Harvesting for Makahiki

28 09 2017

The urge to harvest food from the home garden tells me the Hawaiian Makahiki season soon will be upon us. When Makahiki starts, in early November this year, all feuding and all work in the fields end. The harvest is over, we remain friends, and it’s time to call on others and play—for four months!

Today I pulled out 7-1/2 pounds of ‘uala, or sweet potatoes, of various shapes and sizes from the semi-circular patch out front. At the same time I plucked and saved the edible tender sweet potato leaf shoots. I rinsed and dried the greens and reserved them for sandwiches and salads.

‘Uala (Sweet potato)

Adjacent to the ti leaf and panax hedge, the semi-circular bed of sweet potatoes is 85% harvested.

I pluck and use only the growing tip of the vine. Any other part of the vine is too tough and not as tasty, in my opinion.

I rinsed greens carefully under running water for some tasty crunch in a cheese sandwich.

I also gathered kou tree blossoms that fell from above to make a saffron- or ochre-colored dye bath.

Tubular flowers from a kou tree

What now? I prepared candied sweet potatoes and an uala leaf and tofu salad for dinner, and I reserved the kou flowers for later when I can organize a day of fabric dyeing and decorating with my artsy friends.

I roasted sweet potato chunks in the oven and baked them a second time with butter, a little salt, brown sugar, and rum to make them taste like Thanksgiving candied yams!

For this tofu salad, blanching the leaves and a vinaigrette dressing has darken the leaf color.

How about a Makahiki party soon to enjoy the bounty? There are lots more sweet potatoes!

“Lono i ka Makahiki!”

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Growing my own; sorry, mister peacock

13 01 2017
  • img_8591Good morning! The larger brussel sprout plant fell over from its weight, and I harvested the leaves. Because the plant uprooted, DH will saw up the trunk. The roaming neighborhood peacock will be disappointed. What to do with the harvest? Rinse like spinach. I’ll discard the tough stems and slice the leaves into 1-inch squares. I’ll blanch and freeze most and steam some until tender. I’ll simmer them in bone broth or vegetable broth with some chopped onion and finish off the soup with some coconut milk (being careful not to boil), salt and pepper. I am so thankful we are growing our own food. Read the rest of this entry »




I have a gold mine in ʻōlena

11 12 2016
Turmeric from my garden

Turmeric from my garden. Hawaiians call it ʻōlena.

ʻōlena.  Turmeric (Curcuma domestica), a kind of ginger; used medicinally and as a source of dyes  . . . —Pukui and Elbert

Today’s harvest yielded this bounty of ʻōlena, or turmeric. I had planted some a few years ago, and this year it produced gorgeous flowers. Then the flowers died back, and it dawned on me that it was time to harvest the rhizome.

I first paid attention to ʻōlena during trips to Kahoʻolawe, where ʻōlena water was brought from Maui and used for cleansing altars and in the spiritual ceremonies.

In more recent years I learned that besides uses in cuisine, turmeric is a healing herb that guards against inflammation in our bodies. Sautéing with black pepper in cooking and combined with other food provides benefits. We can add this to our diet on a regular basis.

When I had a spell of pain in my wrist, I chopped up some fresh turmeric into a poultice and applied it with plastic wrap to hold it in place. The ʻōlena was very cooling to the skin and I felt better.

Most recently a friend who is taking care of a cancer patient volunteered to help harvest my plants. When someone asks for healing, I must oblige. I was grateful to have my friend remind me that an answer to healing was right under my nose in my own garden. Harvesting is something I have been meaning to do.

This afternoon I cut back the tall foliage, and DH helped to dig out this crop with a pitchfork. We left some in the ground so it will continue to grow.

I plan to share the bounty, make some powder, and freeze the surplus.

Mahalo e ke Akua!

 





Easter harvest

27 03 2016

From the egg hunt yesterday and the home garden this morning. Grateful every day for the blessings. Happy Easter, everyone! He is risen!

   
 





In the mood for fresh guacamole

8 09 2012

The avocado, calamansi, and Hawaiian chilies are from my garden. So abundant!





Pick me! Eat me!

1 07 2012

Pick me!

It’s as if the orange kou blossom fell from the tree and joined the mini pineapple growing below to say, “Pick me!”

I planted the cut top of a supermarket pineapple in a pot of soil quite a few months ago, ignoring it for the most part, but watering it with other bromeliads in my routine of giving the whole garden a drink.

This morning the fruit begged to be harvested. It was just as much work to prepare for eating as a larger pineapple, but I treated it like gold. Very tasty and refreshing, nutritious, ripened by the sun, and free!

Mahalo e ke Akua no kēia mea ʻai.

Mini homegrown pineapple. It doesn’t get any fresher than this!

Homegrown mini pineapple compared to a commercially grown pineapple behind.

Copyright 2012 Rebekah Luke







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