Behind the Scenes: KIWI

I caught up with my friend Lindy last week to talk about her kiwi vines. Those things are pretty awesome, let me tell you. To think that her mammoth twining vines started out as tiny little plants is amazing, particularly since being near them feels like standing in a copse of kudzu.

Beyond my local grocer, I didn’t know anything about kiwi until I talked to Lindy. Then I did some research. Healthline said that kiwi:

  • can help treat asthma;
  • aids digestion;
  • boosts the immune system;
  • reduces the risk of other health conditions;
  • helps manage blood pressure;
  • reduces blood clotting; and
  • protects against vision loss.

And Good Housekeeping adds to that list of benefits by sharing that kiwi may:

  • promote healthy skin and hair;
  • support immunity;
  • promote good digestion;
  • support healthy weight loss;
  • slow aging and help prevent chronic diseases; and
  • benefit moms and babies.

So whatever reason you choose to eat kiwi—whether it’s one of the points above or simply that you love the taste of it—get some kiwi the next time you see it at the store. Here’s hoping she’ll share one or two at book club next month!

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Behind the Scenes: PEACHES!

If you saw this week’s column in the Chatham News & Record, you’ll understand why I put PEACHES! in all caps, with an explanation mark. Because PEACHES!

According to the Chatham County branch of the NC Cooperative Extension, “North Carolina’s climate and soils are well suited to grow many types of fruit trees.” There’s no shortage of full sun and slightly acidic soil in Chatham County, so it’s the perfect spot for peaches. We’ve been getting delicious peaches from the Pittsboro Farmers Market on Thursdays, and by the time we’re down to our last two in our household of three, we’ve got a Fight Club situation. 

But I caught up with Donna and Bill Moldovan of Pittsboro who have a small but enviable personal fruit tree grove. they’ve got seven varieties of peaches, along with nectarines, apples, plums, and apricots. I think if we had the same grove, I’d lay in the middle of it all summer and wait for fruit to just drop in my mouth. And die fat, dumb and happy. And full of fruit.

Shape Magazine had a great article this week on the health benefits of peaches. It said that peaches are low-calorie, a quick and easy source of fiber, have Vitamin C, help manage blood pressure, and contribute to healthy vision. So get out there and find some peaches. If you don’t have your own trees, or friends to share with you, check out the farmers markets and pick-your-own places along the Hwy 64 corridor. They’re not only tasty, they’re good for you!

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Blueberries

Our son and I could both eat our weights in blueberries. Last spring I added a blueberry bush to our Victory Garden, and last summer we got, maybe, eight blueberries. I didn’t even bring them inside to share; I just ate them right there in the rows. Guilt-free.

This summer, however, we’ve already pulled off about three dozen, and there’s as many still ripening. Maybe next summer we’ll have a whole pint that comes off at one time, that we can use to make blueberry muffins. Who knows!

Fig Jam

As it turns out, we don’t have to plant any fig trees because two sets of great friends within a mile have them, and both are willing to share. Winning!

Earlier this month, R&D gave us a 2 lb baggie of frozen figs they picked in fall 2019. I brought them home, thawed them in the fridge overnight, and made jam the next day. If you were here with us, I would fight you for it. It’s that good. Our son likes it with a pat of salted butter on homemade bread; my husband likes it spread liberally on a ham biscuit. Me? I could just eat it by the spoonful.

  • 2 pounds figs – washed, stemmed and cut in half (it’s about 4 cups)
  •  1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  •  1/4 cup water
  •  1/4 cup lemon juice
  •  Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves, then reduce heat and let simmer about half an hour. Stir regularly, and you’ll know it’s done when the liquid is thick and sticks to the spoon. You can leave the figs in big half-size chunks, or put it in a blender/cuisinart and buzz it until it’s smoother. It’ll last for up to two months in the fridge.