Just Plodding Along

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I got Big Nuts

But I'm talking about some walnuts Sis and I found today. Large nuts, but when we cracked a few open there wasn't much meat inside. Still, they are impressive to hold.


Monday, March 29, 2010

As busy as a bee with a bum full of honey.

I have bottled peaches, made apple and peach chutney - check out the orange lid on that jar...

is that okay?? We had good old pea, pie and pud for tea,

and tried out my pickled walnuts. Had them on a cracker with some brie and oh boy they were something I'd never tasted before.

I will be enjoying these while they last!

That makes 11 jars of peaches. I have a lot in the freezer too.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Adventures In Bottling Black Boy Peaches

Tonight's the first time I've tried to preserve the fruit whole in syrup. After breaking the first jar, I think when I put it on the metal bench the temperature difference caused the jar to break. After that I put the jars on a teatowel, so the next ones wouldn't break. Four out of five isn't bad, and a lesson learned for the next time.

A full(ish) basket of black boy peaches for preserving.

Peaches stewing.

Syrup on the boil in the background, peaches ready for bottling and two jars in the water bath.

One broke, boo hoo.

Four out of five worked out okay.

The basket stll holds plenty of work for tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quince and Apple Jelly, and Tomato Sauce

So the quince didn't give me as much liquid as last time so I bulked it up with some apple liquid too. Came up with about 800mls. I added 590g of sugar and crossed my fingers. I'll have to check the jelly when it is cold, as it's still hot and very fluid.The tomato sauce I found the recipe in the Edmonds book, and had all the ingredients on hand. The smell of the tomato and onion reminded me of eating that in sandwiches at the Orchard over ten years ago. Amazing how smell works huh? The tomato sauce jarred well, all the seals popped on the twist on lids. I used two of the new jar lids and screw bands tonight, one each of jelly and sauce, so tomorrow I'll look how they sealed. $4 in PnS for 12 lids today. Found them and the cellophane covers 25 for $1.95 next to the baking items.

This is the black boy peach cobbler I made for pudding tonight. Man it was good. Will have to make it again for my visitors. Tastes even better with foraged fruit.

The biggest of the Beefsteak tomatoes I've grown so far. It weighs 379g alone! I am going to save the seeds for next year, as I don't think this one is a hybrid and it should produce good fruit for next year.

The three jars of bottled apple slices I made last night all sealed well. I am going to open one within the next week and see if the syrup was strong enough. I made a medium one, that was 1 cup sugar to 2 cups water.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Walnuts, Where Are You?

So, collecting walnuts you would think would have some success wouldn't you?

Not so. Maybe we have had bad luck. Maybe we are too early yet. But to get 1/2 a cup of nut meat out of this many walnuts is really not good. Most of the nuts had no meat inside at all. Just a shriveled little woody thing. The rest were either mouldy or rotten. Yuk. Even though we haven't had many to eat, we will still pick them up, as we hope our luck will change - or the later nuts will be more developed and therefore be better to harvest for their meat.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Making Jellies and Syrups

Blackberry and Apple tart. Was delicious with the fresh berries!

To deal with the rosehips, grapes and quinces I've laid my hands on recently, I've been making juices. Rosehip Syrup is the one I'm working on today. I'm using the recipe I found at Cottage Smallholder (thanks!).


The batch I made the other day was only a half amount and it still made two small bottles so this full batch will be hard to bottle as I'm down to using jars now. I already have some apple/blackberry juice in the freezer as well as some grape, so I can make that into jelly later into winter. Looking forward to that already. While out foraging a week ago my foraging friend and I stumbled onto some crabapples, walnuts and mulberries, so the crabapples have been made into jelly, and I hate to say it, but we're almost all the way through it already! Need to get some more I think. To make the jelly juice before adding sugar, I cover the fruit with water and bring to a steady simmer so the fruit softens, then when it's all squishy and juicy and yummy smelling I drain it through a muslin cloth over night.
Quince; 800mls juice to 600g sugar made ~ 1090mls jelly
Crabapples; 1.3kgs of fruit made 1 litre juice, with 750g sugar made ~900mls jelly
Mulberries; tried to make jelly, but ended up being more like syrup, think it needs pectin.

Also have made blackberry jam, 6 jars ~ 1500g of it. Turned out good consistency. Followed the Edmonds cookbook recipe for raspberry jam.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Preserving Time of the Year

Have been busy in the kitchen again..

Mulberry Jelly, the berries are a little like blackberries, but more 'glued' to themselves. Half a kilo only made a jar and a half, so we had a little on toast to try it out. Delicious, fragrant jelly. The mulberries were picked from a tree across town, and I'll definitely go and get some more.

Made lava rock cakes last night too with Daughter, I had to roll the dough quickly while Daughter tossed the balls of chocolatey goodness in the icing sugar and placed them on the tray to bake.

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