First Day of Spring – Spring Gathering
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20th of March is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
The small print
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The GlobalGranary.Org Team
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20th of March is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
Pomelo is called suha in Tagalog and dogmon in Ilocano.
It is 3 to 4 times the size of a grapefruit and can be as big as a melon. In fact pomelo is the largest citrus fruit that it has acquired a scientific name of citrus maxima or citrus grandis.
Pomelo is closely related to the grapefruit, but I actually prefer suha as I find grapefruit can be rather bitter.
The pomelo tree can grow really tall and when it flowers, the little cluster of white blossoms has the most fragrant smell.
Pomelo is rich in vitamin C. Really juicy and when fully ripen in the tree, it can be very sweet.
But I actually love a pomelo that it still just before it truly ripen. I love the slight sour taste which a little sprinkle of salt will activate the salivary gland. Just thinking of this now makes my mouth water. Actually I prefer when the flesh of the pomelo is left to steep in a dish of slightly salty vinegar. Delicious.
The juicy flesh here is pink but suha can also be yellowish white.
Our good friend and close neighbour Mick regularly supplies us with fresh vegetables grown on his allotment located across the road from us.
Mick has had his allotment for over fifty years, planting vegetables and even fruit trees.
One of my favourite vegetables he grows for harvesting each autumn time are beetroots. Mick grows a popular type called ‘Boltardty AGM’. Boltardy seeds can be sown at various times during the growing year and in most types of soil. It does not have excessive ‘bolting, a gardening term, which means premature sprouting of stalks flowering stem(s). Excessive bolting can divert resources & nutriment from the beetroot and reduce it’s quality.
All Photos By PH Morton
After harvesting, Mick then produces jars of delicious slightly sweet pickled beetroot for his family and us. We save a jar for Christmas time. Beetroot is perfect to accompany Christmas meals. This year, Mick invited me to harvest some of his beetroot. He then showed us how to make his ‘signature’ pickled beetroot. I took various photos from harvesting to our jars filled with delicious picked beetroot. Under Mick’s tutelage and help, Jean & I enjoyed producing our own jars of this delicious vegetable. Making pickled beetroot is quite simple & straightforward. 🙂
If using home grown beetroots from garden or allotment etc., a good time to harvest is from 50 to 70 days after planting. Avoid letting the beetroot get too big. A hand or tennis ball size is ideal. Do not let the stalks/stems bolt or grow above 6 inches (15cms). Dig around the beetroot and pick up avoiding breaking the stalk/greens from the beetroot.
Thoroughly clean & wash the dirt off and trim the stalks/stems short. Again do not pull out the stems, as water can get into the beetroot and damage it when boiling prior to pickling.
Harvested fresh beetroot can be stored in a refrigerator for about seven days.
Depending how many beetroots you are pickling, you will require:-
Place the beetroots in a suitable sized saucepan(s) and cover with water.
Boil for two hours.
Carefully strain off the water and either allow air cooling or running cold water over the beetroots then dry.
Completely remove remaining stalks/roots etc.
The boiled soft skin of the beetroot does not need to be peeled with a knife as can be easily removed by hand.
Cut or slice the beetroot to whatever size you prefer.
Pour in small amount sugar, then add a small measure of the pickling vinegar, enough to cover the first layer of the slices of beetroot into the bottom of the jar. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar (to taste) then add another layer, pour pickling vinegar, then another layer, sugar, pickling vinegar until it reaches the top of the jar.
Close the jar, gently shake it then turn it upside down and leave for about 30 minutes. This will allow the vinegar and sugar to seep through the beetroot. Top up with the pickling vinegar if needed to completely cover the sliced beetroot in the jar.
If you want you can label the jar with day & month of pickling.
Home made pickled beetroot can be kept for 6 weeks to 3 months, refrigerated.
In practice, it can be longer.
But if you store them beyond 3 months and you’re worried, check for signs of spoilage (rising bubbles, cloudy liquid, unnatural colour) and don’t eat or taste.
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 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.
This Kakiemon elephant is on display at the British Museum.
This is apparently made between 1660-1690 in the Kakiemon style. Kakiemon is the first to create the enamel porcelain. What is interesting about this sculpture is that the artist has never seen an elephant.
You might have noticed that the elephant trunk in the photo is pointing downward. There is a superstition in the east that pointing downward is for good luck. In the west, it is the opposite. It should be upward. Another case of east and west not meeting. LOL
What do we know about elephants?
Asian (Indian) Elephants which smaller in stature, smaller ears and only the male have tusks.
African Elephants are larger with larger ears. Both male and female have tusks. They are also less hairy than the Asian elephants.
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.
Rattan is some sort of a climbing bamboo looking plant which grows profusely in the mountains of Ilocos and other parts of the Philippines.
Thank goodness that they do grow abundantly as they provide materials for weaving so many things necessary to the farming communities of the Philippines.
Bilao in Tagalog is a winnowing flat basket which is called bigao in Ilocano. This flat basket is necessary in separating the husks or hulls from the rice grains, especially when a mortar and pestle had been used to manually dehusk the palay into rice.
It is true I am afraid, well in my case anyway. I love chocolates and it shows: in the tummy area, along the hips, in the face and everywhere. 🙂
Belonging to the class mammalia (species with the mammary glands, lol) we are rather versatile in what we include in what we eat.
There are at least four classifications of diets or intake of nourishment. Which do you belong?
We have kept goldfish in our garden pond since 2006. I remember digging a hole for the pond during a rather fraught England game during the World Cup 2006. I must say because of that game we were able to build a pond in just a few hours. 🙂
It was so exciting filling up the pond, watching the flow of water into a thick black plastic liner. We were novice about keeping a pond so without much thought, we released a lone red goldfish my son had in an aquarium.
My son then said ‘you might just had killed that goldfish. You are to wait at least three days for the water to settle and then introduce the fish slowly to acclimatise to the temperature.”
Thank goodness, the fish survived. He is resilient!
Goldfish is a freshwater fish, they are easy to keep, as we have discovered, therefore, the most popular fish for ponds and aquariums.
There is a myth that goldfish has only a 3-second memory but this is not true. Our goldfish in our pond know about feeding time. They have also been a victim of a starving heron, which ate more than half of their numbers. This so traumatised those who were left behind (including us) that they would not willingly come up the water surface anymore. We had to put netting near the surface of the pond and this seemed to have reassured the remaining goldfish.
Apparently a study was done by the School of Psychology in the University of Plymouth. It was found that goldfish have at least 3 months worth of memory. They can recognise sound, colours and shapes.
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.