Northern Meteorological Seasons – Everything You Should Know

The classification of the calendar in four groups of three months based on the prevailing temperature conditions is said called Meteorological seasons. This is a more precise way of segmenting the year.

So what are these seasons, and why are these seasons important? In this piece, we will try finding some answers to those questions. According to meteorological studies, all the seasons start on the first day of all months that either includes a solstice or an equinox. Based on the above, the seasons are grouped as:

  • The Spring season starts from March 1st to May 31st.
  • The summer season starts from June 1st to August 31st.
  • The Fall or Autumn starts from September 1st to November 30th.
  • The Winter that runs from December 1st to February 28th or 29th.

Let’s have a closer look at these four seasons.

Spring Season (March 1st to May 31st)

After the dreadful and cold winter season, this is the most sought after time of the year. When the flowers start blooming, and the sun is out with its subtle brightness – this season truly marks the beginning of a beautiful Season. This is the season when the entire landscape comes back to life. The sunlight is strong, and the temperatures begin to rise slightly and the days start to get longer. The weather can change from sunny to dry to wet in a moment during this season. This season is truly the season that catches every romantics’ attention.

In this season, you will find some trees blossoming and many low growing plants full of beautiful flowers. This is the time when all animals that had gone into their winter hibernation come out of their hideouts to enjoy the season. Many other animals and birds return home from their winter venues and start their breeding. Overall the weather is extremely pleasant, and there are glistening greenery and colorful blossoms and flowers all around.

Summer Season (June 1st to August 31st)

After the Spring follows the summers. Summer is the hottest time of the year when temperatures soar and can become uncomfortable. The temperatures may not drop much even after the sun goes down. The sky is clear, the sun is shining bright and hot, and it becomes difficult to stay out in the hot sun for long. This is, however, that time of the year when most of the game seasons are planned and played as the weather is clear. So, it is one of the high octane times of the year.

This is that time of the year when the trees are full of loads of leaves, and every plant is full of flowers. People spend most of their time outdoors enjoying the sunny days outside. You will see tourists flocking to many beach cities to catch some sunlight.

Fall or Autumn Season (September 1st to November 30th)

This is the season when the temperatures start falling again. You will see increased rainfall in some areas. This is the season when the trees start shedding their leaves. Many high altitude animals start growing fur as a preparation for the upcoming winter season, and many gain weight before they can get into a long winter season sleep called hibernation.

In this season, plants become less active and get dormant. This season witnesses some cultural harvest festivals, and in America, Thanksgiving is an important homecoming festival celebrated in this season.

Winter Season (December 1st to February 29th)

Here comes the season of chills. This is the coldest season characterized by short days and long cold nights. Trees lose their leaves and get inactive and dormant during the winter. Many animals enter a state of hibernation and start their deep sleep. Other animals move or migrate to warmer regions. People need to wear thick clothes to keep themselves warm. The winds are freezing and brings ice and snow or even cold rains at times.

This is that phase and time of the year when every creature – animal, plants, life takes a backseat. The landscape and the scenery go in a state of slumber, and many places get covered with snow or ice.

Conclusion

Knowing about these seasons is extremely important for many aspects of human lives. Knowing about the weather and its patterns beforehand helps in planning crops and their harvesting, horticulture, and garden planning, and to stay prepared for storms and bad weather or any eventualities.

So now that you are aware of these four weather seasons, you will now be able to plan things better based on the season. So next time when you plan a holiday or want to go to watch a game, you would know when to plan one.

Cooking – Defining Powdered Erythritol

Have you ever heard about powdered erythritol or erythritol and wondered what it is? If so, then here is everything you need to know about it, and why it has become such a popular mention in recent time.

What Is Powdered Erythritol?

Powdered erythritol typically represents a zero-calorie sugar substitute that is used in sweetening just about anything! Usually, it is a distinctly fine powder boasting similar texture qualities to icing sugar and therefore dissolves quite easily. Powdered erythritol is ideal for numerous recipes that requite fine and faster dissolving sugar. Also, it is perfect for ice cream, meringues, icing sugar, and may also be utilized for any recipes like with granulated erythritol.

