Posts tagged ‘Flower’

October 17, 2013

Sunroot or Sunchoke is a Nutritious Medicinal Root Vegetable

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Sunchokes Helianthus tuberosus L.are also called Jerusalem artichokes, but it has no relationship to Jerusalem and it is not an artichoke. The better known common names for this yellow flower are sunroot, sunchoke and earth apple.
Sunchoke is the modern common name used to avoid confusion with artichokes for cooking purposes, but it does have a mild artichoke flavour.

Sunchoke is a very tall prolific perennial plant that is native to North America, and has a long history of being used by Native Americans as a root vegetable. The sunchoke flowers belong to the same family as sunflowers, and the flowers follow the sun like sunflowers do. They like to grow wild and they need lots of space, because it likes to multiply. The stalks and leaves are rough and hairy. The roots are starchy tubers that look a little like ginger rhizomes, and are edible like a potato.

It was a popular plant to use to hide the outhouse or to put in front of other unsightly eyesores, as it creates a thick, tall hedge that requires no maintenance, unless overpopulation is an issue. Perhaps there is a warning in there somewhere among the yellow flowers.

Sunchoke is becoming popular food for thought again, but when consuming lots of sun chokes it may cause digestion disturbance in the form of …um… gaseous upset. It has earned the nickname “fartichokes.” Eat a little and see how well your digestion system tolerates it.

The edible tuber roots have a high inulin content, which is a type of soluble fibre. Inulin is a carbohydrate with sweet polysaccharides that is safe for diabetics, and it is pre-biotic. Containing the Pre-biotic (FOS) Fructo-Oligio-Saccharide means that it promotes healthy bacteria, which is beneficial for feeding healthy flora in the digestion system. It balances yeast and has a positive impact on overall health. It breaks down into fructose in the gut, but might be hard to digest for some people, and may cause cramping, bloating and excessive wind, especially when consumed in a large quantities. It relieves constipation.

It is best to wait until the first or second frost to harvest, and they are dug up until springtime, weather permitting of course, or buy them where you get fresh produce. Some people prefer the springtime to dig them up. They are available year round, but peak season is October-March.
It is also best to dead head the flowers if the roots are going to get dug up and eaten, they will grow bigger.
Store up to one to three weeks raw, but once cooked eat right away. Some people say they are better stored in the fridge for a week before eating.
They are a good source of iron, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, FOS and of course fibre, Inulin. It improves calcium absorption, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Sunchokes are good medicinal food, but eat sparingly at first.

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WAYS TO PREPARE SUNCHOKES

Sunchokes will oxidize like a potato so dip them in water with lemon juice or keep them in water until ready to use, because they will turn brown. Do not cook in aluminum or iron pans.
The skins are edible like ginger skin is, and when cooking it is best to leave the skins on and remove peels later if desired. Wash, scrub and remove rootlets or strings if any are present before cooking. Goes well with mint, onion, garlic, chives, thyme, cumin, black cumin, pepper, turmeric, rosemary, lemon citrus, lemon verbena, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.

RAW
Eat Sunchokes raw topped on a salad or mixed in salsa, grated or thinly sliced and tastes like jicama. Try small amounts at first to see if your digestion can handle it this way. They can also be added to juicing recipes.
I wonder what it would be like thinly sliced and pickled like ginger.

STEAMED
Sun chokes are better steamed and not boiled, which will make them mushy. It does make good puréed soup mixed with nut or coconut milk.

SAUTÉ or STIR-FRY
They make a great water chestnut stir-fry substitute, they have a similar texture and taste.

BAKED
Oven bake them brushed with oil and herbal seasonings and bake for 20-40 minutes at 375 degrees.
Bake with sweet potatoes and other root vegetables to make root chips.
I wonder what they would taste like flavoured and then put in the dehydrator and dehydrated overnight.

Food and Cooking (2004 edition), page 307, Harold McGee indicates that the flatulent effects of Sunchoke roots are due to complex fructose-based carbohydrates that are not digestible by humans.

Long, slow cooking allows enzymes present in the fresh tuber to convert these to fructose over time.

McGee recommends 12-24 hours at 200 F / 93 C.
The result will be soft and sweet, akin to a vegetable aspic.

Note that the ogliosacharrides in beans are a different class than the inulin in Sunchokes, and the digestive supplement Beano is not effective with sunchoke.

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http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/34060/what-cooking-methods-prevent-the-gaseous-side-effect-of-sunchokes

May 6, 2013

Edible Flowers

There are many edible flowers that are delicious and nutritious. Flowers have flavonoids which is a powerful antioxidant group that is responsible for the colour of the plants. Antioxidants also help protect the plant against stressors and protects our cells as well when we eat them.

Violas have a mild sweet fresh flavour and flowers are always best used fresh. Put in tea or toss raw in salads and add as a garnish to brighten any dish.

