Are you sweet enough?

honeycomb-300x225Let’s talk about honey… and how its natural sweetness and smooth creamy texture complements the fresh bitterness and crunchy character of salad ingredients to produce a delectable combination of flavours that have you coming back for a seconds.

I’ve been out several times to collect honey with beekeepers around Australia. My most memorable experience was when a swarm of 5,000 bees landed beside us on an old plough left in the paddock next to the canola crop.

My Dad would not like me telling you that he used to sprinkle sugar on his lettuce leaves to give them, what he said “more flavour”. He then started drizzling dollops of honey on his leafy greens and has since switched to making his own salad dressings using honey as the staple component of the concoction. Yes, he’s always had a bit of a “sweet tooth”.Honey-4-Copy-300x278

While sugar is sugar, honey does have a list of health benefits. Not only is honey a sound cough remedy because of its anti-inflammatory agent, it has also shown to be effective in aiding some allergies. It’s a powerful immune system booster and its antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can help improve digestion and help you stay healthy and fight disease. Yes honey can help alleviate some health problems – in fact it is recognised worldwide as a healing ingredient in medicinal treatment. While I prefer my salads without dressing, don’t feel too bad about dappling in a tasting of the sweet stuff.

Whether it’s ‘Honey-roasted pumpkin, spinach and pine nut salad’ or ‘Roasted pumpkin, feta and spinach salad with honey and pine nut dressing’ (check out these salads on the Love My Salad website), there are so many ways to incorporate honey into your salads even if it’s following in my Dad’s footsteps… one at a time.

And if you wake up to find those pesky ants making a bee line for your honey jar, place it in a bowl of water to stop them in their tracks.

Happy foraging!

Read more of Louise’s Love My Salad blogs.

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TODAY’S HARVEST: Peanuts Do you know where peanuts come from? From a vine, from a bush, from a tree or from the ground? Perhaps the photo below will give you a hint. Unlike other nuts that grow on trees like almonds and cashews, peanuts are legumes. The peanut plant is unusual because it flowers above ground but the peanut grows below the ground. Peanuts need full sun. If you have heavy soil, ensure good drainage by working in enough organic matter to make it loose and friable. Peanut seeds come in their shells and can be planted hulled or unhulled. If you do shell them, don’t remove the thin, pinkish brown seed coverings, or the seed won’t germinate. One inch of water a week is plenty a peanut plant. Being legumes, peanuts supply their own nitrogen, so avoid nitrogen-rich fertilisers, which encourage foliage rather than fruits. The crop is ready to harvest when leaves turn yellow and the peanuts’ inner shells have gold-marked veins, which you can check periodically by pulling out..

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