Superfoods You Can Grow at Home

What better time than Earth Day, April 22, to enjoy the sun, commune with nature and plant a garden that will end up on your plate?




Want to ramp up your antioxidant intake, boost your health and feel more energized? Integrate a few select superfoods into your diet. We’ve chosen five nutrient-dense dynamos that are easily grown in a home garden and fare well in our region.

Most of these superfoods don’t take up a lot of square footage in the garden, and they’ll also thrive in outdoor containers or inside on a windowsill. Taking vitamin-rich produce from garden to table gives you the freshest food available, with the greatest possible health benefits.

“There is something peaceful and rewarding in growing your own food in the backyard,” says Ron Binaghi, who owns and operates Stokes Farm in Old Tappan. “We have so many processed foods in our diet and an equal number of health issues. Growing true, clean food on your own has huge health benefits.”

A Berry with Big Benefits

Blueberries grow well locally and are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. A hardy blueberry patch will yield bounty for years to come, and kids love to pick the berries every summer.

Spring is the ideal time to plant blueberry bushes. For best results, choose a sunny spot with acidic soil that has been amended with organic material, like peat moss. Add two to four inches of mulch to protect the shallow roots, and water regularly. Fertilize about one month after planting. Finally, blueberries are catnip for birds, so be sure to cover your bushes with netting.

This Fruit is the Ideal Veggie 

It may surprise you to learn that tomatoes fall into the category of fruit, because they contain seeds. Nutritionally, however, most people lump tomatoes in with vegtables—and for good reason. They are packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants, which can fight free radicals that lead to cancer. Lycopene (which gives tomoatoes their vibrant red color) is a particularly powerful antioxidant that can reduce the risk of cancer, keep your eyes and heart healthy, and even boost brain power.

Late spring and early summer are the best times to plant tomatoes since they thrive in warmth and sunlight. Make sure to plant them in a spot where they can get plenty of sun (six to eight hours is ideal) and water them regularly. Keep in mind that tomatoes need plenty of room to grow, and that they also need to be supported as they grow away from the ground by a trellis or cage of some sort.

Herbs that Pack a Nutritional Punch

Parsley, best known as a garnish, is delicious when blended into pesto and chimichurri sauce, or chopped into an array of soups and salads. Loaded with iron and vitamins C, A, K and B-12, parsley may help relieve joint pain, and some studies show it can inhibit tumor formation.

Parsley seeds are slow to sprout. To give them a boost before planting, cover in warm water and let stand overnight. It likes moist, nutrient-rich soil and does best in partial shade or full sun. Parsley is easy to grow in indoor pots or out in the garden and can be harvested about four times during the year until late November, says Binaghi.

Mint is a nutritional superstar that will amp up your smoothies. Other uses? Stir fresh mint into hot or iced tea, or snip into Mediterranean salads, dips and entrees. Mint is loaded with antioxidants and is a natural antimicrobial agent and breath freshener. High in chlorophyll, fresh peppermint helps reduce inflammation in the gut and soothes an upset stomach. So much so that it’s sometimes used to bring relief to patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Mint spreads rapidly in the garden. To control the creep, plant in a confined outdoor space or a container.

“It is a strong perennial,” says Binaghi. “I have spearmint growing by my house that my grandmother planted in the 1940s.”

Super Seeds and Sprouts

More than ever, nutritionists are touting the benefits of seeds and sprouts. Chia can be eaten in both forms. Chia seeds, which have a mild, nutty flavor, can be eaten whole—sprinkled on cereal or yogurt, mixed into vegetable or rice dishes, added to sauces, or baked into muffins.

Sprouted chia has even more vitamins and minerals and is a tasty addition to salads, soups and sandwiches. Chia sprouts are tiny workhorses, high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, antioxidants, calcium and magnesium.

Chia sprouts grow happily in a sunny indoor spot. (Remember the Chia Pet?) Use the sprinkle-sprouting method: Add equal amounts of chia seeds and bottled spring or filtered water to a shallow glass baking dish. After an hour, tilt the dish to pour out the water, leaving behind the moistened chia seeds. Cover the tray with foil or a plastic lid to trap in the moisture, but leave one corner open.

