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Leek. The leek is of the same variety of plant as the garlic. Its botanical name is Allium porrum L. French, poireau; German, Lauch; Italian, porro; Spanish, puerro.
The leek is thought to be indigenous to Switzerland, though this is not quite certain. It is closely related to the garlic and onion and is valued for the same purposes, namely, its highly aromatic condimental character.
Lettuce.-Among the most valued of the succulent vegetables is the lettuce. Its botanical name is Lactuca sativa L. French, laitue cultivée; German, Lattich; Italian, lattuga; Spanish, lechuga.
Lettuce is thought to be indigenous to India or Central Asia. It has been cultivated, however, for so long that its origin is a matter of doubt. There is a legion of varieties of lettuce, but they all have essentially the same characteristics and have little food value. Lettuce is now found practically throughout the whole year in all civilized countries, being grown under glass in winter so as to furnish a continuous supply for the markets throughout the year. It is used chiefly as salad, and among the varieties which are most highly prized for this purpose are the cabbage lettuce and the variety known as Romaine. The Romaine is distinguished from the common lettuce by the shape of the leaves, which are much longer and narrower than those of ordinary lettuce. The Romaine lettuce is more highly prized by most connoisseurs as being more tender and brittle than the first variety.
The data show that lettuce is a highly succulent vegetable. Its chief food constituents are protein and sugar. Its real value as a food is not shown by chemical analysis because it consists in a delicate, aromatic flavor which is not revealed by the crucible.
Melons.-There are two kinds of melons eaten in the United States,--the first the watermelon, and the second the cantaloupe or muskmelon. In Europe the principal melon which is used is one having deep yellow flesh resembling the color of a pumpkin and known as the French melon. The botanical name is Cucumis melo L. French, melon; German, Melone; Italian, popone; Spanish, melon.
The French melon is indigenous to Asia, but only the cultivated varieties are known now. The flesh is very sweet and is, as has already been said, usually of a deep yellow color, though there are many different varieties.
Cantaloupe. This is a general name given to the melons of the French type or varieties thereof growing in the United States. It is supposed to have had its
origin in Italy, though its history is so old as not to be certain. The cantaloupe is of various sizes and shapes and various degrees of sweetness. In the United States the variety grown at Rocky Ford, Colorado, is noted for its sweetness and general palatability. For this reason many melons not grown at Rocky Ford are improperly sold under that name. There are a great many varieties of cantaloupes. Generally the flesh of the cantaloupe is green instead of yellow. The cantaloupe is often called muskmelon.
ANALYSIS OF JUICE OF MUSKMELONS.
FROM RIND OF MELON.
Watermelons.-This is an entirely different variety from the French melon or cantaloupe. Its botanical name is Citrullus citrullus L. French, melon d'eau; German, Wasser-Melone; Italian, cocomero, Spanish, sandia.
The watermelon is said to be indigenous to Africa. It is grown extensively in the United States, especially in the southern part. It is a field crop of considerable importance, especially in the state of Georgia. The watermelon grows best on a sandy soil, though it requires it to be well fertilized. The vines, when they reach their full growth, cover the entire field. The melons often grow to a very large size,-specimens weighing from 50 to 60 pounds being not unusual. The average size, however, is much less than that. The Georgia melon is somewhat oval in shape, reaching generally from a foot to eighteen inches in length and from a foot to fifteen inches in diameter. The flesh is generally red and the seeds usually black. The watermelon is in the market from early summer until the late autumn. It bears shipping quite well,
and is sent usually in box cars without crating, and, if kept at a low temperature, will remain palatable for many days or even weeks. The fresh ripe melon, however, is far superior in quality to any that are harvested partly green and kept for a long time. About forty or fifty varieties of watermelons grow in the United States.
Composition of Melons.-The following data show the composition of the
flesh of the muskmelon and the watermelon:
Starch, sugar, etc.,.
Starch, sugar, etc.,.
Starch, sugar, etc.,..
The above data show that the edible portion of the muskmelon contains more nutrient matter than that of the watermelon, the difference being chiefly in the content of water and carbohydrates.
Okra. The French name for okra is gombo; Italian, ibisco; Spanish, gombo.
Okra is a vegetable grown very largely in the United States and especially valued for use in soup making. For this purpose the young seed-vessels are employed. The seed pods of the okra are long, tapering, and rigid by reason of quite sharp angles. The okra is often known as gombo or gumbo. Composition.
