Real World Gardener Peppercorns of All Sorts in Spice It Up

September 27th, 2020

 SPICE IT UP

Black pepper, White Pepper: Peppers of All Sorts

Until recently, this next spice, black pepper, was one of the most traded in the world. 
We’re talking thousands of tonnes of black pepper, can you imagine? But why was that and how does this it grow?
 
On a tree, a shrub or is it an orchid?
Did you know that to get black peppercorns, the berries are harvested when they are green?
1-Piper_Nigrum_3.jpg

Let’s find out more.

I’ve being talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

The peppercorn that we know is
Piper nigrum vine native to south India.

All peppercorns are harvested by hand.

Gardeners in the tropics and possibly sub tropics can grow this vine up a trellis or a tree outside in the garden.

Pepper is a jungle plant so that the roots need to remain cool,
The vine will fill a trellis in about three years. Berries that are picked when they're fat and green can be dried to make black pepper.

In the wild, or in plantations where they are allowed to grow up palm trees, the hermaphrodite pepper flowers  are pollinated by rain running down the catkin. This occurs during the monsoon

So if you want to grow one in your home garden, watering the flowers should mimic this.

Berries allowed to mature and turn red, can be peeled and inside is a seed.
This is actually white pepper.

Real World Gardener Creating You Own Madras Curry in Spice It Up

August 19th, 2020

 SPICE IT UP

Making your own Madras Curry

During winter our favourite foods are those slow cooked casseroles, but you may not have realised that curries, are in fact a form of slow cooked casserole. 
The main difference is that they’re usually got a lot more spices in them and they aren’t necessarily spicey hot. 

chili-collection-colors-curry.jpg
Ian says " a lot of people forget that in effect, a curry is a casserole with a distinct number and type of spices."
If you think about it, that's perfectly true, because curries tend to have cheaper cuts of meat that need simmering for a couple of hours, just as you would a casserole.
But because curries hail from countries where the spice trade was high in importance, those countries cuisine, reflect  the spices that they produced.
I'm talking with herb and spice guru, Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au 
Let’s find out.. 

PLAY: Madras curries pt 1_5th August 2020 
Curries need not always be hot as in 
Ian’s tip is “You can actually start to make a curry by making a sweet spice blend.” 

  • Start with cinnamon, add, allspice, cloves, ground coriander seed.
  • Then add turmeric and cummin, paprika, some chilli (a little or a lot).
  • And this is basically a madras style curry.
  • When all these are blended together, you can't go wrong.
  • If you're wondering what proportions, first smell the individual spices. 
  • If they smell strong, such as ground cloves, then add only a small portion.
  • You can also add some dried curry leaves from your curry tree-fry some until they're crispy and save to use as a garnish after cooking.1-Curry%2BLeaf%2Btree.jpgMurraya koenigii
If they smell mild, add more, such as coriander, up to 1 tablespoon, and cummin, about 2 teaspoons.
The trick is balance of flavours. One thing is to not overdo the cloves, pepper and chilli.
  • Another tip is roasting spices is not always necessary, particularly if you’re making a vegetable curry.
  • If you'r curry blend is a little too hot for your liking, you can tone it down by stirring some greek yoghurt through it.

If you have any for Ian about spices or herbs or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write 

O 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Tips and Mistakes When Starting A vegetable Garden

June 19th, 2020

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID & TIPS TO MAKE IT BETTER part 2

I would imagine, most listeners Real World Gardener radio show would have a vegetable garden, but perhaps there’s also some new listeners new to gardening?

This next interview will take you through some of the most common mistakes that gardeners make when starting out and what to do to avoid them.

Wrong Fertiliser?

Compost is king says Toni. The  compost helps the plants take up any nutrients that are in the soil.

Synthetic fertiliser can 'dump' in one load if temperatures increase above their optimum level.

  • The right fertiliser is dependant on the plants that you're growingVegetable%2BgardenLynn%2BWood%2BTasmania

Leafy crops like high nitrogen fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure.

Tomatoes and other fruiting crops, especially beans and peas, won't do so well with producing fruit if you only add nitrogenous fertilisers.

Keep up the liquid feeding of your vegetable garden.

  • Planting in the Wrong Season?

Bear in mind there are different climatic zones in Australia so you need to look at the right climate for where you're living.

Why is your Basil dying at the end of Autumn? That's what it's meant to do.

Cool season planting: peas, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks lettuce,

Warm season planting: tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, okra, pumpkin, beans, lettuce, chillies, basil

  • Crop Rotation

Failing to observe crop rotation will mean a build up pests and disease that attack that crop.

I am talking with Toni Salter Toni Salter who is The Veggie Lady. She has a passion to see organic principles adopted by everyone, encouraging people everywhere to grow organic produce in their own backyard. As a qualified horticulturist, Toni has been teaching community education classes both privately, at her home, as well as through various community colleges and local councils around Sydney since 2003. Catch her on www.theveggielady.com

Real World Gardener Huacatay in Spice It Up

May 5th, 2020

SPICE IT UP

Huacatay: Stinking Roger

Unless you’re a herb and spice expert, there’s bound to be a few spices that you’ve never heard of. 
Perhaps Mace isn’t so well known, or asafetida, ajowan, nigella and salem or cubeb peppers. 
But then a herb comes along that even stumps the guru that comes on the program, and it even turns out to be a weed.

huacatay.jpg
Huacatay

So what can it be? 
Let’s find out . 
I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au 

Huacatay leaves are a little bit like cilantro or coriander.

The flavour profile is supposed to have notes of basil, spearmint, citrus with notes of tarragon, 
Also used a lot in South American food going with pork and duck very well. A traditional dish made with potato and goat, called "Ocapa."
Good companion plant for other plants as its reputed to control nematodes.
Huacatay is not available for sale as a herb, but is one you would need to find as 'wild harvest.'
  • If you have stinking roger growing in your garden, then perhaps the dried leaf could be used in cooking, but I wouldn’t recommend harvesting anything along the roadside because it may have been sprayed with an insecticide.
  • Not only that, all the fallout from hundreds of cars passing the weed, shall we say, won’t be a good thing to want to eat no matter how many times you washed it. 

Ian says that he imagines that from 1 kilogram of fresh leaf you would get about 100grams of dried leaf.
If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Insect Deterrent Planting in Design Elements

April 8th, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Planting to Deter Mosquitos
The warmer months of the year can become the bane of a gardeners life, or in fact anyone who likes the outdoors, if hordes of insects invade your personal space. 
I’m talking mainly mosquitos,  because they bite, but flies can just be just as annoying if your relaxing in your garden, or having friends and family over for a bbq. 
So what can we do to deter them?

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Pelargonium graveolens: scented geranium

I'm talking with Glenice Buck, consulting arborist and landscape designer www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au 

There are plenty of foliage plants that have a particular fragrance which deter insects, but you have to plant a lot of them, not just one or two.

Brushing the foliage releases the scents, so plant them close to where you entertain.
Most successful plants are what you think of as herbs: mint, basil, lemon scented verbena, sage.
Catnip, lavenders, scented geraniums, bee balm (Monarda spp.)
The biggest tip is not to expect the lone rosemary shrub or Tea tree Mozzie Blocker (Leptospermum liversidgei) , to do that heavy lifting in terms of fragrance. 

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Mozzie Blocker tea tree.
Plant them right around the area where you sit and enjoy your garden so they act as a buffer zone between you and the insects.
  • You need an armarment of plants between you and the invading hordes.

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about plants to deter mosquitos, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Allspice vs Cloves on Spice It Up

December 22nd, 2019

SPICE IT UP

Allspice vs Cloves

How well do you know your spices?

Would you think for instance, that allspice and mixed spice are the same?

Syzygium%2Baromaticum_cloves.jpg

Pimenta doica_allspice tree with berries.

Would cloves be a good substitute to save you running to the store, if you ran out?

