Another new year! But with the remnants of snow it is hardly a time to be gardening. So I thought we’d take a look at a few common foods available at the grocery “garden!”
Typically the new year ushers in new year’s resolutions, and eating healthier is a common goals after the onslaught of Christmas goodies.
Packing the fridge with veggies is a great, fresh option, and we often when we pick things up we use them without knowing all the benefits inside! So here are a few faves to keep yourself well stocked with the produce, herbs and spices that make you long for Summer:).
First on our list is the yummy fresh pepper.
Jalapeños add mild spice to any dish. Although these peppers are often sold green in the store, they are ripe when they are red, and also more flavorful.
Cayenne is another popular hot pepper to grow and is one of nature’s best medicines. It is one of the purest and most powerful stimulants available. Cayenne peppers can be used to treat fever, inflamation, cramps, colds, stomach problems, and spasms. Given as a warm infusion, the effect of cayenne will reach the whole body through the circulatory system. Cayenne can also be used topically to treat sprains, bruises, rheumatism and neuralgia.
This pepper contains thiamine, red carotenoid, flavenoids, Vitamin A and C, and capsaicin. If you find your toes are cold you can also sprinkle some cayenne in your shoes to promote circulation! Although cayenne is available in spice jars, and is the base of tabasco and other hot sauces, for the best medicinal effect I would suggest using the real thing.
Just watch you don’t touch your eyes after chopping them because they will sting! This is one kitchen treat you may want to keep away from the little ones
Another stimulant worth noting that is often used in the kitchen is ginger. While I have not grown ginger myself, I have heard it makes a wonderful house plant. The roots are lifted and used after a ten month growing period.
A hot infusion of ginger is diaphoretic, and is often used to promote menstrual flow and relieve morning sickness. Ginger also relieves congestion, sore throats, flatulence, and colic.
Next time your little one complains of a sore tummy try making ginger and peppermint tea with some honey for them.
Because stimulants effect the circulation and restore balance to the body, they are great aids in the detoxification process. They enable the body to flush out toxins by increasing movement within.
Another herb often found in our kitchen (and in our garden) is cilantro. Year after year cilantro pops up everywhere in the garden. Because our compost does not get hot enough to kill the seeds, they sprout up all over – even in the rocks of our driveway!
While cilantro is prolific in the Summer, we turn to the grocery store for it in the Winter, since it does not freeze or dry too well. Cilantro contains Vitamin B, folic acid, and essential oils. Cilantro has antibiotic properties and is good for treating a variety of digestive complaints including abdominal pain, dyspepsia, flatulence, indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome.
Another interesting thing about cilantro is that it aids in heavy metal detoxification, so next time you make a batch of guacamole double up on the cilantro! The seeds, also known as coriander, contain a greater concentration of the active ingredients and can be made into medicinal drinks.
Medicinal properties are also found in something as simple as the carrot which is full of healing properties. And who doesn’t use carrots in the kitchen for snacks, soups, stir fry or a side dish in itself?
This year we tried growing yellow carrots and they were crispy and fresh through the season. We managed to fill a few bags for the freezer which we pull out to saute once in a while.
Carrots are full of antioxidants and protect the body from cancer. They can be used to treat a wide range of ailments including anemia, stomach ulcers, acne, eczema, poor night vision and chronic or mental fatigue.
Carrots boost the immune system and contain Vitamin A, folic acid, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, sulfur, copper, carotenes, and pectin.
Because carrots have high fiber and water content, they are good for treating constipation, but they also have astringent properties so are good for diarrhea and can be used to remedy either situation in children.
Raw carrots also inhibit listeria and salmonella so reduce the risk of food poisoning. The wonderful carrot can also promote lactation in nursing mothers!
One of our favorite ways to get all those health benefits out of a carrot is to juice it! Garden carrots are so great that I like to eat them whole, but bags of organic carrots from the store are great for juicing alone or with other veggies. Fresh carrot juice in the Winter is so tasty and revitalizing! It’s like a little cup of sunshine on a cold and rainy day
So while our garden has little to offer when covered in snow, we fondly recall what it produces through the rest of the year, and for now we make do with what we have stashed away, or alternatively what is in the organic produce section of our grocery store.
Still, we long for the gardening days to return so we can get out there and start sprouting!!!