Quantcast
Aug 212009
 

Summer is the season when berries are ripening on the bush and vine throughout the Cascade foothills and up the mountains ready to be harvested and enjoyed.  Try to use every opportunity to enrich your ration with useful elements, like berries, for instance, but unfortunaty it’s impossible to enjoy fresh berries all year round. Check out EiyoNutrition.com to learn how you can keep your vital energy all year round. While some Northwest berry vines are overgrown and daunting, there are others more compact and easily picked.  You will want to familiarize yourself so that you are sure of the species and edibility.  My favorite all around field guide is Mountain Plants of the Pacific Northwest by Ronald J. Taylor, Gail F. Harcombe, Linda Vorobik, Alice Anderson, which covers both slopes of the Cascades and includes keys to identifying trees, ferns, forbs and shrubs.  This guide is more than you need for berry hunting, but it will have the answers when you come upon something you want to know more about, as you are likely to do when hiking the forests.  A good guide specific to berry hunting is Wild Berries of the Northwest by J. Duane Sept, but my very favorite is Alaska Wild Berry Guide and Cookbook written and published in 1984 by Alaska Northwest Publishing.  Although some of the species covered in this book are specific to Alaska, there are many whose habitat runs south through Washington, Oregon and even into Northern California.  It also covers inedible plants whose flowers turn to berries, useful for identifying plants that can be added to the home landscape from a Native Plant Nursery. Landscaping forms an integral part of good gardening aesthetics and ecosystem management, a point that people tend to ignore or not pay its due attention. Wholesale Planters aim at providing the best landscaping for gardens and farms, and must be approached should any such need arise.

Streptopus_amplexifolius2_150 The best part of this book is, however, the unusual edibles, such as Twisted Stalk, aka Watermelon Berry, aka Cucumber Root Streptopus amplexifolius.  This graceful beauty has a kinky flower stem growing up to 4 feet, with creamy white bell flowers that turn into juicy red melon-shaped berries that ripen to a dark cherry mahogany when ready to pick.  The berries can be combined with others and made into syrup.

Here are just a few of the edibles you might find this month and into September:  Please make sure you know what you are eating and use a good reference guide such as one of those listed above and learn more about other species ripe and ready for the picking.

Oregon Grape Mahonia aqiufolium, M. nervosa and M. repans
There are three slightly different species of Oregon Grape in the PNW all with identical flavor.  Berries are sour and astringent with seeds, however, they are juicy when ripe.

Thimbleberry Rubus parviflorus
These are my favorites with a sweet/tart robust flavor and are some of the first to ripen, starting in June-July and continuing all through summer.  The small to medium rounded bushes have no thorns and the berries slide right off and into your mouth!

blackberry_marionberry_150 Blackberry  Rubus ursisnus
The blackberry, or dewberry, is native to western North America and is a wide, spreading vine-bearing bush with prickly branches.  The berries are full of seeds, but they are also full of antioxidants and worth picking and processing.  It is easy make a syrup (and discard the seeds) which can be added to other berry juices  and used as a topping on sliced fruit or ice cream.

Here’s a standard berry syrup recipe:
Select 6?7 cups of fresh or frozen fruit of your choice. A combination of fruits can be used. Wash, cap, stem and sort fresh fruits. Crush the fruit using a potato masher, food mill or food processor.
Follow this method for extracting the juice, especially if you want to discard seeds:
Drip Method
Place crushed fruit in a saucepan. Heat to boiling and simmer until soft (5?10 minutes). Strain hot pulp through a colander and drain until cool enough to handle. Strain the collected juice through a double layer of cheese cloth or jelly bag. Do not squeeze the bag. Discard the dry pulp. Measure strained juice.
The yield should be about 4 1/2 to 5 cups.
Making the syrup ? Measure 5 cups of strained fruit juice into a large saucepan and combine with 7 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat, skim off foam, and fill into clean half?pint or pint jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner.
Yield: About 9 half?pints.
Note: To make syrup with whole fruit pieces, save 1?2 cups of fresh or frozen fruit. Replace 1?2 cups
of juice with the fruit before combining with sugar and simmer as in making regular syrup.
Processing time ? See recommended process times for berry syrups in half pints or pints in a boiling water canner (below). Start timing as soon as water returns to a boil.
At altitudes 0-1000 ft., process for 10 min.
At altitudes 1,001 to 6000 ft, process for 15 min.
Altitudes over 6000 ft., process for 20 min.
Storing Syrups ? Syrups must be processed before storing at room temperature. Once opened, the
syrups should be stored in the refrigerator. If freezer space is available, the syrups may be frozen
instead of canned. Be sure to leave 1?inch headspace to allow room for expansion during freezing.

