links: a white beet (but why?); parrots and ptsd; was that a woyote?; garlic-onion tricks

collage for linksANIMALS AND VEGETABLES (if not minerals) feature in this edition of my occasional links posts–with inspiration from damaged parrots, awe at bigger-than-ever coyotes, kitchen tricks with favorite alliums, and misgivings about a new beet.

By Marcel Burkhard under Creative Commons license of parrots, ptsd, and healing connections

FOR THOSE who cannot read one more headline of world despair or political madness, a recent “New York Times Magazine” story on what happens when combat veterans and damaged parrots connect is a certain antidote. A must-read:  Charles Siebert’s “What Does a Parrot Know about PTSD?”  (Photo of blue and gold macaws under Creative Commons license from Marcel Burkhard.)

Creative Commons license by ForestWander.comsize-xl coyotes: woyote, coywolf, or what?

THE OTHER NIGHT at a dinner, someone said that they’d seen a wolf in a local cornfield. No, I said, we don’t have wolves in the Northeast, but we do have really big coyotes (60ish pounds, rather than the “usual” 35 or 45). To refresh my memory why—which does involve DNA from wolves, and also dogs, getting into the mix over the last century or two—I doubled back to this article from last fall in “The Economist.” It calls them coywolves; a favorite weekly e-newsletter of mine called “Hudson River Almanac” prefers “woyote.” (Coyote image under Creative Commons license from ForestWander.)

Beet_Avalanche-AAS2015-4 (1)

the award-winning un-beet

AS AN ADMITTED beet-lover, I have trouble understanding this kind of “praise” for a new award-winning beet variety called ‘Avalanche.’ The description says it has “no earthy beet taste,” and “no reddish tinge, making for more attractive produce.” Are they trying to say that a beet that’s red and beet-tasting is a bad thing, and ugly to boot? I beg to differ. Meet the un-beet, apparently free of those good-for-you pigments called anthocyanins. (Photo from All-America Selections website; it was named an 2015 AAS selection.)

onions on back porch

tips for cooking with onions and garlic

DOES THE WAY you cut garlic or onion when cooking affect the flavor? Yes! “The Splendid Table” interviewed Molly Birnbaum of America’s Test Kitchen to find out, and got 7 tips for cooking with onions and garlic.

  1. Kate C. says:

    I know nothing about the Avalanche beet, but I am a huge fan of another white variety, an heirloom called “Albino.” It’s still earthy, but much sweeter than other beets – and no counter-staining properties. :)

  2. Mark says:

    My Chioggia beets occasionally produce an all white root that seems to taste just as earthy as the rest. The deep, primal color of a red or even golden beet is half their appeal so I can’t imagine a reason for growing white ones. Maybe I lack imagination.

  3. Shelley says:

    I have a new appreciation for growing the red beets. I have had no luck with lettuces and spinach but noticed the tops to my beets look similar and after researching them, found out they are nutritional and tasty as well. It was a win win- although I’m not too sure about the ‘un-beet’, i love the traditional earthy taste and color. :-)

  4. Rosemary says:

    I recently purchased a new variety of beets for a friend and it happens to be Avalanche! She enjoys the red beets but I thought this was worth a try. Now trying to convince her husband to plant the new seeds will be worth waiting for since he doesn’t like beets at all!

  5. Kim Hawkins says:

    I like all beets. But sometimes I prefer to handle the white or golden ones. And they are a good “gateway” to acquiring the taste for beets, as they are milder in flavor.

    As far as being less nutritious, I don’t believe that for a moment. White veg is supposed to be good for the immune system. There is so much we don’t know about the synergy of plant chemistry.

  6. Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says:

    Regarding the onions and garlic link, I have read in the past that health benefits of garlic are maintained if the cutting of the clove occurs several minutes ahead of applying heat to it. If it’s cut and immediately thrown into the hot pan, its benefits are reduced.

    1. margaret says:

      It was the most moving thing I had read in a long time, Kathy. Glad to hear you enjoyed it, too. Sometimes there is some good news in the newspaper, I guess!

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