Homesteading

Soap nut laundry detergent

It’s laundry detergent time again and although I usually use my previous recipe shared on the blog I decided to try something different today using soap nuts.
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What is a soap nut?
Soap nuts or soap berries come from the Sapindus mukorossi tree which grows wild in the Hazara district of Pakistan.

The SoapNut Tree’s botanic family includes 2,000 species, with the mukorossi providing the largest fruit, containing a high content of saponin.   

This nut/berry synthesizes its own natural soapy lathers when mixed with water.
Once germinated, it takes nine years for the SoapNut tree to begin yielding fruit which can then be harvested for 90 odd years!

After you’ve made soap from your berries the remaining husks can be composted making this a really wonderful sustainable option for soaps and detergents!

There are a few options for using soap nuts.
You can pop them in a breathable drawstring bag straight in the washing machine drying after each use or Make hand soap, washing up liquid or laundry liquid.

So today I decided to use a recipe that includes washing soda. I opted for this over straight soap nuts because with Mr Hunter Gatherer working on farms and two little kids we have a lot of DIRTY laundry and I wanted the extra strength wash.

Soap nut laundry liquid recipe
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12 -15 whole soap nuts
4 litres water cups water
1 Table spoon Epson salt
1/4 cup washing soda
A few drops of essential oil if you want scent

In a large pot, add soap nuts and water. Bring to boil on medium heat and boil for 30 minutes.
Take off heat and allow to when it has cooled a bit, add the epsom salt and washing soda.
Stir to dissolve.
Remove the soap nuts and  compost then add essential oils
Pour into bottles of choice and remember to shake before use.
Use 1/2 cup liquid per regular size load of laundry.

Happy soaping!

Anne

Fermenting, Foody things, Homesteading

Fermented Kale Pesto

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A while ago I was asked on Instagram for my Fermented kale pesto recipe. I sent them to the blog only to realize I hadn’t actually shared this recipe yet! Well I apologize to that follower because it’s only now months later that I am sharing it.
Kale pesto is a favorite here and it was one of our most popular items when we sold at markets. I have mentioned before memories of my Oma telling me I needed to eat more Kale before it was ‘super food’ I had no idea what Kale was as it had never been in the supermarket so I usually ignored her. Years later when we first started growing vegetables and I was buying seeds I invested in loads of heirloom kale seeds and being in a cold climate they grew really well! So well in fact that we had to come up with lots of different ways to use them and one of these ways is the Fermented Pesto I’m sharing with you now.

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                                                              Fermented Kale Pesto
fills a 1kg yogurt bucket
1 big bunch of Kale
1 Onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 orange whole but peeled
4 tomatoes (or a tin of tomatoes)
1 Cup organic apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
Optional extras – Nuts (pine, walnuts), Basil, Other tasty garden greens like nasturtiums
In a food processor throw in all the ingredients except the olive oil and blitz to pesto consistency and add salt and pepper to taste.
Pop into your fermenting vessel of choice and ferment about 3-4 days you can go longer but this is my preferred acidity for the pesto. After this cover the surface in olive oil and store in the fridge. I have had this last 5 months in the fridge and still taste fine.
Serving suggestions
Eat as a straight pesto with pasta or as a dip, add cream for a creamy sauce, Add feta and cook in pies. It’s a great go to for busy days when you want a quick meal.

Foody things, Homesteading, News

Drowning in Apples and eating well -Beetroot falafel recipe!

Well we’ve definitely been keeping ourselves busy which is good as it keeps us out of trouble!.
Mr Hunter Gatherer is due to start Apple picking soon so we are pushing ourselves to get as much done as possible before he’s away for long hours.

Fortunately Apple prep is something the whole family can get involved in and the kids love using the Apple slinky machine to peel and cut the apples. This is great as we have 6 trees which are all grafted with multiple varieties so we will have apples for months!

We are certainly making he most of the fruit by canning Apple pie filling, hard cider and dehydrating slices, Apple sugar and Apple juice to freeze and enjoy through the year, I’d like to try again to make my own liquid pectin to help set jellies.
From the scraps we are making Apple cider vinegar and Apple scrap syrup which is our version on cheap maple syrup!.
I’d really like to attempt some Apple stroop having recently lost my Oma it will be a homage to my Dutch heritage.

I finally bit the bullet this season and bought a canning funnel for the high price of $2.80 on eBay! Man I wish I’d just bought one of these at the start of my canning adventures as it really does make like soooo much easier.

I’ll also be using Sally wises recipe for canning Apple pulp which I’ll later turn into Apple bbq sauce. I really hate waste so I like to make use of every fruit we preserve in a variety of ways.

We’ve been making a conscious decision to eat healthy and more frugally by getting creative with what we grow. We have a lot of beetroots ready to come up and besides pickling and kimchi I’ve been researching different ways to enjoy them with dinner. I came across a great beetroot felafel recipe which we enjoyed with homemade flatbread and garden veg. I’ll share my adapted recipe with you now.

