Salt is a mineral composed of sodium chloride, a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of salts. Salt is present in vast quantities in seawater; the open ocean has about 35 grams of solids per liter of sea water, a salinity of 3.5%. Salt is essential for life in general, saltiness is one of the basic human tastes. Salt is one of the oldest and most ubiquitous food seasonings, salting is an important method of food preservation; some of the earliest evidence of salt processing dates to around 6,000 BC, when people living in the area of present-day Romania boiled spring water to extract salts. Salt was prized by the ancient Hebrews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Hittites and the Indians. Salt became an important article of trade and was transported by boat across the Mediterranean Sea, along specially built salt roads, across the Sahara on camel caravans; the scarcity and universal need for salt have led nations to go to war over it and use it to raise tax revenues. Salt has other cultural and traditional significance.
Salt is processed from salt mines, by the evaporation of seawater and mineral-rich spring water in shallow pools. Its major industrial products are caustic chlorine. Of the annual global production of around two hundred million tonnes of salt, about 6% is used for human consumption. Other uses include water conditioning processes, de-icing highways, agricultural use. Edible salt is sold in forms such as sea salt and table salt which contains an anti-caking agent and may be iodised to prevent iodine deficiency; as well as its use in cooking and at the table, salt is present in many processed foods. Sodium is an essential nutrient for human health via its role as an osmotic solute. Excessive salt consumption may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension, in children and adults; such health effects of salt have long been studied. Accordingly, numerous world health associations and experts in developed countries recommend reducing consumption of popular salty foods; the World Health Organization recommends that adults should consume less than 2,000 mg of sodium, equivalent to 5 grams of salt per day.
All through history, the availability of salt has been pivotal to civilization. What is now thought to have been the first city in Europe is Solnitsata, in Bulgaria, a salt mine, providing the area now known as the Balkans with salt since 5400 BC; the name Solnitsata means "salt works". While people have used canning and artificial refrigeration to preserve food for the last hundred years or so, salt has been the best-known food preservative for meat, for many thousands of years. A ancient salt-works operation has been discovered at the Poiana Slatinei archaeological site next to a salt spring in Lunca, Neamț County, Romania. Evidence indicates that Neolithic people of the Precucuteni Culture were boiling the salt-laden spring water through the process of briquetage to extract the salt as far back as 6050 BC; the salt extracted from this operation may have had a direct correlation to the rapid growth of this society's population soon after its initial production began. The harvest of salt from the surface of Xiechi Lake near Yuncheng in Shanxi, dates back to at least 6000 BC, making it one of the oldest verifiable saltworks.
There is more salt in animal tissues, such as meat and milk, than in plant tissues. Nomads who subsist on their flocks and herds do not eat salt with their food, but agriculturalists, feeding on cereals and vegetable matter, need to supplement their diet with salt. With the spread of civilization, salt became one of the world's main trading commodities, it was of high value to the ancient Hebrews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Hittites and other peoples of antiquity. In the Middle East, salt was used to ceremonially seal an agreement, the ancient Hebrews made a "covenant of salt" with God and sprinkled salt on their offerings to show their trust in him. An ancient practice in time of war was salting the earth: scattering salt around in a defeated city to prevent plant growth; the Bible tells the story of King Abimelech, ordered by God to do this at Shechem, various texts claim that the Roman general Scipio Aemilianus Africanus ploughed over and sowed the city of Carthage with salt after it was defeated in the Third Punic War.
