Sunday, October 16, 2011

Apple juice

#BAD11 #worldfoodday I'm not sure about the Golden Nobles. They are yellow but I'm not sure they are salicylate free. In fact there's a distinct soreness of my throat and running of my nose after eating foods made from them.

I'm ignoring it. It's a cooking apple. It's yellow and  I should be able to eat it and we've got a stock of them. We've eaten apple crumble and made an apple cake. I added some water to some left over stewed apple and drank it as a juice. Apple juice! I haven't drunk that for some time. It left a funny taste in my mouth but did not choke me - so maybe they are only low salicylate. The two varieties of yellow pippin don't seem to have caused any harm. They are delicious but running out fast.

A new blender seems to have appeared in the house so we're thinking of trying some banana smoothies using Smartprice bananas. However I'm not sure it's a good use of expensive fruit. It took one large Golden Noble to make a glass of apple juice and just a couple of minutes to drink it.

Today bloggers are writing about food for World Food Day and also for Blog Action Day, which focuses on the world's starving. If I seem to moan that there's lots of food I can't eat, don't take it seriously. For millions around the world there's lots of food they can't eat, because they cannot get it. And that includes Smartprice bananas and apples and bread.


Sunday, October 09, 2011


The Wormsley Pippin - raised at Downton Castle
We were in Herefordshire the home of the English apple yesterday. And by all accounts it has been a bumper season for the English apple.

We came across an apple exhibition - and not only an exhibition but a sale of rare apples.

Now the diet sheets, as I recall, specify yellow apples only and then in brackets (Golden Delicious). I've never known whether this means only the Golden Delicious has ever been tested or whether they know something about apples in general. It certainly fits with the general principle the redder the fruit, the more dangerous.

But here, at this exhibition, was a host of other yellow apples. So we bought bags of them - one bag of a large yellow cooking apple called Golden Noble. Another bag full of the Wormsley Pippin. I have eaten a Wormsley Pippin tonight and it is delicious - soft and sweet but not round enough for the supermarkets. No obvious ill-effects - maybe my throat feels a little sore. But the diet sheets say "yellow apples" - so we will be eating yellow apples all winter.

There was also a small apple called the Downton Pippin. I got some of these and tried one. Very hard and aromatic and probably not good for the digestion - but I will have to eat them now. The Dowton, like the Wormsley, is raised at a place called Downton Castle, yes, really Downton Castle (If you don't know Downton Abbey is a hit costume drama on British television).

And given the glut of apples this winter, I bitterly resent paying supermarket prices. They are on the ground everywhere you go. We are in fact planning to invest in some Golden Delicious trees. Maybe we could get some Wormsley Pippin trees? Wouldn't that be great!

* If you are in Herefordshire, you have to head for the National Trust's Berrington Hall to find the exhibition.

* I have now googled the Wormsley Pippin and sure enough it is possible to buy the trees. There is a complication - they need a partner to pollinate. The good news is that the Golden Delicious tree will do the job. I can see an orchard coming on.


Monday, October 03, 2011

Granny's remedies

By yesterday morning one eye was bloodshot and had been for two days without any sign of healing. The other was aching and I was losing hearing in the left ear. It was definitely the worst cold I've had since I've had this problem and, worse, it was persisting.

Out of necessity comes invention - or rather reinvention. I remembered getting sinusitis and bad colds as a child. I also know well the symptoms of the other kind of sinusitis, call it inflammatory sinusitis if you like as I'm probably not meant to call it allergic sinusitis. Maybe non-allergic sinusitis to rhyme with non-allergic rhinusitis.

Anyway this was not non-allergic sinusitis, it was viral sinusitis. And the old remedy involves getting plenty of steam and sticking your face in it. This is what I did. It flushes the virus out of the cavities of the face. I combined this with some new tricks - like swallowing to open the  eustachian tubes and flush anything down from the ears. And, as my throat was quite lumpy, I put some salt in some hot water and gargled it.

Within a few hours I was cured. The blood went from the eye as did the aching. I haven't had a chance to test the hearing. At best all that remains is a mild cold.

So what on earth happened? My hyperactive immune system is meant to see off colds - and in case of doubt I thought to get it going with redbush tea and even a glass of wine. My theory is this and I'm no immunologist. The immune system works in several waves - the first is the blunt response to stave off infection. That's what you get when there's a salicylate reaction. Later on the immune system fine tunes itself to deal with particular viruses.

Now for the last five years I've barely had a cold or flu because it's been seen off at the outset. So there's been no fine-tuning against new viruses. The effect is similar to Native Americans or Martians being exposed to the European common cold. I'd lost my immune protection.

So once the virus got through I was vulnerable - and ended up spending two days and many more hours in bed together with a nasty bout of sinusitis.


PS In researching this I went back to several of the Wikipedia sources to make sure I'm not talking utter nonsense. Taken together they are very good. The article on salicylate sensitivity is good but you need to follow the link to Montelukast and on to leukotrienes, the arichidonic cascade etc to get the full story. The front-line immune cells are called neutrophils and they appear to be guided by leukotrienes, which also cause inflammation and hence asthma and other symptoms of allergy.