozzarella and ricotta.

Chicago is also home to a major variety of pizza.The Chicago-style pizza is deep dish, meaning it is made in a pan with the crust formed up the sides, or even with two crusts and sauce between, a so-called “stuffed” pizza. The ingredients are “reversed” in a Chicago pizza, with cheese going in first, and then sauce on top. This particular form of pizza was invented in 1943 at Uno’s Pizzeria in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.

The Midwest also plays host to the St. Louis style pizza. This thin-crust delicacy is made using local provel cheese instead of mozzarella, and is very crispy. Heavily seasoned with oregano and other spices, with a slightly sweet sauce, it is difficult to fold because of the crust and is often cut into squares, instead of served in slices.

A Hawaiian pizza is an American invention that has nothing to do with Hawaii save that one of the main ingredients is pineapple. The pineapple is put atop the pizza, along with Canadian bacon, giving a rather sweet taste very different from pizzas closer to the Italian original. Hawaiian pizza is very common in the Western United States.

In fact, a number of esoteric pizzas are common on the West coast, and “gourmet” pizza is often referred to as “California-style” pizza. This is an example of fusion cuisine, and many of the pizzas go far beyond the common tomato sauce and cheese. Thai pizza, for example, can include bean sprouts and peanut sauce, while breakfast pizza, as the name implies, may be topped with bacon and scrambled eggs. As a “gourmet” food, California pizzas are often individual sized, serving two people at most, and are not cut in slices like other common types of pizza pie.

Pizza is as diverse as America itself, with almost infinite variations – all of them delicious.