Recipe

My Wild Child

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I have this little herb that I planted in my front garden. Actually, I moved it from my former home to this one. It is a herb that is hard to find here in the U.S.. It is called Mexican Oregano, Lippia graveolens.  But I call it Muchacho, my Wild Child. Why you ask? This:

Wild-child

It reminds me of a little boy with a bad haircut!

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When Life Hands You…

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Bananas. Lots of bananas. That’s what we have from hurricane Irma. Lucky us, we made it through the storm with minimal damage, except for our poor banana trees:

Poor-tree

We were pretty sure this would happen, so before we evacuated, we cut 4 of the most vulnerable stalks of bananas. Now, in case you don’t know, those clusters of bananas that you find in the market are called a hand, and are just a part of the entire stalk, which can have several hands of bananas.

This stalk has about 100 bananas. These are small bananas called Manzana, or Apple Bananas. Guess what flavor there is an undertone of…

20170720_175441

Right! A tasty banana with a slight apple flavor. Delicious! There is only one problem with a STALK of bananas… they tend to ripen all at once! A hundred or so, ripe bananas is a lot for a family, but we are just 2 people. Even after giving some away, we still have two stalks of bananas. Enough for a Congress of monkeys! (Yes, that is what they are appropriately called!)

In a day or two this is what we had:

ripe-cluster

Don’t let their looks scare you! These are Blue Java or Custard bananas. Yes, they have a sweet creamy flavor. Fortunately, even when they are this ripe they retain firm consistency. Peeled they look like this:

peeled

They are perfectly firm for slicing (and eating). These have a very thin peel and extremely tiny, rudimentary seeds. They remind me of the seeds found in vanilla pods.

sliced

You can see a few on the outside of this one. I once grew an unnamed banana cultivar that would have an occasional fully developed seed in it. The seed was black, extremely hard and about  the size of an unshelled pistachio nut. What a surprise that was the first time I found one!

So, you ask, what did I do with about 200 ripe bananas? First I sliced them lengthwise into thirds. Remember these are small bananas.

mini-seeds

Wondering why they are so shiny? Its because they just got out of their lemony bath.

lemon-bath

There about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in the bowl. Not enough to change the banana flavor, but enough to keep the slices from turning brown.

I put about a third of the banana slices into my freezer. I spread them out singly on racks from my old dehydrator, so that they would freeze individually. When they were solidly frozen I transferred them to plastic, zipper, freezer  bags to use later. Believe me a frozen slice of banana is wonderful on a hot, Florida day!

But, I can’t have just bananas in my freezer, so the rest of the slices were spread out on racks and dried in my dehydrator. They make a very satisfying chewy snack!

dried-bananas

All of those bananas filled 2 pint and a half canning jars, a quart canning jar and a pint jar. With a few leftover for snacking. I will seal the larger jars with my vacuum sealer for longer storage.

By the way, Irma did hand us some lemons, too! Our little Meyer lemon tree looked like we didn’t water it for months. A really bad case of windburn from those monster winds! To give it respite, I cut it back . I cut off about fifty smallish unripe lemons and gave it a couple of gallons of fish and kelp emulsion. I hope it helps!

Not one to waste anything, I washed and squeezed the juice from most of those lemons. I remember my Mother every time I use my electric juicer. She gave it to me years ago, when my now 40ish children were very little.

I was pleasantly surprised that the  lemons were (mostly) juicy. Instead of my usual yellow juice, the juice is decidedly green. I poured it into some ice trays to make lemon cubes for later. Guess I will pretend that it is Key Lime juice!

What would you do with 200 little bananas?

Until Next Time,

Toni

Have You Ever Spatchcocked A Turkey?

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Spatchcock! What a fun word! It almost sounds dirty doesn’t it? Its not! It just means to split a bird open and lay it flat for grilling, or smoking as I did for Thanksgiving. Here’s my story and I am sticking to it: Read the rest of this entry »

A Lemony Kindness

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lemony-kindness

 

I woke up this morning with the beginning of bronchitis. I have been busy, busy, busy because we are getting ready to sell our house. (Just what I need in addition to Christmas preparations.) So I am now coughing and feeling quite run down.

Some lovely friends of ours dropped by with a surprise: homegrown lemons! They are huge and so juicy. Just the Vitamin C ticket for me. I have already sliced the first one to put in some water. I swear that just drinking it is making me feel better!

The other thing I am doing is taking one of my herbal preparations (or as some of the family calls it: Witches’ Brew). Read the rest of this entry »