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Recipe from Change of Heart by Kay Baxter and Bob Corker

sauerkraut with outside leaves of cabbage

You can make any amount of sauerkraut at one time, however, you need to think about where you will store it.  In the Summer it will continue to ferment, being inedible after a few weeks if you don’t have a cool place to store it.  I prefer to make a large amount at a time in late Autumn, when I know it will keep for the whole Winter without getting too strong.  For making my sauerkraut, I use a pounder that Bob made for me out of a piece of Ti tree.  The bottom needs to be as wide and flat as possible, and you need to smooth the top so that you can hold it comfortably in your hand whilst pounding.

1 bucket (polypail, 20 litre)

1 pounder

about 10 cabbages

1 large sharp knife or a sauerkraut cabbage cutter

1 sterilized heavy stone

1 dsp sea salt for every large cabbage

1/2 cup whey

1 tsp caraway seeds for every large cabbage

  • Cut the cabbages in half, remove the hard stem (put into your broth pot) and slice the leaves as finely as you possibly can.
  • Once you have sliced the leaves of one whole cabbage, put it into the bucket and pound until the cells begin to break and let out their juice.  Continue slicing the cabbage and adding to the bucket with a little salt and caraway seeds between each cabbage, pounding until you feel the juice coming out of the cabbage.
  • Once  you have the bucket as full as you’re going to make it, tip in your whey and give the barrel a good mix.  Then place a plate upside down inside the bucket, on top of the cabbage, with as little room as possible between the bucket and the plate.  On top of that, put as heavy a stone as you can find, and then put the lid on (it will work with a cloth on top as well, as long as the juice comes over the plate within 48 hours).
  • Once you can see the juice is covering the plate and the cabbage fermenting, you can find a cool place and leave it there for around 3 weeks.
  • When the strong fermentation process has finished and the sauerkraut tastes good, you can pack it into glass jars and put in the fridge.  I usually leave it in the bucket in our coolsafe.


Recommended_Seeds_Chinese_Cabbage_HH Recommended_Seeds_Cabbage_Savoy_ChieftainRecommended_Books_Change_Of_Heart

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Preparing and Cooking Nutrient Dense Food at Koanga Institute


by William Hill

One of the exciting aspects of being an intern at Koanga Institute is the preparation and eating of our meals.  Each mealtime is eagerly anticipated as the food is delectable and highly nutritious, and its preparation is an education.

Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist and researcher, conducted extensive studies of indigenous peoples throughout the world in the 1920s and 30s.  He is noted for his observations that nutrition was directly linked to superior dental and physical health of peoples from traditional, indigenous cultures. He tested the vitamin and mineral content of the American diet at the time and found it contained very low amounts of fat soluble vitamins and minerals in comparison with those in traditional diets.

Today the Weston A. Price Foundation promotes traditional foods and their preparation.  It is these principles that the Koanga Institute follows in its food preparation to nourish inquisitive, hungry interns.

Principles of traditional diets
found in every indigenous culture observed by Dr. Weston Price:

1. No refined or denatured foods e.g. refined sugar and flour, corn syrup, canned foods, pasteurised and homogenised foods, hydrogenated oils etc.

2. Animal protein and fat from fish, land animals, eggs, milk etc.

3. Four times the calcium and other minerals and ten times the fat soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, K2) of the average American diet in the 1920s.

4. High enzyme content foods such as those from raw dairy, raw meat and fish, raw honey, tropical fruits, cold pressed oils and naturally preserved lacto-fermented vegetables.

5. Seeds, grains and nuts: soak fermented of naturally leavened  in order to neuteralise naturally occuring anti-nutrients in these foods such as phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, tannins and complex carbohydrates.

6. Total fat content of traditional diets varied from 30%-80% with the predominant source of fats in the form of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids and very little polyunsaturated fats.

