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Food categorybanner General

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How sustainable is your diet really?
Farmer-friendly coffee. Fair trade chocolate. Hand-raised chicken eggs. Gluten-free bread rolls. Organically produced soy beans. The  food hypes are popping up left, right, and center. All of them claim to be a fairer, more sustainable and, in most cases, healthier option. Where the past decades were all about producing as much food as possible at the same time, recent years have shown a tendency towards food options that are, mildly put, somewhat more laborious. This does not even take the excessive pricing into account. An organically produced, pesticide-free cucumber for 3 euro. Or coffee made from Guatemalan coffee beans, whose farmers are given a fair price for their produce, but that will cost you 6 euro per cup (medium sized, mind you). All of this has split the Western world’s population in two camps. One of them is fiercely dedicated to only buying and eating ‘raw’ or ‘real’ food, and disapprovingly look on as their family members or friends - who belong to the other camp - exclaim that they still prefer to shop at the local hypermarket.   WHAT ABOUT THIS  FOOD THAT I AM EATING? One of the reasons for these new foods not being commonly accepted, is the major confusion that they still often bring along. It appears that food items that are perfectly healthy the one month, turn out to be devil reincarnated the next. So, should we cook with olive oil or is coconut oil the healthier choice? What about quinoa, soy beans, avocado, matcha?   The variety in diets offered just serves to underline this confusion. Should you opt for a carb-free diet, that cuts bread, pasta, cereal, chips and all kind of baked goods from your life? Or is it better to avoid all dairy products, including milk? (A food group that up to recently was listed as one of the basic food groups.) Perhaps leaving out all and any sugars would be preferable. But the paleo-diet might have a certain appeal as well, that philosophises that we should go back to the food that our ancestral caveman ate - so a lot of animal-based protein and fruits and veggies. And while it is most certainly true that our lack of ‘real’ knowledge regarding the best diet (hint: it does not exist) is limited, we are certainly not helped by the food industry. They are trying their hardest to make the task of keeping track of your daily intake nearly impossible. Food labels that should be listing the exact nutritional value and ingredients are fudged or incomplete, and advertising slogans are used that turn out to be rather misleading. IS IT REAL, ORGANIC, AND SUSTAINABLE ? So, for instance, we might think that these free-range chicken eggs that we bought do their part in giving chickens a better life. But who does actually verify whether those kind of claims are true? Who verifies whether ‘authentic Italian olive oil’ is in fact from Italy? How can you check whether an organically produced soy bean has been sustainably farmed? The real problem here is the transparency of the food chain. As long as we are not able to trace back specific products ‘to their roots’, it will be next to impossible to determine whether certain high standing claims are true. And while these doubts exist and become increasingly more pressing, customers will - partially thinking with their wallet - refuse to hand over extra money for an, in their eyes, identical item. The real added value of authenticity and sustainability is not clear. WHY THIS DOUBT HURTS THE ENVIRONMENT It is a double-edged sword. While we continue to consume foods that are harming the environment, the food items that are truly sustainably grown are hindered by this perception. And yet there should be a massive movement towards these more sustainable choices: customers must stand up and demand to know what they are eating and how this was produced.   Supermarkets and grocers must do their part in demanding accountability from their suppliers as well. The law of supply and demand will hold: once becomes known that a certain product is blatantly deceiving, and demand drops as a result of that, supply will automatically adjust accordingly. This can be the start of a beneficial vicious cycle, where food producers are forced to live up to the expectations of an increasingly more critical consumer to stay in business. GREENWASHING VS SUSTAINABILITY The true cost of certain food items is hidden under a layer of so-called greenwashing . This is a marketing strategy that actively promotes a company and/or its products as being very sustainable and authentic, while it is in fact far from this. The rise of various labels on packagings is a great example of this: only very few of those claims, like ‘organically certified’ or ‘fair-trade’ are actually certified. The remainder is nothing other than marketing slogans. In order to find out the actual costs, including the burden put on society, it is of crucial importance that the food supply chains become more transparant. Only then can we hold the producers responsible and be able to trust in the authenticity of a certain food stuff. Not only healthier for our body - but healthier for the environment, too. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/food/general
Farmer-friendly coffee. Fair trade chocolate. Hand-raised chicken eggs. Gluten-free bread rolls. Organically produced soy beans. The  food hypes are popping up left, right, and center. All of them claim to be a fairer, more sustainable and, in most cases, healthier option. Where the past decades were all about producing as much food as possible at the same time, recent years have shown a tendency towards food options that are, mildly put, somewhat more laborious. This does not even take the excessive pricing into account. An organically produced, pesticide-free cucumber for 3 euro. Or coffee made from Guatemalan coffee beans, whose farmers are given a fair price for their produce, but that will cost you 6 euro per cup (medium sized, mind you). All of this has split the Western world’s population in two camps. One of them is fiercely dedicated to only buying and eating ‘raw’ or ‘real’ food, and disapprovingly look on as their family members or friends - who belong to the other camp - exclaim that they still prefer to shop at the local hypermarket.   WHAT ABOUT THIS  FOOD THAT I AM EATING? One of the reasons for these new foods not being commonly accepted, is the major confusion that they still often bring along. It appears that food items that are perfectly healthy the one month, turn out to be devil reincarnated the next. So, should we cook with olive oil or is coconut oil the healthier choice? What about quinoa, soy beans, avocado, matcha?   The variety in diets offered just serves to underline this confusion. Should you opt for a carb-free diet, that cuts bread, pasta, cereal, chips and all kind of baked goods from your life? Or is it better to avoid all dairy products, including milk? (A food group that up to recently was listed as one of the basic food groups.) Perhaps leaving out all and any sugars would be preferable. But the paleo-diet might have a certain appeal as well, that philosophises that we should go back to the food that our ancestral caveman ate - so a lot of animal-based protein and fruits and veggies. And while it is most certainly true that our lack of ‘real’ knowledge regarding the best diet (hint: it does not exist) is limited, we are certainly not helped by the food industry. They are trying their hardest to make the task of keeping track of your daily intake nearly impossible. Food labels that should be listing the exact nutritional value and ingredients are fudged or incomplete, and advertising slogans are used that turn out to be rather misleading. IS IT REAL, ORGANIC, AND SUSTAINABLE ? So, for instance, we might think that these free-range chicken eggs that we bought do their part in giving chickens a better life. But who does actually verify whether those kind of claims are true? Who verifies whether ‘authentic Italian olive oil’ is in fact from Italy? How can you check whether an organically produced soy bean has been sustainably farmed? The real problem here is the transparency of the food chain. As long as we are not able to trace back specific products ‘to their roots’, it will be next to impossible to determine whether certain high standing claims are true. And while these doubts exist and become increasingly more pressing, customers will - partially thinking with their wallet - refuse to hand over extra money for an, in their eyes, identical item. The real added value of authenticity and sustainability is not clear. WHY THIS DOUBT HURTS THE ENVIRONMENT It is a double-edged sword. While we continue to consume foods that are harming the environment, the food items that are truly sustainably grown are hindered by this perception. And yet there should be a massive movement towards these more sustainable choices: customers must stand up and demand to know what they are eating and how this was produced.   