Sassafras is kind of a big deal. Without it the whole history of the US might have played out differently. Also, we wouldn't have root beer or filé gumbo. Depending on whom you ask, sassafras is either a folk remedy or a dangerous carcinogen. We'll leave you to decide: bad seed or beneficial buddy?
Like salt and black pepper, you probably reach for cooking oil for just about every meal you make. But have you ever wondered about the history of your canola oil, or what makes fancy extra virgin olive oil so expensive? Or what the heck margarine really is? Read on for all of this and more.
Are you ready to step up your wine game? In this Real Food overview, we'll touch on some familiar grapes and wines while providing references for further exploration. Most importantly, we'll look at the environmental impacts and sustainable potential of winemaking!
Peanuts are an incredible food. This South American native legume has traveled the world to become a household treat on almost every continent, from the peanut flare in Thai cuisine to the humble PB&J in North America. Exploring the many roles of the peanut may just be the food adventure for you this season!
Pears are often regarded as the "other" fruit, standing in the shadows of apples, but the fresh, floral pear is as easy to cultivate as an apple and just a versatile. Bite into a juicy pear, slice it up for your cheese plate, or cook it into a savory dish: the options with pears seem to be endless.
Honey - that golden syrup we drizzle on toast and stir into tea - is created by the busy little bees that pollinate so many of our crops. Read on to learn about how those buzzing insects produce honey and how honey plays into our history and into so many sweet and savory delights.
We may think of it as a refreshing accompaniment to a slice of pizza (which it is!), but beer is so much more. As an agricultural product, requiring considerable resources for its production, and as a sustenance, beer has a significant impact on our food system.
Olives have long had a place in our kitchens and at our tables. To the Greeks and Romans, the olive wasn't just a source of food, but the fuel that lit their lamps and bolstered their economies. To this day, to figuratively extend the olive branch means to offer peace to your enemy. Learn more about the hearty olive, which not only tastes great but is good for you too!
If you haven't tried ground cherries, you're not alone. These bright yellow-orange beauties wrapped in a papery husk are a niche fruit in the US. Once enjoyed by Native Americans, and later by early American settlers, the sweet ground cherry is under-appreciated today.
Salmon is an ancient creature that has sustained civilizations throughout the ages, but in just the past hundred-plus years, this majestic elder of the sea has been taken for granted, exploited, depleted and endangered. Whatever you know about salmon, there is more to the story.
There is perhaps no fish more prized, beloved, revered, fought over - or exploited - than salmon. In this special two-part series, we take a deeper look at what makes salmon tick, its current state of affairs and the future, with an emphasis on environmental highs and lows - and unknowns.
Blooming lavender fills summer air with a voluptuous, calming fragrance, an aroma often found in perfumes, lotions and soaps - but this herb is more than an olfactory delight. Lavender can make a splash at the kitchen table in beverages, jams and even as seasoning on meats. Take a deep breath and dive into cooking with lavender.
Oregano and marjoram have a deeply entwined history. In fact, the name oregano is often used to refer to marjoram and vice versa. Confused? Don't be. We'll give you the scoop on these closely related herbs that bring a sweet and savory kick to meats and vegetables and why they're known as ancient symbols of love and happiness.
July and August are the peak season for plums in most parts of the country, and also the perfect time to sink your culinary teeth in this seasonal fruit. Try your hand at grilled plums, plum sauce or even plum schnapps this summer and rediscover this ancient delight.
Virtually impossible to find in your local grocery store, lamb's quarters are a summer treat you can actually forage for yourself almost anywhere else. Once you know what to look for (there are several non-edible lamb's quarters look-alikes), you'll probably even find this hearty green weed springing up right in your backyard!
Tart, succulent purslane can be used like any green veggie. While many curse this juicy green as a weed, adding purslane to your kitchen arsenal brings a slightly tart and lemony flavor to salads, sauces, stews and more - perfect for the start of summer.