Spring Garden Salad

Spring Garden Salad

Last week we were invited to a potluck celebration. We put together a salad with 25 ingredients that were local and organic. Most of them were growing in our community garden. The rest came from our local farmer’s market. The salad included:

Lettuce – 4 different varieties
Kale – 3 varieties
Swiss Chard
Collard Greens
Spinach
Mustard Greens
Tatsoi
Bok Choy
Beet Greens
Sweet Potato – Grated
Green Onion
Strawberries
English Peas
Snow Peas
Parsley
Rosemary
Oregano
Pansies
Nasturtiums
Violets
Mexican Sage

It was so much fun to do a walkabout of the garden and collect all the edibles that were ready for picking. We tossed it lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The salad got rave reviews.

What is growing in your garden that you would add to this salad?

Experience Nature through your Food Ebook

Introducing a new ebook we think you’re REALLY going to like!

Ebook cover sm.
This delightfully engaging ebook invites connection with nature and inspires transformation and adventures of the heart.

I co-authored and published this ebook with Angelyn Whitmeyer of IdentifyThatPlant. It’s been a very exciting project to work on, and besides the end result of a beautiful, inspiring book, we have also created New Earthlings Press.

With a beautiful ebook format,  we offer 42 guided experiences to help you become more aware and to take inspired personal action to re-forge your connection between nature and food.

Joyfully, we are donating 10% of the sales proceeds of this ebook to A Promise of Health, to support their pioneering homeopathic healthcare model, delivering sustainable and effective care to Mexico’s medically underserved indigenous people.

Will you help us make this a wildly successful venture?

Please visit New Earthlings Press for reviews and more info about the book and the press, and to purchase your copy of the ebook. Do you know someone who loves nature (and/or food) and might be interested in this ebook? Please share this blogpost with them, and also post on Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest and any other social media sites you participate in. Also, we welcome your ideas regarding who might enjoy and benefit from the book.

Thank you for your participation in this creative project!

Claire Mandeville

TAKE A LOOK NOW AT A SAMPLE PAGE FROM THE EBOOK!

 

Grated Summer Salad

Grated Summer Salad

An abundance of vegetables growing in our summer garden inspired this salad. I prepared it with all raw ingredients. Here’s what I did.

In a food processor (you could, of course, use a hand grater) grate:

2 carrots
1 zucchini
1 cucumber
2 beets (or 1 large)
1/4 cup onion (or more to taste)

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss well.

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice from one smallish lemon
1/4 cup of fruit juice – I used apricot/mango
Dash or 2 of sea salt and pepper

Top with fresh sprouts and parsley. (I almost sprinkled sunflower seeds, too – so any seeds might be worth a try). Here’s an easy, easy way to grow your own sprouts.

I’m already thinking of many variations on a theme. Any fresh vegetables are candidates. If I had snow peas or sugar snaps (we already ate all we grew), they would surely be included. Others high on my list to try:

broccoli
cauliflower
finely chopped kale
radishes
green beans
turnips
sweet red peppers

Consider using your creation as the filler for a wrap or rollup.  Try using tender fresh collard leaves (cut in half) as the rollup. If you haven’t ever tasted raw collard, you are in for a pleasant surprise.  They are mild and sweet-tasting.

I encourage you to play with this and come up with whatever inspires you. Post your experiments and ideas for others to enjoy, too.

Growing Sprouts Easily

Sprouting Seeds - #6 Ready to Eat

Sprouting seeds is really nothing to shy away from. Once you have the few supplies that you need to sprout seeds easily and effectively, the few minutes a day it takes to grow sprouts is well worth the effort for the nourishment and eating pleasure they can provide.

Here’s what you need:

1. Sprouting seeds of your choice – some of our favorite are mung, or a mix of alfalfa, radish and broccoli seeds. It is easier to sprouts seeds of a similar size, so that they are all ready at the same time, and you don’t risk some of them rotting. However, once you have some experience, you will find that it is possible to successfully sprout seeds of varying sizes. Of course, you can always have more than one jarful growing at the same time, with smaller seeds in one, and larger seeds in another.  You can combine them when you are preparing your food to eat.

2. A wide-mouthed jar with a sprouting screen top – I use a quart jar, and a plastic screw-on sprouting screen lid. I got the lid at a local natural foods store. You can also order them online.

2. A cloth to cover the jar for the first day or two.

STEPS TO FOLLOW:

Sprouting Seeds - #1 Soaking

1. Soak seeds for 3-4 hours (smaller seeds) or 6-8 hours (larger seeds) in 4 parts water to 1 part seed. Use warm (not hot) clean unchlorinated water.

