Turmeric Honey Mask For Healthy and Glowing Skin

Known as the golden spice of life, turmeric, or haldi, contains a plethora of healthy nutrients beneficial for the skin. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been known for centuries in the East. The spice is widely incorporated in the Indian cuisine and has been used in the Ayurvedic skin care for centuries. Indian women have traditionally used it in their beauty routines for radiant and healthy skin. It is a common practice for the Indian bride to brighten their faces for the wedding with a turmeric paste made of the spice and olive oil.

The main ingredient in turmeric powder is curcumin, which represses an excess of melanin production. Curcuminoids work great for treating skin irritations, sun damage, and chronic inflammation that can all cause premature skin aging.  Turmeric contains a handful of essential nutrients including:

  • Vitamin C encourages the build up of collagen, preserving the skin elasticity and tautness.
  • Vitamin B is vital for the new skin cell formation and for keeping the skin moisturized.
  • Calcium helps heal dry and withered skin.
  • Magnesium slows down the aging processes and maintains the youthful and glowing look of the skin.
  • Potassium has outstanding hydrating properties.

Want To Grow Your Own Turmeric Plant?

You may want to try growing your own turmeric, especially if you are one of those hard-core gardeners. The hardy ginger relative will do best in humid and warm conditions. Although turmeric is better suited for planting in open fields, it can survive in a domestic environment, too. Gardening experts advise growing your plant from a small piece of rhizome bought from a nursery or gifted to you by another gardener. Pick a partly shaded place with morning sun exposure. The best time for planting is in spring. Dig the roots up in the late fall or the early winter, while the greenery is dormant.

Turmeric +Milk+ Honey Face Mask

Although turmeric has unquestionable benefits, the spice can stain fair skin with its natural yellow colouring and make it look sallow. Luckily, the colour does fade away after a couple of hours. With this in mind, here is an easy idea on how to use turmeric in your everyday skin care routine.

Why Is It Good for You?

Honey is known for its anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and moisturizing properties. It also helps even out the skin tone and removes any discoloration marks, acne scars, and dark spots on the skin. Milk smoothes the rough skin and nourishes it with vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

Directions:

  • Mix the above ingredients in a bowl.
  • Use a gentle cleanser to remove any trace of dirt or makeup.
  • Apply a thin layer of the turmeric face mask on your face and let it sit for five to ten minutes.
  • Rinse off with a mild facial cleanser and water.

Bonus Tip:

With this mask, you don’t need to worry that the yellow powder will stain your skin. If it does stain your face, use a sugar face scrub.  To avoid staining your nails, wear gloves. To get rid of the turmeric nail stains, rub them with lemon juice using a brush.

For more interesting tips and ideas on how to grow an organic garden and make your own natural remedies, visit the London Gardeners blog.

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Eating Edible Flowers

The culinary use of edible flowers is not a recent trend; it can be traced back thousands of years to the Greeks, Romans, and Chinese. Flowers were traditionally incorporated into many various cuisines –from Asian and East Indian to European, Victorian English, and Middle Eastern. Think of the lush rose petals in Indian food and the bright squash blossoms in the Italian meals.

Edible flowers fell out of grace, but they are making a huge come-back, not only as a fancy garnish, but also as an effective seasoning. Of course, flowers are not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to cooking. The secret is to learn to pick the right ones and to combine them properly with other ingredients.

The buds and blooms of different plants offer a wide range of flavour, colour, and a tinge of whimsy. Some are irresistibly fragrant and tasty, others are spicy and sharp. Some are lemony or weedy while others are floral or herbaceous. The rich palette of taste and colour make edible flowers a perfect addition to almost every dish. Spruce up the regular meal with these surprisingly delicious blooms.

Not All Flowers Are Edible

Not every flower that you have in your garden is edible. Even though the buds may not be poisonous, they don’t all taste good! Luckily, most of the blooms of fruits, veggies, and herbs work just as great as their fully-grown counterparts.  It’s advisable to consume only plants that have been grown without pesticides or with such that are suitable for edible crops. If you buy flowers from expert gardeners, a nursery or garden centres, check to see if they are labelled as edible. Make sure you are not allergic to a certain type of plant before you use it. That said, here are a couple of tips on how to harvest and store your edible flowers.

