Kaffir lime leaves – herb of the week

Kaffir lime leaves…growing in a Hugel bed at ARTfarm on St. Croix USVI

We often get asked, “What do you do with Kaffir lime leaves?” The quick answer is, it’s a citrusy bay leaf for flavoring soups, a wonderful partner to ginger in pan-Asian flavors.

First of all, smell them! These leathery leaves have a powerful and very pleasant astringent citrus scent. Just inhaling the smell makes you feel optimistic yet relaxed. So, personal potpourri. Keep a leaf in your pocket and smell amazing all day. Grab an extra bunch at the next farmstand and use them as a natural air freshener in the car.

A web search for Kaffir lime leaves turns up a number of references to Ayurvedic medicine. There are many claims of health benefits from drinking tea, chewing or sucking or otherwise ingesting the pungent oils of the leaves. They do everything from relieving stress to promoting oral health to helping you get you over the flu.

But what we most commonly do with Kaffir lime leaves in our family (other than misspell it) is make coconut curries, like Tom Kha Gai-ish soup. This is a recipe modified from Chef Kenny Biggs from Galangal Restaurant on St. Croix, and it’s in heavy rotation in our house – for an immune blast!

Use Kaffir leaves like bay leaves in any dish that would benefit from the cool, citrusy note of Kaffir lime. You can also make a tea, put them in drinks…

Staying Healthy in the Virus Times – Ginger and Turmeric

The farm share signup post will be up at 10am! Just wanted to share some extra health inspiration this morning…

The COVID-19 pandemic is a terrible crisis, but the silver lining might be an opportunity to slow down, reprioritize and focus on health. Already the shutdown has slowed pollution in some major cities. We feel lucky that we have so many holistic (big picture) health practitioners on St. Croix to help us be proactive about health. We wanted to share a couple of simple ginger and turmeric drink ideas, and some timely health reminders from one of our longtime customers, Rhonda Pessin, who happens to be a Certified Nutritional Consultant, Board Certified Massage Therapist, yoga instructor, and sprouts farmer at Alive and Well in Five Corners, St. Croix USVI.

Ginger Tea

This is the simplest recipe. Ginger tea is warming and refreshing at the same time. Ginger is being studied for its anti-viral qualities. A ginger tea is great for the beginning of a sore throat, for the start of a cold, and for treating and soothing congestion. Simply boil fresh water and pour over thinly sliced ‘coins’ of ginger root. Add a little local honey for a cough. Breathe in the gingery steam and then enjoy it as hot as you can stand. Crunch up and eat the ginger coins at the bottom of your cup when you’re done. For a bad cold, alternate making this sweet spicy tea with a savory version: add minced onion, rub the inside of your cup with a cut clove of garlic, and add a spoon of miso for a healing, soothing, quick broth.

Turmeric Golden Milk

This is an ancient recipe with many variations. Turmeric, when consumed with black pepper, has anti-inflammatory compounds and may inhibit viruses. It is one of those roots that changes its flavor profile when cooked, so don’t be deterred by its earthy profile when raw. We like to take fresh or frozen turmeric and grate it with a microplane into a small saucepan, about an inch of root per 8 oz. serving or to taste. Add either fresh, canned or powdered coconut milk. Add water (if using powdered milk), a dollop of honey or molasses if desired, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and heat through until just steaming. For an extra anti-inflammatory kick, add a few thin slices of cayenne or chili pepper as a garnish on top.

COVID–19: Rhonda’s Ten Tips for Staying Well

Rhonda Pessin, Certified Nutrition Consultant and ARTfarm customer!

