Made another batch of cacao nibs, this time from the red podded variety, Criollo.  I used the naturally occurring yeast from these banana leaves as a fermentation starter.

Dan has joined me for the last few weeks in going Marketless on Monday.  This is a great support and encouragement and also a challenge – we have to provide more food!  Here is this week’s menu.

Bfast:  scrambled eggs, spring onion, garlic chives and asparagus.

Smoothie: frozen banana, lychee, thimbleberries, Exotica papaya.

In the last few weeks we’ve had lots of apple bananas ripening. Once the freezer was full and I had made several batches of banana bread, I started drying them. I cut each one into four slices and spread them on a rack in the toaster oven at 160 degrees with the door propped open to release moisture. Turned them once.  It took around 6 hours to get them dry but still chewy, not crunchy. (Free electricity makes this practical!) Delicious!

Dried bananas and cacao nibs for snacks.

Finding Okinawan sweet potatoes really saved the day. What a color!

Lunch: Okinawan sweet potatoes boiled with a few lima beans, peanuts and pigeon peas and daikon radish greens.  The purple sweet potatoes probably should have rested for a few days before being cooked; the white sap that comes out may be why the roof of my mouth and tongue got all tacky as I ate.  The flavor was great though, and the color, brilliant.

Dinner – taro burger made with 1/3 part grated daikon, sauteed spring onions, 2 eggs, basil, parsley, dill, garlic chives, salt and coconut oil (italics meaning not from here) in steamed collard green wrap; steamed string beans; oven-baked kale and sorrel; tomato/cucumber/basil salad with lemon, oil and salt.

It turns out it’s really important for us to eat salt.  Especially if you don’t have hypertension and you live in a hot climate and sweat all day and just drink water (lots and lots of water), you’re not replenishing your salt.  A lack of salt can mess with your heart. So, from experience, we are serious about getting salt. This is a major limit for us as we try to eat strictly from the land.

Finding these Okinawan sweet potatoes made me so happy, I had to take a picture. I harvested five like this from a few square feet of a bed that I really didn’t think was ready yet, but I didn’t know what we were going to eat for lunch and just thought I’d take a peek.

I’m very inspired to plant many, many more beds of sweet potatoes.  Say we want to eat 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes a week.  That’s about what we get from 2 square feet of sweet potato bed. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, we need 52 x 2 square feet, or 104 square feet of sweet potatoes growing, but not all at one time, staggered throughout the year. It takes them around 4-5 months to mature, more if you want them bigger but then there’s more risk that nematodes or rats will have done damage.   Say we harvest three times a year, we would need to replant 35 square feet each time.  A typical bed is 6’ x 3’, or 18 square feet, so we need to plant two of these every three or four months.

It’s easy to propagate sweet potatoes.  Today I replanted one bed’s worth by taking just a few of the vines from the harvested sweet potatoes, snipping off approx. 18 inch sections, taking off all but the top few leaves, twirling them into a little swirl, and burying the bare stem while leaving the top leaves sticking out.  All planted in a big mounded bed, with rabbit poop, and banana leaf mulch.