Beetroot felalfel

2 cups dry chickpeas – soaked or cooked in the pressure canner
2 cups shredded raw beetroot
1 tsp coriander
1tsp cumin
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 handful fresh chopped parsley
1 handful fresh chopped  tarragon
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pop everything into a food processor and blitz until fine crumbs you may need to add a touch of water.

Lightly knead mixture and Roll into balls and place on a baking tray. Bake at 200C for 20 mins or until lightly brown.

Enjoy in salads, flat bread or burgers 🙂

Pop everything into a

Foody things, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Mid February 2016 and summers over already!

I always do this. I start the preserving season off with so much enthusiasm, Accept fruit left right and centre, excitedly pick the cucumbers and zucchini bringing them in with grand plans then realize the actual preserving HAS to be done before things rot or there’s no room left in the freezer before the next crop is ready (which is right around the corner!!!)

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I’ve picked bags of sugar and blood plums from my neighbors house and I am quickly trying to pick the greengages off our tree in the chook pen. I’ve dried a bunch in the dehydrator, made plum bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce, vanilla plum jam , plum vanilla bean with pepperberry, sweet and sour plum sauce and have plans for greengage jam, spiced plum jam and plum chilli sauce. I might also bottle a few jars of whole and stewed plums for cakes and crumbles in the winter. Last season I made a plum chutney but I wasn’t a fan so decided not to make it this year.
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Greengage plums are the most amazing plum I’ve ever tasted completely unique in their flavour and if you ever get a chance to make the jam or eat one fresh I highly recommend it. I have included my recipe below for anyone who’d like to try.
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Soon our apples will be ready and the few fallen ones we’ve eaten have been absolutely delicious! I’ve invested in a cold press juicer and will be making and freezing our own juice. I was considering ‘canning’ it but I think the pressure canning would make the ‘cold pressing’ pointless so ill stick o freezing and fill the second fridge. I’ll also be making lots of country alcoholic cider as I did last year but I’ll be using the juiced apples over the food processor. The apple ‘waste’ will be used to make Apple cider vinegar and Apple scrap syrup or Apple stroop. Nothing will go to waste!

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We have 4 very large pumpkins ready for picking unfortunately not as many as I’d hoped for but we are still getting used to a new climate. The blackberries are ripening and the tomatoes are still not ripe which I think shows how topsy turvy this summer has been. I’ve noticed the smell of woodsmoke a lot on the crisp mornings and feel so out of tune with my suffering friends and relatives on the mainland who are dealing with heatwaves.
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Greengage Jam

2.5kg greengage plums
1 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
1.5kg sugar

As I freeze my plums whole before starting the jam I steam them in the cup of water in a saucepan with the lid on then cut the seed out with a fork.
After this I add the lemon juice and sugar then bring to boil over medium heat until setting point (about 20 mins) once set pop into warm sterilized jars and process using your preffered method. For small batches I just pop boiling jam in sterilized jars and turn the sealed jar over for 20 seconds for large batches I pressure can but waterbath canning is fine too.

Happy jamming!

Homesteading, News

Summer Days 2017

I can hardly believe it is almost February! We have finally had some hot days here and our tomato plants have started to set fruit. The cucumbers as well and taking off and I think we are doing pretty well considering we only have a dodgy $50 greenhouse purchased on arrival to the island. Sadly the greenhouse isnt doing as well as the vegetables it’s produced. Dane and I had been taking bets on how long it would last. I thought we would at least get two summers out of it but I was proven wrong in a wind storm when the door was ripped. We have repaired it with Gaff tape but we know it only has 1 more storm left in it so we have invested in a good quality poly green house which we will set up before winter.

 

We had the pleasure of lots of our old friends visiting over New years and it was lovely to spend time with old friends and feel our soul enriched by their company. The children are really thriving in this Tassie life and I know we have made the right choice for our family.

Dane has picked up some work picking cherries. Sadly all the rain has made it a short season so there is not much work to be had but he’s really enjoying the physical work and meeting people from all walks of life. What he doesn’t like is how much fruit goes on the ground due to imperfections and he is asking his manager if we can have some bulk lots of “waste” cherries to preserve and make cider.

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Although we are no longer doing markets I am still preserving lots of what we are growing and being gifted by friends. We are lucky to live in a community with abundant fruit and I’ve traded or been given Berries and plums. Our Squash plants are going crazy so I’ve invented a Zucchini Kimchi which has turned out to be a hit and and will certainly be making more of this! I’m hoping to have a little road side stall set up this year if I can to sell the excess and save for a drum carder to make my fiber prep easier.

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I am loving learning more about fiber crafts. I started on a drop spindle which I will hand down to Nyah when she’s older and then moved up to a spinning wheel when I saw one advertised for sale by a lovely local lady. I invested in hand carders and we now have one beautiful English Angora Rabbit called MR Dandy who is our very own fibre animal. I’m debating breeding them one day but for now we are just loving him. For other fibres I’ve been spinning Alpaca and sheeps wool that I have sourced from locals. I have been very busy trying to create enough to have on my Etsy store as a way to keep saving for our own farm while I start getting ready to start our trial year of homeschooling.

