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Harvesting plants for food and medicine grows our culture, tradition and health
  1. Local FARMS Act: Harvesting Health Program
  2. Smoothies as talismans: the allure of superfoods and the dangers of nutritional primitivism
  3. Growing Herbs
  4. Seductive and medicinal
  5. The 20 Healthiest Fruits on the Planet

A serving of 3 large strawberries provides the following nutrients:. Read more about strawberries. Strawberries are a versatile fruit. People can eat them raw or add them to breakfast cereals or yogurt, blend them into a smoothie, or make them into jam. Oranges are among the richest sources of vitamin C, with one medium fruit providing percent of a person's daily value of vitamin C.

Local FARMS Act: Harvesting Health Program

A g orange also contains the following nutrients:. Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. This vitamin is also essential for immune system function. It boosts immune function by helping the body to absorb iron from plant-based foods. The human body cannot make vitamin C itself, so people need to get this vitamin from their diet. Oranges also contain high levels of pectin, which is a fiber that can keep the colon healthy by binding to chemicals that can cause cancer and removing them from the colon.

Read more about the benefits of oranges. People can eat oranges on their own as a refreshing snack or by drinking a glass of pure orange juice. Juice oranges at home or choose a brand of fresh juice whose label states it is not from concentrate. People can also grate orange peel into a salad, yogurt, or as a cereal topping to add extra flavor. Like other citrus fruits, limes provide a healthful dose of vitamin C.

They also have similar health benefits, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. The juice of one lime provides the following nutrients :. Read more about the benefits of limes and lime water here. Limes work well in savory foods. Try adding the juice or grated peel of a lime to flavor salad dressings or rice dishes. Otherwise, juice a lime and add to hot or cold water for a refreshing drink. Grapefruits are sour fruits full of health-inducing vitamins and minerals. Grapefruits can be pink, red, or white. Half a grapefruit contains the following nutrients:.

The flavonoids in grapefruits can help protect against some cancers, inflammation, and obesity. A review study suggests the compounds called furanocoumarins found in grapefruits can help protect against oxidative stress and tumors and may support healthy bones. Some research from this review suggests that grapefruit furanocoumarins may have anticancer properties, which may be especially effective against breast cancer , skin cancer , and leukemia. Researchers still need to carry out more studies on animals and humans to confirm these properties.

People may wish to see a doctor before adding grapefruit to their diet, as it can interact with certain medications. Read more about grapefruit benefits. Try adding grapefruit slices to a fruit salad, or squeeze the juice into water to make a drink. Otherwise, people can buy pure grapefruit juice from the supermarket.

Blackberries contain many seeds, so they have a high fiber content.

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This means they can help improve gut health and heart health. Half a cup of blackberries contains the following nutrients:. Read more about blackberries here. People can eat blackberries fresh, add them to yogurt for breakfast or dessert, or add frozen blackberries to smoothies. Apples make a quick and easy addition to the diet. Eat them with the skin on for the greatest health benefits. Apples are high-fiber fruits, meaning that eating them could boost heart health and promote weight loss.

The pectin in apples helps to maintain good gut health. One medium apple contains the following nutrients:. Research has shown that there is a link between eating apples regularly and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. One study found that people who ate whole apples were 30 percent less likely to be obese than those who did not. This can lower the risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Read more about apples. Raw apples make a great snack and combining them with almond butter helps balance protein and fat intake. People can also add raw or stewed apples to yogurt, or use applesauce in cooking. Many people consider pomegranates to be a 'superfood. One raw pomegranate contains :. One pomegranate also contains This vitamin is essential for strong bones and healthy blood cells.

A review study about the health benefits of pomegranates suggests that they have anti-inflammatory effects and may help protect against brain-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. This may be because pomegranates contain particularly high levels of polyphenols. Research discussed in this review also suggests that pomegranates may restrict the growth of human prostate cancer cells. Read more about the benefits of pomegranate juice.

Pomegranates can make a great addition to salads, or to couscous or rice dishes.