Let’s find out.  I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au 

Even the Spaniards were confused with the allspice berry when they invaded Jamaica, thinking it was a type of pepper.  Probably why the allspice tree is Pimento doica.

 

  • The allspice berries  are picked when they're green and put out to dry in the sun.

 

 

allspice%2Band%2Bcloves.jpg

Allspice and cloves

The heat of the sun activates the enzyme which turns the berries dark brown.

At night, the berries are heaped into a pile and covered with a tarpaulin.

The next day they are spread out in the sun again. 

This process is repeated over three to four days, by the end of which time, a volatile oil develops called eugenol.

It turns out that allspice and basil, also have a lot in common, because both contain the essential oil eugenol. 

That means both are perfect partners in tomato dishes.

  • But it also turns out you can use allspice instead of mixedspice but at 1/3 of the quantity because it’s much stronger. 
  • The clove tree is Syzygium aromaticum. The unopened flower bud is the clove.

If you have any questions, please write in to

Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Dandelions in Grow Your Gealth

December 12th, 2019

GROW YOUR HEALTH

Dandelion: Taraxacum officinale

I’ve talked about weeds on this program, not just controlling weeds but eating weeds.

It’s not something that I’ve got my head around yet, but one weed that is being showcased today has been used in herbal medicine and nutrtition for quite a while.

Apparently it’s good for your liver.

dandelions-.jpg

 

Let’s find out what it is.

I'm talking with Simone Jeffries, naturopath, nutritionist and wellness coach of www.simonejeffriesnaturopath.com.au

 

The leaf has a serrated edge forming a basal rosette, with a strong taproot.

Dandelion flowers have only ray florets, and no disc florets, therefore no centre.

Milky sap comes from the stem.

It’s good though that dandelion coffee or tea has the same health benefits. 

  • Simone recommends eating the leaf because they are bitter. 
  • Bitterness is good for us, because it stimulates the appetite.

Dandelion leaves are best when young because they become more bitter with age.

Add to a salad, incorporate into a pesto or mix it in with a juice.

The dandelion root is beneficial also, being made into tea or dandelion coffee.

Contains high amounts of iron and calcium.

You can slow bake the root until its brittle, then you can grind it up to make your own tea or coffee.

  • As always, make sure you can identify the weed correctly before consuming it.
  • Also don’t collect the weeds on roadsides or nature strips, because you don’t know what animal has left its message on them or if they have been sprayed with herbicide. 

If you have any questions for me or for Simone please contact us or write in.

 

Real World Gardener Cassia vs Cinnamon part 2 in Spice It Up

December 6th, 2019

SPICE IT UP

Cassia vs Cinnamon part 2

Last week in part 1 of this segment about cinnamon and cassia, Ian the herb and spice expert talked mainly about where and how, each of these spices are produced.

  • One thing to note: in America, Cassia Cinnamon is just called cinnamon and Sri Lankan cinnamon is called Mexican cinnamon.  

Keep this in mind when reading recipes on the internet or in American cookbooks.

Also, how to tell them apart just by looking at the cinnamon sticks, or feeling and tasting the power.

This time, we’re delving a bit deeper and giving out some recipe ideas also.

I'm talking with was Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

Let’s find out.

 

PLAY: Cinnamon and Cassia part 2_ 27th November 2019

There were some tricks of the spice trade to trap unwary customers.

Cassia is from a different tree mianly grown in China, Japan and Vietnam. 

Cinnamon_Varieties.jpg

Cassia on the left: Cinnamon on the  right

All of the bark is taken from the tree to make cassia quills. These look deceptively like the more expensive cinnamon quills but here's the difference.

  • Cinnamon quills have many concentric layers
  • Cassia quills only have one concentric layer.

If you want to make Chai tea, think twice before using cassia cinnamon.

This type of cinnamon is too strong, but the true cinnamon, or what I regard as true cinnamon from Sri Lanka, is milder and sweet.

  • Think cheap spice, is it really worth it?

Remember unless that cinnamon powder that you bought feels smooth with any any grittiness, it’s probably been adulterated with cinnamon outer bark. 

