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May 2017

Lemongrass and Lime Zest Spritzer

By RecipesNo Comments

It’s the first time I’ve grown lemongrass. My only previous experience with it was in the form of essential oil. It’s such an uplifting and refreshing scent (and helps with varicose veins!).

But growing it…wow, I can see why lemongrass essential oil is so economical to buy. The stuff grows like a weed!

The other day when venturing out to inspect the pond garden, it was apparent that we needed to find a way to use some of this lemongrass…it’s multiplying rapidly!

Once upon a Donna Hay magazine, there was a recipe for some kind of lemongrass cordial, and the idea struck….what if I made a lemongrass spritzer with soda water? Even better…what if I used lime zest too, since we’re also trying to use up the last of some beautiful limes we were given?

And to top it all off, my family were coming around the next day for a birthday dinner, so there would be a decent sized tasting panel to trial the new recipe on!

The Recipe: Lemongrass and Lime Zest Spritzer

Syrup: Zest of 3 limes

4 stalks Lemongrass, sliced

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

To finish: 2.5L Mineral or soda water

Grab a saucepan and add all your syrup ingredients. Your lime zest and lemongrass are going in now so they can infuse the syrup both while the syrup is heating and cooling.

Bring your syrup to a simmer, making sure all the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Once cool, transfer this mixture to a glass container and place in the fridge to allow to continue infusing overnight.

Just before you area ready to serve, strain the mixture through a sieve and discard your lemongrass and zest.

We poured the syrup into a 3L glass serving jug and then added the 2.5L of soda water. Alternatively, you could pour a little syrup into glasses like you would with cordial, and add the soda water into these individual cups.

And there you have it! A refreshing, unique, homemade beverage.

So what did the tasting panel think?

They all loved it! I’ll definitely be making this one again.

Probiotic Limeade

By RecipesNo Comments

It’s exciting when someone has an abundance of produce and shares it with you. Normally we’re the ones with excess, but fruit trees (especially citrus) are something we lack.

So when a new friend said her lime tree was producing prolifically and she was going to have to throw hundreds of limes in the bin if she couldn’t find someone who wanted them…well…we were happy to help find these limes a home! Many of them we’ve given away to customers with their orders, but we definitely were able to make use of many more in our own kitchen.

Probiotic Limeade has been our go-to recipe for these lovely organic limes. You’ve probably heard of the benefits of consuming fermented products. We love our milk kefir and kombucha here. But limeade is a special treat, since we don’t often have bulk limes on hand.

Here’s the recipe:

Juice of 10 limes

3/4 cup sugar (don’t worry, fermentation eats up a lot of the sugar)

3-4 liters of filtered water

milk kefir grains…I used about 3 Tbsp of them

Bring about 2 cups of your water and the sugar to a simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Then turn off the heat.

While waiting on the sugar, juice your limes and discard any seeds.

Pour your sugar syrup into a glass jug or the like (preferably made of glass or ceramic though…try and avoid plastics and metals), then add the enough of your water to cool the syrup if it’s still hot. How much water you use all up depends on the capacity of your jug or whatever container you’re using. I have a 3L glass jug, so used that.

Add your lime juice and kefir grains.

If needed, top up your jug with more of the filtered water.

Cover your jug/container with a cloth (good idea to secure it with elastic or the like) and allow to sit at room temperature for about 3 days.

Test the limeade periodically to see when it’s done. It will get slightly bubbly (more bubbly the longer you leave it) and the sweetness will fade a little.

When you are happy with the result, pour your limeade through a sieve into bottles and refrigerate. Enjoy! It’s a highly refreshing beverage.

Customer Certified Organic

By NutritionNo Comments

I’m not sure if Rick coined the term ‘customer certified organic’ himself, or if he read it somewhere. But doesn’t it make sense? Well, maybe it depends on where you’re coming from. But if you’re thinking that food should be grown close to where it will be consumed, and that consumers may actually like to see where their food is grown, know the people that are growing it and know what condition the soil is in that this food is growing in…then you’ll understand where we’re coming from.

We get asked questions about organic certification and why we’ve opted out. For one, did you know each crop you grow needs to be certified (at a cost)? So here we are selling and growing upwards of 20 crops at a time…and those crops change each season. That’s a lot of time and finances to go on ‘proving’ we don’t use toxic chemicals on our produce!

Another reason is because although certification is great for proving there’s no toxins, it doesn’t prove a thing about the nutritional content of the produce/product. For example, John the mineral man (some of you will know who I’m talking about!), once showed me test analysis results for beef comparisons. The three tested samples were 1) Certified Organic Beef 2) Standard beef off the supermarket shelf and 3) His own beef that he grass feeds on pasture that he looks after with minerals etc.

Can you guess which sample was the most nutrient deprived? I would have been sure it was the supermarket beef…but no. The certified organic beef was the lowest in essential minerals/vitamins. His pasture fed (on nourished pasture, that is) was the highest in essential vitamins and minerals. And supermarket beef was right in the middle. Can you see what I’m getting at?

Yes, if you have chemical sensitivities then you’ll be looking for organic certified foods so you KNOW you won’t react. But what I’m talking about is the nutrient profile of your food. Organic certification is not about giving you the most nutritious food. It’s giving you assurance that you are buying food grown without toxins.

Our mission at Birdsong is to provide our customers with nutrient dense, healing foods. We want our veg to be bursting with nutritional goodness. And so far the Brix readings we’re getting are showing that we’re definitely on track!

Now the thing is, when you nourish the soil with minerals, microbes and the like and feed your plants with beautiful plant fertilisers like worm tea and ocean sourced fish emulsion…then you won’t be likely to have the kind of disease and pest issues that lead growers to use pesticides/fungicides anyway!

But the hype is all about avoiding chem sprays and not on nutritional excellence for most growers looking to attract the organic buyers it seems.

Anyway, back to topic of customer certified organic produce. We live just on the outskirts of the city where most of our buyers live. People generally collect their produce straight from the farm gate. When people come, we are happy to give them a tour of the market garden and show them what we’re doing and explain the process. I don’t believe there’s a need for official certification when anyone can check out for themselves that Birdsong is genuine. The only sprays we use here are liquid mineral/fish emulsion/worm tea follier type of sprays.

So there’s some food for thought… is your priority on nutritionally dense food, or just food that’s grown without the use of potentially toxic chemicals?