It is derived from the compound erythritol, which is a naturally derived extract from plants and fruits. It moves around your body undigested. As such, erythritol has no effect on the levels of blood glucose in most individuals and boasts zero net carbohydrates, subsequently making it an ideal sugar alternative for ‘keto’ (low carb) dieters, diabetics, or anyone looking to curb calories. Erythritol is used in various products like gum, candy, beverages, chocolate, jam, bars, and jellies.

This sweetener can also be found in granulated form for cooking and baking at home. The unique qualities of this compound render it an ideal sugar substitute, although there are various advantages and disadvantages before deciding to use in your diet. 

How is it Made?

Powdered erythritol is typically made through the fermentation of plant sugars, often from corn. The sugar is usually mixed with water, after which it is filtered, and finally fermented with a natural culture and subsequently dried. A distinct crystallized substance is the final product-usually either in powder form or in granule form-which tastes and resembles table sugar.

How Is It Used In Cooking And Baking?

Powdered erythritol is used just like table sugar in virtually anything. It has an almost equivalent sweetness of table sugar (about 70 %) hence 100g of sugar = 130g powdered erythritol.

Its granulated form usually remains grainy unless it is dissolved in water. Typically, it is used for cooking and baking, although there are several factors to consider before using it.

When it comes to baking and cooking, you can use a series of simple steps when using this sweetener.

• First, start by choosing your recipe. An excellent option is muffins and quick bread; although powdered erythritol also substitutes effectively in cooked fruit desserts like cobblers and pies. Some other possibilities include cakes, brownies, and cookies. 

• Decide whether you would like to substitute all the erythritol, or subsequently use a combination of the powdered erythritol with other sweeteners. Generally, powdered erythritol mixes with refined and natural sugars, and usually produces a more satisfactory result when it is combined with sugar. 

• Calculate the amount of erythritol to be used: as earlier mentioned, ‘erythritol’ is about 70% as sweet as regular sugar. Use between a quarter to a third more than the amount of sugar you would otherwise use, to taste.

What is it commonly substituted for when cooking or baking? 

Since erythritol generally boasts sweetness level, which is almost equivalent to regular sugar, it is used in baking and cooking. Powdered erythritol can partially substitute sugar or various artificial sweeteners for numerous uses. Nonetheless, some few considerations to remember when using the sweetener include:

• When powdered erythritol is used plain, the sweetener usually produces a cooling effect in the mouth.

• What’s more, despite having the tenderizing effects common with sugar, the results will not be precisely similar. 

Benefits of powdered erythritol

Unlike other ‘sugar alcohols,’ Erythritol functions quite differently when in the body. Its unique qualities offer certain benefits in comparison to using either table sugar or other sweeteners. 

In comparison to other ‘sugar alcohols,’ erythritol features a relatively smaller molecule. A substantial amount of this compound is absorbed into the bloodstream-between 60%-90%-although it is then exerted in your urine. As such, it results in significantly lesser intestinal distress compared to other common sugar alcohols. 

Powdered erythritol might also be much better for your teeth compared to other sweeteners. In fact, a 2016 study as outlined on Caries Research suggested that it might even aid in the prevention of cavities.
Powdered erythritol also provides several other benefits, including:

  • Dissolving fast
  • It is extremely fine 
  • Zero calories
  • No active carbohydrates
  • No aspartame
  • No tooth decay
  • Stomach friendly
  • Ideal for diabetics and ketone diets
  • Has no effect on levels of insulin or blood sugar

Safety: does powdered erythritol have any side effects?

Although powdered erythritol works well for some individuals, it has several drawbacks, side effects, and safety concerns. 

First, while powdered erythritol can aid some individuals in minimizing sugar intake or calorie consumption; it may not offer that much of an effect, with some studies even suggesting that it might not even reduce sugar intake or satiety

Also, while powdered erythritol is considered to lead to fewer gastrointestinal issues for numerous individuals, it might, however, result in some discomfort for various consumers.

Also, powdered erythritol has been proven to cause various side effects like stomachache, headache, digestive upset, diarrhea, and bloating.

