health

GMOs: Are They Really Good For Us?

GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, seems so be all the rage these days. But what exactly are they? Are they bad or good for our health? As we dig deeper into this topic, it turns out that everything is not as black and white as we perceive. GMO

What are they?

GMOs are living organisms whose genetic material has been modified through various means of genetic engineering. Genes are artificially manipulated and selected to ensure that only specific and desirable traits are carried on. Currently, there are no federal laws in the US that require food manufacturers to label GM foods.

The Good News

GMO2Even with all the bad press, there are beneficial side effects to growing GM foods. These foods are usually modified to be resistant against weeds and pests so reduces the need for herbicides and pesticides. This means that there are less chemicals and non-natural substances that are being consumed by eating GM foods. The modifications usually associated with GM foods often calls for higher yields and therefore increases food production. GM foods require less tillage and plowing, thus reducing carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. There are multiple cases where GM foods can produce more food in less space, and can therefore more adequately feed a rapidly growing population. The modified foods can also have an increase in desirable components such as nutrients.

Not So Good News

Although GMOs are manipulated to only produce desirable traits, its effect on the human body is still largely unknown, controversial, and debated. GMOs are created with the mindset of increasing food production and profit margins. Compared to its natural counterparts, GMOs usually grow exponentially faster and requires less maintenance. However, it is neagmo-veggiesrly impossible for the average consumer to choose whether a product contains GMO as there are no laws requiring such labels on foods in the US. Whatever your feelings towards GMOs are, the only sure fire way to know is to grow your own food. With Droponic, starting and maintaining your very own indoor garden is a breeze. Be in charge of your food today!

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health

What is a healthy meal?

In 2011 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated the food pyramid and introduced what is dubbed MyPlate. MyPlate is a plate-like food circle that divides the different food groups by the amount of each that is recommended to be on your plate for each meal. This is an intuitive stepping stone from the food pyramid diagram introduced in 1992 since it visually illustrates the amount of each food that should occupy a plate during each meal.

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MyPlate is the most current nutrition guide from the USDA and divides the plate into four sections of approximately 30% grains, 40% vegetables, 10% fruits, and 20% protein. These approximations are accompanied by additional recommendations when thinking about holistic, well-crafted, and healthy meals. These recommendations aim to provide a broader understanding of health and nutrition and include statements such as “switch to 1% or skim milk” and “vary your protein food choices”. When MyPlate was unveiled in 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama remarked:

“Parents don’t have the time to measure out exactly three ounces of chicken or to look up how much rice or broccoli is in a serving. … But we do have time to take a look at our kids’ plates. … And as long as they’re eating proper portions, as long as half of their meal is fruits and vegetables alongside their lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, then we’re good. It’s as simple as that.”

Be sure to consult MyPlate to eat healthy meals today and everyday! Everyone can find more information about MyPlate on the USDA website

Learn how to fill your plate with greens grown from Droponic today.

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hydroponics

What are hydroponics?

Growing with hydroponic technology means that the roots of your plants are suspended in water instead of soil. In truth, growing your plants with hydroponics is actually one of the easiest ways to have your own garden. This is because plants grow strong and healthy when provided with an adequate amount of water, nutrients, and sunlight and the hydroponic system is designed to do just that – provide the optimal amount of all three growth ingredients. With hydroponic technology, growers can rejoice since they are no longer limited by climate or by season to grow beautiful plants. All this without the headache that comes with the mess of soil or dirt.

 

Growing with hydroponics vs. soil

Growing the hydroponic way is actually more efficient than growing with soil for various reasons. When greens are planted in soil, they must expend a lot of energy to sift through the soil to find the nutrients they are looking for. However, growing plants with hydroponic technology means that roots have direct access to nutrients that are added to the water. In this way, your plants can easily uptake its vital nutrients with ease. This actually means that when growing side-by-side, plants grown with hydroponic technology will tend to grow faster and produce larger yields than plants grown in soil because nutrients are delivered directly to their roots. Since their roots are submerged directly into nutrient-rich water, plants grown hydroponically will tend to produce greater yields because they can divert more energy into leaf and stem growth.

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Growing the hydroponic way with Droponic

Do you want to have a go at hydroponics but don’t know where to start? Definitely take a look at Droponic to obtain all your growing needs. Droponic has designed a simple and beautiful way to grow your greens indoors. Unlike traditional hydroponic systems, which require careful observation and tending to maintain optimal levels of nutrients, water, and sunlight, Droponic will automatically send you notifications once your plant needs a little TLC. We put a great amount of effort in forging the best design for Droponic that is both simple and practical so with Droponic, users can grow anything from kale to basil with ease and take their cooking game to a whole new level. The smart garden is compact and portable so users can bring fresh herbs straight to the dinner table.

