Many edible plants considered exotic in the Western world are actually quite mainstream in other cultures. While some of these plants are only encountered in ethnic food markets or during travels to foreign lands, many are now finding their way onto supermarket shelves. Top 100 Exotic Food Plants provides comprehensive coverage of tropical and semitropical food plants, reviewing scientific and technological information as well as their culinary uses.
Wide-ranging in scope, this volume’s coverage includes plants that produce fruits, vegetables, spices, culinary herbs, nuts, and extracts. A user-friendly format enables readers to easily locate information on botanical and agricultural aspects, economic and social importance, food uses, storage, preparation, and potential toxicity. The book also contains an introductory chapter that reviews important historical, economic, geopolitical, health, environmental, and ethical considerations associated with exotic food plants. Thoroughly referenced with more than 2000 literature citations, this book is enhanced by more than 200 drawings, many chosen from historical art of extraordinary quality.
This timely volume also highlights previously obscure edible plants that have recently become prominent as a result of sensationalistic media reports stemming from their inherently entertaining or socially controversial natures. Some of these plants include the acai berry, kava, hemp, and opium poppy. A scholarly yet accessible presentation, the book is filled with numerous memorable, fascinating, and humorous facts, making it an entertaining and stimulating read that will appeal to a broad audience.
Table of Contents
Statistical Summary and Format of Presentation for the Exotic Food Plants
Acerola (Barbados Cherry)
Cape Gooseberries and Tomatillo: Physalis Species
Carambola (Star Fruit)
Cherimoya and Atemoya
Coco De Mer (Double Coconut)
Cumin and Black Cumin
Lychee, Longan, and Rambutan
Noni (Indian Mulberry)
Nutmeg and Mace
Spinach (Exotic Species)
Sweetsop and Soursop
Tree Tomato (Tamarillo)
Wonderberry and Garden Huckleberry
Dr. Ernest Small received a doctorate in plant evolution from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1969 and has since been employed with the Research Branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, where he presently holds the status of Principal Research Scientist. He is the author of over 300 scientific publications on plants and 13 books, several of which have received major awards. Dr. Small’s career has included dozens of appearances as an expert botanical witness in court cases, acting as an adviser to national governments, presenting numerous invited university and professional association lectures, supervising post-graduate students at various universities, participating in international societies and committees, journal editing, and media interviews.
"… this book's utility is as a condensed summary of likely avenues of interest for people working with the described plants, or an engaging read that could lead to research inspirations. It may also fulfill its mission of encouraging use of a wider range of culinary ingredients."
—Susanne Masters, University of Kent, in Economic Botany, 2013
"The book is certainly a pleasure to read. It is filled with colorful cultural references and fascinating facts about the plants and their products. I laughed out loud when I read the descriptions of the flavor of durian, "…French custard passed through a sewer pipe." The book would be welcome on the shelf in reading rooms of botanic gardens, garden clubs and culinary groups. Plant descriptions are not comprehensive in a botanical sense, but the text would be suitable to courses in economic botany, human culture and agriculture."
—Eric La Fountaine, Accessions Technician, UBC Botanical Garden in The Canadian Botanical Association Bulletin, September/Septembre 2014. Volume 47 No2