BEST HEALTH FOODS

 

WHAT should you be growing and purchasing from the local farmers markets????

 

WaterCress – Packs the most vital 17 human body nutrients into one source. http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/13_0390.htm

Unpasteurized (raw) grass-fed milk — Raw organic milk from grass-fed cows contains both beneficial fats, bacteria that boost your immune system, and a number of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Although raw milk availability is limited in the US, depending on where you live, you can locate the source closest to you at RealMilk.com.

Whey protein — Even if you don’t have access to raw milk, you can use a high-quality whey protein derived from the milk of grass-fed cows to receive much of the same health benefits. Whey protein contains beta-glucans and immunoglobulins, which protect your immune system and support your body’s natural detoxification processes.

Fermented foods — One of the most healthful fermented foods is kefir — an ancient cultured, enzyme-rich food full of friendly microorganisms that balance your “inner ecosystem” and strengthen immunity. Besides kefir, other good fermented foods include natto, kimchee, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, and olives.

Raw organic eggs from pastured chickens – Raw, free-range eggs are an inexpensive and amazing source of high-quality nutrients that many people are deficient in, especially high-quality protein and fat. To find free-range pasture farms, try your local health food store, or go to http://www.eatwild.com or http://www.localharvest.org.

Grass-fed beef or organ meats – Grass-fed beef is very high in vitamins A, B12 and E, omega-3 fats, beta carotene, zinc and the potent immune system enhancer CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid). But don’t confuse “organic” with grass-fed, since many organically raised cows are still fed organic corn, which you don’t want. However, most grass-fed cows are raised organically.

Coconut oil — Besides being excellent for your thyroid and your metabolism, coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which converts in your body to monolaurin – a compound also found in breast milk that strengthens a baby’s immunity. Rub on teeth for 15 minutes to help restore oral health, enamel, gums etc. (sesame and hemp oils are great for oral use as well.)

Its medium chain fatty acids, or triglycerides (MCT’s) also impart a number of health benefits, including raising your body’s metabolism and fighting off pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and fungi. Make sure you choose an organic coconut oil that is unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and does not contain GM ingredients.

Berries – Cherries, Blueberries and raspberries rate very high in antioxidant capacity compared to other fruits and vegetables. They are also lower in fructose than many other fruits.

Broccoli – Broccoli contains the highest amount of isothiocyanates, a cancer-fighting compound, of all the crunchy vegetables. Studies have shown that just 10 spears a week (5 servings) can make a difference in your health.

Chlorella –This single-cell freshwater algae acts as an efficient detoxification agent by binding to toxins (most of which promote chronic inflammation), such as mercury, and carrying them out of your system. The chlorophyll in the chlorella helps you process more oxygen, cleanses your blood and promotes the growth and repair of your tissues. (For more information, please see my interview with expert, Ginny Banks.)

Tea – As for beverages, clean pure water is a must for optimal health, but if you want another beverage, a good choice with added health benefits is high quality herbal teas.

Matcha tea is the most nutrient-rich green tea and comes in the form of a stone-ground powder, completely unfermented. The best Matcha comes from Japan and has up to 17 times the antioxidants of wild blueberries, and seven times more than dark chocolate. Tulsi is another tea loaded with antioxidants and other micronutrients that support immune function and heart health. Hemp, kenaf and sage leafs are also full of nutrients.

Krill Oil—Krill oil is the only dietary supplement that makes it to this list, and that’s only because the ideal food source for these essential omega-3 fats has been destroyed by widespread pollution. The dangers of eating fish simply outweigh the benefits due to the toxic mercury levels they now contain, with very few exceptions. Antarctic krill oil is a pure marine oil loaded with powerful antioxidants and omega-3 oils, with NO heavy metal contamination.

*THIS CHART is a rating not a percentage. Read the study to decode the rating system!

http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/13_0390.htm

Superfoods

 

TOP 12 Healing Health Foods

As part of a healthy diet, whole foods play a significant role in helping our bodies  function optimally. There are hundreds of extremely nutritious whole foods, but the  dozen on this list do more than contribute healthy nutrients — they help you heal. In fact,  every food on this list boasts multiple healing effects, from fighting cancer to reducing  cholesterol, guarding against heart disease, and more. Eat these super-healing picks and  start feeling pretty super yourself.

1. Cherries

Cherries boast a laundry list of healing powers. For starters, they pack a powerful  nutritional punch for a relatively low calorie count. They’re also packed with substances  that help fight inflammation and cancer. As if that weren’t enough, in lab studies,  quercetin and ellagic acid, two compounds contained in cherries, have been shown to  inhibit the growth of tumors and even cause cancer cells to commit suicide — without  damaging healthy cells. Cherries also have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Anthocyanin, another compound in cherries, is credited with lowering the uric acid levels  in the blood, thereby reducing a common cause of gout. Researchers believe anthocyanins  may also reduce your risk of colon cancer. Further, these compounds work like a natural  form of ibuprofen, reducing inflammation and curbing pain. Regular consumption may help  lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

In Chinese medicine, cherries are routinely used as a remedy for gout, arthritis, and  rheumatism (as well as anemia, due to their high iron content). Plus they’re delicious.

How much:
Aim for a daily serving while they’re in season locally. And keep a bag of frozen cherries  in your freezer the rest of the year; frozen cherries retain 100 percent of their  nutritional value and make a great addition to smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal.

Tip:
Buy organic, since conventionally grown cherries can be high in pesticides.
Make a Cherry Clafoutis.

2. Guavas

Guavas are a small tropical fruit that can be round, oval, or pear-shaped. They’re not all  that common, so they might be hard to find, depending on where you live. But if you can  track them down, it’s more than worth it. Guavas contain more of the cancer-fighting  antioxidant lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable, and nearly 20 percent more than  tomatoes. Our bodies can’t process much of the lycopene in tomatoes until they’re cooked;  the processing helps break down tough cell walls. However, guavas’ cell structure allows  the antioxidant to be absorbed whether the fruit is raw or cooked, and the whole fruit  offers the nutrition without the added sodium of processed tomato products.

Lycopene protects our healthy cells from free radicals that can cause all kinds of damage,  including blocked arteries, joint degeneration, nervous system problems, and even cancer.  Lycopene consumption is associated with significantly lower rates of prostate cancer; in  addition, men with prostate tumors who consumed lycopene supplements showed  significant improvements, such as smaller tumors and decreased malignancy. Lycopene has  also been found to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, and research suggests that  this antioxidant may also help protect against coronary heart disease.

This strange-looking little fruit is also packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants.  Serving for serving, guava offers more than 60 percent more potassium than a banana,  which can help protect against heart disease and stroke. In fact, the nutrients found in  guavas have been shown to lower LDL and boost HDL cholesterol, reduce triglycerides,  and lower blood pressure.

How much:
Aim to eat fresh guavas as often as you can when you can find them in stores. They’re not  commonly available in the freezer section; and most guava juices are processed and  sweetened, so they don’t provide the same superior nutrition that the whole, fresh fruit  does. One to two guavas a day is a good goal.

Tip:
Opt for the red-fleshed variety if you can; both are loaded with antioxidants, but the red  type has more than the white-fleshed apple guava.

3. Beans

Beans are a miracle food. They lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and insulin  production, promote digestive health, and protect against cancer. If you think of fiber,  protein, and antioxidants and immediately think whole grains, meat, and fruit, think again  — beans offer all three in a single package.

An assortment of phytochemicals found in beans has been shown to protect cells from  cancerous activity by inhibiting cancer cells from reproducing, slowing tumor growth.  Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reported that women who consumed  beans at least twice a week were 24 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, and  multiple studies have tied beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high  blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers.

Beans deliver a whopping amount of antioxidants, which help prevent and fight oxidative  damage. In fact, the USDA’s ranking of foods by antioxidant capacity places three  varieties of beans (red beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans) in the top four — and  that’s among all food groups. Beans are a great source of dietary fiber, protein, and iron.  They also contain the amino acid tryptophan; foods with high amounts of tryptophan can  help regulate your appetite, aid in sleep, and improve your mood. Many are also rich in  folate, which plays a significant role in heart health. And depending on the type of bean  you choose, you’ll also get decent amounts of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B1 and B2,  and vitamin K. Soybeans are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

In Chinese medicine, various types of beans have been used to treat alcoholism, food  poisoning, edema (particularly in the legs), high blood pressure, diarrhea, laryngitis,  kidney stones, rheumatism, and dozens of other conditions.

