Fresh Herbs – The Benefits

Cooking is something we all must do at some point in our lives. Some enjoy it while others loathe it. To most it is a chore to check off the daily to do list. On the other hand, some find it to be a source of relaxation. I find it usually depends on how an individual is raised. Cooking can be nostalgic, throwing one back into the kitchen with mom or grandma. No matter how you view cooking, the goal is to eat, preferably tasty meals. We use an abundance of spices in our home. Early Sunday mornings in the garden often come to an abrupt end when the aroma from the kitchen hits our noses. “Dad is up!” The kiddos announce as we all put away our tools and head in for breakfast. What a nice way to start the day.

In the past – my pre-farmer days – fresh herbs were something I thought of as unnecessary. That all changed when I purchased an organic Rosemary plant from Publix sometime ago. That evening I made spaghetti & for the first time with fresh Rosemary! Not much was needed to invigorate the house with the most delightful aroma! I was hooked! Cooking is even more exciting when you take creative control and using fresh herbs is the best way to do so. Whether cooking with them or using medicinally, fresh herbs are definitely underestimated!

Rosemary

Rosemary serves as a stimulant for the circulatory system. This means it increases the blood flow to your brain which in turn can boost memory and concentration. Simply having a pot of Rosemary in your home it a big help. Agitate the leaves occasionally and enjoy as the scent lifts your mood as it is also used for its antidepressant factors.

Basil

I find excuses to use this herb – particularly since I found out that it has anti-inflammatory properties! Yes! The essential oils within the plant contribute to this effect. In addition to that, new studies show that Basil even has antibacterial properties as well! Recently I have adjusted my Cucumber Lemon Detox to include Basil and it really elevates the flavor!

Thai Basil

Thai Basil

At the suggestion of a friend, we inter planted it among our Swiss Chard. Now every time we harvest Chard we are rewarded with the notable fragrance of Basil!

Thyme

This herb is one that we are just getting familiar with. I do love the aroma. We use in tomato based dishes but also find that it keeps laundry fresh. Place a sprig or two on the shelves of your linen closest or dresser

Thyme

Thyme

drawers for a nice treat. I have heard that the fresh leaves can be used in teas but I have yet to take on that adventure.

Currently, along with Rosemary, we grow several types of Basil from Thai to Blue Spice, Thyme, Cilantro, & Parsley. In our area, Zone 8, many of these are a sort of perennial, in that they overwinter well as long as you bring them in before a freeze. One of my life goals is to have herbs growing EVERYWHERE! Until then, we will, as my mom used to say, “Work with what ya got.”

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Not Your Typical Day

Today has not been a typical.  In fact, the past three days have been a bit more upside down than usual. Grandpa would say, “Turn that frown upside down Shena-Weena.”  At times that is more difficult to do than others albeit not impossible.  Today is one of those days.  As I sit on my couch looking at the beautiful day moving right along without me – a war wages within me.

It becomes increasingly clear with each year I age that my struggle with arthritis, secondary to Spina Bifida, will not get any easier.  In short, Spina Bifida is a congenital birth defect in which the spinal cord does not develop as it should. Thankfully, due to advancing technologies & medicine, Spina Bifida is becoming less and less heard of.  My case, though not severe, has been the source of some 28 surgeries in my 35 years of life, thus the arthritis. The pain associated with it renders me useless many days so I really really treasure the good days.  Decreased mobility is an issue for many who share my diagnosis, including myself, which make a healthy eating routine paramount! Excessive weight gain further limits an already limited individual. Starting to see why gardening is so important to us? Those who know me personally know that most days I’m clueless as to my limitations but on days like today, there is no way to deny it.  It is easy to feel sorry for oneself but I find that counterproductive! It never actually makes anyone feel better.

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Poona Kheera Cucumber

To those with limited physical ability, this is for you – DO NOT GIVE UP! Do not let anyone tell you what you cannot do! Find joy and happiness in small victories for the large victories are far and in between. This beauty (photo left) is planted right at our front door.  So on the days I come home so drained I can barely lift my legs to get up the steps – this is what I see.  I pause for a moment even through smoldering heat to take in its beauty. Though not fully mature, this unique Indian Heirloom has made my whole day better.  In its beautiful silence, it made me smile.  It is a quiet reminder that hard work pays off and success is possible, even for little ole me.

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