Contributor: Saffron & Sage
Photographer: Sarah Shreves
Springtime is steadily maturing into summer, and we can already see the evidence of that. The days are getting longer, the mornings have less frost than just a few weeks ago, and our gardens are starting to look green with little sprouts making their way towards the sun. So what is growing in our gardens - or what is looking fresher at the grocery store - that can help us detox and prepare for a healthful, productive summer season?
Garlic is an incredible herb from the onion family that is packed with antioxidants, antivirals, and antifungals which can be a remedy for a wide variety of ailments. Garlic’s strong smell is due to its sulfur content; sulfur promotes the elimination of toxins from both the bloodstream and the lymph system. Garlic can be used for high blood pressure, the expulsion of parasites, hay fever, asthma, athlete’s foot, and even the common cold, as well as more severe conditions such as hepatitis, pneumonia, and cancer. Some herbalists recommend consuming a clove of garlic a day to keep the body in good working condition.
Now, garlic has a fiery nature, which can be difficult to consume for sensitive digestive systems. We suggest chopping it up and tossing it into soups or stews, or lightly sautéing it with vegetables and brown rice. If raw garlic is too intense, you can also try making garlic oil. Crush a few cloves of garlic and let them soak in 8 ounces of cold-pressed, organic olive oil for several days. Apply the oil externally to the feet and chest if cold symptoms are bothering you, or use the oil while cooking or in salads.
Kale is one of those amazing plants that actually gets sweeter in the garden after a frost. Kale can be grown at all times of the year with the exception of the middle of Summer. As a member of the cabbage family, kale has a high sulfur content like garlic, so it does a great job of treating stomach ulcers and ridding the body of toxins. It is also an excellent source of chlorophyll, calcium, iron and vitamin A. Chlorophyll is an important nutrient during this season as we try to lighten and improve our diets from the winter. This nutrient promotes healthy intestinal flora, as well as stops the spread of bacteria and fungi.
Kale may not seem like the most exciting green to eat, but now is a perfect time to find big, dark bundles of it at your local farmer’s market. Steam it lightly with a few vegetables and season with lemon juice. Try to avoid making a big, complicated meal, just choose fresh foods of different colors and textures. Or drizzle kale leaves with olive oil and a touch of salt for kale chips out of the oven.
Just imagine a stir fry with green kale, red onions, orange bell peppers, purple carrots, and chopped garlic with a side of brown rice. Doesn’t that sound like a refreshing, fulfilling, springtime dinner?