Supermarkets and grocers must do their part in demanding accountability from their suppliers as well. The law of supply and demand will hold: once becomes known that a certain product is blatantly deceiving, and demand drops as a result of that, supply will automatically adjust accordingly. This can be the start of a beneficial vicious cycle, where food producers are forced to live up to the expectations of an increasingly more critical consumer to stay in business. GREENWASHING VS SUSTAINABILITY The true cost of certain food items is hidden under a layer of so-called greenwashing . This is a marketing strategy that actively promotes a company and/or its products as being very sustainable and authentic, while it is in fact far from this. The rise of various labels on packagings is a great example of this: only very few of those claims, like ‘organically certified’ or ‘fair-trade’ are actually certified. The remainder is nothing other than marketing slogans. In order to find out the actual costs, including the burden put on society, it is of crucial importance that the food supply chains become more transparant. Only then can we hold the producers responsible and be able to trust in the authenticity of a certain food stuff. Not only healthier for our body - but healthier for the environment, too. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/food/general
How sustainable is your diet really?
How sustainable is your diet really?
Wine unplugged
The age of the Bordeaux drinking wine snob is dead, the wines du moment are unfiltered, untamed and a reflection of their terroir. Read on for an introduction to natural wine.    If you are into wine, you’ve probably heard about ‘vins nature’ or ‘natural wine’, the unplugged version of wine as we know it. Whereas conventional wine may use up to 60 different additives (!) to improve the aroma, taste and drinkability, natural wines use none. It is wine made from grapes and only grapes. The revival of natural wine Some people consider natural wine as how wine was once meant to be. Before the industrial revolution all wines were natural wines. About 30 years ago French wine maker Marcel Lapierre took over the family domaine from his father in the Beaujolais and noticed a big difference in the traditional methods of winemaking within his family compared to what students were taught at the academy. Inspired by Jules Chauvet – a viticultural prophet who in the 1950’s, upon the rise of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, first spoke out for ‘natural wine’, harkening back to the traditional methods of the Beaujolais – Lapierre spearheaded the so-called ‘Gang of Four’, a group of four winemakers that called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: old vines in a healthy vineyard, not using synthetic herbicides or pesticides , harvesting late and by hand, rigorously sorting to keep only the healthiest grapes, adding none or minimal doses of sulphur dioxide, and no adding of sugars or acids at all. The methods Lapierre and his gang used were as revolutionary as they were traditional. What began with just this handful of French winemakers is now a global movement, having spread to Italy, Spain and, more recently, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States and even Japan – the latter being one of the biggest markets for natural wine. When local consumption of French natural wine peaked in 2000, Japan was reportedly consuming 75 percent of the total volume produced. If it weren’t for the Japanese demand many small French wineries would not have survived. In Tokyo’s trendiest neighbourhoods natural wine bars were mushrooming – followed by their hipster counterparts in Europe and the USA. Honest and unspoiled Driving forces behind the European success were avant-garde restaurant Noma in Copenhagen and former Hibiscus in London, whose sommeliers were amongst the first to give natural wines a leading role in their funky wine-and- food pairings. Elaborating on his choice not to include the grand lady of the wine world on their menu, Pontus Elofsson, Noma’s former wine director, said: ‘Bordeaux is probably the biggest chemical factory in Europe. They use lots of chemicals in the vineyards and in the cellars, and to do that is to move away from reflecting terroir in an honest, unspoiled way.’ Natural wine is now making waves with a new generation of, mostly young, drinkers who are not prejudiced and can’t be bothered with the big traditional names; they rather drink a pleasurable, unpretentious wine and that, opposed to any mass-produced bottle, has been produced in harmony with nature – chemical-free and with a flavour imparted by the natural environment in which it is produced, including soil, climate and topography. Wines in which the purity of the grape is preserved. No interventions This all may sound simple, yet is anything but. Wine is considered “natural” when it is produced with minimal intervention – nothing added, nothing removed. No chemicals or artificial fertilizers are used on the vines, the grapes are handpicked, there is no manipulation of flavour, no filtering and no colour agents used in the winemaking process. Natural wine extremists believe you should add absolutely nothing at all, yet more ‘liberal’ winemakers believe a tiny bit of sulphite is sometimes needed to make the wine more drinkable; this makes their wines, strictly speaking, not natural. Confusing, isn’t it? The stipulations needed to be certified as ‘organic’ say that no chemicals can be used to grow the grapes, but chemical and technological manipulations are allowed during the winemaking process. Biodynamic winemakers take it even a step further, incorporating lunar cycles, astrological influences and ideas about a vineyard as an ecosystem. The grapes are grown following the farming principles of Rudolf Steiner, after which the winemaker may still decide to manipulate the fermentation. Image by: Maja Petric This means that both organic and biodynamic wine can be produced naturally, but don’t have to be. A warning is in place here: today a lot of producers are using the organic or biodynamic stamp as a quality stamp, yet there are a lot of shitty organic and biodynamic wines. The label ‘ organic ’ for a supermarket wine in Europe simply means that a few pesticides have not been used, but the wine may still be (and is often) produced commercially and on a large scale. Passionate winemakers The absence of an official certification and rules for natural wines means that the makers need to rely on their gut feeling, knowledge of the land and years of dedication. Whoever wants to fully control the outcome, better choose a different job. In her book Natural Wine: an introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally Isabelle Legeron, former sommelier at Hibiscus, writes: ‘Natural wine is a continuum, like ripples on a pond. At the epicentre of these ripples, are growers who produce wines absolutely naturally – nothing added and nothing removed. As you move away from this centre, the additions and manipulations begin, making the wine less and less natural, the further out you go. Eventually, the ripples disappear entirely, blending into the waters of the rest of the pond. At this point the term ‘natural wine’ no longer applies. You have moved into the realm of the conventional.’ Let’s drink! Don’t let yourself be put off by the cloudiness of an unfiltered wine. According to insiders it’s these murky movements at the bottom that illustrate each bottle of natural wine is a living and breathing thing. Neither expect one of those full-bodied, fruity wines that carry the promise of a hangover. The absence of sulphites drastically diminishes your chances of a headache in the morning, and the taste is nothing like conventional wine. Most natural wines have an earthy flavour, are more yeasty than fruity and have a high acidity, which you may like or not. This earthiness pairs well with simple flavours and pure ingredients such as fish and grilled or fermented vegetables. Look for a local wine bar or restaurant serving natural wines and ask the sommelier to advise and surprise you. One thing is for sure: natural wines are as natural as it gets, and a tasty and earth-friendly choice for anyone who is up for something funky. Cover image by: Nacho Dominguez https://www.whatsorb.com/category/food