Nonetheless, for safety precautions, you must consult your physician before incorporating this sweetener into your diet, especially if you have any medical conditions.

Conclusion

Powdered erythritol is an ideal natural sugar alternative. With about 70% of the sweetness of regular sugar, this sweetener has virtually all the distinct taste, with no guilt whatsoever. In fact, you can finally substitute ordinary sugar in baking and cooking without ruining your recipes! Boasting no sour aftertaste, no tooth decay risk, or any artificial flavors, this unique stomach-friendly sweetener is the ideal sugar substitute

What is Yogurt?

Yogurt is milk, which has been fermented using bacteria referred to as yogurt cultures. When yogurt cultures ferment the lactose in milk, it produces lactic acid which works on milk protein resulting in a characteristic tart flavor and texture that separate yogurt from other dairy products.

Although most yogurt available globally is made using cow milk, yogurt can also be made using milk from goats, buffalos, camels, yaks, ewes, and mares. The milk may or may not be homogenized or pasteurized. 

The process of making yogurt, as well as the milk used makes it possible to have different types of yogurt. 
Some countries have regulations governing the number of bacteria (colony-forming units of bacteria) that should be contained in yogurt. In China, for instance, yogurt should have 1 million CFU+ of lactobacillus bacteria per milliliter.

To make yogurt, the milk must be heated to approximately 185 F or 85 C. Heating is necessary for denaturing milk proteins and prevent them from forming curds. The milk is then cooled to about 113 F or 45 C before the yogurt culture is added. The temperature is maintained for 4 -12 hours to enable fermentation. The resulting yogurt is usually sweetened and flavored to remove its natural sourness. 

Related References

What is Wild Rice?

From its name, one would naturally assume that wild rice is a type of rice or just a regular cereal grain. However, this is not the case, because contrary to what its name suggests, wild rice is actually not rice at all. Yes, this “rice” that is full of nutrients is, in fact, the seeds of aquatic wild grass. Wild rice can any of four different species of grass from the genus Zizania. Three of these species are native to North America, while the other one is native to China, Asia. As an aquatic food, it thrives in freshwater lakes, ponds, or even rivers.

How does wild rice compare to White and brown rice?

White rice is usually produced after milling. This process removes the bran, germ, and husk, leaving a refined product with a polished appearance. However, removing these layers has a direct effect on not only the appearance but also the texture and flavor of the rice. This, in return, gives it a longer shelf life. Besides that, milling also greatly affects the nutritional value of the rice, and due to this depletion, white rice is often enriched with nutrients such as niacin, iron, and thiamine.

Brown rice doesn’t undergo milling. This means that the only layer that has been removed is the husk while the endosperm, bran, and germ are intact. This removed husk is the reason why there is a wide difference in the nutritional value between white rice and brown rice; with brown rice having a significantly higher nutritional value. Even if white rice is enriched, some nutrients such as magnesium are not added back. Therefore, while white rice has only 19mg of magnesium per cup, long-grain brown rice contains more than 84mg of magnesium per cup. Brown rice also has more nutrients in terms of phosphorus, potassium, folate, and zinc. It also has more fiber and protein content as compared to white rice.

Even though wild rice is not really rice, its nutritional value is comparable to both white rice and brown rice. From starters, wild rice has a very high nutritional value since it is richer in proteins, potassium, folate, zinc, and most of the other vitamin B complex. It also has more fiber as compared to white rice. However, its fiber content is almost equal to that of brown rice.

Quick and easy ways to use Wild rice?

The most obvious way to use wild rice is to replace rice in soups and salads. Due to its high nutritional value, wild rice comes with a myriad of benefits. It promotes good heart health due to its high fiber content. Moreover, it is also easy to prepare wild rice. The basic ways of cooking wild rice are by either boiling, steaming, baking, or even cooking it in a microwave.

Other benefits of wild rice

Wild rice can boost energy and increase bone mass. It is also good for boosting your immunity as this makes your body stronger enough to fight diseases and infections. Wild rice might help reduce birth defects due to the high content of B vitamins that are also available in green leafy vegetables. It is also noteworthy that wild rice is gluten-free.