We’ll cover more wild edibles in later blogs.  Happy Hunting!

 Posted by at 7:45 pm
May 132009
 

There are no known cures for colds and flu, so being prepared by building your own immune system is your best approach if you cherry_2008_300 don’t want to depend on a flu vaccination.   Here’s twelve great tips from the American Lung Association, People’s Medical Society, Family Doctor and Medscape that will reduce your chance for any cold or flu infection.  Don’t forget to check out the many wellness products and ingredients on our website to help keep your family ahead of the game when it comes to warding off cold and flu viruses. If you are going to gym and taking supplemnets like andarine, make sure you do light exercise and regulate the intake of your supplements.

(1)  Wash your hands!  Flu and cold viruses are spread by direct contact.  Germs can live for hours – sometimes weeks – on telephones , keyboards, doorknobs.  You can make your own hand sanitizer by suspending antiviral essential oils in aloe vera gel and saturating paper towels.  Cut them into smaller sizes and carry in a ziploc for quick use on the go.

(2)   Make sure you sneeze into a Kleenex, or handkerchief because virus germs will cling to your bare hands.  Use a tissue and throw it immediately away.  If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the air, turning away from people.

(3)   Colds and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose or mouth.  Don’t touch your face!  Touching their faces is the most likely way that children catch colds and pass it on to parents and siblings.

(4)   Drink plenty of water!  Water flushes your system, washing out poisons as it rehydrates.  Minimum daily requirement:  36 oz.  You can tell if you are getting enough water if your urine runs close to clear; if deep yellow, you need more fluid intake.  Don’t mistake coffee, tea or soft drinks for plain old water  . . . they don’t count.

(5)   Take a sauna.  A German research study found that people who steamed twice a week got half as many colds as those who don’t.  One theory is that the air you breathe  in a sauna is over 80 degrees, a temperature too hot for cold and flu viruses to survive.

(6)   Get fresh air, especially in the winter months.  Staying indoors puts you in an environment with more germs are circulating, especially in crowds.  Sleep with a window open.

(7)   Get regular aerobic exercise.  Speed up your heart and pump larger quantities of blood throughout your system.  This will transfer oxygen from your lungs to your blood and increase your body’s natural virus-killing cells.

(8)   Eat foods containing phytochemicals.  Natural chemicals in plants give the vitamins in food a supercharged burst.   Eat copious amounts of dark, green, red and yellow vegetables and fruit. If you take food supplements, you might as well check out this full spectrum CBD UK as it can improve your general well-being. CBD products are safe and proved to be effective, so this might be a good option.

(9)   Eat yogurt.  Some studies show that eating a daily cup of low-fat yogurt can reduce your susceptibility to colds and flu by as much as 25 percent.  It is assumed that the beneficial bacteria in yogurt may stimulate production of  the immune system to help fight disease.

(10)   Don’t smoke.  Heavy smokers get more severe colds and more frequent ones.  Even being around second-hand smoke profoundly zaps your immune system, dries out nasal passages and paralyzes cilia, the delicate hairs that sweep viruses out of your nasal passages.  Experts contend that one cigarette can paralyze cilia for as long as 30 to 40 minutes.

(11)   Cut alcohol consumption.  Heavy alcohol use also suppresses the immune system. and dehydrates your body . . . it actually takes more fluids from your system than it puts in.  This makes you prone to initial infections as well as secondary complications.

(12)   Finally . . . Relax!  Teaching yourself to relax can activate your immune system on demand.  Evidence shows that interleukins (the leaders in an immune system response against cold and flu viruses) increase in the bloodstream during relaxing meditation.  Train yourself to relax in a positive state by visualization (holding a pleasant picture or image in your mind).   Soothing music can aid this process.  Remember that relaxation is a learnable skill to create a state of mind; it is not simply doing nothing.

