To read the first half of this meditation, go to Local and Seasonal
To continue the theme of eating locally and sustainably, here's how some inner-city denizens tackled the challenge. They might not produce enough to feed all of them all the time, but at least they have the pleasure of adding home-grownh produce to their meals.
Sustainability in a city street
Photo courtesy Saim Ali
With the support of Sydney City Council, residents of the inner-city of Chippendale have planted garden beds at the ends of residential streets. These were originally a guerrilla garden effort, but luckily for the residents, the Council saw sense and gave them support to build more.
Making the Most of What's Available
We might not be able to dig up inner-urban streets, or find a bit of waste ground, or forage from the local park, but we can buy what produce is in season, when it’s tasty and cheap, and make the most of it.
Since it’s the end of summer, I recently converted 12 really cheap limes into lime marmalade and a refreshing lime drink. The marmalade took 24 hours, the drink, five minutes.
Limes, like lemons, are high in vitamin C; they also contain small amounts of vitamins A, B, and E, folate and pantothenic acid, plus the minerals boron, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and a tiny amount of sodium.
To the Recipes
Although the vitamin C will be destroyed by the long boiling in making marmalade, all the other elements and the tangy flavour will reman.
This recipe is from a 1970s English paperback, long out of print: Let’s Preserve It, by Beryl Wood. If you can find it, it’s a delight, and has helpful hints about making jams, jellies and relishes. I use it about once a year.
- 1lb (500 gms) of limes (about 6)
- 2 ½ pints (1400 ml)of water
- 2 ½ lbs (just over a kilogram) of fine white sugar
- Jam pan – a preserving pan bought from a kitchen store, or a stock pot, or a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. It must be big enough that your boiling sugar mixture does not boil over.
Finely cut the limes – this is vital as lime peel is amazingly tough to cook. Put the lime slices in the jam pan with the water, cover and leave overnight.
At least 2 hours before you’re ready to make marmalade, start cooking the lime slices. Bring the water to the boil, and simmer covered, for at least 1 ½ hours, or until the peel is soft.
When the peel is almost ready, rinse out your jam jars and put in a low oven to dry and warm up. Add the sugar to the simmering peel, stir until it is all dissolved, then bring the heat up to high.
Boil rapidly for about 20 minutes until your marmalade is setting. Test by dropping a small amount onto a cold saucer – it should gel, and wrinkle to the touch, or divide and not run together if you pull a finger through it. Remove your pan from the heat while testing for set so as not to over-boil your marmalade.
Fill your jars and seal while hot and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 teasp sugar or to taste
- 350 ml (approx) iced water, soda water or lemonade.
It is possible to make lime cordial by boiling sugar and water to make a syrup, but it’s not worth the effort unless you’re making enough for a party or a picnic.