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Quick Tips to Grow Healthy Basil

Garden Planning

Do you want your basil plant to be big and lush? Here’s some quick tips to ensure you enjoy the largest yield from your basil plants.

Listen to the end and learn three common mistakes that you can easily avoid!

Benefits of Microgreens & Ways to Enjoy Them

Climate & growing conditions

Benefits of Microgreens:

There are many foods that we have come to know as superfoods that can often be difficult to access, such as maca, MCT coconut oil, and spirulina. Depending on where and how you live, these can be very difficult to grow, process, and store. 

When buying foods like these, they often have a higher price point as well, which presents its own set of challenges. To me, these are some of the factors that make microgreens the absolutely incredible superfood that they are! Microgreens can be produced very simply in your own home, and there are growing numbers and sizes of retailers who provide seed in bulk specifically for this purpose! While you do still need the space to grow in and a short list of materials to start producing your own microgreens, the setup required is quite straightforward. Once you are established, it becomes what is probably the most efficient superfood to produce yourself!

The benefits of access are the beginning of the “super” quality of microgreens. This still leaves the wondrous world of their vast nutritional content! Beyond the high antioxidant content found in microgreens, they are also found to have significantly higher levels of nutrients, such as vitamin E and vitamin C, than the mature versions of the plant. In an article from NPR, author Eliza Barclay shares about a study conducted by Gene Lester, who is the National Program Leader of Nutrition and Food Safety/Quality for the USDA, alongside colleagues from the University of Maryland, College Park, which was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. The focus was on analyzing the nutrients in microgreens. They included 25 varieties of microgreens in their sample pool of species while looking at four groups of vitamins and other phytochemicals. What they found means a lot for our understanding of and relationship to microgreens! Their findings showed, ¨leaves from almost all of the microgreens [tested] had four to six times more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant.¨ Variation was found from species to species, just as is found in mature species.

Coming from a culinary foundation, it always excites me to use an ingredient with such an acute flavor, unique texture, and high amounts of various nutrients. The search for  ingredients which bring a special texture or flavor that both stands out and incorporates well is an unending search. Microgreens meet all these criteria, and they do it in a way where they also provide great variation for you to experiment with and choose from. If you would like to make your dish stand out with flavors reminiscent of traditional Italian recipes, a bitter, slightly-spicy microgreen like radish or mustard goes a long way! Something herbaceous? Basil, fennel, or cilantro! Something refreshing? Peas, celery, cabbage, or parsley fit that in my book. Something with a sweeter, rounded flavor? Beets, arugula, or sunflower! 

Uses for Microgreens:

In my six years or so working in restaurants, I watched a number of ingredients skyrocket in reputation in our culture. Foods that many of us had not even heard about a handful of years ago are now popping up all around us from small, local cafes to NPR articles to Michelin star restaurants. These quick rises can often leave us with the basic question of what these foods are, let alone what makes them stand out or how to acquire or prepare them.

This stardom can lead to an unfortunate and unnecessary disconnect from these ingredients; however, we plan to address this by helping people connect with these ingredients! We are excited to share how accessible it can be to use microgreens in a variety of dishes in your own home. Microgreens certainly deserve the fame that has gotten them into Michelin restaurants, and by the same rationale, they deserve to be in your home diet as well! 

Microgreens can sometimes be confused with sprouts, but the distinguishers between the two are that microgreens must be grown in a solid medium (soil or soil-free mediums) and usually take somewhere between 7 and 14 days to be ready, whereas sprouts are simply sprouted in water and typically take just two or three days. Microgreens are understood to be higher in fiber, more nutritious, and safer in general than sprouts, as sprouts can sometimes develop harmful bacteria in their humid environment.

As mentioned earlier, microgreens provide a distinct, refreshing flavor and texture in cooked dishes or complimentary in salads or cool dishes. Because of all of these attributes, there is a fairly wide diversity of dishes that I like to use microgreens in. They seem to contribute the most to a dish when they are added at the end to preserve their flavor and crunchy texture. Some of the dishes that I enjoy including microgreens with cheese or charcuterie boards, pasta (mixed in after removing from the heat to keep the microgreens fresh), tomato toast, tacos, on top of curry, or with eggs in the morning. Sometimes cutting microgreens down smaller, sometimes leaving them whole!

I hope you feel more acquainted with microgreens after this! Their benefits and simplicity are the biggest takeaway within this. Don’t be afraid to try adding them to your favorite dish! Whether that be pizza, Tom Kha, nachos, hummus, or sushi!

