explore food, pickle it, produce

Small and slow solutions

.(..being content with the small wins and getting through the day.)

lotsolemons.JPG

Pretty much most days seem like their potential is limitless. There’s a never ending parade of incredible people doing amazing things and getting out there saving the world.

I walk down the hill and wonder how I can save a few lemons.

This tree you understand – is just in it’s happy place, doing it’s thing – growing quite remarkable lemons. No matter how many you harvest, there always seems to be a few more. Lemons just don’t grow overnight, one day I might tie a string to a blossom and see exactly how long it take s to grow these orbs of zingy sunshine, but until then – let’s just say a while.

So I juiced, I preserved, I made cordial and I made curd. All relatively simple, not too much time or space. (On the bench or in my head)

Great thing about preserved lemons, once you’ve got them, you’ll always find a use. And they look pretty.

Here’s how to – PRESERVE LEMONS.

Get yourself a clean jar with properly fitting lid. You could even sterilize it if you like. (Say 2 x 300ml tomato paste jars scrubbed clean.)

4-6 good sized lemons

A juicer

Pure salt – I had Himalayan rock salt on hand.

A sharp knife and chopping board.

Sprinkle a little (1 tsps worth) of salt in the bottom of the jar. Cut a lemon into thick slices/ quarters/ eighths and lightly sprinkle salt on the cut sides. Wedge them into the jar and repeat until you’ve got approximately a 2cm gap at the top. Now start juicing another lemon and pour in over all those chopped up pieces. the aim is to totally submerge all the chopped lemon. Any bits left protruding could go moldy as they will be exposed to air. If any bits still stick up, either wedge them in or take them out. This preservation technique works because it’s an anaerobic environment (and there’s all that salt and citric acid.)

Screw the lid on and label. Best if left for a minimum of a month.

Minimum fuss, no waste and you’ve put away some food for later. Bottled sunshine.

collaboration, community, explore food, salad days

Making friends with salad

So the other day I ran an incursion at an early childhood centre based on the concept of ‘Seed to Salad Bowl’. The youngest ones rolled seeds around planted a few and nimble fingers plucked dill seed from the picnic rug. The next group up planted out their very own salad bowl in a salad spinner. For our final trick with the older kids in the centre,

IMG_1755.jpg

I chopped up tomatoes and cucumbers to show the seeds, passed around slices to try, slid the remaining slices into the bowl and stirred through leaves from the garden – stored in glass to keep them fresh. Asking around why they thought the salad leaves were in a glass jar & the winning answer ‘so people won’t steal them’.

To make our little salad extra snazzy, I dressed it with a little juice from a jar of home preserved lemons. Now this aroma and flavour is not for the feint hearted¬† – kind of slams into you. Well well – time to eat the salad and I’m so glad I wasn’t standing in between these kids and the salad. Arms lunging into the mix and salad was snorfled. The staff and I looked on with amazement, as these kids just couldn’t get enough.

Dressing on the salad of this morning – one of the younger ones hung back, not to have a chat, nor to play with the seeds, but to help me pack everything back into the bag of tricks – gold.

Salad made with friends.

community, everyday, explore food, explore growing

What is healthy food anyway?

As a lovely girlfriend posted the other day..

Reading can seriously damage your ignorance’

So I try to do as much as possible and across a reasonably broad range, (as long as it has something to do with food.) If I could absorb them just by holding to book – woohoo!!!

The question posed of late – what is healthy food? Does anyone consider the health of the food system when making their purchase/ trade? If it’s healthy for us, is it seasonal or has it come from the other side of the planet? Did that meal need it’s passport stamped? What’s the embodied energy of watermelon in winter?

Price matters hugely to the customer, but what’s the actual cost? Is the farmer treated fairly? I know how much effort goes into growing food, and it takes time and resources. How about all those involved with the supply chain ? Start by growing something in your community, craft a little social change, Disrupt the routine. a household compost system can fill up pretty quickly just from fruit skins – imagine this on an industrial scale.

 

There are some really incredible organizations doing really fabulous work. Check out foodwise for some easily digestible infographics. Ozharvest is loaded with information about the real costs involved, how you can start at home and how you can help them help others.

Play with your food and see how far you go.

homegrown, observe, spring

Grounding the preparation

IMG_1559.JPGSun is getting up a little earlier these days, as am I. Easing myself into the upcoming summer routine when the juiciest, most productive part of the day is early morning before the heat gets into things. At the rate our environment is changing, warming up will be commonplace – but I digress.

