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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What is in the Pantry that should not be there

I opened a pantry door (we have more than one pantry) and spotted something. In fact I spotted two things and then looked further and then went and looked in the other pantries.

The first thing noticed was the castor sugar. Then there was(were) the jam(s)

It turned out that the jams are there for visitors. Some like sugared fruit on toast in the morning. Fair enough we all have our own poison. Some years ago we gave up jams and composted the bulk of our sugared fruit supplies and just kept a few varieties for the odd visitor.

The castor sugar? That was a left over from the days when we used sugar in cooking according to the pastry chef Jean. We now use either honey, Stevia or rarely Dextrose. The castor sugar will find a new home in the Cave and used as priming sugar for bottling beer, cider and sparkling wines.

I see a half empty jar of treacle. That was from making Worcestershire sauce some years ago. It was such a tedious recipe and really wasn't worth the effort. A compost candidate.

Vegemite, mmmm. Well maybe that better stay. The ingredients list isn't that bad and we only have it every month or two. Lovely on toast with lashings of butter. Vitamin B as well to make up for the colour and preservative.

Out in the Cave there are a few jars of  jams and pickles. Gifts from friends and visitors. A bit sugary. Most have been composted and these few remainders are now well past used by date.

So that is about it.

Over the last few years we have gradually eliminated rubbishy foods from our diets especially the sugary kind. We have even cut down on the home made oven roasted olive oiled chips on Fridays. Now its not every Friday. Moderation.

What do you do with a bountiful harvest. Too much of a particular fruit? Freeze some, give it away or talk to the chickens about it.

Juice seems to be a another popular end product. But what about the vitamins and minerals in the skin  and pips. Citrus pith has all the bioflavonoids which work well with the acidic juice and fibre in the pulp.

We enjoy watching cooking shows but not Master Chef and My Kitchen Rules with their annoying pauses in speech. The things that really annoy us in any cooking show or book are when a fruit or vegetable is adulterated to make the dish pretty. No concern is apparent as to the nutritional value being discarded. It often seems that looks override or that flavour must be extracted and concentrated rather than the entire product valued for its different beneficial features. Sometimes just too much over cooking.

There have to be some treats in life but as much as possible rubbishy food should be the exception. Treats now are the first home grown Tomatoes or the first Asparagus. Freshly shucked oysters from Karuah, home made chocolate with honey as the mild sweetener, fresh fruit from the garden with yogurt, that glass of your own wine or cider. Even just trying a new recipe which innovates the way a vegetable is prepared or cooked. The palate does change. And it can't be all that bad for your health.

What is in your pantry that should not be there?

Are you maximising the nutritional value of the fruit and vegetables you use?

They say it's best not to try and change everything at once as that will lead to failure. Get in the habit of adding something good to your diet or removing something bad (not both) one thing every 40 days or so and change your diet and your health.

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