food crumbscooking, food preparation, recipes, nutrition, food science

Radish  The RADISH – (Raphanus sativus) of the Brassicaceae family, is an edible root vegetable and usually eaten raw as a crunchy vegetable.

Scientists believe the origin is southeast Asia.  It was know in Europe in pre-Roman times. Radishes were first recorded in history in the 3rd century BC and by the 1st century AD the Greek and      Romans wrote about “small, large, round, long, mild and sharp varieties.” *

There are several varieties.  the outer skin color of most varieties ranges from white to pink to red.  There are some purple, yellow, green and black varieties, also.  One may be most familiar with    the small, red, round variety.  Also popular is the white, elongated radish.  When harvested, the radish tastes crisp and sweet.  If left in the soil too long, they become bitter and tough.

Radishes are fast-growing annuals, liking cool seasons.  They are easy to grow.  Seeds germinate in 3-4 days, preferring soil temperatures of 65-86 degrees F,  and air temperature of 50-65 degrees F.

Crops mature in 3-4 weeks.  They like full sun, light, sandy soil with a pH 6.5 – 7.0.  (In warmer temperatures, plant in the autumn.)  Can plant every two weeks to have a continuous crop.

The size of the root (radish) depends on the depth at which the seeds are planted.  For small radishes, plant 1 cm (0.4 in) deep.  For larger radishes, plant 4 cm (1.6 in) deep. When sprouted, thin plants to 1 inch apart.

After harvest, one can store 2-3 days at room temperature or a couple months at 0 degrees C (32 degrees F).


To use, cut off leaves and root end.  Wash.Radishes-WhNutritionally –  100 grams (3.5 ounces):    .

Energy –    -    -    16 kcalories                                     Total Fat  -    -    0 gm

download (1)Carbohydrates – - 3.4  gm                                           Saturated Fat –   0 gms

Sugar  -     –   –    1.86 gm                                          Cholesterol  -  -  0 gms

Dietary Fiber  -      1.6  gm                                           Protein  -   –   –   1 gm




Vitamin B1 V- Thiamine  -   0.012  mg              1%                          Vitamin A  -  -      0%

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin    -  0.039  mg               3%                        Iron  -  -  -   –  -     2%

Vitamin B3 – Niacin  -  -  -  0.254 mg  -  -           2 %                       Calcium  -  -  -      3%

Vitamin B6 –   –   –  -   –  -  0.011 mg   –  -         5%

Vitamin C   –  -   –   –   —  14.8 mg   –  -  -       18%


I have read comments attributing much nutritional value to radishes.  Although I believe radishes do contribute to our nutritional well-being, the amount one would need to consume is too large to allow enjoyment in eating. The above figures are for 100 grams or about a 1/2 cup serving. A half-cup or 1 cup of radishes is more than I prefer to eat at one time.  I like to eat radishes for fun, as an addition to a salad or as a garnish or just a couple raw radishes to enjoy.

Radishes, of course, can be eaten raw, just plain. Or mix them into your favorite greens salad or cold slaw.  Try adding them to sandwiches, like pickles. Or you may like to add them to your favorite dips or spread.








*  Wikipedia





Se - Sel

Selenium is a trace element that is naturally present in many foods, added to others and available as a dietary supplement. It is nutritionally essential for humans.

Selenium is a mineral in the soil. It appears in water and some foods. People only need a very small amount, however it is important in metabolism. Selenium has attracted attention because of its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells from damage.  Among healthy people in the U.S., selenium deficiencies are uncommon. But some conditions – such as HIV, Crohn’s disease and others, are associated with low selenium levels. People who are fed intravenously are also at risk for low selenium.

Selenium is a component of the unusual amino acids selenocysteine and selenomethionine. In humans, selenium is a trace element nutrient that functions as cofactor for reduction of antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione peroxides and certain forms of thioredoxin reductase found in some animals and some plants (this enzyme occurs in all living organisms, but not all forms of it in plants require selenium.)

Selenium also is important in the functioning of the thyroid gland and in every cell that uses thyroid hormone, by participating as a cofactor for the three of the four known types of thyroid hormone deiodinases which activate and then deactivate various thyroid hormones and their metabolites.

Four conditions in which Selenium may play a role:

Cancer – Because of its effects on DNA repair, apoptosis and the endocrine and immune systems, as well as other mechanisms, including its antioxidant properties, selenium may play a role in the prevention of cancer.

Cardiovascular disease - It may help in preventing platelets from aggregating.

Cognitive decline – Serum selenium concentrations decline with age and this decline may be associated with declines in brain function.

Thyroid disease – Selenium concentration is higher in the thyroid gland than in any other organ in the body and like iodine, selenium has an important function in thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism.

More research is needed to better understand selenium and these relationships and to determine the role of selenium.

There are interactions between selenium and other nutrients, such as iodine and vitamin E.

Studies have implicated selenium deficiency in several serious or chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. In additions, selenium has been found to be a chemo preventive for some types of cancer in some rodents, however, in humans, such results have not been found.


Dietary selenium comes from nuts, cereals, meats, mushrooms, fish and eggs. Brazil nuts are the richest ordinary dietary source, though this is soil dependent. High concentrations of selenium are found in kidney, tuna, crab, and lobster.

Sources of Selenium – Seafoods and organ meats are the richest food sources of selenium. Other sources include muscle meat, cereals and other grains and dairy products. The major food sources in the American diet are breads, grains, meat, poultry, fish and eggs.

The human body’s content of selenium is believed to be in the 13-20 milligram range.


Recommended daily dietary allowances (RDA) for selenium are:

Pediatric:                                                                  Adult:

  • Children 1-3 years -   20 mcg                              * 19 years and older – 55 mcg
  • Children 4-8 years -  30 mcg                               * Pregnant women -   60 mcg
  • Children 9-13 years – 40 mcg                              * Breastfeeding women – 70 mcg
  • Children 14-18 years – 55 mcg


Selected Food Sources of Selenium:

.                (cooked portions)                            (mcg)/serving

Brazil nuts, I ounce (6-8 nuts)                            544

Tuna, 3 ounces                                                          92

Halibut, 3 ounces                                                     47

Sardines, 3 ounces                                                   45

Ham, 3 ounces                                                          42

Shrimp, 3 ounces                                                     40

Macaroni, 1 cup                                                        37

Beef steak, 3 ounces                                                33

Turkey, 3 ounces                                                      31

Beef Liver, 3 ounces                                                28

Chicken, 3 ounces                                                    22

Bread, whole wheat, 1 slice                                     13

Oatmeal, 1 cup                                                           13

Spinach, 1 cup                                                            11

Milk 1% fat, 1 cup                                                       8

Cashew nuts, 1 ounce                                                3

Banana, 1 cup                                                              2

Carrots, raw, 1 cup                                                     0

Lettuce, raw, 1 cup                                                     0

Most American consume adequate amounts of Selenium.

If you are healthy and eat a well balanced diet, you should get   enough selenium.


Deficiency -

Selenium deficiency is rare in healthy, well nourished individuals. It can occur in patients with severely comprised intestinal function, those undergoing total parenteral nutrition and in those of advanced age (over 90). Also persons dependent on food grown from selenium-deficient soil are at risk.

Selenium deficiency occurs only when a low selenium status is linked with an additional stress, such as high exposure to mercury or as a result of increased oxidant stress due to vitamin E deficiency.

Taken at normal doses, selenium does not usually have side effects.

Selenium deficiency produces biochemical changes that might predispose people who experience additional stress to develop certain illnesses.

Selenium deficiency is very rare in the United States or Canada. The following groups are among those most likely to have inadequate intakes of selenium:

People living in selenium-deficient regions – persons in countries whose diet consists primarily of vegetables grown in low selenium soils, such as areas in China, and in some areas in Europe among those mostly consuming vegan diets.

People receiving kidney dialysis – Selenium is removed from the blood during treatment and also from anorexia and dietary restrictions.

People living with HIV – Selenium is lower due to inadequate intake and excessive losses due to diarrhea and mal-absorption.


Low levels of selenium may occur if you:

  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Drink alcohol
  • Take birth control pills
  • Have a condition that prevents your body from absorbing selenium such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.


Toxicity -

Although selenium is an essential trace element, it is toxic if taken in excess. Exceeding the Tolerable Upper Level of 400 micrograms per day can lead to selenosis.

Health risk from excessive intake of selenium – Early indicators of excessive intake are garlic odor in the breath and a metallic taste in the mouth. The most common clinical signs of high selenium intake, or selenosis, are hair and nail loss or brittleness. Other symptoms include lesions in the skin and nervous system, nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, mottled teeth, fatigue, irritability and nervous system abnormalities. Acute selenium toxicity can cause severe gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms, acute respiratory syndrome, myocardial infarction, hair loss, muscle tenderness, tremors, sightedness, facial flushing, kidney failure, cardiac failure, cirrhosis of the liver, pulmonary edema, and in rare cases, death.

Although it is toxic in large doses, Increased dietary selenium intakes reduce the effects of mercury toxicity.

Selenium can interact with certain medications and some medications can have an adverse effect on selenium levels.

Selenium may interact with other medicines and supplements such as antacids, chemotherapy drugs, corticosteroids, niacin, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and birth control pills. Selenium supplements are associated with a risk of skin cancer.


If one is being treated with any of the following medications, it is advised that one should not use selenium supplements without first talking to your health care provider.

  • Drugs that may affect (lower) selenium levels in the body, such as Cisplatin ( a chemotherapy drug), Clozapine (Clozaril), Corticosteroids (such as prednisone), Valproic acid (Depakote).
  • Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs (blood thinners), such as Clopidogrel (Plavix), Warfarin (Coumadin), Heparin, Aspirin.
  • Barbiturates – (in animal tests, selenium seems to make the sedative effects of these drugs last longer) Butabarital, Mephabarbital, Phenobarbital, Secobarbital
  • Chemotherapy – It is thought that Selenium may interfere with the cancer fighting ability of chemotherapy medicines.
  • Cholesterol-lowering medication – Selenium may reduce the effectiveness of these medications such as (Zocor, Lipitor, Lescol, Mevacor and Pravachol).
  • Birth control pills – Some researchers think that women taking birth control pills may have higher levels of selenium in their blood. If taking birth control pills, ask your doctor before taking additional selenium.
  • Gold salts – may lower levels of selenium in the body and cause symptoms of selenium deficiency.






* NIH – National Institut of Health, sheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/

** Selenium – University of Maryland Medical Center –


**** Wikipedia – Selenium








Lett-3C in the field

FOOD SAFETY in Produce – How safe is our produce?

We know that meat and dairy products have required government inspections and must meet strict governments guidelines. But what about produce – fruits and vegetables.

Consumers, today, are more aware of food borne illness than ever before and are very concerned.

The produce industry is also concerned and has been at work for years to provide quality products and safe food to consumers. There have been incidents of food borne illness from produce in recent years in the United States. No one is more alarmed about such tragedies than the produce industry. One incident alarms consumers and consequences can be un-repairable for an industry. Persons can become ill and even death. Also many dollars and hours are lost in investigating the problem and confidence in the safety of the particular product is severely damaged. Jobs and sales for the product in the future have been enormously reduced.

Many industry leaders and Health officials say that improper food handling is more dangerous than residues and have actively been working for many years to prevent problems. They have formed Alliances, Associations, Consortiums, Advisory Boards, etc., to find problem areas and to correct the problem and to educate all involved from the growers, to those harvesting, packaging, storing and transporting the food item.   SB in field


Efforts in California, in particular in the past twenty years, have been noteworthy.

Organizations like and including the Western Growers Association, California and Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Association, California Strawberry Commission, California Cantaloupe Advisory Board, etc., have developed guidelines, safety requirements, audits and educational materials to help inform, guide, and monitor the work of everyone in the Supply Chain to prevent food borne illness in produce. These include daily on site records of conditions (cleanliness, temperatures) formal inspections and audits with written and published reports of findings, and educational materials and records of attendance. Things monitored are Water, Wildlife Intrusion, Soil Amendments-fertilizer and other chemicals, worker hygiene and equipment sanitation.

Educational materials are in more than one language, with many pictures and illustrations to inform all workers what they must do. Materials are made large enough – to be noticed, easy to use – such as flip charts and portable, so they can be mounted on the “back of a pick-up truck” and taken to the work site. Workers throughout the supply chain have explained to them, their importance in providing safe food for the health of the consumers and of the continuing of work and income in the industry – how it is important and how it affects their job. Workers are given certifications for attendance at classes.

C on vine

These industries are going above and beyond the required work to assure wholesome and safe produce. To work with and support the Industry, Government mandates have built on work done by growers and buyers and the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (FSMA) was signed into law January 2011. * It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it. It gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new authorities to regulate the way foods are grown, harvested and processed. It gives the FDS several new powers, including mandatory recall.