7. Omegas 3 & 6 – traditional diets contained nearly equal amounts of these essential fatty acids.

8. Salt – always a part of traditional diets.

9. Consumption of animal bones – usually in the form of gelatin-rich bone broths.

10. Provision for the health of future generations by providing nutrient-rich foods for parents to be, pregnant women and growing children; proper spacing of children and by teaching principles of diet to the young.

The best part about learning these principles: taking them into the kitchen!  Kay, an accomplished cook and cookery writer, introduced us to preparing and cooking foods with traditional methods and recipes, those that maintain and even increase the nutrition content of food.  And it is this example that we follow, referencing her cook books and traditional cooking methods.

One of the first foods we prepared was yoghurt which is made by adding a starter culture to milk to enable it to ferment.  In traditional cultures, without refrigeration, milk was changed into other foods, usually by fermentation.  This practise not only ensured that milk could be stored but it also increased the nutritional value of the food.

Each meal served at Koanga provides us with an educative experience.  Preparation is varied but always utilises whole foods that are highly nutritious or what is termed “nutrient-dense” foods – those that are grown organically and contain a high vitamin and mineral content.  Using quality ingredients and cooking them in ways that enliven them, such as slowly and without non-nutritious additives are key ways of preparing traditional food.

Ingredients used are sourced from the garden and local farms while other ingredients are selected from localised sources.  This serves to connect us to the region and ensure we are eating foods in season that have not travelled great distances to out table.

Any seeds, grains or nuts are soaked prior to use to enable the full nutritional benefit of each are made available.

Each week, two interns are charged with cooking the meals for their fellow interns and also Kay and family and Institute staff.  With Kay’s guidance, meals are planned for the week ahead and prepared by the interns beginning with ingredient preparation through to cooking and presentation of meals to the group.

Meal times are signalled by ringing of a bell and we pause to give thanks for the food, those who have prepared it, those who are to eat it and for the abundant blessings of the day.

Each meal is served with a vegetable such as carrot that has been fermented (a nutritious way of preserving and increasing the nutrition of vegetables), sea salt and butter, a source of good fat and vitamin A.

Desert?  Well, not every day, more likely to be seen on special occasions such as a birthday. And yes, these can be made nutritiously by utilising honey as a sweetener and flour made from ground nuts.

Learning the principles of a traditional diet at Koanga is proving to be highly enjoyable.  Through this experience we are being shown how to put traditional nutrition wisdom into practise in our lives today and we will leave with new and vital perspectives of food and cooking that will inspire our families and friends to enrich their lives in the same way.

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Top Bar Hive, you wonder?


Spring is a busy season here at Koanga!  As the ground warms up, trees begin to blossom and the birds begin to sing, every indication is that it’s time to get out there and keep up with the pace of the season!  If you’re having a bit of trouble finding the motivation to get your act together, perhaps a lesson from the bees will help.  That’s right, bees!

Here at Koanga, we’ve all been inspired by watching the bees flit and fly about, busying themselves with nectar and pollen collection to bring home.  They’re out setting the example for us that it’s time to get out and garden!  Just recently even, we happened upon the fortune of a local beekeeper who was kind enough to sell us a swarm from his apiary that we could install into a newly built top bar hive.

Top bar hive, you wonder?  Well, it’s quite simple really.  Some may be imagining the square bee boxes that stack vertically into the air, often seen from a roadside drive past a local bee yard.  A top bar hive is a different style of hive with it’s own benefits and advantages.  It’s a system that provides easy management for the bees and beekeeper.  Some of these benefits we’ve already reviewed in our most recent introduction to beekeeping (the top bar way) workshop.


 For those already into conventional beekeeping and wondering how to add a top bar hive or even make the transition to only top bar hives, there are many ways to do so.  In fact, the swarm we just installed came from a square style box with frames and we placed them into a “V” shaped top bar hive with ease.  They’re now living happily in the Urban Garden here at Koanga and we’ll be using the hive for honey and wax production as well as pollen collection.  Yep, you can even place a pollen trap on a top bar hive!

