NATURES BEAUTY - LILY

Easter is upon us, and no flower is more associated with the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection than the lily. Traditional lore says white lilies emerged where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the earth in his final hours on the cross. The ancient Greeks believed lilies came from the breast milk of Hera, the queen of the gods. In Roman mythology, Venus, the goddess of beauty, was jealous of the flower’s white loveliness. A European legend says if you approach an expectant mother holding a lily….

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NATURES BEAUTY - SQUASH

Is squash a vegetable or a fruit? You would probably call a zucchini squash a vegetable, but you would most likely call a pumpkin a fruit. The definitive answer, from a botanical view, is squash are fruits because they contain the seeds of the plant.  Squash are some of the oldest cultivated crops on earth, believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America more than 10,000 years ago. The word squash comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means…..

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NATURES BEAUTY - CINNAMON

One of the best-loved spices of cooks and food lovers alike is cinnamon. Made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree, cinnamon has been around since the days of ancient Egypt, where it was used to embalm mummies. The tree is native to the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia. Indonesia and China produce three-quarters of the world’s supply of cinnamon today.

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NATURES BEAUTY - CLOUDBERRY

Cloudberry is a popular berry in countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland – indeed, it’s also known as the nordic berry. It appears on the Finnish version of the two- euro coin. Cloudberries are called “the Gold of the Forest” in Scandinavia. Other names for cloudberry include salmonberry, bakeapple, bakeberry or baked apple berry. Cloudberries are related to raspberries, but the circumpolar plant is smaller. The fruit is actually not a berry, but a cluster of stone fruits.


A member of the rose family, cloudberries grow best in cool temperate regions and alpine and arctic tundra and boreal forests. They are usually found growing only in hard-to-reach places in the wild because it is very difficult (and expensive) to create the right conditions to cultivate them commercially. They need acidic soil in high boggy ground. Because of this, cloudberries are considered to be a great delicacy. In Germany, the cloudberry is under legal protection because it was deemed endangered. So it is found in that country, but people aren’t allowed to pick them. The plants also grow wild across Greenland and northern Russia. In the United States, cloudberry grows wild in northern Minnesota, Alaska, New Hampshire, Maine and New York. You can also find cloudberries in most of northern Canada.


The berries start out pale red in color but change to an amber hue as they ripen in early July. They have a slightly sweet flavor with floral notes and a bit of tartness. Cloudberries’ polyphenol content, including

flavonoid compounds such as ellagic acid, appears to naturally preserve food preparations of the berries. Because of its high content of benzoic acid, a natural conservation chemical, the berry is easy to store in its fresh state in a refrigerator or a cold room. The soft juicy fruit is a good source of vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin C, of course, stimulates the production of white blood cells and acts as an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals throughout the body. Vitamin A’s carotenoids similarly act as antioxidants, protecting the skin and eyes from breaking down and aging. Raw cloudberries are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, beta carotene and antioxidants. The cloudberry’s roots and leaves were used for medicinal purposes, and the plant was once an important remedy for scurvy among hunters in the Arctic. Cloudberry has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, detoxify the body and strengthen the immune system. It also reportedly helps slow the signs of aging and stimulates circulation, prevents diabetes and improves digestion.


Some Natives of the Artic mix cloudberries with seal oil, reindeer or caribou fat and sugar to make what’s called Eskimo ice cream. Other Natives use whitefish, shortening and sugar. Cloudberries are used to make jams, juices and liqueurs. Extract of cloudberries is also used in cosmetics such as shower gels, hand creams and body lotions. In 2020, the Michelin Guide called the cloudberry one of the trending ingredients of the year. It may be time to jump on the cloudberry train.


TANYA TYLER





Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine