Abundance Is Not Always a Bliss. Excess Sometimes Hurts.

I am back with the problems of people who grow seasonal produce. And this is on Kerala bananas.

Kerala bananas are unique and I have seen the same ones in some other countries like Ghana. It is used for making banana chips, banana fritters etc. Though available throughout the year, there’s bumper crops during the season.

Like all perishable produce, the excess in the season is a problem. And we see abundance along the highways selling at low prices like 4 kgs for 100 rupees.

We can help the farmers by buying this excess to process them for storage for later use.

Here it’s just a natural process without any additives. I have 6 bananas here, skinned and sliced into 4 slices for each banana.

The slices are then kept in the the sun to dry. A few days of good sunlight will process the slices into sun dried bananas.

These then can be stored in glass jars for over a year in room temperature. It’s delicious on its own. Fabulous with some grated coconut, honey, sugar or jaggery.

Cut into small pieces, the sun dried bananas can be used as dry fruits for any preparation needing dry fruits.

Banana planters get to sell their produce at a reasonable price when we individuals buy them in larger quantities and preserve for future use.

It’s again a win-win and provides the satisfaction of fulfilling a social responsibility.

Abundance Is Not Always a Bliss. Excess Sometimes Hurts.

Food Security and Farmer Security.

My drive of 75 kms from Kochi to my hometown is always fascinating. This time for a new reason.

Throughout the journey, there are stalls on both sides of the road where fruits are sold in plenty. Attractively stacked up are oranges, pineapple, Kerala bananas, grapes and even dragon fruit.

Something common to the first four is that it’s 4kgs for ₹100 ($1.35). That’s quite a bargain for any standards. In fact the majestic tropical fruit pineapple is sometimes sold at unbelievably low prices.

Clearly the farmers get even less as the buyers pay middleman markup too.

Remember, all these are quite perishable and the producers can easily be taken for a ride.

This seasonal distress could dissuade a hardworking farmer from producing at all, which will then start the vicious cycle of food shortage.

This unless authorities step in and guarantee a minimum sustainable price. It’s been lobbied for producers of items like wheat and rice.

We too have a social responsibility of supporting the farmers. However it’s difficult to consume or store larger quantities.

But we can try certain things like processing them to last longer.

I bought grapes more than I could consume. And here’s what I did for processing it.

Wash/ clean the grapes keep them with skin (I bought the seedless ones). In a hard bottom vessel melted palm jaggery. Added the grapes to it kept in low flame till they become tender.

Squeezed two lemon juices and continued processing, mixing periodically for uniform heating.

Used a potato masher to mash the grapes and continued on small flame till it became thick for a jam consistency.

The outcome is quite tasty and can be used as jam or spread. It has a shelf life though no preservative was added. And longer life when kept in the fridge.

If we do this with the seasonal produces, we can have the satisfaction of contributing to the food security. A win-win for all.

Food Security and Farmer Security.

Outgoing Calls

I was listening to a motivational speech, targeted at people in older age. She said incoming calls will reduce, but nothing prevents you from increasing the outgoing calls.

There’s a problem here, I think. Busy people won’t have the time to receive those outgoing calls.

That’s where a‘good morning’ message on social media could make a difference. The recipient gets to see and respond, if desired, at a convenient time.

It’s happening. See the footnote on the picture. 100 crore is a billion. Wow.

Another thing the motivational speaker said was not to have too much of an expectation. But do what makes you happy.

All the one billion good mornings would not have been responded. But some would have. And those would have helped the recipient to start the day on a happy note. And made the sender super happy to get a‘good morning to you too’ message.

Good morning!

Outgoing Calls

Indriya Sands, A Resort With A Difference.

Tucked between Sandy Beach and sprawling Backwaters.

It’s difficult to find such a unique location. Right in between a beautiful Sandy beach and miles of sprawling backwaters.

That’s what Indriya Sands is and that’s why it’s unique.

That’s not all. There are 12 well appointed guest rooms, ample dining space, large entrance lounge, two swimming pools and a party hall. One can even catch the fish in the backwaters.

Three kayaks and three paddling boats keep guests busy over the calm backwaters. And the sea keeps guests washing back to the shore draped in frothy white waves.

Rooms are comfortable, fairly large sized, clean with tall wooden roofs.

Then there’s this specialty of Kerala resorts, the amazingly friendly staff, just eager to please you.

You know what happened to us! We checked in previous day to our wedding anniversary. My wife asked the resort to fetch a cake with icing and happy anniversary written. They used the information.

A candlelight dinner table was set up to surprise us at dinner time. The general manager and staff came up to us to extend anniversary wishes. They even played malayalam romantic songs. The cake was declared ‘on the house’. Just got touched.

We’re sure going back. I am recommending, highly, you to consider Indriya Sands, Kuzhippally near Cherai in Ernakulam, Kerala your next holiday location.

Indriya Sands, A Resort With A Difference.

ശിവേട്ടൻടെ കട, മീനാണു താരം.

With Shivettan

‘Shivettante Kada (Shivettan’s shop) is a fish specialty local roadside eatery in Cherai beach in Kerala. And it was an ideal lunch place for us celebrating our wedding anniversary at the beautiful resort Indriya Sands in the adjacent sandy beach Kuzhippally.

