This picture shows five reasons why I love homesteading. Can you identify them? I will give you a few hints. We picked them all today (June 29th., first hint). Not only do I love these for their delicious taste, but also for their nutritional value! My favorite one I have never found for sale at a store (second hint). I am so glad that we have two trees that produce those berries (third hint). So could you name them all? Well, if not, I will tell you. Plus, I’ll share why I think they are so great to have on your homestead.
Strawberries are used to make one of my favorite summer desserts. I really enjoy Strawberry Shortcake if the berries are fresh! We are able to eat fresh strawberries all summer long from our everbearing patch. We freeze most of the berries from our June-bearing patch so that we can enjoy them in the winter. I have one daughter who eats them almost nightly while reading in bed. She loves them rock-hard! We also use the frozen berries in raw milk smoothies throughout the winter. These berries are packed full of the antioxidant phytonutrient known as phenols. From what I have been told phenols promote good health and help protect us from disease. Perhaps that is why she rarely gets ill during the winter months! They are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, plus many B vitamins. They also give us manganese, iodine, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and copper. I have read that they can even reduce macular degeneration of the eyes! Plus, they are helpful in fighting some forms of liver and esophageal cancer! WOW, and to think we were simply eating them because they taste so good!
Wild Black berries are my least favorite due to their large seeds, but we still eat them anyway. Why, you may ask? Well, like other berries, blackberries are powerful antioxidants, but they have something a bit more special about them. Did you know that since they have high levels of pectin, which is a soluble fiber, it is believed they can help lower your cholesterol? What is really special about them is that they are also extremely high in vitamins C, E, and ellagic acid. Apparently Ohio State University did a study that showed blackberries can help fight cancer from our mouth to our colon! I would say that is a “good enough” reason to eat these berries despite their large seeds!
Red Raspberries have always been a favorite of mine. I enjoy spreading these fresh berries on warm toast! Today the bushes were loaded with these beauties! I grow an everbearing variety which gives me a small crop in early summer and then a large crop in the fall. As with all berries, they are great for promoting your health because they are full of those cancer-fighting antioxidants. But what I didn’t know is that raspberries may even help us manage obesity! Apparently, scientists say that metabolism in our fat cells can be increased by their phytonutrients, especially raspberry ketones. Just the sound of that makes me want to spread another inch of fresh berries on my toast. Maybe if I put enough berries on my toast that will nullify the calories in the toast?! Hmm, what do you think?
We also harvest their leaves for the many benefits the tea offers us. The tea aids in digestion issues and has anti-bacterial agents which help our body fight off infections. It has many of the nutrients and minerals we need, especially in the winter. Drinking the tea gives us minerals such as iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, selenium, and even calcium. It also gives us vitamins like A, C, E and B complex. They are full of a powerful antioxidant called antocyanin! It is great for the whole family, but I really like it for the ladies of the house because it is an excellent source of the alkaloid fragrine. Fragrine tones the tissues of the pelvic region, thus reducing menstrual cramps. Historically, it has been used to help with pregnancy, child birth and post-partum. This is why raspberry bushes have been known as the Woman’s Herb!
Chamomile flowers are not just pretty to look at. They have a soft aroma that gently fills the room with a sense of relaxation. They have been used medicinally for thousands of years. I was pleasantly surprised when I had my first cup of FRESH chamomile tea. It was nothing like the packaged kind I had been used to. I LOVE it!
Mulberries are my favorite because they have a very mild taste. However, if they are not picked at the proper time, they will taste sour! Like other berries, mulberries are very healthy for us too. The berries contain resveratrol which is another powerful antioxidant. Resveratrol protects against stroke risk by altering molecular mechanisms in the blood vessels. In addition to the berries being good for us, like raspberries, their leaves are used for making a great medicinal tea too! You will not find the berries in a store because they are too fragile. They have a very short shelf life. I either eat or freeze them the day they are picked.
So, today my children and I gathered up some delicious berries and some calming chamomile, all on our little homestead. I feel so blessed to be able to have these available right here on my property. This day has come to a close and I am headed off to bed feeling very thankful that God created all these great tasting berries for our pleasure and for our health!
There you have it! Five more reasons why
I love homesteading!