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Coconut Herbal Tea- it Does a Body Good!

February 23rd, 2014

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Foul weather have you down? Coconut Herbal Tea may be just what you need to bring you up…

It seems like everyone is always sick this time of year. The freezing temperatures mean everyone is stuck inside and it’s easy for germs to jump from one person to another. Being cold isn’t fun, but having a cold makes it even worse. I don’t know about you, but when I’m under the weather I just want to stay in bed all day- and this is rarely an option.

For me, a better bet is always to see how I can use food and healthy choices to help myself get better as quickly as possible. I make sure to eat enough veggies, protein, and healthy fats so my body has all the nutrients it needs for a speedy recovery. It’s amazing how your diet affects your health and your body’s ability to cope with sickness. When you eat healthfully on a regular basis, you keep your immune system strong, so you’re not only less likely to get sick, but you also bounce back much more quickly after coming down with something. Sleeping enough and exercising when you can also help our bodies stay strong enough to deal with obstacles like sickness.

It’s so interesting to me how much we can actually control what’s going on with our bodies through something as simple as food- it just takes the knowledge of what to do, and the commitment to do what we know is best.

In addition to eating well, I always find that a warm cup of tea is a great way to make myself feel better when I’m ill. The warmth is great for soothing a sore throat and for breaking up mucous in your nose or chest. It’s also nice to drink something warm if you have a fever and are suffering from chills. Lots of teas also contain antioxidants and other powerful nutrients that work with our bodies to keep us healthy. Aside from physical benefits, a cup of tea is so cozy and comforting and always reminds me that it’s important to take care of myself. One of my favorites is my Hot Coconut Herbal Tea. The coconut adds such a unique flavor to the tea, and you can use this recipe with any of your favorite tea varieties.

Whether you’re feeling sick or are just looking for a warm and cozy pick-me-up, this Coconut  Herbal Tea is exactly what you need. Click here for the complete Coconut Herbal Tea recipe.

 

About the Author:

Amie Valpone

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great content was submitted by Amie Valpone. Amie is a Manhattan-based Personal Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer, Food Photographer and Writer specializing in simple Gluten-free, ‘Clean’ recipes for the home cook. Check out The Healthy Apple for more great recipes.

 

 

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A Guide To Long-Term Seed Storage

February 20th, 2014

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Seeds are living things. For that reason, you have to treat them as such. Just like any living creature – exposure to too much cold, heat, sunlight – even moisture – can kill their essence. In fact, as a general rule, any 1% increase in moisture can mean seed life is cut in half. Knowing more about long term seed storage will ensure their viability when you need them most, and can guarantee a never-ending food supply.

Remember that the only seed that can produce another fertile seed are non-hybrid or open-pollinated seeds, so be sure your pick has these qualities before you start preparing for long-term seed storage.

Why Try Long Term Seed Storage

For one thing, having a continuous supply of fresh produce is one best investments you can make for your health. Additionally, people from all over the country are making efforts to prepare for the worst. Can you blame them? In an unsteady global economy and food market, and considering the impact of natural and man-made disasters – it’s vital to consider your food supply in an emergency situation. You may want to consider, what you would do if our food supply were cut off? Or if the price of food became unaffordable? Stockpiling cans and dried goods can be lifesaving, but what happens if it runs out?

Here’s how to get started for long term seed storage.

The Three Most Effective Ways To Store Seeds Long-Term

Refrigerating Seeds: This method can prolong seed lifespans. Many seed savers simply place seeds in zip block bags with another fabric or brown paper bag over it to prevent light seeping in and penetrating the seeds. Do keep in mind that depending on the availability of refrigeration in an emergency situation, this method isn’t always dependable. Also, refrigeration exposes seeds to some moisture and can decrease viability. If you do have access to a refrigerator, vacuum sealing seeds and refrigerating combined was found to have one highest rates of germination after 12 months.

Vacuum Sealing Seeds: As we mentioned above, moisture is one of leading reasons seeds deteriorate quickly. Vacuum-sealing ensures seed humidity levels are low and can keep seeds dormant for years. While there is an initial investment in purchasing a vacuum seal-packaging machine, the end result is a reliable method to seed storage, even without refrigeration.

Water Proof Storage Containers And Bags:  Traditional seed packets just won’t cut it in terms of long term seed storage. There is too much risk of exposure to sunlight, humidity, and temperature fluctuation. Re-sealable Mylar® bags and other FDA food safe containers that are air-tight and waterproof can be very reliable in terms of seed storage. Because seeds are dormant and you do not want to activate the seed, store seeds in a dark, cool location.

The Problem With Freezing Seeds: While some seed savers swear by seed storage in a freezer, many are on the fence about freezing seeds. The argument: since seeds absorb and expel moisture in the air, there’s a chance a seed’s moisture level will shift. Freezing seeds can even force seeds to expand, causing the fibers to deteriorate. What do you all think about freezing seeds? Have you tried freezing seeds with success?