  • Pick the blooms and buds just before you use them for the best flavour
  • Harvest during the cool of the day, after the dew evaporates
  • Brush off any soil and remove any insects hiding within
  • Wash the flowers gently and let them air-dry over a paper towel
  • If not used right away, keep them in the fridge for no longer than 10 days
  • They can be dried, frozen or preserved in vinegar or oil

Some Flowers You Can Grow and Eat

You can choose from a variety of annuals, biennials, and perennials that will look gorgeous in your garden and will add unique taste to your meals. Planting some of these flowers can introduce benefits both to your garden and your cooking routine. If you are looking for your next gardening projects, here are a couple of ideas you might want to consider:

Nasturtium

nasturtium flowerThere are many reasons to consider planting nasturtium in your garden. These vibrant and versatile annuals serve a double duty – as an exquisite culinary delight and as a natural pest control. The sun-loving greenery will bloom from midsummer until the first frost. Its peppery tasting flowers can be added to fresh salads or used in your favourite pesto recipe. You can also skip the mustard, and stuff the spicy petals into your sandwiches with creamy cheese and sliced tomatoes.

Squash Blossoms

male squash blossom flowerThese are probably some of the most widely used edible flowers, especially in the Italian cuisine. Squash blossoms are the flowers of the late-season pumpkins, zucchini, summer squash, and winter squash. The orange and yellow buds can be used raw in a salad or stuffed with cheese. They taste like a more delicate version of squash and can be fried or cooked with creamy rice.

Dill

Dill FlowerDill offers remarkable benefits for both your health and your garden. It contains enzymes that help reduce the free radicals and carcinogens in the human body. Plus it prevents bone loss and has anti-bacterial properties. According to the gardening experts, the blossoms can attract pollinators and beneficial insects into your backyard. The flowers have light dill flavour and are usually added to jars with cucumber pickles.

Chives Blossoms

Chive flowerChives don’t require any garden maintenance or efforts. Your site is probably filled with these lavender-pink flowers, so why not try them out? Toss them in a fresh salad, add them in a casserole, or cook them with fresh vegetables. Their taste resembles onions so don’t use too many of these pungent flowers.

Violet

african violet flowerViola odorata or sweet violet is an all time classic when it comes to cooking with edible flowers. It was a favourite treat of English royalty and a popular ingredient during the Victorian era. The taste of this flower pairs well with lemon and chocolate. You can use it in different recipes – from crèmes and desserts to tarts and salads.  Violets can be quite challenging when it comes to cooking, because you will need a lot of them to extract enough flavour.

For more unusual gardening ideas, be sure to read the Home Garden blog.

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Get to Know Microgreens – Easy to Grow & Better than Sprouts

The appearance of miniature leafy vegetables is not the only reason they are increasing in popularity among gardening professionals, chefs, and consumers. It turns out that microgreens are a robust superfood filled with an enormous amount of energy, nutrients, and antioxidants.

The miniature veggies and herbs have the amazing ability to pack up a lot of flavour in a small amount and can be used to create texture or to give a final touch to a dish. With a plethora of nutritional benefits and distinctive taste, microgreens definitely deserve a place in your home garden and your diet.

What Are Microgreens?

Microgreens are the young seedlings of a variety edible vegetables or herbs, harvested less than two weeks after germination. During this period, also known as the cotyledon growth stage, the first set of leaves sprout, but the root system and the leaf structure are not fully developed. As the name suggests, they are pretty small in size – only one to three inches of height. Popular microgreens include kale, radish greens, onions, watercress, cabbage, broccoli, amaranth, and arugula and herbs such as basil, cilantro, parsley, chervil, and chives. What is unique about these tiny plants is that they have a stronger and more condensed taste than the mature plants.

Microgreens Vs. Sprouts

In the recent years microgreens have become a good alternative to sprouts for various reasons. Both microgreens and sprouts pack a powerful punch with an abundance of flavor and nutrients. The two differ in their planting method and therefore in their nutrient value. Unlike sprouts that are grown using only water, microgreens require soil. As they grow, microgreens absorb minerals from the soil and undergo more photosynthesis than sprouts, increasing their nutritional content. The young seedlings are more developed than sprouts and thus have slightly higher fiber content. Lastly, there have been fatal outbreaks of  antibiotic-resistant E-coli  traced back to sprouts. These factors give microgreens a considerable competitive advantage over sprouts.

Nutritional Content of Microgreens

Leafy vegetables are rich in beta-carotene as well as calcium and iron. Dark green leafy plants such as chard and kale are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin. Below, you can find the nutritional information for some of the most popular microgreens.

