Hypericum (St. John’s Wort)
This stunningly beautiful flowering plant is highly prized for its numerous medicinal properties – anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-viral and more. It helps heal wounds and eases muscle aches. Hypericum-infused oil is a great topical treatment for aches and pains.
A lot of people have a favorite color, a favorite food or a favorite gemstone. I don’t know how common it is to have a favorite tree. Ever since I first took a walk in the woods at age 7, my favorite tree has always been the chestnut tree. In spring, they are green. In early summer, they produce spectacular blooms and in the fall ripe chestnuts, protected by their burrs, fall to the ground. Our bees are currently storing away honey for the winter, and the chestnut aroma is unmistakable.
Zucchini flowers are a delicious and beautiful appetizer! They are a good source of antioxidants. Traditionally, they are breaded and fried, but the breading is definitely optional, and in my opinion detracts both from the flavor and the nutritional value. I lightly sautéed these zucchini flowers in extra-virgin olive oil, added a little sea salt and served with fresh sheep ricotta.
Being in nature and watching animals interact in their environment is a great way for children to learn and grow. Butterflies and fireflies are among the many fascinating little insects you can find during this season. Frogs and toads and fish make a trip to the river an exciting adventure, with the added benefit of water-play.
If you are looking for a healthy alternative to alcoholic beverages, consider probiotic drinks. Pictured here are red and yellow beet kvass and refreshing green tea kombucha. Find my top recipes for probiotic foods at: http://yourprobiotickitchen.com/probiotic-foods/
Yogurt made from unprocessed whole milk is a great part of your nutrient-dense diet and is a good source of probiotics. It’s easy to make (see my recipe at http://yourprobiotickitchen.com/raw-milk-yogurt/) and very versatile. Enjoy it with berries or fresh seasonal fruits, or as a base for a smoothie or homemade frozen yogurt. If you don’t tolerate dairy, you can make or purchase probiotic coconut, cashew and other dairy-free yogurt recipes.
Homemade hummus is easy to make and fun to prepare. It lends itself to endless permutations by changing up the type of legumes you use and the optional add-ons. I like cannellini, navy, Borlotti and chickpea hummus the best, with the flavor of extra-virgin olive oil, freshly-squeezed Meyer lemon juice, sea salt and plenty of garlic. Freshly chopped parsley makes a nice garnish. Don’t forget to soak your legumes before cooking them! Here’s my basic hummus recipe: http://yourprobiotickitchen.com/cannellini-bean-hummus/
Liver is a nutrient-dense food, supplying a wealth of macronutrients and micronutrients ideal during preconception, pregnancy, early childhood and recovery from illness, stress or physical activity. Chicken livers are milder tasting than beef livers, making them a good choice for your standard paté. If you’re looking for an occasional nutritional boost as well as a change in flavor, try preparing duck or goose liver paté. You can find my basic recipe at: http://yourprobiotickitchen.com/liver-pate/
Cabbage is a humble and inexpensive vegetable that comes in lots of colors, textures and sizes. Cabbage contains nutrients that help decrease gut inflammation, and purple cabbage is particularly rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Try it in your next batch of sauerkraut, or prepare a simple yet delicious cabbage soup with beans and sausage. Try making your own sauerkraut: http://yourprobiotickitchen.com/sauerkraut/