A little planning goes a long way. Start slow and steady, it will become second nature rather than the sprint to play catch up and get seedlings into the ground. Looking for the changes rather than relying on a calendar and you’ll see spring is barely around the corner. Feed you fruit trees. Feed the garden. Build soil. Get your compost system ticking along happily to generate more of that fabulous nutrient dense soul food for your plants which will in turn make for happy bellies without needing a trip to the local big box for supplies..

Worms are waking up, as are their appetites, feed them up and they’ll pay you in kind. Worm casting are amazing in a home made seed raising mix. Way better to make you own rather than rely on something with hidden ingredients. The one I’m trialing is over here Coir for holding moisture, but not too much, compost – because that’s the good stuff, worm castings for super fine rich and happy nutrient pack and sand for drainage, just in case.

Time to get out there, start some seeds and anticipate playing with your food.

 

explore food, homegrown, package free, winter

A little piece of home

IMG_1480.jpg

So winter school holiday times are fun for us. The garden grows so slowly as the sun is a low rider across our southern skies. Perfect time to choose our own adventure. Follow the coast and the sunshine.

In our attempt to be diligent travelers, participate in plastic free July and keep the scurvy at bay (joking!) we made sure to include a massive bag of these harvested right before take off. Luckily we grow for the seasons. Citrus right now is just the best. Super juicy and who knew – grow into their own biodegradable packaging !

I packaged our own shopping bags, knowing we’d be hopping from town to town, but trying to use zen instincts to find something nutritional and familiar was a little trickier. Sometimes we scored big time, other times it’s a matter of going with the flow, choosing the least bad and being thankful for choices.

A break away from the usual gig, a chance to freeze around a campfire spotting satellites and shooting stars comes highly recommended.

 

diversity, explore food, homegrown, package free, reusable packaging

Being an explorer

So we’re in the shadow of holiday time. For us this winter it’s a road trip up the east coast mixing it up with family, camping, national parks, town visits and naturally for half the family – surfing. (The other half love reading and drawing, so it works well.)

It’s also plastic free July . Normally this isn’t an issue for us, but being on the road may throw the occasional curveball.IMG_1151.jpg

Usually meal planning and a little time in the kitchen gets me over the line. We’ll have our little camp kitchen, but space will be a priority in our van & there’s no refrigeration beyond the ice blocks. So it’ll be basic, but leaves more time for play – everyone wins!

'love to eat homegrown ?'.jpg

Snacking in the garden is one of the bonuses of my market garden gig, unfortunately the garden just isn’t going to fit.¬† I’ll be checking in with Fair Food Forager¬† to find local wholefood / co ops/ local fresh food stores when supplies run low & I kinda geek out a bit looking for the super fresh options in a new town. Finding where the happy food is & how locals eat is a way I get my bearings in a new town.

How you you find your way in an unfamiliar area or is a wander around with accidental finds more your speed?

everyday, homegrown, seasonal eating, winter

Preservation time

IMG_1263.jpg

We’re a few days away from the shortest day of the year – Winter Solstice and I’m trying really hard to slow down, preserving this time and preserving the orbs of sunshine* (aka – lemons and limes) currently in abundance.

It really should be sleep season to totally recharge the batteries and dream about things to come. I’m trying to be a grown up and also take this time to review what’s worked over the previous growing season, accept feedback and grow from there.

Putting something away for later makes absolute sense. It could be dehydrating some of the citrus haul for when you’d love it’s zingy freshness mid summer. It could be going all out on pumpkin recipes, since they went crazy earlier in the year. How about dusting off an indoor skill (handwork like embroidery/ drawing/ baking) ? They may sound a little out dated, but you know what ? It’s such a treat slowing down enough to enjoy the process, being totally in the moment rather than watching the minutes disappear and racing around trying to fit everything in.

Try it out sometime, it is so worth enjoying those pockets of light.

*HOW TO DEHYDRATE LIMES

Preheat the oven to 95oC. Slice limes into 5mm rounds. Space them out on a cooling rack over a baking tray. Pop in oven and rotate/ check on them hourly. Should be done in 2 -3 hours. Let cool completely on tray before storing in a jar out of direct sunlight.

Can be used in soups and stews, drink garnishes, decorations.

Don’t forget by dehydrating, you’re concentrating the flavour of the lime – so it may be a bit of a shock to start chewing on one. Other citrus can also be preserved in this way, the times may vary.