The largest of all tree-borne fruits, jack fruit is oval-shaped and knobbly-skinned. This fruit can weigh up to eighty or ninety pounds.
The Lobster mushroom is actually a parasitic hybrid of the fluorescent red-orange fungal parasite, Hypomyces lactifluorum, and the brittle white mushroom, Russula brevipes.
Thai Pepper Leaves
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Thai Pepper leaves are smooth, green leaves that grow up to 8cm long. They grow on the Thai chili plant, which bears green or red fruit, and are best harvested when they are young. Unlike the fruit, Thai Pepper leaves have little to no heat, and instead offer pepper-like, grassy flavor nuances and a mild bitterness.
Thai Pepper leaves are available year-round.
Thai Pepper leaves grow on the Thai chili plant, which is an herbaceous plant belonging to the genus Capsicum in the nightshade family. The Thai chili plant is botanically referred to as Capsicum annuum, and subcategorized in the longum group. The small Thai Pepper fruit, also known as Bird’s Eye chili, is notorious for its extreme spiciness, and its use in Thai, Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian, Laotian and Khmer cooking is widely known. Although the Thai Pepper leaves are edible and are sometimes used in curries, as a garnish, or as a soup green, they are usually discarded.
Like other chili leaves, Thai Pepper leaves contain a small amount of protein, and are a good source of Vitamins A and B. They also contain a small amount of capsaicin, the component in the chili pepper fruit that causes a burning sensation.
Thai Pepper leaves are mildly bitter, and may be used as a garnish or as a soup green, to be added at the end of cooking. They can be used in place of green chilies as a colorant for Thai green curry paste. The Thai Pepper leaves are pureed with water, strained, then added to the paste, giving it an attractive, bright green hue without adding the burning heat of the chili fruit. Some home cooks have experimented with Thai Pepper leaves in stir fries, pairing them with garlic, chicken or pork. When cooked, the Thai Pepper leaf is akin to water spinach, also known as kang kong. To store, place Thai Pepper leaves in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. Thai Pepper leaves can also be frozen.
Chili pepper leaves have medicinal uses. Leaves from varieties found in China have been used as mouthwashes, and the juice of chili leaves in Javanese traditional medicine was useful as a counter-irritant for the skin after childbirth. The Thai Pepper leaf shows up in Thai cuisine as a garnish or potherb, although it does not share the same elevated status as the kaffir lime leaf or the galangal leaf.
Chili peppers have their origins in Mexico, South America and Central America, where they have been cultivated since around 6,000 BCE. Thai Peppers were likely brought to Asia by Portuguese traders around the 16th or 17th century. Their use in Asia grew quickly, revolutionizing cuisine thanks to the fruit’s addictive wallop of heat. The Thai chili plant prefers full sun and grows in warm, tropical climates in warm soil of around 20 degrees Celsius or higher.