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Friday, 22 February 2013

12 Uses for Lemons

Lemons are a very useful fruit with so many uses:

(1) Use to whiten laundry by adding lemon juice to your wash. The citric acid in lemons provides for powerful natural cleaner and fabric whitener.

(2) Use to eliminate smells in the fridge or any other bad odours throughout the house by simmering a few lemon halves in a pot to provide a lovely lemony smell.

(3) Use to clean brass, stainless steel or copper by making a paste of lemon juice and salt and applying to tarnished metal surfaces. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse with warm water and dry.

(4) Use lemon juice to stop fruits and vegetables from turning brown whilst cooking. Works well on apple slices.

(5) Use for sore throats, mix a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of honey into a cup of water and  warm to a drinkable temperature.

(6) Use to remove hardened or baked on food from dishes and pans by making a paste with baking powder and a little lemon juice, allow to soak in before washing.

(7) Use to deter ants, moths and other insects, as they dislike the strong scent and flavor of lemons.Works well in stopping ants if sprayed on their trail.

(8) Use a teaspoon of lemon juice to stop your rice becoming sticky whilst cooking.

(9) Use lemon juice to kill weeds.

(10) Use to clean chopping boards - particularly works well after using boards to cut meat.

(11) Use on insect stings for relief, disinfect and heal.

(12) Use to remove stains or odours from your hands especially good at removing beetroot or berry stains.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

How to avoid food waste and save money.

Recent media reports have highlighted the fact that at a large proportion of the world’s food (apparently somewhere between 30%-50%) is disposed of as waste whilst many people across the world have insufficient food and go hungry.

This includes householders throwing away up to £600 of food on average a year, by crops not being harvested because they do not meet the stringent demands set by supermarkets (wrong shaped carrots for instance) and food wasted by supermarkets and food outlets when they are past their sell by date.

We find these figures shocking, as we rarely throw away any food at all. We have our shopping down to a fine art which means everything get used. The most important thing we do is make a list before shopping which avoids being tempted by supermarket displays or special offers.  At the end of the day it simply comes down to planning your shopping and meals to fit in with whatever is available as fresh produce from the garden. We tend to eat a lot of soups when there are gluts say of peas or artichokes and leftovers can often be included in a soup or used the next day for a snack on toast.

Set yourselves a target to reduce your food waste to zero and not only will you be better of financially but you will discover tasty and creative recipes to use leftovers.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Cheap organic weedkiller

Lemon juice and vinegar both contain acetic acid which can be used to make a very effective organic homemade weed killer.

While most table vinegar's have an acid content of around 5% to 8%, a more concentrated solution of 10% to 15% can be achieved simply by exposing vinegar to the air and allowing it's water content to reduce by evaporation and so increase it's acidity level. The higher the acidity level the more effective your solution will be at killing weeds.

At the right strength this organic weed killer will kill the leaves of any plant it comes into contact with but will not kill its roots, so it's best used on young weeds which will not have enough energy to re-emerge. Repeated spraying can destroy any more established weeds.

You can make your own organic weedkiller by mixing 150 mls of lemon juice and 1 liter of strong vinegar. Vinegar can be bought cheaply at about £1 per liter, so the weedkiller is cheap to make.

Use your mixture to directly spray weeds and the most effective time to do so is during the heat of the day.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem Artichokes (hellanthus tuberosus) are now available to crop and make a lovely winter soup. Despite the name they have nothing to do with Jerusalem and are not related to the artichoke family but are in fact a daisy.

They are a very under-rated vegetable which look strange but taste lovely with pleasant nutty flavour. The only problem is they cause wind in some people. You will need the following ingredients to make enough soup for four people.

Olive oil for frying
1 large chopped onion
1 large potato peeled and diced
500g of jerusalem artichokes peeled and diced
1 litre of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
parsley to garnish

Fry the onions in olive oil and then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes, garnish with parsley and serve with a crusty roll. Enjoy