In the bag

News

Plastic-free storage ideas

Ditch plastic forever with our great range of reusable eco-friendly storage containers.

Co-op member, Jane Stephens, shared this pic of her delicious banana bread in a 4 my Earth bread bag. “With the zip closure it’s easy for my young kids to help themselves to a slice and the bag keeps the banana bread perfectly fresh. “

We’ve got loads of fabric produce bags in store and a selection of sandwich and food wraps, pockets, and fitted covers.

Plus, there are beeswax wraps in differing sizes and The Swag – great for storing fresh fruit and vegetables in your crisper.

Too cool for school
17th January, 2019

Delicious lunchbox ideas
Back to school and work needn’t mean boring sandwiches. Check out these yummy lunch ideas from Danielle O’Donoghue.

Wraps

In the heat of summer large amounts of bread becomes less attractive. These 3 wrap ideas make lighter alternatives to hold tasty nutritious fillings. They are all gluten-free and some even grain free altogether.

Lettuce Leaf Wraps

Using the leaves of lettuce, Ice berg or Cos work well, makes a great alternative to bread for wrapping up tasty ingredients.

Protein Wraps

INGREDIENTS:

4 eggs

20g sesame seeds ground fine

20g sunflower seeds ground fine

lg pinch sea salt

¼ tsp sumac

60g tapioca flour

6 tsp coconut oil or ghee

METHOD:

Whisk all the ingredients except the fat together in a large bowl, adding 2 Tblsp of water.

In a medium size non-stick (a well seasoned cast iron one is my favourite) pan, heat 1 tsp of oil or ghee, tip the pan to coat the frying surface.

Pour in ¼ cup of the batter and tilt the pan around to spread the batter evenly over the surface.

Cook over medium heat for till lightly golden on the underside, about 1-2 mins.

Flip and cook on the other side till it looks the same, around 30 seconds.

Remove from pan and set aside.

Repeat with the remaining batter and fat.

Sourdough Buckwheat Wraps

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups buckwheat flour

2 L luke warm water

(Acidic medium of choice 1 tsp lemon juice, applecider vinegar, or  Tblsp whey)

2 eggs

pinch salt

1/4 -3/4 cup extra water as needed

coconut oil  or ghee for cooking

METHOD:

Culturing your buckwheat flour

Soak the 2 cups of buckwheat flour in a glass or ceramic bowl with the luke warm water and acid medium. Give the flour a good whisk to make sure you break up any lumps. This also exposes the mixture to airborne yeasts. It should be a very runny and smooth batter. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to sit overnight or 5-6 hours in a warm place.

After fermenting/culturing the flour will have settled to the bottom of the bowl, pour off the dirty viscous water, using a spoon for the last bit so you don’t loose your batter down the sink! This process neutralizes the anti-nutrients in the flour.

Making the crepe batter

Add the eggs, maple, vanilla and salt and whisk into a smooth pourable batter. Add extra water as necessary to achieve desired consistency. Don’t be afraid to make it quite runny.

Transfer the batter to a pouring jug.

Heat a small amount of coconut oil in a well seasoned cast iron or non stick pan. Often the first crepe doesn’t work – it’s called “one for the pan” after that the pan should be ready to make delicious crepes.

Pour about half a cup of batter into the heated pan.

Swirl the pan to spread the batter.

Once bubbly and becoming solid on the top side, flip your crepe, and cook the other side.

A couple of minutes each side is plenty.

Filling Ideas

Hummous, Pesto, Tahini sauce, Avocado, Tomato, Grated or finely sliced carrot, red onion finely sliced, Capsicum finely sliced, Toasted seeds, Baby spinach, Rocket, Pitted olives, Salmon or tuna, Chicken, Cheese, Sprouts, Hard boiled egg, Lettuce.

 

Grow your own
17th January, 2019

Get set for barrow loads of inspiration on the 2019 Blue Mountains Edible Garden Trail.

It’s only a few weeks until the Edible Garden Trail 2019 kicks off across the mountains.

Over 45 gardens including back and front yards, commercial, community and school gardens will be open to the pubic to showcase the various ways we are growing food, resilience and community.

It’s a great chance to get inspired to start your own vegie patch, learn new tricks and tips, and share advice with fellow green thumbs.

