Fermenting, Uncategorized

Cherries – Sour cherry cider recipe

We have been very spoilt this year with a wonderful cherry season. It wasn’t looking good at first as our ill positioned tree lost all its fruit to bad weather and birds but our neighbors trees, the wild trees and the local orchards are thriving. My friend and neighbour who’s fruit I regularly pilfer in return for preserves gave the call out for me to come help myself to Cherries. I picked as much as I could possibly close to 20kg but the trees were still laden!

D and I spent the next few nights painfully pitting them to freeze and use in preserves so I will slowly be sharing my recipes over the next few weeks. We have so far picked them, Fermented them in a Salsa and made a batch of jam. There will be even more cherries coming our way soon and with the frozen ones and these I plan to bottle cherry pie filling and do some experiments. I’ve also been doing some simple country ciders with the wild sour cherries we have been picking.

Sour Cherry Cider

This is a very simple recipe I make this up in a 5 litre food grade bucket with a muslin close and rubber band to secure it.

I used

500g sour cherries pits squeezed out and squished in the bucket

to this I added 4 Cups of sugar and 1 litre of boiling water. I stir until the sugar is dissolved then top up the bucket with luke warm water before adding the cider yeast. I add 2 tsp but it depends on the brand you are using so just follow the directions on your yeast packet.

I pop the Muslin cloth on and take it to my fermenting spot where I leave it for 3 days

after three days I scoop the cherries out and then leave it another week. Then I bottle it and leave it 2 days to carbonate before putting it in the fridge.

You can drink it whenever you wish but it’s best to leave it 6 months to a year to mature but if you are like me you won’t be able to wait! Luckily this time I’m pregnant so I won’t be enjoying any of this batch until next summer!

 

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!

Fermenting, Foody things, Foraging

Homemade Hard Apple cider without a press

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We have been enjoying the fruits of our Labour testing and tasting the cider from the apples we have been foraging. I really wish I knew what variety of Apple’s we are using as I’ve searched and searched and I can’t find any information. The tree is over 50 years old possibly closer to 100 so we will be saving some seeds if we can’t find a young seedling underneath the tree. The apples as absolutely scrumptious – sweet and crunchy but deceptively green at first sight and take on a slight yellow tinge once ripe looking a little like a cross between a golden delicious and a granny smith.

As we don’t own a press or a juicer I’ve been hunting for recipes I could follow without these.
I had seen a post on how to convert a old washing machine into a giant juicer and if anyone is interested in this I’ll post the link. It’s something I will definitely consider doing for the future or I will save up for a manual press.

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Our first lot of cider was successful but the recipe I followed said to cook the apples and I found the finished product a little grainy. We did a second strain before serving and while it tasted good it didn’t taste right.

The next lot of cider I decided to use the food processor to crush the raw apples. I used about a kilo of Apple’s and after crushing them as fine as I could I popped them in a 5litre food grade bucket with 2 cups of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of cider yeast and 4 litres of water. Then I covered with a muslin cloth and rubber band and popped them up on my fermenting shelf.

I left this mix for 4 days stirring daily. After this I strained off the pulp squeezing to get as much of the liquid out as possible.

I then bottled and left for a second ferment so it carbonated. You don’t have to carbonate and can drink it still but I like the bubbles. I only needed to leave it for two days to get the level of carbonation I wanted.
After this make sure you store in the refrigerator.

Now I’m sure more seasoned home brewers would disagree with this method but it worked for me and I’m happy with the results.
We are now experimenting with flavours and maple cinnamon is a definite favorite. Next I’ll be making a pumpkin and Apple spiced cider that I won’t carbonate so I can heat it in the cooler months for a instant winter cider!

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gardening, News

Goodbye summer

Autumn has blown in for sure! Although the season official started weeks ago I have been enjoying the warm weather and extended growing season but two days ago a heavy frost was predicted and since it has been chilly indeed.

We decided rather than risk losing the tomatoes we would pick them all green to ripen inside.

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We picked around 50kg which I plan to chop and pressure can to use in soups, stews and sauces in winter.

We have also been continuing with our Apple preserves canning more for pies , fermenting some that we will sell at market and making bucket loads of cider! The favorite we bottled last night was Maple and cinnamon Apple cider. I have found a great way of making it without the use of a juicer or press and will share the recipe in the comments if anyone would like to try it.

The zucchinis have been hit with blight. Another sign summer has ended so they have mostly been pulled up and the cauliflowers popped in to replace them.

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Now it’s time to get our winter seedlings going and we have lots of new vegetables to try out. I’m looking forward to lots of Kale and I will be making lots of organic Kale powder to sell at markets this year as well as the fermented Kale pesto which is a definite favorite.

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In other gardening pursuits I have managed to grow a eggplant! We were really doubtful about it due to having such a cold climate and short growing season but now I’m covering it at night and watching my little baby grow. Now one else in the family like eggplants so I don’t even have to share!

Easter is fast approaching and we will be at Tarana farmers market I’m looking forward to making delicious Easter bread at home to start our day and sharing more products with our friends and followers.

Now I’m off to snuggle up , drink a chai and enjoy grass roots magazine while I procrastinate over the housework!