  1. Reduce your stress. Chronic stress weakens your immune system. Take a break from news, phone, internet etc. and unplug for a little while every day.
  2. Exercise. Boosts immune system – 30 minutes a day of walking, swimming, yoga etc., is enough to make a difference.
  3. Sleep. Get 7-9 hours a night.
  4. Eat the rainbow. Colorful fruits and veggies are full of antioxidants. These guard against free radicals that can harm your cells. Try eating a wide range of leafy greens, berries, oranges, carrots, peppers, red grapes, beets etc.
  5. Minimize sugar and junk food, which can greatly lower the function of your immune system.
  6. Laugh. Find ways to laugh and stay positive. Having a positive outlook will do more for your immune system than stress or worry.
  7. Reach out. Stay connected to support. Use care providers, family and friends to get support if you need it. Staying well is a group effort.
  8. Take good quality supplements. (Many of these are out of stock but will be replenished soon hopefully.)
    • Supplements may possibly reduce symptoms of coronavirus.
    • No supplements at this time are known to prevent it.
    • Read all labels and do your research to make sure supplements are compatible with any medications you are taking.
    • Vitamins and minerals can help especially if you are not getting enough. High stress increases requirements for B, C and others.
    • Multi-Vitamin & Mineral- choose good quality. The most absorbable by the human body are whole food organic fermented vitamins (made wholly from food), like Organixx or New Chapter. “Food-based” vitamins may have a “base” of food ingredients, but contain primarily synthetic vitamins.
    • Vitamin C – 500 mg twice a day or more to tolerance – may upset stomach in large doses.
    • Vitamin D – may help respiratory infections – 2000 IU.
    • Zinc – 20 mcg – up to 50mcg if symptomatic.
    • Probiotics – 25 billion. I like Garden of Life. Do not waste $ on cheap options.
    • Reishi or medicinal mushrooms. Follow label instructions.
    • Colloidal silver – follow product label.
    • Quercetin – found to inhibit wide variety of viruses including SARS – there are current clinical trials in China to see if it affects COVID-19 (according to consumerlab.com) – dose 50-1000 mg. Headaches and nausea can occur over 500 mg.
  9. Use healing herbs.
    • Elderberry extract – has been known to shorten the flu. No evidence yet on COVID-19. Follow label.
    • Virgin and extra virgin coconut oil – 3 Tbspn daily. Known to have anti-viral effects, being tested.
    • Curcumin and Turmeric – can inhibit viruses. Protects lung tissue with anti-inflammatory effects. I recommend Root 2 or Garden of life. Follow label for dosage.
    • Echinacea – has been shown to inhibit other viruses but not yet tested.
    • Garlic – has been shown to inhibit other viruses but not yet tested.
    • Astragulus, licorice root, olive leaf, oregano oil, ginger, green tea, ginseng and dandelion- all have anti-viral qualities.
  10. Eat well. Prepare delicious, healthy meals with love and RELAX when eating them. Take a few breaths, take in aromas and say a prayer of gratitude. This will help your nervous system switch from sympathetic (fight or flight, work!!) to parasympathetic (relaxation, digestion).

You can reach Rhonda for additional recommendations. Reach out for an appointment or consultation by phone: (340) 277-4006 or via e-mail.

Sign-up form for farm shares up next!

ARTfarm Healthy Lifestand 10am – 12noon

Seasoning peppers are pungent little packages of intense fruity pepper flavor with no (or extremely mild) heat. They look like scotch bonnets, and some folks assume that’s what they are, but these things have all the fragrance of the scotch bonnet with none of the pain factor. They ‘taste like the Caribbean’, as Farmer Luca likes to say. They are amazing to add to all kinds of dishes and sauces, and impart a smoky kind of flavor.

One of the great secrets to really tasty food preparation is just to start with really good fresh ingredients. If you do that, you can keep things very simple and they will taste incredible.

This Saturday’s farmstand, 10am – 12noon: welcome to February! Tomato incredibleness continues, with even more heirlooms (please don’t squeeze), loads of fresh sweet salad mix, teen arugula, baby ‘almost micro’ spicy salad mix, tons of figs, beautiful seasoning peppers, sweet bell peppers, assorted spicy hot peppers, no-peel baby ginger and turmeric, lettuce heads, various cooking greens, dandelion greens, endive, Italian basil, lemon basil, Thai basil, holy basil, cilantro, dill, garlic chives, a few bunches of parsley, sage, French breakfast radishes, baby carrots, butternut squash, Thai pumpkin (so so so good with edible skin), and zinnia flowers.

Early birds will also choose from a few bunches of scallions and onions, some watermelon, some cucumbers, and the first of our Hawaiian sweet corn.

See you in the morning!

Saturday 10am – 12 noon, Cukes & Watermelon

Sorry for the late notice! We just got in from transplanting more lettuce and some scallions for you folks by flashlight!!

Yes we will be open tomorrow (Saturday) December 1st for our regular Saturday hours, 10am – 12 noon.

You want the good news first or the bad news?

Good news: we have in the morning for ya: good quantities of three kinds of watermelon (including a yellow one!), TONS of delicious cucumbers (two kinds), butternut squash, a few bags of baby arugula and baby spicy salad mix, spicy radishes (become completely mild when cooked), turnip greens, Italian basil, lemon basil, Thai basil, garlic chives, dill, small amounts of cilantro, rosemary, lemongrass, holy basil, cheerful cut zinnia flowers, pineapple plants, and native trees

Bad news: lots of our lettuce is still too small after all the caterpillar carnage and rain damage, so no sweet mix until next week, probably Wednesday.

We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you in the morning!