For those of us who like to keep an eye on seasonal, locally grown produce where possible, early March can be a little demanding when you live in the North of England; in other words, there isn’t much! And it gets a little bit more ‘interesting’ still when a blast of cold air comes in from Siberia and paints the landscape white, such that getting to any shops takes a little more planning and once you’re there, will the shelves be as well stocked as we’ve come to expect? Not only might the transport of goods be delayed, but there’s the knock-on effect of panic buying; we’re no longer used to not having the option to buy food 24/7 and we don’t much like it.
At the risk of sounding a little smug, we were very well prepared for the reminder from nature that it can slow us down and change our plans. But this actually wasn’t a case of foresight and planning, it was more a case of it happening to be the way we do things and then realising afterwards that it had served us well.
Part of our food evolution has given us a heightened interest in fermenting food and drinks, meaning that there’s pretty much always some kimchi or sauerkraut on the go these days which is essentially value-added cabbage as a minimum (there’s rather more in kimchi). And it isn’t just the nutritional and probiotic highlights, this stuff can be really tasty. If you haven’t ever tried sauerkraut with cumin seeds, it really is worth giving it a go, especially when fresh produce may be a little harder to come by, or just in short supply in the fridge!
For a longer time now, we’ve been growing seed and bean sprouts, so that’s fresh food grown in our kitchen. They’re a real bonus on those days when you go to the fridge and realise that you’re going to have to be really creative with its minimal contents. Bean and seed sprouts extend the options, and sometimes even form the basis of something quite special; we’ve finally discovered a thoroughly enjoyable hummus made with sprouted chickpeas, and on a cold day, we have lashings of it with a baked sweet potato …we never said we were 100% raw. Sprouts are incredibly nutritious and it takes so little effort to grow them. If you like the idea but would appreciate a bit more motivation, maybe broccoli seeds would be a good place to start; they have wow factor!
Both of the above are easy to do .. certainly easier than we used to think they were, but there’s something that’s easier still and so worth having in the store cupboard and that’s seaweed; nori, wakame, arame etc. It may take a little while to accommodate the taste (if you don’t like it already), but it’s rarely eaten in splendid isolation, so it needn’t be the focus of a meal. Seaweed can seem a bit pricey, but there’s often more than meets the eye; some varieties have to be rehydrated but this means that within minutes, you have green, brown, or red sea vegetables which really do have such a lot to offer!
Seaweed is a very mineral rich food, typically containing minerals such as iodine, zinc, calcium, magnesium and when it claims to offer magnesium, it probably really does; soil depletion appears to have turned many of our other high magnesium foods into moderate or low magnesium foods, and deficiency is now extensive, estimated to be around 70% of the population at least. If you think you could be among that high percentage, along with us, then this YouTube video (30 mins) provides a clear and helpful starting point for understanding more.
Wishing you good health and exciting, creative food!
Get in touch if you want to know more.
~ Annette & Graham Henry