Sunday, October 13, 2013
Bamboo Tea Basics
Bamboo tea is not a "true tea," in that it is not brewed from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is instead an herbal tea, meaning it's brewed from something else. Other than the species of plant involved, the process for making bamboo leaf tea is the same as for true teas. You pick the leaves, dry them, then steep the dried leaves into boiling water to leach their contents into the brew.
Bamboo leaf tea is rich in silica, an ingredient important in bone and other rigid tissue health. Proponents claim that this can improve bone health, strengthen hair and nails, improve your dental health and make your skin more elastic and healthy.
A typical cup of bamboo leaf tea contains 1 g of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber aids your body's natural cleansing systems. This can contribute to digestive health, as well as help your body clean your bloodstream of harmful LDL cholesterol.
Friday, September 6, 2013
After many labor intensive years of gardening, an apple tree taught me a valuable lesson. With no care at all, that apple tree provided me with 2 or 3 bushels of apples per year. I learned to plant
big things (fruit trees, berry bushes) to enjoy an abundant effortless harvest year after year.
That covers fruit, but what about vegetables?
After purchasing 5 acres in Florida, I turned my thoughts to growing a more permanent food source of vegetables. What could I plant that would effortlessly produce an abundance of vegetables year after year?
Bamboo! If I plant a bamboo plant, it will provide delicious fresh bamboo shoots each year for the rest of my life.
After planting Medake (Japanese Timber) rhizomes and cuttings from a perfect green clumping bamboo, I have been longing to see some bamboo growing above ground.
Today I was able to order some perfect varieties for food and now I can't wait til they are delivered.
Here is what I chose:
Moso: Phyllostachys edulis ('Moso' bamboo)
The largest of the subtropical timber bamboos, 'Moso' soars to heights of 75 feet at maturity with 7 inch diameter culms. An unexpected plus, these giant groves actually generate cool air! As one of nature's natural air conditioners, their lofty canopies shade us from the Sun while their culms pull cool water from the ground.......cooling the surrounding air which moves through them. The effect is quite pronounced. In the heat of Summer, there is a 15 degree perceptive temperature difference as compared to areas directly under the mid-day Sun.
Medake: Phyllostachys bambusoides "Giant Japanese Timber Bamboo"
Phyllostachys Vivax Aureocaulis: 'Green Stripe Vivax'
Beautiful rare bamboo with buttery yellow large culms (canes. One of the most impressive, almost imposingly beautiful, giant hardy bamboos. It embodies the classic bamboo characteristics; immense size and vitality balanced by a graceful personality. It can grow to 65+ feet in height.
I also chose:
Phyllostachys Atrovaginata: Incense Bamboo
Phyllostachys Rubromarginata: Red Margin Bamboo
Phyllostachys Dulcis: Sweet Shoot Bamboo
Phyllostachys nigra: Henon
Phyllostachys nigra: Black Bamboo
I chose large choice edibles. Bamboo only shoots once per year. To control your running bamboo, simply eat the shoots that pop up in the wrong place.
After these are planted, I will be setting up my next food producing project, aquaponics, to easily grow organic fish and "normal" veggies in recycled IBC totes and plastic barrels.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
When landscaping your yard, it is important to choose carefree plants that will thrive without constant watering and fertilizing. You also save time, labor and money by choosing plants that come back year after year and multiply on their own.
Dahlias fit the bill nicely.
A Dalia tuber will grow into a 4 foot tall bush covered with masses of huge flowers.
Carefree in zones 9 and 10.
All other zones - dig the tubers in the Fall before the first frost, store inside til spring.
Use free bamboo stakes from your own yard.
(You ARE growing a little patch of clumping bamboo for garden stakes, right?).
Stake them at the time of planting, spring, after all frost. Mulch them in good and forget them!
They'll do the rest.
I ordered my first Dahlias pictured above.
Free Coupon and Freebie
I used a free coupon at Breck's ($25 off a $50 purchase) and also got 3 free stargazer lilies.
Get coupons and freebies by signing up for Breck's emails here.
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Musa BasjooThe Basjoo is the world's most cold-hardy and cold tolerant banana tree. It grows from Miami into parts of Canada. It tolerates drought and neglect. Even deer leave it alone. You just plant it and forget it. Once established, it can grow an amazing 2 feet per week! It reaches 6-9 feet tall when potted indoors, or 16 feet when planted outside. This is one of those plants that's just fun to watch! It puts out giant bright green leaves that measure 2-6 feet long. In summer, small, golden yellow blooms are grown in long clusters. The Basjoo is not only the hardiest banana tree, but the most attractive as well. Use it to liven up a sitting area, pool side or yard perimeter. Looks great around patios, or potted up in your living room or kitchen.
Medical usesIn Chinese medicines, physicians use root stem, flower, leaves, rhizome of Musa basjoo for clearing heat-toxin, quenching thirst and disinhibiting urine.
How to use Basjoo Leaves:
Khao Dome - Rice in Banana Leaves
Around the world, wherever bananas grow, cooks have devised ways to use the giant leaves, wrapping them around foods both savory and sweet. A parcel made from banana leaves seals in moisture and flavor and infuses the contents with a subtle, grassy aroma. From Latin American to Asian dishes, here are 10 clever and beautiful ways to cook with the versatile leaves.
• 1. Steamed fish – A banana leaf makes a fragrant and convenient fish-steaming packet. Wrap the leaf around any kind of firm-fleshed fish (sustainable, of course!) together with seasonings like fresh herbs, garlic, ginger, or curry paste.
• 2. Grilled fish (and other foods) – According to Jaden of Steamy Kitchen, there are two advantages to grilling a fish on top of a banana leaf: first, it "prevents the fragile fish from sticking to the grill grates" and second, it "adds a mellow smoky, sweet flavor to the fish."
• 3. Savory custards – Throughout Southeast Asia, cooks make banana leaf "boats" to steam mixtures of meat, spices, coconut milk, and eggs.
• 4. Tamales – In tropical regions of Mexico and Central America, tamales are wrapped in banana leaves, which imparts a different flavor than corn husks.
• 5. Pasteles – Similar to tamales, Latin American pasteles are frequently enclosed in banana leaves.
• 6. Cochinita pibil – Cochinita pibil is a Mexican dish traditionally consisting of a whole suckling pig roasted in a banana leaf.
• 7. Idlis – Indian dish traditionally made from rice and urad dal (black lentil) batter steamed in baskets of jackfruit leaves. This banana leaf version is easier to assemble.
• 8. Bibingka – Bibingka, a Filipino coconut cake, is traditionally baked in a pot lined with banana leaves.
• 9. Sticky rice – In Southeast Asia, sticky rice is wrapped and steamed inside banana leaves for a sweet or savory treat.
• 10. Presentation – Fresh, green banana leaves can be used as plates, serving containers, and table decor. Banana leaf boats would make pretty bowls for steamed rice, salads, desserts and more. Another idea is to fold the leaves into cones to fill with noodles or other foods.
Delicious banana stems:
note: Chinese doctors prescribe eating banana stem twice a week to treat obesity!