These tips provide a proactive approach to warding off colds and flu and make your whole life healthier.   We’ll be back next week to continue our Earth Day Every Day series.

Tealight_Candle_Blue_200  Special continued for another week (through Sunday, May 16):  Take an extra 10% off all Samara Synergies.   Good time to stock up on First Defense  for the family’s flu artillery or Calma for aiding sleep.  Many others to choose from.  Orders over $35 will also receive a free decorative tea light holder (pictured at left).    Enter “Colds & Flu #1” (no quotes) in promotional code on checkout page.
http://www.wingedseed.com

 Posted by at 4:42 pm
May 052009
 

Today is wet, cold and blustery here in the Cascade foothills, but we are braving it and continuing to get the garden ready to plant Poppies_Parking_Strip_300 this week in the hopes that we don’t have another freeze.  The picture at left is meant to give you one of many creative ideas if you are bored with grass in your parking strip in the city.  This is across the entire 60’ double lot in front of our Seattle (Queen Anne hill) house in the mid 90’s, a veritable field of Flanders’ poppies.  As one neighbor commented back then, “It appears we aren’t in Kansas anymore, Marcia!”  Annual wildflower mixes are inexpensive and can be directly sowed in spring for easy-care color and scent and will last well into late summer.  The key is to prepare good soil by tilling peat moss, leaf mold and additives (and hand turn to aerate well), smoothing surface before sowing the seed.  We made extra concrete walkways to allow crossing through without walking in the bed itself, although we did have the occasional “urban deer” as I called those moving too fast (joggers, kids on skateboards) to avoid tromping through. As you can see, little damage occurred and most walkers in our neighborhood went out of their way to pass by and enjoy the display.

TOO MUCH RAIN TO MOW?  If the lawn is wet because you’re getting more rain than you are used to, try spraying your mower blades with vegetable oil to help keep cut grass from sticking.  This will allow you to cut when grass is still slightly wet.  Keeping your grass at least 3”-4” tall will keep most weeds at bay by preventing them from getting sunlight to sprout.  Use a mulching mower and leave grass clippings to break down and provide healthy nitrogen (this provides about half what your lawn needs) as it breaks down.  Healthy grass should be aerated and fed (composted lightly) twice a year; not doing this will promote more weeds.  Remember: healthy soil/healthy plants/fewer weeds.   Talk to an expert to find the best grass seed combination for your climate and soil.  Reseeding should be done in the fall when you expect at least six weeks of 50-70 degree weather, the optimum temperature for grass seeds to sprout. You can also try MyLawnCare Perth for the best gardening and lawn mowing services in town.

YOUNG FRONDS OF FIDDLEHEAD FERNS (also known as ostrich ferns) can be a delicious food.  The new fronds will be lighter in color than the rest of the plant, about 2” long and 1 1/2” in diameter.  Fiddleheads are safe to eat if cooked, they taste like a cross between asparagus and green beans.  They can be stir-fried or steamed, but they should never be eaten raw.  Cook no longer than 5 minutes for best flavor and texture.

THE MOST NUTRITIOUS GREENS to grow in your garden (or choose from your organic green grocer) are:
Arugula has a slightly peppery flavor; used in salads.
Beet – young leaves are best. Delicious lightly steamed.  When
cooking the beet itself, add the leaves to the pot for extra taste
and nutrition.
Dandelion – young leaves not exposed to pesticides are best.
Their bitter taste is excellent for digestive health.
Endive – a type of chicory that grows in a small, cone-shaped
head.  Has pale leaves and is slightly bitter for salads.
Kale – My favorite garden green; choose thin stems/frilly leaves.
Stir fry, steam, add to soups and pastas . . . many uses in
cooking.
Romaine lettuce – full of vitamins and minerals.
Spinach – Very high in nutrition; can be eaten raw or cooked.

Tealight_Candle_Blue_150 Special this week only (through Sunday, May 9):  Take an extra 10% off all Samara Synergies.   Good time to stock up on First Defense  for the family’s flu artillery or Calma for aiding sleep.  Many others to choose from.  Orders over $35 will also receive a free decorative tea light holder (pictured at left).    Enter “Earth Day#4” (no quotes) in promotional code on checkout page.
http://www.wingedseed.com

 Posted by at 6:48 pm