- Student presentations
- Digestive Bitters with Shelley
- Lacto-fermentation with Alyssa
- Leek harvest
- Weeding, weeding, weeding!
Beautiful weather, lovely people, and amazing veggies, what more could we have asked for during week 17 of the Community Teaching Garden program! This week we heard from another group of students as they shared some of their growing gardening knowledge with us all during some interesting, and quite delicious presentations. The Ethan Allen group had a wonderful leek harvest Monday, while unfortunately the Tommy Thompson group saw most of their crop ruined by a pop \ lation of leek moths- don’t worry, the Ethan Allen students will be sure to share some of their bounty!
On Monday evening, Shelley and Alyssa kicked off another round of project presentations with their discussions on digestive bitters and lacto-fermentation, topics they’ve both been experimenting with throughout the season.
Shelley began with a history on the incredible health benefits of incorporating bitters into your diet. Bitters, which are often extracted from cultivated or wild herbs and roots, have traditionally been employed for their natural ability to aid digestion. While we often balk at the taste of something bitter in our mouth here in the US due to our acquired tastes for sugar and salt, bitters are often consumed in other countries and it seems to be on the rise here as of late. From the mouth to the small intestine, bitters help stimulate healthy digestion, and taking some prior to meals can help one feel satiated faster, thus preventing over eating. As Shelley noted, bitters are often infused into cocktails, but can also be taken as tinctures and even included into delicious recipes. Shelley kindly brought examples of each, and we all relished in the sensory experience of tasting bitters. The following is a delectable recipe for bar nuts that Shelley kindly shared with us, and we can promise they’re amazing!
Sweet & Spicy Bar Nuts:
- 4 cups mixed, unsalted raw nuts- preferably a mixture of cashews, pecans, walnuts, and almonds
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 T unsalted butter, melted
- 2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 t cayenne pepper
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1 T honey
- 1 T Angostura or other aromatic bitters
- 1 T Maldon sea salt (or coarse sea salt)
- Preheat oven to 350
- Spread nuts on baking sheet and toast in preheated oven for 10 minutes, giving the pan a shake at the 5 minute mark.
- While nuts are toasting, combine brown sugar, butter, rosemary, cayenne, cinnamon, honey, and bitters in a large bowl.
- Add the warm nuts to the bowl and mix them to thoroughly coat.
- Add salt and mix again
Best served warm, but can be stored in an airtight container for a few days!
Alyssa followed suit with another spectacular presentation as she shared her experiences with fermenting her garden harvests. As she talked about the benefits of lacto-fermentation, she set up a lovely picnic with the sauerkraut and fermented tomato salsa she had crafted.
After putting some serious garden maintenance in during class this week, the gardens are looking quite spiffy! We’re ready for some more delightful harvests, and are excited to have Denise back in our midst next week!