How much:
Aim for a minimum of two servings of beans per week.

Tip:
Adzuki and mung beans are among the most easily digested; pinto, kidney, navy, garbanzo,  lima, and black beans are more difficult to digest.

4. Kiwifruit

This tiny, nutrient-dense fruit packs an amazing amount of vitamin C (double the amount  found in oranges), has more fiber than apples, and beats bananas as a high-potassium  food. The unique blend of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in kiwifruit helps  protect against heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory disease. Kiwifruit’s natural  blood-thinning properties work without the side effects of aspirin and support vascular  health by reducing the formation of spontaneous blood clots, lowering LDL cholesterol,  and reducing blood pressure. Multiple studies have shown that kiwifruit not only reduces  oxidative stress and damage to DNA but also prompts damaged cells to repair themselves.

Kiwifruit is often prescribed as part of a dietary regimen to battle cancer and heart  disease, and in Chinese medicine it’s used to accelerate the healing of wounds and sores.

How much:
Aim to eat one to two kiwifruit a day while they’re in season, for the best taste and  nutrition. California-grown kiwifruit are in season from October through May, and New  Zealand kiwifruit are available between April and November.

Tips:
Kiwifruit contains enzymes that activate once you cut the fruit, causing the flesh to  tenderize. So if you’re making a fruit salad, cut the kiwifruit last.
The riper the kiwifruit, the greater the antioxidant power, so let them ripen before you  dig in.

5. Watercress

Not only is watercress extremely nutritious, it’s about as close as you can get to a  calorie-free food. Calorie for calorie, it provides four times the calcium of 2 percent milk.  Ounce for ounce, it offers as much vitamin C as an orange and more iron than spinach. It’s  packed with vitamin A and has lots of vitamin K, along with multiple antioxidant  carotenoids and protective phytochemicals.

The nutrients in watercress protect against cancer and macular degeneration, help build  the immune system, and support bone health. The iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen  to your body’s tissues for energy. The phytochemicals in watercress battle cancer in three  ways: killing cancer cells, blocking carcinogens, and protecting healthy cells from  carcinogens. They’ve also been shown to help prevent lung and esophageal cancer and can  help lower your risk for other cancers.

In Chinese medicine, watercress is thought to help reduce tumors, improve night vision,  and stimulate bile production (improving digestion and settling intestinal gas). It’s used as  a remedy for jaundice, urinary difficulty, sore throat, mumps, and bad breath.

How much:
Eat watercress daily if you can. In some regions, it’s more widely available during the  spring and summer, when it’s cultivated outdoors. But since it can also be grown  hydroponically in greenhouses, you can find it year-round in many grocery stores and at  your local farmer’s market.

Tip:
You can cook it, but watercress is better for you when you eat it raw. Tuck it into a  sandwich in place of lettuce.
Toss it with your favorite vegetables and eat it in a salad.
Watercress is great in pesto — just replace the basil with watercress — and soups.
Use watercress as a wonderfully detoxifying ingredient in a juice or smoothie.

6. Spinach

You already knew spinach was good for you, but did you know just how good? Spinach  protects against eye disease and vision loss; it’s good for brain function; it guards against  colon, prostate, and breast cancers; it protects against heart disease, stroke, and  dementia; it lowers blood pressure; it’s anti-inflammatory; and it’s great for bone health.  Spinach has an amazing array of nutrients, including high amounts of vitamin K, calcium,  vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and iron.

A carotenoid found in spinach not only kills prostate cancer cells, it also prevents them  from multiplying. Folate promotes vascular health by lowering homocysteine, an amino acid  that, at high levels, raises the risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease, including heart  disease and stroke. Folate has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing  colorectal, ovarian, and breast cancers and to help stop uncontrolled cell growth, one of  the primary characteristics of all cancers. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in spinach  protect against colon cancer in addition to fighting inflammation, making them key  components of brain health, particularly in older adults.

