I view my kitchen as an experimental laboratory of tastes. But that doesn’t mean I’m good at cooking or even baking. There are also instances when I fail. For now, I was fortunately always able to come up with a healthy plan B alternative.
I also like to prepare foods fresh, when they are in season. I usually note the time when I picked certain plants and either their flowers, leaves, or roots.
Here are some non-traditional plants, their health properties and ways to prepare them.
A widely spread plant that grows pretty much everywhere and anywhere is nettle.
Nettle tea helps clear blood and strengthen the body. While its leaves could be made in place of steamed spinach, it also blends well to soups. Both leaves and roots are gathered from May to end of July. When gathering it, make sure to wear protective gloves as it can sting for a while when in contact with bare skin. But I wouldn’t worry anyway, as our grandparents say nettle stings are beneficial against arthritis in older years.
Another widely spread plant that is edible and known to be packed with iron is a dandelion.
One of my favorite ways to prepare it is by mincing it into a pesto. With the simple procedure of its preparation, you are sure to make all of its benefits alive. Dandelion leaves can be gathered anytime from March to May, but before their flowers bloom yellow (as that is when they become even more bitter).
Rinse them, add a greater amount of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and pepper or the spices you prefer, a couple of cloves of garlic and possibly some water to make it smoother if necessary. I like to garnish mine with nutritional yeast, as its flavor is similar to parmesan cheese, but you could just as well use parmesan. You can even choose to store it for the months when dandelion is not in season. In which case, rather omit adding the cheese as it can grow mold with time. Simply fill glass containers to the top with the mixture and tightly seal before storing in a cool, dry environment.
Dandelion leaves are moreover a great healthy addition to salads. They benefit your body in helping to clear your blood, liver, and bile as well as they show a positive correlation in treating rheumatism.
Stalks are used to treat diabetes and as Gallstone solvents. White milky liquid treats warts. And if you drop it to the eye, it protects the cornea. You could also prepare restorative tea from dandelion’s leaves.
Moreover, picking dandelion can be a fun family activity as you can simultaneously entertain children by blowing dandelion lights to the air and sending your good wishes out to the world.
Another plant that we all probably know well, but not definitely enjoy equally, are carrots.
They are filled with different vitamins and so boost your immune system. In cases when you have a heartburn, carrot juice helps soothe it. Cooked carrots are good to have while having tummy aches. They moreover make for good blood. Their benefits don’t stop here, carrots have a positive correlation in helping with sight issues. They also help eliminate Gallstones. And boost up low blood pressure. They help stop diarrhea. On top of it all, they make bones stronger. They are also great first foods to introduce to a baby as carrots are light on digestion but very sweet in their taste.
Last but not least, it is one that I’ve grown to love over the past years – garlic. Plus, it is easy to incorporate into foods and the garlicky taste blends in well. Though I’m not yet totally okay with my after-breath (but help clear it with cinnamon, which by the way also filled healthy properties).
Garlic is known to demolish plethora of bacteria, lower the body temperature and promotes healthy brain activity. It heals flu, typhoid and lowers high blood pressure.
A milder version of garlic is wild garlic of which you ingest the whole baby leaves. It is easily recognizable as it smells very similar to garlic. An easy way to prepare it is in pesto dipped in a fair amount of olive oil and mixed together with some nuts or seeds before well blended. Baby garlic itself is also a nice addition to soups and salads.
It is only recently that I have started researching and utilizing pretty much every plant that grows around. They are definitely the best I can take from nature and they help me save some money on the way. By growing my own fruits, vegetables and spices I have moreover gained an appreciation for nature and understand better how grounding it is to live in harmony with it.