Interestingly, I am following the restaurant on Instagram. And the place truly lives up to the expectation. Certainly fish is the hero there (മീനാണു താരം).

For the sumptuous lunch we had Karimeen fry, prawns and squid to the set meals. And tasted excellent.

Certainly a must eat place, if you happen to pass by anywhere near.

ശിവേട്ടൻടെ കട, മീനാണു താരം.

FEAR, As It Manifests In Many Ways!

Fear is felt before the cause happens. Once it happens, it’s just a feeling of resignation.

Covid pandemic is a cause for great fear and unfortunately it’s not going away.

There are others, albeit minor in nature in our daily life.

I felt one of those, this morning when I went to the ATM to take some cash.

With a background familiar with cards and it’s operations, I was comfortable in navigating the keys and strokes in asking for the amount required.

And fear struck me when the ATM accepted my PIN and when I looked at the slot where the money would come.

It’s not anxiety, it’s fear of the red notes coming out.

₹2000 denominated notes are a burden to an Indian consumer. The market is enabled for electronic transactions, big and small. But use of physical currency of that value is not.

Declared policies on digital transactions and cash avoidance do not support the existence of such a currency note.

Perhaps the banks find it convenient to load cash machines with it so that they don’t go cashless.

To cut it short, I admit to be a victim of fear of seeing red notes out of an ATM slot.

FEAR, As It Manifests In Many Ways!

Manga Thera (Mango Bar). Most Traditional and Intense.

‘Chandrakkaran’ is an unusual name for a mango, and it’s perhaps an exclusive Kerala privilege to enjoy delicacies made during the various stages of the fruit’s growth.

Grown on tall big trees, the early use is for kannimanga achar (tender mango pickle). It’s for kaduku manga when it’s a little more bigger when the pickle with a liberal use of mustard seeds has mango cut in small pieces.

There’s a uppu manga stage when the fruit is practically matured. Here the whole mango is pickled by keeping them in salt water and closed securely in earthen jars.

This variety of mango fruits in plenty and in bunches and are of small in size. The taste is extreme at every stage with a pronounced tinge of the sap or the penchant latex, even for the ripe fruit.

Ripe Chandrakkaran is a delight, and traditional Kerala has a method of preserving the goodness of the seasonal manga by making thera.

It’s the most difficult process of any food and it takes a number of days of the mago pulp mixed with some roasted rice powder and sugar and dried in the sun after spreading on paya (kaitha mats) with new pulp mixture added everyday till it’s dried.

My niece’s house had the mago and we were given some for uppumanga, but I had other ideas. The mangoes were allowed to ripen, and I used a crude short cut to make this thera.

The pulp mixed with rice powder and palm jaggery (I avoid processed sugar whenever possible). Since I don’t have the paya, baked the mixture, cut into small pieces and I am drying them in the sun.

Perhaps I will make it the traditional way sometime during the season.

Manga Thera (Mango Bar). Most Traditional and Intense.

New Year And Resolutions.

2020, well we want to forget the year. That’s fine provided we can make 2021 worthwhile.

Sometimes, we can’t just start from scratch. It’s applicable with new year resolutions. It’s better to pick up from where it was left.

The most ambitious and key resolution I had was to acquire six packs by end 2020. There were others, now being reclassified into ‘bucket list’.

Did I acquire six packs? Well we can see it here. Some work is required. Of course, the happenings in 2020 is the excuse.

So it’s just carried forward. That means, six packs is in the list.

Others

Years of corporate life, suited and booted made my feet tender. I can’t walk on the mud without footwear. Here’s a resolution to run on stones. I am already walking in the compound, barefoot.

Continue, guide and mentor intermittent fasting. Be a coach.

Sleep seven plus hours.

Eat sensibly, less sugar more good food.

Plant trees, grow fruits and vegetables

Cook exotic, traditional and specialty food.

Travel more.

Happy 2021.

New Year And Resolutions.

We Learned to Visualise and Grow Fonder. Meeting of Hearts is Hope.

The pandemic forced us to be least exposed. Students didn’t go to classrooms but studied online.

Online food delivery fed the population. Smart phones became the accessory for most things.

People met hidden behind masks. Namaste 🙏 became the greeting medium for the world.

Temples, Churches and Mosques shifted to homes.

Theatres gave way to Netflix.

In spite of all these hidings and escapes, heart just grew fonder. That’s just amazing.

There lies the ‘hope’. Hope is not in hoping for the better future. Hope is in the heart. Hearts meet in a place called heaven.

To put it simply, heaven is where hearts meet. That’s Hope.

Let there be‘hope’ in the new year.

We Learned to Visualise and Grow Fonder. Meeting of Hearts is Hope.

Waste Management. Edible Options.

Amla (gooseberry) juice is a healthy drink and I was making it from fresh berries.

Boiled and pulped amla was squeezed through cheesecloth to extract the juice.

The residue smelt exciting and I added some roasted ragi (finger millet) and palm jaggery powder. The mixture was cooked on medium flame in a thick bottom vessel adding some fresh ghee so that it will not stick to the vessel.

The cooked mix was rolled into small balls, ready for enjoying its katta-mitta (sour and sweet) tang.

It’s maximum utilisation of resources, a theme learned in Covid time survival.

Waste Management. Edible Options.