Superfoods have become a big market in the US, with loads of healthy eaters shelling out big bucks for powders and liquids to help them stay healthy and in shape.
The funny thing about all this to us gardener folk is that we know that many of these superfood supplements can be grown at home very easily, with next to no work and little investment. In fact, my family gets all of its superfood right from our backyard or from our weekend foraging trips into the local hillsides. There's such an abundance of vibrant nutrition available right at our fingertips, if only we knew about it!
So in this article, I’m going to introduce you to my top 3 PERENNIAL superfoods.
What’s a perennial, you might ask?
A perennial is a plant which lives for longer than two years, which means they live for a long, long time compared to your regular vegetables, and require less care and water.
So here they are:
1. Sunchokes also known as Jerusalem Artichokes, are among the easiest superfoods to grow, and the most delicious.
Sunchokes are indigenous to North America, and despite their name, are actually related to sunflowers (they're not at all related to artichokes, but have a taste similar to artichoke). They're edible tubers, produced in the root system of the sunchoke plant, which produces a beautiful yellow sunflower-like flower. Sunchokes are high in essential minerals potassium, magnesium, and iron, all of which assist in the healthy functioning of the heart.
Sunchokes are also high in many B vitamins (specifically, B3, B5, & B9), which promote health of the skin, eyes, and hair. Finally, sunchokes are an important source of inulin, a form of carbohydrate which causes no increase in blood glucose levels (making sunchokes an excellent potato-like substitute for diabetics) and acts as a pre-biotic in the digestive tract. To grow sunchokes, you simply need to find some tubers.
I’ve found them before at Trader Joe’s, and from farmers at my local farmers market. Once you have the tubers, just stick them in the ground and wait for them to come up. In about 4 months time, plant will have put up flowers and then started to die back. Pull up the plants to find beautiful, organic superfoods in the roots, leaving a few tubers in the ground to come back next year!
2. Aloe Vera has been known for quite a while as a healing plant for the skin, but few people know this plant is also a great edible superfood.