Morgan Botanicals

  (Loveland, Colorado)
Herbal Information and Recipes
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The Pumpkin Is More Than an Oversized Vegetable

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

To me, the pumpkin is more than just an oversized vegetable. In fact, it has a very long history-once considered a symbol of the whole world, a container of everything ever created. Early societies saw symbolism and spiritual significance in many round objects, from rocks to seeds and, yes, the pumpkin. If you look at the pumpkin you know it mean business: it's big, it's round, it's heavy and it's food, usually a lot of it. It's the whole world in a neat little package, so what else can it mean? Just that: the world. And that is exactly what it meant in the Old World. As the largest fruit of creation and full of seeds, it became a symbol of plenty. Pumpkins, together with corn (maize) and beans were an important foodstuff in the early Americas. The cultivation of pumpkins spread throughout the world when the European explorers, returning from their journeys, brought back many of the agricultural treasures of the New World. Pumpkins, and their seeds, were celebrated for a long time, both for their dietary and medicinal properties. 

But things have changed a little bit with this famous Cucurbit as its means as an important food source has declined and has fallen to the holidays merely for its ability to be a rather yummy pie and the traditional face of Halloween. And as we excitedly scoop out the endless supply of pumpkin seeds from our pumpkin patch pumpkins, we have lost sight of the value of these mere seeds. Maybe they're saved, maybe not. If lucky, they get salted and roasted and devoured. Maybe they get glued on to craft time projects or strung into kiddy necklaces. But, these seeds shouldn't be forgotten as they are one of Natures almost perfect foods and truly deserve a place in the everyday diet and medicine cabinet.

Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, contain a wide range of traditional nutrients. Our food ranking system qualified them as a very good source of the minerals magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, and a good source of iron, copper, protein and zinc. Snack on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds and you will receive 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc.

In addition to their above-listed health benefits, pumpkin seeds have been associated with Prostatitis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoporosis, kidney/bladder disorders, elevated blood lipids and cholesterol, help with depression, learning disabilities, and elimination of parasites from the body.

Pumpkin seeds also make a nutritious culinary oil as well as a highly nourishing and lubricating oil that is useful for all skin types. It is especially good if used to combat fine lines and superficial dryness and to prevent moisture loss.

Not bad for a seed.

As it is the time of year where most of us will be scooping seeds of plenty from our Jack-O-Lanterns, don't forget to save those seeds as they are so important to our history and health.

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Oh My.....Tomatillo

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Tomatillos are perhaps one of my favorite and most prized fruits. They're not only fun to grow (as they are incredibly beautiful plants) but they are rich in flavor and yummy to eat.

This native of Mexico, which is much like a tomato, dates back to at least 800 B.C. and has for a long time been cultivated there, but has never really caught on elsewhere. For a plant which is so rich in flavor, productive and easy to grow, this is surprising. In Mexican cuisine the tomatillo is important, replacing tomatoes which have come to be used in their place in other countries, particularly in salsa or other sauces for meat. I love how they impart a unique tanginess which tomatoes never quite attain.

The tomatillo is a member of the Solanaceae family (the nightshades: tomato, potato, eggplant, etc.) and should be taken into account for your crop rotation plan. Physalis ixocarpa and phladelphica are the most common varieties grown but there are several. Most nurseries sell Physalis ixocara as the principal Tomatillo species. But, you can find many varieties of seeds which may include large yellow or green fruits as well small purple ones.

If you have never grown tomatillos before just remember that they are sun loving, warm weather crops and love the heat. You'll want to choose a site that gets full sun and has well-drained soil that’s not too rich. A pH reading that’s close to neutral (7.0) is good for them. Simply water and feed while fruits are forming. I pick my tomatillos as soon as they are large enough to be useful and continue picking until frost.

So for those of us who are picking our tomatillos right now (and I say this in pure excitement!) thank goodness there are so many ways to use this abundance of fruit. I myself enjoy salsas, verdes, fried, or any where I want some tang.

Here is a simple and delicious recipe for Tomatillo Jam - Enjoy!

 Tomatillo Jam

  • 3 cups cleaned tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 1/2 cups organic sugar, measured into separate bowl
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic butter (optional)
  • 2 pouches of powdered fruit pectin
  1. Follow basic instructions for Jam making. (cleaning jars and preparing canner)
  2. Finely chop or grind tomatillos. Measure exactly three cups into sauce pot and add lemon juice.
  3. Stir in sugar, add butter if desired, (this reduces foaming) and bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in pectin and return to full rolling boil and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off any excess foam.
  5. Ladle jam quickly into clean jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe, seal and place into canner. Water must cover jam jars by at least and inch.
  6. Cover and bring to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and allow to completely cool. After cooling, check for proper seal, if lid springs back refrigeration is necessary.

This is the perfect spread across Chili Scones or homemade Corn Tortillas.

 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Medicinal Apples From The Farm?

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

It is apple season at the Morgan Family farm "Apple of the Earth Farm" and since the trees are spilling their medicine, now is the time to stock up.  Apples are such an amazing food medicine and actually have tremendous medicinal value. A fresh apple is not only an ideal snack, but it's easy to carry, flavorful, filling, and a good source of fiber. Of course we all know this, but, did you know that apples have medicinal value?

Everyone has heard the saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away."  Well it's true, apples are good preventative medicine. Whether internally, externally, fresh or cooked, apples not only maintain health, but help detoxify the body. In fact, they're so good for us that we should eat them everyday! Apples are rich in fiber, tons of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, which is a big part of the electrolyte balancing process, and are relatively low in calories.

A raw apple is one of the easiest of foods for the stomach to deal with, the whole process of its digestion is completed within hours. The acids of the apple itself are helpful in digesting other foods as well. The sugar of a sweet apple, like most fruit sugars, is practically a predigested food, and is quickly passed through the bloodstream to provide energy and warmth for the whole body. Applesauce is even gentler on the stomach than a whole apple, and can be used for a variety of stomach problems. Apple tea is a great way to get a quick concentration into your body, and dried apples are not only yummy but are a substitute for fresh ones.  Even the bark has been used in decoction for fevers.

Apples are great for both constipation and diarrhea. The fiber in apples is gentler than wheat fiber, and in general, apples help normalize the digestive system. Another great use for apples is as part of a detox or cleansing regimen. Since they are rich in soluble fiber, it makes them a good choice while undergoing fruit and juice fasts. Apples, as food and tea,  are also used to help with blood pressure. Cooked apples make a good local application for sore throats,  fevers, and eye inflammation.

Apples have long been called nature's toothbrush as they are an excellent dentifrice. This perfect food not only cleanses the teeth with its juices, but it also pushes back the gums so that the borders are cleared of food deposits.

Everybody can get fresh medicinal apples - we just need to eat them more. Hooray for the coming apple season!

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.comherbalist@morganbotanicals.comherbalist@morganbotanicals.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 
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