everyday, homegrown, seasonal eating, winter

Preservation time

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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.

explore growing, produce

Summer Daze

So far there’s been a few  consistent elements to our summer.

Watering  – heat – humidity – cucumbers – my desire to read – watering  – afternoon naps (so decadent !)

Tricky trying to get back into the rhythm of working outdoors in the heat of summer. My brain goes a little mushy and my family are all too aware of the adverse effect of elevated temperatures on my sense of humour. So the trick – get up early, do the essential stuff and celebrate the small wins.

Like cucumbers. It’s like watching the beanstalk Jack planted reaching for the sky. Good food, daylight, water and away they go.IMG_0521.jpg

These gorgeous cucurbits have superpowers ! They can hide from the untrained eye remarkably well. They take on colourbond fencing an mold themselves to available space. They are beautiful when cut on the cross section.

Best of all – they of all the good things of summer. Refrigerate before eating and even more refreshing.

Drink it – chop one up, throw it in the blender with ice cubes, a little water, mint and a smidge of honey – best summer drink.

Pickle it – using 1 part white vinegar, 1 part water, 1/2 part sugar (combine all and heat until sugar dissolves.) Whilst you’re waiting for the liquid to cool, slice up your cucumber, pop in a sterilized jar. Then pour the liquid over pop the lid on, let it cool a bit on the bench and stick it in the fridge. A great sharp flavour to wake up the tastebuds in a salad or on a sambo.

Transfrom it – into tzatziki with a beautiful plain creamy yoghurt and a drizzle of olive oil. The key here is to make sure you strain the grated cucumber for a fair while as you don’t want your dip being watery.

Go out and enjoy these elongated gems of summer, just try not to water the plant in the evening as powdery mildew could set in on the leaves.

Make a teepee from several plants and enjoy their shade and fruit.