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Harvest & Cook

Harvesting has been slow but sure. So, we decided to cook up what we had since it was ripe and ready. We had one sole bean pod that was ready to harvest. Although there are a few more on the plant. And we harvested a few leaves from our kitchen parsley plant leaving some leaves to continue the growth process. We encrusted the chicken with the kitchen garden fresh parsley and garnished a salad with cooked garden fresh beans from the outside garden. We finished this meal off with an Organic lemon squeezed into a cup of water. We are looking forward to the harvest increasing so we can cook fuller meals with more garden vegetables, fruits, herbs and beans included. Stay tuned for what we cook up next.

We are so curious. What are your favorite recipes? We know a couple of you out there with kitchen gardens with edible vegetables and flowers. What have you been cooking up? Send us an email with photos. We love photos as you can tell. We hope you do too. What should we cook up next? Did you know that you can make the same fresh squeezed Organic Lemon drink also for under $2? How much do you spend on soft drinks?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Cooking Healthy Fast

Cooking Healthy Fast
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Do you have any healthy quick meals you eat? Do you consider how what you eat can benefit your life style and health? Did you know combining certain foods with your exercise routine can enhance your exercise and the impact of exercise on your over all health and fitness? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Compost & Coffee Grounds

In are article yesterday we discussed composting: how to compost and what the benefits are of composting. This reminded one of our readers of the benefits of one of her favorite drinks, coffee, to composting. Click here to view her comment. Consequently, we decided to talk a little more about this nitrogen rich resource. So we sought out gardeningknowhow.com for a little more clarification on the topic.

As we discuss urban environments, coffee is an ideal source for compositing and fertilizing for the gardener in more urban settings. Unlike other sources of composting materials coffee grounds produce fewer concerns for disease and can be added to a compost mix or added directly to the soil as a fertilizer. While you are composting your coffee grounds you can also add your coffee filters to your compost pile or mix.

When adding coffee grounds to your compost mix remember that they are considered green compost and will thus need a brown compost material added to it in the proper ratio (2:1. 2 parts green to one part brown). If you add ground coffee to soil as a fertilizer, it will not directly add nitrogen to soil however it will:

  • add organic material to the soil
    • improves drainage
    • improve water retention
    • improve aeration in the soil
  • help microorganisms beneficial to plant growth thrive
  • attract earthworms

Unwashed coffee grounds can

  • lower the pH (or raise the acid level) of soil, which is good for acid loving plants

Fresh coffee grounds are acidic while used coffee grounds are neutral. If you rinse your used coffee grounds, they will have a near neutral pH of 6.5 and will not affect the acid levels of the soil. To use coffee grounds as fertilizer, work the coffee grounds into the soil around your plants. Leftover diluted coffee works well like this also.

There are several other uses for used coffee grounds in gardening:

  • keeping slugs and snails away from plants
  • some people also claim that coffee grounds act as a cat repellent and will keep cats from using your garden as a litter box
  •  worm food if you do vermicomposting with a worm bin

What do you have around the house that you can use in your composting? Remember if you only have plants around the house, you can also do this: use your old coffee grounds. Separating organic endeavors from environmental endeavors is difficult because they both pay homage to nature and are essentially the flip side of the same coin. How can re-purposing items you typically throw away help you save money? What can that do for the environment? How can composting even on a small scale improve the quality of your food and health? What is the one food you eat the most of? How can growing that one food change your health and diet? Share your comments with the community by positing them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Raw vs. Cooked

cooked vegetables shidonna raven garden and cook

While the plants grow in the garden, most of us are simply wondering when we can eat the fruits of all this labor, which brings us right to the point of eating, preparing and cooking. Some people claim that eating food raw is more beneficial to one’s health. The facts simply do not bear this out. What the facts do support is that both raw and cooked foods are both beneficial to one’s diet. In my journey I have discovered other foods more beneficial than others to my body’s particular needs. Our guess is that you might find the same is true for you: one size or food does not fit all. So, we went to healthline.com for some more details.

Cooking May Destroy Enzymes in Food

When you consume a food, digestive enzymes in your body help break it down into molecules that can be absorbed. Enzymes are heat sensitive and deactivate easily when exposed to high temperatures. In fact, nearly all enzymes are deactivated at temperatures over 117°F. However, the human body produces the enzymes necessary to digest food. And the body absorbs and re-secretes some enzymes, making it unlikely that digesting food will lead to an enzyme deficiency.

Some Water-Soluble Vitamins Are Lost in the Cooking Process

Some nutrients are easily deactivated or can leach out of food during the cooking process. Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, are particularly susceptible to being lost during cooking.

In fact, boiling vegetables may reduce the content of water-soluble vitamins by as much as 50–60% . Boiling results in the greatest loss of nutrients, while other cooking methods more effectively preserve the nutrient content of food. Steaming, roasting and stir-frying are some of the best methods of cooking vegetables when it comes to retaining nutrients. Also, the length of time that a food is exposed to heat affects its nutrient content. The longer a food is cooked, the greater the loss of nutrients.

Cooked Food May Be Easier to Chew and Digest

Chewing is an important first step in the digestive process. The act of chewing breaks down large pieces of food into small particles that can be digested. It requires significantly more energy and effort to properly chew raw foods than cooked ones.

The process of cooking food breaks down some of its fibers and plant cell walls, making it easier for the body to digest and absorb the nutrients. Properly cooking grains and legumes not only improves their digestibility, but it also reduces the number of anti-nutrients they contain. Anti-nutrients are compounds that inhibit the body’s ability to absorb nutrients in plant foods. The digestibility of a food is important because your body can only receive a food’s health benefits if it’s able to absorb the nutrients.

Cooking Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of Some Vegetables

Studies have shown that cooking vegetables increases the availability of antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein. Antioxidants are important because they protect the body from harmful molecules called free radicals. A diet rich in antioxidants is associated with a lower risk of chronic disease.

Cooking Kills off Harmful Bacteria and Microorganisms

It’s better to eat certain foods cooked, as raw versions may contain harmful bacteria. Cooking food (at temperatures over 140°F, for most foods) effectively kills bacteria that may cause food-borne illness. On the contrary, fruits and vegetables are generally safe to consume raw, as long as they have not been contaminated. Spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and raw sprouts are some of the fruits and vegetables most frequently contaminated by bacteria. Raw meat, fish, eggs and dairy often contain bacteria that can make you sick.

Foods That Are Healthier Raw

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Foods That Are Healthier Cooked

  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Legumes
  • Meat, fish and poultry

We found that our research dispelled many myths we held. What did you learn? Are you a cook or a chef, what’s your opinion? Did you discover anything new or surprising in this article? How can what you learned improve the way you cook and prepare food and consequently your health? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.