HIBISCUS: Properties and Benefits of a Beautiful Flower

  Family: Malvaceae Gender: Hibiscus Common names: Hibiscus, Rose Mallow, Rose of Sharon Hibiscus genus include hundreds of species widely cultivated and appreciated for their large, showy flowers. They are large with five or more petals, typically trumpet-shaped and come in all types of colors. Leaves are alternate, deep green lanceolate, often with a toothed margin. Hibiscus is a perennial and flowers through the year attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. These plants are generally very hardy and versatile, thrive in tropical conditions but can enhance the beauty of one’s garden in…

HOW TO MAKE SEITAN: The Ultimate Recipe

  Seitan is also called wheat meat or gluten meat and is considered by some to be an incredibly versatile and protein-rich alternative to meat. Personally I prefer to think of Seitan as a food in its own, in fact it could also be integrated in preparations that are not necessarily vegan. The proteins of which it is rich derive from gluten. Gluten is a complex protein that appears in foods processed from wheat and related species, including barley and rye. Wheat gluten is not digestible at its raw state,…

HOW TO MAKE KOMBUCHA TEA

  Kombucha tea is a fermented tea with ancient roots, that has recently become again a popular homebrew. Fizzy and slightly alcoholic, Kombucha has a sweet and slightly sour taste very refreshing and pleasant. Packed with probiotics and acids that promote our guts health, this drink can be consumed daily as a beneficial tonic. Kombucha is made by fermenting sweetened teas from the Camellia sinensis plant, indifferently black or green. A culture of yeast and beneficial bacteria is added, the so called SCOBY, that is very similar indeed to the…

7 GREAT WAYS TO USE VINEGAR AT HOME

  Vinegar is an essential substance for me, and over the years I have always made sure I never run empty. I use it very often on a daily base, and is the reason I am so keen on making my own fruit vinegar as much as I have the chance. We know how good is as food preservative and taste enhancer for our dishes, but is just as good for sterilizing and cleaning purposes. Here are some great ways to solve house cleaning problems without polluting: 1. A soft…

MILK KEFIR GRAIN: Let’s eat them

  Milk Kefir grains are the starter culture that is used to make not only kefir, but various foods including cheese and bread.  Kefir grains can be used for countless recipes rather than being eaten on their own. From my personal experience I know that most of my self-producing colleagues often end up having so many grains that they don’t know where to store them. Many ask me what to do with the extra grains they still have after refrigerating them, drying, sharing around and so on. Your kefir grains…

PROBIOTICS vs. PREBIOTICS: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

  The idea that bacteria can be beneficial for our body can be difficult for someone to assimilate. Especially in this period, where we are increasingly pushed to take antibiotics, sterilize surfaces and hands with antibacterial gels and lotions, wear masks, etc. The truth is that there are millions of bacteria in our bodies, even more than our own cells. It is therefore necessary to make a distinction without generalizing, since if it is undeniable that some bacteria can create serious problems for us, some of them that we will…

STEVIA: Your Own Calorie-Free Natural Sweetener

  Family: Asteraceae Genus: Stevia Common Name: Stevia Rabaudiana, Sugar leaf, Candy leaf   Stevia is a perennial herb that reaches up to 50-80 cm  in height. The oblong aromatic leaves are times sweeter than traditional white sugar, containing neither calories nor carbohydrates. CULTIVATION Germination from seed is difficult, comparing to other aromatic plants; reason why most plants are grown from cuttings rather then from seeds. The plant requires rich well-drained soil and thrives in warm humid climates. Once established, Stevia is a low water, low maintenance plant, but tender young…

LACTIC FERMENTATION: THE SAUERKRAUT RECIPE

  Sauerkraut are healthy and easy to prepare at home. The result of lactic fermentation, many versions can be made and be used in even more recipes. The origin of sauerkraut has ancient and surprising roots. It appears that as early as 4000 BC in China, cabbage was fermented using lactic fermentation. Later they got to Europe and spread rapidly around the world thanks to the simplicity of its preparation, combined with the benefits associated with the consumption of this food rich in lactic and probiotic enzymes. LET’S MAKE SAUERKRAUT:…