Brandon Beins
Culinary Educator and Human, Plant, & Soil Health Advocate

“My food journey began in high school when culinary classes brought me into the world of creating food. I continued on to culinary school before completing a two year apprenticeship with a local sushi chef. This apprenticeship was really where 

I learned to care for ingredients; how to prepare them in a way that shows them respect. In order to really take care of your ingredients you need to start with the soil. I haven’t had many memorable meals that were prepared with unhealthy produce from depleted soils,and most of the memorable meals from my life were simple meals made from ingredients that had themselves been nourished lovingly and prepared the same way. I believe high quality food can be prepared by anyone, and it starts with the soil.” 

3 Keys to Successful Indoor Seed Starting

Garden Planning

Growing your own healthy plants from seed can be tricky. Even expert growers have trouble keeping their seedlings alive and well. Luckily, three simple keys are all you need to focus on.

Discover how to start your plants off right so they thrive. Be sure to stick around to the end for a Bonus Key!

Conscious Nutrition

Garden Gifts

BY: Guest Heather Fleming

I am Heather Fleming, a Clinical Nutritionist who is also an emotional eater, recovering perfectionist, and very rebellious with my relationship with food. Instead of obsessing about trying to follow a perfect diet, I created Conscious Nutrition to help people feel nourished both physically and emotionally. 

We are meant to interpret our body’s signals instead of ignoring them and judging our cravings. I believe our bodies, taste buds and senses are giving us a sign to implement more nourishment and support.

Does that mean that chocolate cake every day is what your organs need? Prolly not. But what it may need is sweet.

Conscious Nutrition Taste Buds

Most health care professionals suggest just avoiding sweets so you don’t crave them more. This can be true, however, I haven’t met many people who can never eat sweets again.  Once you eat intensive sweets, you can crave them for the next 72 hours due to your glycogen stores in your liver, blood sugar spike, and insulin receptivity.

I shared a dessert with a friend the other day, it was magical. The next day at about the exact same time, I had a sugar craving. Instead of feeling powerless, eating more sweets, or judging me, I drank heaps of sun tea with lime and honey. Then the next day, it lessened. This has taken me YEARS of practice and heaps of self-compassion. Also, check in with how you talk to yourself during these moments. Would you say these things to a friend? 

Which organ does sweet support? Your nervous system.

And most of us are having some stress issues, so calming our nerves is important. That is why hunters and gatherers found the berries. We needed the sweet.

Conscious Nutrition’s Taste Chart

Next time you are craving sweets, instead of judging and restricting, add nourishment. 

With abundant nourishment,
Heather Fleming, C.C.N.
ConsciousNutrition.com

Download Heather’s complimentary recipe book, The Conscious Nutrition Recipe Book HERE! 

The coupon code is: nourish
https://consciousnutrition.com/nourish-recipe-book/

Enjoy these Smoothie videos offered by Heather 🙂

 

Reset Smoothie

Pumpkin Smoothie

Superfood: Raw Chocolate Mousse

Food Preservation

Marjory Wildcraft

Secrets to Growing Your Own Chocolate

Marjory Wildcraft is the founder of The Grow Network, which is a community of people focused on modern self-sufficient living. She has been featured by National Geographic as an expert in off-grid living, she hosted the Mother Earth News Online Homesteading Summit, and she is listed in Who’s Who in America for having inspired hundreds of thousands of backyard gardens.

Join Marjory and 15 other gardening experts for the 

2021 Superfood Garden Summit

https://superfoodgardensummit.com/

Superfood Gardens that Thrive

Building Projects

Tackling garden projects is always easier when you’re inheriting best practices and lessons learned from people with experience. ​​​And all of us here at Grow Your Own Vegetables would love that for you. Superfood gardening… without all the hard work. Because let’s face it… we are better together. 💚 

The Superfood Garden Summit is starting soon, and once the LIVE Summit begins, it is going to fly by! ​​ 

​​​So let’s get started with your first step here. ​​​​​​Lots of gardeners get this backwards and skip this step… and that’s what creates a lot of extra effort. Yuck! ​​​​​​​Watch this video, get registered and download your bonus eGuide here:  https://superfoodgardensummit.com

Join Stacey and 15 other gardening experts for the 

2021 Superfood Garden Summit

https://superfoodgardensummit.com/