Eat Purple For Good Health

In combination with other phytonutrients and fibre, the antioxidants in purple fruits and vegetables provide an astounding source of health promoting benefits.

Scientists in England are shouting, touting…anything but pouting. I’ve joined their chorus of letting it be known to whoever will listen. Why the excitement? The long and the short of it is summed up in seven words: Purple is the healthiest colour on earth. Purple tomatoes, purple carrots, cabbage and cauliflower; purple beans, broccoli and kohlrabi, red kale, red lettuce, beets and eggplants are making unprecedented inroads.

On the fruit side there are blueberries, black currants, dark cherries and plums, honeyberries, black raspberries, saskatoons, purple grapes, red gooseberries, bright-red lingonberries, chokecherries, cranberries and apples galore. The beauty of it is you can grow all of these in your own garden and orchard.

Purple fruits and veggies get their dark colouring from powerful pigment antioxidants called anthocyanins. In combination with other phytonutrients and fibre, the antioxidants in purple fruits and vegetables provide an astounding source of health-promoting benefits.

Surging energy will help keep catnaps away and folks won’t come close when guessing your age. Other emerging evidence now hints that purple foods may also improve brain function. Purple cabbage in particular packs three dozen different antioxidants in its makeup and can charge up body cells with protection. The rule is simple: The darker, the better.

A BIT O’ READER FEEDBACK

Thank you for hundreds of entries submitted in my recent Singing Gardener draws. I’ve heard from gardeners in B. C., throughout the Prairies and into Ontario. I’m deeply grateful for your wonderful response. Dozens also took time to express thoughts and sentiments on gardening.

I got many comments on upside-down tomatoes. Lawrence Just of Yorkton, Sask., grows them. Linda Freiburger from Walkerton, Ont., writes: “I love your column. It is like good old-fashioned common sense, but you always have something new, too. I want to try your tomato upside-down idea this year.” Then there’s Deborah Horvey at Cabri, Sask., who enjoyed “the upside-down tomato article in Grainews.” Debbie says her mother-in-law is always trying to utilize space in her little backyard garden. “I think I will contact Veseys for the planter setup and order some heirloom tomato seeds.”

Audrey Wallace from Oxbow, Sask., grew castor beans last year and has grown upsidedown tomatoes for about four years, “and very successfully.” She hangs them “outside on an upper deck so they get the sun and are sheltered from Prairie winds.” Karen Clark of Bassano, Alta., says she agrees with Fort St. John, B. C. gardener Maya Wenger for being fond of Early Cascade tomato. “I garden 75 miles east of Calgary and count on this variety to produce.” Karen also likes “Prairie Pride tomato, a bush type.”

Louise Souillet-Hawkins writes from Biggar, Sask., to say, “I like your common sense approach and your sense of humour in Grainews.” Mrs. Toni Gromnisky, another reader from Yorkton, likes the tips and stories and says, “the folklore strikes a forgotten story from long ago. The ideas make great conversation topics.” Well guess what? Some folklore follows next!

CARROT POULTICE COMPRESS

Remember, I am not a doctor. These are reminders of how some of our forebears applied home remedies to deal with illness issues in the past. This old remedy was once used for drawing toxins from the body, primarily via the neck area. Carrots have a cleansing action on the lymph glands that are located around the throat and neck, under the armpits and on both sides of the groin area.

The folklore belief held is that a raw, grated carrot poultice focuses on restoring healing energy back into the body. Carrot poultices have been used to ease sore throats, colds, the flu, swollen neck glands, tonsillitis, bronchitis and cleansing. Children especially love a carrot poultice as it’s non-invasive, quite soothing and can be used frequently.

Of course, you’ll need carrots, a shredder and some cloth to get started. Did you know carrots love to grow near tomatoes, leaf lettuce, alliums, chives, onions, leeks, radishes and sage?

When running a temperature, drink plenty of fluids, such as warm chicken broth. Lucky you if you raise free-range chickens in your area.

WARM CABBAGE LEAVES

…were once used to bring welcome relief from stiffness, aches and pains. It’s not just gardeners and farmers who can end up with an aching or sore back. If it’s from lifting or after a full day’s work in the field or garden, chances are you overdid it. But the causes can be many. Today we have heating pads, hot water bottles, ice packs, chiropractors and massage. But what about way back when?

Here’s why a head of fresh cabbage was always kept handy. Cabbage leaves possess anti-inflammatory properties. Large outer leaves were peeled off and placed in hot water for two minutes or so, or until nicely warmed and softened. A bath towel was spread on a couch or bed and cabbage leaves placed on top. The ailing person would then lie down with a sore back facing the cabbage leaves. Today cabbage leaves can be warmed time and again in the microwave and the whole process repeated.

Note that dill is a good garden companion plant to cabbage, but keep dill away from carrots.

A RAW BAKING POTATO

…can help break a fever. There’s the story of a family with a young son who developed a high fever. The doctor was over five miles away by horse and sled with a winter storm brewing. A neighbour had once told them about a down-on-the-farm home remedy. This was their option for the moment.

The parents took a large, clean baking potato and then cut it in two lengthwise. Half a potato was tied to the bottom of each bare foot with the white fleshy part facing the youngster’s skin. Pieces were secured with neckties. Within an hour, the child’s head was cooler. His ankles became red as the potato halves drew out a feverish temperature through the soles of his feet. Two hours later and the fever was broken.

MADE-AT-HOME MITICIDE

Gardeners face many challenges. Have you ever found webbing on dead or drying fruit trees and evergreen branches losing their needles? Maybe you’ve spotted curled and yellowing leaves on ornamental tree limbs and shrubs that are going leafless. Any of these can appear without warning.

Much of this is due to weather extremes, insects, blight and other bacterial diseases. Spider mites are a real concern and leave behind telltale webs at joints, on stems and between branches. They love dryness and hate a moist environment. To counteract mites of all shapes and sizes that show up each summer on any variety of plants and evergreens, consider the following:

Make a spray as follows: Mix two tablespoons of flour in two litres of water and then stir in half a cup of buttermilk or skim milk. Sprinkle or mist the solution on the undersides and tops of leaves and evergreen branches and needles at first sign of infection or infestation. It forms a suffocating coating on spider mites and aphids. Repeat every other day for three to five times until the condition is corrected.

This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener & Grow-it Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. The pathway to the garden is never blocked, no matter how plentiful the weeds. What we grow is not as important as what we become from being a gardener. Join me again in Grainews for more Ted Bits and Things Green and Growing. I have a web site link at www.seedpotatoes.ca/singinggardenerand my e-mail address is:[email protected]

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