So you say, why is a protein producer writing about green stuff?
Part of the reason I love living on our ranch is the environment. I love being close to things that grow, things that amaze me, things that fill me with a sense of wonder. May I never take one single breath for granted. It is a spiritual journey to live here at Rain Crow and keep your eyes wide open as the seasons come and go. I have a deep appreciation for all things in nature and especially edible things.
When we homeschooled our kids I once went on a kick to “live off the land.”
I think it was after reading My Side of the Mountain out loud to the kids. This is a novel about a young boy who learns how to live on his own in the wilderness. I considered it an interesting idea and learned all I could about edible Missouri plant life. My boys complained that I was trying to poison them and didn’t quite catch the adventure side of it when we had a grocery store a mere 10 miles away.
At any rate, I have had a life-long interest in what around us is edible. Maybe that is the ultimate “eat local.”
On Rain Crow we are blessed with numerous springs that provide clear, clean running water to our animals and our flowing creeks.
In several spots we have watercress that grows wild. This is a perennial aquatic plant that thrives in this spring water. I guess my paleo friends might have an appreciation of it as it is probably the oldest known leaf vegetable consumed by human beings. Ancient Persian, Greek and Romans praised it as a part of the daily diet as they noted their soldiers who ate it were in better condition.
Before micro greens were cool I would harvest these greens because I love their peppery, tangy flavor. They are great to add to salads, put on sandwiches, a great addition to lots of veggies and good to munch (I prefer with oil and vinegar).
Later, I discovered they are good for you as well. Watercress is high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Recent research has shown them to have cancer-suppressing properties. Eating watercress daily in clinical trials showed a significant reduction in DNA damage to blood cells (lymphocytes), which is a precursor to the development of cancer. It also reduces blood triglyceride levels and shows a significant increase in blood levels of lutein and beta-carotene which have strong antioxidant activity.
Watercress is one of nature’s super foods! We are thankful to have it growing wild in our pastures. If you don’t have it growing wild in your backyard, consider buying it regularly at your grocery store.