Aley Chubeza #294, June 20th-22th 2016

Treasure Box – a FreeCycle Market at the Bookstop

Jerusalemites, the Bookstop at Mekor Haim/Gonenim is hosting a monthly FreeCycle market, every third Tuesday of the month, between 7-9 pm. If you’re not yet acquainted with the Bookstop, it’s a great initiative of a library open to all. The city’s two Bookstops, both on the Messila Park, are located on Massaryk and in Mekor Haim. The Bookstops are open to donate books and/or to take home whatever book you please. At the monthly FreeCycle market, it’s time to trade and recycle not only books, but good quality household items, used clothing, and more. For further details call Juda at 052-5587769.

_____________________________________

watermelon houseThere was once a woman, let’s call her Helen
Who made her home in a watermelon
She brought in two stools, a chair and a broom, 
Carved out a window and a living room, 
Bought a cat to catch mice which she named Grover
But all of a sudden… the season was over…

(Nurit Zarchi. Translated by Aliza Raz)

I have a sneaking suspicion that this woman living in the watermelon is actually residing in Chubeza, though it’s hard to imagine her fitting all of her belongings into our small fruits. Yet, the feeling of the watermelon season ending so abruptly is too familiar to me. It really is a short season–approximately a month– so before it ends, we wanted you to know a few facts about the wonderful watermelon. This week’s Newsletter is green and red all over…

The watermelon requires a great deal of heat, a throwback to its origins in South Africa and the Kalahari Desert. In the desert, the watermelon, which contains over 90% water, was an important and vital source of liquid to man and wild animals. The difficulty in choosing a good watermelon is an old story. In its wild form, the sweet watermelon is identical on the outside to a bitter watermelon, which is why the thirsty passerby would punch a hole in the watermelon rind to check its taste.

From South Africa, the watermelon spread to all of Africa, and was cultivated in Egypt over 4,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians drew depictions of watermelons to decorate sarcophagi and cave walls, and they would leave a watermelon near the dead to nourish them on their journey to the New World. The Hebrews knew it from Egypt, reminiscing, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons…”

From North Africa, the watermelon entered the Middle East where it grew well and was even mentioned in the Mishna. It arrived in China in the 10th century, and today China is the champion watermelon grower, followed closely by Turkey and Iran. In the 13th century, the Moors brought it with them to Europe, along with other plants they met in Africa and Asia. The watermelon arrived in America with the black slaves, as well as the settlers arriving from Europe.

Chubeza’s love affair with watermelons started with naiveté, pretentiousness, and… failure. During my last year in California, just before I established Chubeza, I raised red, orange and yellow watermelons (these are the colors inside) in a farm owned by Joe Perry, my mentor. We had nice success with the yields, and I was under the impression that growing watermelon would be simple, so I added watermelon to our crop list. The first year, the watermelons simply did not grow, and we only picked a few dozen from our fancy beds. Fortunately, back in 2004, our entire clientele also numbered a few dozen, so they received the watermelons as planned (which, admittedly, weren’t too sweet). One of the main reasons for this failure was the timing. I seeded watermelons like we did in California, at the end of spring. Yet springtime in Israel is fraught with viruses and disease, particularly among the cucurbit family to which our watermelon friend belongs.

After taking a hiatus of several years, gaining experience with cucurbits and their viruses, we made a second watermelon attempt six years ago. This time we seeded earlier and harvested a larger yield. A year later we did even better, and four years ago we dared to plant seedless watermelon plants. This sort of watermelon-growing is more complex than raising a standard seed-filled watermelon, for we are essentially trying to fight nature. The mission of every fruit and vegetable is to reproduce and generate offspring (seeds). Man, meanwhile, is bent on getting rid of the seeds, and not by spitting them out: human beings had grown weary of seeded fruits and set out to develop seedless varieties. Actually, a seedless watermelon does contain some tiny seeds, however most are transparent as well as infertile. You must admit this is strange, to try to develop a fruit which cannot produce seeds or offspring. On one hand, a vast scientific effort is being placed upon refining and improving human fertilization via IVF, freezing embryos and sperm, surrogates, etc., while simultaneously we are encouraging sterility for the fruits.