Spinach is loaded with vitamin K (one cup of cooked spinach provides 1,111 percent of the  recommended daily amount!), which builds strong bones by helping calcium adhere to the  bone. Spinach is also rich in lutein, which protects against age-related macular  degeneration, and it may help prevent heart attacks by keeping artery walls clear of  cholesterol buildup.

How much:
Fresh spinach should be a daily staple in your diet. It’s available in practically every  grocery store, no matter where you live, it’s easy to find year-round, and you’d be hard  pressed to find a more nutritionally sound, versatile green. So do yourself a healthy favor  and aim for a few ounces, raw or lightly steamed, every day.

Tips:
Add a handful of fresh spinach to your next fruit smoothie. It’ll change the color but not  the taste.
Conventionally grown spinach is susceptible to pesticide residue; stick to organic.

7. Onions

Onions get a bad rap for their effect on the breath, but that’s not the only part of the  body where they pack a wallop. Onions contain potent cancer-fighting enzymes; onion  consumption has been shown to help lower the risk of prostate and esophageal cancers  and has also been linked to reduced mortality from coronary heart disease. Research  suggests that they may help protect against stomach cancer. Onions contain sulfides that  help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as a peptide that may help prevent bone  loss by inhibiting the loss of calcium and other bone minerals.

Onions have super antioxidant power. They contain quercetin, a natural antihistamine that  reduces airway inflammation and helps relieve symptoms of allergies and hay fever.  Onions also boast high levels of vitamin C, which, along with the quercetin, battles cold  and flu symptoms. Onions’ anti-inflammatory properties help fight the pain and swelling  associated with osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. Onions are also extremely rich in sulfur  and they have antibiotic and antiviral properties, making them excellent for people who  consume a diet high in protein, fat, or sugar, as they help cleanse the arteries and impede  the growth of viruses, yeasts, and other disease-causing agents, which can build up in an  imbalanced diet.

How much:
For all the health benefits onions provide, it would be ideal to eat one a day. However, if  that’s not doable for you, add a few onions to your weekly grocery list and try to eat a  little bit every day. All varieties are extremely good for you, but shallots and yellow  onions lead the pack in antioxidant activity. Raw onions provide the best nutrition, but  they’re still great for you when they’re lightly cooked. And cooking meat at high  temperatures (such as on a grill) with onions can help reduce or counteract carcinogens  produced by the meat.

Tip:
Onions should be stored at room temperature, but if they bother your eyes when you cut  them, try refrigerating them for an hour beforehand.

8. Carrots

Carrots are a great source of the potent antioxidants known as carotenoids. Diets high in  carotenoids have been tied to a decreased risk in postmenopausal breast cancer as well as  cancers of the bladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, and esophagus. Conversely, diets  low in carotenoids have been associated with chronic disease, including heart disease and  various cancers. Research suggests that just one carrot per day could reduce your risk of  lung cancer by half. Carrots may also reduce your risk of kidney and ovarian cancers. In  addition to fighting cancer, the nutrients in carrots inhibit cardiovascular disease,  stimulate the immune system, promote colon health, and support ear and eye health.

Carrots contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin C, and an  incredible amount of vitamin A. The alpha-carotene in carrots has shown promise in  inhibiting tumor growth. Carrots also contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which  work together to promote eye health and prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. In  Chinese medicine, carrots are used to treat rheumatism, kidney stones, tumors, indigestion,  diarrhea, night blindness, ear infections, earaches, deafness, skin lesions, urinary tract  infections, coughs, and constipation.

How much:
Eat a serving of carrots each day if you can, and enjoy them year-round. Carrots are good  for you whether they’re raw or lightly cooked; cooking helps break down the tough fiber,  making some of the nutrients more easily absorbed. For the best nutrition, go for whole  carrots that are firm and fresh-looking. Precut baby carrots are made from whole carrots  and, although they’re convenient, they tend to lose important nutrients during processing.

Tips:
Remove carrot tops before storing them in the fridge, as the tops drain moisture from the  roots and will cause the carrots to wilt.
Buy organic; conventionally grown carrots frequently show high pesticide residues.

