web analytics

Archive | Awesome Autumn

Fresh Market – Garlic, the “Stinking Rose”

_AWE-Fresh-Market-GarlicBy Vicky Babcock

 

Thanks to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, everyone is aware of the power of garlic to ward off vampires, evil spirits and the like. It is rich in folklore, dating back—by some reports—over 7,000 years. Garlic has been found in the tombs of Ancient Egyptian Kings and was given to their slaves as part of their diet to ward off illness and increase strength and endurance. Greek soldiers and athletes used garlic for these same properties and Roman soldiers consumed garlic before battle for courage. The Egyptians swore on garlic, invoking the Ancient deities, much as we use the Bible in courtrooms today.

Garlic was placed on piles of stones at cross-roads by the ancient Greeks as a protection from demons as it caused them to become confused and lose their way. This also served as a meal for Hecate, the goddess of the wilderness. Europeans believed garlic had the power to ward off the evil eye and Central Europeans considered it a deterrent against devils, vampires, werewolves and the like. Dreaming of garlic in the house is considered lucky and to dream of eating garlic means you will discover hidden secrets.

Garlic originated in Central Asia. It derives its name from the Old English garleac—spear leek. The Greeks had another name for it—scorodon—the “stinking rose.” Indeed, its pungent odor—the bulb gained the sobriquet halitosis during the 1920’s—appears to be a critical part in its role as a natural insecticide. And pungent bulbs (garlic included) have been used for centuries to aid in the prevention and fighting of the common cold. The Cherokee used it as an expectorant for coughs and for croup. Modern science supports its role as a preventative, although experts caution that it has not been proven to fight pre-existing colds.

Garlic is a heart healthy food. Components of it aid in lowing blood pressure, as well as helping to prevent blood clots. Because of these factors alone, be sure to check with your doctor if you are on any medications before using garlic in quantity. Components of garlic also aid to reduce oxidative damage to blood vessel linings, a key factor in increasing risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and atherosclerosis, commonly, hardening of the arteries. Garlic is very high in vitamin B6 and high in vitamin C. It is also a rich source of Manganese, which helps your body maintain strong bones, nerves and blood sugar levels. It also helps to promote optimal function of the thyroid and protects your cells from free-radical damage.

Garlic is an important ingredient in most spaghetti sauces, goulash and many tomato-based foods.  It is highly prized in Italian and Oriental cuisines and blends its unique flavor well with chicken, shrimp and lemon. To make the most of its nutritional value, chop garlic and let rest for a bit before using; toss into the recipe towards the end of the cooking process.

And about vampires?  It turns out garlic really does keep the bloodsuckers away—blood sucking mosquitoes, that is.

 

Easy Scampi

¾ cup butter

¼ cup chopped onion

3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 pound uncooked med. shrimp, deveined

¼ cup dry white wine

2 T. fresh lemon juice

Salt and ground pepper

 

Melt butter in medium skillet over low heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until golden.  Add shrimp and stir just until pink. Remove shrimp and place in ovenproof dish. Cover lightly and keep warm. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and simmer about 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour over shrimp.  Serve with rice or noodles.

 

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

Posted in Awesome Autumn, RecipesComments Off

Extend the harvest this season

AWE-Extend-the-harvest-seasonBy gardening expert Melinda Myers

 

Didn’t get enough gardening in this season? Don’t worry there is still time to grow garden-fresh vegetables and herbs this fall and winter.

Purchase transplants and seeds that will grow and flourish in the cooler fall and winter temperatures. Lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, root vegetables, edible pansies and calendula as well as cole crops, like broccoli, are a few to consider.

Those gardening in colder regions need to select short season crops like lettuce, spinach and radishes that will mature before extremely cold winter temperatures set in. Extend the fall garden season into winter with the help of floating row covers, coldframes and portable greenhouses. Many of the elevated garden systems now have built in cold frames or row cover attachments to make extending the season much easier.

Try container and elevated gardens like the VegTrug™ (www.gardeners.com) to extend the growing season and increase your enjoyment. These contained gardens allow you to plant herbs, vegetables and flowers anywhere. Place a few right outside the front door or on the balcony for fun and convenience. Plus, contained gardens can easily be moved to a sheltered location or covered and protected from frost.

