Vegetable caviar

Vegetable caviar

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Thevegetable caviarit is a food obtained from different plants. It is a sustainable alternative to the classiccaviar obtained from sturgeon, zipper and salmon roe. Thevegetable caviar, by its naturecruelty free,it is suitable for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

When it comes tovegetable caviarit refers to the caviar produced by the cultivation of algae of the species Caulerpa lentilliferaor from the cultivation of citrus fruits known asfinger limeCitrus australasica and citrus faustrime.

Vegetable caviar from the Caulerpa lentillifera

It is also saidgreen caviar. It is produced from the Caulerpa lentillifera, an edible alga of the Caulerpa genus. C. lentillifera is grown mainly in the Philippines but is also widespread on the Japanese island of Okinawa where the plant is eaten fresh. Thegreen vegetable caviarit is in great demand in the Cebu and Manila market. The production of thevegetable caviarstarting from this alga it involves 400 hectares of ponds with a mass of 12 - 15 tons of fresh algae produced annually for each hectare of surface.

Thevegetable caviar in Okinawa it is marked on restaurant menus with the name ofumi-Budo (海 ぶ ど) which literally means "sea ​​grapes ". Just like the classiccaviar, even sea grapes are eaten raw, seasoned with vinegar or to accompany canapes. In the Philippines, thegreen caviarit is eaten with salads, chopped onions, chopped fresh tomatoes and other vegetables. The salad produced withvegetable caviarit is known locally by the namebagoong. Sea grapes are appreciated for their nutritional properties: they are a source of iodine.

Vegetable caviar from the finger lime plant

If the photo at the center of the page shows thevegetable caviarumi-Budo, in the opening photo above thecaviarvegetableplaced in the peel of its fruit, a citrus fruit still little known in our territory. The citrus in question, calledfinger lime or indeed, vegetable caviar, is produced from two plants: citrus australasica and citrus faustrime.

Citrus faustrime is a vigorous and very productive hybrid. Pay attention to the word “hybrid”, it is not a genetically modified organism (GMO) but only a cross derived from the genera Citrus, Fortunella and Microcitrus. The plant of thevegetable caviarCitrus faustrime can reach a height of 4 - 5 meters. It has dark green leaves, 2 - 3 cm long. The flowers of Citrus faustrime are far larger than those of Citrus australasica. If the citrus australasica has small white flowers only 8 millimeters long, the flowers of the Citrus faustrime have a diameter of 2 cm. Both species bear flowers with a barely perceptible scent.

The fruits of the two species have a cylindrical shape and can measure up to 7 cm in length and 2 - 3 cm in diameter. The Citrus australasica blooms and bears fruit three times a year while the citrus faustrime hybrid bears fruit all year round.

Due to its high productivity, the hybrid can be considered the best solution forgrow vegetable caviarbut it must be said that the fruits are different as well as the flavor. The vegetable caviarproduced from the Faustrime hybrid, it has a more acidic flavor and is white in color while the skin is smooth and light green. The flavor of thevegetable caviarproduced from Citrus australasica it is less acrid and the color varies according to the climatic zone, ranging from a pale pink to a more intense pink.

Growing vegetable caviar

Growing an alga is quite complicated: it is necessary to have a pond, studied concentration gradients, controlled temperatures ... To grow vegetable caviarin Italy it is better to aim for citrus plants.

Both vegetable caviar plants they adapt well to our climate and are suitable for cultivation in pots, ergo, it is possible to grow vegetable caviar even on the balcony! All the details and instructions have been reported in the article entitled“Citrus australasica, cultivation“, The same advice for cultivation applies to the even less known species citrus faustrime. The only drawback of the cultivation of vegetable caviar is the purchase price of the plant, still difficult to find: the price ranges from 45 to 150 euros.

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