Here some interesting plant facts we have gathered along the way ..
Tomatoes were first grown in this country in 1554
Don’t keep tomatoes in the fridge. The best place to keep them is in the fruit bowl as they are subtropical and dislike the cold.
It takes between 40 and 60 days from a flower for a tomato to reach full ripeness
Tomato pulp is good for the skin and can be mixed with yoghurt to make a face pack
Tomatoes contain potassium, which has been linked to lowering blood pressure. They are also a great source of Vitamins A, C and E and calcium - vital for healthy bones and teeth.
The size of the tomato is a good guide to how to use it in your cooking - use the large ones for stuffing, smaller ones for garnishing and plum tomatoes are good for barbecues.
The world’s largest tomato plant was grown by Greenhouse Sensation in a GS NFT hydro system. It is in the record books at 65ft (19.8 metres) but it actually grew to achieve an amazing 92ft (28 metres).
Tomato juice can help a hangover
Tomatoes only contain 14 calories per 100g and contain virtually no fat and no cholesterol!
Banana plants are not trees. They are large herbaceous perennials – so they don’t have a woody trunk or large root system.
The original species of banana produces an inedible fruit that is full of seeds. Cultivated bananas don’t have seeds, although you can sometimes see small brown marks inside the yellow flesh where seeds would have once developed.
Bananas originated in Malaysia. From there, they found their way to India. Alexander the Great brought the banana from India to the Western world.
Bananas were grown in the southern region of China since 200 BC but were considered exotic, rare fruits and didn’t achieve mass popularity until the 20th century.
The name banana comes from the Arabic banan, for finger.
In 1876 bananas were sold in Pennsylvania USA, wrapped in tin foil, to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
It has been suggested that bananas can be used against warts and to ease pre-menstrual tension.
Cardamom belongs to the ginger family.
Cardamom seedpods are very aromatic and are used to add flavour especially in curries, ice cream, coffee and rice dishes.
Cardamom originates from Southern India and Sri Lanka.
The biggest exporter of cardamom is Guatemala. All cardamom grown in Guatemala is grown for export.
Cardamom is sometimes known as the Queen of Spices because it is the world’s third most expensive spice (after saffron and vanilla).
Cardamom pods can be sucked to freshen the breath – and are also thought to act as an aphrodisiac.
Cardamom is one of the spice ingredients of garam masala.
Cardamom is also used to flavour coffee in Arab countries.
Ginger evolved in tropical Asia but can no longer be found in its wild state. It was known of and used by the Greeks and Romans and could be found throughout Europe as far back as the 10th Century
Today ginger is grown in most tropical countries including Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Jamaica is renowned for producing the world’s best quality root ginger. India is responsible for about half of the world’s entire ginger production.
The Latin name zingiber is derived from the Sanskrit word shringavera, which means ‘shaped like a deer's antlers’ because of the knobbly shape of the root.
It is propagated from rhizome pieces. After 5-7 months, new rhizome forms are dug up and preserved in sugar syrup or used for crystallised ginger.
After 8-10 months, older rhizomes (the underground stem of the plant) are dug up and may become dried ginger. This can be used in biscuits, puddings, cake, gingerbread, soups, pickles, curry powder, ginger beer, ginger ale or ginger wine.
Essential oil is produced from the ginger plant.
Ginger is often used as a remedy for appetite loss, indigestion and motion sickness and is often taken as a tea by pregnant women suffering from morning sickness.
Lemongrass is a grass with aromatic oil in its stems and leaves.
The light lemon flavour of this grass goes well with garlic and chilies and is a main ingredient in Thai and South-east Asian cuisines. Lemongrass stalk can be used fresh, dried or powdered to add flavour to food and drinks.
Lemongrass is native to India and is grown in the West Indies, Africa and parts of tropical Asia.
4 ounces of lemongrass added to one pint of water is said to be effective at alleviating fevers and stomach cramps. Let the herb steep for twenty minutes.
Lemon grass has slender stalks about a foot long. For cooking use the stalks only and choose thick, light green stalks that feel firm all along its length and that are not dried out and wilted.
Researchers have found that lemongrass has antidepressant, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, fungicidal and sedative properties. It has been used in Indian medicine for thousands of years to fight infectious diseases and fevers.
The oil of lemongrass is an effective deodorizer, very effective with sweaty feet, as it seems to help balance the oil production in the feet.