Keep the seeds in a warm place. After about four days, they’ll sprout into seedlings, and when they’re about one-half inch long, it’s time to taste! Leftovers? No problem—you can store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for two weeks.

One caveat: If you’re taking bloodpressure medications or blood thinners, ask your doctor before eating chia, which can interact negatively with some of those medicines.

Edit Module

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Find Events

November 2017

The Lewin Fund presents: Own Your Health Power Panel Life is a balancing act. Between work, home and family, it’s tough to make your own health a priority. Learn about improved lifestyle and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, Taub Auditorium
411 East Clinton Ave.
Tenafly, NJ  07670
View map »

More information

Breaking Bread: Artists Explore Food Practices - Court Gallery On view at William Paterson University Galleries from November 1 – December 13, 2017, the exhibition Breaking Bread: Artists...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Galleries
300 Pompton Rd
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Telephone: 973-720-2654
Contact Name: William Paterson Universities Galleries
Website »

More information

Following an intensive search, NJPAC and WBGO will host performances by the five finalists in the sixth annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, founded in 2012 in honor of...

Cost: $29 - $39

Where:
Victoria Theater
1 Center St
Newark, NJ  07102
View map »


Telephone: 888-466-5722
Contact Name: Angela Thomas
Website »

More information

Barry Harris Quartet  with saxophonist Larry McKenna 87-year-old Barry Harris is truly one of the living legends of the jazz piano – and a great teacher of the bebop language. Dr. Harris is an...

Cost: $15.00 General Admission • WPU Students FREE!

Where:
WPU Shea Center for Performing Arts
300 Pompton Rd
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Telephone: 973-720-2371
Contact Name: Shea Center for Performing Arts
Website »

More information

Celebrate the 100th birthdays of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie with an exclusive lineup of acclaimed jazz artists: Gregory Porter, Lizz Wright, Regina Carter, Valerie Simpson, Randy Brecker...

Cost: $25 - $79

Where:
Prudential Hall
1 Center St
Newark, NJ  07102
View map »


Telephone: 888-466-5722
Contact Name: Angela Thomas
Website »

More information

Jewish Federation's Israel Film Festival brings the best of international, award winning films to venues throughout Bergen County. Eight films will be shown over a two week period at first rate...

Cost: $10

Where:
, NJ


Sponsor: Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey
Telephone: 201-820-3907
Contact Name: Joyce Greenberg
Website »

More information

Spend an afternoon at The Hermitage’s HOLIDAY CRAFT SHOW in Ho- Ho-Kus, running from Wednesdays to Sundays until Dec. 3. Crafts can be found for upcoming holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ho-Ho-Kus
, NJ


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Breaking Bread: Artists Explore Food Practices - Court Gallery On view at William Paterson University Galleries from November 1 – December 13, 2017, the exhibition Breaking Bread: Artists...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Galleries
300 Pompton Rd
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Telephone: 973-720-2654
Contact Name: William Paterson Universities Galleries
Website »

More information

For Home and Country: World War I Posters from the Newark Public Library  The Great War through Women's Eyes Curated by William Paterson University Professor George Robb, this exhibition...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Galleries
300 Pompton Rd
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Telephone: 973-720-2654
Contact Name: William Paterson Universities Galleries
Website »

More information

For Home and Country: World War I Posters from the Newark Public Library The Great War through Women's Eyes Lecture by Michelle Moravec of Rosemont College Curated by WP professor George Robb,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Galleries
300 Pompton Rd
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Telephone: 973-720-2654
Contact Name: William Paterson Universities Galleries
Website »

More information

Brave the graves during the Ridgewood Schoolhouse Museum’s CEMETERY WALK with town historian Joe Suplicki. The tour, for ages 18 and older, begins at 3 p.m. and is limited to 30 people....

Cost: Free

Where:
, NJ


Telephone: 201.447.3242

More information

Jewish Federation's Israel Film Festival brings the best of international, award winning films to venues throughout Bergen County. Eight films will be shown over a two week period at first rate...