The age of the Bordeaux drinking wine snob is dead, the wines du moment are unfiltered, untamed and a reflection of their terroir. Read on for an introduction to natural wine.    If you are into wine, you’ve probably heard about ‘vins nature’ or ‘natural wine’, the unplugged version of wine as we know it. Whereas conventional wine may use up to 60 different additives (!) to improve the aroma, taste and drinkability, natural wines use none. It is wine made from grapes and only grapes. The revival of natural wine Some people consider natural wine as how wine was once meant to be. Before the industrial revolution all wines were natural wines. About 30 years ago French wine maker Marcel Lapierre took over the family domaine from his father in the Beaujolais and noticed a big difference in the traditional methods of winemaking within his family compared to what students were taught at the academy. Inspired by Jules Chauvet – a viticultural prophet who in the 1950’s, upon the rise of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, first spoke out for ‘natural wine’, harkening back to the traditional methods of the Beaujolais – Lapierre spearheaded the so-called ‘Gang of Four’, a group of four winemakers that called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: old vines in a healthy vineyard, not using synthetic herbicides or pesticides , harvesting late and by hand, rigorously sorting to keep only the healthiest grapes, adding none or minimal doses of sulphur dioxide, and no adding of sugars or acids at all. The methods Lapierre and his gang used were as revolutionary as they were traditional. What began with just this handful of French winemakers is now a global movement, having spread to Italy, Spain and, more recently, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States and even Japan – the latter being one of the biggest markets for natural wine. When local consumption of French natural wine peaked in 2000, Japan was reportedly consuming 75 percent of the total volume produced. If it weren’t for the Japanese demand many small French wineries would not have survived. In Tokyo’s trendiest neighbourhoods natural wine bars were mushrooming – followed by their hipster counterparts in Europe and the USA. Honest and unspoiled Driving forces behind the European success were avant-garde restaurant Noma in Copenhagen and former Hibiscus in London, whose sommeliers were amongst the first to give natural wines a leading role in their funky wine-and- food pairings. Elaborating on his choice not to include the grand lady of the wine world on their menu, Pontus Elofsson, Noma’s former wine director, said: ‘Bordeaux is probably the biggest chemical factory in Europe. They use lots of chemicals in the vineyards and in the cellars, and to do that is to move away from reflecting terroir in an honest, unspoiled way.’ Natural wine is now making waves with a new generation of, mostly young, drinkers who are not prejudiced and can’t be bothered with the big traditional names; they rather drink a pleasurable, unpretentious wine and that, opposed to any mass-produced bottle, has been produced in harmony with nature – chemical-free and with a flavour imparted by the natural environment in which it is produced, including soil, climate and topography. Wines in which the purity of the grape is preserved. No interventions This all may sound simple, yet is anything but. Wine is considered “natural” when it is produced with minimal intervention – nothing added, nothing removed. No chemicals or artificial fertilizers are used on the vines, the grapes are handpicked, there is no manipulation of flavour, no filtering and no colour agents used in the winemaking process. Natural wine extremists believe you should add absolutely nothing at all, yet more ‘liberal’ winemakers believe a tiny bit of sulphite is sometimes needed to make the wine more drinkable; this makes their wines, strictly speaking, not natural. Confusing, isn’t it? The stipulations needed to be certified as ‘organic’ say that no chemicals can be used to grow the grapes, but chemical and technological manipulations are allowed during the winemaking process. Biodynamic winemakers take it even a step further, incorporating lunar cycles, astrological influences and ideas about a vineyard as an ecosystem. The grapes are grown following the farming principles of Rudolf Steiner, after which the winemaker may still decide to manipulate the fermentation. Image by: Maja Petric This means that both organic and biodynamic wine can be produced naturally, but don’t have to be. A warning is in place here: today a lot of producers are using the organic or biodynamic stamp as a quality stamp, yet there are a lot of shitty organic and biodynamic wines. The label ‘ organic ’ for a supermarket wine in Europe simply means that a few pesticides have not been used, but the wine may still be (and is often) produced commercially and on a large scale. Passionate winemakers The absence of an official certification and rules for natural wines means that the makers need to rely on their gut feeling, knowledge of the land and years of dedication. Whoever wants to fully control the outcome, better choose a different job. In her book Natural Wine: an introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally Isabelle Legeron, former sommelier at Hibiscus, writes: ‘Natural wine is a continuum, like ripples on a pond. At the epicentre of these ripples, are growers who produce wines absolutely naturally – nothing added and nothing removed. As you move away from this centre, the additions and manipulations begin, making the wine less and less natural, the further out you go. Eventually, the ripples disappear entirely, blending into the waters of the rest of the pond. At this point the term ‘natural wine’ no longer applies. You have moved into the realm of the conventional.’ Let’s drink! Don’t let yourself be put off by the cloudiness of an unfiltered wine. According to insiders it’s these murky movements at the bottom that illustrate each bottle of natural wine is a living and breathing thing. Neither expect one of those full-bodied, fruity wines that carry the promise of a hangover. The absence of sulphites drastically diminishes your chances of a headache in the morning, and the taste is nothing like conventional wine. Most natural wines have an earthy flavour, are more yeasty than fruity and have a high acidity, which you may like or not. This earthiness pairs well with simple flavours and pure ingredients such as fish and grilled or fermented vegetables. Look for a local wine bar or restaurant serving natural wines and ask the sommelier to advise and surprise you. One thing is for sure: natural wines are as natural as it gets, and a tasty and earth-friendly choice for anyone who is up for something funky. Cover image by: Nacho Dominguez https://www.whatsorb.com/category/food
Wine unplugged
Wine unplugged
Asparagus! The white gold.
