ICE-CREAM AND WORMS

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Worms and bananas make the best ice-cream imaginable. Ice-cream that will tantalize the tastebuds of even the fussiest chicken. When we feed the banana skin to the hungry worms we use the sweet banana itself to make our own human version of ice-cream to tantalize our own tastebuds. The first time I ever made this, it was a plain vanilla ice-cream. Farmer Buckaroo - an ice-cream connoisseur - could not believe it wasn't the sugar loaded, preservative enriched, dairy variety on offer at the shops. Since then I have whipped up this deliciously creamy ice-cream with any number of sprinkles and flavours but today let's make it chocolate ice-cream with nuts and berries. After last week's garden journal post some of you asked for the ice-cream recipe that featured among the magnificent flowering almond tree .... and here it is!!!

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Apart from the fact that I love everything natural - with a good dollop of cacao - I am not the biggest fan of bananas. I include them in our daily diet as they are part of the wonderful fruit family and have value of their own. Plus the rest of my family love bananas. So I disguise the overpowering banana flavour to suit my personal palate. Our fruit bowls always have bunches of bananas. The overripe bananas get frozen. We are never without. This has proven essential since the addition of the newest creatures to our homesteading life. Worms!

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Ask most homesteaders how valuable worms are. These are not your average garden earthworm! We make worm tea (with the compostings from worms) for our gardens. We recently started growing our free roaming chickens their own protein - in the form of these little worms. To begin the eco cycle what do we feed the worms? Rolled oats and banana skins! Plenty of them! Which means that I am making a lot of ice-cream, even though it's still the middle of winter.

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To make this ice-cream you can really jazz it up or keep it simple. It's easy to make. And fast. Apart from the dash of nut butter it is inexpensive to make. I always have in my freezer both frozen bananas and dates. Fresh bananas also work perfectly. Mine were getting overripe so I made a really big batch of ice-cream! I generally go with chocolate everything! But the banana loving majority of the family like the original recipe which is vanilla and banana. If this is your preference simple omit the cacao powder.

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ICE-CREAM:
6 Bananas (frozen or fresh)
8 dates (depitted and soaked)
4 tablespoons nut butter
3 tablespoons cacao
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or the inner of one vanilla pod)

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Because dates are our sweetener of choice I use them often in making treats. I keep a tub of date jam in the freezer. You simply soak depitted dates overnight (in just enough water to cover) and blend. For the ice-cream you can also pour a little boiling water over the dates half an hour ahead of time.

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Chunky chop your bananas and dates. Throw them in the food processor with the vanilla, cacao powder and nut butter. I usually add almond nut butter for a stronger nut flavour. This is an almost unfloppable recipe so add more or less of any ingredient that your tastebuds dictate. I added a lot more cacao and almond nut butter.

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Blend for a couple minutes until the mix is smooth. It can become rather runny. Scoop into a container to pop in the freezer for at least an hour. Then serve with any yummy topping of your choice. If you leave the ice-cream longer it becomes extremely hard but softens beautifully when left to stand for a few minutes.

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We still have last seasons almonds which I had soaked, lightly roasted and tossed over the ice-cream. I also have the end of the seasons frozen mulberries which makes a delicious tart contrast to the chocolate ice-cream. Despite the unpredictably cold winter weather and many night's at the fireside we still enjoy a bowl of ice-cream. Of course our worms are also grateful for the amount of ice-cream my family devour.

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