Salt may have been used for barter in connection with the obsidian trade in Anatolia in the Neolithic Era. Salt was included among funeral offerings found in ancient Egyptian tombs from the third millennium BC, as were salted birds, salt fish. From about 2800 BC, the Egyptians began exporting salt fish to the Phoenicians in return for Lebanon cedar and the dye Tyrian purple. Herodotus described salt trading routes across Libya back in the 5th century BC. In the early years of the Roman Empire, roads were built for the transportation of salt from the salt imported at Ostia to the capital. In Africa, salt was used as currency south of the Sahara, slabs of rock salt were used as coins in Abyssinia. Moorish merchants in the 6th century traded salt for weight for weight; the Tuareg have traditionally maintained routes across the Sahara for the transportation of salt by Azalai. The caravans
Chives, scientific name Allium schoenoprasum, are an edible species of the genus Allium. Their close relatives include the garlic, leek and Chinese onion. A perennial plant, it is widespread in nature across much of Europe and North America. A. Schoenoprasum is the only species of Allium native to both the Old Worlds. Chives are a used herb and can be found in grocery stores or grown in home gardens. In culinary use, the scapes and the unopened, immature flower buds are diced and used as an ingredient for fish, potatoes and other dishes; the edible flowers can be used in salads. Chives have insect-repelling properties; the plant provides a great deal of nectar for pollinators. It was rated in the top 10 for most nectar production in a UK plants survey conducted by the AgriLand project, supported by the UK Insect Pollinators Initiative. Chives are a bulb-forming herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 30–50 cm tall; the bulbs are slender, conical, 2–3 cm long and 1 cm broad, grow in dense clusters from the roots.
The scapes are hollow and tubular, up to 50 cm long and 2–3 mm across, with a soft texture, prior to the emergence of a flower, they may appear stiffer than usual. The grass-like leaves, which are shorter than the scapes, are hollow and tubular, or terete, which distinguishes it at a glance from garlic chives; the flowers are pale purple, star-shaped with six petals, 1–2 cm wide, produced in a dense inflorescence of 10-30 together. The seeds are produced in a three-valved capsule, maturing in summer; the herb flowers from April to May in the southern parts of its habitat zones and in June in the northern parts. Chives are the only species of Allium native to both the Old Worlds. Sometimes, the plants found in North America are classified as A. schoenoprasum var. sibiricum, although this is disputed. Differences between specimens are significant. One example was found in northern Maine growing solitary, instead of in clumps exhibiting dingy grey flowers. Although chives are repulsive to insects in general, due to their sulfur compounds, their flowers attract bees, they are at times kept to increase desired insect life.
It was formally described by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in his seminal publication Species Plantarum in 1753, on page 301. The name of the species derives from skhoínos and πράσον, práson, its English name, derives from the French word cive, from cepa, the Latin word for onion. In the Middle Ages, it was known as'rush leek', it has two known subspecies. Gredense Rivas Mart. Fern. Gonz. & Sánchez Mata and Allium schoenoprasum subsp. Latiorifolium Rivas Mart. Fern. Gonz. & Sánchez Mata. Chives are native to temperate areas of Europe and North America, it is found in Asia within the Caucasus in China, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russian Federation Siberia and Turkey. In middle Europe, it is found within Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Switzerland. In northern Europe, in Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom. In southeastern Europe, within Bulgaria, Greece and Romania, it is found in southwestern Europe, in France and Spain. In Northern America, it is found in the United States. Chives are grown for their scapes and leaves, which are used for culinary purposes as a flavoring herb, provide a somewhat milder flavor than those of other Allium species.
Chives have a wide variety of culinary uses, such as in traditional dishes in France and elsewhere. In his 1806 book Attempt at a Flora, Retzius describes how chives are used with pancakes, soups and sandwiches, they are an ingredient of the gräddfil sauce with the traditional herring dish served at Swedish midsummer celebrations. The flowers may be used to garnish dishes. In Poland and Germany, chives are served with quark cheese. Chives are one of the fines herbes of French cuisine, the others being tarragon and parsley. Chives can be found fresh at most markets year-round, making them available. Retzius describes how farmers would plant chives between the rocks making up the borders of their flowerbeds, to keep the plants free from pests; the growing plant repels unwanted insect life, the juice of the leaves can be used for the same purpose, as well as fighting fungal infections and scab. The medicinal properties of chives are weaker, they have mild stimulant and antiseptic properties. As chives are served in small a
The onion known as the bulb onion or common onion, is a vegetable, the most cultivated species of the genus Allium. Its close relatives include the garlic, leek and Chinese onion; this genus contains several other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion, the tree onion, the Canada onion. The name "wild onion" is applied to a number of Allium species, but A. cepa is known from cultivation. Its ancestral wild original form is not known, although escapes from cultivation have become established in some regions; the onion is most a biennial or a perennial plant, but is treated as an annual and harvested in its first growing season. The onion plant has a fan of hollow, bluish-green leaves and its bulb at the base of the plant begins to swell when a certain day-length is reached; the bulbs are composed of shortened, underground stems surrounded by fleshy modified scale that envelop a central bud at the tip of the stem. In the autumn, the foliage dies down and the outer layers of the bulb become dry and brittle.