Generally you will find that 3 Tablespoons of seed is a good amount to grow in a quart jar.

Sprouting Seeds - #2 Rinse and Drain

2. Rinse and drain the seeds several times initially. I take the lid off to fill the jar with room temperature water, then put the lid back on and gently swirl water around in the jar. Make sure that seeds are not all clumped together on the side of the jar as you are draining them.  They should be spread out fairly evenly. Sprouts should be rinsed and drained 2-3 times each day.

Sprouting Seeds - #3 Cover While Inverted

3. Leave the jar inverted with air flowing into it.  I use a shallow ceramic bowl, and lean the inverted jar on the wall, with an inch or two of space between the screened jar lid and the bottom of the bowl. Cover the jar to keep out light until the seed sprouts are well developed (2-3 days).

Sprouting Seeds - #4 Uncover and Continue top Rinse and Drain

4. Once the sprouts are developing, and you have removed the cover, continue to rinse 2-3 times for the next 24-48 hours.  The sprouting time will vary depending on the room temperature and seed mixture.

 

Sprouting Seeds - #5 Ready to Clean

5. When the sprouts are well-developed, gently move them to a large bowl of cool water, separate the clumps, let the hulls float to the surface, and skim those off. Doing this will make the sprouts even tastier, and keep them from fermenting or rotting for a longer time.

Sprouting Seeds - #6 Ready to Eat

6. Refrigerate the well-drained sprouts in a plastic bag or glass or plastic container. Sprouts are best fresh and used within 2-3 days.

 

 

Sprouts have been eaten for thousands of years, and provide a wide variety of nutrients with very few calories.  You may be interested in this science of sprout nutrition resource page for more information.

There are other methods for sprouting, utilizing various sprouters that are on the market. I have used many different kinds over the years, and have returned to this method both for its simplicity and minimal space requirement. However, if this does not meet your needs, just do a websearch for sprouters and you are sure to find something that will work well for you.

Planterbox Kale – From Seed To Seed

I’ve lost track of just when we planted the kale in the planter boxes on our back porch. For sure, it’s been over a year ago. The kale thrived through the winter here in the southeast. We amended the soil with organic fertilizers and enjoyed the tender leafy greens several times a week.

Several months ago, the plants began to flower. By then, the plant stalks had reached over 5 ft. tall. The plants were still producing tender green leaves which we continued to harvest.

 

Slowly….magically… the flowers gave way to seed pods. At this point, we were delightfully thinking about the seeds we could collect, dry and save to grow more kale this fall! We are now watching as the pods swell, and will wait for them to dry out and turn brown before we remove them from the stalk to save.

 

In the meantime we have kale, along with lots of other greens, growing in hay bales in the garden. This is our 1st year experimenting with growing in bales. The yield has been very high,and the bales that are inside stacked pavers are holding up quite well.

For more info on planting in hay or straw bales, here are a few websites:

No Dig Vegetable Garden

Garden Guides

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.

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.

Cultured Veggie Success

Cabbage HeadsRecently we made sauerkraut, following the instructions on our Making Cultured Veggies blogpost. We started with some fresh, sweet green head cabbage bought at a local store. We added purple cabbage and grated carrots to this first batch, along with a capsule of a full-spectrum probiotic (optional).

 

Packing the Jars

We packed the jars, per instructions on that blogpost …..in our own style!  We had fun making a mess! It doesn’t have to be perfect…..

What we will do differently next time is leave about 3 inches at the top of the jar, and put in a bit more brine before covering it with a cabbage leaf. As the liquid slowly seeps into the veggies, if you don’t have enough liquid to keep them covered, you will end up spooning off more of the discolored kraut.  No big deal…..just less finished kraut to eat!

 

 

Sauerkraut in JarsThe taste is tangy and sweet….. and feels so nourishing.  This is one economical way to maintain a balance of friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract.

We are pleased with our results, and look forward to making more soon.

Give it a try, & tell us about your results!

Rosehips

RosehipsFall and the rosehips are ready for picking!

Rose hips are the edible and nutritious fruit of the rose plant.  Rose hips are rich in Vitamin C, A, D and E, iron and flavonoids. They also contains essential fatty acids which are involved in tissue regeneration and retinoic acid, supporting skin rejuvenation and healing of skin damage.  Rose hip tea can also soothe the nervous system and relieve exhaustion.

The vitamin content of the hips varies depending on the species, the growing environments, climate, manner of harvest, and the care taken in drying and storage. The hips of roses grown in cooler climates have been found to have a higher content of vitamin C.

The Practical Herbalist website gives some useful information on harvesting and storing rosehips.