Archives October 2018

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Halloween Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Halloween is just around the corner and we are excited to share our easy roasted pumpkin seeds recipe. Have you been busy creating spooky jack-o-lanterns with your pumpkins? We certainly have and you will find some pictures of our favourite creations below.

As we are nuts about fruit it is the perfect time of year to celebrate the pumpkin harvest and have some fun with friends. A mindful activity and fun for all the family, pumpkin carving is the perfect way to spend an evening but what can you do with all those leftover seeds? Eat them. Yes, roasting pumpkin clean-pumpkin-seedsseeds is the ideal way to get the most out of their flavour and use up some of your leftovers. Here is our solution for leftover pumpkin seeds:

Ingredients

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds, or whatever you scoop from one pumpkin
3 tablespoons butter, melted, or an equal amount of the cooking oil of your choice
1 teaspoon salt and/or other seasonings

Instructions

Step 1. Preheat the Oven
Preheat oven to 250°. Line a large sheet pan with tinfoil and spread a thin layer of olive oil on top.

Step 2. Gather your seeds
There is no wrong way to carve your pumpkin and there is plenty of online inspiration out there. This year we are seeing some celebrities and politicians are popular pumpkin picks. Using a sharp, sturdy knife, cut around the top of the pumpkin and remove the lid. Using a large spoon, scrape the sides of the pumpkin to remove the seeds and pulp. Pick out the seeds and put them into a large bowl.

Step 3. Clean the seeds thoroughly
You may be tempted to throw the seeds straight into the oven but if you want to crunchy kind (which are simply the best) then you should clean them thoroughly.  Using your hands pull the seeds from the gloopy pumpkin slime. Rinse them in cold running water. The water makes is easier to pull off any excess pumpkin goo. This may take a few turns.

Step 4.  Combine the Seeds with the Seasonings
It’s time to season your seeds! Salt and chilli flakes works a treat but you can use any spices you wish.

In a bowl mix the salt and a tablespoon of chili flakes with two spoons of olive oil. Drizzle over the dry seeks and gentle toss them around to make sure all of the seeds are covered.

Step 5. Bake the Pumpkin Seeds, Stirring Occasionally
Now we are ready to bake. Spread all of the seeds in a single layer on your tinfoil and bake for approximately 1 hour. Turn them half way to toast both sides.

Step 6. Dig in! 
You can serve them up as a tasty pre-dinner snack, hand them out to eager trick or treaters, add them to your morning granola or save them for your afternoon snack at work. To store them keep them in an airtight container and this will help to keep them crunchy.roasted-pumpkin-seeds

Fun Pumpkin Facts Facts

  • The word pumpkin first appeared in the fairy tale Cinderella
  • The Irish were the first to start carvings jack-o-lanterns out of turnips and potatoes to ward off evil spirits. In the 1800’s Irish immigrants brought this tradition to America.
  • Pumpkins take between 90 to 120 days to grow and have approximately 500 seeds each.
  • There are more than 45 types of pumpkins and not all are orange.
  • Pumpkins come from the same fruit family as melons and cucumbers.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

  • Contains a lot of magnesium which helps regulate blood pressure
  • Rich in Omega 3 fats and Zinc
  • Rich in antioxidants and nutrients such as fiber, protein and Vitamin K
  • A source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can help with sleep. If you are feeling restless have a cup of pumpkin seeds.

Have a spookalicious Halloween all!

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How to reduce fruit waste?

At Orchardsnearme.com we want to help you to be more food friendly, choose to give the environment a hug and really appreciate the land around you. This is what we are all about so do you want to be more fruit friendly and reduce waste? We have a few tips that can help you use the best of what is on and off the shelves at different seasons.

Today everyone is asking you to go green, be more sustainable and think of the environment but do the major shopping centres tell you where their fruit is coming from, how the farmers are treated and squeezed for margin?

We don’t really know how they undergo the selection process when choosing the fruit to display on the shelves. All we can see the best and brightest fruits make it home to our fruit bowls. So where is the rest? A report by the UK’s Global Food Security Group programme found that over two fifths of all fruit can be wasted because it is considered ugly. Now is a good time to say that we love the ugly duckling. In a plastic filled world where botox is trending and filtered selfies are the norm let us not forgot that our individual blemishes are what make us unique.

So if you are looking for the peaches with the dimples check out your local market stalls. They don’t seem to discriminate against misshapen fruit as much as the larger chains. Go into any organic shop to discover dimpled fruits. Be conscious and actively choose the loneliest fruit on the block.

Another interesting study has highlighted the quality of scarred fruits and the results are pretty postitive. If we always picks the aesthetically pleasing fruit it may not be the tastiest. According the a cambridge review study from 2014 found that organic fruit had lower pesticide content and up to a 40 percent higher antioxidant content. So we say to all of our fruit loving friends enjoy the fruit with all of its scars and dimples.

Here’s an idea for a fun night in, do a fun blind taste test for friends at home. Buy several pieces of fruit at different stores and slice them up for friends. I’ve tried this and there is no comparison between the water injected fruit found in many stories versus the organically less modified fruit found on local stores. The latter being simply delicious. We usually have a few bottles of cider to wash the fruit down. Happy Tasting y’all!

Here are our simple tips to help reduce fruit waste:

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If you have any sustainable fruit or food tips please contact our team and we will do our best to share them with the fruit picking community.

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Get our latest Brochure

We are very excited to launch our brand new Orchard Experiences brochure.

Our useful snapshot of all of the top orchard adventures on offer with OrchardsNearme.com. From fruit picking tours to food filled city tours to cycling nature trails that take you off the beaten track. You will find everything you need for your next orchard adventure in Europe.