The crop is harvested and dried and the onions are ready for use or storage. The crop is prone to attack by a number of pests and diseases the onion fly, the onion eelworm, various fungi cause rotting; some varieties of A. cepa, such as shallots and potato onions, produce multiple bulbs. Onions are used around the world; as a food item, they are served cooked, as a vegetable or part of a prepared savoury dish, but can be eaten raw or used to make pickles or chutneys. They are pungent when contain certain chemical substances which irritate the eyes; the onion plant known as the bulb onion or common onion, is the most cultivated species of the genus Allium. It was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1753 work Species Plantarum. A number of synonyms have appeared in its taxonomic history: Allium cepa var. aggregatum – G. Don Allium cepa var. bulbiferum – Regel Allium cepa var. cepa – Linnaeus Allium cepa var. multiplicans – L. H. Bailey Allium cepa var. proliferum – Regel Allium cepa var. solaninum – Alef Allium cepa var. viviparum – Mansf.
A. Cepa is known from cultivation, but related wild species occur in Central Asia; the most related species include A. vavilovii and A. asarense from Iran. However and Hopf state that "there are doubts whether the A. vavilovii collections tested represent genuine wild material or only feral derivatives of the crop."The vast majority of cultivars of A. cepa belong to the "common onion group" and are referred to as "onions". The Aggregatum group of cultivars includes both shallots and potato onions; the genus Allium contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion, Egyptian onion, Canada onion. Cepa is accepted as Latin for "onion" and has an affinity with Ancient Greek: κάπια and Albanian: qepë and is ancestral to Aromanian: tseapã, Catalan: ceba, Occitan: ceba, Spanish: cebolla, Romanian: ceapă; the English word chive is derived from the Old French cive, which derived from cepa. The onion plant has been selectively bred in cultivation for at least 7,000 years.
It is a biennial plant, but is grown as an annual. Modern varieties grow to a height of 15 to 45 cm; the leaves are yellowish - to bluish green and grow alternately in a fan-shaped swathe. They are fleshy and cylindrical, with one flattened side, they are at their broadest about a quarter of the way up, beyond which they taper towards a blunt tip. The base of each leaf is a flattened white sheath that grows out of a basal disc. From the underside of the disc, a bundle of fibrous roots extends for a short way into the soil; as the onion matures, food reserves begin to accumulate in the leaf bases and the bulb of the onion swells. In the autumn, the leaves die back and the outer scales of the bulb become dry and brittle, so the crop is normally harvested. If left in the soil over winter, the growing point in the middle of the bulb begins to develop in the spring. New leaves appear and a long, hollow stem expands, topped by a bract protecting a developing inflorescence; the inflorescence takes the form of a globular umbel of white flowers with parts in sixes.
The seeds are glossy triangular in cross section. The average pH of an onion is around 5.5 Because the wild onion is extinct and ancient records of using onions span western and eastern Asia, the geographic origin of the onion is uncertain, with domestication worldwide. Food uses of onions date back thousands of years in China and Persia. Traces of onions recovered from Bronze Age settlements in China suggest that onions were used as far back as 5000 BCE, not only for their flavour, but the bulb's durability in storage and transport. Ancient Egyptians revered the onion bulb, viewing its spherical shape and concentric rings as symbols of eternal life. Onions were used in Egyptian burials, as evidenced by onion traces found in the eye sockets of Ramesses IV. Pliny the Elder of the first century CE wrote about the use of onions and cabbage in Pompeii, he documented Roman beliefs about the onion's ability to improve ocular ailments, aid in sleep, heal everything from oral sores and toothaches to dog bites and dysentery.
Curing (food preservation)
Curing is any of various food preservation and flavoring processes of foods such as meat and vegetables, by the addition of salt with the aim of drawing moisture out of the food by the process of osmosis. Because curing increases the solute concentration in the food and hence decreases its water potential, the food becomes inhospitable for the microbe growth that causes food spoilage. Curing can be traced back to antiquity, was the primary way of preserving meat and fish until the late-19th century. Dehydration was the earliest form of food curing. Many curing processes involve smoking, cooking, or the addition of combinations of sugar, nitrite. Meat preservation in general comprises the set of all treatment processes for preserving the properties, taste and color of raw cooked, or cooked meats while keeping them edible and safe to consume. Curing has been the dominant method of meat preservation for thousands of years, although modern developments like refrigeration and synthetic preservatives have begun to complement and supplant it.