Asparagus: everything you need to know about this white gold of spring You know that spring really has started when the asparagus reappear everywhere. You will not find the white gold more pleasant than now. The ancient Egyptians and Romans already appreciated this special vegetable two centuries before Christ. A timeless classic in the kitchen. Read, buy, cook and enjoy! A rich history Did you know that the first signs of asparagus consumption have been discovered in a pyramid in Egypt? The Romans also liked it, as is evident from a knife found in Woerden (Netherlands) in 2003 with an image of an asparagus on it. After the fall of the Roman Empire, this vegetable disappeared from the low countries again. Only since the 17th century have they been reared in France and some other Western European countries. In the Netherlands large-scale asparagus cultivation has been taking place since the 19th century. Especially Limburg is known for it. Medicinal effect Already in ancient times, the asparagus was given medicinal effect. She was used as a medicine against bee stings, heart problems, dizziness and toothache. Asparagus was also often used as a urinary agent or laxative. With the knowledge from now on we also know why: the asparagine amino acid asparagine does indeed stimulate kidney function. Because of its strong taste, asparagus fits perfectly in a low-salt diet: you do not have to add anything.  Shapes and sizes Did you know that in addition to the white and green asparagus, there is also a purple variety? The white ones have grown under the ground and kept out of the light while green and purple asparagus have seen the sun. The purple you hardly ever see, while you can now buy green asparagus almost all year round. These are grown mainly in southern Europe. Our favorite remains the good old white asparagus. How do you know if you are buying good? Asparagus is divided into classes according to thickness and appearance. In general, the thicker the better. Note that there are no cracks or brown spots (rust) on it. If you see that, you better ignore it. Buy asparagus: what should you pay attention to? The asparagus season is relatively short, in the middle of Europe about two months. Harvesting takes place from the second Thursday of April until the end of June. You can now buy asparagus at any supermarket or greengrocer, but often directly from the grower. You can check the freshness of the asparagus yourself in two ways. One: just push your fingernail into the bottom of the asparagus. The spot where the asparagus was cut should not feel woody. Two: rub the asparagus against each other. If they make a soft, squeaky, melodious sound, they are fresh. Store and prepare Asparagus must of course be nice and juicy. When buying, make sure that no cracks or brown spots are visible. At home, store your asparagus in a sealed plastic bag or covered with a wet tea towel in the refrigerator. You can keep them fresh for a day or three. Before you start cooking them, you have to peel the asparagus first. You do that with a special asparagus knife or a peeler. You do not want a badly peeled asparagus on the table, which is stringy and tough. Cooking goes best in a special asparagus pan, in which the asparagus is cooked standing so that the heads do not get under water. Tip: throw the peels in the pan at the asparagus for an optimal taste. Depending on the thickness they are cooked in 8-10 minutes. Let’s eat! Asparagus salad with lemon mayonnaise, watercress and pistachio What do you need for a asparagus salad? 1 kg of asparagus salt sugar piece of mace 2 tbsp mayonnaise 1 tbsp yogurt 1 lemon salt pepper 1 forest watercress peeled unsalted pistachio nuts How do you make the asparagus salad? Peel the asparagus from the head all the way down and cut 2 cm from the bottom. Put them up with cold water, salt, some sugar and the mace. Bring them to a boil and cook until tender for about 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave it in the cooking liquid and allow to cool. Mix the mayonnaise with the yogurt and squeeze out the lemon. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Chop the pistachio nuts. Halve the asparagus into oblique pieces. Divide them with a piece of watercress on plates. Spoon the mayonnaise over it and sprinkle with coarsely chopped pistachio nuts.
Asparagus: everything you need to know about this white gold of spring You know that spring really has started when the asparagus reappear everywhere. You will not find the white gold more pleasant than now. The ancient Egyptians and Romans already appreciated this special vegetable two centuries before Christ. A timeless classic in the kitchen. Read, buy, cook and enjoy! A rich history Did you know that the first signs of asparagus consumption have been discovered in a pyramid in Egypt? The Romans also liked it, as is evident from a knife found in Woerden (Netherlands) in 2003 with an image of an asparagus on it. After the fall of the Roman Empire, this vegetable disappeared from the low countries again. Only since the 17th century have they been reared in France and some other Western European countries. In the Netherlands large-scale asparagus cultivation has been taking place since the 19th century. Especially Limburg is known for it. Medicinal effect Already in ancient times, the asparagus was given medicinal effect. She was used as a medicine against bee stings, heart problems, dizziness and toothache. Asparagus was also often used as a urinary agent or laxative. With the knowledge from now on we also know why: the asparagine amino acid asparagine does indeed stimulate kidney function. Because of its strong taste, asparagus fits perfectly in a low-salt diet: you do not have to add anything.  Shapes and sizes Did you know that in addition to the white and green asparagus, there is also a purple variety? The white ones have grown under the ground and kept out of the light while green and purple asparagus have seen the sun. The purple you hardly ever see, while you can now buy green asparagus almost all year round. These are grown mainly in southern Europe. Our favorite remains the good old white asparagus. How do you know if you are buying good? Asparagus is divided into classes according to thickness and appearance. In general, the thicker the better. Note that there are no cracks or brown spots (rust) on it. If you see that, you better ignore it. Buy asparagus: what should you pay attention to? The asparagus season is relatively short, in the middle of Europe about two months. Harvesting takes place from the second Thursday of April until the end of June. You can now buy asparagus at any supermarket or greengrocer, but often directly from the grower. You can check the freshness of the asparagus yourself in two ways. One: just push your fingernail into the bottom of the asparagus. The spot where the asparagus was cut should not feel woody. Two: rub the asparagus against each other. If they make a soft, squeaky, melodious sound, they are fresh. Store and prepare Asparagus must of course be nice and juicy. When buying, make sure that no cracks or brown spots are visible. At home, store your asparagus in a sealed plastic bag or covered with a wet tea towel in the refrigerator. You can keep them fresh for a day or three. Before you start cooking them, you have to peel the asparagus first. You do that with a special asparagus knife or a peeler. You do not want a badly peeled asparagus on the table, which is stringy and tough. Cooking goes best in a special asparagus pan, in which the asparagus is cooked standing so that the heads do not get under water. Tip: throw the peels in the pan at the asparagus for an optimal taste. Depending on the thickness they are cooked in 8-10 minutes. Let’s eat! Asparagus salad with lemon mayonnaise, watercress and pistachio What do you need for a asparagus salad? 1 kg of asparagus salt sugar piece of mace 2 tbsp mayonnaise 1 tbsp yogurt 1 lemon salt pepper 1 forest watercress peeled unsalted pistachio nuts How do you make the asparagus salad? Peel the asparagus from the head all the way down and cut 2 cm from the bottom. Put them up with cold water, salt, some sugar and the mace. Bring them to a boil and cook until tender for about 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave it in the cooking liquid and allow to cool. Mix the mayonnaise with the yogurt and squeeze out the lemon. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Chop the pistachio nuts. Halve the asparagus into oblique pieces. Divide them with a piece of watercress on plates. Spoon the mayonnaise over it and sprinkle with coarsely chopped pistachio nuts.