The law was prompted in Congress after reported incidents of food-borne illnesses during the 2000s. Tainted food has cost the food industry billions of dollars in recalls, lost sales and legal expenses. The bill is similar to the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009.

The FDA has the power to oversee how foods are produced and how they are maintained in food markets. This puts greater emphasis on preventing food-borne illness. The better the system for producing, transporting and preparing foods the safer our food supply will be.

Fourteen percent (14%) of the food supply to the United States is imported from other countries.

The new law significantly enhances FDA’s ability to achieve greater oversight of the millions of food products coming into the United States from other countries each year.

The legislation affects every aspect of the U.S. food system, from farmers to manufactures to importers. It places significant responsibilities on farmers and food processors to prevent contamination.

Basics of the Proposed Produce Rule:

Agriculture Water – Farmers must ensure that water that is likely to contact produce or food-contact surfaces is safe with periodic testing.

Biological Soil Amendments of animal Origin – The proposed rule specifies types of treatment, methods of application and time intervals between application of certain soil amendments, including manure and crop harvest.

Health & Hygiene – Farm personnel must follow hygienic practices including hand washing, not working when sick and maintaining personal cleanliness.

Domesticated and Wild Animals – There must be waiting periods between grazing and crop harvest, farmers must monitor for wildlife intrusion and not harvest produce contaminated by animals.

Training – Training is required for supervisors and farm personnel.   Lett-leaf in field

There is a constant effort – to make it better.

Food safety is important throughout the Supply Chain from farm to consumers.

Lett-Hd in Field










*  Wikipedia – FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.








Asparagus is referenced in Egypt about 3000 BC and is referenced to have been first cultivated about 2500 years ago in Greece. The name is a Greek word meaning stalk or shoot. Greeks and Romans ate it fresh.
The Romans became great lovers of asparagus and grew it in high-walled courtyards. In their conquests, they spread it to the Gauls, Germans, Britains and the rest of the world.
After the Roman empire ended, asparagus received little medieval attention.
By 1469, asparagus was cultivated in French monasteries. It appeared in England in 1538 and in Germany in 1542. Asparagus became available in the New World (United States) around 1850.

The English word “asparagus” derives from the Latin, but the plant was once known in English as sperage from the Medieval Latin sparagus. Also known colloquialy as “aspar grass” and “spar grass”

Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food which is high in Folic Acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin A and C and thiamin. Asparagus contains No Fat, No Cholesterol and is low in sodium.

A 5 ounce serving contains about 20 calories, 3 grams carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber.
It contains 60% of the recommended daily allowance for folacin which is necessary for blood cell formation, growth and prevention of liver disease and is believed to be important in the prevention of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.
It is also a rich source of rutin, a compound which strengthens capillary walls and it contains glutathione (GSH), which is believed to be an anticarcinogen and antioxidant.

The amino acid asparagine gets its name from asparagus, as the asparagus plant is relatively rich in this compound.


Due to its short growing season and demand for local produce, asparagus commands a premium price. The season is late April through June.

Asparagus is very popular in Europe and is almost exclusively white. White asparagus is the result of applying a blanching technique while the asparagus shoots are growing. To cultivate white asparagus, the shoots are covered with soil as they grow, i.e., hilling; without exposure to sunlight, no photosynthesis starts, so the shoots remain white in color.

Purple asparagus differs from green or white, having a high sugar and low fiber levels.

China is the world’s largest producer. Following by a large distance is Peru and Germany (61% of German production is white asparagus). In the United States, production is concentrated in California, Michigan and Washington.

To boil asparagus – trim stem ends slightly and cook fresh asparagus for 5-8 minutes in boiling water. It can be eaten raw, although most people prefer some cooking. If ate raw, wash well in warm water to remove any sand. May like to serve cold with a dip.

Asparagus on a Plate



MoMolybdenum is a chemical element with the symbol Mo and atomic number 42.  It is found in very small amounts in the body and is an essential element in human nutrition.  However, its precise function and interactions with other chemicals in the body are not well understood.