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With Droponic, the entire growing process becomes incredibly simple. As a grower, you simply buy carefully-crafted seed pods and nutrient packets, assemble your product, and watch your plants grow and flourish!

Head on over to Droponic to see how you can start growing your own smart hydroponic kitchen garden today.

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health

Herb Spotlight: Basil

basil-leafBasil, often referred to as the “King of Herbs” is known for its strong, pungent, and sweet-smelling aromatic fragrance. Native to India, it has been cultivated some 5,000 years ago. Traditionally used in Southeastern Asian cuisine, basil is also prominently featured in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

 

 

Health Benefits

The health benefits of basil is numerous. Rich in antioxidants, it also contains one of the highest concentration of Vitamin K, as well as copious amounts of Vitamin A and C. In addition, basil is an anti-inflammatory and swelling agent. Studies have found that  “extracts of O. tenuiflorm (Holy basil) were shown to reduce swelling by up to 73%, 24 hours after treatment”. Other health benefits of this amazing plant include anti-aging properties, stress reducer, and anti-anxiety reliever. The list goes on.

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Growing and Cultivation

Basil is an herb that makes few demands. It does best in warmer climates, but can be grown almost anywhere indoors. Provide the plant 6-8 hours of sun, and keep the soil from drying out (easily prevented if growing in a hydroponic system).

Harvest basil by pinching leaves off the main stem when it reaches a height of 6 inches or more. Beware not to damage the main stem as it will not grow back.

Although you can dry the herb, we recommend freezing basil to preserve the herb’s nutrients and flavor. Of course, the best option is to harvest basil 5-10 minutes before cooking time. Just a pinch of freshly picked basil is guaranteed to spice up your favorite dishes!

Check out the main Droponic website to grow your own basil today!

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How to Freeze Your Herbs

What do you do when you have a lot of herbs leftover after cooking your delicious meal? Freeze them for later use of course! You should know that freezing herbs will always change its taste just a little bit (nothing beats the taste of fresh herbs!), but it’s always great to freeze some so that all your leftover herbs don’t go to waste. Here at Droponic, we recommend three different ways to freeze your herbs:

1. Freeze herbs in ziplock bags without any water or oil

By freezing your herbs in this way, the freezer will actually preserve them by drying them out. This method of freezing your herb actually changes their taste a quite a bit since the freezer does take out a lot of its moisture so this is not the most recommended method to preserve your herbs. However, this is a great way to preserve your herbs if you’re pressed for time and need to freeze them in a flash.

2. Freeze herbs in water

The best way to retain flavor when using this method is to blanch your herbs before you freeze them. Serious Eats adeptly goes through the science of why blanching herbs will help to preserve their flavors:

Fresh herbs are living things with active enzymes and flavor compounds that change dramatically when heated or damaged. Herbs stored in an ice cube take much longer to melt and incorporate into a sauce than herbs stored in frozen oil, which means that while you’re waiting for the core of that ice cube to melt, the herbs that have already melted into the sauce are busy overcooking and losing fresh flavor. Of course, it also means that your herbs will simply take longer to cook into your soup or sauce.

Blanching herbs can deactivate enzymes, which goes a long way towards maintaining flavor, but more importantly, blanching the herbs first means that they can be packed into a smaller volume. The equivalent amount of herbs takes less space and therefore melts faster.

There we go! After your herbs are blanched, chop them up nicely and place them into an ice cube tray. Pour in water and place your herbs in the freezer for some great tasting herbs later.

3. Freeze herbs in oil (recommended)

Here at Droponic we love freezing our herbs in olive oil. We chose olive oil because it is quite a neutral oil so our herbs won’t be absorbing crazy flavors. You can choose to chop up your herbs or freeze them in small portions. Whichever method you choose should allow your herbs to fit nicely into ice cube trays. Submerge them in olive oil and voila!

Prominent cooking blog The Kitchn even mentions that freezing your herbs in oil is “a great way to have herbs ready immediately for winter stews, roasts, soups, and potato dishes. These dishes usually call for oil to start with, and so you can take a cube of frozen oil, herbs inside, out of the freezer and use this as the base of your dish. Cook the onions and garlic in this herb-infused oil and let the taste of herbs spread through your whole dish.”

And there you go, three different ways to preserve your leftover herbs for another delectable meal!

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