Asparagus! The white gold.
Asparagus! The white gold.
#Waste is delicious. Why would we throw away  distorted fruit and vegetables?
In a supermarket in Wageningen (the Netherlands) is the first so-called 'waste shelf' of the Netherlands with products that were otherwise discarded. The initiative is very good. Too much food is thrown away, sometimes only because it does not look so good and is therefore not sold. While it tastes just as good. A third of all food is wasted, a scientist at Wageningen University told me two years ago. I did not think that was acceptable, because food is not meant for, "says the supermarket owner. A lot of things play a role: too many products, or fruit and vegetables that do not look good and are therefore unsuitable for sale. Supermarkets also participate in this. Locally we have no influence on it, but that does not mean that we can not do anything. In this way the food bank receives products from us that are about the date every day. Delightful Together with organizations such as CSR Netherlands - the national organization for corporate social responsibility - the supermarket owner went to work. He came into contact with 'Wastes is Delightful', a platform of entrepreneurs who process food that would otherwise be lost. They now supply, among other things, cider of "not completely cool fruit", oyster mushrooms grown on coffee grounds and soap from orange peels. The waste shelf, a special cupboard, was difficult to realize. Some suppliers thought that a price wafer was sufficient. However, the supermarket works with barcodes. And all ingredients must be mentioned on the packaging. That was not always the case. Deformed cucumbers For the time being, the shelf is a test. For half a year. The intention is that we continue it. It would be nice if we could simply place the products between the others, just like the fair trade articles. At the vegetable department there are already crooked cucumbers next to straight, plastic-packed co-workers. They do not look. The image that the consumer has is that a cucumber should be right. It does not matter for the taste, you do not notice any difference in the salad. "Both variants cost 98 euro cents. According to MVO Nederland, more supermarket entrepreneurs will place a ‘waste shelf’ later this spring. The supermarket is satisfied with the first turnover. Students The shelf has been there since Friday and was officially presented on Tuesday. At least 200 customers have already bought something out of it. The iced tea of ​​saved fruit, the soup of slightly too small tomatoes and the beer of old bread are doing well. Here in Wageningen, with a university that gives a lot of attention to food, we are well on the shelf. Students generally opt for good and healthy food, so no bags of chips. And that special beer is still hip found. I also notice that in society there is a growing awareness that things will not work out well if we continue with the same waste behavior with our planet.  A customer, takes a can of vegetarian soup with beans from the shelf. This is a fun action. It's good that food waste is being tackled. That the soup is comparatively slightly more expensive does not bother her. By: Jan Kras
In a supermarket in Wageningen (the Netherlands) is the first so-called 'waste shelf' of the Netherlands with products that were otherwise discarded. The initiative is very good. Too much food is thrown away, sometimes only because it does not look so good and is therefore not sold. While it tastes just as good. A third of all food is wasted, a scientist at Wageningen University told me two years ago. I did not think that was acceptable, because food is not meant for, "says the supermarket owner. A lot of things play a role: too many products, or fruit and vegetables that do not look good and are therefore unsuitable for sale. Supermarkets also participate in this. Locally we have no influence on it, but that does not mean that we can not do anything. In this way the food bank receives products from us that are about the date every day. Delightful Together with organizations such as CSR Netherlands - the national organization for corporate social responsibility - the supermarket owner went to work. He came into contact with 'Wastes is Delightful', a platform of entrepreneurs who process food that would otherwise be lost. They now supply, among other things, cider of "not completely cool fruit", oyster mushrooms grown on coffee grounds and soap from orange peels. The waste shelf, a special cupboard, was difficult to realize. Some suppliers thought that a price wafer was sufficient. However, the supermarket works with barcodes. And all ingredients must be mentioned on the packaging. That was not always the case. Deformed cucumbers For the time being, the shelf is a test. For half a year. The intention is that we continue it. It would be nice if we could simply place the products between the others, just like the fair trade articles. At the vegetable department there are already crooked cucumbers next to straight, plastic-packed co-workers. They do not look. The image that the consumer has is that a cucumber should be right. It does not matter for the taste, you do not notice any difference in the salad. "Both variants cost 98 euro cents. According to MVO Nederland, more supermarket entrepreneurs will place a ‘waste shelf’ later this spring. The supermarket is satisfied with the first turnover. Students The shelf has been there since Friday and was officially presented on Tuesday. At least 200 customers have already bought something out of it. The iced tea of ​​saved fruit, the soup of slightly too small tomatoes and the beer of old bread are doing well. Here in Wageningen, with a university that gives a lot of attention to food, we are well on the shelf. Students generally opt for good and healthy food, so no bags of chips. And that special beer is still hip found. I also notice that in society there is a growing awareness that things will not work out well if we continue with the same waste behavior with our planet.  A customer, takes a can of vegetarian soup with beans from the shelf. This is a fun action. It's good that food waste is being tackled. That the soup is comparatively slightly more expensive does not bother her. By: Jan Kras
#Waste is delicious. Why would we throw away distorted fruit and vegetables?
Where is the African agricultural revolution?
Why did Asia manage to feed itself in the past thirty years, and Africa did not? And what lessons can we draw from this for the next thirty years? Five reasons why it does not want to succeed in agriculture in Africa. Asian 'growth buoys' such as India, China, Vietnam and Indonesia have astounded the world for the past three decades. While the average income rose there and poverty and hunger dropped spectacularly, Africa practically stopped. From an exporting continent among the colonial occupiers, from 1980 onwards it became increasingly dependent on imports and food insecurity increased due to population growth, disinvestments and climate change. What went wrong? Why did not Africa experience an agrarian or 'green' agricultural revolution, such as Asia and Latin America? That question is keeping many people occupied, now that the world faces the challenge in 2050 is expected to feed 10 billion people. The largest population explosion is expected in Africa, which will then have more than 2 billion inhabitants, a doubling compared to today. At present, almost 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger, on average one out of every nine inhabitants. In the African countries south of the Sahara, no less than a quarter of the population are chronically malnourished. And that number is increasing because food production cannot keep up with population growth. "How is it possible that Africa, a continent rich in fertile land, water and sunlight, has to import 35 billion dollars’ worth of food every year?" Akinwumi Adesina wrote in 2015 when he was appointed president of the African Development Bank (AFD). According to the former Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria, Africa should be able to feed itself in 2050. Without intervention, Africa will have to import 110 billion dollars a year in food because of the expected population growth in 2030. Food that Africa really has to produce itself. Five reasons why it does not want to succeed in Africa and in Asia 1. Neo-liberal policies have put Africa back by decades In the 1980s in the 1980s, African countries were heavily indebted to the World Bank and the IMF. At those financial institutions, the neoliberal idea prevailed that investment in agriculture was not necessary; import of food was cheaper, the continent could earn its money in the private sector with the export of high-quality industrial products. 'It was thought that you could immediately make the leap to industrialization and a service sector without first experiencing an agrarian revolution', says Dutch agricultural expert Rudy Rabbinge. This turned out to be a 'big error of assessment', which Africa has set decades behind, according to experts. 'No country in the world has evolved without it being an agricultural revolution. They did not want to face the fact that local markets were being competed with cheap food from the West. ' Rabbinge, who is now retired, was involved as a university professor in sustainable development and food security at Wageningen University with numerous think tanks and advisory committees to raise the African agricultural sector to a higher level. In 2004, at the request of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, he made the study Realizing the promise and potential of African agriculture, which formed the basis for Agra (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa). This organization is now a cornerstone of current African agricultural policy and is being supported worldwide for billions of dollars. Price support for agricultural products? We did not have any money for that, while the countries in Southeast Asia received ample funds. 2. Agriculture was not a popular investment African leaders did not see much in agriculture in the eighties and nineties. That was something for poor poor people in the countryside, the future lay in the cities. As a result, there was little enthusiasm to invest in irrigation, technology, better seeds and manure or access to markets. Moreover, agriculture in Africa is mainly a matter for women, they produce food for the family on small pieces of land. If the women want to grow more in order to be able to sell some food, they run into numerous legal and financial obstacles. Because of the often prevalent traditional tribal power systems, women in Africa often do not have ownership documents, which means they rarely have access to loans for better seeds or agricultural machinery. This is a serious obstacle to the development of more productive agriculture. Investments in agriculture were also made more difficult by the austerity discipline imposed by financial institutions on African countries. In exchange for tower-high loans, civil servants and institutions were cut back, the quality of education and care deteriorated. 'Agricultural research? There was no more money for it. We had to fire information officers throughout the country. Price support for agricultural products? We did not have any money for that, while the countries in Southeast Asia received large funds from the international community. "For example, AFD bank president Adesina, then Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, was quoted in the publication A question of good farming; economic development in Africa and Southeast Asia compared to the Africa Study Center (ASC) in Leiden. Foto: ANP 3. No eye for technological innovation In 1980 the population in Asia was even poorer than in Africa, now she is twice as prosperous. Around the 1980s, Asian countries began to invest an average of 10 percent of national income in their agricultural sector with a clear goal: to improve productivity. In contrast to Africa, governments acted as a steering force, investing in the improvement of irrigation systems, roads, agricultural engineering and subsidized seeds and fertilizer. In some places, the yield per hectare doubled almost every decade. Indonesia was for example the largest rice importer in the world in the sixties, in 1984 it was self-sufficient, according to the study by the Africa Study Center. Asia had learned lessons from the agricultural revolutions that Europe and the United States had undergone. At the end of the 19th century, the Netherlands already started to strengthen its own agricultural sector in response to the competition from the 'New World'. It invested in knowledge development of seed breeding, organized land consolidation and created stronger market positions by cooperating in cooperatives. The Indian agricultural expert Monkombu Swaminathan, who had studied in Wageningen, was one of the founders of the green revolution in Asia. He worked with the 'father' of the agricultural revolution, the American agricultural expert Norman Borlaug. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 because he saw his vision on agriculture as 'the man who saved the world from hunger'. In the sixties he developed new wheat varieties that were better able to cope with diseases and had a higher yield. It laid the foundation for American commercial agricultural development. He then introduced his model in developing countries in South America and Asia, which sometimes saw their yields quadrupled. In Africa this revolution has never been embraced or made possible. On average, African countries spent half to 1 percent of GNP on agriculture, ten to twenty times less than Asian countries. 'As long as you do not raise the productivity per hectare, there can not be any progress', says agricultural expert Rabbinge, who, for comparison, mentions some figures from the successful Dutch agricultural history. 'In the Middle Ages, farmers produced an average of 800 kilograms of wheat per hectare for about 600 hours of labor, compared with 1,900 kilos in 1900 against 300 hours of labor. In 2000, the Netherlands produced 9,000 kilos per  hctare - more than ten times as much - with only a minimal effort of 8 to 15 hours thanks to the mechanization. Now the Netherlands is the second agricultural exporter in the world. 