More jungle eats

The past couple of weeks seem to be all about food around here, so here is a taste (haha) of what we’ve been doing.

With a hundred bananas ripe all at once we had to figure out something to do with them really quick. I mean seriously, you can only eat so many fresh bananas. So out came the dehydrator and we did about 70 or so bananas. What we have been doing is soaking the sliced bananas in fruit juice before they get dehydrated and they turn out great. In the past, we have used mango and orange juice, but this time we had some peach juice on hand. They always turn out good and end up tasting like a sweet chewy all-natural candy. Oh and by the way, an avocado slicer works great on bananas.

This is what 40 bananas come down to once dehydrated.

With so many bananas,  we also made frozen chocolate-covered bananas sprinkled with coconut. The chocolate was a little thick so we thinned it out with a little coconut oil so it would cover better. Talk about a tropical treat, chocolate, coconut frozen bananas, oh yah!

Next time we get fancy, with caramel, peanut butter, or maybe sprinkles.

Well, it’s bacon time again. This time we are making two bellies for us, one for a neighbor and one for another friend. We have mostly been making a black pepper bacon, smoked with hickory. This seems to work best for us because it is great on BLT’s, breakfast, and even in chowders.

Pork bellies waiting to be cured and turned into bacon.

The pork bellies have cured and they were ready to go in the smoker. I was all set to use our small electric smoker since there wasn’t that much going in there. But just as I was loading it up there were a lot of big sparks and the breaker popped. Something had shorted across the heating element. I could tell because there was a big weld-like mark on it. I assume it was some type of small critter, remember the cat on Christmas Vacation? So plan “B”… fire up the big smoker, and since it was going we might as well throw on a couple racks of rib.

Bacon and ribs, smoked with craboo and allspice wood.

With St. Patty’s day quickly approaching, it was time to get some briskets in the brine so we could have some corned beef ready for that day when everybody’s Irish. There are a couple company’s here that sell packaged cuts of meat, but we like to go directly to the local butcher. When we order briskets they usually come with the bones and a bunch of other meat still attached. The butcher will trim up the briskets and give you all the bones and grind up the extra trimmings for burger.  With the two nice briskets, we also got about 6 lbs. of burger and a whole bag of bones for making some great stock. Plus we also ended up with a couple pounds of meat that were taken off the roasted bones that will make something good. If we want corned beef, we need to make it ourselves because they don’t sell it here. Well actually they do, but it comes in a little can next to the Vienna sausages, and we all know how good that stuff is.

Beef bones roasting with some herbs before being made into stock. It smells sooooo good!

That hogfish we got a couple weeks ago was ready for the grill so we invited a few friends over for a little beach party in the jungle. Kelley made up a pineapple, red pepper, habanero salsa with a little sour orange juice, and cilantro. That made for some great fish tacos along with some conch ceviche, jalapeño poppers, a cheesy spinach dip, corn salad, and of course margaritas.

Hogfish with pineapple, habanero salsa getting ready for the grill.

Since we were having fish tacos and margaritas, we might as well keep up the theme with the desserts. We made these before in Mexico and they were a big hit, so why not make them again? They are personal key lime pies with a beachy theme to them.

Key lime pie, graham cracker sand, mango beach towel, teddy graham bears, and umbrellas.

Usually, when we make these beach desserts we buy some fruit roll-ups to use as little beach towels, but we couldn’t find any down here. So we puréed some mangos, poured them on some parchment paper, and put them in the dehydrator. Instant fruit roll-ups, can’t wait for the grandkids to get here and make some for them.

Mango fruit roll-ups.

Ok, we saw this and thought we had to try it. A watermelon ham. I guess some chef in New York did it a few years ago and it was an internet sensation. So you peel the watermelon and then brine it for a few days with a bunch of herbs and spices, then rub it with olive oil and smoke it. I know at this point you’re probably wondering what I’ve been smoking. Anyway, it comes out looking like a ham. The first bite really messes with your mind, you don’t know what to think.  It was very savory with all the herbs and spices and really no flavor of the watermelon.  I’m sure vegans and vegetarians would love this, but as for me, I’m sticking to the real thing.

Is it a ham? Is it a watermelon? No, it’s a watermelon ham!

Just a few afterthoughts

If you plan on moving here and growing any fruits or veggies, a dehydrator is a must. From drying fruits and veggies when you have an abundance, to making your own herb and spice mixes. Unlike the states, not all fruits and veggies are available here year-round.

If you have ever grown zucchini then you know, once they start producing you can’t give them away fast enough. Well, we have decided that bananas are our new zucchini.

Since we had a big pile of banana peels we threw them in a bucket of water to make a compost tea for the garden. I’ve heard this is great for plants and I’ve also heard that it really doesn’t do much. Either way, we had a lot of peels so why not give it a try.

And just to let everyone know that we did make the 3-day challenge of not drinking beer on February 29, 30 and 31. I hope some of you did the same, but now it’s time for a cold beer…Cheers!

7 thoughts on “More jungle eats”

  1. You both are Amazing!! Always ENJOY your Blog to see what you’re up to!! Never seems to be a dull moment in your lives!! Great to see & hear that you are loving life & your Adventues!!

  2. Chocolate coconut bananas look scrumptious. Have you thought about compiling a cook book?

  3. You two should have your own tv show. There are lots of cooking shows but nothing about the foods you grow and process. You made the right decision when you decided to start a whole new adventure. Happy how it turned out but I wish it was a little closer to SD.😋

  4. Wow! This post made me hungry! You two are so creative, you could open a restaurant with all your recipes. The key lime pies are a cool idea. Thanks for sharing.
    Brad & Carol

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