The goals for the bees this season here at Koanga are several, among which include:

  1. Building strong colonies to winter over on their own
  2. Not overharvesting honey
  3. Genetic Selection for hygienic and pest resistant bees

If you’re interested in learning more about top bar hives, we’ll be doing some more lessons regarding hive management, colony installation and even some hive building.  Even if you’re not sure about top bar hives, you could still join us for the lessons because most of the information we’ll be learning is applicable to any style of beekeeping.  So take a lesson from the bees.  Get out here, get busy with things and join us!

by Cody Kerr

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Moroccan Lamb Tagine

Taken from Change of Heart – The Ecology of Nourishing Food by Kay Baxter and Bob Corker

Moroccan Lamb Tagine

Tagines are the Moroccan way of slow cooking seasonal mixes of meat (often the cheaper fatty cuts which are the ones we enjoy the best!), vegetables, fruit and spices in their traditional earthenware baking dishes that keep moisture in.  If you have an earth pizza oven, you can make these wonderful, rich, full of flavour dishes in the authentic way.  In Winter and Spring you might have to add dried fruit instead of fresh fruit, however in Summer and Autumn there will be loads of fresh fruit.  Some of those commonly use are apricots, apples, quinces, pears and even peaches.  The dried fruit could be prunes, raisins, sultanas, apricots and dates.  They always include lemons and olives.  These dishes are great the next day as well, so make more than you need and cook two meals in one!  You can use pork or chicken as well (p.185)


9 Tbsp Moroccan spice mix (p. 263)

piece of organic lamb for 6 people

2 large heritage Pukekohe Long Keeper onions, chopped fine

4 Tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic

2 cups tomato puree or juice (p. 236)

1 litre bottled roasted tomato puree (p. 237)

1 cup dried apricots, cut in half (or other dried or fresh fruit like apples, quinces, pears)

1 litre lamb, beef or chicken stock

1 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp cilantro

2 Tbsp Dalmatian Parsley, roughly chopped

  • Place lamb in a bowl with half the spice mix, cover and leave overnight in cool place or fridge.
  • Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celcius.  Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large casserole dish, add the onion and remaining spice mix, and cook over gentle heat for 10 minutes, so onions are soft but not brown.  Add crushed garlic for final 3 minutes.
  • In separate frying pan, heat remaining oil and brown sides of lamb, then add browned meat to casserole dish.  Pour 1/2 cup tomato juice to the frying pan and warm whilst mixing the juice with their juices and flavours in the pan.  Add to the casserole dish.
  • Add remaining ingredients to casserole dish and bring to the boil.  Cover with a fitted lid and place in the oven to cook for 2-2 1/2 hours or until very tender  Sprinkle with chopped herbs when serving.
  • If you have room in your dish, you can cook potatoes with the meat, or kumara or pumpkin (just add for the final hour)
  • Separately baked Maori potatoes are great with this dish, as are mashed potatoes (p.115), mashed kumara (p.115), quinoa, rice etc.


Recommended_Perennials_Onion_Pukekohe_Long_Keeper Recommended_Perennials_Potato_Maori Recommended_Seeds_Parsley_Dalmatian

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Kay’s Garden October 2013

It’s all on here now, straight from winter to summer, in terms of temperature!

It’s hard to believe that we may still get frosts, it is a balancing act now to get seedlings in the ground as soon as possible but not so early that they’ll be frosted. Ken Ring is predicting a very cold period in October and the possibility of snow here we are so I have frost cloth at hand this year for potatoes, early pumpkins.

My potatoes are up and have been hilled up already, keeping those tips away from the psyllid and frosts. I’ll be taking care of them like precious babies again this season. I’m following the same program as per our potato research trials, with regular foliar feeding and compost tea applications, and monitoring them for psyllids, and using our Biopesticide well before they appear hopefully, which probably means we should begin applying that about now, or at least before the end of October Our tomatoes will receive the same super nutrition program as the tomatoes.
If you come to a Koanga Guided Tour here over summer you’ll be able to check out our potato trials and our huge tomato growout this season.
Yams did very well here last year, mine are in now…. And I have my Southland Sno peas in too. The perennial runner beans are beginning to come through the mulch.. this year I’ve decided to grow only perennial runners for my green and dried beans, far less work.