Or move your garden indoors. Select vegetables and herbs that can tolerate the less-than-ideal indoor growing conditions. Greens, onions and root crops, like radishes and short carrots, will grow in a sunny window. Expand your selection with the help of artificial lights.

Basil, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, chives and of course mint are a few favorite herbs to grow on your kitchen or other sunny windowsill. Increase your harvest with the help of artificial lights or try an indoor tiered grow light stand to save on space.

Take cuttings from healthy herbs growing in the garden, purchase new transplants or start herb and vegetable plants from seeds.

Take four inch cuttings from healthy herbs. Remove the lowest set of leaves and place the cut end in a well-drained potting mix. Once rooted, plant the herbs in individual containers or mixed with other herbs in a windowsill planter.

Start the seeds in a flat, in individual pots or directly in a planter. Keep the rooting mix warm and moist until the seeds sprout. Move to a sunny location or under artificial lights as soon as the seedlings break through the soil. Wait until the seedlings develop two sets of leaves and then transplant them into their permanent planter if needed.

So get busy planting and soon you will be enjoying the tasty benefits of fall and winter gardening.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips. 

 

Posted in Awesome Autumn, FeaturedComments Off

Fresh Market: The Butternut

AWE-Fresh-market-butternutsquashMeet the Butternut, a winter squash similar in flavor and texture to the pumpkin, but without the thick skin. Butternuts are harvested late in the season, usually October. However, as with much of the produce this year, they appear to be ripening earlier. You have probably seen a few coming into Market already.

Diligent research has given me little history on this tasty squash. One source (the Stow Independent) credits Charles Leggett with its development in the mid-1940s. It most certainly has its roots in the Americas, although it is relatively new to the table, arriving (according to some sources) in the 19th century.

It is considered a pumpkin in Australia and New Zealand, where the two are used interchangeably.

With all due respect to its summer cousins, winter squashes are a powerhouse of nutrients, far eclipsing that of the zucchini or summer squash.

The butternut is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, providing a whopping 457 percent and 51 percent RDA respectively, in one cup, cubed. Vitamin A has been identified as a deterrent against breast cancer as well as age related macular degeneration. It is heart healthy, protecting against heart disease. Low in fat, yet high in dietary fiber, the butternut is an excellent choice for your diet. It provides significant amounts of potassium and vitamin B6 as well, important to bone health and the function of the nervous and immune system respectively.

Butternut is a versatile squash, lending itself well to soups, casseroles and dessert dishes. It can be baked or microwaved whole for an easy fix. Remove the peel and seeds while still warm, then puree for a buttery flavored soup or a base for pumpkin pie.

 

Holiday “Pumpkin” Pie

1 ½ c. cooked and pureed butternut squash

½ c. sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cloves

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

* 1 ¼ c. Holiday Nog

1 tsp. orange liquor or brandy

1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell

Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400◦ F. In large bowl, combine squash, sugar, salt and spices.  Blend in eggs, nog and liquor. Pour into pastry shell. Bake 50 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool. Refrigerate. Serve plain  or with whipped cream.

*Substitute Holiday Nog with milk if desired—add ¼ c. sugar

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue. For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

Posted in Awesome Autumn, RecipesComments Off

More sunflowers

AWE-Sunflower-OstromWe received two more sunflower entries this week. One was from Lori Ostrom, of Nelson Township. Grandma Hale and Harlee are standing next to the sunflowers in their garden, with the tallest reaching 11 feet 6 inches.

Marjorie Merritt, of the Village of Sand Lake, also sent us photos of the sunflowers in their garden. She said that this year, she didn’t even plant any sunflowers—they just came up on their own! Her tallest one also reached 11 feet 6 inches.

AWE-Sunflower-MerrittThanks to both Lori and Marjorie for sharing their sunflowers with us!

Do you have the tallest sunflower in the area? Send your photo to news@cedarspringspost.com, with “sunflower” in the subject line. Give us a little bit of info about the sunflower, your name and where you live, and we will print it as space allows.

 

Posted in Awesome Autumn, FeaturedComments Off

advert

LOCAL Advertisers

The POST
Kent Theatre
Bryne Electrical

Get the Cedar Springs Post in your mailbox for only $35.00 a year!