Friday, August 24, 2012

The Versatile Lemon

Health Benefits of Lemon, Secrets, beauty treatment
Imagine a product that can be used as medicine, a cleaning agent, a disinfectant, and a beauty treatment. You can eat it, drink its juice, and extract essential oil from it. It comes attractively packaged, is available all over the world, and is inexpensive. You may even have one in your kitchen right now. What is it? The lemon!

It is thought that lemons originated in Southeast Asia. From there they were gradually carried westward, toward the Mediterranean. Lemon trees thrive in mild climates,  hich is why they grow so well in places like Argentina, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and even parts of Africa and Asia. A mature tree, depending on the variety and location, can produce  nywhere from 200 to a staggering 1,500 lemons a year. The cultivated varieties bloom in different periods, making it possible to harvest lemons yearround.

Lemons Take Root in Italy
Whether the ancient Romans grew lemons is a hotly debated subject. There is written evidence that the Romans knew about the citron, another member of the citrus family, which strongly resembles a large lemon. In his work Natural History, Roman historian Pliny the Elder specifically mentions the citron tree and its fruit. However, leading experts believe that the Romans knew about lemons too. Why? Because numerous frescoes and mosaics apparently depict these fruits and not citrons. One such example is from a villa unearthed in Pompeii, appropriately called The Orchard House, as it is decorated with frescoes that depict various plants, including a lemon tree. Admittedly, at the time, it was likely considered an exotic tree and may have been used only as a medicinal plant. It is impossible to tell how easy lemons were to grow and how widespread they were.

The island of Sicily, with its long warm summers and mild winters, has become the leading producer of citrus fruit including lemons. But there are other areas, mainly along the coast, where good-quality lemons are cultivated.

The beautiful town of Sorrento is just south of Naples, and south of it The VersatileLemon is the Amalfi coast—just over 25 miles (40 km) of spectacular sprawling coastline. Tucked away in coves along the coast are the picturesque towns of Amalfi, Positano, and Vietri sul Mare, just to mention a few. Sorrento and the Amalfi coast produce lemons that have the Protection Authority certificate, a guarantee that they were actually cultivated there. The locals are rightly protective of their lemon trees, as these trees were cleverly planted on terraces on the side of the mountain, where they soak up the sun and produce wonderfully perfumed, juicy lemons.

You don’t need lots of space to grow a lemon tree. Even a sunny balcony is enough, as dwarf lemon trees can be grown in pots and are beautifully ornamental. They like sunny, wind-free spots where they can soak up the warmth, preferably against a wall. However,  f the temperature drops a lot during the winter, they need to be covered or brought indoors.

Not Just for Flavor
How often do you use lemons? Some put a slice in a cup of tea; others use the zest or a few drops of the juice in cake recipes. Maybe you squeeze them to use the juice for lemonade. Chefs around the world always have lemons on hand for endless uses in cooking. But have you ever used lemon juice as a disinfectant or to help remove a stain?

Actually, some people clean up and disinfect their chopping boards by rubbing them with half a lemon. Instead of using bleach for stains or cleaning the sink, some use a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda. And half a lemon in the refrigerator or dishwasher is said to eliminate bad odors and keep the appliances smelling fresh.

Lemons are a source of citric acid, which is used as a natural preservative and to give a sour taste to food or drink. The lemon’s pith and peel yield pectin,which is used in the food industry as a thickener, emulsifier, and gelling agent. Additionally, there is an oil extracted from the peel that is used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. The list of uses for lemons could go on and on. Lemons truly are a colorful, flavorful, versatile fruit.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Extinction of Critical Species

beautiful bee, bee nest, blue flower

Over the past five years, beekeepers in the United States have lost about 30 percent of their bees each year on account of colony collapse disorder, a global phenomenon in  hich entire colonies of bees abruptly and mysteriously disappear from their hives. Bees do more than provide us with honey. They pollinate key crops, including grapes, apples,  oybeans, and cotton. We depend on bees.

“Every year, between 18,000 and 55,000 species become extinct. The cause: human activities.”—United Nations Development Program.

We also depend on phytoplankton. Without it we would have no fish. Without worms to  erate the soil, we would have far fewer crops. The extinction of such key species would  esult in food shortage and starvation, leading to violence and riots. Pollution,  verpopulation, overharvesting, habitat destruction, and climate change contribute to the  xtinction of animal species perhaps as much as 1,000 times more than natural rates.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Hazards of Lobster Fishing

Big Lobster Fishing, great lobster

Lobster fishing might seem to be a safe profession. But it is not. For example, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says that “from 1993 to 1997, the occupational fatality rate for lobstermen in Maine was 14 per 100,000 licensed lobstermen, more than 2.5 times the national average (4.8 per 100,000 workers) for all industries.”

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Propulsion System of the Jellyfish

Jellyfish, Propulsion System of the Jellyfish, big jellyfish

Jellyfish are at least 95 percent water and range in size from less than an inch to over six feet in diameter. Muscles propel many species along by rhythmically contracting and relaxing their bell-shaped body, somewhat like closing and opening an umbrella.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The TITANIC - The Most Famous Ship in History

the real titanic pic, titanic ship, Most Famous Ship
What kind of ship was the Titanic? What caused it to sink? A visit to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, near Belfast in Northern Ireland, helps to provide answers to those questions.

The Titanic - Why Special?
According to Michael McCaughan, former curator of the Folk and Transport Museum, the Titanic is "the most famous ship in history". But the Titanic was not unique. It was the second of three huge vessels constructed in the shipbuilding yards of Harland andWolff in Belfast. The Titanic was one of the largest ships of its day, measuring 882.8 feet in length and 92.5 feet in width.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Natural Disasters of 2010

big tornado, beautiful tornado, Natural Disasters
A leading insurance company recorded 950 natural catastrophes worldwide in 2010, exceeding the last decade’s average of 785 events per year. The five worst disasters were earthquakes in Chile, China, and Haiti; floods that inundated Pakistan; and a heat wave in Russia, where tens of thousands died from the effects of heat and air pollution.