Warning – infomercial about to start!

processorBrace yourselves, tighten your seat belts or do whatever else it takes to glue yourself to this week’s garden column because I have some news that will change your lives. Just a word of warning before I deliver it, though: you may feel like you’re listening to an infomercial (and perhaps that’s what it is) but folks, please do not adjust your set. You see, I have just been given a kitchen gadget that has revolutionised the way I eat, cook, harvest and (I’m not ruling it out) grow! Those of you who know how I live – eschewing all but the essentials when it comes to many things including home appliances (you’ll never find a TV in my house let alone a rice cooker or, Heaven forbid, a heated towel rail) – may be shocked to find that I have allotted a permanent space on my bench for a … (I can’t believe I’m saying this) … Zyliss Easy-Pull Manual Food Processor.

This little gem has no motor, no cord to get tangled, no blade on a hollow stem that gets clogged up with gunge you can never get out. It doesn’t go GGGGRRRRRR in the middle of conversations, bounce over the bench or take up half the shelf in a kitchen cupboard. It’s the size of a large latte bowl, and sits firmly on the bench, held in place with your hand, while you use your other hand to effortlessly pull its little rip cord in the same way you’d start a lawn mower or a chain saw. Three to four pulls on the cord and your fruit/vegetables/nuts/bread/mince – whatever – is chopped to the degree you desire, from chunks to puree.

No more (and this is where I really do apologise if I sound like an infomercial) bits of vegetable all over the bench/floor/cutting board/wall … And there’s only a handful of dishes to do when you’re finished. The upshot is: I am eating vegetable muesli for breakfast (finely chopped carrot, beetroot, apple and nuts with a dash of rolled oats), salads twice a day, and loads more vegetables in the evening, than I ever used to (and I eat a lot of garden produce at the best of times). Just last night I chopped up three large cups of shallots (in as many minutes) for a vegetable based curry.

Because it’s so fun to use, and completely safe while it’s operating (it does still have a sharp blade so take care when dismantling and cleaning), kids are going to be lining up to use it. And children are always more willing to eat what they’ve cooked up themselves. When they’ve downed the salad and soup, reward them with a frozen fruit smoothie because the processor turns these out with ease, too (as it does crumble toppings and pestos).

In the two weeks I’ve owned this amazing little chopper, I estimate my home grown vegetable consumption (most of it in a super-healthy raw form) has increased by 40% while my non-growable carbohydrate intake has taken a plummet. Which is why I’m going to be piling even more animal manure and seaweed onto my garden and making more compost than ever.

Greater vegetable consumption calls for more intensive growing and the need for richer soil and more nutrient top-ups through the season.

Please, if there’s one thing you do to take great advantage of your home grown produce, buy this amazing hand powered processor with its 5-year guarantee ($50 from Amazon, delivered to your door). And while you’re at it, plan on sowing a few more metres of carrots!

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