Soon to Be Summer: Are You Ready?
How can it already be June? One-half of 2019 is spent. How are you doing/feeling so far? June signals the beginning of Summer––the time to plant your garden or map out local Farmer’s Market locations and dates.
Summertime is a time to get out and play, travel, explore and savor the seasonal flavors. It may not seem like the time to think about health maintenance. For me, this season is one of the easiest in which to cultivate my wellness, because the readily available, seasonal foods naturally promote optimal health and wellbeing.
I encourage you to explore the fresh herbs available during this warmer season. They not only add a burst of flavor to your menus, they pack a punch of healthful and healing nutrition. There are many simple solutions to having fresh herbs at your fingertips. Consider adding a few of these to your summer dishes:
• From the Greek word, King, this aromatic herb relieves stomach discomforts (cramping or nausea) and relieves intestinal gas.
• As a culinary herb, basil lends a heady, warm flavor to Italian or Mediterranean style dishes; finely chopped, it adds flavor and color to appetizers, dips, sauces, egg and cheese dishes, and squash or tomato dishes.
• Nutritional and medicinal, this herb improves the metabolism and stimulates circulation.
• Contains more Vitamin C than oranges, iron, calcium phosphorous, and the B-Vitamins
• Soothes indigestion; reduces inflammation; relieves congestion and improves immunity
• This spicy pepper adds zest to any dish, so use sparingly; you’ll not want to get this near your eyes.
• Member of the lily family; high in Vitamin C and iron
• Improves anemia and digestion
• Add this mild, onion flavored herb, freshly chopped, to potatoes, soups, sauces, seafood; add to softened butter for delightful summer herb butter spread .
• Commonly used as a detoxifying herb; effective in cleansing metal toxicity from the body’s tissues; it has been called, “the poor man’s chelation” remedy
• Rich source of healing phytonutrients and antioxidants, Vitamins A, C, K and some BVitamins; provides calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and sodium
• Reduces anxiety; promotes efficient bowel activity; excellent blood builder, preventing anemia; acts as a natural diuretic helping to reduce or prevent kidney stones; anti-inflammatory
• The fantastic flavor pairs well with many foods but especially Mexican dishes; add freshly chopped cilantro to soups, salads, sauces and salsas.
• With a long history of health benefits, dill protects against free radical damage; provides plentiful sources of Vitamins A and C, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, potassium and manganese.
• Common uses include relief for digestive discomforts; stimulates milk production in nursing mothers; soothes nervous conditions
• A popular herb in European and Mediterranean dishes; freshly snipped dill pairs well with cheese, salads, soups and is used in pickling recipes.
• A perennial herb (in the onion and chive family), known as “Nature’s antibiotic” and is used for fighting infection (bacterial, viral, fungal, staphylococcus and E. coli).
• Supports heart health, modulates cholesterol levels and helps emulsify plaque on arterial walls
• Restores and rejuvenates cellular function; promotes endurance and energy
• The robust flavor of fresh garlic enhances many types of foods, especially Italian and Mediterranean dishes.
• Greek for “mountain joy,” this aromatic herb provides antioxidant, antibacterial and anti- inflammatory properties that improve respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary disorders.
• High in iron, Vitamin E and K, calcium, manganese and omega fatty acids this herb promotes healthy bone growth and density and the production of blood clotting proteins.
• Culinary uses include Mexican and Mediterranean cuisines, soup, stew, stuffing seasoning, and pasta sauces
• High in Vitamins A, C, and some B’s and the minerals calcium, copper, iron, manganese and potassium, parsley stimulates the immune system and increases the body’s resistance to disease.
• The diuretic properties make this a beneficial kidney and bladder herb; helps calm digestion after eating and is soothing for respiratory irritation.
• The flat-leaf or curly variety may be used in any green drink or in stuffings, egg dishes or topped on grilled meat.
• A rich source of nutrients including Vitamin C, manganese, copper offering anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
• Widely used to soothe symptoms of indigestion including irritable bowel or colitis; contains plant compounds that improve respiratory conditions (asthma, bronchitis), and sinus related allergies
• Commonly steeped as a tea (hot or cold); flavoring for candy; used in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking
• Most commonly used for its memory improving properties and relief of headaches and nervous tension; improves immune function and circulatory system
• A good source of iron, calcium and Vitamin B6
• The bold and piney flavor enhances breads, meat and fish, soups, sauces, rice, and vegetable dishes.
• Rich source of several B-vitamins, Vitamin A and beta-carotene, Vitamin C and the minerals potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, manganese, copper and magnesium
• The fresh leaves add a flavorful addition to stuffings, roasted pork or lamb; also used to flavor vegetable dishes especially with beans.
• Rich in Vitamins A, C, iron, copper, manganese, and dietary fiber
• Powerful antioxidant properties improve respiratory function, ease congestion in chest and head; has a soothing sedative action on nervous conditions; reduces fevers.
• The slightly minty flavor is an excellent seasoning in poultry or seafood dishes, creamy soups, chowders and sauces, stews and stuffings; often paired with tomatoes
Whether you choose to use herbs as a healing tool for your wellness journey or as a culinary herb to bring flavorful life to your recipes, I invite you to get acquainted with this simple, beginner’s list of Spring-into-Summer Herbs. Enjoy!