notes from maggie's farm
I think I ate too much gumbo.
And hog's head cheese. And creole barbecue shrimp. And beef daube glace. And shrimp remoulade. I ate it all. And copious amounts of rich, dark coffee, and maybe a little something more. It was Mardi Gras! And it was goooooood. But now, as Lent is to spiritual repentance, so it shall be for digestive penance.
We're going to scale back. Way back.
Upon a recent visit with the doc, daikon was suggested to aid with digestive issues I was experiencing. Armed with nature's prescription, I took to the books to find ways to incorporate the daikon, a rather mild, crispy member of the radish family, into my diet.
stir fries, and salads, and several variations of a daikon carrot tonic, based on a vegan, macrobiotic recipe and featured in The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone. (You can find a review of that diet by Web M.D. here, and information and review of a macrobiotic diet, here.)
Further, I discovered that daikon was popularly used to ease symptoms of many digestive disorders. From popular website, Web M.D., (Daikon) Radish is used for stomach and intestinal disorders, bile duct problems, loss of appetite, pain and swelling (inflammation) of the mouth and throat, tendency towards infections, inflammation or excessive mucus of the respiratory tract, bronchitis, fever, colds, and cough. How does it work? Radish root may stimulate digestive juices and bile flow. Radish root may also be able to fight bacteria and other microorganisms.
It was a bit like preaching to the choir, because I already liked daikon, even before realizing it was good for me. And when I read some variations called 'weight-loss tea', well, now, that can't be bad at all. Now, I'm not a doctor, (but I play one on the farm sometimes,) and, naturally, I can't vouch for any weight loss properties of this drink, nor any health benefits of recipes I discovered or created. That said, although I'm not ready for a complete vegan diet, there is no doubt that a move towards a greater plant-based diet is the healthy way to go, so I'm happy to include this vegan refresher in my nutritional medicine cabinet.
I combined several elements of the recipes I saw, added a few of my own, and came up with a surprisingly refreshing tonic I'll be drinking every morning during lent.
1/2 cup grated (or processed) carrot and daikon
1 1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 tsp umeboshi plum vinegar
1 sheet toasted nori
2 large leaves of spearmint
fresh lemon, to taste (meyer lemon gave this a unique flavor that was a particularly well-suited partner to the umeboshi plum)
agave nectar, to taste
Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil over medium high heat, reduce heat, simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain juice through cheesecloth, squeezing solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Serve as is, at room temperature, or chilled, or sweeten with lemon and/or agave nectar, if desired.
I tried it both plain, and 'gussied up' and I loved them both. The umeboshi plum vinegar is for flavor, and the toasted nori is added for an additional macrobiotic-inspired shot of minerals. I reserved the pulp and tossed it into a few cups of vegetable stock for soup at lunch. Waste not, want not, as my grandmother would say.
A little healthy-eating info:
There are several varieties of radishes, the most common being oval-shaped and red-skinned. Daikon is an oriental radish that resembles a fat, white carrot. Look for radishes with unblemished and brightly colored skin (in the case of red ones), a firm and compact texture, and short, bright green leaves.
Radishes will not keep as well with their tops left on, so remove the tops before storing. They will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Radishes are most often used in salads or as a garnish. Daikon radish is also often used in sushi rolls, and is delicious braised in a bit of sesame oil.
Red radishes are a great source of vitamin C and are rich in minerals like sulphur, iron and iodine. Daikon is even better with vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and folate, as well as sulphur, iron and iodine.
Carrots should be bright, firm and smooth skinned. Avoid carrots that feel rubbery or have cracks or small rootlets. Carrots vary in size depending on the variety, and any type can be harvested early as a more tender baby carrot, though some types are bred specifically to have smaller roots. The “baby” carrots typically found in supermarkets are larger carrots (usually varieties bred for consistent color and sweeter taste) that have been machine cut to achieve their tiny size and uniform shape.
Carrots will keep for weeks in the refrigerator. Store them in plastic bags, or cut carrots can also be stored immersed in water in a plastic container (some experts recommend changing the water every few days). Do not store them near apples, bananas or melons as the ethylene gas those fruits produce will increase the bitter tasting compounds in the carrots called isocoumarins.
Carrots should be thoroughly washed and scrubbed. It is not necessary to peel them, although many cooks prefer to do so because it will change their surface texture and also will remove the outer layer that may contain more pesticide residue than the inside of the carrot.
Carrots are loaded with vitamin A. Look for red or purple colored varieties, which are packed with anthocyanins.
The Health Benefits of Mint
The Health Benefits of Lemon
Natural Cures for Digestive Problems