***Friends, what are your favorite methods for long term seed storage? What have you tried that worked? What didn’t work***

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease.  We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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History of the Rose

February 11th, 2014

What is it about February that has us breaking out in Shakespeare whenever the mood strikes us? A simple inquiry about our Rose Tomatoes and suddenly we’re answering in iambic pentameter …

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

by any other name would smell as sweet?

It must be that Valentine’s Day is around the corner (or we’re a little nutso), and we couldn’t help but wonder: why are roses the symbol of Valentine’s Day, and what is their history? So we dug a little deeper, and this is what we discovered:

History of the Rose

Red roses (more so than yellow or pink roses) are the traditional symbol for love and romance. The popularity of these flowers began when Europeans imported roses from China in the early 1800’s. Consequently, rose breeding started gaining some momentum, but it took Napoleon’s wife’s passion for roses to make them fashionable. Empress Josephine began the first largest recorded rose garden at her estate. Visitors were drawn to Josephine’s garden of vibrant red colors, and beautifully scented flowers that could flower all year round in temperate weather. Immediately following, gardeners began feverishly breeding roses and they became a cult favorite across Europe and the United States.

But the history of roses didn’t begin in Europe or China. Roses also have roots in Greek Mythology. We associate the rose with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, but it was Chloris, the goddess of flowers who created the rose. The story starts with Chloris cleaning in the forest, as she stumbles upon a beautiful nymph who was laying lifeless. Devastated, she called upon Aphrodite and Dionysus to help right the wrong of the dead nymph. After giving the color of wine, nectar and a sweet scent, Zephyr, the West Wind blew away the clouds for Apollo the sun god to shine on the new flower to bloom. This flower became the rose.

Roses also have places in Hindu legends, as well as Egyptian and the Roman Empire history. From stories of grooms offering their brides a red rose, to rose petals being used as confetti at elaborate parties and decadently spread on tables along with the feast to impress guests – red roses have been read, admired in paintings, and told in stories for centuries. While red roses didn’t truly get become a romantic symbol until the last 200 years, their meaning might be slowly evolving. In the last 50 years, some view the rose as a symbol for “peace” over “love.”

*Friends, did you learn something new about the rose? How are your roses doing this year? Any plans to give or receive them for Valentine’s Day?

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease.  We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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Indoor Garden- Essentials for Year-Round Edibles

February 2nd, 2014

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Maintaining a steady stream of vegetables throughout the year can be difficult in some places. Let’s face it, most plants were never built to produce edibles while covered in snow. Although the weather outside may be frightful, your indoor garden can still be delightful. As long as you can provide what they need…let ‘em grow, let ‘em grow, let ‘em grow. Setting all fun aside, you can maintain a good indoor garden that can produce year round edibles. What are the essentials for creating an indoor garden?
1. Temperature Variance - It is important to provide a stable temperature that can allow fruits and vegetables to grow. For most edibles, a temperature between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. This can be harder to maintain in the winter than you may realize, however. Drafts, windows, gaps in the doors and other instances could drop the temperature too low for a plant to flourish. Keep your indoor garden as warm as possible throughout the winter months.

2. Light - While many people believe that only heat lamps and sunlight can be used to grow an effective indoor garden, you should never underestimate the power of a $20 fluorescent ballast and bulb. Although sunlight allows for the production of vitamin D, plants utilize photosynthesis to exist – meaning virtually any light source will do. There have been many gardeners who saved money while providing fruits and vegetables by providing a regular balance of light through CFL and long fluorescent tubes.

3. Containment - You need an area that is not going to be trafficked by people and pets that could ruin a plant or a crop. This is especially difficult if you have cats and dogs. However, you can keep your furry friends out of these indoor gardens by using a cheap roll of screen that you would use on windows and doors. As long as you’re not growing anything of consequential interest such as mint or catnip, your pets are easily deterred by the screen mesh.

 

Putting it All Together

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a shelving unit with built in lighting, you could spend less than half of the cost and build a unit yourself. It doesn’t take a great deal of engineering skill or electronic nuances to build an effective edible producing garden. Must have indoor gardening supplies, include:

-A shelving unit: These can be as high as $60 or more for large plastic shelves from your local hardware store.

-Fluorescent lights: The long tube ones are better for mounting on the shelves lengthwise. Just make sure the ballasts are shorter than the width of the shelving unit.

-Roll of screen mesh: These rolls are usually quite inexpensive at hardware stores. You’ll want to wrap the screen around the openings, but leave a place where you can enter and water your plants.

-Pots and containers for your plants: These are usually inexpensive, too – especially if you pick them up at yard sales throughout the summer.

-Power strip: You’ll need one of these if you plan on using more than two florescent ballasts.

Of course the screen is not necessary if you don’t have pets or children that can mangle the plants. The creation of this garden unit is simple enough and can provide an endless stream of edibles if you time the plantings correctly. As long as you can simulate the ideal growing environment, any plant can flourish indoors. 

 

Folks, what successes have you had with indoor gardening?

 

About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great article was contributed by Elizabeth Reed. Elizabeth is a freelance writer and a resident blogger at Live in Nanny. She particularly enjoys writing about parenting, childcare, health and wellness. In addition, she is an expert consultant on issues related to household management and kids.

 

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