The year past in review.
Highlights both ecological and gastronomical.
- Dragon Fruit Salsa: For me this is the most delicious way to partake of the exotic looking pitaya. I've planted Dragon fruits all over the place. Mine clamber over chook pens, prickly pear and frangipani alike. Now the flowering is upon us and already i've begun the harvest.They loveth my sandy soil.
- Chaya: I have a contact in Cairns who approached me for a Chaya cutting as none seem currently available. Daily's even approached me for some. Since I was in process already, I was able to send one off to her today -- after our first posted piece failed to thrive. But I'm now set to take more cuttings and create more bushes for my own use and distribution. The word from Cairns -- and she's from Indonesia originally -- is that Chaya is absolutely delicious. Now that I have enough to harvest I agree with her. Must be the best 'spinachy' green. Certainly the most generous.
- Shishito and Jalapeño Peppers: Finally nailed the business of keeping myself supplied with 'peppers'. Shishito isn't hot at all (except for every sixth or tenth!) and Jalapeño is an absolute salsa must add. With its own special taste. I got into Jalapeño via Chipotle which is a special ingredient itself -- made from dried and smoke Jalapeños. The Shishito (aka Dragon Roll) is not only tasty but very versatile. Can now grow. I'm waiting on certification from whoever does these things. Peter Cundell?
- China Rose Radish: servicing my Daikon addiction has been routine...and much as I grew some great watermelon radishes, my 2021 quest is to succeed with the Daikon heritage, China Rose. I may be a radish snob -- but then, I'm getting to know my radishes.
- Tomatillos: Best year yet for Tomatillo and I. This time of year --hot,wet and humid -- they do much better than tomatoes.No disease problems or infestations.
- Jerusalem Artichokes: My greatest failure was not to reserve stock for replanting of these nutty delights. I hadn't planted many and just, well, ate them all. I also farted like a trooper thereafter. I did at least have the foresight to replant with Yacon. Not as tasty but nutritionally similar.
- Winged Bean: This I look forward to soon enough this year as I wait on the Winged Beans to 'wing'. A truly amazing plant with a taste boost +++. Crispy stir fry fare. Tragically, I've not been blessed with mine turning perennial, and they can be fickle to get going...But they are surely up there in the legume firmament. Just so you know: "The entire winged bean plant is edible. The leaves, flowers, roots, and bean pods can be eaten raw or cooked; the pods are edible even when raw and unripe. The seeds are edible after cooking. Each of these parts contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron, among other nutrients. The tender pods, which are the most widely eaten part of the plant, are best when eaten before they exceed 2.5 cm (1.0 in) in length. They are ready for harvest within three months of planting. The flowers are used to colour rice and pastry. The young leaves can be picked and prepared as a leaf vegetable, similar to spinach. The nutrient-rich, tuberous roots have a nutty flavour. They are about 20% protein; winged bean roots have more protein than many other root vegetables. The leaves and flowers are also high in protein (10–15%)"
I still struggle with keeping myself supplied with coriander and celery leaves. I became more reliant on curry leaf, garlic chives and Epazote to boost flavours while my spring onion harvest has weakened. For a pungent kick I turn to Wild Rocket. --as a 'sprinkle'.
This year coming will be the Year of the Corn -- not so much 'sweet' as field or dent corn types (ie: for grinding). I'm also looking forward to honing in on my squash routine. Which squashes? When?
I also tracked down some Roma (or Romano) Pole Bean seeds after being without them for far too long. These are the classic Italian gourmet bean -- a thick, and meaty, tender, flat and string-less type of bean that offers a meal in a mouthful.