Friday, April 29, 2011

Free Range Friday ~ or~ We Can't Eat Trees but We Can Breathe Them

Today is Arbor Day, the "nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872." A short interactive background of how this came to be may be read here, and it's really pretty interesting. Morton had a passion for trees, and their benefits, that was so strong, it has become a national day of planting around the country. (When was the last time one of our passions and/or convictions scratched the surface of being that strong?). Thanks, Mr. Morton!

If you live some place where it is applicable (and of course it is not here on Culebra), you can join the National Arbor Day Foundation for $10 and get 10 flowering trees appropriate to your region sent to you for joining. They also have discounts on other trees. It appears to be a pretty good organization, even though I'd personally encourage planting food trees. And why not? If you are going to be waiting for a tree to do something, it might as well feed you! On Culebra, you can buy trees at D's Garden. Or you can ask one of your neighbors for a cutting. Or you can buy seeds and wait a really long time, but that is the beauty of trees, they keep on giving! Look at ol' Johnny Appleseed!

Though a wildly blooming tree of any sort is pretty magical...

Both of these trees are by Milka's, if you want to see them yourself

While the title of this post says you can't eat trees, I can already hear some of you saying, But MJ! You CAN eat trees! You can steep their barks and eat their roots and partake of their fruits. Of course you can. But that was too long a title. Plus, I wanted to emphasize another aspect of trees, of which there are so many, from the obvious to the not so obvious at all. I won't do all your homework for you, but here's a place to get you started or simply to remind yourself to plant another tree.

Because it is mango season around here and because I love mangoes, here are some recipes to give you a taste of the wide variety of dishes and sauces (no, I'm not giving you my mango hot sauce recipe, sorry!) for these succulent fruits.

This is one of my favorites. It's simple, it's quick and it's delicious. This recipe makes enough for two loaves of bread.

Mango Bread

    1 cup butter
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    4 eggs              
    1/2 tsp. salt    
    2 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. vanilla
    4 cups flour
    1 1/2 cups diced mangos
    2 tbsp. lemon juice (fresh is best, bottled works)
    1 cup chopped nuts (optional)   

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs. Stir in dry ingredients, mangoes and lemon juice. Pour into 2 8" loaf pans. Bake at 350' for 1 hour or until loaf tests done. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool thoroughly. For best results, wrap in foil and serve the next day; but I doubt you'll wait that long. I don't. Warm mango bread? Yum! Buen provecho!
photo credit: Unknown

Have a fertile Friday. Do something fundamental.

p.s. Air Flamenco is back in the business of regular flights starting May 6th! Check it out.

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