I have been working on a series of photo essays that follows our small-batch process of making chocolate.  Here are the journals to date.

Journal #1 describes our permaculture-style method of caring for trees, and shows the shape of young trees as well as flowers and young fruit:  cacao-photo-journal-april-2016

Journal #2 is on selecting pods, opening them and staring the fermentation process: cacao-journal-2

Journal #3 goes into more detail on fermentation, judging the flavor of fermented beans, and drying: cacao-journal-3a

Jounral #4 describes roasting, cracking, and winnowing: Cacao journal 4

pods on railing.jpg


I thought blue foods were extremely rare, basically blueberries and grapes. But here, we have them as a staple.

Okinawan sweet potato

Today for breakfast I had a purple smoothie (thanks to the blueberry guava) and a bowl of hot blue corn mush, then for lunch a blue “soup” of purple taro, coconut milk and hot pepper, and dinner is going to be purple (Okinawan) sweet potatoes, purple spinach, and purple eggplant along with tsoi sim greens in my stir-fry!

Okinawan spinach, purple variety (leaf undersides)

Has anyone noticed the intense turquoise the cooking water turns when you prepare these dark blue and purple foods?

Blue corn from the Huichal people of Mexico- it stains everything

Planted blue corn in March-April, harvested in July

I spent a large part of the day starting some coconut oil. I had thought maybe I would be able to have some separated and useable by dinner, but it took several hours to open the 5 coconuts we used, cut out the flesh, grind it up, and squeeze it through a mesh bag.  I will do a separate post on that since it needed to sit and separate for a few days.

Realizing and appreciating how important it is to have some foods stocked up and ready to go.  Today I used dried and ground corn and  hot pepper, frozen coconut milk, bananas, lilikoi and berries from the “larder.”  (Hmm, lard… easier to process oil than  coconuts…) All made it so I could eat and get something else done other than solely foraging and cooking. Even here where it seems like you can just pick and eat, food isn’t always quite ripe and ready to go. It’s like shopping – good to have food prepared and stored up in case of rain (thundering at the moment) or other obstacles like having to work.

For dessert, something not at all blue – the sweet white fuzz surrounding the seeds in a cacao pod.  It tastes kind of lemony.

Cacao pod


Fifth Marketless Monday, October 24th 2011

Began the day cruising around for the morning smoothie.  Found a whole  bunch of fuzzy, ripe, plump blueberry guava.

These are nothing like the tree guava…  Have to find out their Latin name.  The taste:  a dark purple wild berry, grainy – not as sweet as blackberries, not as tart as blueberries.

I took off the dry bract part of the berry before putting it in blender, but this may not even be necessary.  In the pic above I have peeled one just to show you the texture.

Made the smoothie a beautiful purple!  I bet they are super rich in antioxidants and all those good things that come with deep color. We need to plant lots more of these beautiful bushes.

Also used a purple lilikoi, lemon, papaya, Jamaican lilikoi, cane juice, frozen bananas.

While gathering smoothie supplies I picked some mamaki leaves to try tea.  It was delicious and easy, just boiled a few fresh leaves.

Prepping foods for later in the day, I munched on fresh coconut as I cut the flesh out of three types – this one is pretty young, the flesh scoops out very easily.

I cut an older coconut with thicker, dryer meat and put it in the oven to dry for coconut flakes and flour. The older meat can also be used for boiling and separating out the oil. I also blended some up from a third coconut for milk and to freeze.

Another good treat was dried jack fruit from last week, which is delicious.  I dried it simply by layering on cookie sheets and keeping in the propane oven, which has a pilot light (until it runs out…), turning every day or so with a tongs until they are still chewy but not sticky all over.  A few times when I baked things I took the drying jack fruit out, and then put it back in while the oven was cooling but still fairly hot.  So this is how they looked after a week of that.

Learned two things about jack fruit – (1) not to eat too much, of the fruit I believe, either that or the seeds gave me the runs the next day.  (2) The seeds will get moldy, even if roasted, if left in a jar on the counter for a week :(.

Lunch was variation on the papaya salad theme… grated papaya, daikon, and yakon with green onion, hot pepper, lemon, arugula, basil and mint.  Since I have no ripe avocado – checked our three trees, and the ones we gathered from the old highway down at the base of our hill are still too hard –  no more peanuts, and no jackfruit seed (which I had been kinda counting on), I cheated and used some olive oil.  NEXT time I will make coconut oil.

Dinner was, again, a stir-fry… really I am not being very creative with the recipes… first boiled taro, which was from a farm we visited Saturday, I believe this was the one he said was a tissue cross between Lehua maoli and ale ale (makes purple poi); added it to grated turmeric, sliced leek (a garden first!), peppers hot and mild, eggplant (another garden first but had been bitten by fruit flies and had several large worms, so I had to pick them very young, still, so delish), yakon, and of course the lovely creamy coconut milk.

Final picture: Hawaiian hot pepper bush.  One of three I planted from seed last November.  We have no shortage of heat for our food!