9. Cabbage

Cabbage is a powerhouse source of vitamins K and C. Just one cup supplies 91 percent of  the recommended daily amount for vitamin K, 50 percent of vitamin C, good amounts of  fiber, and decent scores of manganese, vitamin B6, folate, and more — and it’ll only cost  you about 33 calories. Calorie for calorie, cabbage offers 11 percent more vitamin C than  oranges.

Cabbage contains high levels of antioxidant sulforaphanes that not only fight free  radicals before they damage DNA but also stimulate enzymes that detoxify carcinogens in  the body. Researchers believe this one-two approach may contribute to the apparent  ability of cruciferous vegetables to reduce the risk of cancer more effectively than any  other plant food group. Numerous studies point to a strong association between diets high  in cruciferous vegetables and a low incidence of lung, colon, breast, ovarian, and bladder  cancers.

Cabbage builds strong bones, dampens allergic reactions, reduces inflammation, and  promotes gastrointestinal health. Cabbage is routinely juiced as a natural remedy for  healing peptic ulcers due to its high glutamine content. It also provides significant  cardiovascular benefit by preventing plaque formation in the blood vessels. In Chinese  medicine, cabbage is used to treat constipation, the common cold, whooping cough,  depression and irritability, and stomach ulcers. When eaten and used as a poultice, as a  dual treatment, cabbage is helpful for healing bedsores, varicose veins, and arthritis.

How much:
The more cabbage you can include in your diet, the better. A study of Polish women found  that those who ate at least four servings of cabbage per week as adolescents were 72  percent less likely to develop breast cancer later in life than their peers who consumed  only one weekly serving or less.

Tips:
Try raw sauerkraut. It has all the health properties of cabbage, plus some potent  probiotics, which are excellent for digestive health.
Use the whole cabbage; the outer leaves contain a third more calcium than the inner  leaves.
Both are nutritional stars, but red cabbages are far superior to the white variety, with  about seven times more vitamin C and more than four times the polyphenols, which protect  cells from oxidative stress and cancer.

10. Broccoli

You’ll find it difficult to locate another single food source with as much naturally  occurring health-promoting properties as broccoli. A single cup of steamed broccoli  provides more than 200 percent of the RDA for vitamin C (again, more than oranges),  nearly as much of vitamin K, and about half of the daily allowance for vitamin A, along  with plentiful folate, fiber, sulfur, iron, B vitamins, and a whole host of other important  nutrients. Calorie for calorie, broccoli contains about twice the amount of protein as steak  — and a lot more protective phytonutrients.

Broccoli’s phytochemicals fight cancer by neutralizing carcinogens and accelerating their  elimination from the body, in addition to inhibiting tumors caused by chemical  carcinogens. Studies show evidence that these substances help prevent lung and  esophageal cancers and may play a role in lowering the risk of other cancers, including  gastrointestinal cancer.

Phytonutrients called indoles found in broccoli help protect against prostate, gastric, skin,  breast, and cervical cancers. Some research suggests that indoles also protect the  structure of DNA and may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Extensive studies have  linked broccoli to a 20 percent reduction in heart disease risk. In Chinese medicine,  broccoli is used to treat eye inflammation.

How much:
If you can eat a little broccoli every day, your body will thank you for it. If you can’t  swing it, aim for eating it as regularly as possible. Like many other vegetables, broccoli  provides fantastic nutrition both in its raw form and when it’s properly cooked. Cooking  reduces some of broccoli’s anticancer components, but lightly steaming it will preserve  most of the nutrients. Broccoli is available fresh year-round in most areas, but if you can’t  find it where you live, frozen broccoli is a good substitute.

Tip:
Steaming or cooking broccoli lightly releases the maximum amount of the antioxidant  sulforaphane.

11. Kale

Kale is highly nutritious, has powerful antioxidant properties, and is anti-inflammatory.  One cup of cooked kale contains an astounding 1,328 percent of the RDA for vitamin K,  192 percent of the RDA for vitamin A, and 89 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. It’s also a  good source of calcium and iron.

