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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Pea Pod Soup

We have been picking peas but the crop has not been as good as last year. After shelling it seems wasteful to just compost another pile of pods so we had a try at making pea pod soup.

We washed and boiled a pot full of pods for 10 minutes and left the pods in the pan until the next day. The liquid was strained through a colander and the pods squeezed to extract as much liquid as possible. The pods were still fibrous and tough but the liquid was a lovely colour and surely must be full of nutrients. The pods still ended up in the compost but at least we had extracted some of the goodness and a lunch.

We finely chopped an onion and three cloves of garlic and fried until soft in a olive oil.

Finely diced two medium sized potatoes and added them to the pan with salt and pepper to taste. Added the pea pod liquid, a handful of peas, two sprigs of finely chopped mint and cooked the soup for about 15 minutes.

The result was a well worth the effort. A very tasty soup enjoyed with an olive roll.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

11 Uses for Vegetable and Fruit Trimmings

Rather than just composting your vegetable and fruit peelings why not use them.  The peelings contain many nutrients and are full of flavour. However only use them if  you have grown them organically or buy organic produce which will ensure no pesticides or chemicals in the peelings, Here are some suggested uses in the kitchen and home.

1. Clean your teapot or kettle by adding lemon peel before boiling. Allow the water to cool completely before emptying and rinsing. The lemon peels will remove mineral deposits and tea stains.

2. Candy your watermelon rinds for a tasty treat. Follow the link http://cyprusgardener.blogspot.com/2012/01/candied-watermelon-rind-recipe.html

3. Make potato crisps with potato peelings by coating in olive oil and baking at 200c for about 10 minutes.

4. Make your own cleaner with orange peels by the following http://cyprusgardener.blogspot.com/2012/01/make-your-own-orange-peel-oil-cleaner.html

5. Make vegetable stock by boiling potato peels, corn cobs, celery leaves, onion skins, carrot peels, pea and bean pods, leek ends and herb stems. You can store trimmings in the freezer until you have enough for a stock and if you make a large amount freeze some stock for later use.

6. Make a delicious treat using orange peels by following the link.  http://cyprusgardener.blogspot.com/2012/01/candied-orange-peel.html

7. Make your own orange marmalade by following the recipe link.  http://cyprusgardener.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-to-make-your-own-orange-marmalade.html

8. Make your own lemon tea by following the link.

9. Make onion tea by infusing onion skins in boiled water which is especially good for sore throats.

10 Make firelighter using citrus skins by following the link.

11. Roast pumpkin seeds for a nice snack http://cyprusgardener.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-to-dry-and-roast-sunflower-and.html

Monday, 18 March 2013

Make Your Own Powdered Lemon Tea

We spent an hour this morning squeezing lemons to make lemonade syrup. If you would like to try the recipe follow the link - http://cyprusgardener.blogspot.com/2011/07/make-your-own-lemonade-syrup.html

The process left us with lots of lemon rinds and as we like lemon tea we decided to dry the peels for powdering to use for tea.

It's a simple process, just a matter of cutting away the bitter pith with a sharp knife and then leaving the strips, peel side up, on a plate to dry indoors. Alternatively the rind can easily be peeled using a vegetable peeler.

Drying takes between 3-5 days depending on the air temperature, after which the shriveled dry skins can be powdered in a food processor (or using a mortar and pestel) before storage.

Store in a clean jar in a dark cupboard and away from any heat source.

The same process can be used for any citrus skins. Try a combination of grapefruit, lemon and orange for quite a lovely flavour.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Wood Ash - 10 uses

We get a steady supply of wood ash from our wood burning stove and rather than simply spreading it onto vegetable beds to be dug in - here are a few more uses.

1.   Use wood ash to add nutrients to your compost. Contains potash and calcium carbonate.

2.   Use wood ash to deter snails from plants. Spread around the perimeter of the plant.

3.  Use wood ash to add nutrients to planting holes for tomatoes  by adding about half a cup to each hole.

4.   Use wood ash to clean stove glass doors. Add to a damp sponge to wipe away sooty deposits.

5.   Use wood ash for soap making. Soak ashes in water to make lye which is used in the soap making process.

6.   Use wood ash to clean metal by making a paste with the ash.

7.   Use wood ash as a dust bath for chickens, it kills lice and mites.

8.   Use wood ash to remove sticky labels from glass jars by making a paste with a little water.

9.   Use wood ash as a top dressing around onions, leeks and garlic.

10. Use wood ash to raise the Ph of soil if required, as an alternative to lime.