4. Africa is suffering from colonial heritage The colonization has drawn in-depth traces across the continents. Yet Asia managed to recover after independence and Africa did not. There are numerous reasons that explain these differences. One is the duration of the colonization period. Africa was much later colonized and also much later independent. It was not until the sixties that the first independence movements started, Zimbabwe did not completely free itself from the British in 1980. In many countries, conflicts still exist across national borders drawn by the European occupiers. Many ethnic groups that were played out against each other by Europeans for commercial and political purposes are still diametrically opposed. Prolonged wars and bad or corrupt leadership have stood in the way of building up. African institutions and government have generally remained weak, which is partly explained by the colonial heritage. For example, the British and Dutch made more use of existing institutions and local power structures, while the French and Belgians destroyed them earlier. Asia, for example, left roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and courts to age-long domination. Africa was left with almost empty hands and destroyed local power structures. Agricultural expert Rabbinge, on request, speaks of 'a lack of enlightened self-interest', especially among the French, Belgians and Portuguese, who hardly invested in sustainable development or transfer of administrative and technical knowledge to the local population. 5. Vicious circles are difficult to break Wars, dictatorships or otherwise fragile situations do not attract investors. Without economic investments there will be no new jobs and poverty and hunger will prevail. Economic hopelessness and deprivation are often a source for internal conflicts and a breeding ground for radicalization. Especially on a continent with countless ethnic groups that still determine the balance of power. This vicious circle has halted development in many countries and is still doing so. In this way even the stable ¬Kenia is threatened again by tribally determined political conflict. African agriculture is small-scale and very fragmented. Almost three-quarters of the basic food in the world comes from rice, grain and wheat - the largest commercial agricultural crops for which new and more climate-resistant varieties are being developed. In Africa, many tuberous plants such as cassava, carrots or sweet potatoes are grown on small fields, and then mainly for their own use. Soil fertility is often depleted due to a lack of artificial nutrients, which means that yield per hectare decreases rather than grows. The seeds of these crops are hardly developed or improved. African soils are also more 'odd' than Asian. It is only since the beginning of the 21st century that the turnaround has taken place and in Africa the usefulness of agricultural investments is being seen. When the African Union was founded in 2003, the countries agreed to spend 10 percent of the national income on agriculture. Due to the global food crisis in 2008, the realization of how risky it is to depend on imported food really started and countries started to work on that promise. Since then, countries such as Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia and, for example, ¬ Senegal and Ghana have undergone a hopeful agricultural development. Although few countries still get 10 percent, Africa is really catching up, says Ton Dietz, former director of the Africa Study Center and professor at Leiden University. "Agricultural production has risen considerably over the last fifteen years." Dietz also points out the potential of millions of cities for African agriculture. 'In Asia, the migration to the cities started much earlier. The demand for food from these cities gave agriculture in the nearby area a huge boost. You see that happening in Africa now. " According to the African Development Bank, over the next ten years, $ 315-400 billion will be needed to put the neglected agricultural sector out of business. The bank itself has made 24 billion available for this, but China, the European Union, the UN, other donors and philanthropic institutions are also pumping billions in Africa in order to bring about an agricultural revolution. By: Carlijne Vos Photos: Studio V
Why did Asia manage to feed itself in the past thirty years, and Africa did not? And what lessons can we draw from this for the next thirty years? Five reasons why it does not want to succeed in agriculture in Africa. Asian 'growth buoys' such as India, China, Vietnam and Indonesia have astounded the world for the past three decades. While the average income rose there and poverty and hunger dropped spectacularly, Africa practically stopped. From an exporting continent among the colonial occupiers, from 1980 onwards it became increasingly dependent on imports and food insecurity increased due to population growth, disinvestments and climate change. What went wrong? Why did not Africa experience an agrarian or 'green' agricultural revolution, such as Asia and Latin America? That question is keeping many people occupied, now that the world faces the challenge in 2050 is expected to feed 10 billion people. The largest population explosion is expected in Africa, which will then have more than 2 billion inhabitants, a doubling compared to today. At present, almost 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger, on average one out of every nine inhabitants. In the African countries south of the Sahara, no less than a quarter of the population are chronically malnourished. And that number is increasing because food production cannot keep up with population growth. "How is it possible that Africa, a continent rich in fertile land, water and sunlight, has to import 35 billion dollars’ worth of food every year?" Akinwumi Adesina wrote in 2015 when he was appointed president of the African Development Bank (AFD). According to the former Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria, Africa should be able to feed itself in 2050. Without intervention, Africa will have to import 110 billion dollars a year in food because of the expected population growth in 2030. Food that Africa really has to produce itself. Five reasons why it does not want to succeed in Africa and in Asia 1. Neo-liberal policies have put Africa back by decades In the 1980s in the 1980s, African countries were heavily indebted to the World Bank and the IMF. At those financial institutions, the neoliberal idea prevailed that investment in agriculture was not necessary; import of food was cheaper, the continent could earn its money in the private sector with the export of high-quality industrial products. 'It was thought that you could immediately make the leap to industrialization and a service sector without first experiencing an agrarian revolution', says Dutch agricultural expert Rudy Rabbinge. This turned out to be a 'big error of assessment', which Africa has set decades behind, according to experts. 'No country in the world has evolved without it being an agricultural revolution. They did not want to face the fact that local markets were being competed with cheap food from the West. ' Rabbinge, who is now retired, was involved as a university professor in sustainable development and food security at Wageningen University with numerous think tanks and advisory committees to raise the African agricultural sector to a higher level. In 2004, at the request of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, he made the study Realizing the promise and potential of African agriculture, which formed the basis for Agra (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa). This organization is now a cornerstone of current African agricultural policy and is being supported worldwide for billions of dollars. Price support for agricultural products? We did not have any money for that, while the countries in Southeast Asia received ample funds. 