Culinary Tips for Gardening Gourmands

Culinary Tips for Gardening Gourmands

Simple and preferable ways of cooking – efficiently, ecologically and organically

Undoubtedly if you wish to grow crops naturally you will also wish to prepare them for the table in the same manner. Having achieved freshness, flavour and quality with all your home-grown fruits, herbs, salads and vegetables, don’t spoil your wonderful ingredients by using a rancid oil or a stale or adulterated spice; grind your own from fresh and always buy ‘organic’ if you can.

Avoid processed and altered foods especially hydrogenated oils and trans-fats, preservatives, ersatz meats and genetically modified ingredients. You are what you eat, shouldn’t it be the very best? Indeed, you can now find almost everything you wish grown organically, though mail order is more productive than local shops. Even clothes and sheets of organic cotton and wool can be had.

There are many ecological alternatives to everyday household products that are obviously preferable to anyone with a greener outlook. It is possible to have a fly-free and clean kitchen without vaporising fly-killers giving off chemical poisons, and lethal bactericides being poured over every surface. Gentler, more natural washing-up liquids and cleaners are sold in most supermarkets. Multiple waste buckets make sense, with separate ones for compost, hens, recycling and the dustbin. This last ought not to get too full too often, as obviously there ought not be many tinned, bottled or pre-packaged products used in a household that grows its own! Indeed, a pantry full of dried, pickled and preserved as well as fresh produce, means such a household often recycles the containers for storage from neighbours who shop more often!

Naturally the bulk of our food ought to be whole, and raw, but we still need to cook some foods. A pressure cooker or a steamer is more efficient to cook with than boiling. Good planning is important, too. If you cook or bake several meals together for simple reheating later, you can have a range of home-made ready-meals for those rushed days. Of course, if you have a freezer, this becomes easier. I believe it is advisable to stop using aluminium or non-stick surfaces — and, especially with acid or salty liquids, copper and brass are downright dangerous for most cooking purposes, because they poison the food! Stainless steel or, failing that, cast iron is preferable.

3 Culinary Tips for Gardening Gourmands

1. Use only the best ingredients Never cook with, serve or eat less than the very best. Food is far too important to spoil by using even one inferior ingredient. If a meal can’t be made with love it is probably better to pass it by and have some fruit to be going on with. If you are only eating something to save ‘waste’, send it to the hens or compost heap.

2. Do not overkill the flavour If you have fresh, organic, home-grown produce you have the real flavour. Cook delicately and sparingly and add herbs and spices in extreme moderation, so as never to overwhelm the true glory of your food.

3. Always whet guests’ appetites with delicious smells, serve crudités, then soup, and never ever dish up all the main course at once, but only small portions so they must come back for more!

Flavourful guidelines

bay leaves Bay leaves add aroma to every savoury dish, and basil can be almost as widely used especially with tomatoes and any combination with garlic. A parsley or cheese sauce will go with almost any savoury dish, or enliven a plate of steamed vegetables. Mint sauce is delicious with most vegetables. A ‘bunch of herbs’ for soups and other dishes contains a sprig each of parsley, thyme and bay — though I always add rosemary as well. A bouquet garni is just the same thing tied up in a bit of cloth with some peppercorns. ‘Fines herbes’ for French-style egg dishes and sauces are just finely chopped chervil, chives, parsley and French tarragon.

Mixed herbs are anything you like, but usually parsley, thyme, marjoram and summer savory. Angelica and sweet cicely make rhubarb and fruit dishes sweeter, and bay or lavender can be added to milk dessert dishes. There are countless combinations, so do experiment.

Most vegetables and fruits can be peeled and though some fibre is good, some, such as tomato and potato skin, may be an irritant to some people. The area under the skin contains the most valuable nutrients so it is often best to cook first and slip the skins off afterwards. Water that has been used to steam or boil food is full of goodness and should be used as a stock, fed to the stock or at least added to the compost heap.

06. January 2011 by admin
Categories: Fruit Gardening, Organics, Vegetable Gardening | Tags: | Comments Off on Culinary Tips for Gardening Gourmands


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