Check out our website instagram and facebook page for all the information and purchase your tickets online.

Environment news

Get behind the Colong Foundation’s fight to save the wild rivers of the Blue Mountains National Park.

Give a Dam is the grassroots community campaign to stop the destruction of the Blue Mountains National Park and the over development in western Sydney from the raising of Warragamba Dam wall.

According to the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, “raising the Warragamba Dam wall is a developer-driven proposal that will make it easier to build on flood-prone land in western Sydney – against the wishes of local communities.

“Raising the dam wall would also destroy 65 kilometres of wilderness rivers and inundate 4,700 hectares of the world heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park.”

If you’d like to get involved you can attend a campaign event or volunteer training day. A special screening of a documentary made by the Colong Foundation will be held on February 16 at The Springwood Hub and February 19 at Mt Vic Flicks.

For more information go to giveadam.org.au. And don’t forget you can talk about the wild rivers campaign over a coffee with Greg Davis from Wilderness Coffee Project at the Co-op most Saturday mornings.

Brew a Batch review
17th January, 2019

Brew your own
Home brew just got a little easier with the release of Brew a Batch by Christopher Sidwa writes Maddison Pitt.

If you’re just starting to brew or want to move past the supermarket kits, Christopher Sidwa provides a very handy 101 in his book ‘Brew a Batch’.
The book starts out by explaining different beer styles, the raw ingredients that make beer and what you’ll need to brew your own batch. Christopher reminds us to keep it simple and local when it comes to home brewing.

Before you invest in expensive gear, I recommend borrowing what you can from friends or buying second hand, such as a bottle capper and reusing old glass beer bottles instead of buying new ones.

Christopher also suggests making your own fermentation bucket out of a re-purposed
plastic bucket with a lid. Don’t forget to thoroughly sanitise everything that will come into contact with your soon to be beer!

Before you start making the wort, read the instructions thoroughly so you have an idea as to what’s about to happen. Keep your ‘Brew A Batch’ book at the ready and follow through the easy to read step-by-step instructions and check in with the pictures provided. Allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy this brewing process.

A handy tip from the book; ’Magic Trick #4 – after enjoying your home brew, rinse your bottle out with water to remove the sediment, making them easier to sanitise for your next brew.’

An easy and informative read for the DIY beer enthusiast.

If you’re interested in starting your own brew, Hop and Grain Brew Store in Marrickville provide great starter kits and a wide array of hops, yeast, malts and other grains to experiment with.

Get ready to pop a frothy of your own in a few weeks time!

Brew a Batch is published by Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.

Back to school (and work)
Gear up with all the latest food and beverage storage containers in store now.

Eco kids

Send them back to school with all the non-plastic eco-lunchbox essentials. We’ve got a large selection of Keep Leaf and 4 My Earth reusable sandwich and food wraps in various sizes. A huge range of Cheeki stainless steel water bottles and lunch boxes. More food storage containers from Ever Eco, U-Konserve and Green Essentials including square and rectangular divided lunchboxes, bento and tiffin-style rectangular and round lunchboxes and stackable, nesting, mini and small round snack boxes. For thirsty kids there’s Earthlust, Klean Kanteen and Kid Kanteen water bottles and stylish and practical Ever Eco and Cheeki insulated smoothie tumblers and straws. In soft lunch bags we have 4 My Earth, U-Konserve and Keep Leaf insulated bags and totes and reusable bamboo cutlery by Ever Eco, U-Konserve and Rechusable.

And who said kids get to have all the fun. Our Commuter Pack will have you travelling in eco-friendly style on that long trek to the city for work or uni. Keep calm and caffeinated with the original glass Keep Cups, insulated stainless steel beverage cups and smoothie tumblers plus choose from the grown up range of lunch boxes, water bottles and lunch totes.

Shelf talk

Good news for the New Year is that we have secured a good quantity of Jasmine, Brown Basmati and White Basmati Rice which have been out of stock for a while.

Unfortunately, there’s no prospect of the Gluten Free staple Hulled Millet. Apparently following crop failures Australian farmers have not replanted this crop, likewise Puffed Millet is also currently unavailable.

Look out for some Paleo wraps from Ancient Harvest and Paleo breads from Venerdi. We’ve tried some samples and they certainly are tasty.