2. Agriculture was not a popular investment African leaders did not see much in agriculture in the eighties and nineties. That was something for poor poor people in the countryside, the future lay in the cities. As a result, there was little enthusiasm to invest in irrigation, technology, better seeds and manure or access to markets. Moreover, agriculture in Africa is mainly a matter for women, they produce food for the family on small pieces of land. If the women want to grow more in order to be able to sell some food, they run into numerous legal and financial obstacles. Because of the often prevalent traditional tribal power systems, women in Africa often do not have ownership documents, which means they rarely have access to loans for better seeds or agricultural machinery. This is a serious obstacle to the development of more productive agriculture. Investments in agriculture were also made more difficult by the austerity discipline imposed by financial institutions on African countries. In exchange for tower-high loans, civil servants and institutions were cut back, the quality of education and care deteriorated. 'Agricultural research? There was no more money for it. We had to fire information officers throughout the country. Price support for agricultural products? We did not have any money for that, while the countries in Southeast Asia received large funds from the international community. "For example, AFD bank president Adesina, then Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, was quoted in the publication A question of good farming; economic development in Africa and Southeast Asia compared to the Africa Study Center (ASC) in Leiden. Foto: ANP 3. No eye for technological innovation In 1980 the population in Asia was even poorer than in Africa, now she is twice as prosperous. Around the 1980s, Asian countries began to invest an average of 10 percent of national income in their agricultural sector with a clear goal: to improve productivity. In contrast to Africa, governments acted as a steering force, investing in the improvement of irrigation systems, roads, agricultural engineering and subsidized seeds and fertilizer. In some places, the yield per hectare doubled almost every decade. Indonesia was for example the largest rice importer in the world in the sixties, in 1984 it was self-sufficient, according to the study by the Africa Study Center. Asia had learned lessons from the agricultural revolutions that Europe and the United States had undergone. At the end of the 19th century, the Netherlands already started to strengthen its own agricultural sector in response to the competition from the 'New World'. It invested in knowledge development of seed breeding, organized land consolidation and created stronger market positions by cooperating in cooperatives. The Indian agricultural expert Monkombu Swaminathan, who had studied in Wageningen, was one of the founders of the green revolution in Asia. He worked with the 'father' of the agricultural revolution, the American agricultural expert Norman Borlaug. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 because he saw his vision on agriculture as 'the man who saved the world from hunger'. In the sixties he developed new wheat varieties that were better able to cope with diseases and had a higher yield. It laid the foundation for American commercial agricultural development. He then introduced his model in developing countries in South America and Asia, which sometimes saw their yields quadrupled. In Africa this revolution has never been embraced or made possible. On average, African countries spent half to 1 percent of GNP on agriculture, ten to twenty times less than Asian countries. 'As long as you do not raise the productivity per hectare, there can not be any progress', says agricultural expert Rabbinge, who, for comparison, mentions some figures from the successful Dutch agricultural history. 'In the Middle Ages, farmers produced an average of 800 kilograms of wheat per hectare for about 600 hours of labor, compared with 1,900 kilos in 1900 against 300 hours of labor. In 2000, the Netherlands produced 9,000 kilos per  hctare - more than ten times as much - with only a minimal effort of 8 to 15 hours thanks to the mechanization. Now the Netherlands is the second agricultural exporter in the world. 4. Africa is suffering from colonial heritage The colonization has drawn in-depth traces across the continents. Yet Asia managed to recover after independence and Africa did not. There are numerous reasons that explain these differences. One is the duration of the colonization period. Africa was much later colonized and also much later independent. It was not until the sixties that the first independence movements started, Zimbabwe did not completely free itself from the British in 1980. In many countries, conflicts still exist across national borders drawn by the European occupiers. Many ethnic groups that were played out against each other by Europeans for commercial and political purposes are still diametrically opposed. Prolonged wars and bad or corrupt leadership have stood in the way of building up. African institutions and government have generally remained weak, which is partly explained by the colonial heritage. For example, the British and Dutch made more use of existing institutions and local power structures, while the French and Belgians destroyed them earlier. Asia, for example, left roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and courts to age-long domination. Africa was left with almost empty hands and destroyed local power structures. Agricultural expert Rabbinge, on request, speaks of 'a lack of enlightened self-interest', especially among the French, Belgians and Portuguese, who hardly invested in sustainable development or transfer of administrative and technical knowledge to the local population. 5. Vicious circles are difficult to break Wars, dictatorships or otherwise fragile situations do not attract investors. Without economic investments there will be no new jobs and poverty and hunger will prevail. Economic hopelessness and deprivation are often a source for internal conflicts and a breeding ground for radicalization. Especially on a continent with countless ethnic groups that still determine the balance of power. This vicious circle has halted development in many countries and is still doing so. In this way even the stable ¬Kenia is threatened again by tribally determined political conflict. African agriculture is small-scale and very fragmented. Almost three-quarters of the basic food in the world comes from rice, grain and wheat - the largest commercial agricultural crops for which new and more climate-resistant varieties are being developed. In Africa, many tuberous plants such as cassava, carrots or sweet potatoes are grown on small fields, and then mainly for their own use. Soil fertility is often depleted due to a lack of artificial nutrients, which means that yield per hectare decreases rather than grows. The seeds of these crops are hardly developed or improved. African soils are also more 'odd' than Asian. It is only since the beginning of the 21st century that the turnaround has taken place and in Africa the usefulness of agricultural investments is being seen. When the African Union was founded in 2003, the countries agreed to spend 10 percent of the national income on agriculture. Due to the global food crisis in 2008, the realization of how risky it is to depend on imported food really started and countries started to work on that promise. Since then, countries such as Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia and, for example, ¬ Senegal and Ghana have undergone a hopeful agricultural development. Although few countries still get 10 percent, Africa is really catching up, says Ton Dietz, former director of the Africa Study Center and professor at Leiden University. "Agricultural production has risen considerably over the last fifteen years." Dietz also points out the potential of millions of cities for African agriculture. 'In Asia, the migration to the cities started much earlier. The demand for food from these cities gave agriculture in the nearby area a huge boost. You see that happening in Africa now. " According to the African Development Bank, over the next ten years, $ 315-400 billion will be needed to put the neglected agricultural sector out of business. The bank itself has made 24 billion available for this, but China, the European Union, the UN, other donors and philanthropic institutions are also pumping billions in Africa in order to bring about an agricultural revolution. By: Carlijne Vos Photos: Studio V
Where is the African agricultural revolution?
Where is the African agricultural revolution?
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