Pumpkin Planting Time

It’s time to plant pumpkins… I’m always restricted by whatever pumpkins the Koanga Institute needs to be growing for seed. They cross over such long distances. This year we’ve done some bargaining and I’m growing Delicata and Buttercup, two of my early favourites, and Tes is growing Chucks Winter and Crown, two of the long keepers. I’ve persauded Franzi , who is in a house down the road to grow Blue Hubbard and other long keeper so there’ll be a good choice. We all also have Austrian Hulless, which together with linseed (Essene flaxseed) makes excellent crackers to put our herb cheese recipe below on! The Institute is growing Cocozelle for seed this year so we all have to eat Cocozelle courgettes, I prefer Crookneck by far although Cocozelle is very reliable and prolific.
It’s also not to late to plant tomato and pepper seed, so be in if you haven’t already done so. I’ve planted two cultivars that can be saved for seed for the Institute, that I also love to eat and ferment to make our tomato preserves. Island Bay and Riverside Market. I can only grow 1 pepper at home because I also save them for seed and my choice is Yugoslav paprika which I use for everything including fermented pepper sauce.
We grow hot peppers in one of the Institute isolation gardens, to prevent crossing and we’ll all use the peppers left after saving seed to make our hot sauce, once again fermented.

Forest Garden

It’s 18 months since most of our home fruit trees went in, and 12 months since we began planting the 7 layers of support trees, bushes etc to go with the fruit trees. We have a long way to go but it’s beginning to look and feel very exciting.  The Siberian Pea trees ( legumes that enjoy wet spots and are great chicken forage trees) are shooting again after the winter with their delicate foliage, the Maakia amurensis (legumes that enjoy very wet places)) are shooting up too, the Acacia retinoides are flowering as are the tagasate, which we have been chopping and dropping already several time in the first year. The cardoons, mineral accumulators are coming back after the winter, the goumi ( Eleaganus multiflora), also legumes, are flowering strongly, and the muscovies are keeping the grass down while it all gets going. I’ll be adding many more species next autumn winter. My Design Your Own Forest Garden Booklet will be available before Xmas this year. It’s next on the list after the Urban Garden Design Booklet which is about to be printed.

My first ever serious berry patch is beginning to look as though we’ll get serious production out of it. This year the raspberries will be a wall of fruit ( 8m long), and all of the gooseberries, and currants have their first fruit on them, as well as my Worcester berry. Our Pouto Blackberries will be ready for Xmas Day blackberry pie so we’ll be thinking of Logan Forest on that day. The fence between my vege garden and the forest garden has argutas being trained along it and this year they will grow to make a rail all along the top of that fence, so my new garden is beginning to take shape. The blueberry patch Bob and I Planted last winter is now just beginning to show new growth. This is the NZ heritage blueberry collection, donated to our collection by Cristina and Christopher Frey of Taranaki, so many exciting things to grow and try.

This the egg season and the milk season! We have loads of both.  As we turn to warmer weather salads are welcome and this egg salad is loved by all.

Kay’s Egg Salad
Hard boil 8 eggs, cool and shell. Mash the eggs and add 1 large Tbspn of butter, 1 desertspoon of mustard ( whatever your favourite is see Change of Heart for a fermented version) , add salt to taste and cracked pepper plus as many finely chopped spring herbs as you will enjoy in the egg. I always use Multiplying Spring onions or Welsh Bunching onions finely chopped plus whatever else there, often sorrel, parsley, coriander etc etc. Mix well.

Shaked’s Israeli version of a cheese salad has been loved by all here too. We make kefir cheese but it can be yoghurt cheese as well. Take 1 cup of cheese, Add 1 Tbspn good quality olive oil, NZ cold pressed is in the supermarkets now for a good price, add salt to taste and finely chopped herbs, paprika and maybe a little fermented hot chilli sauce mix well and serve on sourdough bread etc etc.