Harvesting the Spice..

Posted November 11th, 2012 by Rob Bob : )»

Harvesting & planting spice plants..
We decided to harvest a small clump of Galangal this week to allow some small turmeric a chance to get some sunlight..
Galangal is a member of the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family & a great addition to the garden if you like to cook Thai, Indonesian, Malay style curries & dishes from scratch.. It can be quite hard to find in the shops & quite pricey when you do, but is so easy to grow.. We use slices of it to make teas with lemongrass & am going to try to make up some lacto fermented galangal & lemongrass beer with it this year.. It is a non alcoholic soft drink made on the same principles as lacto ginger beer..
If you are interested in trying to grow it yourself, find a good piece in the shops, maybe with some young shoots, & give it a good wash before planting.. Now is a great time to plant it out. In the southern states probably best to plant in a warm spot in the garden..

Another great spice plant to grow is Turmeric (Curcuma longa)..
It is another spice that belongs to the ginger family & is the spice that gives curry powders its distinctive yellow colouring.. It can also be eaten as a vegetable once it's lightly steamed & used as a yellow dye.. It will also stain bench tops & cutting boards fairly easily..
Turmeric has enjoyed a long history in the Indian Ayurvedic medical tradition & has just recently started to be studied by Western medical institutions.. They have found it to have some anti cancer constituents as well as other healing properties.. A quick "Google" will put you onto a few of these studies if you are interested..

Lemongrass is another plant that we use in a lot of Asian curries & dishes.. This week we also divided a neglected clump to share out with some community garden members & an online friend..
This is one of those plants, along with thyme, rosemary & basil, that I love to pick & smell while working in the patch.. The part of the plant we use the most is the base of the stalk.. Our eldest loves to use the green leaves & stems in herbal tea infusions &, as I said above, think it would make a great lacto fermented drink along with galangal.. It is also said to have insect repelling properties thanks to its citronella content, so makes a great plant to pot out around entertaining areas..

One of my favourite dishes to use all 3 in is a beef rendang curry..
Beef Rendang
4 cloves garlic, chopped / 5 tsp of minced garlic
2 x 10cm stalks lemongrass, chopped
3cm piece fresh ginger / 2 tsp powdered
5 cm piece fresh turmeric / 1 heaped tbsp of powder
¼ cup size piece of fresh galangal, chopped
Chillies to taste. I use 1 heaped tsp of paste or 2-3 fresh medium heat ones from the patch..
1 large onion, chopped
3 tsp coriander powder
3 tsp cumin powder
Enough water to help ingredients combine in processor, no more than 1/3 or a cup normally..
Add all above ingredients into processor & blend into a paste, adding water if needed...
Other ingredients...
500g of diced beef
400ml tin coconut cream
1 tbsp tamarind sauce (½ tsp tamarind paste with 1 tbsp of rapadura or brown sugar make an good substitute)
Fry off paste in pot until aromatic (2-4 minutes)
Add beef & coconut milk & bring to a boil

Reduce heat to a medium simmer for ½ an hour stirring every 10 min..
Reduce to very low & simmer for about ½ an hour or until the liquid has been evaporated & forms a thick sauce..
Serve with your favourite rice or as we do over lightly steamed cauliflower & broccoli..

Planting guides..

For those out there that are a bit unsure of what & when to plant out your crops I thought I would mention a site that many SS gardeners already use..Gardenate.com is a great resource that allows you to choose your climate zone from a list to gives a rough idea of what & when it is appropriate to plant out.. There are guides for a range of climates available for 6 countries that include Australia & New Zealand… You can also opt in to get a monthly planting reminder via email & there is also an app available for smart phones.. While no planting guide is ever 100% accurate for any given area it I have found the information on this site a great starting point for us novice gardeners..

Planting out in the patch...
Have already mentioned in the clips above about the lemongrass & galangal shoots that were planted out this week..
The pepinos that were struck in the small tubes were also put out into larger pots with some already putting on some excellent growth..
Last week I received 3 lots of seeds through Share the Seed (THANK YOU) so they went into punnets as well.. There were alpine strawberries, perpetual spinach & KY1 bush tomatoes... The perpetual spinach as already shot so hopefully they will be planted out in a week or so..

Harvests from the patch..
This week has been another bumper week for zucchini picking..
Last weekend we managed to "re-home" a couple of zucc's along with a bulb of garlic, 2 small white eggplants & about ¾ of a kg of mini Roma tomatoes..
I was later informed that it made a very delicious ratatouille..

On Friday we picked 3 WHOPPERS along with a small handful of berries..
The large one at the back weighed just over 2kg with the 2 smaller ones weighing 1.1 & 1.3kg…
One was given away last night to some friends along with a rather large kohlrabi.. Should make up some nice salad & zucchini bread methinks...

Today we picked our first okra..
Have never eaten it (that I know of) and am holding off using it until the next one is ready to pick sometime in the week.. I think they will be added to a basic veggie stir fry so we can get a good idea of the flavor..

That's about it for this week..
Have a great one all..
: )»

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