Smoothies as talismans: the allure of superfoods and the dangers of nutritional primitivism

Pomegranates are sweet, so people can also add them to yogurt and fruit salads. Pineapple is an exotic fruit that may help reduce inflammation and promote healthy tissue growth.

Hops harvest and making medicine

Pineapple contains an active compound called bromelain, which many people take as a dietary supplement because of its potential health benefits. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health state that bromelain can help with reducing nasal inflammation or sinusitis. However, scientists need to carry out more research into its benefits for osteoarthritis and its anticancer potential. Pineapples contain manganese, which the body uses to build bone and tissue.

A medium slice of pineapple also contains the following nutrients:. Read more about the benefits of pineapple , the pineapple juice , and potential bromelain benefits. People can enjoy fresh pineapple by itself or in fruit salads. They can also use pineapple to make a tropical salsa or add it as a topping on fish tacos. Try adding frozen pineapple to smoothies. Bananas are well known for their high potassium content. A medium banana contains mg of the adequate adult intake of 4, mg of potassium.

Potassium helps the body control heart rate and blood pressure. Bananas are also a good source of energy, with one banana containing calories and The 3.

Read more about bananas. A banana is an excellent fruit to use to thicken a smoothie. People can also use them in baking as a natural sweetener or to make banana bread or pancakes. Avocados are rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat which helps lower cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association say that maintaining healthy cholesterol levels with healthful fats could reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Like bananas, avocados are rich in potassium. They also contain lutein, an antioxidant which is important for healthy eyes and skin. Half an avocado contains the following nutrients:. Avocados also contain folate, vitamin A, and beta-carotene. Read more about avocados.

People can add avocado to salads, or mix with lime, garlic, and tomatoes to make guacamole. Add avocado to smoothies or hummus, or use avocado instead of other fats in baking. Like strawberries, blueberries contain anthocyanin, which is a powerful antioxidant. Because of this, they might protect against heart disease, stroke, cancers, and other diseases. Blueberries also contain pterostilbene, a compound that may help prevent plaque from collecting in the arteries. Half a cup of blueberries provides the following nutrients:. Read more about blueberries. Fresh or frozen blueberries are a great addition to breakfast cereals, desserts, yogurt, or smoothies.

Fruits come in all shapes and sizes, and different fruits have different health benefits. For the best results, add a variety of fruits to the diet. By eating fruit, a person is providing their body with key vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. This can have significant benefits for heart health, digestion, weight management, and skin health.

People can enjoy a wide variety of fruits to improve their health and lower the risk of inflammation, heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Article last reviewed by Tue 12 February All references are available in the References tab. Akbar, M. Pomegranate: An ideal fruit for human health. Basic report: , blackberries, raw Basic report: , blueberries, raw. Basic report, , grapefruit, raw, pink and red, all areas.

Basic report: , lime juice, raw. Basic report: , oranges, raw, Florida. Basic report: , pineapple, raw, all varieties. Cassidy, A. Di Noia, J. The foliage and flowers are harvested for culinary purposes.

Growing Herbs

The blue to purple flowers are borne on terminal spikes of the stem or branches and are extremely attractive to honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Basil is an annual herb that is very cold-sensitive. Planting it outside too early will result in reduced yield or death of the plantings. It grows readily from seed when sown in warm, moist soil. In North Dakota, transplants often are set out in gardens when the soil has warmed to about 68 degrees.

Full sun and well-drained soil, along with balanced nutrition, are essential for success. Regular watering via a drip hose or microirrigation is useful because overhead watering often leads to fungal disease development. Continue pinching the center of the plant to discourage flowering and harvest the tender new shoots that result for culinary purposes.

Handle carefully because basil foliage will darken if bruised. Many types of basil, including Genovese, holy, lemon, cinnamon and purple basil, grow well in North Dakota. Because of the wide phenotypic character of this species, basil plantings for ornamental purposes are common. This is an herb with attractive ornamental qualities due to the profusion of flowers it produces, which are used in preparing teas. Chamomile is among the least fussy herbs to grow and adapts well to many types of soil.

