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Deborah Harder

Deborah Harder has 7 articles published.

The Majestic Mango

in Featured/Issue 33 by

Stately, massive mango trees are the glory of a tropical farm. No other fruit is anticipated with such eagerness; no other fruit tree is so abundant to the point of overwhelming when they bear well. The varieties are as different as apple varieties and each one may have its own loyal devotee. Grafted mango trees begin to bear from 2 to 3 years from planting and continue for many, many years. As I write, the view through one of the windows of our house is fully dominated by the foliage of a mango tree about 20 yards away; it may be 40 years old and is bearing again this year. It used to bear only a type of mango known…

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Yam – A Gentle Giant of Tropical Roots

in Issue 32 by

In January my husband told me we have several yams waiting to be dug, and we should start using them before the potato crops come in, here in Barton Creek. I asked why he didn’t tell me sooner. Soon afterwards a large, brown, muddy, knobby specimen appeared on our back porch; it must have weighed 10 pounds. But my husband said it was only half of the smallest one and these grew up as volunteers and uncared for! Yam, not to be confused with the smaller and unrelated sweet potato and also not to be confused with the wild yam, a herbal source of estrogen, is surely one of Belize’s under-appreciated foods. A vine that would thrive climbing up a…

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Dairy Products At Home – Hard Cheeses

in Issue 31 by

In the final installment of our dairy workshop, we look at hard cheese, which is made using rennet as a coagulant. The title of this article is “Hard Cheeses” because all the hard cheeses in your urban deli are made in basically the same way, with only slight variations of temperature, time lapses, or aging times. Unique varieties have developed in various parts of the world due to the unique bacteria and climatic conditions in each place. You can try to reproduce cheese by ordering freeze dried bacteria from a catalog, or you can develop your own cheese unique to your locale – or rather cheeses, for each one will have its own unique “personality”. The first rule of cheese…

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Dairy Products At Home: Mozzarella & Ricotta Cheese

in Issue 30 by

The cheeses for this cheese-making workshop are mozzarella and ricotta. These are cheeses presumably invented in Italy but now prized all over the world, the second being a byproduct of the first. Mozzarella is the gooey topping for lasagna, pizza, and other Italian dishes which everyone likes so much. Here in Central America, mozzarella makes itself at home on enchiladas or quesadillas, with its famous melting quality. It’s not easy to fit into a new culture, but if we were all so friendly and likable, sacrificing ourselves for the benefit of others, it would be much easier, more like… melted cheese. Here is a simplified recipe which has evolved in my kitchen through the natural selection of shortcuts inherent to…

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Dairy Products at Home Making Cottage Cheese

in Issue 27 by

This is the first in a series aimed at instructing readers in the simplest ways of processing dairy foods at home. Whether you are interested in keeping your own milking cow, or are able to procure fresh milk from a neighbor, you may be surprised how easy it is to produce your own yoghurt or cheeses. A theme of this series will be how to do these things in tropical weather without refrigeration, as many Belizeans do still live without electricity. Others living a more modern lifestyle may be glad to learn that it is possible to live without refrigeration even when using milk, the most perishable of foods. Thankfully, God designed cows to be milked every 12 hours. 12…

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Making Vinegar from Tropical Fruits

in Issue 26 by

There are times when God gives us fruit so abundantly in the tropics that we don’t always know what to do with it all. Homemade vinegar can be one way of using some of the excess, yielding a product with many uses: household, culinary and medicinal. We have made vinegar from many different fruits, including sweet and sour carambola, wax jamboo, Malay apple, pineapple, wild grape, and blackberry (java plum). I’m sure we have not exhausted all of the possibilities. Often, as in the case with pineapple or sweet carambola, vinegar is made from the peels and trimmings of a canning project, or in the case of blackberry or wild grape, with a juice making endeavor. Good, whole fruits can…

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Home Production and Use of Cassava Flour

in Issue 24 by

Much information is available on the cultivation of cassava, an important tropical staple food. This article will focus on a less-well-known and underexploited use for cassava; the versatile flour which can be made from this root crop. We have heard that there used to be a factory in Belize that produced cassava flour for sale. Families in Upper Barton Creek and daughter settlements have been producing cassava flour for home use for over 40 years. Drying cassava for flour takes effort, but it’s an enjoyable job the whole family can help with. It’s a good way to spend time together while producing a useful food! Cassava flour can be used successfully to make pancakes, muffins, cakes, cookies, corn bread and…

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