I apologize in advance for my possibly short communications during summer vacation. I made a deal with my children that summer weeks will be divided into work days and vacation days. Thus I gain their help in the garden and with packaging, and I'm available able to give them attention and love.
Summer, summer to the sea
Summer, summer hot as can be
Vacation, love, and sand are fine
How good the shade of my pine.
1. We are pleased to have cartons back if they are in good shape. We reuse them. Please leave them outside the door and we will take them.
2. As usual, attached is a file for ordering honey, olive oil, legumes, and cheeses and bread from Bat-Sheva. I know it's a little confusing, but the attached form is only for these additions.
To order vegetables, sprouts and fruits please use our online ordering system at http://maggiesgarden.co.il. If you need supplements to your regular box, log on and see what is available. If you need help, please feel free to ask.
And now, to the garden and the vegetables:
First of all, if any of your produce gets "tired" on its way to you, treat it as you would like to be treated - give it a cold shower, a good drying, put it into a plastic bag, and put the plastic bag into the refrigerator!
Last week I wrote how to preserve vegetables and fruits in summer. Very worthwhile!
The ripening of the fruits and vegetables depends on several parameters. Some vegetables/fruits should be used right away so they don't go to waste, but gourds and pumpkins are another story. If the fruits are whole, pumpkins can be kept in the right storage for many months. We simply do not have enough space here at Maggie's Garden to store enough for all of us.
Do not be alarmed at the amount of pumpkins in your boxes. They are ripening now and are very easy to save, even until winter. Hence their proper name is "winter zucchini".
In America, the pumpkin's country of origin, the natives used to arrange suitable storage places to assure themselves a steady supply of this nourishing vegetable (fruit). In Africa today, in remote villages without electricity, it is still customary to preserve gourds. Even in progressive countries like ours, all the pumpkins that you see in markets and stores in the winter grew during the summer (hopefully the most recent summer) and were stored for consumers until winter!
We don't have enough storage space to keep pumpkins for everyone, but we suggest you keep some for later, both so you have some in winter and also so you don't feel you must finish them right away, before the next delivery. In the meantime, they can be used as ornaments. All you need is a dark dry place.
Watermelon is also a gourd, but not a "winter zucchini". Watermelons are a summer-only crop. A bit about them before they finish.
The watermelon originated in the savanna and desert areas of South Africa, where its mama was a vital source of liquid for animal and humans. About 90% of the watermelon is water. From South Africa, watermelons traveled throughout Africa up to Egypt where they are depicted in 4000-year wall illustrations and were placed in tombs to provide food for the dead on their long journey to the next world. Our forefathers who left Egypt longed for the zucchinis and watermelons they ate in Egypt and later they cultivated them here. The watermelon appears in various subjects in the Mishna, for example, "If a watermelon was pecked and ten people ate from it...it is forbidden to eat...after them" (Tosefta, Terumot 7:17).
We are not always sure when the watermelon is ripe, so we judge according to the mysterious echo it makes when thumped and its dry stem. In contrast, animals usually get it right, so if you see the fruit nibbled (or pecked) hurry and pick that fruit if you want to enjoy it.
From North Africa the watermelon made its way to the Middle East and Asia. Nowadays China is the biggest watermelon grower in the world. It was kidnapped to America, together with the African slaves.
Watermelons should be kept at room temperature or in the middle of the refrigerator and not down at the bottom where it is too cold. In this manner, they should last a week or even 10 days. If you store watermelons in a cold temperature, below 12°C, they will become "floury"; that's why watermelons shouldn't be frozen.
There are many species of watermelon with different inside and outside colors, sizes, and even shapes. Rectangular watermelons can be grown by placing young melons in square boxes; this produces watermelons that are easy to cut and store. Of course, such melons would not be appreciated by Demosthenes, the Roman who used half a watermelon as a helmet after it was thrown at him in an argument. (Demosthenes thanked the thrower for providing him with a helmet to wear as he was preparing to fight Philip of Macedonia.)
Our watermelons are called "ice box" since they fit comfortably in an ice box or fridge. They are little and therefore easy for us to fit into the weekly basket.
The watermelon is a therapeutic fruit. Its abundant fluid cleans the body and organic watermelon juice is recommended to sufferers of functional problems of the liver, kidneys, and bladder. The juice is also known as a cleanser of cigarette smoke, both active and passive. The Rambam recommended eating watermelon before a meal and drinking water in which watermelon seeds were cooked to prevent the build-up of kidney stones. However, it is getting harder day by day to obtain watermelon seeds. Humans are working diligently to manufacture seedless species of fruits and vegetables for our culinary convenience. If seedless fruits are created by genetic engineering , the future of the species is endangered and maybe we are also...genetic engineering is forbidden in organic growing. If accomplished by cross-fertilization of two species, this danger does not exist.
In Iraqi medicine, hepatitis patients are washed in watermelon juice and the peel is rubbed onto the skin of patients with skin fungi. The Jews of Lybia rub the peel onto skin blemishes.
The watermelon is rich in Vitamin A, in the form of carotene, and potassium. Practitioners of natural medicine, like folk medicine, recommend eating watermelon at the beginning of the meal (as did the Rambam) to arouse the appetite. Naturopaths recommend eating watermelon to clean the kidneys and bladder.
For more details:
Watermelon can replace Viagra: http://www.webmd.com/erectile-dysfunction/news/20080701/watermelon-a-natural-viagra
Original ways to prepare watermelon by Phylis Glazer (in Hebrew): http://reshet.ynet.co.il/Shows/Haolam_Haboker/videomarklist,185930/
Pretty watermelons: http://www.smallfoxy.com/var/melon.pps
May you have a juicy, cool, and sweet summer,
For continuation of the blog, and to see our expectation list for this week, see http://maggiesgarden.co.il/blog//
For additional vegetables, sprouts, and fruit, please order via our website. http://maggiesgarden.co.il
For legumes, cheeses, breads, olive oil, and honey from other produces, please use the attached form.
Additions, subtractions to your weekly box -- PLEASE LET ME KNOW BY 11:00 TUESDAY
Like us on Facebook. Look for "Organic vegetables from Maggie's Garden.
Expectation list for this week:
purslane or parsley
dreidel or chestnut squash
purslane or parsley
Nature being nature, we will post changes on this link on delivery day.
Find more information on vegetables by clicking the tags on the sidebar on the left.