While meat-preservation processes like curing were developed in order to prevent disease and to increase food security, the advent of modern preservation methods mean that in most developed countries today curing is instead practised for its cultural value and desirable impact on the texture and taste of food. For lesser-developed countries, curing remains a key process in the production and availability of meat; some traditional cured meat are cured with salt alone. Today, potassium nitrate and sodium nitrite are the most common agents in curing meat, because they bond to the myoglobin and act as a substitute for the oxygen, thus turning myoglobin red. More recent evidence shows that these chemicals inhibit the growth of the bacteria that cause the disease botulism; the combination of table salt with nitrates or nitrites, called curing salt, is dyed pink to distinguish it from table salt. Neither table salt, nor any of the nitrites or nitrates used in curing is pink. Untreated meat decomposes if it is not preserved, at a speed that depends on several factors, including ambient humidity and the presence of pathogens.
Most meats cannot be kept at room temperature in excess of a few days without spoiling. If kept in excess of this time, meat begins to change color and exude a foul odor, indicating the decomposition of the food. Ingestion of such spoiled meat can cause serious food poisonings, like botulism. Salt-curing processes have been developed since antiquity in order to ensure food safety without relying on artificial anti-bacterial agents. While the short shelf life of fresh meat does not pose a significant problem when access to it is easy and supply is abundant, in times of scarcity and famine, or when the meat must be carried over long voyages, it spoils quickly. In such circumstances the usefulness of preserving foods containing nutritional value for transport and storage is obvious. Curing can extend the life of meat before it spoils, by making it inhospitable to the growth of spoilage microbes. A survival technique since prehistory, the preservation of meat has become, over the centuries, a topic of political and social importance worldwide.
Food curing dates back both in the form of smoked meat and salt-cured meat. Several sources describe the salting of meat in the ancient Mediterranean world. Diodore of Sicily in his Bibliotheca historica wrote that the Cosséens in the mountains of Persia salted the flesh of carnivorous animals. Strabo indicates that people at Borsippa were salting them to eat; the ancient Greeks prepared tarichos, meat and fish conserved by salt or other means. The Romans called this dish salsamentum – which term included salted fat, the sauces and spices used for its preparation. Evidence of ancient sausage production exists; the Roman gourmet Apicius speaks of a sausage-making technique involving œnogaros. Preserved meats were furthermore a part of religious traditions: resulting meat for offerings to the gods was salted before being given to priests, after which it could be picked up again by the offerer, or sold in the butcher's. A trade in salt meat occurred across ancient Europe. In Polybius's time, the Gauls exported salt pork each year to Rome in large quantities, where it was sold in different cuts: rear cuts, middle cuts and sausages.
This meat, after having been salted with the greatest care, was sometime smoked. These goods had to have been important, since they fed part of the Roman people and the armies; the Belgae were celebrated above all for the care. Their herds of sheep and pigs were so many, they could provide skins and salt meat not only for Rome, but for most of Italy; the Ceretani of Spain drew a large export income from their hams, which were so succulent, they were in no way inferior to those of Cantabria. These tarichos of pig would become sought, to the point that the ancients considered this meat the most nourishing of all and the easiest to digest. In Ethiopia, according to Pliny, in Libya according to Saint Jerome, the Acridophages salted and smoked the crickets which arrived at their settlements in the spring in great swarms and which constituted, it was said, their sole food; the smoking of meat was a traditional practice in No
Cooking oil is plant, animal, or synthetic fat used in frying and other types of cooking. It is used in food preparation and flavouring not involving heat, such as salad dressings and bread dips, in this sense might be more termed edible oil. Cooking oil is a liquid at room temperature, although some oils that contain saturated fat, such as coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil are solid. There is a wide variety of cooking oils from plant sources such as olive oil, palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, peanut oil and other vegetable oils, as well as animal-based oils like butter and lard. Oil can be flavoured with aromatic foodstuffs such as chillies or garlic. A guideline for the appropriate amount of fat—a component of daily food consumption—is established by government agencies. > While consumption of small amounts of saturated fats is common in diets, meta-analyses found a significant correlation between high consumption of saturated fats and blood LDL concentration, a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
Other meta-analyses based on cohort studies and on controlled, randomized trials found a positive, or neutral, effect from consuming polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fats. Mayo Clinic has highlighted certain oils that are high in saturated fats, including coconut, palm oil and palm kernel oil; those having lower amounts of saturated fats and higher levels of unsaturated fats like olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil and cottonseed oils are healthier. The US National Heart and Blood Institute urged saturated fats be replaced with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, listing olive and canola oils as sources of healthier monounsaturated oils while soybean and sunflower oils as good sources of polyunsaturated fats. One study showed that consumption of non-hydrogenated unsaturated oils like soybean and sunflower is preferable to the consumption of palm oil for lowering the risk of heart disease. Peanut oil, cashew oil and other nut-based oils may present a hazard to persons with a nut allergy.
Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are not essential, they do not promote good health. The consumption of trans fats increases one's risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Trans fats from hydrogenated oils are more harmful than occurring oils. Several large studies indicate a link between the consumption of high amounts of trans fat and coronary heart disease, some other diseases; the United States Food and Drug Administration, the National Heart and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association all have recommended limiting the intake of trans fats. In the US, trans fats are no longer "generally recognized as safe," and cannot be added to foods, including cooking oils, without special permission. Heating an oil changes its characteristics. Oils that are healthy at room temperature can become unhealthy when heated above certain temperatures, so when choosing a cooking oil, it is important to match the oil's heat tolerance with the temperature which will be used.
Deep-fat frying temperatures are in the range of 170–190 °C, less lower temperatures ≥ 130 °C are used. Palm oil contains more saturated fats than canola oil, corn oil, linseed oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil. Therefore, palm oil can withstand deep frying at higher temperatures and is resistant to oxidation compared to high-polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Since about 1900, palm oil has been incorporated into food by the global commercial food industry because it remains stable in deep frying, or in baking at high temperatures, for its high levels of natural antioxidants, though the refined palm oil used in industrial food has lost most of its carotenoid content; the following oils are suitable for high-temperature frying due to their high smoke point above 230 °C: Avocado oil Mustard oil Palm oil Peanut oil Rice bran oil Safflower oil Semi-refined sesame oil Semi-refined sunflower oilLess aggressive frying temperatures are used. A quality frying oil has a bland flavor, at least 200 °C smoke and 315 °C flash points, with maximums of 0.1% free fatty acids and 3% linolenic acid.
Those oils with higher linolenic fractions are avoided due to polymerization or gumming marked by increases in viscosity with age. Olive oil has been used as a frying oil for thousands of years. Olive oil All oils degrade in response to heat and oxygen. To delay the onset of rancidity, a blanket of an inert gas nitrogen, is applied to the vapor space in the storage container after production – a process called tank blanketing. In a cool, dry place, oils have greater stability, but may thicken, although they will soon return to liquid form if they are left at room temperature. To minimize the degrading effects of heat and light, oils should be removed from cold storage just long enough for use. Refined oils high in monounsaturated fats, such as macadamia oil, keep up to a year, while those high in polyunsaturated fats, such as soybean oil, keep about six months. Rancidity tests have shown that the shelf life of walnut oil is about 3 months, a period shorter than the best before date shown on labels.
By contrast, oils high in saturated fats, such as avocado oil, have long shelf lives and can be safely stored at room temperature, as the low polyunsaturated fat content facilitates stability. Cooking oils are composed of various fractions of fatty acids. For the purpose of frying food, o
Lamb and mutton
Lamb and mutton are the meat of domestic sheep at different ages. In general a sheep in its first year is called a lamb, its meat is called lamb; the meat of a juvenile sheep older than one year is hogget. The meat of an adult sheep is a term only used for the meat, not the living animals. In the Indian subcontinent the term mutton is used to refer to goat meat. Lamb is the most expensive of the three types, in recent decades sheep meat is only retailed as "lamb", sometimes stretching the accepted distinctions given above; the stronger-tasting mutton is now hard to find in many areas, despite the efforts of the Mutton Renaissance Campaign in the UK. In Australia, the term prime lamb is used to refer to lambs raised for meat. Other languages, for example French, Spanish and Arabic, make similar, or more detailed, distinctions among sheep meats by age and sometimes by sex and diet, though these languages do not always use different words to refer to the animal and its meat — for example, lechazo in Spanish refers to meat from milk-fed lambs.
