Best Ever Pickled Beets

This is our favourite Pickled Beet Recipe. Submitted to naturalmommy from mom, Su Edwards. You’ll love ’em too since they are sweet and retain that earthy beet flavour.

You Will Need:

Beets

Jars

Vinegar (white or apple cider)

Sugar (white is generally what people use, but we suggest the organic sugar cane)

Pot, Ladle, Tongs, Knife Continue reading

Homemade Blackberry Jelly

Submitted by Catherine Bedson from Farmhouse Home.

Have you ever made jelly from fresh fruit rather than a packet?  It tastes like jellied fruit and has a fresh, fruity flavour. I made some with fresh blackberries and it tasted so good.  My husband who’s a jelly fan, found some packets in the cupboard the other day and asked if I could make it. Instead I made this fresh blackberry jelly and he commented twice how nice it was. Serve with yogurt, ice cream or both! Continue reading

Six Clean Plates

Submitted by Lisa Marvier of Farm Girl Nursery. Find them on facebook [here].

Last weekend I had all of the cousins over for a camping adventure on the property. They range in age from 7 – 12. Most are very easy going when it comes to food from the garden and are eager to try new dishes. However, 2 of the bunch refused and have always refused to try anything! Breaks my heart. This year it was going to be different.

The deal was you can spend the night, sleep in the tent, sit by the campfire and roast smores only and only after you have worked in the garden and helped to pick the veggies for dinner. This years crop included cauliflower, leeks, onions, fennel, garlic and basil. The kids promptly hopped in the hot tub allowing me to clean the produce. After their showers they strolled into the kitchen one by one and we chopped, very finely all of our ingredients. They watched and participated in the making. The salmon was prepped with fresh garlic, a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper, lemon and popped into the oven. Rice was thrown into the rice cooker and we were on our way.

We talked about the veggies from the garden, how they thought we could prepare them in the future, what they loved about the harvesting process and more. The veggies were sautéed, each child got a stir or two and then we were ready to plate. Something was different this time. They all were excited to know how their little creation was going to turn out. Beautiful plates were plated with a nice amount of rice. On top of the rice we did a large spoonful of the sautéed cauliflower (remember tiny, tiny), fennel, garlic, basil and leeks. Atop that our lovely salmon and garnished with a pinch of fresh basil. What a treat! The kids picked up their forks and in what seemed like an instant the plates were bare – I was astounded. The first thing I did was to call my parents who were in complete shock that the two girls not only ate but tried something new. Then I was on the phone to my brother who did not believe me. Here’s the SECRET: the kid’s had a vested interest. They picked the veggies, they cooked, they talked about the meal and in the end they wanted to know what it tasted like. Of course it was fabulous. Mission accomplished. I think I’m onto something here!

Images courtesy of Farm Girl Nursery. Visit them on facebook for more photos.

Farm Girl Nursery

Farm Girl Nursery opened on March 24th of this year in Novato, California. It’s pretty much been an experiment, according to owner Lisa Marvier who is excited about what might happen next. The fact that she knows that she is making a difference in the world means everything to her. Farm Girl Nursery is full of fresh organic fruits and veggies as well as a variety of animals, some of which are rescued like her former racehorses. They have also opened up a camp for kids, where they can learn about how food is grown and even do some of the cooking themselves. Lisa also encourages people to reuse materials in ways they have never thought of, instead of just buying new. She encourages kids in her camp to recycle everything from their homes: egg cartons, soda bottles, water bottles, milk containers…anything that they can use to start seeds. Lisa discovered that the plastic cartons with tops are great because they act as mini greenhouses!

We just had to meet up with Lisa (interview below) to learn more about Farm Girl Nursery, her philosophies and her future plans. You can connect with Lisa and Farm Girl Nursery through e-mail: marvier@comcast.net, over the phone: (415) 730.6917 or through their facebook page found [here]. Their current hours of operation are Wednesday and Saturday from 10-4PM.

NM: Why do you think it is important for people to grow their own food and or buy natural food grown locally?

Lisa: I see so many ill informed people all over the country. They eat what their parents eat, their parents are in a hurry, and they forget about health and nutrition. When you grow your own food it means something. You see a seed turn into a harvest and you want to eat it, prepare it and enjoy it. Eating locally is everything. I often ask my son to read the ingredients in the food he wants to eat because the “other” kids like it. I then ask him what is in an apple, a green bean, an orange. He gets it. His breakfast often consists of a walk through the gardens picking blueberries, strawberries, peas, carrots and tomatoes. It puts a huge smile on my face and heart! Continue reading

Sauerkraut – how to make it yourself

Submitted by Kristin Urdiales of naturehaditfirst.com

Raw fermented sauerkraut is one of those foods that once you have it in your life you don’t want to live without it. As a powerful digestive tonic, it is the go to in our house for hiccups, upset tummies, indigestion, and a myriad of other ailments. With anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, sauerkraut juice is the first medicine I give my kids in times of diarrhea and vomiting.

We have taken it to the Dominican Republic, because going on vacation without it is unimaginable. For our upcoming family trip to Florida, my mother-in-law has already requested that I bring 4 jars, enough to get the entire family through a week of consuming uncommon fare.