So how do these “seedless” watermelons work? Regular watermelon seeds are diploid seeds, i.e., containing two sets of X chromosomes. Those used in order to produce seedless watermelons are tetraploid, possessing four sets of X chromosomes. Seedless watermelon seeds have a harder than average shell, which is why it is more difficult to grow the melons from seeds. In most cases, they are planted as transplants that were started in the nursery under controlled conditions. The tetraploid seeds sprout and become plants that will generate leaves and flowers but no fruit, unless they’re fertilized from flowers of a regular seeded watermelon. Therefore, you must plant one plant of regular watermelons for every three to four plants of seedless ones. During pollination, each seed contributes half of its chromosomes: 1+2, resulting in a fruit whose seeds are tetraploid, possessing three sets of chromosomes. This number disrupts the seed’s ability to reproduce, and ultimately sterilizes it. Thus we receive a fruit which is juicy and sturdier than its seeded friends, but it evolved from the “virgin propagation” of an unfertilized cell. It’s called “a Parthenocarpic fruit,” in essence, the mule of the botanical world.…

Watermelons are also loved by animals and, of course, birds. Over the past several years that we’ve returned to growing watermelons, we’ve sacrificed a goodly amount to the sweet-tooth beaks of blackbirds and the teeth of marauding jackals. We protect our fruits with a vengeance, otherwise, we find them looking like this:

Which is when we cover the bed with a bird’s net preventing the blackbirds from feasting on this red, juicy delight.

As with the melons, this year, we have an additional competitor, or rather, a lot of them, from six feet under. The field mice have discovered the treasure, nibbled little holes in some of our melons and watermelons and gobbled away their sweet insides. This is a new problem for us, which we’d avoided till now. Perhaps in the past, the birds of prey scared them away, but something went awry this year. For some reason, the birds of prey are not eating enough mice to prevent them from reaching our melons.

I wrote about this two weeks ago. Fortunately, there is an ecological solution to this problem: mustering the barn owl for reinforcement. The barn owl is a night prey that feeds on rodents. In one night, it can gobble up 10 rodents, and a pair of barn owls can eat between 2,000-6,000 rodents a year. They love having offspring. A barn owl couple raises up to 13 chicks, and together, the big happy hungry family can definitely clean our field of mice and rats. In order for them to come live with us, we need to offer a solution for their living conditions and build Mrs. Owl a nesting crate, and… well, that’s it. By building these nesting crates, we tempt the young couples to the field. They’ve got lots to eat here, and we hope that next year (maybe even this year) we will no longer encounter the rodent problem. Read more about the barn owl as a biological form of pest control and how they cooperate with farmers in Israel here.

Watermelon is a healing fruit. Its large water content cleanses the body, making watermelon juice highly recommended for those suffering from bladder and liver deficiencies. It is also beneficial for cleansing the kidneys. Watermelon even helps to clean the body of cigarette smoke- -highly recommended for active and passive smokers.

Traditional Yemenite folk cures use watermelon seeds to rid bad breath and stains from the teeth and mouth. Crush the seeds well, immerse them in water, and then strain for a super mouthwash. In Iraq, the watermelon rind is used to treat fungal infections. Lybian Jews are known to rub their skin with watermelon rind to lighten age spots. Watermelon contains vitamin A in the form of Carotenoid, vitamin C, and vitamins from the B group as well (B1 and B2). It is low in nitrogen and high in potassium.

Further information about the nutritional and therapeutic virtues of our round, red, delicious friend can be found here (Hebrew).

Now, here’s how to select a ripe, sweet watermelon:

–       We pick the watermelon at its ripest, when the tendril near the stem dries up. But when choosing a watermelon at the stand, see if you can determine whether the stem is a little dry, indicating that the watermelon wasn’t picked while green.

–       The part that comes in contact with the ground changes its color to yellow, so you should look for a yellow spot on one of the watermelon sides.

–       And the most mysterious signal of all: if you tap on the fruit, you will hear a dim sound reverberating back to you.

How to store a watermelon:

The best temperature to store a watermelon is 12° C, but at room temperature (23°) the watermelon can be kept for a week to 10 days. A watermelon left out at room temperature for too long will lose its taste and change its texture.

It is not recommended to freeze a watermelon or store it in the cooler compartments of your fridge. Overexposure to cold can cause frostbite, taking a toll on the watermelon’s taste and making the inside soft and powdery. To store it after opening, wrap in plastic wrap and store at a temperature of 3-4°.

And once you have that excellent watermelon, slice it, add mint and feta cheese, and sit back and enjoy this spectacular summer treat, while reading a collection of surprising, interesting and humorous facts about watermelons (Hebrew)

Our best wishes to high school students who embarked on summer vacation this week. May we all enjoy a “watermelon” vacation: sweet, juicy, and a pleasure to share with friends!

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza team

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

 

Monday: Lettuce, parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers/fakus, zucchini, Amoro squash, watermelon/acorn squash, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, potatoes, yellow/green beans. Small boxes only: garlic.

Large box, in addition: Scallions/onions, slice of pumpkin/corn, coriander/nana mint, eggplant.

Wednesday: Lettuce, parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers/fakus, zucchini, Amoro squash/slice of pumpkin, watermelon/melon, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, potatoes, corn. Small boxes only: garlic.

Large box, in addition: Scallions/onions, yellow/green beans, coriander/nana mint, eggplant.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

 

Aley Chubeza #250, June 30th – July 1st 2015

With the summer fruit season at its bountiful peak, Helaf of Melo HaTene Orchards is offering a special “family size” summer box filled with 4-5 varieties of fresh, delectable organic fruit.  These expanded boxes contain fruit quantities suitable for five.

Helaf grows a wide variety of fruits, including some that are rarely found on the market. Today’s pick of the orchard includes raspberries, mulberries, apricots, apples, avocados, peaches, cherries, papaya, figs, pitanga, passion fruit, and more.

Note that Melo HaTene fruit boxes are available in three sizes: small, large, and family size (extra large). Order them now to be delivered along with your Chubeza vegetable boxes.

Last month, Rachel Talshir wrote in rave praise of Helaf’s special place at Moshav Karmei Yosef, neighbors of Chubeza – just over the hill. Here is a link (Hebrew)\

A sweet and healthy Bon Appetite!

______________________________

There was once a woman, let’s call her Helen
Who made her home in a watermelon
She brought in two stools, a chair and a broom, 
Carved out a window and a living room, 
Bought a cat to catch mice which she named Grover
But all of a sudden… the season was over…

(Nurit Zarchi. Translated by Aliza Raz)

I have a sneaking suspicion that this woman living in the watermelon is actually residing in Chubeza, though it’s hard to imagine her fitting all of her belongings into our small fruits. Yet, the feeling of the watermelon season ending so abruptly is too familiar to me. It really is a short season–approximately a month– so before it ends, we wanted you to know a few facts about the wonderful watermelon. This week’s Newsletter is green and red all over…

The watermelon requires a great deal of heat, a throwback to its origins in South Africa and the Kalahari Desert. In the desert, the watermelon, which contains over 90% water, was an important and vital source of liquid to man and wild animals. The difficulty of choosing a good watermelon is an old story. In its wild form, the sweet watermelon is identical on the outside to a bitter watermelon, which is why the thirsty passerby would punch a hole in the watermelon rind to check its taste.

From South Africa, the watermelon spread to all of Africa, and was cultivated in Egypt over 4,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians drew depictions of watermelons to decorate sarcophagi and cave walls, and they would leave a watermelon near the dead to nourish them on their journey to the New World. The Hebrews knew it from Egypt, reminiscing, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons…”

From North Africa, the watermelon entered the Middle East where it grew well and was even mentioned in the Mishna. It arrived in China in the 10th century, and today China is the champion watermelon grower, followed closely by Turkey and Iran. In the 13th century, the Moors brought it with them to Europe, along with other plants they met in Africa and Asia. The watermelon arrived in America with the black slaves, as well as the settlers arriving from Europe.

Chubeza’s love affair with watermelons started with naiveté, pretentiousness, and… failure. During my last year in California, just before I established Chubeza, I raised red, orange and yellow watermelons (the inside colors) in the farm of Joe Perry, my mentor. We had nice success with the yields, and I was under the impression that growing watermelon would be simple, so I added watermelon to our crop list. The first year, the watermelons simply did not grow, and we only picked a few dozen from our fancy beds. Fortunately, back in 2004, our entire clientele also numbered a few dozen, so they received the watermelons as planned (which, admittedly, weren’t too sweet). One of the main reasons for this failure was the timing. I seeded watermelons like in California, at the end of spring. Yet springtime in Israel is fraught with viruses and disease, particularly among the cucurbit family to which our watermelon friend belongs.

After taking a hiatus of several years, gaining experience with cucurbits and their viruses, we made a second watermelon attempt five years ago. This time we seeded earlier and harvested a larger yield. A year later we did even better, and three years ago we dared to plant seedless watermelon plants. This sort of watermelon-growing is more complex than raising a standard seed-filled watermelon, for we are essentially trying to fight nature. The mission of every fruit and vegetable is to reproduce and generate offspring (seeds). Man, meanwhile, is bent on getting rid of the seeds, and not by spitting them out: human beings had grown weary of seeded fruits and set out to develop seedless varieties. Actually, a seedless watermelon does contain some tiny seeds, however most are transparent as well as infertile. You must admit this is strange, to try to develop a fruit which cannot produce seeds or offspring. On one hand, a vast scientific effort is being placed upon refining and improving human fertilization via IVF, freezing embryos and sperm, surrogates, etc., while simultaneously we are encouraging sterility for the fruits.

So how do these “seedless” watermelons work? Regular watermelon seeds are diploid seeds, i.e., containing two sets of X chromosomes. Those used in order to produce seedless watermelons are tetraploid, possessing four sets of X chromosomes. Seedless watermelon seeds have a harder than average shell, which is why it is more difficult to grow the melons from seeds. In most cases, they are planted as transplants that were started in the nursery under controlled conditions. The tetraploid seeds sprout and become plants that will generate leaves and flowers but no fruit, unless they’re fertilized from flowers of a regular seeded watermelon. Therefore, you must plant one plant of regular watermelons for every three-four plants of seedless ones. During pollination, each seed contributes half of its chromosomes: 1+2, resulting in a fruit whose seeds are tetraploid, possessing three sets of chromosomes. This number disrupts the seed’s ability to reproduce, and ultimately sterilizes it. Thus we receive a fruit which is juicy and sturdier than its seeded friends, but it evolved from the “virgin propagation” of an unfertilized cell. It’s called “a Parthenocarpic fruit,” in essence, the mule of the botanical world.