Inside you will find:

  • Our fruity stories from experiences by the team
  • The top orchard tours
  • The types of tours on offer
  • Some useful fruit picking tips and advice
  • When is the best time to go
  • Travel inspiration for your next European experience

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SPANISH GRAPES: WINE REGIONS OF SPAIN

Let’s take a look at some of the fruit filled vineyards of Spain. Where are the wine regions of Spain and what delicious wines can we enjoy from the areas:

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CAVA

Pay a visit to the home of Spanish sparkling, and immerse yourself in Cava while taking in the mountain scenery and sun-drenched beaches. We’re talking about Penedés, an area of Catalonia in north east Spain — its capital Sant Sadurní d’Anoia is less than an hour by train from Barcelona.

RIOJA

You’ve probably drunk plenty of this region’s delicious wines, but perhaps not considered it for a holiday…Until now. With 60,000 hectares of vines spread over three provinces, Rioja might be vast — but if you know where to go it can make an unforgettable getaway.For easy winery hopping head to Haro Train Station Wine Quarter, where you’ll find the highest concentration of century-old wineries on the planet – in September they run the Haro Wine Festival… Or if you want to get involved with people throwing over 100,000 litres of red wine at one another, arrive June 29 for the Batalla del Vino, or ‘wine battle’. The mixture of these grapes often combines sweet flavours with sour and rich, producing some of the most unique wines in the world.

Rioja wines spend extra time ageing. Joven (young) wines are released without any oak ageing and have a pure fruit character. Crianzas spend one year ageing in barrel and one in bottle. Reservas spend one year in barrel and two in bottle. Gran Reservas age in barrel for no less than two years, and three more years’ ageing in bottles.

ANDALUSIA

Finally, Jerez, the ancient heartland of Andalucía and fountainhead of Sherry wines. Forget any preconceptions you may have about all Sherry being sickly sweet or for nonagenarians — it’s multiplicity is staggering and it’s prized in the hippest hottest tabancos.

You won’t have to work hard to get a taste, the city is packed with bodegas and every pavement has its bars, with tables made from blackened Sherry butts.You can also wander about the small, flat town centre on foot, confident in the knowledge you’re never far from a cool glass of fino.In the early morning or evening, climb to the top of the Moorish fortress Alcázar, the view of Jerez vineyards stretching to the horizon is well worth the effort.

VALENCIA

The Valencia wine region is one of the oldest in Spain. Grapes have grown in Valencia since the Neolithic Era. Most of the wine produced here is exported around the world, putting Valencia on the international wine map!

Though it is situated along Spain’s east coast, most of the vineyards are located deeper inland. The sandy, chalky, limestone-rich soil of Valencia produces a wide variety of wines, including world-famous Moscato grapes.The ageing process in Valencia is different than that of Rioja or Ribera del Duero. Crianza wines are only cask-aged for three months, while Reserva wines are aged for no less than six months.

CASTILLA Y LEON

This region of Spain producers some of the most renowned wines such as Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Bierzo. The traditional wine making in the area dates back to Romans. The red wines are held in high regard with the tempranillo of Castilla y Leon making it to restaurant tables throughout the world. In addition to it’s famous wines, this region is home to some of Spains most important historical sites, with over 300 castles and 400 musems.

RIAS BAIXES

Most famous for the crisp, white Albariño grapes, Galicia offers everything to the budding wine enthusiast. Located on the Atlantic coastline the Rías Baixas this region of Southwest Spain offers some of the best vineyard experiences. To sample some of the best known Rias Baixes wines head to the old town of Pontevedra or the lively city of Vigo for some tasters.

For a taste of the wine regions of Spain you can try some of our taste trails in the different regions or contact us to arrange a private grape picking experience.

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REASONS TO GET BACK TO NATURE

I don’t know about you but everytime we get outdoors we feel a renewed sense of self. I feel the wind in my face, smell the freshly mowed fields and have a chance to make some head space for new thoughts. So why should be get back to nature and spend a little more time outdoors. Here are eight great reasons we think nature has it’s benefits:

  • Stress Buster
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Calming effect – Better mood
  • Increases attention and sharpens your focus
  • Relax and reflect
  • Renewed creativity
  • Strengthen Immunity
  • Lose weight

The above list is by no means definitive. Every positive reason to get back to nature can be associated with looking after your mental health and well-being. Nature provides an escape from your daily routine, an excuse to get off the screens that invade our everyday and a way to reconnect with the world around us.

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19 Inspirational Quotes from Nature for 2019

We all need a little inspiration sometimes and where better to find it than the leaves under our feet and the sky above. Allow yourself some time to reflect on all the beautiful joys that nature has to offer with these inspirational quotes from some of the greatest minds:

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. Aristotle

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. Monet

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark. John Muir

In every walk in with nature one receives far more than he seeks. John Muir

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. Henry David Thoreau

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. John MuirNature touches everything we do

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery – air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy”. Sylvia Plath

Normality is a paved road; it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow. Vincent van Gogh

I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it. William Shakespeare

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. Lao Tzu

Choose only one master – nature. Rembrandt

Nothing is art if it does not come from nature. Antoni Gaudi

Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry. Jack Kerouac

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars. Walt Whitman

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. John Burroughs

There is nothing pleasanter than spading when the ground is soft and damp. John Steinbeck

Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them. Mark Twain

I think it annoys God if you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice. Alice Walker

Have you an inspirational quote to add to our list. We would love to hear from you and your wisdom from nature.

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