Using food for both nourishment and medicinal purposes is at the heart of our life on this homestead.
We enjoy taking control of our health and wellness through the plants we grow and forage.
I have started taking part in a weekly Medicinal Gourmet Cooking Collective. This week we were asked to provide a recipe for a meal/drink/dessert (or all of these things) that focus on an a specific element and the organ that it support. This week we will be focusing on:
Fire & Heart
Heart health is very important in our household. There is a family history of heart disease. I plan on being old and wrinkly holding hands with my husband. Heart healthy food paired with exercise is a good recipe for prevention.
I’m going to take you inside the kitchen, garden and pantry today and share a power packed heart healthy recipe for salad and a very special vinaigrette. There are a few steps to this recipe but it really is worth the effort. Once you’ve made a batch you’ll have plenty on hand for future salads!
These nourishing recipes are very flexible in nature and allow for plenty of creativity. Best of all they are incredibly delicious.
A salad for the seasons
The magic behind a gourmet salad is in the ingredients.
You want beautiful colours and different textures and a wide range of the freshest possible ingredients.
You also want to use surprising and delightful ingredients because salad is so much more than lettuce. All of these different flavours will marry together and dance in your mouth.
Power Packed Salad Ingredients
Kale – High in vitamin C & K, rich in heart healthy flavonoids & Omega 3 fatty acids which help fight inflammation at the root of heat disease and other chronic illness. source
Nasturtium Leaves & Flower Petals – Avoid if Pregnant, there is a small possibility that they may induce menstruation. Nasturtium can act, both as a disinfectant and a healing agent with antibiotic and antimicrobial properties. The leaves and flowers contain vitamin C and iron. The group of phenols in the pigments of orange and red flowers helps naturalize the damaging effects of free radicals, helping to protect us from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. source
Basil – Basil, also known as Saint Joseph’s Wort, is an herb belonging to the mint family. Basil contains a wide range of essential oils, rich in phenolic compounds, polyphenols (flavonoids and anthocyanins) & (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may be useful in treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases. It also presents antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antioxidant and anti-cancer activity & has been shown to lower blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels. source
Peas – Peas and other legumes are an excellent plant-based source of protein and are also high in fiber. They contain heart-healthy minerals, such as magnesium, potassium and calcium, flavonols, carotenoids and vitamin C & antioxidants. source
Beetroot & leaves – Beetroot juice is one of the richest dietary sources of nitrates, which help improve blood flow and heart health. Beets are loaded with potassium, magnesium, beta-carotene and folate. The beet leaves are also delicious and packed with nutrients. source
Flower Power – Often relegated to ornamental, many flowers are edible, delicious and contain medicinal and aromatic health benefits. Rose petals contain small amounts of vitamin C, A, D & E along with Iron, Calcium & Zinc. Although not super high in nutrients we must not discount the value of aromatherapy when it comes caring for our mind, body and soul.
Other ingredients that work well in this salad include:
garden herbs, all leafy greens including the super food cannabis leaf, flower petals, (rose, dandelion, and all edible flowers)spruce tips, tomatoes, cucumbers carrots, asparagus and pretty much anything you can grow and eat. another tasty addition is lacto-fermented garlic scapes which just came into season around here!
Now that we have the salad planned out we need to make the fire cider herbal tonic which will be used as the acid ingredient in our heart healthy vinaigrette.
Fire Cider Herbal Tonic (Oxymel)
Fire cider is a spicy vinegar herbal tonic. It is infused with a wide range of herbal medicinal ingredients and best of all it is very easy to make. This is a folk preparation and it is revered for its healing powers. This is not surprising given the powerful ingredients.
Don’t be afraid to make a large batch because it keeps for a very long time! You can use it as a daily heath tonic, and as a culinary ingredient.
The mental process in which you make fire cider is important. Give gratitude and appreciation for the living material you are gathering, and be joyful while you are crafting your cider. Good energy is important for heart health too.
The base ingredients in a fire cider tonic include, apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger & horseradish but there are many other herbs, flowers and fruits that can be added. Our recipes changes with the seasons.
Fire Cider Tonic Ingredients
Apple Cider Vinegar –Raw Apple cider vinegar is heart healthy and aide with blood sugar & cholesterol. It is also an antioxidant.
Garlic – Garlic is packed full of nutrients. It contains: 33 sulfur compounds, 17 amino acids, antioxidants (germanium & selenium) and multiple vitamins and minerals. These beneficial chemical compounds, including a substance called allicin, give garlic its unmistakable odor as well as a pharmacological edge in cardiovascular protection. source
Onion – Onions are excellent sources of vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals, or phytonutrients, are naturally occurring compounds in fruits and vegetables that are able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. Flavonoids are responsible for pigments in many fruits and vegetables. Studies show that they may help reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.source
Ginger – Daily consumption of ginger may reduce the risk of many chronic conditions, including high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.Ginger has anti-inflammatory and stimulating effects which result in the promotion of metabolic processes; it is also a good antioxidant. It is immune boosting & can aid in digestive issues, anti-nausea, sickness & menstrual and arthritis pain. source
Horseradish – Horseradish is high in dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium and manganese. It also contains other useful organic chemicals, oils and enzymes such as glucosinolates which are known to help protect against cancer. Horseradish is a good source of the potassium which is essential to improving blood flow and widening the arteries. source
Directions for making fire cider tonic
- Gather and place ingredients in a large glass jar and cover with enough raw apple cider vinegar to cover everything by at least three to four inches. Cover with a non reactive lid.
- Place the jar in a warm, dark cupboard for four weeks. Shake the jar daily.
- After four to six weeks, strain out the solids, and reserve the liquid.
- Optional: Warm some honey in a pot gently until softened and mix it into your strained fire cider mixture. Add enough honey to sweeten it to your taste. This can be anywhere from two table spoons to 1/4 cup. You can also skip this and add the honey on a “per use” basis instead.
- Store your fire cider in sterilized glass jars out of direct sunlight.
In this version of fire cider I used roughly 1/2 cup chopped fresh horseradish root, 3 garlic cloves. 1/2 cup chopped fresh ginger 1 small onion and a handful each of rose petals, nasturtium flowers, oregano and basil. You can find a complete recipe for fire cider tonic here.
Once you’ve made your fire cider you’ve got the perfect acid for making a heart healthy vinaigrette.
To turn fire cider into a vinaigrette salad dressing
Fire cider into a vinaigrette salad dressing
Grab a jar and add a big lug of organic olive oil (or oil of your choice), a healthy pour of fire cider, some maple syrup or honey to sweeten and a spoon of mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake well. If you would like precise measurements you can use this recipe.
To make your own Apple Cider Vinegar
It you want to go the extra mile you can make your own apple cider vinegar. It isn’t hard to do, like many things, it just requires patience. Here’s a recipe for making your own raw apple cider vinegar.