A Jewel in the Fall

Persimmon is a popular fall fruit in China. It has long been enjoyed in China not only as a delicious fruit, but also for its multitude of health benefits. Persimmons are high in nutrients and can increase the body's metabolism. Ripe persimmons contain 15% sugar, 1.36% protein, 0.57% fat. It is rich in soluble fiber, vitamins A and C, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, iron and other elements. However, because it's high tannin content, certain rules need be to observed when consuming persimmons.

In Chinese medicine terms, persimmon is:
a) Cool in nature, therefore it can remove excess heat in the body.
b) Sweet and Astringent in property, enters the stomach and spleen meridians. Which means it has the property to generate Yin fluids, dissolve and remove phlegm, stops bleeding.
c) It it suitable to ease the symptoms such as dry cough, sore throat, high blood pressure and cleans the arteries. Therefore, it can benefit chronic illnesses like chronic bronchitis, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, internal and external hemorrhoids.
Although it has many benefits,  there are cautions one needs to be observed when consuming persimmons. Persimmon is high in tannin, an acid that gives it the astringent property. So when eating persimmons, you should avoid certain food.

Through thousands of years of practice, the Chinese people observed a set of rules to allow them enjoy persimmons without potentially being harmed. They are:
1) Do not eat persimmons with an empty stomach. When you are hungry, the stomach has a higher acid content, eating persimmons in an empty stomach can irritate the stomach and may cause minerals to precipitate and cause stones to form in the body.
2) Do not consume a large amount of persimmons in one sitting. Because of its tannin content, consuming large quantities of persimmon can interfere with the body's mineral absorption ability.
3) Peel the persimmons before eating. There is a concentrated amount of tannin in the skin, therefore removing the skin will lessen the chance of consuming too much tannin.
4) Do not eat together with seafood, especially crab. Both persimmon and crab are cool in nature, eating them together will compounding the cooling effect to the body, and can bring on the imbalances of the body. The proteins in shrimp or other sea food could possibly react with the tannic acid, causing discomfort.
5) Do not eat it together with yam or sweat potato. When the starch from yam or potato ferment in the stomach, it could react with persimmon, resulting the fibers and other materials to form settlement that could influence the normal function of the stomach, in severe cases, could result in blocked intestine.

With that in mind, enjoy this unique fruit mother nature has to offer!

Best Simple Pound Cake

This is a pound cake made with the real things, it is super easy and soooooo delicious! I am putting this recipe up to share with all as well as to remind myself how to make it next time.

best simple pound cake

2 sticks of butter (1/2 pound)
1-2/3 cups of sugar
5 eggs (from my hens)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 table spoon half and half

Pre-heat oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit
1. Cream together sugar and butter in the mixer or with a hand mixer
2. Add eggs, one at a time, keep mixing
3. Add salt and half and half and sift in flour, mix well
4. Pour batter in a round fluted pan
5. Bake in the oven for one hour

Variations: Add lemon zest and lemon juice instead of half and half.

Serving suggestion: Serve with fresh strawberry and vanilla ice cream.

Growing Tomatoes From Seeds

Old German Tomato

If the last day of frost supposed to be April 15, then it's time to start your tomatoes. Tomatoes should be started 6-8 weeks before the last estimated frost date. So if you haven't started them yet it's time to do it. It actually also depends on your set up, if you have a heat mat and lamps then starting them a little late is OK, if you do not then start them a little early. Tomatoes typically germinate between 3-10 days, depending how fresh the seeds are and the temperature you start them at.
Here are a few steps to follow if you want to grow your own tomato plants from seeds:
(1) Select the varieties you like to grow
(2) Get fresh potting soil, and if they are not pre-fertilized, add a small amount of fertilizer
(3) Fill 4" pots with potting soil, moisten slightly.
(4) Place one seed on each corner, cover with more potting soil.
(5) Water well, and keep in a warm, sheltered space.
Check periodically and water when necessary. You only need to keep the soil moist, not drenched. When the tomato seeds germinate and about 2" tall:
(6) Separate them and transplant them into their own 4" pots. Keep them there until ready to transplant.
(7) Transplant the tomatoes when the night time soil temperature is above 50 degrees F consistently. Add
Small seedlings
Tomato ready to transplant

What to do with expired vitamin pills?

If you ever have vitamins and other health supplements that are expired, don't through them away, feed them to your plants. You can do this for your indoor plants as well as the outdoor ones. Make sure you water the plants well after you fed them the vitamins. You will be surprised how much vibrancy they can bring out the plants. And best of all, what not? waste not!

Homemade Strawberry Lemon Zest Jam

Strawberry Lemon Zest Jam
Strawberry Lemon Zest Jam This is my all-time favorite jam. When make strawberry jam. It is delicious with a tangy surprise of the lemon zest. It makes a great gift for anyone.
5 cups crushed strawberries (about 5 lbs)
Zest from 2 lemons
1/4 Cup lemon juice
1 pack of fruit pectin
7 cups granulated sugar
8 half pint (8 oz) glass preserving jars with lids and bands
1. Heat jars in hot water
2. Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Cook for an additional minute. Turn off the heat.
3. Pack hot jam into hot jars with 1/4 inch head-space. Wipe rim with a paper towel dipped in hot water. Place jar lid and screw band until finger tight.
4. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars, tighten lids and allow to cool.

How Food Can Affect the Body's Balance.

In Chinese Medicine, lamb is considered a Yang food, which means it brings warmth to the body and increase the body's Yang aspect. For people with Yang deficiency, eating lamb can correct their imbalance, but for people with symptoms of Excessive Heat or Yin Deficiency should be cautious when consume lamb.

Symptoms of excessive heat are: Skin eruptions, redness in the eyes, canker sores in the mouth or the tongue, inflamed or bleeding gums, nose bleed, and sore throat. Excessive heat in the body may also cause scant and dark urine, constipation. When the body has excessive heat, the tongue may appear reddish in color, and with thick yellowish coating.

Symptoms of Yin Deficiency are: Feeling hot in the palms of hands and feet (one indication is you like to expose your feet when you sleep), impatience, hot flashes, red cheeks, insomnia, dry mouth and sore throat, dizziness, ringing in the ears and night sweats.
These symptoms suggest the body either has too much fire (Yang Excess) or not enough water (Yin Deficiency), eating lamb is only going to exacerbate the conditions. On the other hand for those who are Yang Deficient, eating lamb can greatly improve the condition.

Symptoms of Yang Deficiency are: Feeling cold in general, especially hands and feet,lack of appetite, pale face and lips, loose bowel or diarrhea, clear and copious urine, sweat easily, lack of energy, pale tongue, white tongue coating and teeth marks on either side of the tongue.
When someone is Yang deficient the body is in a state of needing more energy and warmness, and eating lamb can accomplish this goal. Other food good for increasing the body’s Yang includes cinnamon. So for those people with Yang deficiency, occasional cinnamon rolls can make you feel good. Exercises can also increase the Yang of the body. So for folks who are Yang deficient, after eating the lamb stew and cinnamon rolls, some light exercise is in order.

People with symptoms of Excessive Heat or Yin Deficiency should be cautious when consume lamb, while for those who are Yang Deficient, eating lamb can correct their imbalances. Another factor to consider when eating lamb is the seasons. Winter is cold, therefore more Yin in nature, so eating lamb in the winter can increase the body’s Yang to balance with nature’s Yin. Summer is hot and Yang in nature, so avoid eating too much lamb to avoid excessive fire being generated in the body.