GOLD IN THE BACKYARD

WHILE the Olympians in London are striving for a spot on the podium,  I found gold in the garden this week.

My passionfruit vine planted two years ago had been somewhat tardy in the fruiting department, and then, as these appeared, they seemed  equally slow ripening. There were eventually  heaps of fruit on my Panama Gold vine, but after weeks and weeks of growing and dropping, they stayed resolutely green, instead of turning the expected yellow shade.  So I ignored them, thinking they were unripe and unready for eating.

But seeing passionfruit  at the markets and priced at 60c each at the supermarket led me to split one off the home vine out of curiosity.

Eureka. Despite its solid green skin, its flesh was gorgeous gold and pulpy and sweeeet. If they were unripe, it would have been sour.

So lesson learned: Don’t be fooled by appearances.

I have previously grown two vines planted side by side to cross pollinate, the red and black-skinned types, but opted last time for this gold variety as I had been told they fruited all year round.

The Panama Gold must refer to the flesh -not necessarily the skin. Because it was indeed a treasure to see, smell and taste.

So I picked about 60 ( a possible PB) and have been slurping them straight out of the case all week. I  will freeze some pulp for later enjoyment. I am told to add a bit of sugar for this -not sure if it’s for sweetening or to help the freezing process.

And I will send some the way of my generous neighbour whose bounty of  huge juicy lemons has been landing here lately.

It is a vitamin C overload – and could not come at a better wintry time.

Actually, passionfruit are a complete health package, being  a source of fibre, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins A and C. They also contain iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorous  and are rich in potassium, an important component of cell and body fluids and helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure.

A golden little package indeed – and sitting right under my nose.

IF LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS

My generous neighbour has plied me with bags of huge, juicy lemons from her wonderfully productive tree, but I feared  I could not make enough lemon butter/pie/marmalade to use them all.

She showed me a neat way of cutting and storing them, that makes them easy to handle and use for juice or rind, straight from the freezer.

You cut them lengthwise in half, then wrap them in plastic. ( See picture right.)

When you’re ready to use them, rub the frozen halves on the grater and you get juice/pulp or rind and pith as required.

KITCHEN WISDOM

Met some wonderful people from Stephanie Alexander School Kitchen Garden Foundation this week who have just had another $5.4 million in support promised from the Federal Government over the next three years to allow this great program to continue and expand its valuable work teaching schoolchildren about growing and eating healthy food.

Let’s hope one kitchen cabinet has the courage and insight to put it on the national curriculum. http://www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au

PUFFED UP

And because I could not resist posting a pretty picture from the plot, my powder puff bush ( Calliandra emarginata) is out in splendour, so I had to snap this vase (below) of its snazzy little blooms..

A scrap of paper fell from my bedside stack of books this morning and on it this scribbled wisdom : “If you want to be happy for a minute, buy a pig; for a year – take a wife; for the rest of your life – build a garden.

Powder puff bush blooms

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Ailsa Piper said,

    Oh those Powder Puffs. Aren’t they heavenly? I love Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and I think they could have had a glorious little dress made from them. Enjoy the passionfruit. What a treat – and a lesson. Books and covers. There’s a vexed question!

  2. 2

    I am a new gardener, but have quickly fallen in love. I love that quote!! There is no better therapy than digging in the dirt.


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