Viola

Viola

Learn more about Violas or Violets here >>> http://earthelixir.ca/2012/04/19/sweet-violets/

Besides stuffing squash and zucchini flowers with soft nut cheeses use other flowers like Nasturtiums and stuff them with herbal soft nut cheeses or thick dips. Nasturtiums are also a great addition to salads and the flower buds are pickled like capers, they have a real spicy flavour.

There are also many other flowers to use as a garnish or add to a salad. Flowers are better eaten raw because they are too delicate to cook and will lose nutrition and flavour.

There are also edible herb flowers that make an attractive garnish like chive flowers which look great floated in soups or added to salads. Add Mint flowers like bee balm, peppermint, spearmint, oregano, thyme, hyssop, rosemary to drinks and salads and they also make attractive and pleasant smelling garnish. Get creative with combinations.

Pansies look like Violas but don’t have much flavour like Violas do. They do make beautiful decorations for cakes, desserts and salads though.

Carnations have a sweet clove like flavour that makes it a nice addition to chai tea or desserts.Dianthus   Sunflower petals have a nutty flavour that make a nice colourful cheery addition to salads. image

Marigold/Calendula have a mild citrus fresh flavour and have brilliant orange yellow petals that remind me of saffron and are used in the same way. Use in desserts, salads, drinks and sprinkle on rice after cooking. There are so many varieties with varying flavours. I like these petite French citrus one I grow,  it packs flavour taste.

Calendula

Calendula

Learn more about Calendula here >>> http://earthelixir.ca/herbs/calendula/

Lavender is used a lot in dessert recipes and the flavour is still strong even after baking with it.

trees 031Learn more about Lavender here >>> http://earthelixir.ca/2012/07/12/lavender/

Dandelion flowers are best known for use in making dandelion wine. Pickle the buds like capers. Young flowers are used in salads but old ones might need to be steamed for a minute or two.

dandelion wineLearn more about Dandelions here >>> http://earthelixir.ca/herbs/dandelion/

Wild roses are beautiful in drinks, salads or desserts.

backyard bliss 048 - CopyLearn more about roses here >>> http://earthelixir.ca/2012/06/04/roses-for-you/

September 29, 2012

Making Wildflower mud seed bombs

Wildflower Power Movement: Making wildflower mud seeds ‘bombs’

 As a response to cities ripping out wild gardens that people have planted for growing food and a sense of community, make some wildflower mud bombs to seed cities and other areas with wild flowers and plants.  Looking down on the earth from a plane in the sky, square green boxes are all the eye can sometimes see and one wonders where have all the wildflowers gone? Turf the square green turf and return the wildflowers!!! Make sure you plant native flowers for your area.

here are some other strange alternatives :D

http://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggseedbombs.html

Making Wildflower Mud Seed Bombs:

Packets of wildflower seeds or any seeds you want to grow

Mud or plant soil, compost

Mix seeds in soil in 5:1:1 ratio. Wet soil and form into mud balls

Throw mud seed bombs wherever you want them grow.

Best time to mud seed bomb is right before rainy days.  Even if the flowers don’t grow, birds will eat the seeds. Their food supply has dwindled due to monoculture in society and lack of wildflowers.  

June 16, 2012

What’s blooming in the Garden?

What is blooming in the garden? It feels like everything! Plants are blooming so fast, I turn around and it is almost summer. More delicious smells and tastes emerge :) I wish I could capture them all!

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June 7, 2012

Making a Daisy Chain

imageNothing says nature wild crafting like a daisy chain! I haven’t made one since I was a kid. I had to pull a bunch of daisies because they were crowding out a rose-bush that was about to bloom.

DIY Daisy Chain:

Pick some daisies and strip the leaves.

Hold the flower head and run your fingertips down the stem to easily and quickly remove them leaving only the flower on the stem.

To start making the chain make a little slit with your thumbnail, about half an inch long in the middle of the stem.

Thread another daisy stem through the hole where you want the flowers, crowded or spaced out. I started braiding the stems for stability in between threading the stems.

To end the daisy chain, pull the petals from one daisy (like the game he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not ;) and use the yellow centre like a button. Use the yellow center to finish it, weave, and cut the loose ends.

I floated mine in a bowl of water to keep it fresh because a cloud burst of rain came before I could take a picture.  It also got rid of bugs, and I let it drip dry before I took a picture.

This is my daisy chain crown:) Make the chain long or short, into bracelets, necklaces or whatever your heart desires. 

This wildflower is also good medicinal food. Eat the leaves as a raw salad green, it tastes good. I prefer the young leaves before they flower. Fresh Daisy herb also makes a good tea, tincture, and essence. 

Common Name Daisy
Latin Name  Leucanthemum vulgare
Family Asteraceae (Aster family)
Parts Used Perennial herb
Target Organs Immune, Nervous, Kidney, Skin
Common Uses Skin: wounds, cuts, bruises, strains, inflammation Nervous system: relaxes nerves, tonic,

Immune: stimulant, tonic

Kidney: diuretic

Properties Anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anxiolytic, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulating emmenagogue, immune stimulant, lymphatic, nervine, relaxant, tranquilizer, vasodilator, vulnerary, mild demulcent,
Constituents Essential oil, phenols, alkaloids, methylsterols
Cautions Caution emetic in large doses. Excessive amounts may cause nausea, vomiting. Do not use during pregnancy: stimulating emmenagogue

 

June 5, 2012

Making Natural Perfume from Flower Petals

The flowers that are blooming smell so divine I made perfume out of them today.

I started with wild rose petals, and I choose a native rose that grows around Lake Ontario and in parks. It has a euphoric, subtle sweet smell that is going to get me through a long cold winter.

The wild rose petals look like white hearts when you pluck them out.

The peonies are so delicate they look like tissue paper, and the most exotic smell exudes from their floral pink clouds. With my fingers I tore the petals from around the center and left the remaining flowers to continue to bloom they are so gorgeous.

Peony

The small lilac bush smelled so hypnotic I could smell it through the open bedroom window at night haunting my dreams. I just have to capture that smell again! This is the lilac bush the hummingbird moth visited.

Lilac

Dianthus is a favourite perennial that smells like white chocolate to me.

Dianthus

I know it will make amazing perfume. Dianthus petals

All the flowers are basking in sunbeams of the sun and venus transit in a water alcohol mixture.

See how these natural perfumes press out next month!

May 29, 2012

Blooming garden

I go away and come back to a blooming garden :) I love perennials, they take care of themselves and keep on giving more every year.

 

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May 29, 2012

Easy Grow Herb Combo

For an easy herb planter partner combination that comes back every year with no maintenance plant: Thyme and Chives!

Chives

Chives are an onion tasting herb that are hardy and are grown in pots or in the ground and come back every year bigger and better. The purple flowers which bloom in spring are edible and make a great garnish in soups. Garlic chives have white flowers that bloom later in the summer and they taste more like garlic. They have flat leaves instead of round tubes like purple flower onion chives.

Thyme

There are many varieties of thyme that are hardy and easy to grow. Thyme is a sturdy sub-shrub and there are creeping and hanging varieties. There are different flavours of thyme and many chemotypes to choose from.

This is my planter I took out of the garage and I haven’t added annuals yet or done anything to it, and the thyme and chives keep coming back every year. This is the second year for this pot.

Partner herb combo:

Plant chives or garlic chives in the middle of the planter pot, and place thyme around it. You can plant a hanging thyme, a creeping thyme and a regular thyme or leave some room for annuals to fill in during the growing season. This planter keeps coming back every year even when I overwinter it in the garage. This herb planter is (dare I say) easy to grow by anyone anywhere.

Enjoy fresh herbs! 

 

May 23, 2012

Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot ~ Tussilago farfara L. is one of the first wild flowers to bloom in Ontario in spring time.

Coltsfoot grows all around Georgian Bay and prefers to grow near water in wetter areas near stream banks and ditches. It looks like dandelion flowers and it is from the same Aster family. The flowers resemble a bent horse leg before and after flowering because they nod.

The leaves appear after the flowers have gone to fluffy seed that fly through the air in puffy white little clouds.

The leaves look lung shaped and treat lung conditions helping to reduce inflammation and spasms. It is mildly bitter, demulcent, astringent and cooling.

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Common Name Coltsfoot leaves/ flowers
Latin Name Tussilago farfara
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial flowers bloom first in spring and then turn to seed, leaves follow in May/ June
Target Organs respiratory, throat
Common Uses Lungs: acute chronic lung chest infections, irritating dry coughs, External leaves: wounds, bruises,
Properties relaxing/ secretolytic expectorant, demulcent, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic, diuretic, anti-catarrhal, emollient
Constituents Flowers: flavonoids: rutin, carotene, taraxanthin, arnidiol, farfardiol, tannin, Essential oilsLeaves:mucilage, polysaccharides, tannin, bitter glycosides, inulin, sitosterol, zinc

Traces of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, hormonal substances, calcium, magnesium, sodium, trace minerals

Cautions Due to traces of pyrrolizidine alkaloids do not use for extended periods of time at high dosages. Do not use with children under the age of 8, during pregnancy or lactation.
Dosage Tincture: 2-5ml                Tea: 6-14g
May 9, 2012

Tulips

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imageimageimageTip-toe through the tulips of my garden :)

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Plant Tulip bulbs in the fall for bursts of amazing colour in the spring time and they come back every year!

Happy Mother’s day to all Mothers and all women who nuture! <3

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