Category: Postulant Gardener

Rosehip Syrup

Rose hips

I noticed the abundance of rosehip from my garden and I got to thinking if I could do something with them. My husband suggested a rosehip syrup that he remembers fondly from his childhood. The syrup was sweet-tasting and bursting with goodness of Vitamin C, just the drink, hot or cold, during the autumn season.

Anyway here is a recipe from Hugh Feanley-Whittingstall

Rosehip syrup

 

Rosehip syrup is dripping with vitamin C and has long had a reputation for keeping colds at bay all winter. Far from being austere, though, it has a surprisingly tropical tang, with notes of lychee and mango. Diluted with about five parts cold water, it makes a delicious cordial drink, which kids will love, and a fantastic autumn cocktail for grown-ups. It’s also an indulgent alternative to maple syrup on ice cream, waffles and pancakes.

 

  • You will also need a jelly bag (or a clean cotton cloth and a big sieve)
  • Put two litres of water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Throw in the chopped rosehips, bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for half an hour, stirring from time to time.
  • Strain the mixture through a jelly bag. (Alternatively, line a colander with a couple of layers of muslin and place over a large bowl. Tip in the rosehip mixture, and leave suspended over the bowl.)
  • Set the strained juice aside and transfer the rosehip pulp back to the saucepan, along with another litre of boiling water. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat, infuse for another half an hour and strain as before. Discard the pulp and combine the two lots of strained juice in a clean pan. Bring to the boil, and boil until the volume has decreased by half. Remove from the heat.
  • Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Return to the stove, bring to the boil and boil hard for five minutes. Pour into warmed, sterilised jars or bottles and seal.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1kg rosehips, washed and chopped
  • 1kg caster sugar

Bamboo Shoots


Bamboo Shoots

Photo by Haragayato of Tokyo, Japan

If you are rather partial to Chinese food, you are probably familiar with bamboo shoots.

And if you have been to the Philippines, it is possible that you have come across bamboo shoots in menus.  Probably they would have been called labong in the Tagalog regions or rabong in the Ilocos region.  They are also often called ubod.

Outside of Asia, bamboo shoots would most probably come in cans/tins or jars.

Bamboo shoots are usually harvested during the rainy season when they shoots grow profusely.  As per above photo, the shoots are like cones covered in papery, a la papyrus, brownish and greenish leaves.  The outer shell of leaves are then trimmed off leaving a yellowish tuber.

They can be cooked in variety of ways and can then be also made into a delicious if rather spicy and piquant salad.

 

Coconut, Tree of Life

Coconuts, photo by Reuben Ortega

Coconut tree, photo by PH Morton

Coconut, Tree of Life

In the Philippines, where I grew up, the coconut is very important that it is considered as the tree of life.

The basic reason is that the tree trunks, the whole fruits they bear, the leaves, in essence the whole tree can be of use to us.

Coconut is big business as well. The Philippines is a second major exporter of copra, which is dried coconut meat/flesh, a good source of coconut oil, which can be used for cooking, shampoo, and ingredients to beauty products and use for medicinal purposes..

The leaves are used to bind and wrap specialty foods like tupig, a much love dessert from the Ilocos region, where some of my ancestors lived.

The long spinedly woody part that runs through the fronds can be gathered up together to make a good stick broom called walis tingting in the Philippines.

The trunk of the tree is solid and strong hence it is known to be used in making wooden bridges and huts.  In fact there is a beautiful building in the Philippines called the Coconut Palace, a project of Imelda Marcos.

The ‘water’ from a young or mature coconut fruit is a delicious thirst quencher.

The shell from the fruit can be made into charcoal.

This is my favourite, have fun polishing your floor and get good exercise by using the coconut husk.

These are just a few where you can use the coconut, the tree of life.

But having said that falling coconuts have killed more people that by shark attacks!

For the Filipino legend, click here.

 

Chayote (Sayote)

Chayote vine, photo by JMorton

Sayote, photo by JMorton

Chayote (Sayote)

Chayote is what is called sayote in the Philippines.  It is also known as vegetable pear worldwide because of its pear shape and colour.  Chayote belongs to the gourd family like cucumber, squash and melon.  Chayote is a rich source of vitamin C.

