Sauerkraut and Sourdough

If you’ve read my previous post on the topic, you’ll know that I am currently in the process of making my first batch of sauerkraut. It’s going pretty well so far, I ended up adding some red cabbage I had in the cupboard and I’m yet to have any exploding jars, mould or overly odd smells. I’m going to give it a few more days before tasting.

Next to the sauerkraut jar on my kitchen worktop is my sourdough starter. I love baking bread and I especially love the taste of sourdough. It has taken a few months of experimenting to get the consistency and level of yeasty-ness right and it is still a little bit unpredictable, but I love the taste it gives my bread. I also love not having to use those single use foil packets of yeast, which produce so much waste!

I hope the sauerkraut has worked, I’ll let you know when I have tasted it!

 

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How to grow chickpeas

Indoor gardening is often limited to herbs, leafy greens and the odd tomato. However I see no reason why a small quantity of more substantial crops cannot be produced. For me this year, these are Chickpeas and Peas. I have chosen to grow my chickpeas from dried beans bought from my local supermarket. This is a slightly riskier strategy as I cannot be 100% sure of the variety or how they will grow. However the upside is that I bought a 1kg bag for a few pounds and the five chickpeas used for growing have cost me literally pennies. Chickpeas are also a convenient bush type plant as oppose to a vine and therefore are more suited to small spaces. I will be using rigorous pruning to keep my plants small and manageable.

To plant chickpeas –

  1. Soak dried (not canned or cooked) chickpeas in clean water over night.
  2. Drain and pat dry.
  3. Place into a pot filled with compost or good soil.
  4. Cover with a layer of compost/soil about 1cm deep.
  5. Water.
  6. Shoots should appear after 7-10 days. The young shoots are edible and very tasty if you wanted to eat them now!

 

If you can’t find dried chickpeas, you can by them online here

 

 

 

 

(This post has an affiliate link. If you click on this link and purchase an item, I get a small payment. It doesn’t cost you any extra but it helps me keep my blog running! I only link to items I use or have used and that are relevant to the post.)

 

 

Gardening and Anxiety.

Not unlike many postgraduate students in their early 20’s, I have anxiety and it is something that I take daily medication for. As much as my medication is helpful, it is also important that I make sure every aspect of my life is conducive to positive mental health. I meditate, practice mindfulness and have lots of hobbies that help me relax and maintain a good frame of mind. These include baking, knitting, reading and of course, gardening.

Gardening is something that for me (and of course, everyone is different) has been hugely useful in managing my negative thoughts. The initial act of planting a seed, followed by watering, re-planting an harvesting are slow and purposeful acts which I personally find deeply meditative. They help me to slow my mind down and process my thoughts better.

Once the seeds start to grow into seedling I find there is a great sense of pride and achievement. A whole new little life has been created all because of you and your actions. Not only that but this little living being is relying on you to provide it with water, sunlight and nutrients. Every time my mind is dwelling on all the things I ‘can’t’ do and all the reasons I’m a ‘rubbish’ person, I can look at my beautiful, thriving plants and remember that I can do things, and I am able to contribute to the world.

Once my plants have matured and started to produce edible fruits, vegetables and salads, then they will contribute to my maintaining a healthy diet which is so important for all aspects of health!

Gardening will not have the same mental health benefits to everyone, but it’s something that works for me and I know I couldn’t imagine life without my windowsills being my own tiny little gardens ever again!