It’s World Soil Day today!
Today I’m reflecting on the importance of soil health in our garden and in food producing endeavours around the world. It's so important we work with nature to maintain soil health and the hundreds and thousands of live bacteria and organisms that grow there. You can do this by having your own compost or using your brown compost bin, adding raked leaves , grass cuttings and hedge trimmings to the mix.
In our Orchard of native nut and fruit trees we used several tons of communal compost and have planted many nitrogen fixing bushes and plants, as well as regularly sowing and cutting green manure and using Comfrey and Nettle liquid fertilizer we make ourselves. It's so amazing to see how the soil re couperates and the land keeps giving back when you nourish it and treat it with respect.
It struck me how our own Gut is quite similar!
A nutritionist recently gave me a wonderful analogy for how pre and probiotics work together.
I love this analogy of your internal garden: Think of your intestines as a garden bed, with probiotics as the seeds of good bacteria and prebiotics as their fertilizer.
Prebiotics help grow beneficial bacteria in your gut. They consist mainly of fiber and complex carbohydrates that cannot be broken down for energy by human cells. However they can be processed and used to grow certain beneficial bacteria in our gut!
Asparagus, Chicory, Jerusalem Artichokes, Dandelion Greens, Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Chickpeas (12.5g dietary fibre/100g), Lentils, Barley and Oats are just a few foods particularly good pre biotic foods!
Herbs that really help are Liquorice Root (Herb profile and teas containing it e.g. loose leaf peppermint delight, I Am, Ginger Zest) Marshmallow Root, Elecampane root and Slippery Elm amongst many others.
Jerusalem Artichokes are particularly high in dietary fiber at 1.6g per 100g
They are also rich in iron to give you energy, alongside potassium and vitamin B1, which support your muscles and nerves. Although they're naturally sweet, their starchy fibre helps balance out blood sugar levels. To top it they have a much lower glycemic index (GI) score than potatoes!
We had a fabulous crop of these in the garden this year and they’re super easy to grow and also make for a fabulous array of sunflower-like blossoms in summer.
Here’s a super quick and yummy, gut and immune boosting recipe for you to try that I made recently:
Jerusalem Artichoke Pickle
20 Jerusalem Artichokes/ Sunchokes
Juice from 1 lemon
Unbleached Sea Salt or ethically sourced Himalayan Rose Salt for brining
½ cup Water
3 cups raw apple cider vinegar
½ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp unbleached Sea salt/ ethically sourced Himalayan Rose Salt, to taste
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ chilli flakes/ powder
Scrub Jerusalem Artichokes well with a vegetable brush and remove any blemishes or stringy bits.
Prepare a bowl of salty cold water with lemon juice for brining the Jerusalem Artichokes. 1 tblsp salt for each cup of water. You’ll need about 4-5 cups).
Slice to scrubbed Jerusalem Artichokes (about ⅛ inch thick) and submerge the slices into the brine. Cover and let soak overnight.
The next day, prepare the pickling vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves.
Let the vinegar cool for a moment while you rinse the Jerusalem artichoke slices and pack them into clean glass jars. Any clean, sterilised glass jars.
Now pour the vinegar solution over the Artichoke slices and press them down to submerge them.
Seal the jars loosely, let them cool and then refrigerate. The pickles will be ready to eat in a day and will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.
About Karin Mueller:
Karin Mueller is co-owner of Solaris tea and has been working in the field of wellness and health for over 20 years now. She is a Medical Herbalist (BSc Hons), practising Midwife (BSc Hons), Massage and Spa therapist and experienced course facilitator and teacher on a wide range of topics related to mindfulness, meditation and women’s health. She is currently also studying in the ‘Medicine of Light’ school to deepen her spiritual practise.