Saturday, December 15, 2012


One question I have heard often is about the food we can purchase.  I mentioned the abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables available at the outdoor markets.  When Tom stopped 3 weeks ago, on his way back from Lusaka, to purchase charcoal the vendor didn't have change.  So they added a huge bag of green beans, another large bag of green peppers and a watermelon.  They were all tasty, but definitely needed to be thoroughly washed and debugged.

When we passed through Kitwe this morning on our way home from the Ndola shopping trip we stopped at the new Pick n' Pay.  An American has built (and it isn't quite finished ... we live in Zambia and that is just part of the ethic here) a wonderful shopping mall on the Chingola side of Kitwe.  This is our 2nd visit (the other was last Sunday.)  Definitely worth the drive.

While there I decided to go ahead and get eggs.  Here, like many places around the world, eggs are stored on regular shelves, not refrigerated.  They are sometimes clean, but usually not completely.

Just like the produce, they have to be washed very carefully.  Notice this label on our carton:

Apparently that only means after you get them home.  There are no freshness dates, so you just trust, and do the float test.  Here are the eggs in this carton.  These look very, very nice.  The selection in Chingola at the Shoprite isn't quite as nice.  You'll notice they aren't clean, but at least they aren't crusty!  We also have to be cautious about baby roaches stowing away in the carton.  I save my cartons to use as seed starters.  Lettuce for salad is not readily available, and when it is, it is prepared in a plastic package with about only a 1 or 2 day shelf-life.

To get these beauties ready to store I'll fill our large stainless steel bowl with water, toss any that are cracked (not taking any chances), do a quick float test, then add about 1 cup of white vinegar.  Some folks use chlorine bleach to clean theirs, but I find white vinegar to be a bit less toxic to the consumer, and just as effective at killing off large and microscopic bugs.  After they soak for about 5 or so minutes I'll scrub them with a brush and store in the refrigerator.

I forgot them last week, left them in a bit too long, and the vinegar had dissolved the outer layer of eggshell.  They were clean!  But I don't intend to leave them in quite that long.  

And if you're wondering, we paid ZMK 20900 for the 30 pack.  That is a little over  $4.  (drop the last three digits and divide by 5)

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