Chives are a sure-fire confidence builder for the most amateur gardeners. This hardy perennial can be seed sown directly into the site or moved in via divided transplants. The pink to bright purple flowers form globular heads at the top of the plant that attract any honeybee in the vicinity. Chives will self-seed readily and should be dead-headed to prevent volunteer plants from coming up in unwanted places. They often are used as border plants that will not get out of control.

Like chamomile, it is not particular about soil conditions, needing only full sunlight to look and produce its best. This herb, along with parsley, can be grown in containers. Depending on the intended use, cilantro and coriander refer to the same plant. When grown for the foliage, it can be referred to as cilantro, as well as Chinese parsley or Mexican parsley. When grown for its seeds, it often is referred to as coriander.

Although drought resistant, this annual requires full sunlight and regular watering for best production. It should be sown directly into the garden, not transplanted. This widely used herb is popular in many ethnic cuisines, including Mexican, Chinese, South American and Vietnamese.

Seductive and medicinal

Before becoming popular in culinary dishes, it was thought to be an aphrodisiac and was distilled as a love potion in the Middle Ages. Dill, a highly versatile culinary herb fresh and dry, is one of the most commonly grown annual herbs in the upper Midwest. The seeds, leaves and seeds in umbels are all used. It produces small yellow flowers, which quickly become seeds. Dill thrives in cool weather, which allows it to be sown early in the spring. It bolts goes to seed when the temperatures rise. If use of the seed is desired, wait until the seed has turned brown in the umbel.

Cut the plant and hang it upside down to collect the seeds on a drop cloth. Garlic, a fall-planted perennial herb, has grown in popularity with home gardeners during the past decade. Propagated from cloves, the larger outside ones usually are selected to provide the largest bulb the following summer. Place cloves pointed side up, 3 inches below the soil surface sometime after Columbus Day in the fall.

The soil will have enough warmth to stimulate root growth and initiate stem growth, but the garlic should not break through the soil surface until the following spring.

The 20 Healthiest Fruits on the Planet

After harvesting, the bulbs should be allowed to cure for a day or two in a shady location with good air circulation. Storing garlic can be fun; simply braid the foliage together and hang in the kitchen for convenient use. Whether the lavender plant is a perennial depends on the cultivar selection, microclimate location and amount of snow cover. Perhaps your best option is to consider it an annual and be pleasantly surprised if it should survive a winter.

To have any chance of overwintering successfully, lavender should be planted in soil with excellent drainage and in full sun, preferably on a south-facing slope. In the spring, shear the plants back heavily to stimulate new growth and to remove the winter-killed branch ends. Like other members of the mint family and most herbs, lavender will not need high levels of fertility. If given adequate winter protection and moisture throughout the summer months, lavender plants will produce an abundance of flowers that last only about a week but attract butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees during that time.

If the flowers are harvested before seed set, usually a second blooming period can be experienced. Air-dried flowers can retain their aroma for several weeks. Oregano is perhaps the most confusing of the herbs because its types vary widely in growth habit, hardiness and flavor.

Several Greek and Italian types are hardy in Zone 4 if provided winter protection.

Top 10 Herbs

American teens are familiar with oregano because of their high consumption of pizza. Fresh oregano is unequaled for flavor and aroma enhancement in Italian dishes. Like the other Mediterranean herbs, it needs a warm, sunny location and well-drained soil to thrive. It usually is started from seed in a greenhouse and transplanted outdoors after frost threats have passed. Also, like other herbs, the flavor will be best if you keep fertilization to a minimum and you add phosphorus and potassium at the end of the growing season to help in developing winter hardiness.

French tarragon is hardy in Zone 4 if given sufficient winter protection. Russian tarragon is even hardier. French tarragon has a distinct licorice scent, while the Russian does not. Russian tarragon will grow to 6 feet tall and tends to spread from the seed it produces; French tarragon will grow to just 2 feet tall. This is one of the few herbs that can be grown in full sunlight or partial shade. The other cultural requirements — well-drained soil, not overwatering and modest fertility — are the same as with most other herbs. When using herbs for meal preparation, timing is everything to maximize flavor.