Watermelons are also loved by animals and, of course, birds. Over the past several years that we’ve returned to growing watermelons, we’ve sacrificed a goodly amount to the sweet-tooth beaks of blackbirds and the teeth of marauding jackals. We protect our fruits with a vengeance, otherwise, we find them looking like this:

Which is when we cover the bed with a bird’s net to allow us to enjoy the wonderful treat of this sweet, red, juicy delight.

Watermelon is a healing fruit. Its large water content cleanses the body, making watermelon juice highly recommended for those suffering from bladder and liver deficiencies. It is also beneficial for cleansing the kidneys. Watermelon even helps to clean the body of cigarette smoke- -highly recommended for active and passive smokers.

Traditional Yemenite folk cures use watermelon seeds to rid bad breath and stains from the teeth and mouth. Crush the seeds well, immerse them in water, and then strain for a super mouthwash. In Iraq, the watermelon rind is used to treat fungal infections. Lybian Jews are known to rub their skin with watermelon rind to lighten age spots. Watermelon contains vitamin A in the form of Carotenoid, vitamin C, and vitamins from the B group as well (B1 and B2). It is low in nitrogen and high in potassium.

Further information about the nutritional and therapeutic virtues of our round, red, delicious friend can be found here (Hebrew).

Now, here’s how to select a ripe, sweet watermelon:

–       We pick the watermelon at its ripest, when the tendril near the stem dries up. But when choosing a watermelon at the stand, see if you can determine whether the stem is a little dry, indicating that the watermelon wasn’t picked while green.

–       The part that comes in contact with the ground changes its color to yellow, so you should look for a yellow spot on one of the watermelon sides.

–       And the most mysterious signal of all: if you tap on the fruit, you will hear a dim sound reverberating back to you.

How to store a watermelon:

The best temperature to store a watermelon is 12° C, but at room temperature (23°) the watermelon can be kept for a week to 10 days. A watermelon left out at room temperature for too long will lose its taste and change its texture.

It is not recommended to freeze a watermelon or store it in the cooler compartments of your fridge. Overexposure to cold can cause frostbite, taking a toll on the watermelon’s taste and making the inside soft and powdery. To store it after opening, wrap in plastic wrap and store at a temperature of 3-4°.

And once you have that excellent watermelon, slice it, add mint and feta cheese, and sit back and enjoy this spectacular summer treat, while reading a collection of surprising, interesting and humorous facts about watermelons (Hebrew)

Enjoy the watermelons, our modest contribution towards the joys of a beautiful summer!

Our best vacation wishes to the high school students already on summer break, and to the younger students who bid farewell to school this week.

May we all enjoy a “watermelon” vacation: sweet, juicy, and the kind which is a pleasure to share with friends!

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza team

___________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES? 

Monday: Eggplant/zucchini, corn, New Zealand spinach/basil, lettuce, tomatoes, green/yellow beans, potatoes, watermelon, cucumbers/fakus, parsley/coriander/mint. Small boxes only: parsley root

Large box, in addition: Onions/scallions, pumpkin/ butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, melon

Wednesday: corn, watermelon, cucumbers/fakus, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, parsley/coriander, tomatoes, green/yellow beans, melon/acorn squash, slice of pumpkin/butternut squash, eggplant/zucchini. Small boxes only: parsley root

Large box, in addition: Onions/scallions, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes

Aley Chubeza #164, June 24th-26th 2013

This week you will find a brochure about Shorshei Tzion in your boxes. We began cooperating with Eliezer Tzion exactly two years ago. He is a charming person, quiet and pleasant. You would never imagine that he spends most of his time… fermenting. He does this in a small factory in Moshav Eshtaol, near Beit Shemesh, where he also creates a variety of probiotic (containing the friendly germs), raw and sprouted foods. This is how Eliezer and his wife Sararose first introduced themselves to Chubeza clientele:

We first got involved with Live Ferments with a fermented tea called Kombucha, and we were hooked from the beginning. The transformational process of fermentation was fascinating and inspired us to explore other ferments, such as pickled veggies, kefir, pro-biotic sodas and more. Driven by the belief in the importance of eating food that is alive, we began to create crackers and other raw food desserts made from live nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies. We make an effort to use ingredients that are as local, fresh, and organic as possible.  We feel proud to offer quality, healing, live foods.  We can heal ourselves by the food we eat.  Enjoy!