Humans require very small amounts of Molybdenum and deficiency appears to happen only under the rarest of circumstances, such as in a person fed entirely through the veins for a very long time.  *

Food is the major source of Molybdenum for most people.  Pork, lamb, and beef liver each have approximately 1.5 parts per million of molybdenum.  Other significant dietary sources include green beans, eggs, sunflower seeds, wheat flour, lentils, cucumbers,  legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils;  grains; leafy vegetables; and nuts.

In 2001, the U.S. Food & Nutrition Board established the recommended dietary allowance, RDA) of Molybdenum for most adults at 45 micrograms, with an RDA of 50 micrograms for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The most important role of molybdenum in living organisms is at the active site in certain enzymes.  In nitrogen fixation in certain bacteria, the nitrogenase enzyme, which is involved in the final step of reducing molecular nitrogen, usually contains Molybdenum in the active site (though replacement of Mo with iron or vanadium).   **

Although Molybdenum forms compounds with various organic molecules, including carbohydrates and amino acids, it is transported throughout the human body as MoO4.  At least 50 Molybdenum-containing enzymes were known in 2002, mostly in bacteria, and their number is increasing each year.  These enzymes include aldehyde oxidase, sulfite oxidase and xanthine oxidase.  In humans the oxidation of xanthine to uric acid, a process or purine catabolism, is catalyzed by xanthine oxidase, a molybdenum-containing enzyme. The activity of xanthine oxidase is directly proportional to the amount of molybdenum in the body.  However an extremely high concentration of molybdenum reverses the trend and can act as an inhibitor in both purine catabolism and other processes.  Molybdenum concentrations also affect protein synthesis, metabolism and growth.

Molybdenum enzymes in plants and animals catalyze the oxidation and sometimes reduction of certain small molecules, as part of the regulation of nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon cycles.  The human body contains about 0.07 mg of molybdenum per kilogram of weight.  It occurs in higher concentrations in the liver and kidneys and in lower concentrations in the vertebrae.  Molybdenum is also present in human tooth enamel and may help prevent its decay.

In humans, four enzymes depend on Molybdenum:  sulfite oxidase, xanthine oxidoreductase, alsehyde oxidase, and mitochondrial amidoxime reductase.  People severely deficient in molybdenum have poorly functioning sulfite oxidase and may be prone to toxic reactions to sulfites in foods.

A congenital molybdenum cofactor deficiency disease, seen in infants, results in interference with the ability of the body to use molybdenum in enzymes.  It causes high level of sulfite and urate, and neurological damage.   The cause is the inability of the body to synthesize the molybdenum cofactor, a heterocyclic molecule that binds molybdenum at the active site in all known human enzymes that use molybdenum.

A high level of molybdenum can interfere with the body’s uptake of copper, producing copper deficiency.  Molybdenum prevents plasma proteins from binding to copper, and it also increases the amount of copper that is excreted in urine.  Ruminants that consume high amounts of molybdenum develop symptoms including diarrhea, stunted growth, anemia and achromotrichia (loss of hair pigment).  These symptoms can be alleviated by the administration of more copper into the system, both in dietary form and by injection.  The condition, as an effective copper deficiency, can be aggravated by excess sulfur.

The average daily intake of molybdenum, in humans, varies between 0.12 and 0.24 mg, depending on the molybdenum content of the food.  Acute toxicity has not been seen in humans, and the toxicity depends strongly on the chemical state.

In animals Molybdenum deficiency has not been seen naturally.   Overdoses are very rare. Large amounts of Molybdenum can produce symptoms of copper deficiency in cattle and taking too much supplemental Molybdenum could produce the same symptoms in humans. Symptoms of too much Molybdenum include tiredness, dizziness, rashes, low white blood cell counts and anemia.  High Molybdenum levels are linked to gout.

Supplements can be purchased.  A typical dosage is 75 micrograms daily.

Most such supplements have not been tested to learn if they interact with medicines, foods, or other herbs and supplements.  Deficiencies are very rare in humans and most practitioners do not recommend supplements.

Molybdenum is used to treat rare inherited metabolic diseases, such as Wilson’s disease, where the body cannot process copper.  Proponents claim it can  help in cancer prevention, but much more research is needed. Others say it is involved in many important biological processes, possibly including development of the nervous system, waste processing in the kidneys and energy production in cells and some also claim it prevents anemia, gout, and dental cavities.  Again much more research must be done.




*….., American Cancer Society

**    Molybdenum – Wikipedi, the free encyclopedia,

***  Molybdenum –