Apologies to anyone who has already read this on my Facebook page last week (before I deleted my account), but I’m going to repeat that post here.
My neighbour bought over huge bucket of lemons last week, about 60 – so I spent the whole weekend processing them.
10 went into a jar with salt and spices to make Moroccan preserved lemons
another 10 sliced and frozen to put in summer drinks
the rest were zested and juiced, the juice and half the zest frozen for later use.
The remaining zest is being steeped in aguadente ( local fire water) and will become Limoncello in about a month or so.
Manky zest and scrap ends of lemons put into a container to make citrus enzyme cleaner.
left over pith boiled up for a couple hours to make pectin, now frozen in ice cube trays for later use in jam-making
Half the boiled up pith became the marinade for that night’s lemon and tarragon chicken, and the rest was fed to the pigs.
The zest that is currently making Limoncello will be blended and used in a dessert, and the leftovers from the citrus cleaner will be composted, absolutely zero-waste!
I love winter in Abu Dhabi, the days are warm and sunny and the evenings cool, enough to need a sweater ( for me, at least -Tom is still in short sleeved T shirts).
But what I love most about winter is that we can grow our own food, without any chemicals. We have raised beds, pots and vegetables growing under trees. We have lots of trees!
These are 3 of our raised beds, and we are experimenting. Our neighbour claims that the soil here ( um, what soil?) is really good for growing vegetables, all it needs is some natural fertiliser now and again. So we have one bed that is just local soil with the addition of farmyard ( goat) manure. We have another bed which is filled with our homemade compost mixed with some locally bought compost. We’ve mulched around the plants to retain moisture in this bed. We’ve planted the same plants (almost) in each bed so that we can compare. and so far the local bed is lagging far behind. The only thing that is growing well is garlic, whereas in the ‘western’ bed, everything is at least 3 times the size of the local bed one month after planting. Now, it maybe that the slower growth will lead to a longer growing season, who knows – we’ll report back in a few months.
The third bed also has our compost and a frame for growing vertically. We planted runner beans, French beans, pumpkins, butternut squash, and sweet potato vines. All of the beans have died, both transplants and seeds sown directly into the ground. I’ve replanted time and again and they all die at about 12 inches tall 😦 I’ve decided to give up trying as it’s obviously too dry for them and have now been replaced with cucumbers and honeydew melons, which are just about an inch tall so far, so you can’t really see them in the photo. We’ll update on progress.