It is also one of those foods that if you have it bought from the store, you may not agree with a word I have just said. Store bought raw sauerkraut is often not organic, expensive, mushy, and a faint caricature of the powerful medicine I am talking about. Continue reading

Locavore – A Documentary

Locavore is a documentary about local food. It is a documentary everyone should see. A locavore is someone who eats locally. It is more than a trend, it is the future of a sustainable food system. What we eat is the building block for every cell in our body. In addition to the health benefits, local food is also a solution to our global environmental issues and food crisis. As illustrated in Locavore, for thousands of years, the human diet was whole organic, local food. In the last 60 years our food has become highly processed, genetically modified, with mass produced food components – deconstructed and stripped then re-animated for consumption.

Locavore begins with the excitement of kids picking their own food to great folk music. Then the documentary urges the viewer to ask the question, where does your food come from and is it safe? Our great grandparents (and some of our grandparents) ate fruits and veggies that came from their community or personal gardens. We simply don’t. As one interviewee states, “the food in the grocery store isn’t food, it only looks like food.” Locavore also explores the questions: Where did food grown locally disappear to? Where is the local butcher and why can’t we eat like our ancestors?

Local food tastes better, is better for you, it is better for the planet and better for your community. A hard hitting point in this documentary is that organic soil is full of life, with millions of organisms. Flavour is a sign of nutrients and life in the soil. Sadly, the current mass-produced food system degrades the soil through pesticides, herbicides mono cropping and soil erosion…we are killing the very life in the soil. This is a problem because plants harvests micro nutrients and trace minerals out of the ground which gives food its health value. Instead of eating food grown in healthy soil, we have created a soil that is a dead medium just pumped up on nitrogen, potassium and prosperous. Flavour is an indicator of health. Dead soil has much less flavour and less health benefits. Sadly, many people don’t know how much better their food should taste, because they do not eat locally or grow their own. Continue reading

Cubit’s Organic Seeds Give Away

To kick off the growing season we met up with Laura Watt from Cubit’s, a Canadian organic seed company. Laura is excited to offer a seed-give-away on naturalmommy. Keep reading for details of how you can win her fabulous seeds for your 2012 garden!

Laura is from Toronto Canada and she has a passion for organic gardening and helping others to grow healthy, natural food. Cubit’s offers organic, rare and heirloom seeds on-line and they have a special interest in urban gardening and local food because they believe that anyone can easily grow their own produce. It’s fun, healthier than non-organic-store-bought-produce and good for the planet too!

Laura’s passion for gardening and helping people get passionate about growing food themselves is infections. Laura’s website, cubitsorganics.com, offers fun recipes and tips for what to do with all those delicious veggies and herbs after you’ve grown them! Check out her recipe for Canada’s Best Sandwich, found [here].

Some of Cubit’s seeds are truly unique, like their organic watermelon radish seeds which will turn any salad into a conversation piece. What is a watermelon radish you might be wondering? It is a radish that looks like a miniature watermelon! We also love Cubit’s organic carrot seed blend called Rainbow Carrots (featured in first image) and their beet seeds that create mouthwatering organic early-wonder-tall-top-beets (featured in second image).

What to win some of these incredible seeds?

All you have to do is like us on facebook, then, send us a message letting us know what your gardening aspirations are this year! Simple, eh?

Once a winner is chosen, Cubit’s will send them 6 packs of organic seeds to help them achieve their organic 2012 garden!

Winner will be announced at the end of May.

Fresh

Chef John Bishop’s cookbook titled Fresh is centered on seasonal recipes and local foods.

Bishop states that his cookbook was inspired by Gary and Naty King, owners of Hazelmere Organic Farm, a sustainable family-managed organic vegetable farm in Surrey BC. The Kings supply much of the food for Bishop’s restaurant. The farm is about nourishing and educating the community about real, healthy food with a focus on healthy-lifestyle vs. a for-profit-business.

An excerpt by Gary King writes, “By late May…the Farmer’s markets begin, and we start to see dramatic increase in customers. I always look forward to this time, the sharing the food grown with love, effort and dedication and respect for the wilderness from which it comes, so that it can sustain our bodies and our communities.” (32)

The pictures Bishop has included about the King’s farm capture a way of life that is in-tune with nature and about respecting each other. They are having fun while looking after the earth. Continue reading

Apple Juice or Arsenic Juice?

As some of you might have already heard from Dr. Oz, there have been suspicions of high levels of arsenic (and lead) in fruit juice – especially apply.

Unfortunately, (released recently from ABC news, link below) these suspicions have been confirmed. Trace levels of naturally-occurring arsenic is safe, however we are not discussing trace levels of naturally occurring arsenic. We are talking about an elevated level which may result in long term illness and development delays. Levels found in many of the fruit juices on the market exceed the healthy levels for human consumption. In fact, these levels are higher than the US government allowance in water.

Many fruit juice companies are claiming that they are not responsible for regulations – instead it is the government’s job to set the threshold for arsenic levels in juice. Right now most governments have no regulations for arsenic in juices. Perhaps because until now, this has not been an apparent issue (thank you Dr. Oz!). Continue reading