After much trial, error and learning, Eliezer now focuses on a wide range of products which he has been developing over time. However, he is always checking out new products, and varies the tastes with the seasons.

You may add Shorshei Tzion products to your weekly boxes via our order system.

_______________________________________________

There was once a woman, let’s call her Helen
Who made her home inside a watermelon
She brought in two stools, a chair and a broom,
Carved out a window and a living room,
Bought a cat to catch mice (she named him Grover)
But all of a sudden… the season was over…

(Nurit Zarchi. Translated by Aliza Raz)

I have a sneaking suspicion that this woman living in the watermelon is actually residing in Chubeza, though it’s hard to imagine her fitting all of her belongings into our small fruits. Yet, the feeling of the watermelon season ending so abruptly is too familiar to me. It really is a short season–approximately a month– so before it ends, we wanted you to know a few facts about the wonderful watermelon. Here goes: a newsletter that is green and red all over…

The watermelon requires much heat, a throwback to its origins in South Africa and the Kalahari Desert. In the desert, the watermelon, which contains over 90% water, was an important and vital source of liquid to man and wild animals. The difficulty of choosing a good watermelon is an old story. In its wild form, the sweet watermelon is identical on the outside to a bitter watermelon, which is why the thirsty passerby would punch a hole in the watermelon rind to check its taste.

From South Africa, the watermelon spread to all of Africa, and was cultivated in Egypt over 4,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians drew depictions of watermelons to decorate sarcophagi and cave walls, and they would leave a watermelon near the dead to nourish them on their journey to the New World. The Hebrews knew it from Egypt, reminiscing, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons…”

From North Africa, the watermelon hit the Middle East where it grew well and was even mentioned in the Mishna. It arrived in China in the 10th century, and today China is the champion watermelon grower, followed closely by Turkey and Iran. In the 13th century, the Moors brought it with them to Europe, along with other plants they met in Africa and Asia. The watermelon arrived in America with the black slaves, as well as the settlers arriving from Europe.

Chubeza’s love affair with watermelons started with naiveté, pretentiousness, and… failure. During my last year in California, just before I established Chubeza, I raised red, orange and yellow watermelons (the inside colors) in the farm of Joe Perry, my mentor. We had nice success with the yields, and I was under the impression that growing watermelon would be simple, so I added watermelon to our crop list. The first year, the watermelons simply did not grow, and we only picked a few dozen from our fancy beds. Fortunately, back in 2004, our entire clientele also numbered a few dozen, so they received the watermelons as planned (which, admittedly, weren’t too sweet). One of the main reasons for this failure was the timing. I seeded watermelons like in California, at the end of spring. Yet springtime in Israel is fraught with viruses and disease, particularly among the cucurbit family to which our watermelon friend belongs.

After taking a hiatus of several years, gaining experience with cucurbits and their viruses, we made a second watermelon attempt four years ago. This time we seeded earlier and harvested a larger yield. A year later we did even better, and two years ago we dared to plant seedless watermelon plants. This sort of watermelon-growing is more complex than raising a standard seed-filled watermelon, for we are essentially trying to fight nature. The mission of every fruit and vegetable is to reproduce and generate offspring (seeds). Man, meanwhile, is bent on getting rid of the seeds, and not by spitting them out: human beings had grown weary of seeded fruits and set out to develop seedless varieties. Actually, a seedless watermelon does contain some tiny seeds, however most are transparent as well as infertile. You must admit this is strange, to try to develop a fruit which cannot produce seeds, offspring: on one hand, a vast scientific effort is being placed into refining and improving human fertilization via IVF, freezing embryos and sperm, surrogates, etc, and simultaneously, we are encouraging sterility for the fruits.

So how do these “seedless” watermelons work? Regular watermelon seeds are diploid seeds, i.e., containing two sets of X chromosomes. Those used in order to produce seedless watermelons are tetraploid, possessing four sets of X chromosomes. Seedless watermelon seeds have a harder than average shell, which is why it is more difficult to grow the melons from seeds. In most cases, they are planted as transplants that were started in the nursery under controlled conditions. The tetraploid seeds sprout and become plants that will generate leaves and flowers, but no fruit unless they’re fertilized from flowers of a regular seeded watermelon. Therefore, you must plant one plant of regular watermelons for every three-four plants of seedless ones. During pollination, each seed contributes half of its chromosomes: 1+2, resulting in a fruit whose seeds are tetraploid- possessing three sets of chromosomes. This number disrupts the seed’s ability to reproduce, and ultimately sterilizes it. Thus we receive a fruit which is juicy and sturdier than its seeded friends, but it evolved from the “virgin propagation” of an unfertilized cell. It’s called “a Parthenocarpic fruit,” in essence, the mule of the botanical world.   