Also if you can’t see what you want please ask one our or friendly staff members. And although you may not necessarily see me in the shop I work Monday to Thursday and I’m always happy to help you with your enquiries.

Mike Patterson, Stock Coordinator

Fresh as

There’s lots of fabulous summer fruit and vegies coming in now!

Fruit – a variety of gorgeous berries available this week – we have blackberries, blueberries and strawberries in stock. Lots of exceptionally good cherries from Tasmania coming in too, and Farmer Hayden’s giant peaches from South Australia have been the yummiest peaches we’ve ever had. We also now have red (Flame) and white (Menindee) seedless grapes coming in.

Vegies – gorgeous multi-coloured carrots (orange, yellow, purple) available again and multiple varieties of eggplant (round, snow white and Angelina varieties).

Local fruit & veg supply is often intermittent but we had a large number of local cucumbers and zucchini coming in. Michael Hurst has been bringing in beautiful lettuce heads, but with this heat wave they probably won’t last long.

Sonya Byron, Fruit & Veg Coordinator

Reducing food waste
21st November, 2018

Dietician and mindfulness practitioner, Sallyanne Pisk, shares her tips for reducing food waste.

Eight per cent of the greenhouse gases produced internationally come from food waste. This is why reducing waste is so important. It also means that if we stopped wasting food there would be enough food to feed everyone.

Tips to reduce food related waste

Food containers

  • Use your own reusable non-plastic water bottle.This is good for the environment and your health.
  • Use your own reusable non-plastic coffee/tea mug.
  • Use your own containers. These can be used for unpackaged meat, poultry, seafood and deli items.
  • Try alternative food wraps such as silicon zip lock bags and muslin coated wax wraps.
  • Store larger quantities of food in glass or stainless-steel storage containers.
  • Recycled glass jars can be used for smaller food items such as ½ onion, tomato or lemon.
  • When storing a cut avocado, retain the peel to cover the cut section of the fruit. Then store the avocado inside an airtight container.

Shopping

  • Plan your meals for the week.
  • Buy only the quantities of perishable foods that you need for the week, based on your meal plan.
  • Make a shopping list as something in your refrigerator, freezer or pantry runs out. And only buy what is on the list!
  • Look for firm fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • In season local food is fresher and will keep longer.
  • Shop at a food co-operative or local market where food is fresh, mostly local and free of packaging.

To read the rest of this article and more great tips and advice from Sallyanne go to her blog here and catch up with Sallyanne in store on Wellness Wednesdays.

 

The 12 Herbs of Christmas workshop

Learn how to make your own herbal remedies in this hands-on workshop conducted by Herbalist and Educator, Nick Read, and the Co-op’s student Naturopath, Sonya Byron.

Teas, tinctures, tissanes, tonics and topical preparations are covered in this insightful and entertaining workshop featuring the 12 herbs of Christmas: Calendula, Chamomile, Echinacea, Elderberry, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Licorice, Marshmallow, Peppermint, Thyme plus a bonus number 13: Yarrow!

Our last herbal workshop sold out quickly so don’t delay, book today.

When: Sunday 9th December, 2-4pm

Where: Blue Mountains Food Co-op

How much: $30

Workshop fee includes refreshments, all ingredients and take home samples.

To book click here.

Workshop facilitators

Nick Read – Herbalist and Educator

My personal belief systems have forged my herbal practice into a fusion and synergy of ‘old meets new’. I have a strong interest in combining the traditional and spiritual use of herbs with the more recent evidence based research methods. I thoroughly enjoy educating and empowering people in the practical and functional use of herbs. Medicines and preparations that can be easily sourced and utilised for themselves and their families health and wellbeing. After having my own practice I gravitated towards education, having worked at Flordis as a product educator and then teaching Herbal Medicine Manufacturing and Botany based subjects at a tertiary level. My qualifications include: Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine, Bachelor of Health Science.

Sonya Byron – Naturopathy student

Sonya is a final year naturopathy student at the Australasian College of Natural Therapies in Sydney. As the owner/operator of an organic farm for several years, she developed a passion for growing and using herbs in her daily life. She strongly believes that herbal medicine is the people’s medicine, and loves to empower people with the knowledge and skills to make their own simple herbal preparations for the benefit of their own and their family’s health and wellbeing.

Wild weeds wrap

A group of 25 enthusiastic foragers joined The Weedy One himself, Mr Diego Bonetto, for a walk on the wild side at the Katoomba Community Gardens on Saturday November 10.

Accompanied by Blue Mountains Food Co-op Manager, Halin Nieuwenhuyse, the eager weed hunters identified a plethora of edible and medicinal plants including the following:

Chickweed> food + medicine Stellaria media

Cleavers> food + medicine Galium_aparine

Dandelion> food + medicine  Taraxacum officinale 

Dock> food Rumex_crispus

Farmer’s friend> food + medicine Bidens_pilosa

Flatweed>  food Hypochaeris spp 

Fleabane> insect repellant Conyza canadensis 

Native geranium> bush medicine https://www.anbg.gov.au/apu/plants/gerasola.html

Plantain> medicine Plantago lanceolata

Purple top> flower Verbena_bonariensisPrickly lettuce> food + medicine Lactuca_serriola

Scotch thistle/perennial thistle> food cirsium-vulgare

Sowthistle> food Sowthistle -Sonchus spp

White clover> food Trifolium_repens

Wild brasssica> food Brassica Spp.

This image shows the edible and medicinal weeds the group found and identified.

For information on Diego’s workshops click here and stay tuned for an autumn 2019 foraging expedition hosted by the Co-op.

Diego’s Resources

A good link for edible plants is Plant for a future

The link to the mapping system we are creating is wildfood.in

The link to the local stories by Aunty Fran is here>https://dharawalstories.com/

Two good books:

 

 

10 minutes with…The Herbiary creators
21st November, 2018

We are lucky to have some talented staff on the team at the Co-op. Relief worker and herbalist Maddison Pitt, who started in May this year, recently launched a range of herbal skin and body care products with her partner Del Woodland under the label The Herbiary. We asked Maddison to tell us a little bit about herself and the brand.

Q: What is your background and how did you come to be working at the Co-op?

A: I wanted to be a part of the Co-op as soon as I started to shop there. My background is in retail, most recently working in a community pharmacy. My partner and I joined the Co-op a few years ago and loved the ethos and focus on low environmental impact, supporting local growers and makers whilst providing needed resources for the community. After graduating from Western Herbal Medicine at the end of 2017 I wanted a workplace that was like-minded and was lucky enough to secure a position at the Co-op.

Q: What got you interested in herbalism?

A: I started to question the way we ‘do’ health. Complimentary medicine focuses on people as a whole being, an approach that resonated with me. The philosophy of herbal medicine, encompassing our physical, spiritual, and emotional health led me to study Western Herbal Medicine. I wanted to know what it meant to be a healthy and ‘well’ being.

I was particularly drawn to herbal medicine because of the connection to nature through herbs, plants, and natural materials. It was amazing to think a plant in my backyard may have the ability to heal if prepared in a certain way. The idea of making your own medicine, understanding the process of medicinal manufacturing, and using your hands to heal fascinated me.

Q: What is the ethos behind The Herbiary?

A: We wanted to take a holistic approach to our product range. To us this meant utilising the innate healing ability of herbs while operating kindly. We are committed to treading lightly, our packaging is plastic free, recycled or recyclable. Our ingredients are fairly traded, organic, animal cruelty free and vegan. Kind to your skin, the earth, people and animals.

Q: What products do you make?

A: Our herbal bath salts are currently in store at the Big Little Shop, they are magnesium and herb rich to soothe tired muscles and minds, while nourishing the skin. Our gentle exfoliating body scrubs will be available very soon along with our moisturising ‘mylk’ bath which is suitable for folks of all ages.

Q: What other services do you offer?

A: I also offer herbal medicine consultations where I can formulate personalised herbal preparations. Both Del and I have lots of projects on the go and even more ideas for 2019. You can follow our socials or head to our website to see more!

@the.herbiary

theherbiary.com.au

Suggestion box
21st November, 2018

Your say

We value your comments and suggestions. Here are a few recent ideas.

We’ve had quite a few comments coming through the suggestion box recently. From requests for millet flakes and Tulsi tea – we’re looking into these – to support and condemnation for selling meat at the Co-op.

We value all your feedback so please keep it coming in a respectful manner, and if you’d like to email us hello@bmfoodcoop.org.au

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