“Happiness is like jam – you can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself”
Since the 2nd World War, the world on the whole has been on an upward trend. Bigger, better, faster – certainly the last few decades – was the motto. But now the momentum is slowly turning to go slow, community and nature. It has been coming for a while, but the Covid epidemic accelerated this process.
There is so much fear attached to the word ‘recession’. If you are not 100% sure what the term means – it is the economy shrinking for the last 2 consecutive quarters. The economy follows like nature cycle behavior. The economic winter (recession) is therefore an inevitable season and the preparation for new shoots to come.
Instead of fretting, let’s look a the good points a recession can bring:
- We are forced to stop and think about what we really need and get rid of all that is surplus anyway.
- We get more efficient with natural resources – food, energy to name a few.
- Material possession gets less important and intangible qualities such as love, friendship, happiness, and nature come to the front. You can enjoy it a lot – even with very little money.
- Goods actually get cheaper and if you have looked after your pennies and have some savings, now is the time to make big purchases. But go for quality rather than quantity.
- It forces you to invite change into your life – a change of job, scenery, change of mind, and heart.
Economically speaking we are about to enter the phase of winter. The time to save, reflect and reorganize.
The ‘Biodynamic lifestyle’ is actually very compatible with this life phase.
- It pushes you to be conscious of the environment and its natural rhythms
- it urges you to produce less waste and recycle whenever possible
- It is a very economically efficient way of life where you rely more on what you can produce instead of what you can consume.
Now that times are getting tougher and the environment is close to breaking point, this way of life makes real sense. So why are we not all living like this?
Producing takes skill and time. Once you take the time to learn the skill again, you will get faster and better and you will just love making your own homemade products. There is nothing nicer than bringing your homemade jam or chutney to friends. It is a thoughtful and useful present. As food prices rise you want to use up any bought food. Here are a few recipes for you to try
Ingredients: 300g carrots, 400g apples, 300g onions, 200g tomatoes, 2 red peppers, 400g red wine vinegar or apple vinegar, 2 tbsp (tablespoon) sultanas, 1 tsp (teaspoon) salt, 1 tsp pepper, ½ tsp of cinnamon powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper, 500g jam sugar.
1) Wash fruit and vegetables, chop, peel, deseed and dice them into small pieces and put all ingredients into a large, very clean pan. Bring to boil and cook gently for about 1 hour, stirring regularly. When vegetables have the desired consistency, pour the hot mixture into clean glass jars and seal immediately with cling film. Leave to cool. The chutneys last for a couple of months unopened.
Ingredients: 1kg strawberries, 1kg jam sugar, 1 small unwaxed lemon, a small pinch of pepper
Wash strawberries remove stalks and cut them into small pieces. Rinse lemon and grate the rind finely. Put the strawberries, grated rind, pepper, and sugar in a clean pot and boil for about 4-5 minutes. Pour straightaway into clean (wash out with boiling water) jars, cover with cling film and tightly close the lids. Makes around 8-9 jars, depending on size. The best time to do this is of course in June but you can use this recipe for similar fruit jams, for example, plum jam – but I would substitute the pepper with a pinch of cinnamon.
Home-made cleaning products:
Living in a biodynamic home and garden, you will be surrounded by more diversity than most other gardens that use pesticides. The upshot is that you will attract lots of wildlife into your garden. In our garden – in the middle of London- we have earthworms, butterflies, spiders, cats, bees, many bird species, squirrels and even foxes can be seen on a daily basis. But sometimes all these lovely creatures can become a bit much – especially when you have moths invading your clothes cupboards and eating your most loved garments. It can be a dilemma if you don’t want to use pesticides. So here is a recipe for my own super-effective and totally organic moth deterrent. And as a bonus it makes the carpet and furniture look great, too.
Here is my home-made recipe that protects your clothes from moth or other insect infestation:
Get a large empty spray bottle (the ones you would mist your flowers with) and fill it with a mixture of 2/4 washing-up liquid (I use a lavender-infused liquid soap – you can dilute it slightly with some water), 1/4 99% IPA (alcohol) and 1/4 of white vinegar. Shake it well and mist it on your furniture, carpets, and even clothes. I also use this mixture on garden plants that have infestations like aphids.
Don’t throw food away before you do this:
Here is one of my favorite tips to rehydrate vegetables and salads that have gone a bit limp. Fill a bowl of cold water and add a small capful of white vinegar (in fact any vinegar will do, but go for a cheap one here as the results are the same). Chop your salad, and vegetables up and immerse them in the water. Leave them in the bowl for around 30 minutes and you will have crisp, ready-to-eat salads and vegetables on your plate.
These are just a few examples of the many ways you can save and help the environment. Initially, it does take a bit of effort and experimenting. But over time these recipes are quick to make and once you get used to the taste of homemade produce there is no going back!
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