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

Own a business serving Bergen County?
Learn how you can be a sponsor.

A Bergen Moment

"On a warm and sunny Sunday, I took a bike ride to the Englewood picnic area at the Palisades Interstate Park. Many families were enjoying the pleasant day, having a Mother’s Day picnic. Because I am particularly interested in photographing bridges, I took this image of children playing in a brook near the Park Drive Bridge. I especially liked the girl with her festive dress!”
—Mario Burger, Edgewater, flickr.com/photos/jag9889

Send us your Bergen Moment! Email your photo and a short description to editor@wainscotmedia.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Find Events

July 2017

Ocean Galleries hosts Aldo Luongo July 21-26 with his “Reflections of Summer” exhibit, an amazing new collection of impressionistic-style paintings inspired by an innate love of summer and the...

Cost: Free & Open to the Public with ALL Artwork Available for Acquisition.

Where:
Ocean Galleries
9618 Third Avenue
Stone Harbor, NJ  08247
View map »


Sponsor: Ocean Galleries
Telephone: 609-368-7777
Contact Name: Kim Miller
Website »

More information

Learn how to reduce your stress levels with the help of this hour-long Meditation Introduction offered by New Jersey Meditation in Teaneck every Saturday at 3 p.m. Admission: FREE. For more...

Cost: Free

Where:
New Jersey Meditation
475 Cedar Lane
Teaneck, NJ  07666
View map »


Website »

More information

Every Thursday night is Trivia Night at Allendale Bar & Grill in Allendale. Grab your friends and be there at 8:30 p.m. to enjoy tasty food and drinks while competing for prizes. Admission: FREE....

Cost: Free

Where:
Allendale Bar & Grill
67 W Allendale Ave
Allendale, NJ  07401
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn how to reduce your stress levels with the help of this hour-long Meditation Introduction offered by New Jersey Meditation in Teaneck every Saturday at 3 p.m. Admission: FREE. For more...

Cost: Free

Where:
New Jersey Meditation
475 Cedar Lane
Teaneck, NJ  07666
View map »


Website »

More information

Every Thursday night is Trivia Night at Allendale Bar & Grill in Allendale. Grab your friends and be there at 8:30 p.m. to enjoy tasty food and drinks while competing for prizes. Admission: FREE....

Cost: Free

Where:
Allendale Bar & Grill
67 W Allendale Ave
Allendale, NJ  07401
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn how to reduce your stress levels with the help of this hour-long Meditation Introduction offered by New Jersey Meditation in Teaneck every Saturday at 3 p.m. Admission: FREE. For more...

Cost: Free

Where:
New Jersey Meditation
475 Cedar Lane
Teaneck, NJ  07666
View map »


Website »

More information

Every Thursday night is Trivia Night at Allendale Bar & Grill in Allendale. Grab your friends and be there at 8:30 p.m. to enjoy tasty food and drinks while competing for prizes. Admission: FREE....

Cost: Free

Where:
Allendale Bar & Grill
67 W Allendale Ave
Allendale, NJ  07401
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

WEN is Now: A Women’s Empowerment Network Join us for our July 26th WEN is Now “Seeing is Believing: Learn the Power of Vision Boards” presented by Lavene Gass. A...

Cost: WEN Members: Free | Non-Members: $15

Where:
YWCA Bergen County (Ridgewood)
112 Oak Street
Ridgewood, NJ  07450
View map »


Sponsor: YWCA Bergen County
Telephone: 201-345-1895
Contact Name: Samantha Plotino
Website »

More information

Learn how to reduce your stress levels with the help of this hour-long Meditation Introduction offered by New Jersey Meditation in Teaneck every Saturday at 3 p.m. Admission: FREE. For more...

Cost: Free

Where:
New Jersey Meditation
475 Cedar Lane
Teaneck, NJ  07666
View map »


Website »

More information

Mahwah, NJ (xxx xx, 2017) – On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, the Mahwah Regional (MRCC) Chamber of Commerce will hold a Business After Hours event hosted by Mahwah Bar & Grill, 2 Island Road,...

Where:
, AL

More information

Bergen Performing Arts Center is hosting Ladies of Laughter, a fun evening of performances by some of New Jersey’s funniest women. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets: $29. Get yours now at...

Cost: $29

Where:
Bergen Performing Arts Center
30 N Van Brunt St
Englewood , NJ  07631
View map »


Website »

More information

Every Thursday night is Trivia Night at Allendale Bar & Grill in Allendale. Grab your friends and be there at 8:30 p.m. to enjoy tasty food and drinks while competing for prizes. Admission: FREE....

Cost: Free

Where:
Allendale Bar & Grill
67 W Allendale Ave
Allendale, NJ  07401
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn how to reduce your stress levels with the help of this hour-long Meditation Introduction offered by New Jersey Meditation in Teaneck every Saturday at 3 p.m. Admission: FREE. For more...

Cost: Free

Where:
New Jersey Meditation
475 Cedar Lane
Teaneck, NJ  07666
View map »


Website »

More information

Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City, NJPAC free outdoor music series in Chambers Plaza, presents Cuban dance music with Septeto Santiaguero. The dance floor is sure to heat up all evening long...

Cost: Free

Where:
Chambers Plaza
1 Center St.
Newark, NJ  07102
View map »


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

More information

Every Thursday night is Trivia Night at Allendale Bar & Grill in Allendale. Grab your friends and be there at 8:30 p.m. to enjoy tasty food and drinks while competing for prizes. Admission: FREE....

Cost: Free

Where:
Allendale Bar & Grill
67 W Allendale Ave
Allendale, NJ  07401
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn how to reduce your stress levels with the help of this hour-long Meditation Introduction offered by New Jersey Meditation in Teaneck every Saturday at 3 p.m. Admission: FREE. For more...

Cost: Free

Where:
New Jersey Meditation
475 Cedar Lane
Teaneck, NJ  07666
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn how to reduce your stress levels with the help of this hour-long Meditation Introduction offered by New Jersey Meditation in Teaneck every Saturday at 3 p.m. Admission: FREE. For more...

Cost: Free

Where:
New Jersey Meditation
475 Cedar Lane
Teaneck, NJ  07666
View map »


Website »

More information

Two of the most dynamic vocalists on the Bollywood scene – Sukhwinder Singh and Ali Zafar – join forces for their first-ever concert in New Jersey. Sukhwinder Singh is inarguably one of...

Cost: $39 - $259

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


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

More information

Two of the most dynamic vocalists on the Bollywood scene – Sukhwinder Singh and Ali Zafar – join forces for their first-ever concert in New Jersey. Sukhwinder Singh is inarguably one of...

Cost: $39 - $259

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


Website »

More information

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