Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Tough and Tasty: Recasting a Resilient Weed as a Wild Edible

Purslane.Photo

From http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Purslane.html

I don’t know of any resource which analyzes every single weed out there for nutrients, calories, etc.
However it seems weeds could be a good addition to one’s diet.
And a great addition to the urban garden.

From the 30 July 2013 article at Quest- Exploring the Science of Sustainability

If a farmer told you not to pull a weed, would you be worried about him? Maybe you’d insist he get out of the heat and drink some water, or take a vacation.

Believe it or not, that farmer may have good reason to protect his weeds.

In the middle of July 2012, the costliest drought in recorded history had Nebraska in its grip. Not a sprinkle of rain had fallen on Ross Brockley’s farm since June 4, and wouldn’t again until July 31. His half-dozen acres of vegetable gardens were green thanks only to constant watering by hand and diligent weeding performed by Brockley, his wife, Barb, and me, his lone farmhand.

Here in the southeast corner of the state, residents had spent their summer watching scorched soil crack and fields of crops turn brown. On this particular day I noticed a very healthy plant in an empty garden bed. It didn’t resemble anything I recognized as food so I pulled it up.

Even amid the dead stalks of drought-stricken corn, purslane was defiantly rearing its little red branches.

“Don’t do that!” Brockley yelped from across the garden. “I’m saving it,” he said sternly. “We’ll eat that.”

Really?

The plant looked like a bundle of long red worms, each with several green oval-shaped cartoon ears. It looked more like something suited for a compost pile than a cultivated garden. This drought had clearly taken a toll on Brockley’s mental state.

He picked up the plant I had just discarded, broke off two stems, and put one in his mouth. He held the other in front of my face, indicating that I was to follow his lead.

“It’s purslane,” he said as he chewed, “and it’s primo!”

I hesitantly took a bite and chewed it slowly. “Peppery,” I thought. The crunch felt like a snap pea with the skin of an apple. Then came a blast of citrus flavor. I would have told Brockley that I enjoyed it, but I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt his obvious state of food bliss. I simply looked on as he finished eating the entire plant…

Kay Young is a local legend among plant people. In 1993, she authored Wild Seasons: Gathering and Cooking Wild Plants of the Great Plains, and has been active in Lincoln’s gardening community for decades. The 82-year-old has dedicated her life to local folklore, horticulture, and ethnobotany. A quick tour of her backyard revealed a variety of nurtured plants that one would expect to see in a yard-waste bin…

“If you make a sandwich with mayonnaise or salad dressing, it doesn’t get wimpy the way lettuce does,” she said of purslane’s hardy leaves. “And in the summer, when the lettuce is getting bitter, purslane is still just wonderful.”..

A study by the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C., states that purslane is the “richest source of omega-3 fatty acids of any green leafy vegetable yet examined.”

An aside

“Purslane comes from India, where it was a food crop centuries ago. It was Gandhi’s favorite food. Now it also grows across America, and around the world.”

July 31, 2013 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Better Nutrition Provided By ‘Microgreens’ Compared To Their Mature Counterparts

 

Abstract Image

[From the abstract]

From the 31 August 2012 article at Medical News Today

The first scientific analysis of nutrient levels in edible microgreens has found that many of those trendy seedlings of green vegetables and herbs have more vitaminsand healthful nutrients than their fully grown counterparts. A report on the research appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry…

..

They found that microgreens generally have higher concentrations of healthful vitamins and carotenoids than their mature counterparts. But they also found wide variations in nutrient levels among the plants tested in the study. Red cabbage microgreens, for instance, had the highest concentration of vitamin C, for instance, while green daikon radish microgreens had the most vitamin E. Concentrations of vitamins and carotenoids in popcorn shoots and golden pea tendrils were low compared to other microgreens, but were still as high as some common mature vegetables.

One other notable finding: Exposing microgreens to light tended to change the nutritional content, which is an ongoing research effort led by Dr. Lester and Dr. Wang, and results will be published soo

 

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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