Red Cabbage Micros

  • Highest levels of vitamin C – a 100-gram portion contains 147 mg of vitamin C or 245% of the daily value vs. 57 mg in an equal-sized serving of mature raw red cabbage
  • Microgreen red cabbage contains 69 times more vitamin K than the mature plant
  • The microgreen version has 40 times more vitamin E than the fully-grown red cabbage

Cilantro Microgreens

  • Higher concentrations of carotenoids than the mature herb
  • Higher levels of lutein, violaxanthin, and zeaxanthin
  • The microgreen version contains 3 times more beta-carotene

Garnet Amaranth

  • Contains the highest amount of vitamin K1 compared to other microgreens and its matured counterpart

Green Daikon Radish

  • Has the highest levels of vitamin E compared to other microgreens and its fully-grown counterpart
  • A small amount of daikon radishes can cover your daily need of vitamin C (the recommended allowance for adults is 15 mg)

Lettuce Seedlings

  • Has the highest antioxidant capacity among the microgreens, especially seven days after germination
  • Has the highest amounts of health-promoting phenolic compounds

Sunflower

  • The microgreen consists of 24% to 30% protein

What Does This Mean for You?

Judging by the nutritional information of these selected microgreens, there are plenty of reasons to incorporate them into your diet. They are a good source of vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your body from the negative impact of the free radicals. Beta-carotene reduces the risk of eye diseases and cancer, while Vitamin K plays an important role for maintaining strong and healthy bones.

It’s hard to get the required amount of vitamins and minerals you need every single day, but eating microgreens can provide a quick and easy way to do it. If you are interested in adding more microgreens into your menu, you have two options – you can either purchase them or grow them yourself. Luckily you don’t need the service of expert gardeners for this project.

Growing Microgreens

These tiny plants take far less time to grow than regular greenery and are ready for harvest within 7 to 10 days. In comparison, their mature counterparts require 10 weeks.Keep in mind that once you cut them in their early stage, the tiny greens will not continue to grow and you will need to start all over again. Microgreens are pretty easy in terms of planting and gardening because they require minimal sunlight and space. You can grow these tender and tiny greens in your kitchen or in a windowsill.

Keep in mind that once you cut them in their early stage, the tiny greens will not continue to grow and you will need to start all over again, but microgreens are pretty easy in terms of planting and gardening because they require minimal sunlight and space. You can grow these tender and tiny greens in your kitchen or in a windowsill.

Another benefit of home-grown microgreens is that they are not exposed to as many pollutants as commercially offered varieties. Since it’s up to you to determine the gardening conditions, such as the type and quality of soil and the exposure to pesticides, you will have toxin-free and healthier microgreens.

Growing your own microgreens provides you with easy access to fresh and delicious mini vegetables ready for use. For more gardening ideas, be sure to read the City Garden Blog.

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Get to Know these Five Vegetables For Your Health

According to a study of the Harvard Medical School, eating more fresh vegetables, a simple improvement in your diet, can have a tangible effect on your health. Here are a few great vegetables to boost your immune system and a couple of food combos that will enhance their flavour:

Asparagus

Nutrition Facts

Asparagus has plenty of folate, dietary fibre, and iron. The greenery contains selenium, which decreases the risk of bladder, colon, breast, rectum, prostate, and lung cancer. A serving, 242 g of asparagus, provides 74% of the required daily intake of vitamin C and 25% of iron.

How To Cook It

To avoid losing flavour and the nourishing elements of the asparagus, you should not overcook it. Steam for 3 minutes or bake 10 to 15 minutes in the oven at 400 F (204 C). If you prefer, you can also cook asparagus on the barbeque and sprinkle with a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

What Works with Asparagus

The greenery goes well with steak or chicken, as well as with prosciutto, bacon, ham, mint, lemon, toasted almonds and Parmesan cheese. You can also add it to a quiche, risotto, or pasta to give the dish unique earthy undertones.

Almost Raw Asparagus Mango Salad Recipe

spinachSpinach

Nutrition Facts

Spinach is low in saturated fat and cholesterol while it is rich in zinc. It is known for fostering the immune system and speeding up the healing processes in your body. Spinach is also a good source of protein, dietary fibre, folate, iron, and magnesium. In a single serving of 30 g, you get 56% of the required daily intake of vitamin A and 14% of vitamin C.

 

How To Cook It

You can use raw spinach in salads or steam it for a few minutes. You can also sauté the greenery for several minutes or roast it for 10 minutes. It is important to rinse it well before using it in your meals to remove dirt and grit.

What Works With Spinach

You can pair the leafy greenery with butter, cream, bacon, cheese, eggs, garlic, onions, mushrooms, red pepper flakes, anchovies, pine nuts, nutmeg, olive oil, sesame oil, salt, and soy sauce.

