ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Environmental group WWF would like to see us stop wasting 75 percent of the electricity we use to hard-boil some 900 million eggs every year. The group doesn’t comment on our consumption of 100 hard-boiled eggs each, but it does says we could prepare them more efficiently.
The group asked Salt (Swiss Alpine Laboratories for Testing Energy Efficiency) to test and compare several methods. Their results (left to right in the graph):
1) egg cookers, which use little water and turn off once the eggs are cooked;
2) eggs cooked in two-fingers depth of water, lid on and heat turned off as soon as the eggs come to a boil; eggs are left for 20 minutes
3) same as number 2 but on a vitroceramic stove
4) vitroceramic stove using a lot of water and no lid
5) non-votroceramic, a lot of water, no lid
6) induction heat, a lot of water, no lid.
WWF says that unfortunately, most cookbooks still advice people to do it the old-fashioned and energy-inefficient way.
BERN, SWITZERLAND – Swiss supermarket chain Migros will undoubtedly have chocolate Santas and trees for the holiday season, but this year it’s come up with an unusual Christmas treat: a milk chocolate foil-wrapped camel fit for the Three Kings of Christmas lore.
The supermarket will stock them in 100 of its shops.
It notes that at least 21 percent of the milk is powdered camel’s milk from camel stables in the Emirates. Camel’s milk has been considered by desert nomads “since the start of time to be an elixir”. The other ingredients: natural Bourbon vanilla, acacia honey and selected cocoa beans.
The 130g treat was designed by chocolatier Al Nassna de Dubai and sells for CHF19.
We just had visitors, one of whom is vegetarian, so we prepared lentils with cumin and garden pumpkin risotto. What I realized only the next morning is that she is doesn’t eat fish, eggs or dairy products, and the risotto had cream. Our family cooking is not meat-centred, but like many non-vegetarians we have to think hard to conjure up a vegan meal, which lops out our easy alternatives, such as cheese and egg dishes. I wish that two nights ago I had known about Lavidalocavore’s writer LeeN, who is doing a series called Vegan cooking for non-vegans: countdown to Thanksgiving. Mouth-watering recipes and since there are 18 of them so far, this will stretch well past Thanksgiving day.
And if, like me, you are not sure what cranberry beans are, food writer Jennifer Jeffrey posts some lovely photos of them on her blog. Hint: they are speckled, and think of the colour cranberry.
Fresh cranberries, by the way, are now on sale at supermarkets in Switzerland, but they will soon disappear: they are sold as accompaniments for game dishes, so the season is mid-October to mid-November. I always buy a couple bags in advance of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the two times I like to include them on the menu, and I freeze them. They thaw in 10 minutes if you put them in a big strainer.
WWF Switzerland was encouraging us all to have a vegetarian lunch today, and while they didn’t catch some of us on time, their reminder that meat should be the exception, not the rule for meals, will come with me to the supermarket as I buy tonight’s dinner supplies.
If you eat meat in moderation six times a week you’ll reduce by 10 percent on your global environmental footprint, because meat consumption is linked to one-third of our food imprint, says the WWF. Better yet, cut down to three times a week, if you don’t fancy being a vegetarian, and you’ll reduce your food footprint by 20 percent.
A couple suggestions from WWF: avoid breaded veal and buy plain bio veal for a better impact on soil, water and climate use. Pork chops: buy bio pork, just for special occasions.
20 sensible environmental food tips from WWF
- Select vegetarian recipes and use in-season products
- Choose fruits and vegetables grown in fields, not hot houses
- Grow your own vegetables, on your balcony or in your garden
- Reduce your consumption of meal, poultry, fish, seafood and milk products
- To reduce your environmental footprint by 20 percent, cut back meat products to three times a week.
- Buy field fruits and vegetables
- Go for local products
- Opt for bio meats
- Buy only fish labelled MSC or bio fish
- Buy fair trade products
- Don’t buy frozen foods
- Give up convenience foods
- Avoid produts that use too much packaging
- Do your shopping by bicycle or on foot
- Shop close to home and avoid driving to distant shopping centres
- Re-use your shopping bags
- Only buy the quantity you need
- Cook using covers as often as possible
- Heat cooking water in a kettle and use a pressure cooker as much as possible
- Use tap rather than bottled water.
Here’s a shortcut a wine grape grower’s wife shared with me, for topping and tailing gooseberries. We use them in jam and pies, both of which I love, but it’s always seemed unfair to me that you first get pricked by the thorns and then you have the tedious job of topping and tailing them.