Generally, herbs should be harvested before the heat of the day but after the dew has dried. This captures optimal aroma and cuts down on the potential of spreading disease among the plantings. If you lack garden space, consider your windowsills. Several herbs, including basil, parsley, marjoram, chives, mint and rosemary, are well-suited for growing in pots. Herbs can be started from seed or transplanted from outdoor plantings.

Place potted herbs in a sunny window and care for them like houseplants. Using freshly harvested herbs in cooking tops the taste of dried herbs in just about every instance. Try preparing a pizza or pasta dish with dried oregano and basil vs. Be a little adventuresome with flavorful herbs. These are some common questions about herbs:.

Herbs add flavor and negligible, if any, calories and other nutritional value; however, using herbs in cooking can offer some potential health benefits. Many people find they can cut down on the amount of salt and fat in their recipes when they add herbs. Using less sodium and less fat are good moves toward heart-healthy cooking.

Rinse fresh herbs well under running water, then use a pair of scissors to snip the herbs or a sharp knife to chop them into tiny pieces. For optimal flavor, expose as much surface area as possible. For dried herbs, use a mortar and pestle available in most kitchen supply stores or catalogs to grind the herbs into a powder. Use herbs for variety and accent only. Usually one strongly flavored herb alone or paired with one or two more mildly flavored herbs is a better bet.

In recipes calling for dried herbs, substitute a larger amount of fresh herbs. No two herbs are exactly alike, so generalizing is difficult; however, the usual comparison is as follows:. Basil: tomatoes, pasta, rice, beef stew, pork, meatloaf, duck, fish, veal, green or vegetable salads, salad dressings, eggplant, potatoes, carrots, spinach, peas, eggs and cheese. Chamomile : Often used to make tea. The usual method is to use about 2 teaspoons of dried flowers per cup.

Pour boiling water over the flowers, cover with a saucer and allow to steep for about five minutes, then strain. Chives : soups and chowders, salads and salad dressings, potatoes, fish, meat, poultry, cheese and eggs. Dill seed : cucumber pickles, pickled beets, salads, sauerkraut, green beans, meatballs, egg dishes, stews, fish, chicken and breads. Garlic : tomato dishes, soups, dips, sauces, salads, salad dressings, dill pickles, meat, poultry, fish, stews, marinades and breads.

Lavender : beverages tea, lemonade , baked goods such as cookies, honey, chicken, lamb and jelly. Oregano : tomatoes, pasta sauces, pizza, chili, barbecue sauce, vegetable soup, egg and cheese dishes, stuffing, pork, lamb, chicken and fish. Tarragon : sour cream sauces, casseroles, marinades, pot roasts, veal, lamb, poultry, fish and egg dishes.

Flavor can be lost with extended cooking. How can I preserve them for later use? You have four main methods to preserve herbs for later use: air-drying, oven drying, microwave drying and freezing. Be sure to wash fresh herbs well under running water before preserving them. Use paper towels to pat dry. For larger amounts, place in a clean sink or large bowl of water, remove and repeat washing until no grit remains and the water is clear. Consider using a salad spinner to remove excess water.

Pick plants at their peak just before they blossom and when the dew is off in the morning. Bunch washed young leaves and tender stems, tie with string and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated, dark place for about two weeks. Stems sometimes have an undesirable flavor, so you may not want to use them. Be sure the herbs are completely dry so they do not mold during storage. The leaves should crumble easily. Dry washed herbs in a conventional oven set at degrees or the lowest setting and heat until brittle, testing hourly.

Position a fan near the oven to circulate the heat. Note: If the oven temperature is above degrees, sometimes undesirable flavors result. To dry using a microwave oven, simply place about four bunches of washed herbs between two microwave-safe pieces of paper toweling and microwave on high for one to three minutes, checking every 30 seconds.

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Cool and test if the herbs are dry and brittle.