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Well I think that brings us up to date for now. I hope to start sharing more recipes again soon! If anyone is interested in the Zucchini Kimchi Recipe please let me know and I will post it in to comments.

 

 

Homesteading, News, Preserving

From Doom to bloom -Rose syrup recipe

We’ve had a emotional few days here as our much loved Rhode island red passed away. For those who follow me on instagram you may have already seen the story this story but for the rest of you I’ll share again.

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Almost five and a half years ago Russell came into our lives by chance. We were living in the blue mountains and saw her walking along the road outside our house so we herded her into our very bushy overgrown yard. Unable to find her owner she lived in our yard for weeks while we fed her scraps and bonded with her. She would sit on Danes shoulder and wormed her way into our hearts.

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Eventually we converted a green house into a coop and got her some friends. She remembered she was a chicken and gave us eggs, taught us about broodiness on hens and hatched some babies thus our chicken addiction was born.
This addiction led to us to moving to Oberon in rural NSW so we could breed heritage chooks and then led to Dane studying and obtaining a cert IV in Permaculture through Tafe.
Russell taught us everything we know about chickens, gave us food and many wonderful memories. She really was a major instigator in our self suffiency journey and has cheated death many times. Russell was also the reason we brought 9 chooks from the mainland to Tasmania when we had originally planned on taking none. As we couldn’t bare the thought of leaving her we had hoped she would make it to the next chapter in our story when we buy our own land but all the recent rain and damp proved too much and it was with great sadness we said farewell yesterday morning. We converted her body into bio-char and have her stored so when we are in our own place we can buy her some fruit trees and she can be one with the earth. 

With all of this life must go on. We’ve welcomed new chicks, filled the greenhouse with seedlings, planted out lots of vegetables and been fermenting lots of the spinach and winter greens we were lucky to inherit when we moved here.
We are also lucky enough to have large amount of roses so I have been looking for ways to utilise this resource. I’m hoping at the end of the season to try and make my own rosehip oil but for now I’m experimenting with the petals. Lots have been dried for tea and later use but some I’ve been making into syrup.

The syrup is incredibly easy to make and I follow the same principles as making the fruit cordials or other herb syrups that I’ve shared in previous recipes.

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Rose Syrup

1 bucket of rose petals
2 litres of water
Sugar
3 lemons
Tartaric acid

Wash the rose petals and put them in a 5 litre food grade bucket
Boil the kettle and pour 2 litres of water over the roses.
Pop the lid on and allow to steep for 24-48 hours
After it has steeped cup measure while putting it into your large saucepan.You can strain the petals or leave them in and strain them at the end.
For every cup of liquid add 1 cup of sugar. Sometimes I do a few cups less and boil longer so experiment to your liking
Stir to dissolve sugar
Add lemon juice and bring to boil then simmer stirring occasionally until you reach desired syrup consistency. I like a thinner syrup as I use it to flavour drinks but if you want to make a dessert syrup simmer longer for a thicker syrup.
Once consistency is met add 1tsp tartaric acid stir and pour into your bottles.

Preserve using your preferred method. I pressure can as it uses less energy and gives me a longer shelf life but you can water bath can or store in the fridge for months without canning.

Enjoy 🙂

Homesteading, News

Settling in!

It’s been a while now since we made our huge move from rural NSW to Southern Tasmania and I think we have almost recovered! Spring has passed with lots of rainy weather the blossoms that were full of promise were mostly blown off in the wind and rain but we have got a lot of lovely apples maturing on the trees.
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I hear from friends and family back in our old town that it hasn’t stopped raining since we left so I’m really glad we chose to move when we did. I’ve wasted no time in getting the spring seedlings started and they are really taking off.
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We truly love the area we have moved to there’s so much to inspire us being close to the mountains and the sea and for the first time in my life I feel like we’ve found ‘our place’
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Mr Hunter Gatherer is happy working on farms so we have decided not to do markets again and will just be focussing on growing and preserving for ourselves and saving as much money as we can so we can buy our own land. I must admit I am really enjoying living in town as much as I miss the animals in some ways living a sustainable frugal simple life is well simpler than living the simple life on a farming property. Its certainly must easier!
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The little Hunter Gatherers are really happy to be nearer to social groups and we socialize much more regularly than we ever did before and were all much happier for it.

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The crochet addiction hasn’t faded and I’ve been crocheting everything I can. I want to see what I like doing and use up recycled materials I have although I can’t walk past a yarn shop without buying something.

The blanket a friend gave me that I mentioned in a previous post has become shopping bags, children’s boho vests, dishclothes and scrubbing cloths there’s even some left over which I may make a adult vest from.
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I’m really enjoying discovering more about fibres and the process of wool making and spinning. I’m not yet sure what I will do with all my creations some I’ve sold to friends but mostly they are going in a box until I decide what to do with them!
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I’m finding less and less time and inspiration to blog recently. I do hope this will change and writing is such a wonderful outlet and a great way to track our journey but I’m finding instagram much easier to manage day to day so for anyone wanting regular updates you can follow us @huntergathererforager . Now I’m off to crochet a crocodile and think about our brunch baking!
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