Summer Sizzles

Living and Loving the Season

Summer is a time of growth and movement, a time of expansion and maturation. It is also a time of great heat. The best way to keep our bodies cool in this season is by staying hydrated three different ways:

  • drink water
  • eat a light diet requiring less effort by the body to digest.
  • eat foods with high water content.

The heart and small intestine are considered most active during summer. One of the hearts’ main functions is to regulate blood circulation, the process by which nutrients get delivered to all the body’s cells. During this season of high physical activity, the body is constantly processing food to fuel muscles and make new tissue. The small intestine has the ability to expand during these summer months, allowing a more effective processing and delivery of nutrients from the abundance of fruits and vegetables that are available in this season.

Making Flower Ice Cubes

Place petals or whole edible flowers such as Johnny jump ups, violets, gem nasturtiums, or borage flowers in ice cube trays filled with water and freeze.

Summer provides extra delight for plate and palate in the form of flowers. Many of our favorite summer flowers are edible and high in phytonutrients as well as vitamins C and A. Their myriad colors delight and energize us. Below is a list of common summer blossoms celebrated for nutritional as well as medicinal properties:

  • Arugula
  • Bachelor’s button
  • Borage
  • Broccoli
  • Calendula
  • Chamomile
  • Chives
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Daisy
  • Day lily
  • Dianthus
  • Marigold
  • Nasturtiums
  • Pansy
  • Scented geranium
  • Squash blossom

And don’t forget our old friend the dandelion, which makes its first appearance in spring but grows and blooms for us throughout the summer and into autumn.

It’s best to use only organic flowers, collected in the wild or from protected gardens (away from roadsides) or purchased from organic farms. Flowers purchased from commercial greenhouses typically are heavily sprayed with chemicals and are not grown for human consumption. Alternatively, you can grow your own! Growing edible flowers can be fun and rewarding.

Select flowers that are newly opened, fresh and free of any bug-eaten or diseased spots. Normally the petals are the only portions to be eaten. Flowers can be refreshed by dropping them in a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds and then draining them on a paper towel.

Pick homegrown flowers in the morning or late afternoon when their water content is highest. Only use those flowers recommended on the summer food list because other flowers can be inedible, causing digestive distress. It is possible that people with asthma and pollen allergies could have an allergic reaction to certain edible flowers, particularly calendula, chicory, chrysanthemum, daisy or marigold. It’s a good idea to check with your guests before serving flowers.

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