Raw Spinach Basil Soup Recipe

RhubarbRhubarb

Nutrition facts

Rhubarb is great for your bones and proper organ functioning because of its high vitamin C levels (10% of the daily value per 122g serving size). The vegetable is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. According to expert gardeners and herbalists, it can also relieve women’s hot flashes.

How To Cook It

Although you can eat it raw with a little sugar sprinkled on it, it is generally cooked with other ingredients, most often fruits to enhance their taste. Rhubarb is used for pie fillings, baked sauces, jellies, jams, muffins, cakes, and other desserts.

What Works With Rhubarb

To balance the sour flavour of this vegetable, combine it with sweet fruits such as strawberries. For savoury dishes, you can combine rhubarb with beets, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, or serve it as a sauce for meats and fish.

root vegetables carrots beetsBeets

Nutrition facts

Beetroot contains a considerable amount of potassium, folate, and vitamin C can and have very few calories (around 50 per cup). However, large portion of the calories in the vegetable come from sugar.

How To Cook It

Baking and oven-roasting are wonderful ways to bring up the natural sweetness of the beets. You can use it raw in salads with some carrots, raisins and sweet dressing or add it in a stew or soup.

What Works With Beets

You can go with the classic combination of beets and goat cheese, especially if the vegetable is slightly older and flavourful. Orange or lemon juice will highlight its flavour. Other complementary herbs and foods are beef, bacon, smoked fish, apples, cheese, cream, chestnuts, honey, cinnamon, vinegar, and vinaigrette. Believe it or not, chocolate and beetroot are a match made in heaven.

RadishesRadishes

Nutrition facts

The crunchy, tasteful, and inexpensive superfood, which can be easily grown in your own garden, is full of vitamin C and almost zero calories. Ten radishes contain only 8 calories, and their sharpness will refresh your entire body in a minute.

How To Cook It

Radishes are usually included raw in meals, but they can be cooked just like other vegetables. You can toss them in the pan with some butter, chives, or other herbs that you use for your gardening project and season with pepper and salt. Radishes are great for braising, because they easily absorb the rich flavour of the braising liquid and get sweet and juicy.

What Works With Radishes

Radishes pair deliciously with creamy cheese, quinoa, faro, butter, onions, and citrus fruit. If you are looking for a lighter alternative to potatoes, try braised radishes with your meat or vegetable stew.

For more homesteading ideas and gardening techniques check the Skilful Gardeners Blog.

Editor’s Note: I eat every one of these vegetables raw in my daily salads. For my recipe, check out Detox Cheap and Easy Without Fasting – Recipes Included.

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The Most Effective And Eco-Friendly Way To Clean Your Oven

Cleaning your oven with baking soda and vinegar will leave it sparkling clean and shiny, without you having to rely on dangerous chemicals. It is easy and very effective! All you will need is baking soda and white vinegar, some spare time, and a few home cleaning tools to do the job. Follow this step-by-step guide:

  • Remove the interior items. Before you proceed with actual cleaning, you will need to remove oven racks, thermometer, pizza stone, etc.  Clean each of these as it is likely they have accumulated a lot of spills, too.
  • Prepare your solution. You are going to need half a cup of baking soda and some water to create a paste-like mix. The goal is to add enough water to turn the soda into a spreadable paste that you are going to use instead of the usual commercial cleaning products.
  • Coat the oven interior with the paste. Don some gloves and spread the baking soda/water paste on the interior of your oven. Try to be as thorough as possible, and don’t forget to coat the oven door as well.
  • Let the paste sit overnight. Now that you have coated the oven interior, it is time to let the baking soda do its job. Let it sit overnight before you proceed with further cleaning.
  • Wipe the baking soda paste. Now that the solution has had enough time to do its job, you must wipe it from the interior of your oven. Use a damp cloth for the job. Start with the door, as you might want to lean inside to get to the interior areas. Use a spatula to gently pick off baking soda that is hard to remove with the cloth.
  • Spray with vinegar. After you have cleaned most of the baking soda, continue by spraying the interior with white vinegar. This will react with the leftover soda, making it easy to remove. Additionally, it will further sanitise your oven.
  • Take your time to enjoy a restored oven. After you wipe the vinegar, you will notice the brand new shine of your oven.

For more eco-friendly cleaning methods be sure to check out the Tidy Up Blog.

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Celebrating a Green Christmas

Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated and loved holidays of the year. It’s easy to get so carried away in the festivities you forget about the environment. If you are a true eco-friendly person or wish to become one, give each of the following tips a thought, and take the necessary steps for a beautifully green Christmas.

