Get Growing : Getgrowing_5 Oct 2012
BOOKSHELF 21 22 WIN! An autographed set of Annabel’s books – see page 26 Why do we recommend this book? Because we love everything about Annabel: her fresh, seasonal recipes, her stunning lakeside garden in Wanaka and her inspiring TV show of the same name (7pm, Saturday nights on TV One). Here’s an extract from Simple Pleasures. SIMPLE PLEASURES by Annabel Langbein, The Free Range Cook ($59.95) A couple of years ago my friend Annie gave me a potted shiso plant she had grown from seed. She had been given the seed by a Japanese friend, who had in turn been given it by one of his relations. Shiso, commonly used in Japanese cooking, wasn’t a herb I was familiar with. I loved its pretty leaves and zingy taste, so come autumn I harvested the seed heads into a paper bag and, once dry, I shook them out and stored them in a cool, dark place. The following spring I sowed them and got a bumper crop – and now I have seeds to share. Just having shiso in my garden feels good. In a very small way my seed-saving efforts will help this particular plant species have a secure future. That might not seem like a big deal until you look at the alarming decline in genetic diversity in our food chain. Supermarkets favour modern, single-variety fruits and veges that have been bred to ship well and have a uniform appearance, often at the sacrifice of flavour. The result is a dependence on a handful of varieties, which means thousands of heirloom varieties have vanished forever. In the 1840s the Irish grew pretty much one type of potato. When a blight swept through the nation, almost the entire crop was wiped out and the ensuing famine killed one out of eight people. Diversity is the key to our future food security – in the event that one crop fails, another might survive. Going to a farmers’ market and seeking out an heirloom tomato, potato or bean isn’t just about a craving for flavour – you’re also playing a part in safeguarding biodiversity, the crucial link to our future.
12 Oct 2012