My choice is: (and I have linked the source where I have quoted from each web page)
Potatoes - for their staple food value, carbohydrates and versatility
But, then there is another question when it comes to potatoes. Would you grow normal or sweet potatoes?
Normal potatoes - for chips (fries), baked, roasted, mashed, new baby ones (smothered in cholesterol reducing butter and chopped parsley) or for adding to soups? You can even make a face mask out of potatoes - simply mix finely grated potato with honey and apply it to the face :) This poultice will also relieve the pain of a burn.
|Potato plant in flower|
Or would I plant sweet potatoes - especially the orange one?
Hmmm, I reckon I would have to go for normal potatoes, because of their many uses.
Beans - for their food value, carbohydrate and taste. And for their nitrogen fixing properties :)
...which contain Vitamin K which makes them very good for maintaining the health of bones. They also help prevent the formation of cholesterol and are excellent for your cardiovascular health. Green beans also reduce the incidence of migraines and help in the lowering of high blood pressure.
|Purple runner beans|
Broad beans are rich in L-dopa, an amino acid that is instrumental in the creation of dopamine, a substance that is critical for the pituitary gland's production of human growth hormone. Broad beans are also rich in potassium, which can have beneficial effects on high blood pressure. It is also the third most important mineral in our bodies. And, like runner beans, they are important source of fiber...
And finally, broad beans are a good source of magnesium - vital for keeping muscles and nerves functioning normally and for a rhythmic beat of your heart.
|Home grown tomatoes|
I actually list tomatoes as my absolute # 1 vegetable / fruit. I couldn't contemplate preparing a meal without at least a single tomato on a daily basis.
Tomatoes have the highest concentration of lycopene - vital for it's anti-oxidant properties.
|Solar dried tomatoes|
Lycopene is also indicated in the prevention of prostate cancer as well as cervical cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, and cancers of the stomach, mouth, pharynx and esophagus have all been proven to be staved off by high levels of Lycopene.
To achieve this apparently all you need is 540ml of liquid tomato daily to keep these various cancers at bay. Now - how hard can that be? Not for me :)
Raw in a salad or on it's own, dried, added to soups and stews, turned into a soup or sauce, stuffed and baked, finely chopped and added to a salsa. There couldn't be life without tomatoes :)
And have you ever tried tomato consommé ?
Pick some nice ripe tomatoes and chop them roughly...
|Lovely, ripe home-grown (while you still can LOL) tomatoes|
|Blend the tomatoes to mush|
|Suspend the filled muslin|
bag from a tap,
or fridge shelf
|Our bar fridge comes in|
handy for this part...
Add freshly ground black pepper, salt and a tot (depending on the amount of consommé you make you can increase or decrease this amount LOL) of vodka to the golden liquid and garnish with a (floating) basil leaf and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve well chilled. (P.S. Retain / freeze the leftover "mushed" tomato bits and add them to a sauce, vegetable soup or stew.)
Beetroot - for it's beneficial properties, it's leaves and it's fruit.
|Beetroot - for it's leaves and fruit|
Beetroot helps normalize the pH balance of the body and build the blood. It also increases the uptake of oxygen by as much as 400 percent. Beetroot has been used as a supportive therapy in diseases of the liver and fatty liver. It supports and stimulates the liver, gallbladder, kidney, and spleen and increases the flow of bile.
And beetroot is also beneficial in treating Anemia :- Red beet juice is associated with human blood and blood forming qualities. Due to its higher content of iron, it regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells, supplies fresh oxygen to the body and helps the normal function.of vesicular breathing i.e. normal breath sound. It is thus extremely useful in the treatment of anemia. According to Dr. Fritz Keitel of Germany , "The juice of the red beet strengthens the body's powers of resistance and has proved to be an excellent remedy for anemia, especially for children and teenagers where other blood forming remedies have failed."
It can be eaten simply boiled, roasted, pureed, blitzed into a soup, pickled or grated raw.
|Orange, yellow and white carrots|
Carrots are brilliant anti-oxidants, and their Vitamin A content may prevent or delay the onset of cataracts in vulnerable people. Eating carrots can diminish cholesterol and help prevent arteriosclerosis. They also alleviate skin dryness, and are beneficial in treating skin problems such as sunburn. Finally, carrots can rid the body of intestinal worms.
All of the five vegetables / fruits I have chosen can be eaten in a salad or cooked. Summer and winter meals :) It surely can't get better than that?
And, I was left with this thought - why do I currently grow other vegetables? Is it because I believe I'm entitled to a greater variety? Is it because it is the fashion? Is it in order to rotate my crops? Actually, co-incidentally, the 5 items above all belong to the 4 different crop rotation sections... :)
So, after deciding what I would grow, I have a question - if you could grow only 5 different plants for food, what would they be? Naturally, what you tend to serve for dinner would probably dictate your selection. But, what if you could only purchase / exchange / save 5 different types of seeds for your vegetable gardens?