VEGAN PANNA COTTA RECIPE WITH AGAR-AGAR

  Most of us have already enjoyed “panna cotta” dessert at least once in our lives. A Northern Italian recipe based on fresh cream and a few other ingredients that gently blend into a delicate and delicious dessert. Today we invite you to try a variant of this vegan dessert made with coconut milk and the addition of Agar Agar, a thickening agent of vegetable origin instead the common jelly of animal origin. If you are not familiar with this product extracted from certain red seaweeds, I invite you to …

THE 3 TYPES OF FERMENTATION: ALCOHOLIC, LACTIC AND ACETIC

  There are numerous types of fermentation, the main ones being the alcoholic, lactic and acetic. We are talking about metabolic processes that take place in the absence of oxygen, where glucose is degraded into other organic compounds. Normally these processes take place through bacteria and yeasts, and are widely used in the industrial field for the production of beverages and foods such beer, wine, vinegar, yogurt and fermented foods. ALCOHOLIC FERMENTATION In this natural biological process, sugars such as glucose, fructose and sucrose, are converted into cellular energy by…

13 FERMENTED FOOD WITH PROBIOTICS

  In a healthy person, beneficial bacteria are considered those that don’t allow pathogenic bacteria to form colonies. Consuming probiotic foods on a daily base is the simple and safer way to introduce beneficial organisms into our system. By doing so we improve to our digestion while boosting the entire immune system. If you are interested in learning more about how probiotic foods help your health, I invite you to continue reading this article where you will find information that can guide you. Here is a list of 13 super healthy…

LACTO-FERMENTATION BASIC INGREDIENTS

Lacto-fermentation happens when some bacteria and yeast feed on the sugar and starch in food, converting them into lactic acid . There are several types of fermentation, but lacto-fermentation provides us with the most health benefits. Fermentation involves the metabolic breakdown of a nutrient anaerobically. This breakdown produces ethanol, acids, and other molecules that act as intermediate compounds in a chain of enzymatic reactions. Lacto-fermentation creates beneficial bacteria and various strains of probiotics, enzymes and vitamins while increasing the shelf life of food. INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO FERMENT FOOD Start with…

HOW TO MAKE GINGER BEER

  Ginger Beer is a naturally sparkling and slightly alcoholic drink with a particular sweet and spicy flavor. Through the fermentation process it is obtained this rich in probiotics, or those “good” bacteria useful for our guts. Not only very refreshing and beneficial, ginger beer is also very easy and fun to make at home. Read on to find out how to make your own craft ginger beer. Are you looking to get more probiotics into your diet? You may be interested in the article “13 fermented foods with probiotics“.…

AGAR-AGAR: What is it, Uses and Benefits

WHAT IS AGAR AGAR? Agar is a type of vegetable gelatin created from various species of seaweed, which offers many health benefits, in addition to being a great ally for vegans. The handling of this food began hundreds of years ago with the Japanese. Nowadays, it’s still being used by conscious consumers and more. So, let’s get to know a little more about this product, its different uses and benefits for consumption! Agar-agar is a gelatin that some type of red seaweed contain in their cells. It can be extracted from…

EDIBLE SEAWEEDS: Species, Properties and Benefits

  Eating sushi you may have wondered which seaweed were eating and what edible seaweeds are used around the world. The species of edible seaweeds are more than one might think, as well as the nutritional benefits that characterize them. Although seaweeds are known  for being an integral part of Chinese and Japanese traditional coastal cuisine, their use in gastronomy has evolved to make it a very popular ingredient these days. Each species of edible seaweed is rich in specific nutrients such as antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fibers. Many also…

MICROGREEN NUTRITIONAL VALUES

  Microgreens are increasingly used to prepare sophisticated dishes for increasingly demanding consumers. Consumers who are particularly attentive to their health, as well as to the quality of food. In restaurants they are mostly used to decorate dishes; but microgreens have above all an interesting nutritional profile and are legitimately considered “super foods”. NUTRITIONAL VALUES Comparing microgreens to their mature versions, they can provide us with bioactive components capable of improving some strategic functions within our body. Furthermore, we should consider that compared to conventional vegetables that are often cooked,…

EGGSHELLS USES AND BENEFITS IN GARDENING

  Many people don’t know how eggshells can be useful in the garden and help in many ways. If you are wondering what to do with egg shells, keep on reading. We are about to see how eggshells can improve our compost, fertilize our garden and even keep some common pests away. EGGSHELLS IN THE COMPOST BIN A common question is whether eggshells can be thrown in the compost bin. Well, the answer is absolutely yes! Adding eggshells to your compost will provide additional calcium to your final compost that…

