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Archive for the ‘Mesoamerica’ Category

My Oncidium orchid won first prize last Sunday at my Orchid society. A picture was requested by one of the followers of this blog so here it is:

Oncidium orchid

Now since this is a food blog I thought I would also point out that Vanilla comes from an orchid. This is what the American Orchid Society says about the species:

Vanilla belongs to a group that includes some of the most primitive orchids. The name is derived from the Spanish word vainilla meaning small pod and is characterized by vine-like plants that climb and branch. A leaf and short roots that attach to tree trunks and branches are present at each node. The flowers, produced from congested racemes opposite the leaf axils, are large and showy and short-lived, but produced in succession so that the plant is attractive for weeks or even months at a time. Vanilla is one of the few orchids, other than those grown for the cut flower trade, with widespread commercial use. V. planifolia is widely cultivated for its long, slender, fleshy pods that are essential for the manufacture of vanilla flavoring.
In addition to its commercial value, the presence of fleshy, fragrant seed pods and seed with a hard seed coat may also prove indispensible to the understanding of orchid evolution. These characteristics suggest animal-mediated seed dispersal. Recent research has established the pollinator to be a Euglossine bee (also called Orchid Bees) consistent with the pollination of many very fragrant orchids in the neotropics. However, it has also been reported that the seed capsules are eaten by bats thereby effecting seed dispersal.
The pantropical yet isolated distribution of Vanilla, coupled with the ephemeral nature of the flowers has given rise to significant confusion as to the number of species in the genus.

Vanilla Orchid

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On this dat ten years ago..
via Mini History of Chocolate

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On this day( one day late ) ten years ago…
via A sweet discovery | StAugustine.com

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On this day ten years ago…
via Ancient Sunflower Fuels Debate About Agriculture in the Americas

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On this date ten years ago…

via Food of The Maya-300 BC to 900 AD

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On this day ten years ago…
via Agricultural methods of early civilizations may have altered global climate

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Sciencedaily.co,

I see I previously published this but I’ll leave it for those interested who did not see it before.

Fish has been a predominant and high-quality protein and oil source in the human diet since ancient times. A new study by researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the Zinman Institute of Archaeology and the Oranim Academic College examined traditional fish preparation employed by fisherfolk in Panama and Egypt, revealing patterns of modifications to the fishes’ skeletons, which are comparable to those found among fish remains recovered in archaeological sites.

Despite its relevance as a nutritious food for coastal populations and its importance for trade with inland communities, archaeologists have little insight into the methods used for the long-term processing and preservation of fish in the past. This drew Richard Cooke, STRI staff archaeologist, and Irit Zohar, curator of biological collections at Oranim Academic College and researcher at the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, to document the traditional methods currently practiced by fisherfolk in the coastal populations around Parita Bay in central Pacific Panama and at Nabek Oasis in southern Sinai-Egypt. Through participant observations, imaging of the preparation methods employed and measurements of the fish species processed, they reached several conclusions.

“We discovered that in most cases, archaeologists and historians would find it very difficult to identify a fish-processing site, since most of the discarded remains are either thrown to the water or consumed by local animals,” Cooke said.

They also found that three main preparation techniques prevail in today’s fishing communities, regardless of their geographic location, and that fish-body size influences which method is applied. In addition, these traditional techniques leave behind particular bone fragmentation patterns that mirror those found among fish remains in archaeological sites, suggesting that ancient humans were using the same three methods that are still in use today.

“This study provides a powerful model for identifying fish butchering and preservation methods at archaeological sites around the world, and at many time periods,” Zohar said. “It also vouches for the universality of human behavior for the long-term preservation of fishes of different kinds and sizes, ensuring a range of nutritious and healthful dietary resources for communities located far from the bounties of the oceans.”

Lastly, their results reveal the antiquity of traditional butchering methods practiced in coastal sites, which resemble those observed in Egyptian reliefs from over 4,000 years ago.

“Studying modern ethnographic examples contributes to our understanding of fish preservation techniques used by ancient humans for long-term storage,” Cooke said. “Our findings demonstrate the need to further document traditional fishing methods and fish procurement, before these methods disappear.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

 

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