The definitions for lamb and mutton vary between countries. Younger lambs are more tender. Mutton is meat from a sheep over two years old, has less tender flesh. In general, the darker the colour, the older the animal. Baby lamb meat will be pale pink. Lamb — a young sheep under 12 months of age which does not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear. Hogget — A term for a sheep of either sex having no more than two permanent incisors in wear, or its meat. Still common in farming usage, it is now rare as a retail term for the meat. Much of the "lamb" sold in the UK is "hogget" to an Antipodean farmer. Mutton — the meat of a female or castrated male sheep having more than two permanent incisors in wear; the terms "mutton" and "hogget" are uncommon in the United States. Federal statutes and regulations dealing with food labeling in the United States permit all sheep products to be marketed as "lamb." Sheep products less than 12-14 months old can be labeled "prime lamb" or "choice lamb" and all other sheep meat can be labeled as "lamb."
The term "mutton" is applied to goat meat in most of these countries, the goat population has been rising. For example, mutton-curry is always made from goat meat, it is estimated that over one-third of the goat population is slaughtered every year and sold as mutton. The husbanded sheep population in India and the Indian subcontinent has been in decline for over 40 years and has survived at marginal levels in mountainous regions, based on wild-sheep breeds, for wool production. Milk-fed lamb — meat from an unweaned lamb 4–6 weeks old and weighing 5.5–8 kg. The flavour and texture of milk-fed lamb when grilled or roasted is thought to be finer than that of older lamb, fetches higher prices; the areas in northern Spain where this can be found include Asturias, Castile and León, La Rioja. Milk-fed lambs are prized for Easter in Greece, when they are roasted on a spit. Young lamb — a milk-fed lamb between six and eight weeks old Spring lamb — a milk-fed lamb three to five months old, born in late winter or early spring and sold before 1 July.
Sucker lambs — a term used in Australia — includes young milk-fed lambs, as well as older lambs up to about seven months of age which are still dependent on their mothers for milk. Carcases from these lambs weigh between 14 and 30 kg. Older weaned lambs which have not yet matured to become mutton are known as old-season lambs. Yearling lamb — a young sheep between 12 and 24 months old, so another term for a hogget. Saltbush mutton – a term used in Australia for the meat of mature Merinos which have been allowed to graze on atriplex plants Salt marsh lamb is the meat of sheep which graze on salt marsh in coastal estuaries that are washed by the tides and support a range of salt-tolerant grasses and herbs, such as samphire, sparta grass and sea lavender. Depending on where the salt marsh is located, the nature of the plants may be subtly different. Salt marsh lamb has long been appreciated in France and is growing in popularity in the United Kingdom. Places, where salt marsh lamb are reared in the UK, include Harlech and the Gower Peninsula in Wales, the Somerset Levels, Morecambe Bay and the Solway Firth.
Saltgrass lamb – a term used to describe a type of lamb exclusive to Flinders Island. The pastures on the island have a high salt content, leading to a flavor and texture similar to saltmarsh lamb; the meat of a lamb is taken from the animal between one month and one year old, with a carcase weight of between 5.5 and 30 kg. This meat is more tender than that from older sheep and appears more on tables in some Western countries. Hogget and mutton have a stronger flavour than lamb because they contain a higher concentration of species-characteristic fatty acids and are preferred by some. Mutton and hogget tend to be tougher than lamb and are therefore better suited to casserole-style cooking, as in Lancashire hotpot, for example. Lamb is sorted into three kinds of m
Capparis spinosa, the caper bush called Flinders rose, is a perennial plant that bears rounded, fleshy leaves and large white to pinkish-white flowers. The plant is best known for the edible flower buds used as a seasoning, the fruit, both of which are consumed pickled. Other species of Capparis are picked along with C. spinosa for their buds or fruits. Other parts of Capparis plants are used in the manufacture of cosmetics. Capparis spinosa is native to the Mediterranean, it is endemic to all the circum-Mediterranean countries, is included in the flora of most of them, but whether it is indigenous to this region is uncertain. Although the flora of the Mediterranean region has considerable endemism, the caper bush could have originated in the tropics, been naturalized to the Mediterranean basin; the taxonomic status of the species is unsettled. Species within the genus Capparis are variable, interspecific hybrids have been common throughout the evolutionary history of the genus; as a result, some authors have considered C. spinosa to be composed of multiple distinct species, others that the taxon is a single species with multiple varieties or subspecies, or that the taxon C. spinosa is a hybrid between C. orientalis and C. sicula.