Watermelons are also loved by animals and, of course, birds. Over the past several years that we’ve returned to growing watermelons, we’ve sacrificed a goodly amount to the sweet-tooth beaks of blackbirds and the teeth of marauding jackals. We protect our fruits with a vengeance, otherwise, we find them looking like this:

Which is when we cover the bed with a bird net to allow us to enjoy the wonderful treat of this sweet, red, juicy delight.

Watermelon is a healing fruit. Its large water content cleanses the body, making watermelon juice highly recommended for those suffering from bladder and liver deficiencies. It is also beneficial for cleansing the kidneys. Watermelon even helps to clean the body of cigarette smoke- -highly recommended for active and passive smokers. Traditional Yemenite folk cures use watermelon seeds to rid bad breath and stains from the teeth and mouth. Crush the seeds well, immerse them in water, and then strain for a super mouthwash. In Iraq, the watermelon rind is used to treat fungal infections. Lybian Jews are known to rub their skin with watermelon rind to lighten age spots. Watermelon contains vitamin A in the form of Carotenoid, vitamin C, and vitamins from the B group as well (B1 and B2). It is low in nitrogen and high in potassium.

Further information about the nutritional and therapeutic virtues of our round, red, delicious friend can be found here (Hebrew).

Now, here’s how to select a ripe, sweet watermelon:

–       We pick the watermelon at its ripest, when the tendril near the stem dries up. But when choosing a watermelon at the stand, see if you can determine whether the stem is a little dry, indicating that the watermelon wasn’t picked while green.

–       The part that comes in contact with the ground changes its color to yellow, so you should look for a yellow spot on one of the watermelon sides.

–       And the most mysterious signal of all: if you tap on the fruit, you will hear a dim sound reverberating back to you.

How to store a watermelon:

The best temperature to store a watermelon is 12° C, but at room temperature (23°) the watermelon can be kept for a week to 10 days. A watermelon left out at room temperature for too long will lose its taste and change its texture.

It is not recommended to freeze a watermelon or store it in the cooler compartments of your fridge. Overexposure to cold can cause frostbite, taking a toll on the watermelon’s taste and making the inside soft and powdery. To store it after opening, wrap in plastic wrap and store at a temperature of 3-4°.

And once you have that excellent watermelon, slice it, add mint and feta cheese, and sit back and enjoy this spectacular summer treat, while reading a collection of surprising, interesting and humorous facts about watermelons (Hebrew)

Enjoy the watermelons, our modest contribution towards the joys of a beautiful summer. Wishing a great vacation to the high school students, already out of school, and to the younger students, bidding farewell at the end of this week. May we enjoy a “watermelon” vacation: sweet, juicy, the kind which is a pleasure to share with friends…

Alon, Bat Ami, Ya’ara and the Chubeza team

___________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES? 

Monday: Lettuce, parsley, acorn squash, tomatoes, melon/watermelon, Swiss chard, beets, fakus/cucumbers, potatoes, green or yellow beans/cherry tomatoes.  Small boxes only: zucchini

In the large box, in addition: Kabocha squash, eggplant, corn, chives/dill

Wednesday: parsley, kabocha pumpkin (green rind), cucumbers / fakus, eggplants, beets, lettuce, watermelon, potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoess, corn / cherry tomatoes

In the large box, in addition: dill/mint, zucchini, green/yellow beans

______________________________________

Somehow different watermelon recipes:

Watermelon popsicles

Watermelon pomegranate green tea

Aqua de sandia (watermelon beverage)

Agua fresca de melon

Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind

Watermelon Rind Preserves

Watermelon rind candy

Aley Chubeza #159 May 20th-22nd 2013

 Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night

Last Thursday, due to the school holiday, I was fortunate enough to host five sweet little girls in our field (three of them were second-generation Chubeza). We took a stroll in the cucurbitaceae beds, beginning with the smaller family members (the cucumbers) and concluding with the larger ones (the big pumpkin). We loved figuring out who was hiding under the leaves in this bed or that one. When we reached the melon and watermelon beds, the girls noticed metal arcs spread the length of the bed like thin gates, under which the plants grow. I suggested maybe the gates are used as goals for soccer games between the melon and watermelon teams, but they didn’t seem to buy that, and requested the truth and nothing but the truth. I thought perhaps you’d like to know the reason as well.

We grow our vegetables in an open field, where they are less-protected from the surroundings. This is, of course, a wonderful advantage, as their natural integration in the outdoors creates a balance where useful carnivores insects devour harmful insects (the vegetarian kind), thus allowing the plants to withstand the hardships. The air is laden with all sorts of fluttering creatures who buzz in and out of the flowers to pollinate them, and the combination of different crops contributes to the fertility of the earth, to disease prevention, and to damage and affliction control. Best of all, the field is beautiful in its varied hues, sizes, colors and shapes.

