As we approach the end of summer, garden abundance is upon us and will last only a short time. One of the keys to a healthy diet, one that is rich not only in nutrients but also in flavor, is to take advantage of the harvest when it is most robust. This is when garden produce is highest in nutrients, and, for those without gardens of their own, when fruits and vegetables are cheapest at the farmers markets. Here are two ways I like to preserve our garden produce.
Gather a variety of fresh herbs from your garden or farmers market. I would include oregano, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, winter and summer savories and any other fresh herb at its peak. Give the herbs a gentle rinse, then put in either a dehydrator set at around 95 degrees or hang upside down to dry in the shade. Dry until the stems and leaves can be easily snapped without any bend or give. Powder the dried herbs in a spice grinder, and label and store them in a clean, dry, used Miron jar. This herb blend, if thoroughly dry, will last until next summer and will be a welcome addition to eggs, soups or any other savory dish. In addition, these herbs are loaded with healthy nutrients to keep you well throughout the winter.
Another easy way to store garden produce is to lacto-ferment the vegetables in a jar. It works best to get a lid that has a water lock; these are easily found online or in many natural-foods stores. An interesting variation of fermented vegetables is the traditional Giardiniera (the large jar in photo above), an Italian fermented recipe. For this recipe, start with a two-quart Mason jar and a water-lock top. Add one-half teaspoon of black peppercorns, one-half teaspoon whole cloves, one-half teaspoon juniper berries and two bay leaves to the jar. Then add the following vegetables, pressing down as you go:
Add four cups of filtered water, two which 2 Tablespoons of sea salt have been added. Make sure the vegetables are completely submerged in the brine (you might need to use a fermentation weight). Screw on the top and leave in a cool place for 10 to 14 days. When it is ready, seal and refrigerate, where it will last for months.
You can use any variation of the above two “recipes” — dry and powder as many herbs as you can, and ferment any extra vegetables from your garden or farmers market. These are almost foolproof ways to add flavor, diversity and nutrition to your diet.
Turmeric and Ashitaba powders are probably our two most medicinal powders.
Turmeric is perhaps the undisputed “star” of the medicinal plant world, affecting everything from inflammation, neurological health, the development of cancers, immune-system health and other vital health processes.
Today we are thrilled to present the first in a series of videos of the farmers who grow our vegetables. This one features biodynamic grower Mike Benziger of Glentucky Farms in Glen Ellen, Calif., and it captures the essence of the reason we founded Dr. Cowan’s Garden.
When I was a teenager and first being “groomed” to be a physician, I heard from my parents’ physician friends that the reason winter is the “flu season” is that people are indoors more, so the flu germs are more easily transmitted. Through the years, this assertion has become almost dogma.