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Monday, 20 June 2016

The Power of One Person and Growing Fruit Trees From Seed

New World Regent Supermarket - I can take mesh bags for produce here.
My local supermarket has been in the newspapers lately. It's all on account of a comment made by a customer to the supermarket owner - whom the customer recognized at the checkout one day. 
This New World supermarket had attempted to go plastic bag free some time back, by encouraging people to bring their own shopping bags and charging for plastic bags. It failed after one week - they returned to supplying bags as customers threatened to change supermarkets.
The comment that changed things, was the suggestion to reward customers who brought their own bags instead. Now the supermarket gives a click on a card towards a free coffee with every $20 spent to customers who have their own bags. Since they started this (about 3 months ago) they have purchased 10,000 less bags to use - and it is really noticeable now at the checkouts how many more people bring their own bags.  
Doesn't that just show how much change one person can bring about.

A  Revelation

After buying a few tamarillo trees and having them die before fruiting (they are a bit fragile and prone to doing that). I proudly told my sister in Australia that we were at last picking tamarillos. Her response was that they have picked about 180 of them and were giving them away everywhere. Tamarillos were $12/ kilo in the supermarket today, so that would have been welcomed I'm sure. The trees sell for about $15 each here, but my brother-in-law had grown his from a single fruit. Duh - why was I buying trees???
So now I have about 100 seedling trees to plant and give away. I'm going to grow a forest of them. All I did was spread the seeds from the fruit onto a paper towel to dry, then planted them all. Next stop - kiwifruit from seed.
Tamarillos are great to eat raw or in baking, but also make terrific jams and chutneys and can be used in savoury dishes as you would a tomato. 
I wouldn't try growing all fruit trees from seed, as some take ages and benefit from good root stock, but tamarillos grow quickly and are fairly short lived.

tamarillo fruit

Friday, 10 June 2016

Sugaring and Kumara Toast

Do Something New Every Week

I have just finished reading "52 New Things" in which author Nick J Thorpe sets out to try one new thing for every week of the year. I love this idea, as I'm always excited by trying or finding something new, but I kind of skim read the book. A lot of what was interesting to Nick Thorpe, I found to be not my thing (buy a motorbike, break a world record, go microlighting) or something I'd already done (get something waxed, grow your own food, volunteer, turn off reality tv).
My new things don't need to be done to a schedule, but here are two that I tried in the last week.

Kumara (Sweet Potato) Toast 

Scrub your kumara and slice it into toast-thickness slices. Put them in the toaster and cook (mine took three times down in our puny toaster)
They are then ready to be topped with whatever you fancy - pesto and camembert... sour cream and chives...avocado slices (avos currently selling for $5.99 each here!) and smoked salmon.
Who would have thought??

Kumara toasts with pesto and camembert

Sugaring wax

This is one of those things that I wondered why I have never done this before.
It is hair removal that is totally plastic-free (If you buy your sugar in bulk and grow your own lemons). 
It's way cheaper than going to a salon to have it done, or buying wax or razors, if that's what you do.
It's less painful than waxing. The sugar "wax" just washes out in water
The main difficulty is getting the sugar "toffee" to exactly the right stage, but even if you make an error, it can still be saved, and spread on and lifted off with cotton strips like wax. 
I found it worked better than wax too.

So here's how you do it...

1 cup of white sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of water

Put all in a large stainless steel saucepan. Cook on medium-low, stirring frequently.
Take it off the heat when the solution turns honey coloured (approx 7 minutes from starting to bubble).
Test a spoonful in cold water - it needs to hold it's shape and be pliable.
Transfer the paste to an airtight glass container that has been warmed (so it doesn't break).
Let it cool to room temperature before using.
If it turns solid try adding a tablespoon of water and heating 10-20 seconds in the microwave.
         Sugaring "wax"        spread it on against the hair direction

Take a blob and roll it into a ball. Drag it over the (clean, dry) skin going against the direction of the hair (this is the opposite of waxing).
Hold the skin tight and flick the paste off in the direction of the hair growth.
You just reuse the same blob until you've finished, then it can be composted.
If it is too runny, you can either cook it some more, or use it like hot wax, spread it on and take it off with cotton strips.
Just don't burn yourself - be careful.
It's better to under cook it than to overcook, so watch it carefully.
I've stored mine in the fridge in case it attracts ants, and just give it 10 seconds in the microwave to make it soft enough to get some out.