Cost: $10

Where:
, NJ


Sponsor: Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey
Telephone: 201-820-3907
Contact Name: Joyce Greenberg
Website »

More information

Want to host a party but not sure what to serve? Learn how to make easy and delicious HORS D’OEURVES FOR THE HOLIDAYS with chef Nathan Gross at the Mahwah Public Library. Attendees will also...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mahwah Public Library
, NJ


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Breaking Bread: Artists Explore Food Practices - Court Gallery On view at William Paterson University Galleries from November 1 – December 13, 2017, the exhibition Breaking Bread: Artists...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Galleries
300 Pompton Rd
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Telephone: 973-720-2654
Contact Name: William Paterson Universities Galleries
Website »

More information

Jewish Federation's Israel Film Festival brings the best of international, award winning films to venues throughout Bergen County. Eight films will be shown over a two week period at first rate...

Cost: $10

Where:
, NJ


Sponsor: Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey
Telephone: 201-820-3907
Contact Name: Joyce Greenberg
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

’Tis (almost) the season at the PRE-HOLIDAY BRUNCH & BOUTIQUE, hosted by the Indian Trail Club in Franklin Lakes. The cost of admission includes brunch and access to the boutique, which...

Cost: $48

Where:
, NJ

More information

10th Annual Pre-Holiday Brunch & Boutique Shopping Extravaganza Over 40 vendors will sell costume and handmade jewelry, women's boutique clothing and accessories, luxurious Italian shawls, floral...

Cost: $48

Where:
Indian Trail Club
830 Franklin Lake Road
Franklin Lakes, NJ  07417
View map »


Sponsor: Franklin Lakes Branch of Valley Hospital Auxiliary
Telephone: 201-248-7970
Contact Name: Jackie

More information

Breaking Bread: Artists Explore Food Practices - Court Gallery On view at William Paterson University Galleries from November 1 – December 13, 2017, the exhibition Breaking Bread: Artists...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Galleries
300 Pompton Rd
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Telephone: 973-720-2654
Contact Name: William Paterson Universities Galleries
Website »

More information

Join us for an Open House at Braemar at Wallkill! Braemar at Wallkill is thinking differently about assisted living so our residents can live happy, healthy lives and remain an active part of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Braemar at Wallkill
21 Riverside Drive
Middletown, NY  10940
View map »


Sponsor: Braemar at Wallkill
Telephone: 845-695-5600
Contact Name: Maryann Crenny
Website »

More information

Jewish Federation's Israel Film Festival brings the best of international, award winning films to venues throughout Bergen County. Eight films will be shown over a two week period at first rate...

Cost: $10

Where:
, NJ


Sponsor: Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey
Telephone: 201-820-3907
Contact Name: Joyce Greenberg
Website »

More information

Spend an afternoon at The Hermitage’s HOLIDAY CRAFT SHOW in Ho- Ho-Kus, running from Wednesdays to Sundays until Dec. 3. Crafts can be found for upcoming holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ho-Ho-Kus
, NJ


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Breaking Bread: Artists Explore Food Practices - Court Gallery On view at William Paterson University Galleries from November 1 – December 13, 2017, the exhibition Breaking Bread: Artists...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Galleries
300 Pompton Rd
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Telephone: 973-720-2654
Contact Name: William Paterson Universities Galleries
Website »

More information

Ringo Starr & his All Starr Band – featuring Todd Rundgren (Utopia), Gregg Rolie (Journey), Steve Lukather (Toto), Richard Page (Mr. Mister, Pages), Warren Ham (Bloodrock) and Gregg Bissonette...

Cost: $79 - $249

Where:
Prudential Hall
1 Center St
Newark, NJ  07102
View map »


Telephone: 888-466-5722
Contact Name: Angela Thomas
Website »

More information

Jewish Federation's Israel Film Festival brings the best of international, award winning films to venues throughout Bergen County. Eight films will be shown over a two week period at first rate...

