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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Apple Foraging

Last week I went on a three day hike with some hiking friends near Lion's Head, Ontario.   On our hike route we passed through a few abandoned over grown apple orchards, and you as you can imagine all the ladies on the hike were quite excited as we are all like minded in home preserving and anything home made.   We learned quickly to carry extra bags in our packs .... just in case we came upon more apples!   There were several varieties of apples that we picked over the course of the 3 day hike - both sweet and tart apples.   None of them were scabby or wormy.    With the apples I picked and the apples hubby picked from a wild tree near where he worked, I had about a bushel of mixed apples. 

When I arrived home after my time away I got busy, preparing the apples.    I was given as a gift an apple peeler which is absolutely amazing time saver (not to mention saving the strain on your hands).   I was able to peel, slice and core the bushel of apples in about an hour. 

Manual apple peeler/slicer/corer


Peeled/cored/sliced apple
 After all the peeling/slicing and coring was done I had enough apples to make :  14 jars apple sauce, 15 jars apple chutney, 1 apple crisp, 5 apple crumble pies.    All done on the same day ! (thanks to the apple peeler).
Apple sauce and apple crumble pies


Yield - 15 jars apple chutney

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Yes, you can eat carrot tops !

When I recently picked up my food share at the CSA, I watched in utter dismay as those who were picking up their share of carrots for the week chopped off the tops and discarded them into a bin before putting the carrots into their bags to take home.    What a waste I was thinking ... that these would end up in some compost pile or perhaps given to the livestock to feed on.  

Did you know that carrot tops are highly edible and packed full of nutrition?  In a recent post I said nothing goes to waste in our house.  Everything has it's use, including carrot tops (along with radish, beet and turnip tops). 

Carrot tops are rich in protein, minerals and vitamins.   The tops of the carrots are loaded with potassium which can make them bitter, so the use of them in food is limited.  The tops are antiseptic and can be juiced and used as a mouthwash.  Chewing carrot leaves can heal injuries in the mouth, bad breath, bleeding gums and mouth ulcers.    They can be used as a garnish, or mixed into a salad of your choice.    Be creative !   I add them to my  simple stone soup recipe!  or save them in the freezer for making soup stock later.   Carrot greens are also high in Vitamin K.   They are high in source of chlorophyll - which has cleansing properties that purify the blood, lumph nodes and adrenal glands. 

Here's a soup recipe using carrot tops:

6 small to medium carots with tops and roots
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp white rice
2 large leeks, what parts only
2 thyme or lemon thyme sprigs
2 tbsp chopped dill, parsley, or celery leaves
6 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock or water
salt and pepper to taste

Pull the lacy leaves of the carrot greens off their stems.  - approx 2-3 cups loosely packed.  Wash, then chop finely.  Grate the carrots.  Melt butter in a soup pot, add carrot tops and carots, rice, leeks, thyme and dill.  Cook several minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Season with salt and pepper, add stock.  Bring to boil until rice is cooked.  Can be pureed.  Serve.

Enjoy !

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Simple Hoya Plant

Over 27 years ago a friend gave me a clipping from their Hoya plant.   This plant is still thriving and given us much enjoyment.  I've given many clippings to friends and family to start their own plants.

The Hoya plant is a low maintenance plant and very easy to grow.  It doesn't need alot of watering, and does well, if you forget to water, which makes it a great plant for those who don't have much success with indoor plants.   

Hoyas grow well indoors, preferring bright but not direct sunlight.  The Hoya Plant is one of the easiest plants to grow and are often fragrant. The wax plant, as it is sometimes called, loves to be ignored and they are part of the succulent family.  They do well in hanging baskets both indoors and out (I bring mine in for the winter as they won't survive the freezing temperatues and snow in Canada).  The older the plant the more magnificent the blooms.    Water hoya  thoroughly about once every two weeks, allowing the soil to dry out completely before watering again. It has a high tolerance for drought conditions, but the plant will not tolerate soggy or wet soils.



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Simple Lentil Salad - Recipe


Looking for an inexpensive protein rich salad - full of nutrients, high source of fibre and excellent source of iron, vitamin C and folate ?  One of our favourites is Lentil Salad.  It is very portable - great for school/work lunches and pot lucks.    When my children were younger, I used to make up a big salad (double the recipe below) at the beginning of the week and they would have as a snack after school or take for their school lunches.

Lentil Salad Recipe
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) lentils or black beans - drained and rinsed
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 cup (250 mL) feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup (125 mL) diced celery
3 tbsp (50mL) red or white wine vinegar
2 tbsp (25mL) olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp (1mL) hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped cucumber
1/4 cup (50mL) chopped fresh parsley

In a large bowl, toss together lentils, red pepper, cheese and celery.  In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, garlic and hot pepper sauce; pour over lentil mixture, tossing to coat.  Stir in cucumber and parsley just before serving.   Makes 4 servings.   Enjoy !


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Indoor Clothes line is now a drying rack

My indoor clothes line (Simple Laundry) is now doubling up for other uses.  
It has been a dry summer here, so I've been able to hang most of our laundry outdoors to dry before I leave for work and not worry if its going to rain.  

So, my indoor clothes line has been put to other uses..... drying herbs and flowers!

Chamomile for tea, sweet marjoram, chives, summer savory, thyme, oregano, garlic; bull rushes and curled dock for a fall planter at my front door.   The flowers once dried will make a nice arrangement that will last for months to come.

drying herbs and flowers


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