Sunday, December 16, 2012

Garden Gifts are Blessings


The Gift of Taste – Blessing # 6


Harvest time has just past. The many foods from the garden – fruits, berries, vegetables – are still vivid in our minds, and in the pantry. The sharing of food with family is a celebration and memories are created. Sharing of recipes is growing, as we tweek the taste for a more enjoyable experience.   This gift of taste is a blessing.

The sense of taste is located on the tongue.  The sections of the tongue register different flavors – Bitter, Sour, Sweet, Salty, Astringent, and Pungent.


Some Bitter food from the garden are olives, citrus rinds, coffee, and cocoa.citric peel bittercoffee - bitter


Bitter is the most sensitive section of taste.  Dark green, leafy vegetable like mustard green are bitter, as well as foods from the Brassicareae family like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.  Radishes and horseradish also fall into this group of bitter food. bitter
Hops is the ingredient in beer that gives it a bitterness. Now this is a blessing!
220px-Hopfendolde-mit-hopfengarten hops bitter beerbitter beer


sour
Citrus Fruit
Sour foods are due to acidity – whether in the form of hydrochloric acid, tartaric acid, citric acid, or carbonic acid. We recognize the gift of  citrus fruits as sour from the citric acid.
Certainly a cool lemonade or fresh orange juice in the morning are blessings from the garden.


Sweet foods get their flavor from sugars.  Sugars can be found in fruit and grains. These gifts are sweet and a favorite blessing of many.
Fresh_Fruits_and_Vegetables B
Sweet Foods


Salty taste is rarely found in foods directly, but salt is added to foods during preparation or preserving processes. This sodium ions that we like as salty come from natural salt mines, or sea salt. The only plant I found that is salty is a Saltwort or Glasswort that grows in salty marshes and is not readily available in the food chain. Even if Saltwort was grown in the home garden, the salty water of the marsh would not be present and this plant would not taste salty.


One flavor I was not aware of as specific to taste is the astringent flavor.  However, here are a few gifts of the garden that qualify as astringent.
legumes astringent food taste


Legumes like these are astringent in flavor and are high in nutrients. Such a blessing.


Pungent flavors are another taste I had never separated out in the flavor/taste discussion.  Spices fall into this category nicely.  Allspice, cloves, bay leaves, and hot peppers are just a few of the gifts from the garden that are pungent and add to the experience of eating. A blessing.
spices - pungent taste

The gift of taste makes the necessity of eating a pleasure. Comfort food is all about the warm, secure feelings we seek when we remember meals of the past. And the garden provides these gifts of food that we cherish. Bitter, sweet, sour, salty, astringent, and pungent flavors are certainly a blessing.
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