Liver, love it or loathe it
Yellow can be too bold for some gardeners in the height of summer, but in autumn it is delightful.
Goldenrod ( Solidago sp) is named for its slender, upright rods adorned with feathery, golden-yellow flowers. The tall, weedy, original species ( Solidago canadensis) can be invasive and should be avoided.
But the many attractive, compact hybrids are gorgeous when teamed with blue-purple flowers and grasses. I love Golden Baby (60cm) and Little Lemon (30-45cm). For a taller option, try Fireworks (80-100cm). H. autumnale Moerheim Beauty is a beautiful bronze-red, to 1m.
Helenium sp are American wildflowers that grow to 1m and flower during late summer and early autumn. The daisy-like flowers have distinctive spherical centres surrounded by gracefully drooping petals in brownish-yellow to mahogany shades, sometimes frilled. They are great for arrangments.
Flowering will continue into late summer, even autumn if spent flowers are clipped. Heleniums prefer rich, fertile soils, don’t like to be too dry, and will grow in light shade.
The daisy-like flowers have gracefully-drooping petals.
Ilove eating liver. I'm married to a man who loves it too.
None of our children will touch it. Danes love eating leverpostej, or liver paste, giving me a connection through my Danish heritage,
But I have concluded that the love of eating liver is not genetic.
It's wrapped up in emotion for me. When I was young, I stayed with my maternal grandmother a lot. Her name was Alice, but I called her Gar.
Our favourite breakfast was sheep brain fritters and liver, fried up by Gar in an ancient cast iron pan, on the wood stove in her pokey little kitchen in Ngahape, in the middle of the Waikato.
I read somewhere that a child should have at least one adult in their life who adores them. Gar was the one for me. She died when I was seven years old and I've never eaten sheep brain fritters again.
But when I eat liver, memories of my precious days with her come flooding back.
Maybe a love of liver also comes down to exposure? Liver was a frequent ingredient in a breakfast fry-up in my family when I was growing up. We often had shop-bought paté in the fridge and I ate it by the spoonful when Mum wasn't looking.
Venison livers are not hard to get in Marlborough Sounds. When we hunt and bag a deer, I am very quick to retrieve its liver. I am a firm believer in using all of an animal. I carve off all the tasty cuts, strip the carcass for sausage and salami, boil up the bones for broth, and bury the hide in the vegetable garden where it feeds the soil. The liver gets made into paté.
The liver is an important organ for every vertebrate in the world. The Greeks and Romans considered it to be the seat of life and our passions, and the closest organ to divine presence.
Today, we know the liver is responsible for performing over 500 different vital functions: it helps blood to clot, fights infections, and manufactures hormones and proteins. At any time, your liver contains 10 per cent of the blood in your body. It's busy too, filtering around 1.5 litres of blood every minute.
Liver as a food is one of the most abundant sources of vitamins A, B12, and iron. If you are butchering an animal, it's important to know that any drench or medications have cleared its system before you kill and process it. Instructions for both will make a note of any withholding periods, typically 30 days.
Alternatively, you may choose what I do and use only the livers of wild or organic animals.