It is a much love vegetable in the Philippnes as it is very versatile.  It can be stir-fried, lightly stewed and added to many recipes.  It can also a good substitute for the unripe papaya for a chicken soup called tinola.

Sayote is mostly grown in the mountainous part of the Ilocos region in the Philippines.  In fact the photo above is taken while we were trekking the rice terraces of Benguet.

The vine grows supported by chicken wire against a fence.

Taro (Colocasia Esculenta )

Gabi, photo by JMORTON

TARO, PHOTO BY JMORTON

Taro (Colocasia Esculenta )

At the back of our house in Marag, plenty of gabi or taro used to grow.  They grew next to our well (bubon) where the vicinity always has water.

Gabi growing profusely in our backyard was a Godsend.  It was a ready source for a vegetarian viand.  Thank goodness we also had a constant supply of coconuts which goes deliciously with taro.

As children, we were told to treat gabi with respect.  Eaten raw the leaves and stalks can be poisonous as they contain oxalic acid.  The sap that comes out when the stalks and leaves are torn can cause itch.

Croton Punctatum

Punctatum, photo by JMorton

Croton Punctatum

The above plant grows profusely in the Philippines, where the photo was taken.  It is apparently called punctatum of the croton family.

As a young girl, still living in Marag my sister and I would go to our neighbours, who grew the plants in their garden to give us cuttings.  The neighbours were so good to us that they would allow us to turn their once beautiful shrubs hedging their yards into stringy sorry sight of bald shrubs as if a ravenous swarm of locusts had been.  🙂 🙂 🙂

With our treasure of twigs of beautiful narrow verdant green leaves speckled with golden dust, we would dash home and plant these twigs in our front yard.  We would religiously water our new plant for at least a few days and then we forget as by then we moved on to another hobby.  Some of the twigs would live and some dries up and shrivelled under the punishing sun.

I must say that they do make a lovely hedge.  Their bright leaves have golden dusting and they are just beautiful under the sun.

 

Stinging Nettles

Nettles, photo by JMorton

Stinging Nettles

If suddenly rack with the desire to emulate Julie Andrews to do a turn of the Sound of Music ensure that the field is not one of verdant nettles with their beautiful  bluish purplish little flowers.  Otherwise you will be stinging not singing.

Nettles give painful sting like you don’t want to know.  The Almighty God know of this that he ensured that a dock leaf is growing nearby! 🙂

Timber for Lumber

Timber, photo by JMorton

Timber for Lumber

The words timber and lumber are often interchanged in their usage.

I have to admit I sometimes forget the difference.  So I used a visual memory by remembering Hollywood films, where the lumberjacks would shout ‘TIMBER’ as a tree which just been cut from the bottom would fall.

Timber is the tree trunk, while a lumber is a long wood material sawn from the timber.

When I think of lumber, it always remind me of the Monty Python I am a Lumberjack ditty.  🙂 🙂 🙂

By the way you can tell the age of a tree by counting the growth rings.

Snapped: Ampalaya (Bitter gourd)

Ampalaya, photo by PH Morton

Snapped: Ampalaya (Bitter gourd)

It is said that if it is bitter then it is good for you.  You only have to remember the taste of the different drugs (as in medicine) 🙂  you have taken over the years.  Bitter as bitter can be!!!

In the bitterness scale ampalaya can reign supreme, so much so that it is now an accepted crude metaphor for a person being bitter.  🙂 🙂 🙂  like “Ampalaya ka naman, Ate” (you are a bitter gourd, sister) pertaining to someone, who is on a full on tirade. 🙂

Anyway, bitter it may be, ampalaya is delicious in its own way that it is a major ingredients in many a Filipino recipe.  Just search for ampalaya or bitter gourd in the search box on the top right of this site.

By the way ampalaya or bitter gourd is also referred to as bitter melon.

Ampalaya Recipe:

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