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SEED FAIR FUN FACTS

2022 marks 125 years since the inception of the North American Seed Fair. The Seed Fair committee is proud to play a part in keeping the heritage of the fair alive by sharing some fun trivia and fun facts about this years’ seeds on display.

Flax

Flax is grown for

  • It’s oil - used as a drying oil in paints and varnishes and in products such as linoleum and printing inks.
  • It’s seeds - used as a nutritional supplement in breads and other foods.
  • It’s fibers – which come from the stems and used to make linen cloth.
  • It’s meal – left over after oil production it is used to feed livestock. It is a protein-rich feed for ruminants, rabbits and fish.

The Latin species name usitatissimum means "most useful". Flax fibers are two to three times as strong as those of cotton.

 

Barley

Barley is the fourth largest grain crop globally, after wheat, rice, and corn. As a food, barley is commonly used in breads, soups, stews, and health products. Mostly it is grown as animal food. But it is also a source of malt for alcoholic beverages, especially beer. Other uses:

  • Barley is also used to manufacture vinegar.
  • Roasted barley was used as a coffee substitute during the First and Second World Wars in Italy.
  • Barley straw is sometimes used as algaecide in England. Submerged barley straw decreases growth of algae without negative effects on the plants and animals in the ponds.

Wheat

  • Wheat was gathered more than 17,000 years ago. The husks were rubbed off and early people simply chewed the kernels raw, parched or simmered.
  • Wheat is used for white bread, pastries, and many other foods. It has been the principal cereal crop since the 18th century.
  • A bushel of wheat (about 60 lbs) yields about 90 one-pound loaves of whole wheat bread.
  • A bushel of wheat makes about forty-five 24-ounce boxes of wheat flake cereal.

 

Beans

  • Beans were found in the tombs of the kings of the ancient Egypt where they were left as the food for the departed and their souls in the afterlife.
  • Seed colors range from white through green, yellow, tan, pink, red, brown, and purple to black in solid colors and countless contrasting patterns.
  • Beans are a very good source of fibers, protein, vitamins, complex carbohydrates, folate, and iron. They are very good for you!

 

Lentils

  • Canada is the world’s leading producer and exporter of lentils. The lentils are shipped to India, China, Turkey, Bangladesh and the United States.
  • Lentils are mentioned several times in the Bible; one example is in the book of Genesis and the story of Esau, who gave up his birthright for a bowl of crimson lentils and a loaf of bread.
  • The health benefits of lentils include improving heart health, managing/preventing diabetes, lowering cholesterol, improved digestion, weight loss, increased energy, prevention of anemia and helping to prevent and fight cancer.
  • The word “lentil” comes from the Latin “lens.” This cousin of the bean is shaped like the double convex optic lens.

Durum

  • Durum is the hardest of all wheats and has higher protein than normal wheat. It is the wheat of choice for producing premium pasta products.
  • A dough made with durum wheat flour has high extensibility, which means it can be stretched out into long pieces without breaking, such as when making pasta
  • A bushel of durum (about 60 lb) makes about 42 pounds of pasta or 210 servings of spaghetti.
  • If you eat pasta three times a week, it would take 70 weeks to eat all the pasta made from one bushel of durum.
  • There are more than 600 pasta shapes produced worldwide.

 

Oats

  • The oldest cultivated oats were found in caves in Switzerland and they date from Bronze Age. Very likely the main use of these oats was to make beer or ale, just as people did with barley.
  • Because oats don’t have any gluten, they only made flat bread, like pita bread.
  • In America, people mostly grew oats for horses to eat, so when people stopped keeping very many horses – when cars and trucks became popular – they also grew a lot less oats.
  • Today, oats have numerous uses in human foods. Oatmeal is chiefly eaten as porridge but may also be used in baked goods, such as oatcakes, oatmeal cookies, and oat bread.
  • Oats are also an ingredient in many cold cereals, in particular muesli and granola. Oats are also used for production of milk substitutes (oat “milk”).

 

Mustard

  • Together, Canada and Nepal grow more than half of global mustard production.
  • Mustard plants are close relatives to broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, and cabbage.
  • By some accounts, mustard was the first condiment humans ever put on their food. Egyptian pharaohs stocked their tombs with mustard seeds to accompany them into the afterlife, but the Romans were the first to grind the spicy seeds into a spreadable paste.
  • Mustard had other uses through history. Pythagoras endorsed a poultice of mustard seeds as a cure for scorpion stings. Others used it as a remedy for pains and toothaches. Over the years, mustard has been used for appetite stimulation, sinus clearing, and frostbite prevention among others.

Now you know!

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