NATURES BEAUTY - LILY

Easter is upon us, and no flower is more associated with the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection than the lily. Traditional lore says white lilies emerged where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the earth in his final hours on the cross. The ancient Greeks believed lilies came from the breast milk of Hera, the queen of the gods. In Roman mythology, Venus, the goddess of beauty, was jealous of the flower’s white loveliness. A European legend says if you approach an expectant mother holding a lily….

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NATURES BEAUTY - SQUASH

Is squash a vegetable or a fruit? You would probably call a zucchini squash a vegetable, but you would most likely call a pumpkin a fruit. The definitive answer, from a botanical view, is squash are fruits because they contain the seeds of the plant.  Squash are some of the oldest cultivated crops on earth, believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America more than 10,000 years ago. The word squash comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means…..

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NATURES BEAUTY - CINNAMON

One of the best-loved spices of cooks and food lovers alike is cinnamon. Made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree, cinnamon has been around since the days of ancient Egypt, where it was used to embalm mummies. The tree is native to the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia. Indonesia and China produce three-quarters of the world’s supply of cinnamon today.

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NATURES BEAUTY - TOMATILLO

are used in a wide range of dishes: stews, soups such as posole, salads, curries, marmalade, preserves and even desserts. Rinse tomatillos before using because they are usually covered by a sticky substance.


Tomatillo varieties include purple, purple coban, toma verde (which matures in just 60 days), tomayo, amarylla (a yellow variety) and Rio Grande verde, which yields fruit as large as apples. They grow well in containers, reaching a height of 3 to 4 feet. Nutritionally, tomatillos are low in carbohydrates with just under 4 grams total per half-cup serving. They are almost fat- free and are rich sources of vitamins A and C, which both act as antioxidants against free radicals, and potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. They provide several other micronutrients in smaller doses. The fiber in tomatillos helps lower blood cholesterol.


Tomatillos are a source of phytochemicals called withanolides. These natural plant compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis, or cell death, in colon cancer cells. Withanolides are also anti-inflammatory. Research shows withanolides can help alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Eating tomatillos may make living with arthritis more manageable.



Tomatillos have several key nutrients that benefit eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that concentrate in the retina and help protect against environmental damage. Tomatillos also provide beta carotene, vitamin E, copper and zinc – a proven combination for slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss. So say “si!” to tomatillos.




Sources:


TANYA TYLER





Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

Let’s get it straight from the start: Despite their name, which means “little tomatoes,” tomatillos aren’t just baby tomatoes. They don’t turn red like tomatoes. Tomatillos belong to the nightshade family, along with eggplant, potatoes and peppers. They’re also known as the Mexican husk tomato, Mexican groundcherry and miltomate. In the United States, they are called jamberries, Mayan husk tomatoes and jumbo husk tomatoes. Tomatillos are integral to Mexican cuisine, serving as a base for such dishes as salsa verde (unlike many other condiments, fresh salsa made with tomatillos is a healthy choice that’s virtually free of added sugars). Sometimes they are eaten raw.


Tomatillos are native to Central America and Mexico. They grow mostly in the Mexican states of Hidalgo and Morelos and the high-lands of Guatemala, but they are now grown in gardens all over the world. They start out as small, spherical, green or green-purple fruit surrounded by an inedible, paper-like husk that is easily removed. Their flowers come in several colors, including white, light green, bright yellow and purple. The tomatillo’s tart flavor is its main attraction. Tomatillos are slightly more acidic and slightly less sweet than ripe and unripe tomatoes, with a lemony flavor. Tomatillos keep well if they are refrigerated for about two weeks. They keep even longer with the husks removed and the fruit refrigerated in sealed plastic bags. They are wonderfully versatile and very easy to cook with because they don’t need to be peeled or seeded. They can be roasted or grilled or fried like fried green tomatoes and