Mulled wine jelly

 

INGREDIENTS

 

Rind of 1 orange

Rind of 1 lemon

2 cinnamon quills

6 cloves

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

100ml vodka

10 gold-strength gelatine leaves

200ml port

2 cups (500ml) red wine

2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar

300ml thickened cream

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 

Herbies Mulled Wine spices can be susbtituted for the cinnamon, cloves and vanilla bean.

METHOD

 

Place rinds, cinnamon quills, cloves, vanilla pod and seeds and vodka in a bowl.

Stand, covered at room temperature for 4 hours or overnight to infuse.

Once citrus mix is ready, soak gelatine in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, transfer citrus mixture to a pan.

Add the port, wine and sugar, then place over low heat and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves (don't let it boil).

Squeeze gelatine to remove any excess water, then add the leaves to the pan and stir to dissolve.

Cool slightly.

Strain the mulled wine into a jug, then pour into a 1-litre jelly mould.

Cover and chill overnight until set.

When ready to serve, whip cream then fold in ground cinnamon.

Unmould the jelly, then serve with cinnamon cream

If you have any questions for me or for Ian, why not write in to Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 

Real World Gardener Cinnamon Vs Cassia part 1 in Spice It Up

November 29th, 2019

SPICE IT UP

  • Cinnamon and Cassia part 1

Most if not all, cooks or chefs would’ve used cinnamon in their cooking at some time or other.

However, most likely the powdered form was used mainly.

What about the cinnamon sticks? 

Cinnamomum_zeylanicum_1c.jpg

Cinnamomum zeylanicum

 

Is that where the powdered from comes from? 

 

If it's the bark of a tree, how does cinnamon get harvested?

Who rolls those sticks, is it by machine or by hand?

Let’s find out.

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

  • There are two types of cinnamon, Sri  Lankan cinnamon or Cinnamomum zeylanicum, (pictured) and Cinnamomum cassia or just 'cassia."
  • They come from different trees and are grown in different countries.Cassia cinnamon is grown in China,  Japan and Vietnam.
  • Can you imagine all those cinnamon sticks that are from Sri Lanka, are all hand rolled by ‘cinnamon rollers.’

You will know be able to tell the difference between cinnamon and cassia.

  • The cinnamon scrolls have more rolls than cassia, and the cassia powder has quite a strong almost bitey flavour compared to the sweeter milder flavor or real cinnamon, if you test the powder on your tongue. 

  If you have any questions for me or for Ian, why not write in to Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville 1675

Real World Gardener Salt in Spice it Up

September 22nd, 2019

SPICE IT UP

Sea%2Bsalt.jpgSalt

Is salt a spice a seasoning or something else?

Is there more than one type of salt?

Why should we use it rather than leave it out?

Did you know that culinary salts come in two basic categories - sea salt and mined salt?

All this and more about salt. I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

Let’s find out

Salt is actually a mineral, not a spice which means it doesn’t lose its flavour over time like spices and herbs do.

Salt is used as a seasoning, and is just NaCl or sodium chloride.

Most dishes that would be spiced will contain salt.

There are many types of salts on the market but they fall into two categories.

1) salts with impurities, that give a different flavour.

2) salts with different textures.

An example the first is Murray River pink salt. The colour is pink because of the minerals that the aquifer has flown through.

Rock salt is mined salt.

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Murray River Pink Salt

  • Indian Black salt is also mined salt. Initially  the big chunks that are mined are deep purple to almost black in colour. However, when it is crushed, it becomes a pale pink in colour. Exudes a pungent odour.
  • this salt is a key ingredient in  'chat masala' which also contains cumin, coriander seed and asefetida. 
  • if requestingd the salted version of the drink lassi , it will contain chat masala.

All salt originates in sea water, but sea salt is evaporated from liquid ocean water, while mined salt is taken from ancient deposits left by long-dry seas.

Ian's Secret Tip: salt is cheap and heavy and added to some spice blends to make them cheaper so watch out and just buy the best.

If you have any questions either for me or for Ian, you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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