The shrubby plant is many-branched, with alternate leaves and shiny, round to ovate. The flowers are complete, sweetly fragrant, showy, with four sepals and four white to pinkish-white petals, many long violet-colored stamens, a single stigma rising well above the stamens; the caper bush requires a arid climate. The caper bush has developed a series of mechanisms that reduce the impact of high radiation levels, high daily temperature, insufficient soil water during its growing period; the caper bush has a curious reaction to sudden increases in humidity. This is harmless, as the plant adjusts to the new conditions and produces unaffected leaves, it shows characteristics of a plant adapted to poor soils. This shrub has a high root/shoot ratio and the presence of mycorrhizae serves to maximize the uptake of minerals in poor soils. Different nitrogen-fixing bacterial strains have been isolated from the caper bush rhizosphere, playing a role in maintaining high reserves of that growth-limiting element.
The caper bush has been introduced as a specialized culture in some European countries in the last four decades. The economic importance of the caper plant led to a significant increase in both the area under cultivation and production levels during the late 1980s; the main production areas are in harsh environments found in Morocco, the southeastern Iberian Peninsula and the Italian islands of Pantelleria and Aeolian Islands Salina. This species has developed special mechanisms to survive in the Mediterranean conditions, introduction in semiarid lands may help to prevent the disruption of the equilibrium of those fragile ecosystems. A harvest duration of at least three months is necessary for profitability. Intense daylight and a long growing period are necessary to secure high yields; the caper bush can withstand temperatures over 40 °C in summer, but it is sensitive to frost during its vegetative period. A caper bush is able to survive low temperatures in the form of stump, as happens in the foothills of the Alps.
Caper plants are found 3,500 m above sea level in Ladakh, though they are grown at lower altitudes. Some Italian and Argentine plantings can withstand strong winds without problems, due to caper bush decumbent architecture and the coriaceous consistency of the leaves in some populations. Scientists can use the known distributions of each species to identify the origin of commercially prepared capers; the caper bush is a rupicolous species. It is widespread on rocky areas and is grown on different soil associations, including alfisols and lithosols. In different Himalayan locations, C. spinosa tolerates both silty clay and sandy, rocky, or gravelly surface soils, with less than 1% organic matter. It grows on bare rocks, crevices and sand dunes in Pakistan, in dry calcareous escarpments of the Adriatic region, in dry coastal ecosystems of Egypt and Tunisia, in transitional zones between the littoral salt marsh and the coastal deserts of the Asian Red Sea coast, in the rocky arid bottoms of the Jordan valley, in calcareous sandstone cliffs at Ramat Aviv, in central west and northwest coastal dunes of Australia.
It grows spontaneously in wall joints of antique Roman fortresses, on the Western Wall of Jerusalem's Temple Mount, on the ramparts of the castle of Santa Bárbara. Clinging caper plants are dominant on the medieval limestone-made ramparts of Alcudia and the bastions of Palma; this aggressive pioneering has brought about serious problems for the protection of monuments. Capers can be grown from fresh seeds gathered from ripe fruit and planted into well-drained seed-raising mix. Seedlings appear in two to four weeks. Old, stored seeds require cold stratification to germinate; the viable embryos germinate within three to four days after partial removal of the lignified seed coats. The seed coats and the mucilage surrounding the seeds may be ecological adaptations to avoid water loss and conserve seed viability during the dry season. Use of stem cuttings avoids high variability in terms of quality. Plants grown from cuttings are more susceptible to drought during the first years after planting; the caper bush is a difficult-to-root woody species, successful propagation requires careful consideration of biotypes and seasonal and environm