Kale is in the same plant family as broccoli and cabbage, and, like its cruciferous cousins,  it contains high levels of the cancer-fighting compound sulforaphane, which guards  against prostate, gastric, skin, and breast cancers by boosting the body’s detoxification  enzymes and fighting free radicals in the body. The indoles in kale have been shown to  protect against breast, cervical, and colon cancers. The vitamin K in kale promotes blood  clotting, protects the heart, and helps build strong bones by anchoring calcium to the  bone. It also has more antioxidant power than spinach, protecting against free-radical  damage. Kale is extra rich in beta-carotene (containing seven times as much as does  broccoli), lutein, and zeaxanthin (ten times the amount in broccoli). In Chinese medicine,  kale is used to help ease lung congestion.

How much:
Like cabbage, the more kale you can eat, the better. A daily serving is ideal. Eat it as much  as you can, as long as you can find it fresh at your local grocery or farmer’s market. In  some areas, it’s available all year; in others, it only makes an appearance during summer  and fall.

Tips:
Kale’s growing season extends nearly year-round; the only time it’s out of season is  summer, when plenty of other leafy greens are abundant.
Steam or saute kale on its own, or add it to soups and stews. Cooking helps tenderize the  leaves.
Kale is also a great addition when it’s blended in fruit smoothies or juiced with other  vegetables.

12. Dandelion

The same pesky weed known for ruining lawns has a long history of being used as a  healing herb in cultures around the globe. One cup of raw dandelion greens provides 535  percent of the RDA of vitamin K and 112 percent of the RDA for vitamin A. Dandelion  greens are also a good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, fiber, and potassium. Among all  foods, it’s one of the richest sources of vitamin A; among all green vegetables, it’s one of  the best sources of beta-carotene.

Dandelion has been used for centuries to treat hepatitis, kidney, and liver disorders such  as kidney stones, jaundice, and cirrhosis. It’s routinely prescribed as a natural treatment  for hepatitis C, anemia, and liver detoxification (poor liver function has been linked to  numerous conditions, from indigestion and hepatitis to irritability and depression). As a  natural diuretic, dandelion supports the entire digestive system and increases urine  output, helping flush toxins and excess salt from the kidneys. The naturally occurring  potassium in dandelions helps prevent the loss of potassium that can occur with  pharmaceutical diuretics.

Dandelion promotes digestive health by stimulating bile production, resulting in a gentle  laxative effect. Inulin, a naturally occurring soluble fiber in dandelion, further aids  digestion by feeding the healthy probiotic bacteria in the intestines; it also increases  calcium absorption and has a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels, therefore being  useful in treating diabetes. Both the dandelion leaves and root are used to treat heartburn  and indigestion. The pectin in dandelion relieves constipation and, in combination with  vitamin C, reduces cholesterol. Dandelion is excellent for reducing edema, bloating, and  water retention; it can also help reduce high blood pressure. On top of all that, dandelion  contains multiple antidiarrheal and antibacterial properties.

In Chinese medicine, dandelion is used in combination with other herbs to treat hepatitis  and upper respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. The sap from the  stem and root is a topical remedy for warts. Imagine — all this from a lowly weed!

How much:
How much dandelion to incorporate into your diet boils down to two factors: availability  and personal preference. Dandelion greens are considered a specialty item in some areas  and therefore can be difficult to find. They also have a pungent taste, and people tend to  love or hate the flavor. If you can find fresh dandelion greens and you enjoy the taste,  make them a regular part of your diet.

Tip:
Use the root in soups or saute it on its own.
If the raw leaves are too bitter for you, try them lightly steamed or sauteed.

The time to harvest dandelion greens is early in the spring, when they are their youngest  and before they flower. They can be harvested again in late fall as they loose some of  their bitterness after a frost. Look for young dandelions growing in rich, moist soil,  making sure not to forage close to roads (they can accumulate pollution) or from areas  that have been treated with garden chemicals. For a special treat, get out early in spring  and look for the crown, which is the cluster of new buds that sits above the taproot.  These are the tenderest, sweetest parts of the plant.

Young dandelion greens are tender and delicious served raw in salads or sandwiches. If  you use the greens that have been harvested after the plant has flowered, you can  blanche them in water to remove the bitterness; dump the bitter water, and blanche them  again. You will loose a lot of vitamins this way, but there are still plenty of beneficial  nutrients left. Use sautéed or steamed dandelion greens as you would any other greens.  Dandelion root can by ground and used as a substitute for coffee, and dandelion flowers  can be used in recipes and for garnish.

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