We are officially halfway through the challenge! Well done to everyone who is doing this along with us 🙂
It has been an interesting week because on one end it has become much easier to prepare fully local meals -but at the same time, we have run into some challenges.
This week, we wanted to try and get a bit more creative with our cooking. Not just utilizing our local produce, but trying to make local alternatives for some of our favourite recipes! One of our favourite creations this week was local pesto 🙂 We just added a load of basil, garlic, olive oil, I would suggest lemons if you have them – then to replaces the parmesan we added gbejna (a local cheese), and to replace the pine nuts we used pumpkin seeds! It was just as nice as the traditional way – and we were able to use ingredients that we have an abundance of already in the country!
When it Feels Like Normal
When it came to preparing meals, it started to feel much more automatic on what to throw together – and not overthinking how to create something both balanced in nutritional content and in being local. By this week, our fridge and cupboards are fully loaded with local food! When your fridge and cupboards are filled with local ingredients, there is no thinking about it anymore, when you can just grab what you have and make a delicious and nutritious meal – without the option of non-local ingredients – it becomes much simpler.
A component we didn’t think about beforehand, was the matter of keeping our kombucha alive! Kombucha is a fermented tea that thrives off of black tea and sugar – which of course, are not local. However, this is a living thing, so in order to continue to brew it, we need to make a new brew every 7-10 and keep feeding and fermenting. The first batch, we had left in the fridge and had decided that we will keep it there until the challenge is over to enjoy. Very quickly though, our fridge is bursting with kombucha, and we are running out of space and bottles for all the kombucha we are brewing! We don’t want to stop brewing kombucha, as it is greatly nutritious and a great energy booster without caffeine (the bacteria eats the caffeine and sugar content you are feeding it). Therefore, we have decided to enjoy some kombucha here and there during the month to lessen the burden on our fridge (we make it ourselves, and flavor it with local fruits and herbs though!), keep our kombucha alive and thriving, and are giving it away in the meantime to friends, family, and colleagues. – sorry guys, but our kombucha I guess is our little cheat!
As you may know – a major component with Biome Munch is the healthy baking that is done without refined sugars – this is to take care of a very important Biome of your own – your gut microbiome! However, baking is incredibly difficult to source 100% locally. This is actually a major reason why we were drawn to do this challenge. When sourcing ingredients, it is nearly impossible to get them not in plastic, even when purchased at wholesale, they always come from abroad in a big plastic bag. After months of trying to find another means, we came to the conclusion the only way to completely avoid plastic is through sourcing things locally. This month, a new menu was created to center around local and seasonal produce, such as pumpkin, pomegranate, olive oil, and carob. It is not fully local yet, but we are making it a priority moving forward to shift over ingredients one at a time to find local solutions. (confession: there may have been some non-local nibbles as I had to test the new recipes being created for the autumn menu)… but one-day Biome Munch baking will be 100% and this will no longer be an issue! But this takes time – so in the meantime, some ingredients will be imported, but always highlighting local ingredients 🙂
Sharing is Caring
In order to have variety in what you are eating, and not get bored with the same couple of vegetables, herbs, with a side of potatoes, it is important to connect with various growers around you! If you have something you can share with them in return – event better! Even if you just have a lemon tree and some herbs growing, you can exchange some extra with someone who may be growing peppers and onions – then everyone wins with some more variety in their cooking! Ask around what your local farmers, and even your friends – what are they growing on their balconies? How can you help each other out? or, join a community garden, such as with Friends of the Earth!
How are you finding it now at the half-way point? Is it becoming a habit to go local?