Belize's most complete independent agricultural publication

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Jenny Wildman - page 3

Jenny Wildman has 39 articles published.

Beyond The Backyard – Palmistry

in Issue 20 by

The palm: its leaf is like the spread of a hand. I thought I would talk about palms as Palm Sunday is coming up marking the beginning of the Holy week of Easter. As Jesus entered Jerusalem palms were scattered by the faithful across his path as a sign of respect. The palm has been incorporated into the services of the Christian faith where processions involve the waving of palm branches and small crosses are made from the fronds. In 1995 Columbia banned this practice as the palm species was threatened by possible extinction due to over harvesting. Indeed there has been much controversy relating to the over cutting and destruction of palms in the rainforest for the production of…

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Beyond The Backyard – A Passionate Pursuit

in Issue 19 by

In London back in the sixties my Aussie and New Zealand flat mates introduced me to a dynamic duo: Pavlova and passion fruit, the first being a famed baked meringue created and named for the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, and the second said to be an absolute must as a topping: kiwi, strawberries, passion fruit and cream. Now some 40 years later I am finally growing passion fruit in my garden. Although there are over 500 species of passiflora and evidence of early cultivation in North America it is claimed to hail from South America, discovered by 15 th century Spanish missionaries. As the priests cast their eyes on the glorious blooms on this vigorous vine they were struck by…

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Beyond The Backyard – Spud Bucket

in Issue 18 by

We tried to run a restaurant offering only local produce; however one of the items which caused major issues was the potato. Knowing the plight of the potato farmers in Belize I thought I should support them but also use cocoa yam, cassava, dasheen and sweet potatoes which grow very well here. The potato originally came from South America, taken to Europe where it was viewed with much skepticism, and it has been popularized only in the past 200 years, becoming a staple comfort food offered in many forms throughout the world. Although the food industry is somewhat trendy and items such as sweet potato fries are currently gracing the tables of North American restaurants, the favourite is still the…

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Beyond The Backyard – The Power Of Peas

in Issue 17 by

These days it is so hard to know what to eat, what to believe and what to do to make a difference globally. June brought us World Oceans Day designed to educate the public about overfishing and the need for conservation and respect of our marine life as an important food source. Adhering to imposed seasons and restrictions for marine life and wild animals, assessing supply and demand can greatly assist this concern. However the fact remains that eating habits need to change. Obesity, cancers and behavioral problems can be mostly attributed to what we give or do not give to our bodies. If it costs a tlot of money it is probably not very healthy and your system really…

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Beyond The Backyard – The Miracle Tree

in Issue 16 by

My introduction to the seagrape was back in the heyday of the famous Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach. I was impressed by the pink marble bathroom with gold taps but the highlight of that day was the poolside lunch. A Cobb salad deliciously presented and adorned with a strand of amethyst berries. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to do the same here in Belize. The problem is that some of our best fruit and vegetables flourish in the off season when few tourists grace our shores. The Coccoloba tree was named for its red leaves and the inclusion of Uvifera for its resemblance to European grapes but it is actually part of the buckwheat family! (polygonaceae not the…

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Beyond The Backyard – A Mother’s Love

in Issue 15 by

One day whilst begging some plant cuttings a friend (born Belizean ) suddenly exclaimed “Hey, you have that pretty plant which I have not seen for years. This is the plant that for sure tells you that your mother loves you. If we would have a cut, scrape, bruise or upset tummy, mum or granny would go hunting all over the bush with great determination searching until they returned with the medicine.” I tried it out on a couple of boo boos warming the leaf and applying directly to the wound. Well not knowing if it was something in the leaf like iron or just the added attention, I was still very pleased with the result and loved the story…

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Beyond The Backyard – Growing Green

in Issue 14 by

I used to wonder why there were not more green vegetables in the market until it occurred to me that since leafy vegetables are best picked fresh they were probably growing in home gardens. Sure enough! Chaya, callaloo, dasheen, spinach, pumpkin and various herbs were found plus several I was not familiar with. One bush with large love heart leaves adorned with white candle-like flowers smelled deliciously fragrant of anise and black pepper. The taste test was disturbing though, as it immediately numbed my lips and tongue. Well if the Mayas have been using it for centuries it must be worthy of inclusion in the kitchen so I did some more research to be absolutely sure before experimenting at the…

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Beyond The Backyard – Little Pickle

in Issue 13 by

It is joyous when a plant not only grows but grows faster than Jack’s beans and bears edible fruits in astoundingly record time. Success! After eating this vegetable but once, lightly fried and accompanying a chicken masala curry, not even knowing its name, I launched into growing this vine. It grows tiny gherkin-like cucumbers, best eaten when young, brilliant green and crispy. Either raw or cooked it is somewhat bland and improves with a bit of spicy attention. Cumin, yellow ginger, fenugreek, hing, tulasi, onions and garlic are formidable partners. A perennial herbaceous vine of the pumpkin family which prefers a sunny location and sandy soil, it can be started from cuttings or seed and is readily spread by birds…

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Beyond The Backyard – Pass The Grass Please

in Issue 12 by

On a recent tour of a friend’s organic garden he told me he was planting only what grows in abundance which would not take hours of work each day. For continual food supply this is a sound approach. In observing our environment we see that nature provides many species in abundance mainly as they have huge and constantly challenging jobs to achieve. The discovery of what they are capable of is exciting and being able to identify edible plants in the wild is important. To date human survival can largely be put down to the Gramineae Family. Apart from the amazing work they contribute to the protection of the habitats, they provide a veritable cornucopia of fabulous food. While many…

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Beyond The Backyard – Bathtime Buddy (Loofah)

in Issue 11 by

Anyone growing up in a cold climate may have come to regard bath time as the best part of the day. For soaking, relaxing, dreaming, planning, and pondering, the tub is the perfect place. Here I am steeped in bubbles of a magical mineral mix considering the meaning of survival and how it relates to sustainability. What a complexity! Look around at all the communities becoming reliant on commercially packaged foods and bottled drinks, cultivating a taste for imports. Survival will come only from knowledge of the natural products that surround us and respectful preservation of the environment. There is, however, a back swing from the ultra-main-stream consumerist way of thinking: a life that embraces curiosities instead of dampening it…

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