Veggies Fight Back
Plants aren't just inert things without reaction to stimuli. From a young age, my mother, Alice Hine Williamson, recognized this fact, and thought that they actually were conscious to some extent. She may have been closer to the mark than we knew.
Some trees, for instance, can communicate with each other. When attacked by pests, trees often began producing a chemical which makes the leaves tougher and/or bitter, to better repel infection. Can the insects just hop-skip to the next tree and happily munch away? Not necessarily. Trees often have intertwined root tips, and somehow the tree under attack gives a warning to adjacent trees, which pass it on, and they produce the same pest repellant even though the pests haven't yet arrived.
Most of us, if we were paying attention, have seen a fruit tree, damaged in a storm, produce like mad only to die the next year. This is an effort to produce seeds (fruit) and pass along its genes, as it "knows" it will die.
How can we make this work for us? Many veggies and fruits, when under attack, produce extra nutrients to protect themselves, which we can utilize for our own better health.
One example is garlic. Mash garlic with the flat side of a cleaver or large knife some five or ten minutes before adding to food. The garlic immediately begins to develop extra valuable nutrients in a futile attempt to "heal" itself. After that time it begins to lose it. Let your garlic lie for a little before cooking. And by the way, don't fry it on high heat; add it near the end of the cooking cycle for maximum nutrition and flavor.
Another example is Brussels sprouts. These often maligned veggies are a powerhouse of nutrients, and delicious if cooked correctly. (See Lemon-Sauced Brussels Sprouts). Cut into quarters and let lay for five minutes. Then cook briefly only until crisp-tender. The waiting will boost nutrients, and the reduced cooking time will retain more of them.Related Links: