Many of us, who can handle and who enjoy the heat, love chili peppers for the way they can enhance the flavors of our food. But if we look a little further into a chili pepper’s unique repertoire, you can see that in some ways – the chili pepper embodies the very nature of the Yin and Yang symbol. Not only can they function as a medicine but they can also be used as a weapon (pepper spray used for self defense, during riots, so on.) Read
Kale is definitely one of our favorite vegetables. In fact, we’d go so far as to say it is a culinary and nutritional workhorse in our garden, and we use it for everything from juicing to making chips for snacks. Best of all, we are able to get it in the ground and growing early. Kale is a “cut and come again” vegetable so we just pick what we need and it keeps growing. It is also very hardy so it keeps going until well past the first frost when nothing much else is still producing. Kale actually thrives as the temperature drops and the cold seems to make the flavor richer. Read
I went searching for ideas, and I think you should know the possibilities are endless. Read
I think it’s fair to say that we at YinOva have a hefty kale habit. We juice it, we steam it and one of us was even caught chopping it into her oatmeal. We’re particularly fond of kale chips, which satisfy our cravings for something salty and crunchy without having to resort to potato chips. Read
In Chinese medicine both apples and pears are considered to be cooling and moistening and are used medicinally to treat inflammation and dryness. Modern scientific research seems to agree with the old adage that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” because various studies have shown that apples can protect women from osteoporosis and breast cancer whilst also preventing asthma and lowering cholesterol. Pears meanwhile can treat a sore throat, reduce inflammation, boost the immune system and lower blood pressure.
We spent a happy afternoon picking the fruit and arrived home tired and in the mood for an apple crumble and some home-made pear juice. Suitably fortified, we set about preserving the rest of the fruit for later use. We canned the pears in spiced red wine and the apples in syrup to be used as pie filling and talked about how happy we will be to open these jars during a freezing New York winter and briefly recapture the autumn sunshine.
Canning is daunting the first time you do it, but it’s actually very simple and it makes economic sense to use fruits when they are plentiful and cheap and preserve them to eat the rest of the year. Our grandmas did this because they had to and I’m happy to carry on the tradition and even pass it on to the next generation. My daughter Emma has inherited a passion for preserving and is an enthusiastic jam maker. You can read her favorite jam recipe here.
Apple or Pear CrumbleIngredients:
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts eg. walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds (or a mixture of all three)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (or 1/3 cup of date sugar, if you are avoiding processed sugars)
1/3 cup whole-wheat flour (or gluten free bake mix, if you are avoiding gluten)
5 tablespoons canola oil
3 1/2 pounds ripe pears or apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons lemon juice.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Prepare the topping by combining the oats, nuts, brown sugar and flour (or gluten free bake mix) in a medium bowl.
- Stir in the oil and mix until all the topping ingredients are moist.
- Prepare the filling by combining the pears, maple syrup, cardamom, raisins (or dried cranberries), cornflour and lemon juice into a large pie dish. Mix well.
- Sprinkle the topping over the pears.
- Bake the crumble for 45 minutes. The pears should be soft, the juices should be bubbling and the crumble topping should be golden and crisp.
- Take the crumble out of the oven. Ideally it should stand for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to develop but this never happens in our household where everyone digs in the minute the crumble is ready.