The Latest Home Improvements to Bring Your Home into the Future

The American home is rapidly changing. New technologies like rooftop solar and smart home security systems are quickly becoming the norm in neighborhoods across the country.

If you’re thinking of taking on some new home improvement projects, it’s a good idea to be forward-thinking and choose projects that will be sought after into the future.

In this article, we’ll talk about some trending home improvements you can make that will help bring your home into the future.

Automation

Smart home technologies make life easier, and they’re not going out of style anytime soon. Being able to lock and unlock doors, adjust the temperature, and turn off lights all from an app on your phone has never been easier. If you plan on selling your home in the coming years, having these perks could be a selling point for potential buyers.

Green energy

When it comes to energy prices, you can count on them continuing to rise. As a result, many homeowners have installed money-saving features like rooftop solar, connecting to off-site green energy grids (such as solar or wind), and utilizing less expensive heating alternatives like pellet stoves.

Energy-efficient appliances are another up-and-coming trend that buyers are likely to be looking for. They tend to come with the latest technologies and styles, but also save money in the process.

You don’t have to take on a big project to make your home greener. You can also perform small tasks like replacing all of your light bulbs with newer, energy-efficient bulbs.

These projects will attract two types of buyers: those who are environmentally-minded, and those who are looking to save on utilities.

In-duct purifiers

As people become more concerned with the effects of pollution on the human body, many homeowners will see air purifiers as a necessity. An in-duct purifier requires little maintenance and improves air quality throughout your entire house.

Temperature-controlled shower head

You would think that in this time of amazing scientific and technological advancements that we would be able to get into the shower without fiddling with the controls for ten minutes. With a temperature controlled, digital display shower head, you can set the temperature and let the faucet do the work for you.

This one will save you time in the shower, help you avoid getting scorched, and will pique the interest of potential future buyers.

Materials that last

Home advancements haven’t just been made in the area of electronics. New building materials have made some objects last much longer than they did just a few years ago.

New roofing materials have exponentially increased the lifespan of roofs. New metal roofs can be made to look like traditional shingled or tiled roofs. Similarly, there are currently roofs being developed that have hidden solar panels built-in. Those too will be available in different traditional styles.

Aside from roofs, siding and decks are also being made with materials that last much longer than was previously possible. Having a durable house is something that any potential homebuyer would want to see.

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Dragon Fruit – Don’t Let The Name Scare You!

220px-Pitaya_cross_section_ed2A secret ingredient in the award-winning recipes of chefs worldwide, dragon fruit is finding its way into America’s kitchens. Imported to the United States less than five years ago, succulent, sweet tasting, and refreshing dragon fruit is the latest exotic tropical fruit to make a proud appearance in local area markets. Usually available in late autumn and early spring, dragon fruit is a delightful addition to salads, sorbets, sauces, salsa, creamy desserts, dips, and frozen fruit drinks.

Description

Also known as Pitaya, Red Pitahaya, Strawberry Pear, Night Blooming Cereus, Nanettika Fruit, Mood Flower, and Belle of the Night, the dragon fruit plant (Hylocereus polyrhizus) is a vining epiphytic cactus, part of the plant family Cactaceae. Native to southern Mexico as well as Central and South America, the exotic plant was carried to Southeast Asia by the French. The fast-growing plant now thrives in Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Presenting dark green, fleshy stems that stretch over 20 feet long at maturity, the dazzling dragon fruit plant employs sturdy aerial roots to climb trees, rocks and walls.

An ornamental landscape plant prized for its spectacular blossoms and edible fruit, the dragon fruit plant, produces massive 12-inch white and creamy yellow flowers that only bloom at night. The breathtakingly beautiful flowers provide a pungent, sweet fragrance. When dried, the flowers are used to brew a refreshing and nutritional delicious tea. The flavorful fruit sets on the cactus-like trees approximately 25–50 days after flowering. Pitaya plants present up to six fruiting cycles per year.

The stunningly gorgeous fruit is oval-shaped, yellowish to dark red in color with edible pulpy flesh that may be red, pink or white dependent on the variety. The exterior of the fruit is covered with a tough, leathery pinkish-red or bright yellow rind covered with large green scales. The flesh of the fruit is speckled with tiny black crunchy seeds, similar in taste and texture to a kiwifruit.

Health Benefits

The remarkable fruit offers a diverse array of health benefits including boosting the body’s metabolism, building strong bones and teeth and improving memory. Diabetics benefit from the fruit’s ability to lower blood glucose levels naturally. Low in fat and high in fiber, dragon fruit is also a natural appetite stimulant that helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A rich source of vitamins C, B12, B1, B2, B3, calcium, phosphorus, and antioxidants, dragon fruit, is a bone building, immune boosting, and flavorful treat containing a treasure-trove of other beneficial nutrients including iron.

Tips For Buying Dragon Fruit

Look for dragon fruit in Asian markets and organic health food grocery stores. There are three different varieties: yellow-skinned with white flesh, pink skinned with magenta-red flesh or pink-skinned with white meat. Coinsurers consider the red meat to be the sweetest.

• Examine the exterior of the fruit. Avoid fruits with discoloration, bruises or mold. The outer scales should be a fleshy and firm.

• Smell the fruit. A fresh, ripe dragon fruit offers a pleasant, tropical aroma. Avoid fruit that smells moldy even if mold is not visible.

• Feel the fruit. When pressing with your fingertips, the fruit should yield slightly but not be mushy. Overly firm fruit can be ripened at home.

• Vine-ripened fruit is the sweetest and most flavorful.

Storage and Handling

• Keep Pitaya fruit at room temperature to ripen. When ripe, the surface of the fruit is soft to the touch.

• Store ripened fruit in the refrigerator. Fruit will stay sweet and fresh for three-to-five days.

• Water wash the surface of the fruit before slicing. Carefully peel the rind from the meat: slice as desired. An another method is to slice the fruit in half and scoop out the flesh with a small spoon. The pulpy flesh of the fruit and the seeds are edible, but not the rind.

Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa

• One ripe dragon fruit chopped in small pieces
• Two scallions chopped fine
• One ripe mango chopped into small pieces
• One ripe pineapple chopped into small pieces
• Three tablespoons of finely chopped Cilantro
• Three Jalapeno Chile peppers finely diced
• Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lime and one lemon
• Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare the salsa and allow the flavors to blend. Store in a covered glass container for one hour before serving.

Fresh Fiery Dragon Fruit Salsa is a tasty side dish to serve with seafood, pork, and chicken. Enjoy!

Cultivation

It’s easy to grow a dragon fruit plant at home as an indoor tropical houseplant. The blooms are fascinating to watch as they unfurl. The magnificent flowering plant makes a perfect conversation item. Once established, dragon fruit plants flourish outdoors in United States Hardiness Zones 10 and 11. They do well outdoors in hardiness zones 9a and 9b if protected from freezing temperatures.

• Clean seeds from the pulp of an over-ripened fruit. Rinse well and pat dry with a paper towel. The seeds may be stored in an airtight container when dried or planted immediately.

• Plant in a mixture of half and half compost and potting soil. Moisten lightly. Seeds will germinate in 10-to-12 days after shallow planting.

• When plants are 4-to-6 inches tall, transplant to well-drained pots or a sunny, well-drained outdoor location.

• Place in a sunny location. Do not overwater. Remember the dragon fruit is a cactus and requires, sunny, warm and arid growing conditions. Once the plant grows to a weight of 10 to 15 pounds, the impressive flowering and fruiting process will commence. Because the night-blooming plant requires pollination by moths and bats, indoor cultivation will not produce fruit.