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01

Sep

4 Uncommon Ingredients And How To Use Them

People are often curious about new flavours and ingredients especially if they’ve heard or read somewhere that they taste really good. There are some uncommon ingredients that you won’t eat every day, or aren’t your usual thing to cook or eat. Here are five things you can find some room for in your kitchen and stomach!

Prickly Pear

Cactus is the plant that the bad guys would land on in cartoons and be really mad about it. One specific type of cactus, known by its scientific name as Opuntia is the source of a really beautiful fruit known as a prickly pear. The prickly pear, like its name suggests, is prickly on the outside and it is important to peel it well before you use it for cooking so that none of those sharp spine get stuck in your mouth or throat. Ouch. The inside of a ripe prickly pear is usually a beautiful deep red, which resembles tuna, which is why the fruit is also known as tuna.

Prickly pear can be used in a variety of ways in your dishes. It can be eaten on its own. It can be incorporated into a dessert, by adding prickly pear syrup to a basic sponge cake batter, or cheese cake batter to make prickly pear cake. You can also use the juice to level up your lemonade or limeade. Get creative.

Black Garlic

Black garlic is made when regular garlic is heated slowly over a period of time and it gradually turns black. It is as if the garlic become caramelized, as they get sweeter and lose their strong pungent flavour and take on a deeper, sweeter, more earthy one. This is as a result of a change in the molecular structure within the garlic cloves due to the slow heating process; this is known as the Maillard Reaction.

Black garlic can be used on meats, on potatoes, vegetables, chicken fish or tofu. Basically it can be used on anything to which you would like to add a deep memorable flavour.

 

Chayote

This is an edible plant from the gourd family of plants which include melons, cucumbers and squash. It is known by such other names as the vegetable pear, pipinola, pear squash or choko. The chayote originated from Mexico and Central America. These fruits can be either cooked or raw, and one need not peel them. When taken raw, it has a crisp texture and taste that is reminiscent of cucumber. When cooked it behaves a lot like summer squash and can be used as a replacement for squash if you want to switch things up a little bit.

The leaves of the chayote can also be eaten, nothing should go to waste, the leaves can be prepared like and are similar to collard greens.

Purple Sweet Potato/ Purple yams

If you love sweet potatoes when they come in yellow, you will definitely enjoy them when they come in purple. If you’re someone who enjoys colour in their food, you will definitely be pleased with how these potatoes take on a deeper purple when cooked. It is also high in antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals that make it a great nutritional choice if you choose to add it to your meals. 

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