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  • 2012 (45)
  • 2011 (104)

Seasonal Eating

Berries are delicious, but they're also kind of delicate. Raspberries in particular seem like they can mould before you even get them home from the market. Here's how to have them last longer. Read the rest of this entry »
Here is a lovely muffin recipe which you can adapt to best suit your tastes, the seasons, and what you have growing in your own gardens. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s getting easier and easier to get our favourite fruit and vegetables all year round, but does that make it right? Read the rest of this entry »
How many of us didn’t grow up having access to feijoa trees? This is one of the most enduring of the fruit trees in New Zealand, with people using it as a hedge, for its fruit and often simply because it looks pretty and doesn’t grow too big. Read the rest of this entry »
As we are now at the end of the practical growing season for tomatoes, it’s time to decide what to do with the green tomatoes still growing in your garden. If you decide not to store them for later, perhaps you could try one of these recipe suggestions. Read the rest of this entry »
I had lots of plans for what I was going to do with all of my tomatoes, but they will now need to change. I was reading a book on preserving food without freezing or canning the other day, and came upon a couple of things that may help me with alternative arrangements. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m a big fan of seasonal eating, but the season for strawberries has long gone and they are still growing strongly in my garden. Read the rest of this entry »

The little sprig of green that adorns your dinner plate at some want-to-be-fancy restaurants gets a bad rap, but really parsley has so much more potential than as second rate garnish.

Parsley works extremely well as a natural breath-freshener, but not only that, it’s full of medicinal benefits and nutrients.  It’s a good source of antioxidant vitamins A and C, plus calcium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin K for bone health. Those are the kinds of things you learn in accredited online nutrition colleges.

It is extremely easy to grow, although I’ve recently found out it is biennial.  This means you get a great crop the first year, then the second year it goes to seed very quickly, so you have an abundance of plants for the following year.  I always just thought I had done something wrong to it.  Seed Savers NZ recommend chopping the plant off to 1-2inches at the end of the first year to prevent the bolting.

In traditional herbal medicine, bruised parsley leaves have been made into poultices for insect bites, contusions, and itchy or chapped skin; the leaves or seeds used to settle the stomach, decrease flatulence, and treat colic; and the leaves and roots employed as a diuretic.

The health benefits of parsley are many, including for the gall bladder, the nervous system, stiff joints and your adrenal glands.  You can take parsley as a tea, blended in a green smoothie, or juiced along with your daily 5+a day.

Shared on Facebook the other day was a great suggestion to use your excess crop to make homemade Garlic/Parsley Butter, Fresh herb butter or a Fresh Herby and olive oil mix (similar to Pesto) for adding to pizza bases, pasta, soups, casseroles etc.   Make it up and freeze in ice cubes until required.

I’ve also used this versatile herb to make parsley jelly, and recently tried out a recipe for parsley pesto.  I’ll share these recipes in the next couple of days.

 

Sources: http://www.naturalhealthmag.com/healthy-eating/powerful-parsley

I was down at my local Farmers Market the other day and I picked up two large punnets of strawberries for $6.  I’m a big fan of eating seasonally, and I love strawberries!

My own strawberries have done extremely well this year, and get eaten straight from the plant so there are never enough to accumulate to make something out of them.  Last year I posted on preparing for a bumper crop of strawberries by getting your strawberries in early, but that certainly didn’t work out that way for me.  Extraordinary really – we moved house mid-year and I just ripped the plants out of my old garden and chucked them into polystyrene boxes I had been given.  I fully intended to re-plant them, so I didn’t even throw much dirt over the top of them, just left them there, and they’ve flourished to my surprise.

After taking out enough of the fruit from my purchase to experiment with making fruit leathers, I was left with 1.5kg of pitted fruit, ready to make jam with.  I’m a fussy jam eater, and I don’t like big lumps of fruit in my jam as it is too hard to spread.  So first think I put my strawberries in the food processor and give them a burst for about 30 seconds, until the fruit was pulped.

Strawberry Jam Recipe

Slowly, to prevent burning, bring the fruit to boiling point.  When boiling add an equal amount of organic fair trade sugar to the pot and bring back up to the boil rapidly.  The quicker you do this after adding the sugar the better the colour and flavour of the jam.  I’m not a big fan of using such a large amount of sugar in anything, but sugar, like salt, is used as a preservative in this instance.  The sugar inhibits the bacterial growth and keeps it from spoiling. This is the kind of tip you could learn in an online cooking school.

Boil the jam mixture for 15-20 minutes.  The jam is ready when a small amount put onto a saucer develops a thin skin after cooling.

Put jam into warm jars and cover while hot.

Tips:

Instead of skimming the jam, add a knob of butter when the jam is cooked.

Jam jars must be sterilised and thoroughly dry.  I do this by washing them in very hot soapy water, rinsing well and putting in the oven on 100degrees to dry.

Always use a wooden spoon for stirring.

Summer is officially here, and what better way to cool down than with a cold ice block. Most commercial ice-blocks contain guar gum which is a commercial preservative. They also contain colours which you may want to avoid after reading this, lots of sugar. Read the rest of this entry »
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