And yet, our plants are still domesticated and human-cultivated. And just like us, with all our love for nature and the outdoors, they need protection from the great outdoors where there are always others interested in sharing them, taking a bite, stinging, inflicting or just landing on them and depositing a vegetable virus as a souvenir.

During wintertime, the onion fly is active and not at all put off by the pungent aroma of the onion family. On the contrary, the onion and leek are excellent beds for the female fly to lay her eggs, and for some years now we have been bitterly disappointed by the bulbs over the winter. This year we received good advice, and covered the young bulbs with thin agril cloth. There were fewer fly bites, and the light material enabled the crops to grow, so when they reached the thickness of a pencil we removed the veil and rejoiced at the fact that we would finally be able to enjoy the onions this year (hopefully you did too!).

Summertime is a lively, vigorous season, and the pace is fast and rhythmic. The insects do not rest for a moment. They want to woo, suck, and procreate, and do not notice if they drop off some hitch-hiking viruses on our tomatoes. The blackbirds in our field are smart, and they can figure out where we planted our watermelons. They wait patiently as the melons fill up with sweet nectar and then they pounce. In the past, we could tell which watermelons were ripe and sweet by the telltale blackbird pecking.

Which is why our watermelons were covered, exposed, and now will be covered once more under camouflage. When they were young, we covered them (along with their fellow squash, melons, cucumbers and fakuses) to protect them from the various flutterers who spread viruses and diseases that could bring them down. The arcs scattered along the bed held the thin cover over the young plants. Now that they have matured, we removed the cover in order to allow the pollinators to reach the beautiful yellow flowers and fertilize them. Now, when the green watermelons are already rounding out and filling up in the fields, it is time to cover them once again, hiding them from the greedy eyes and beaks of the blackbirds (though Alon maintains that the blackbirds are clever enough to still know exactly where they are.)

In defense of those crows, I really must say that somehow, probably unintentionally, they help us to face other pestering, dangerous birds, the mynas. The common myna is an intruding bird who was first brought to Israel for research and display, but escaped from captivity and quickly spread out all across the central part of the country. They cause tremendous damage to orchards and vineyards. When Hilaf, the Karmei Yossef fruit farmer, sees the mynas in our field he is horrified. And yet, we haven’t been hurt by them (tfu tfu tfu), perhaps thanks to their competitors the crows, who keep them mellow by devouring their eggs and chasing them away from food sources.

Here are the two: to the left, Mr. Crow, to the right, Ms. Myna.

Photo by Lior Almagor, www.tiuli.com

 

Photo by Amir Balaban, www.nrg.co.il

 

 

 

 

 

 

Together with you, we wish our lovely watermelons the wherewithal to reach full maturity and sweetness, and hope the blackbirds find a nice piece of cheese to stick their beaks into and forget about us….

May we have a good week, bereft of pecking and annoyances,

 Alon, Bat Ami, Ya’ara and the Chubeza team

________________________________

 WHATS IN THIS WEEKS BOXES?

Monday: Lettuce, beets, parsley, tomatoes, scallions/chives, garlic, cabbage, cucumbers/fakus, Swiss chard/spinach, potatoes, zucchini, dill

In the large box, in addition: carrots, leeks, coriander

Wednesday:

In the large box, in addition:

Aley Chubeza #74 – July 4th-6th 2011

For those of you who receive your boxes every two weeks, we will repeat our introduction from last week of new local producers who are joining Chubeza’s associates: Eliezer and Sararose of Shorshei Zion, who produce fresh, probiotic, organic food. In their own words:

Shoreshei Tzion provides live healing pro-biotic foods, beverages and Healing Raw Foods. We specialize in creating pro-biotic and raw foods and drinks without using any artificial ingredients or preservatives. Our products are made in small batches to ensure quality and freshness. We have a long list of products that we make every week and we are adding new products all the time. We are very excited to start offering these products through Chubeza: Live Sauerkrauts, Kimchi, Pickles, Live Roots & other Seasonal Pro-biotic pickled Veggies.
– Wild Pro-Biotic Mustard
– Raw Flax Crackers, (contain NO Gluten, eggs, oil, or sugar)
– Live Organic Kombucha
– Natural Beers: Pale Ale, Maple Buckwheat, Chocolate Stout, Nut Brown

About Us

Eliezer & Sararose Tzion first got involved with Live Ferments with a fermented tea called Kombucha. We were hooked from the beginning. The transformational process of fermentation was fascinating and inspired us to explore other ferments, such as pickled veggies, kefir, pro-biotic sodas and more. Driven by the belief in the importance of eating food that is alive, we began to create crackers and other raw food desserts made from live nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies. We make an effort to use ingredients that are as local, fresh, and organic as possible.  We feel proud to offer quality, healing, live foods.  We can heal ourselves by the food we eat.  Enjoy!

If you see something on our menu besides these products that really interests you please contact us and we will try to get it to you.