Cost: $10

Where:
, NJ


Sponsor: Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey
Telephone: 201-820-3907
Contact Name: Joyce Greenberg
Website »

More information

Spend AN EVENING WITH OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN and sing along to chart-toppers like “Physical” at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, beginning at 8 p.m. Newton-John, a four-time...

Cost: $49–$129

Where:
Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood
, NJ


Website »

More information

Spend an afternoon at The Hermitage’s HOLIDAY CRAFT SHOW in Ho- Ho-Kus, running from Wednesdays to Sundays until Dec. 3. Crafts can be found for upcoming holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ho-Ho-Kus
, NJ


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Breaking Bread: Artists Explore Food Practices - Court Gallery On view at William Paterson University Galleries from November 1 – December 13, 2017, the exhibition Breaking Bread: Artists...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Galleries
300 Pompton Rd
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Telephone: 973-720-2654
Contact Name: William Paterson Universities Galleries
Website »

More information

Listen to some smooth jazz played by DR. DUBIOUS AND THE AGNOSTICS at Classic Quiche Café in Teaneck from 7 to 10 p.m. BYOB and order an entrée from the café’s full...

Cost: $12

Where:
Classic Quiche Café in Teaneck
, NJ


Telephone: 201.692.0150

More information

Jewish Federation's Israel Film Festival brings the best of international, award winning films to venues throughout Bergen County. Eight films will be shown over a two week period at first rate...

Cost: $10

Where:
, NJ


Sponsor: Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey
Telephone: 201-820-3907
Contact Name: Joyce Greenberg
Website »

More information

NJPAC hosts an evening of outrageous, contemporary stand-up with some of the funniest new performers on the scene: BET star Gary Owen (House of Payne, Think Like a Man), Deon Cole (of...

Cost: $49 - $69

Where:
Prudential Hall
1 Center St
Newark, NJ  07102
View map »


Telephone: 888-466-5722
Contact Name: Angela Thomas
Website »

More information

Spend an afternoon at The Hermitage’s HOLIDAY CRAFT SHOW in Ho- Ho-Kus, running from Wednesdays to Sundays until Dec. 3. Crafts can be found for upcoming holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ho-Ho-Kus
, NJ


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Breaking Bread: Artists Explore Food Practices - Court Gallery On view at William Paterson University Galleries from November 1 – December 13, 2017, the exhibition Breaking Bread: Artists...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Galleries
300 Pompton Rd
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Telephone: 973-720-2654
Contact Name: William Paterson Universities Galleries
Website »

More information

Written, directed and produced by Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Scarf Diariesis an intimate, one-woman play composed of multiethnic, intergenerational vignettes and monologues that tell stories about...

Cost: $49

Where:
The Chase Room
1 Center St
Newark, NJ  07102
View map »


Telephone: 888-466-5722
Contact Name: Angela Thomas
Website »

More information

Written, directed and produced by Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Scarf Diariesis an intimate, one-woman play composed of multiethnic, intergenerational vignettes and monologues that tell stories about...

Cost: $49

Where:
The Chase Room
1 Center St
Newark, NJ  07102
View map »


Telephone: 888-466-5722
Contact Name: Angela Thomas
Website »

More information

Jewish Federation's Israel Film Festival brings the best of international, award winning films to venues throughout Bergen County. Eight films will be shown over a two week period at first rate...

Cost: $10

Where:
, NJ


Sponsor: Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey
Telephone: 201-820-3907
Contact Name: Joyce Greenberg
Website »

More information

Itzhak Perlman. Pinchas Zukerman. A rare joint recital. Two of the greatest violinists of our time – perhaps of all time – in one of the classical season’s hottest tickets! Be there for the...

Cost: $39 - $109

Where:
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
1 Center St
Newark, NJ  07102
View map »


Telephone: 888-466-5722
Contact Name: Angela Thomas
Website »

More information

Spend an afternoon at The Hermitage’s HOLIDAY CRAFT SHOW in Ho- Ho-Kus, running from Wednesdays to Sundays until Dec. 3. Crafts can be found for upcoming holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ho-Ho-Kus
, NJ


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit Module