The past few weeks the weather in Western Australia and in particular our region, has been extremely hot. I know it is summer but it has been unusually hot and the heat has persisted for days on end. The reverse cycle air conditioner we thought we would mainly use for heating has been getting a work out. The heat however has been great for our summer crops – we have just harvested a great looking crop of Butternut Pumpkins ( see picture below – they are ripening in the sun) I have so many cucumbers I don’t know what to do with them, hubby has just picked a basketful of long eggplant, a bag of stringless beans, a handful of snow peas, a sink full of silver beet ( spinach), the tomatoes are ripening a handful a day but there in the coming weeks will have a deluge of lovely tomatoes – roma, cherry tomatoes, mini yellow roma, mini red roma, red heirloom tomatoes……onions – brown, red and white and the kale plants has turned into a tree! And we have just planted a second crop of potatoes – we have one box left of the last crop. Have I missed anything? Oh yes capsicums, chilies, broccoli and soon a few lettuces. The zucchini have almost done their dash-thankfully, as I am running out of room in my freezer! It is a great time of year for growing your own vegetables.
I love having fresh picked, home grown vegetables. I love knowing that they are grown naturally, chemically free and just bursting with a taste you do not get in the supermarkets. I just wish I knew a little more about how to use/preserve these veg for another day. The freezer is very useful- I have a freezer full of broad beans, grated zucchini (ideal for fritters, for soups, for adding to the dogs rice …)plenty of frozen spinach and kale ( though these greens I prefer to use fresh or juice), some pasta sauces, some frozen dehydrated tomatoes ( yum as they are, great to add intense flavour to soups etc and wonderful to make your own sundried tomatoes),frozen grated beetroot ( ideal to put straight into chocolate cake) and frozen green beans. Potatoes, onions and pumpkins will happily sit in the pantry until required.
I have successfully made beetroot relish (great with cheese), I have made eggplant and zucchini pickle and I am dehydrating tomatoes. Any other suggestions as to how to use up all this veg would be appreciated.
Does anyone juice? I am a big fan of green/vegetable based juicing. Each year when we have this glut of fresh vegetables I turn to juicing as a way to boost my intake of vitamins and minerals and to use up some of this abundance of veg. (I have newly acquired attitude towards waste and excess…..I can’t stand either) Within a week of juicing my normally weak easily breakable fingernails are transformed to diamond strength, my eyes are clear and bright and I generally feel invigorated. I really should do this more often, not just when we have a glut of vegetables.
The problem is however how to fit all of this eating/juicing into my day (I am also on a “health” regime – trying to stall the rapidly approaching painful symptoms of osteoarthritis.) Getting old sucks. I have researched and found anecdotal evidence that MSM (sulphur) a nasty bitter supplement is meant to be useful, I am having Vit D and Calcium, Fish Oil, Chia seed and LSA daily, and I have made bone broth (from free range, grass fed local beef) which I have used as a basis for soup (to which I have added plenty of our vegetables.) By the time I have eaten and juiced and drank all of the above I am full.
Does anyone else suffer from osteoarthritis and what have you found makes a difference? The best advice my GP has given me is to take daily paracetamol –a slow release variety. Surely there must be a better more natural way to combat this condition (at the moment 3 discs in my neck are affected and my little fingers are sore and inflamed, the knees…. well replacement when I am of certain age might do the trick……Enough…. I don’t want this.
Happy juicing, and my family and friends – look out for a box of fresh veggies and preserves heading your way soon. 🙂