Friday, April 28, 2006

Chia - Not just for petting

I added this to my list. I'm really getting away from houseplants, as this is something that you would sow in your garden annually. But it sounds like it is a very useful plant. Chia seeds are full of protein, vitamins, essential fats, etc. and can help you not eat so much. Read more here. You can buy them at Bountiful Gardens and also Horizon Herbs.

Chia means strength in the Mayan language. There is a town near Bogota, Colombia called Chia. When I lived there, that was a common Sunday outing to go to Chia. I thought maybe there was a connection to Chia seeds, but no, apparently Chia means moon in the native Chibcha language.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Growing Goji Berries

Several people have commented on their successful growing of Goji Berry plants, but the comments are all over, so let me relist them here.

Seeds from dried Goji berries

Also from dried Goji berries

From seeds

And here is Timpanogos' article on growing them. Apparently you can grow Goji berries outdoors most places as they can withstand temperatures of -15 degrees Fahrenheit up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. And apparently it is easy to grow the seeds from the dried Goji berries you get at a healthfood store. So everyone can have a Goji plant growing in their back yard. Dry or freeze them and enjoy their healthful benefits all year.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Yacon - Low calorie sweet like a potato

Another addition to my list, although this normally wouldn't be a houseplant. Yacon can be easily grown outdoors. A great natural low calorie snack food that is actually good for you.

How Sweet It Is…and Healthy too!
Fresh Yacon tubers are crisp and juicy with a delicate flavor reminiscent of apple or melon and a surprising sweetness that increases in storage. They can be eaten raw, (fresh or dried) steamed, baked, roasted, or juiced. The somewhat bitter skin can be scrubbed off with a stiff brush, peeled with a vegetable peeler, or removed after baking. One of our favorite recipes is to simply chop the peeled tubers into bite-size pieces and sauté them in a little butter until the sugar begins to caramelize. Serve with mashed potatoes topped with fresh parsley.

While satisfyingly sweet and flavorful, Yacon remains low in calories. This is due to the fact that the sugar contains high levels of oligofructose (inulin), a form of sugar that is not metabolized readily by the human body. For this reason, Yacon shows much promise as a food for diabetics and as a base for a low calorie sweetener. Even a tea made from dried Yacon leaves is purported to have the ability to level out blood sugar levels. Research on the benefits of Yacon for diabetics is being carried out in Argentina and Japan. Oligofructose is known to aid digestion and promote beneficial bacteria in the colon, so it may also help prevent colon cancer. High in fiber, low in fat, and rich in oligofructose, Yacon is considered by many to be a superfood of the future.

Some other suppliers are Green Harvest (Australian), Organic Centre, and also in Australia- Daleys Fruit.

Another interesting article about Yacon is at Newstarget.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Goji Berries

Many people are asking about where to get Goji Berry seeds or plants. I bought mine on eBay. Here are some other places that sell seeds and/or plants.

Timpanogos Nursery

Sand Mountain Herbs

Local Harvest


Gojiberries.usLycium Eleagnus Barbarum

Healing Herbs

B & T World Seeds a company in France

Herbalistics a company in Australia

For the record, I don't have any relationship to any of these stores. Some places call this the Chinese Wolfberry. There is some discussion about what is the best or authentic plant, as there are about 40 varieties. Most use the scientific name of Lycium Barbarum, but one place says this is the real Goji berry, Lycium Eleagnus Barbarum. I imagine they are all healthful.

Update: Rich has informed us about his site Gojitrees
He also says his is the authentic
Lycium Eleagnus Barbarum.