Foraging

Because wild rice is a native food and can still be found in abundance in the wild, wild rice is a nutritious food which can be gathered and stored to add real value and nutrition to your families meals.

WHAT ARE HERBS?

Herbs are one of the fascinating plant species on the planet. Humans have grown herbs for millennia and eaten herbs from the very beginning of time. They have added to our lives in several different ways. The humble little plants have been utilized in the following areas: flavoring food, medicinal remedies, fragrances, dyes, landscaping, pest control, and industrial uses. In recent years growing herbs has experienced a giant leap in popularity. One major factor is that they provide an attractive method of entry into the gardening fraternity because they are so easy to grow.

There are many plants that are included in the herb family. This causes a little bit of a challenge in defining members of the family. The strict botanist school definition of an herb is that it is a plant that does not form woody tissue. Ergo the name herbaceous to describe such a plant. Practical herb gardeners are a little more liberal in their definition of herbs and include plants with flowers, leaves, roots, stems, or fruits that provide any of the manifestations ascribed to herb plants. These qualities include ornamental, aromatic, medicinal, culinary, and household uses. Many plants with woody stems are included in the definition of herbs. Cultivated types (cultivators) such as thyme, lavender, and rosemary along with vines, trees, and shrubs are in there. Many cultivators are included in the legion of herb plants on the market today.

Under the right conditions, herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. They can do well in a wide range of growing conditions and soils, but the key factor is drainage. Herb plants do not like “wet feet,” and they must be planted in well-drained soil, or they will not live. Richer soils will cause   the plants to grow larger stems and roots rather than the oils which produce the desired flavors and aromas. When planning an herb garden, consider the native origins of the herbs to be included in the garden. Herbs originally from the Mediterranean Sea area will vary in their requirements from East Asia.

Annual Herbs

Annuals herbs are plants which go through their whole life cycle from seed to flower, and again to seed in one growing season.  Once this happens, the plant dies.  If you collect seeds, you can replant in the same year (e.g., spring and fall), or save and replant the following year. Common annual herbs are:

  1. Basil
  2. Cilantro
  3. Chervil
  4. Summer Savory

Biennials Herbs

Biennials are plants which require two years to complete their life cycle.  The top of the herb may die, but the herb will overwinter with proper protection in most areas, here are a few:

  1. Dill (this herb is a biennial but is normally grown as an annual.
  2. Parsley (often grown as an annual)
  3. Sage (hardy for longer in zones 5-8)
  4. Stevia

Perennials Herbs

Perennials herbs, if well cared for, can last for years in the correct climate conditions.  This makes them an excellent investment in both time and money. Of course, you may end up with more of them than you could possibly eat, which is the case with all the large rosemary bushes in my landscape. We use what we want, and the rest look good and attract pollinators.

In cooler climates, the plant to may die back in the winter  and will return in the following spring; assuming cold temperature do not exceed their tolerances.  Perennials herbs will continue growing through the winter if you live in some of the more temperate zones. Some common perennial herbs are:

  1. Bay leaves
  2. Chives
  3. Fennel
  4. Lavender
  5. Marjoram
  6. Mint
  7. Oregano
  8. Rosemary
  9. Tarragon
  10. Thyme
  11. Winter Savory

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A smoothie primer

Smoothies have been around for a long time and are an excellent way of working in some low effort, health, food into your diet.  The term smoothie came out of the 1970s but some form of the drink has been around since about the time that blenders became commercially available in the 1930s.

Smoothie Basics

All you really need to get started is a good blender, some fruit, and berries (fresh or frozen), vegetables, ice, fruit or berry juice and, usually, some dairy product or a dairy substitute.  

Smoothies As Time Savers

Smoothies can be a very quick, easy, and tasty way to work some fruit and vegetables into your day.  I will admit a preference for the fruit smoothies, but there are a large number of perfectly good vegetable or green smoothie recipes available, as well. They can be consumed as meal replacements, when in a hurry, as a tasty relaxing dessert, or simply as a nutritious and refreshing drink.

