Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New season fruit and vegetables

Sometimes when I go to the local markets I feel that everything looks a bit 'tired', under-ripe or scarred, but at the minute, everything is so fresh and beautiful. The red peppers are shiny with thick, juicy flesh, there are the new season's fresh peas, beans, and lovely cauliflowers and carrots.Last week I saw the first of the cherries and I even bought us a few strawberries for a treat on Sunday. They were big and fully ripe and tasted delicious. I probably paid too much for them, and I won't be buying any more just yet. In another couple of months they will be nearly giving them away. But they made a nice treat for us this week. I had to just take a photo of these cabbages in Turre market. They are huge. I doubt whether I would even manage to carry one along with the rest of my shopping. Chris and I have cabbage quite regularly but it would take us a month of Sundays to get through one of these!

This weekend we had our car serviced by a young man who has a house (with a big garage) just out on the campo outside the village. He showed Chris round the garden and seeing a grapefruit tree, Chris told him about the lovely ones we had from a friend's tree when we were on holiday in Arizona. You don't see them very often out here. I think the Spanish like their fruit to be sweeter. All the market holders give you their oranges to taste to see how sweet they are, as though that was the main criteria for buying them. The next day, when Chris collected the car, Andy had a big bag of grapefruit waiting for him. What they hadn't realised was that, now I take simvastatin to control my cholesterol levels, I am not supposed to eat grapefruit. Chris will only eat them if they are really sweet, so rather than waste them I decided to make grapefruit marmalade. It was easy to do and set beautifully. For someone who thinks the only decent marmalade is made from seville oranges, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it is. I have done some research into the grapefruit/statin problem, and it seems as though it can be really dangerous if you drink the juice at the same time as you take your tablet for example, but you don't have to avoid them altogether, and the main article I read did mention marmalade and just said to be careful how much you eat. Apparently the fruit prevents the medication from breaking down so you get a build-up of the drug in your system which can cause liver and kidney damage, but seeing as I take my tablet at bedtime, hopefully it has mostly been absorbed by the morning and marmalade for breakfast sometimes won't be too dangerous. Anyway, it also said that the only other citrus fruit that has the same effect is seville oranges, and I have been eating that marmalade for a lot longer than I have been taking statins. So, I now have a good supply of grapefruit marmalade to see me through until I make my next batch of orange. I have spoken to the Spanish lady in our market who finally got me some bitter oranges last year. She couldn't understand why I wanted them, but she loved the marmalade I gave her, and she has promised to try and get me some again this year. I made thirteen pounds of marmalade, much more than I will use, so today I made some nice labels to go on the jars and took half of them to the AGM at my church. We have an ongoing supply of jams and pickles that various members make, so I am sure it will all find a home eventually.

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