KEFIR GRAINS: What are, How to Store Them

WHAT ARE KEFIR GRAINS? Kefir grains are symbiotic cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast. These have the shape of small cauliflowers up to 5 cm in size. They have an irregular shape and are slimy and soft to the touch. Their color varies from white to pale yellow. Darker colored grains usually indicate worse health condition. When kefir grains are used to ferment non-diary milks, they can take on the color of the liquid in which they grow. Each culture is made up of a unique blend of bacteria,…

MILK KEFIR: How to Make Kefir from Grains

  Milk Kefir is an extraordinary fermented effervescent drink made from whole cow or goat milk, although it is possible to prepare versions from non-diary milks. By means of fermentation, the drink takes on enormous digestive benefits otherwise absent, for the delight of our gut and immune system. WHICH MILK TO USE FOR KEFIR? The best kefir one can ever drink is probably made with fresh raw milk from cows that can happily wander free on grassland. In the other hand, raw milk must be purchased from reliable sources because…

YOGURT vs. KEFIR: What are the Differences

  Just because yogurt and kefir are both fermented milk products probiotic rich, people  would often assume they’re pretty much the same thing. Though they share some similarities, yogurt and kefir differ in a number of ways from each other. Yogurt and kefir have a similar texture that’s thicker for yogurt, while kefir is more like a beverage to drink up. Kefir is mildly carbonated and tingle on the tongue, and it has a very low alcohol content while yogurt does not. Kefir grains are used to culture milk kefir,…

MICROGREENS: WHAT VARIETIES TO GROW

  If there is one aspect that makes microgreens particularly interesting from a gastronomic and nutritional point of view, it’s the possibility to use and cultivate a wide range of shapes, colors, textures and flavors. It’s simply impossible not to find a role for them in the kitchen to make our dishes outstand. Generally, their flavor is a concentrate of the flavor of their ripe counterparts, rather than the other way around. The smell, on the other hand, can be intense, as in the case of aromatic species, or almost…

LACTIC FERMENTATION: How to Make Kimchi

Lactic fermentation: how to make Kimchi

  Kimchi is a traditional Korean food resulting from lactic fermentation that has hundreds of variations. I have already revealed the 3 secrets to prepare a perfect Kimchi, you just have to try to prepare it at home. Here the challenge is to have the necessary patience because the reward is still a couple of weeks away. BAECHU KIMCHI Baechu Kimchi is the most common of all kimchi varieties and the key component that is always found in Korean refrigerators. When you just say “kimchi”, this is the type you…

3 Secrets for Making a Perfect Kimchi

£ secrets for making the perfect Kimchi

  Today I will reveal to you the three secrets for preparing a perfect Kimchi, a Korean preparation and tradition based on the ancient technique of lactic fermentation. With this article you will enter the magical world of kimchi; only after the complete reading will you be ready to make your own kimchi at home and delight your guests.   KIMCHI AND LACTIC FERMENTATION: TWO ANCIENT TRADITIONS   Korean Kimchi is neither a dish, nor a meal, nor a recipe. It is a task to be carried out over time.…

BLACK GARLIC: What is it, Properties and Uses

  WHAT IS BLACK GARLIC? Black garlic is not a variety of garlic and doesn’t grow this way in case you were wondering. This kind of garlic is the final result of a long and particular process that transform white garlic. A completely unique product packed with nutritional and organoleptic properties way different from the original source. In fact, beside from color and consistence of its pulp, black garlic differs from the common one for its sweetish taste, with aromatic licorice reminiscent notes. The main advantage is that this processed…

HYDROPONICS BASIC GROWING TECHNIQUE

  This article is meant to help answer some important questions beginner growers might have when getting started, and while mastering hydroponics and different growing techniques. Most of these concepts are connected to each other, and you will need to connect to them too.  The more we know, the easier it will be to grow! BASIC HYDROPONICS PRINCIPLES Hydroponic cultivation is the method that allows plant cultivation without soil, and can be achieved using different technique that share the same fundamentals. Plants requires light, oxygen and carbon dioxide while plant…