Onion. The botanical name of the onion is Allium cepa L. The French name is ognon; German, Zwiebel; Italian, cipolla; Spanish, cebolla.
The onion is a plant which is valued for edible purposes throughout the whole world. It is supposed to have been indigenous to Asia, but its exact origin is not known with certainty. Both the pulp and the part of the stem. immediately attached thereto are edible. In fact in very young plants the whole plant is edible. Its highly aromatic character and flavor rather than its nutritive qualities give it its chief value. The onion is eaten both raw and in
various cooked forms. Cooking the onion, especially boiling, expels a large part of its most pungent character, so that the cooked onion does not manifest itself so unpleasantly in the breath when eaten as is the case with the raw onion. The onion is also very commonly eaten in this country fried, especially with beefsteak. The variety of onions cultivated is legion, but they are due rather to different methods of cultivation, etc., to botanical char
Sugar, starch, etc.,.
Sugar, starch, etc.,.
The onion, it is seen, is rather poor in protein but rich in sugar and allied bodies.
Parsnips. The botanical name of the parsnip is Pastinaca sativa L. French, panais; German, Pastinake; Italian, pastinaca; Spanish, chirivia.
The parsnip is nearly related to the carrot in its appearance and also its properties. The root is usually long and straight and gradually tapering. It, however, often has other shapes, as is the case with the carrot and beet.
The above data show that the parsnip is not much richer in nutrients than most of the roots grown, except in sugar and starch content. The large quantity of carbohydrates gives it its chief food value. These carbohydrates are not by any means all sugar and starch, but include a very considerable proportion of cellulose which is more or less digestible.
Peas. The botanical name of the pea plant is Pisum sativum L. French pois; German, Erbse; Italian, pisello; Spanish, guisante.
The pea is quite as highly valued for table use as the bean, and, perhaps, is almost as extensively cultivated. The pea, however, is not usually eaten in the pod. It is probably indigenous to Central Europe, but has been so long cultivated that an exact history of its original distribution is not known. There, are many different varieties of the pea, but the one most highly prized is a small and very sweet pea. The larger variety does not have the palatability and other highly prized edible qualities that distinguish the smaller variety. The pea is found in the markets of the United States throughout the whole year, being grown under cover in the winter time. It becomes an abundant crop
from early in the spring until very late in the autumn. Immense quantities of peas are preserved by canning, and in this condition they retain their edible. properties almost without impairment throughout the entire winter. The pea is valued as a food in many forms. Composition.
3.87 1.63 13.30
The above data show that the pea is a markedly nitrogenous food, especially the dry pea. Even in the green pea nearly four percent of its weight is protein.
A comparison of the composition of the pea with that of the bean shows that the pea is even more nitrogenous in character than the bean.
Potatoes. One of the most important vegetables as well as food products in general is that class of products to which the term potato is given. The term strictly should apply only to that class known as white or Irish potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). The potato, as indicated by the name, belongs to a family of plants which is considered poisonous, but in the cultivated variety the poisonous principle has been practically eliminated. The potato belongs, essentially, to the starchy group of foods. If we assume, which is very nearly correct, that the average content of water in different varieties of potatoes at the time they are most suitable for edible purposes is 80 percent, it is found that at least three-fourths of the remaining solid dry matter is starch. The potato contains a trace of sugar and notable quantities of other carbohydrates than starch and sugar, namely, fiber. It also contains a very small proportion of nitrogen and mineral matter.
The potato is grown chiefly in temperate climates. It flourishes particularly well in the northern part of Europe, in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and in the northern portion of the United States. The northern part of Maine, especially, is noted for the production of potatoes of high edible qualities. It grows very well also in the southern part of the United States. The potato may be produced from seed, but that method of propagation has long since ceased to be practiced for agricultural purposes. The potatoes of commerce are produced from the eyes of the tubers. The best results in the growth of potatoes are secured in the loose somewhat sandy soil into which the roots of the plant can easily penetrate and which gives way readily to make place for the growing tuber. Hard, clay soils are unsuited to the growth of this vegetable. The planting is accomplished in the early spring after a thorough preparation of the seed bed by plowing to the usual depth, often subsoiling and reducing the surface of the soil to the proper tilth. The cuttings of potatoes or the whole potatoes are planted in rows to a depth of two or three inches, where they may sprout and even reach the surface at