Smoothies As A Hot Weather Beverage

Because smoothies are usually made with frozen fruit, ice or ice cream, smoothies are a cool drink will which can be very refreshing and a nice break from the heat of a hot day. The ease of creating smoothies can make them a crowd pleaser when entertaining or juice a healthy tasty drink for your family.  few children would turn down a tasty fruity drink after some hard play time.  The children really don’t need to know or care that it can good for them.     

Beware Of Commercially Prepared Smoothie Mixes

I recommend that you use a combination of fresh and or frozen fruits and berries.  However, take care if you are considering buying a commercial prepacked smoothie blend.  Unfortunately, many commercially prepacked smoothie’ blends have added sugars, food coloring, and other less desirable ingredients.  For the healthiest smoothies use fresh fruit or unsweetened frozen fruit and or berries, and vegetables (if you are into green smoothies). Even a little unsweetened juice can be used as a dairy substitute, to add some color, and flavor to your smoothie.

Smoothie Experimentation

Smoothies are easy to experiment with you simply switch out an ingredient or two and see if it meets your tastes.  I do recommend starting with a couple of recipes which you know you like already and use them as a foundation by adding or swapping an ingredient or two at a time, that way you ease your way into new flavor combinations.

Time To Get Started

 Well, if you are still reading this article, I assume you are ready to get started, so, go find some recipe which appeals to you and has a fun wonderful smoothie adventure.

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What is a Smoothie?

A smoothie is made by puréeing raw fruits and vegetables in a blender to make a thick, creamy beverage. Sometimes milk, ice cream, yogurt, or cottage cheese is used. Smoothies can also contain other ingredients like water, fruit juice, crushed ice, and sweeteners like honey, syrup, or sugar.

You can also add plant milk, nuts, whey powder, chocolate, herbal supplements, and nutritional supplements, among other ingredients. A smoothie that is made using dairy products is very similar to a milkshake, except that milkshakes contain much less fruit, and often use ice cream instead of other ingredients such as water, fruit juice, and so on.

Are Smoothies Healthy?

A smoothie can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the ingredients used as well as their proportions. For instance, some smoothies contain multiple servings of vegetables and fruits which are great for supporting a healthy diet – mainly when intended as a meal replacement.

But, a smoothie made with fruit juice (which contains lots of sugar) increases your caloric intake and actually promotes weight gain. In much the same way, using ingredients like protein powders, ice cream, or sweeteners in smoothie recipes may improve the flavor, but it also works to increase the caloric intake further.

Since they typically use a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, smoothies tend to have a high level of dietary fiber from the pulp, skin, and seeds. They are thicker than fruit juice and have a consistency that is more similar to that of a milkshake, although they are marketed as being much healthier than milkshakes – mainly green smoothies that are made from vegetables.

Main Ingredients in a Smoothie

There are many different types of smoothies that you can make depending on the ingredients you use. Listed below are some of the ingredients used to create a popular smoothie staple:

Classic Green Smoothie:

This type of smoothie consists of almost 50% green vegetables including spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, celery, broccoli, and parsley. The remaining ingredients are mostly or entirely fruit such as bananas, mangoes, coconut, berries, avocado, forest fruit, and so on.

Creating Variety

After mastering the basics, you can also add some extra ingredients to your smoothies to create different flavors. For instance, you could try adding a spoonful of cinnamon, grated nutmeg, vanilla essence, cocoa powder to your basic smoothie recipe.

A great way of adding texture is by sprinkling flax seeds, whole oats, or toasted chopped nuts which will not only make your smoothie taste great but will also help to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Conclusion

If you have been asking yourself: Exactly what is a smoothie?’, or What are the main ingredients in a smoothie?’ now you know what the essential ingredients are, as well as all the different ingredients that you can aid to create the flavor and texture that caters to your individual preferences.

Just remember, although smoothies are generally touted as being healthy, a smoothie is only as healthy as the ingredients you put in it. So, make sure that you choose only from the ingredients that will allow you to make healthy smoothies that look and taste great.

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