Growing Herbs on the Windowsill

A year ago now, I was gifted with a small (3”) pot of garlic chives. I placed it on the kitchen windowsill, where it is still happily thriving. I water it daily, and cut the chives once a week to add to salads or stirfry. On the coldest, darkest winter days, it is a delight to watch a plant grow in our kitchen and enjoy its flavor and nourishment.

For more info on growing garlic chives, both indoors and out, here is a helpful Mother Earth News article.

Many herbs grow well indoors.  Here’s are article on the 10 Best Herbs for Indoors, and a link to Smart Techniques for Growing Herbs Indoors.

Jerusalem Artichokes

Photo credit: Angelyn Whitmeyer/www.IdentifyThatPlant.com

The time is approaching to harvest Jerusalem artichokes.  We have lots of these “sunchokes” growing in our gardens. Early in the spring they emerged as a lush carpet of green, rising up tall with small sun-flowers at their crown.

By late summer (early September) here in the Carolinas, the plants are falling over, and beginning to die back.  Once there is a hard frost, the sunchokes are ready to harvest and eat.

In an article titled “Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It,  Megan Saynisch explores the unique culture of this distinctive tuber, which is a member of the sunflower family.

Nutritionally, Jerusalem artichokes are high in iron, potassium, and thiamine.  The principle storage carbohydrate immediately after harvest is inulin, which is converted in the digestive tract to fructose rather than glucose. OliveandHerb.com has a recipe for Easy Roasted Sunchoke Fries. One of my favorite ways to eat these sweet sunchokes is simply to steam them, and toss them with a bit of olive oil, garlic and sea salt. Or you can dip them in horseradish sauce, or a lemon-butter sauce.

What are your favorite ways to eat Jerusalem artichokes?

Surprise Oatmeal Ingredient – Sprouts!

You know what we did this morning for breakfast?  We put sprouts in our oatmeal!  And it was delicious.

The oatmeal was ready to go with bananas and raisins, shredded coconut and a few pecans already added.  And then – inspiration! We added a sprout mix (chickpea, mung, adzuki, and green pea) that had just finished growing and was ready for eating.  The sprouts gave the oatmeal a nutty flavor, and provided a crunchy texture along with the added benefit of raw food nutrients. A drizzle of blackstrap molasses sealed the deal – a super-nutritious power-packed breakfast!

For more information on everything sprouts (growing, buying seeds, nutritional value, etc) visit The Sproutman.

Try the oatmeal idea, and let us know if you like it. And, what do you enjoy combining with your oatmeal?

Wearing Your Food – A True Fashion Statement

Okay… I couldn’t resist. This morning, as I was researching new directions in fermented foods, I discovered a whole new world within the “Food as Fashion” culture. I knew about  people wearing chocolate and the Lady Gaga Meat Dress.  But, are you ready for this…..  clothes made out of bacteria – cultured much like kombucha!

For more inspiration, see these websites:

Bio-Couture Clothing

Wild Fermentation

Eco-Chick

Preserving Food without Losing Nutrients

Our sauerkraut adventures continue here at home. In a previous post on Making Cultured Vegetables, we mention a few of the benefits of eating cultured veggies (adding valuable probiotics and enzymes to your body, which help stamp out Candida, boost your immune system and curb your cravings for sweets.)

If you have more interest in fermentation as a way of preserving foods, you might really enjoy a video with Sandor Katz on The Art of Fermentation. It is based on the book with that title, published by Chelsea Green.

Share with our readers what your interest and experience is with fermenting foods.

Useful Foraging Resource

Do you have an interest in foraging for edible wild plants?

Are you particularly interested in medicinal plants?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, I think you will find this new resource very useful and accurate. Angelyn Whitmeyer, on her Identify That Plant Foraging Resources webpage, states that this list is “meant to be a starting point for you to put you in touch with some of the best available material.” It includes listings of books and websites for both medicinal and edible wild plants, as well as some resources for edible wild plant recipes.

And while you’re at it, look around the rest of the site.  It is a plant lover’s dream come true!

Click here to visit the Edibles Foraging Resource page.  ENJOY!  And leave a comment to tell our readers about your experience.

Moringa – The Miracle Tree

Here’s a good example of a medicinal plant that grows really well in hot, dry climates. The seeds are full of oil for cooking, cosmetics, or lubrication. The presscake – the stuff that’s left over after pressing the seed – is used for water purification. The leaves have lots of vitamin A. Moringa is rich in a wide variety of nutrients and anti-oxidant compounds, in potent amounts. Moringa, which grows well in Hardiness Zones 9 and 10, might help alleviate hunger and nutritional imbalances in those places where the plant would thrive.

Consider that all over the world plants are quietly growing, offering food that truly nourishes and sustains humans. What is growing in your bioregion that you don’t recognize as food? What used to grow abundantly, but has been discouraged from thriving because it is seen as a “weed” or a “nuisance?” Which native plants could be reintroduced, or, if they’re still around, could be nurtured to grow, and be rediscovered as a plant with great value for both humans and the larger ecosystem? Look again!

How To Start a Foodshed in Your Neighborhood

Dinner is a Date with the Doctor: 5 Asian Superfoods by Mark Hyman, MD

fresh IngredientsHere is an excerpt from an article written by Mark Hyman, MD. Mark is a physician, advocate and educator “dedicated to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness through a groundbreaking whole-systems medicine approach called Functional Medicine.”

On his website, DrHyman.com, Mark states that “the fork is your most powerful tool to change your health and the planet; food is the most powerful medicine to heal chronic illness.” As a holistic nutritionist with a Food and Wellness Coaching practice, I surely agree.

The article begins:

Medicine doesn’t always come in a pill. In fact some of the most powerful medicines are delicious and can be found at your local supermarket or “farmacy.” Healing foods have been used for centuries in Asia as part of the cuisine. In Asia food and medicine are often the same thing.

Here are five foods you may never have heard of but can be found at most Asian markets and even places like Whole Foods. Try them. You might be surprised by their unique and extraordinary good taste. And they may help you lose weight, reverse diabetes, read more…

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

This movie could be life-changing for anyone dealing with blood sugar issues.  In my own practice, I have clients who have seen remarkable changes in their health as a result of eating more raw foods and letting go of processed, dead and chemically-altered foods.

Here’s a synopsis from Top Documentary Films:

Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days is an independent documentary film that chronicles six Americans with diabetes who switch to a diet consisting entirely of vegan, organic, uncooked food in order to reverse disease without pharmaceutical medication.

The six are challenged to give up meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, soda, junk food, fast food, processed food, packaged food, and even cooked food for 30 days. The film follows each participant’s remarkable journey and captures the medical, physical, and emotional transformations brought on by this radical diet and lifestyle change. We witness moments of struggle, support, and hope as what is revealed, with startling clarity, is that diet can reverse disease and change lives.

The film highlights each of the six before they begin the program and we first meet them in their home environment with their families. Each participant speaks candidly about their struggle to manage their diabetes and how it has affected every aspect of their life, from work to home to their relationships.