All posts tagged: Around the World

Worldly Plants: Luffas and Rice

This fall Upper Elementary students have been working hard in their permaculture garden. So hard, in fact, that they are in the midst of perhaps the greatest discovery they’ve made all year: how to process the luffas and Carolina Gold rice that they planted in the spring of 2015. Students planted the luffa gourds with Aubrey in early June by mounding up 3 small hills at the end of beds along the black chain-linked fence. Why here, you might ask? Because these plants produce a beautiful trellising vine that will grow straight up a brick wall all summer long. Our luffas loved that small corner we carved out for them and only at the end of December were they ready to harvest. Although most of the plantings we have in the garden are edible (and luffas are), there are some that are not! When harvested early, the luffa fruits are eaten often in many South East Asian countries. When left for months to grow large, the fruits become, arguably, nature’s best scouring brushes and sponges! …

Mindfulness Tea

We had some really cold days this winter and on one such day, decided to open the spice cabinet to make a warming and healing mindfulness tea. Thich Nhat Hahn has a wonderful book entitled  Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children that we often gain inspiration from. The children love what Thay calls inviting the bell, and this practice helps them to center and ground themselves. To begin this class we did just that and got down to business learning about the various herbs and spices we wanted to use in our tea. We used a mortar and pestle to grind a some of the herbs to release the healing oils. Many herbs have a multitude of uses and medicinal properties, but we focused in on just one main use for each ingredient we added, so as not to overwhelm ourselves. Together we decided that we liked the idea of drinking a tea with all of these benefits in the gloomy dark days of winter to lift our moods and heal our bodies. We got to …

Moroccan Spiced Oranges

This week for Farm to Fork we had a great meal and made this great light fruity dessert to accompany it. Fruit is scarce to non existent in the gardens right now, and even so, we can’t grow most citrus plants here, but everyone needs a boost of vitamin C in the winter! Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups orange sections, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 1 tbsp. powdered sugar 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon extra ground cinnamon and grated orange peel – optional fresh peppermint leaves for garnish (optional)  

Amaranth Candy

Alegrías, whose name is derived from the Spanish word for “happy,” are made from the highly nutritious, ancient grain amaranth. The recipe calls for amaranth that has already been toasted or “popped.” You can find popped amaranth in grocery stores, or pop the seeds yourself using an non-oiled heated pan on high (a clear lid is recommended for this). Amaranth had been grown by the Aztecs, Incans, Mayans, and several other ancient cultures until the conquistadors banned it from being grown in order to stop their ceremonies. It was nearly wiped from existence, and only brought back through seed saving by those who had retreated to the remote mountains. Today, it has been brought back, and has been found to have important amino acids, protein, minerals, and vitamins that completed the diet of these ancient peoples. Ingredients: • ¼ pound piloncillo or panela (raw unrefined cane sugar in solid molds sold in international food market grocery stores) • 1 cup water • ½ pound amaranth cereal (“popped” amaranth) • a few drops of lime juice …

Chai Tea

Although these aren’t all local ingredients and herbs, they make a delicious and warming winter tea. This recipe is a favorite with kids and adults because of its sweet spicy flavor. Boil 5 minutes, then steep 10 minutes: 1 Tbsp fennel or anise seed 6 green cardamom pods 12 cloves 1 cinnamon stick 1/4″ ginger root, sliced thin 1/4 tsp black pepper corns 2 bay leaves 7 Cups water Add, bring to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes: 2 Tbsp Darjeeling tea Add:6 Tbsp honey or brown sugar 1 Cup milk or coconut milk