Category Archives: GYO

Homemade Rhubarb Tea

I recently tried rhubarb tea at a friend’s house – not sure where she’d got it from as I’d never seen it before but it was really tasty so I thought I’d have a go at making my own with the last of the rhubarb harvested from the garden this week.

Blanched rhubarb in the dehydrator

I sliced the rhubarb into thin slices and blanched it briefly before dehydrating it – it took about 10 hours to fully dry it out. Then I blitzed the dried stalks in my food processor and stored it in a airtight tub ready for use.

Blitzing the dried stalks

It was pretty simple to make and resulted in a lovely lightly pink and refreshing homemade tea. I think next time I’ll try adding some ginger or possibly mixing it with some dehydrated apple to add some extra warmth and sweetness.

Refreshing homemade rhubarb tea

Looking forward to making more teas with the Autumnal harvests just around the corner.

Salad Blue Potato Harvest

We tried ‘Salad Blue’ potatoes this year, a Scottish heritage variety, as they are supposed to be coloured all the way through (unlike last year’s ‘Arran Victories’) and retain their colour when cooked.

The harvest itself wasn’t great – only 1.5 Kg from three seed potatoes but they sure do look pretty. Wondering if it’s something to do with all the rain as there were quite a few rotten ones in the bag… They’re also an early variety so maybe we just lifted them too late although the foliage has not long died back.

They are more of a deep purple colour when peeled and they roasted up a treat (unlike the name they’re not a waxy salad type). They also retained their colour when cooked but the biggest surprise was how good they tasted. I’ve heard from other people that blue varieties have been disappointing on that side of things. They had a great depth of flavour, much better than the Epicures I roasted up with them.

These will definitely be on my growing list again next year.

SEED: The Untold Story (Film Review)

Last week, myself and a couple of classmates went along to a special screening of SEED: The Untold Story that had been organised by the local Permaculture Society. 94% of our seed diversity has disappeared in the 20th century, and many more irreplaceable seeds are near to extinction. SEED is a frightening yet heartening story of passionate seed keepers as they wage a David and Goliath battle against chemical seed companies who now control over two-thirds of the global seed market, reaping unprecedented profits while denying farmers the rights to save their own seeds.

I was particularly keen to see this film as I recently did an assignment on seed sovereignty and Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist and founder of Navdanya. Navdanya means 9 seeds and the organisation campaigns for the right to conserve seed and biodiversity, among other things and I have become very moved to get involved in some way and do my bit by growing open-pollinated edibles, seed saving and sharing. Vandana appears in this movie along with many other characters each doing what they can to preserve our food heritage.

This feature length movie is beautifully shot – the opening sequence is a feast for the eyes and it introduces us to a range of players on all sides of the issue, there are some of the well-known ones like Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva however it was the other characters that charmed and inspired. Joe Simcox can be best described as the Steve Irwin of the seed world as he travels the world ‘gung-ho’ searching for new edible plant species. Will Bonsall is a highly entertaining white-haired hippie and founder of the Scatterseed Project, a genetic conservation project in Maine. Emigdio Ballon a Bolivian of Inca descent builds a collection of seeds in the back of a trailer in New Mexico.

We’re also introduced to a community on the Hawaiian island of Kauai where biotech giants have been given free reign to test experimental chemicals. The people are becoming ill and dying and children are being born with deformities – they’re fighting these companies in court to try and get the to reveal what chemicals are being sprayed.

Will Bonsall, founder of The Scatterseed Project

We take a trip to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway which hosts the world’s largest collection of crop diversity and is designed to withstand natural or man made disasters and protect our food for the future. After discovering earlier in the film that an important seed bank in Iraq was blown up when we invaded – all their seeds were lost – forever. It really brings home the enormity of the consequences of allowing large global enterprises, who only care about profit, to manage our food supply.

I would happily see this movie again, it’s beautiful and inspiring despite the frightening message beneath the surface. Please go and see it.

www.seedthemovie.com