Contact: Shoresheitzion@gmail.com 054-7895319

You may order via the Chubeza order form, by email or telephone.

_______________________________________

“When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.”

Mark Twain

Fit for both angels and earthlings, Chubeza’s watermelons are primarily the smaller-sized “personal watermelon,” AKA “icebox” watermelons, which conveniently slip into the fridge. We chose this size so that we could fit other vegetables into the box aside the watermelon.

Besides its heavenly taste, this useful, multi-colored fruit can be used in ways that may surprise you. We know how thirst-quenching the watermelon flesh is, but actually, all parts of the watermelon – the core, seeds and rind- are edible. The core is eaten cold and fresh, the seeds toasted, and the rind can be pickled (see recipes). The shell can also be used for beautiful décor, like this:

There is also a folk tale about how in the midst of a heated political discourse, a dissenter thrust half a watermelon straight at the Roman governor Demosthenes. Nonplussed, the governor simply placed the watermelon atop his head, thanking the pitcher for providing him with a helmet to wear in battle against Philip of Macedonia.

Watermelons are grown in Israel in irrigated fields and under non-irrigated (dry-land) conditions. The larger and elliptic varieties are prevalent, along with the smaller and rounder types (like ours.) There are over 1,200 varieties of watermelons worldwide, differing in rind color or core, taste, size, shape and texture. While watermelons can be elongated or round, the Japanese grow square watermelons, to ease them neatly into the fridge! This is done by placing a square box on the fruit at a young stage, forcing it to grow square:

The watermelon rind can be dark green or gray, striped or smooth. In California we even grew a “moon and stars” variety.

The inside of the watermelon is usually pink or red, sometimes yellow, and an orange variety has recently been developed to broaden the spectrum. (Yellow and orange watermelons are not genetically engineered, but rather produced by carful cross-breeding.) The watermelon can contain small black or brown seeds, or grow seedless.

Watermelon is a healing fruit. Its large water content cleanses the body, making watermelon juice highly recommended for those suffering from bladder and liver deficiencies. It is also beneficial for cleansing the kidneys. Watermelon even helps to clean the body of cigarette smoke- -highly recommended for active and passive smokers. Traditional Yemenite folk cures use watermelon seeds to rid bad breath and stains from the teeth and mouth. Crush the seeds well, immerse them in water, and then strain for a super mouthwash. In Iraq, the watermelon rind is used to treat fungal infections. Lybian Jews are known to rub their skin with watermelon rind to lighten age spots. Watermelon contains vitamin A in the form of Carotenoid, vitamin C, and vitamins from the B group as well (B1 and B2). It is low in nitrogen and high in potassium.

Further information about the nutritional and therapeutic virtues of our round, red, delicious friend can be found here (Hebrew).

Now, here’s how to select a ripe, sweet watermelon:

–       We pick the watermelon at its ripest, when the tendril near the stem dries up. But when choosing a watermelon at the stand, see if you can determine whether the stem is a little dry, indicating that the watermelon wasn’t picked while green.

–       The part that comes in contact with the ground changes its color to yellow, so you should look for a yellow spot on one of the watermelon sides.

–       And the most mysterious signal of all: if you tap on the fruit, you will hear a dim sound reverberating back to you.

How to store a watermelon:

The best temperature to store a watermelon is 12° C, but at room temperature (23°) the watermelon can be kept for a week to 10 days. A watermelon left out at room temperature for too long will lose its taste and change its texture.

It is not recommended to freeze a watermelon or store it in the cooler compartments of your fridge. Overexposure to cold can cause frostbite, taking a toll on the watermelon’s taste and making the inside soft and powdery. To store it after opening, wrap in plastic wrap and store at a temperature of 3-4°.

And once you have that excellent watermelon, slice it, add mint and feta cheese, and sit back and enjoy this spectacular summer treat!

Enjoy the watermelons, our modest contribution towards the joys of a beautiful summer,

Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team

_____________________________

What’s in our summer basket this week?

Monday: basil or lemon verbena or mint, corn, parsley, eggplants, potatoes, acorn squash, tomatoes, cucumbers or fakus, melon or watermelon, cherry tomatoes, lettuce.

In the large box, in addition: zucchini, okra or yard long beans, scallions

Wednesday: lettuce, eggplants or, cucumbers or fakus, basil, tomatoes, acorn squash, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, melon, potatoes, corn-small boxes only.

In the large box, in addition: New Zealand spinach or Swiss chard, okra or yard long beans or scallions, watermelon. Provence pumpkin

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers of these organic products: granola and cookies, flour, sprouts, goat dairies, fruits, honey, crackers and now also probiotic foods. You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. The attached order form includes a detailed listing of the products and their cost. Fill it out, and send it back to us soon.

_____________________________

Recipes for watermelon rind:

Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind

Watermelon Rind Preserves

Watermelon rind candy