Christmas Trees

Have you ever wondered whether it’s better to buy an artificial Christmas rather than a real one? An artificial tree can be used year after year, but many of them are made with dangerous chemicals that add to environmental pollution during production. Besides, every eco-friendly person knows that there is nothing quite like the fresh smell of a natural Christmas tree to complement the holiday. Choose your tree from a certified farm that is sustainable and responsible, and consider a live tree you can plant after the holidays.

Christmas Cards

Send e-cards instead of paper ones. We live in a digital age, a time when people have access to the internet through smart devices and phones. If you choose eco-friendly e-cards, you can personalize each card, choosing music or animation. Considering the fact that Christmas cards usually end up in the trash, isn’t it time to consider environmentally conscience alternatives?

Christmas Presents

Pick your presents wisely. There is no need to go overboard. Buy less and buy local. This is the greenest action you can take this Christmas. Tons of products come to the U.S. from China along with a huge carbon footprint. If you buy local, you are supporting local suppliers and minimizing your environmental impact.

Christmas Decorations

Reuse decorations. You don’t really need to buy decorations every year. Instead, you can reuse the décor from last year. If you are feeling particularly creative, you can create your own decorations instead of buying them. That way you will not only save on money, but also reduce the clutter of your home.

Go through the items you are about to throw away and see if you can use anything. One great example is reusing paper from packaging into custom-made gift packets. Simply draw a shape on two layers of paper and stitch the two pieces together. All of those Christmas cards you received in previous years that are too cute to be thrown away can be glued together to make a thematic wreath to hang wherever you please. Acquire some acrylic paint and use it to turn your food jars into Christmas characters, such as Santa, snowman or a greeny elf – a fantastic addition to any Christmas décor.

It really isn’t that hard to transform your Christmas into a green one. All you need is to turn to your environmentally-cautious mind and think of what ways you can make your holiday is less taxing to nature. Be sure to check out the Handy Rubbish Blog for more information on recycling and green living topics.

Further Reading:

Eco-Friendly Toys: Tips for Keeping Kids and the Planet Safe

What Do Natural, Organic, and Non-GMO Actually Mean?

Five Easy Home Improvements to Make Your Home Green and Healthy

Seven Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Sources:

The Guardian – Pollution articles




Herbs With Healing Properties You Can Grow at Home

Growing herbs in your home is not only easy, it is highly recommended. This is especially true if you are growing them for medicinal purposes. Although you can buy herbs, you won’t know how the plants were raised or how the herbs were stored. Nothing beats the quality of homegrown herbs.

It doesn’t really matter if you have expert gardening skills as herbs require nothing but basic knowledge and some free space. If you have a garden in your home, it is wise to reserve some of the available space there for herbal medicines, as they can truly help when you are feeling ill. The best part is that the following are all easy-to-grow and require very little in terms of care.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

The flavour of this plant is so unique,  that people either hate it or love it. It is used in several Thai and Mexican dishes, but most notably in Indian curry.  You can easily grow it in a moist, cool garden. Cilantro is a digestive aid and it also helps you detox heavy metals.

Callendulla or Marigold

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

The other name for Calendula is pot marigold. It is a powerful antiseptic and antifungal tool. Use the petals  for wound care and soothing the skin. Numerous cosmetic products use the plant for its properties, which is proof of its quality. This annual blooms throughout the entire season and looks charming in an outdoor garden, where it can receive plenty of sun.

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

PeppermintYou are well-aware of the boost of freshness you get from peppermint flavoured toothpaste. Did you know that peppermint is also a very powerful ally against digestive discomfort (peppermint tea) and aching muscles (peppermint liquid/lotion)? You will do well to include this moist-loving plant in your garden. Just keep in mind that the leaves of the plant should be harvested before they flower or they will taste bitter.

 

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

RosemaryThe main benefit of rosemary is its power to bring more oxygen to your brain for better memory. According to expert gardeners, this herb is the equivalent of caffeine. The best part is that the evergreen plant is very drought tolerant and will likely survive any environment.

Lavender (Lavandula)

LavenderAccording to some studies, lavender is not only a perfume plant, it may also be used to benefit the nervous system. Adding some lavender oil to your bath will most certainly reduce tension, stress, and even insomnia. In order to grow lavender, you will need to provide a dry environment that is hot and sunny.

You can benefit a lot from each of these herbs, especially if you have invested time and effort in growing them at home. Do consider all of the benefits, and plant them today. Be sure to check out Handy Gardeners’ Blog for more articles on gardening.

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