Superfoods are a group of foods with extra qualities which help improve human health and prevent some diseases. Depending on which list you read there are differing fruits, vegetables and proteins which are attributed to this group of special foods. We grow, harvest, preserve and gather these nutritious and beneficial foods and have done so for many years. Here are a few hints for our pick of fruit and vegetables which are relatively easy to grow in your own home garden in this climate.
A food (such as salmon, broccoli or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health (Merrian-Webster Dictionary)
Benefits of Superfoods
Superfoods are simply foods that are healthy and nutritious for your well-being as well as lower risk of cancers, diabetes, heart disease and may prevent memory loss and other diseases. They are a great source of many vitamins and minerals needed by our bodies on a day-to-day basis. Here are five “superfoods” we grow in our organic home garden starting with Kale:
Our first superfood to grow in your own home garden is kale. It is still our #1 green for growing all year if the winter is not too severe. This is a very easy plant to grow from either seed or transplants. At the time of writing, January, there are 3 plants growing well in the greenhouse.
Garlic has been a family favourite to grow and eat long before it was ever called a superfood. It is a member of the onion family and for me is truly Super. Garlic needs to be planted around the end of October and will be ready for the following summer. I eat one or two (chopped) raw organic garlic cloves each day with Greek yoghurt, blueberries and cinnamon with a few almonds. Recent research studies are finding that consumption of raw garlic protects against lung cancer.
Nothing is more fun than picking and eating fresh organic apples, still warm from the sun, with our grandchildren in the summer. For a small urban garden Espalier is always my first choice for several reasons. One reason of course is they take up much less space than a regular or dwarf apple tree. Also it is possible to have 2, 4 or 6 varieties of apple growing on one tree, each maturing at a different time from late Spring until Fall. There are usually lots of apples to give away, freeze, bake and make apple sauce.
We have two different variety blueberry bushes growing in our home garden and it is a joy to pick fresh fruit for eating during the summer. There is not enough ground to plant any more bushes which is common in small city lots so it is a personal choice which fruit and vegetables you grow. For our family, blueberry is a staple fruit all year and we buy bulk no spray fresh berries from our local farmers each year. These are frozen in 2 cup quantities for use during our winter and if lucky into the following season. They are so good …
Again a superfood which can be made into jam and syrups (using sugar-free pectin), or used fresh in salads or in baking and, besides rhubarb, is one of the first fruits to produce in the home garden each year. If you plant an everbearing strawberry variety they will continue to produce fruit until the snow falls. Strawberries are economical to grow because they send out plant “runners” each year to replace mature plants every 2 to 3 years, or give away. And it is always good to know chemical free superfood strawberries are good for your health.
A few times in your life
you need a doctor, lawyer, policeman, preacher
but every day, 3 times a day
you need a
Sign @Harker’s Organics farm, Cawston, B.C.
- Other superfoods on various lists include salmon which you can catch yourself or buy local in season and can (preserve).
- Vegetable superfoods which we also grow each year are runner beans, and space providing, a few beets. In the Fall at our local Farmers Market we buy and can (preserve) local organic beets Spinach and cauliflower vegetable favourites making the superfood list as well.
- Organic Eggs are also a great source of daily protein which we buy from our local organic chicken farmer. Look for the farm van at Fraser Valley Farmers Markets in the summer.
- My personal choice superfood fruit is Wild Blackberry loaded with antioxidants. There is nothing to compare with this juicy fruit when they are “just ripe” .
There is no denying that these fresh superfoods are all good for you and your family’s health for many reasons. There is nothing like the taste of your own fresh picked fruit and vegetables any time of year and I hope you are encouraged to grow one or two, or all of them. Relax with a cup of green tea and plan your new summer garden. Have fun and happy gardening … Liz
Links & References:
- What is an antioxidant, its health benefits, etc – Medical News Today
- Strawberry Phytochemicals and Human Health – Research Gate (2007)
- Take the added sugars out of your kid’s food – Dr Robert Lustig, “A Calorie is Not a Calorie” (2015)
- Avoid ultra processed foods – British Medical Journal – “Ultra Processed Foods & Cancer” (2018)
- The Organic Capital of Canada – here in BC