Sunday | November 19, 2017
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Let’s Talk Food: Interesting tidbits

Does chlorate help flower longan?

I have heard folks who own a longan tree talking about how Clorox forces flowers on the tress. True or false?

A study by Tracie Matsumoto (my cousin’s daughter who has her Ph.D. from Purdue), Mike Nagao (my high school classmate) and Bruce Mackey found that flower induction of longan with potassium chlorate has improved the availability of longan fruit, “but potassium chlorate is potentially explosive and often difficult to purchase, transport and store.

“Previous reports suggested that hypochlorite enhances natural longan flower induction.

“This study is the first to demonstrate that chlorite- and hypochlorite-induced off-season longan flowering is similar to chlorate-treated trees. Hypochlorite induction of flowering with bleach was likely the result of chlorate in the bleach solution. Chlorate was present in the leachate from potted longan trees treated with bleach and was detected in bleach before soil application. The quantity of chlorate found in bleach induced flowering to the same or greater extent as equivalent quantities of potassium chlorate, suggesting chlorate is an a.i. responsible for longan flowering.”

According to their study, large quantities of fireworks gunpowder, KCIO3, although a great tool to force flowering of longan for market, was stored with sulfur and was responsible for an explosion at a longan processing plant in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It killed 35 workers and injured more than 100.

“Decomposition of bleach to chlorate is also catalyzed by higher temperatures. Nonperishable products such as bleach may be exposed to elevated temperatures during transportation and storage, which could account for the presence of chlorate in the bleach.”

The bleach needs to sit in the hot sun for the chlorate to be converted in the bleach.

Another study from Chiang Mai University in Thailand claims that the decomposition of chlorate in the soil is a completely biochemical process and is high in soils that have a large amount of organic matter, phosphorous, calcium and magnesium. It is low in sand. The study also cites that chlorate in potassium chlorate decomposes twice as fast as in sodium chlorate.

FYI, the experimental trees were two Egami and one Biew Kiew longan trees and 397 milliliters of chlorate was applied in trees that were in 2-gallon containers. Within one month, the trees were producing flowers.

If you are into reading scientific studies, read the paper online, just Google effects of chlorate on flowering of longan trees.

Heard of MATS?

Amazon is exploring selling prepared foods that need no refrigeration through a microwave technology called microwave-assisted thermal sterilization, or MATS. Sealed packages of food are placed in pressurized water and are heated with microwaves, making them shelf stable for a year.

Researchers at Washington State University partnered with a venture-backed startup called 915 Lab Solve for Food. Working with MATS technology, there are plans to acquire a MATS machine from 915 Lab that can make 1,800 packages per hour.

Sounds interesting, as long as no preservatives are added!

California’s warning about Roundup

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has warned that the herbicide Roundup, which is glyphosate, can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

As Hawaii’s Department of Health uses California’s health rules as a guideline, hopefully, it will soon be a warning for Hawaii, too.

Reader’s question about avocado bread

Aina asked if avocado bread could be made by replacing bananas in my banana bread recipe with avocados. I recommend trying this recipe instead from “Kona Kitchens Cookbook”:

Avocado Macadamia Nut Bread

1 loaf pan – Serves 8-10

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together:

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup avocado, mashed

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl:

1 cup flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine wet and dry ingredients only until combined (do not overmix). Stir in:

2/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Pour into an 8-inch greased and parchment paper-lined loaf pan. Bake for 60 minutes. Cool before slicing.

HCC’s Culinary Program

The HCC Culinary Program is open for business and good news — they now have the capability to accept VISA, MasterCard, Discover, JCP, Union Pay, as well as phone apps Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. They no longer will accept checks.

Cafeteria hours are 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Call 934-2559 for takeout orders.

The café is open for breakfast and lunch from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Call 934-2591 for takeout orders.

Breakfast menu:

• Original breakfast plate (two eggs with choice of Portuguese sausage, bacon or Spam, choice of rice, potato cake, toast or pancake), $6.75.

• Bibim bap (Kimchee fried rice, namul, pickled vegetables, fried egg and bulgogi), $7.50.

• Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki (a savory Japanese pancake filled with shrimp, noodles, bacon, cabbage, kewpie mayo, okonomiyaki sauce), $7.60.

• Quiche (House-made quiche of the day, ag salad, dressing of choice), $7.50.

• Buttermilk pancakes (with two eggs, choice of sausage, bacon or Spam), $7.60.

I love the healthy options, such as:

• Asian-inspired salad (fresh island greens, mochiko chicken, crispy won ton pi, barbecue meat, house-made crispy pork hash won ton, spicy hoi sin dressing), $7.55.

• Fattoush salad (house-made falafel, HCC agriculture tomatoes, cucumbers and romaine, crispy pita chips, feta cheese, sumac vinaigrette), $7.50.

• Spicy grilled chicken cold noodle salad (Thai curry-marinated chicken, accompanied by all the traditional condiments of pickled vegetables, fried shallots, crispy garlic, cucumbers, bean sprouts, jalapeno, green onions, Thai basil, peanuts), $6.65.

Email Audrey Wilson at


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