The trick is to place them on a freezer tray for 2 hours immediately after picking them. The bits on the ends break off easily when frozen, and you’ll save about 20 minutes of work per pie. Better yet, you need slightly less sugar in the jam because freezing the berries concentrates their own sugar, in much the way cryoextraction is used to make sweet ice wines.
A word of caution: don’t refreeze! Use them right after topping and tailing.
By Ellen Wallace
Saillon, Switzerland (GenevaLunch.com) - There are dozens of good reasons to go to canton Valais right now, starting with temperatures that fall one degree for every 200 metres or so of altitude in the Alps.
But the best reason for the next week to 10 days is apricots, fully ripe now, with wonderful flavour and selling for about CHF6/kg at roadside stands that have suddenly appeared everywhere.
Buy as many as you can eat in two days, close your eyes and enjoy one of Switzerland’s finest treats.
They are picked ripe and don’t keep at this stage: they’re meant to be eaten, right now.
By Ellen Wallace
Most of us don’t have the luxury of going out into the garden, picking the asparagus, then cooking it within minutes, which gives a heavenly vegetable.
The best alternative, and this is the season for it, is to go to the farmer’s door early in the morning to buy freshly picked stalks, then cook them for lunch. Canton Geneva has several farmers who sell directly but be forewarned that they are likely to be sold out by 10:00 at the height of the season!
Canton Valais is famous for its asparagus and Saillon is renowned as the Valais capital, with green and white equally popular.
Breaking news: we have local strawberries and rhubarb!
Whoof, spring is here, even if the mercury can’t seem to rise quite to the heights we would like.
I was worried last week at this time. Be patient, the Mara des Bois will come in time.
For local vegetables, green is the word. There are salads of every type, especially pourprier, rosette, arugula, baby spinach, chervil, and numerous other mixed wild greens.
Lots of sorrel to make your salmon sauce or soup. Jump on the dandelion greens while they’re plentiful. Nettles arrived on the scene this week.
Root vegetables are still in: celery root (celeriac), baby beets and carrots.
There are plenty of fat red radishes and spring onions. Jerusalem artichokes are still on the scene, as are parsnips and new potatoes, especially the raclette types. Oodles of varieties of potatoes.
There are plenty of baby leeks, broccoli and cabbages. Nice tender kohlrabi is available as well, along with Swiss chard and delicious fennel.
For other fruit, you’ll have to buy French or Italian products. Italian and Spanish oranges are excellent this year.
There are actually Florida grapefruit available, despite all the catastrophic predictions.
French strawberries are in abundance, as are, of course, the Spanish ones.
Yellow kiwis from New Zealand are excellent this year, and Alphonso, well, I still have my love affair with Alphonso mangoes. I bought a dozen today for CHF2 a piece. They may be ugly, but they have a special place in my little heart. French rhubarb is available, although not in vast quantity.
Quite a variety of herbs, considering the fact that winter still hasn’t decided to really leave.
I’m not a flower specialist, so I don’t know the names. I’ll just show you the photos; they speak for themselves. There are however tulips and forsythia galore.
Spring is here, technically speaking, but it’s still cold, so many local products that would normally be available now simply are not. It snowed in the Alps Easter weekend, and the skiing is great, so we can’t have the best of both worlds.
Root vegetables are still in: celery root (celeriac), baby beets and carrots. There are plenty of fat red radishes and spring onions. Jerusalem artichokes are still on the scene, as are parsnips and new potatoes, especially the raclette types.
MarketView is published every week or so so you can take a look at our list before you go to the market. It should serve as a tool to help you make your grocery list and menus for the week before you go off to the market.
Fall fruit and vegetables
Baby carrots, baby turnips, baby beets, radishes of all types. New potatoes of all varieties.
Swiss chard (blettes), Jerusalem artichokes (topinambur), parsnips (panais), celeriac (celery root of knob celery, called céleri rave in French).
Cepe mushrooms (bolets) (delicious this year), field chanterelles (dark brown and gold in color, only available for a very short period in the autumn), black truffles, and a wide variety of other wild mushrooms.
Wild greens of all types, mesclun (mixed wild salad greens), wild arugula rocket salad, cabbage of all types, kohlrabi (colrave), beets, leeks, pumpkin, squash of all types, cauliflower, broccoli. Herbs of all types.
Grapes (try the hard-to-find framboisé variety, absolutely delicious), apples, pears.