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 🙂

Foraging, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Homemade Cordials

We had a wonderful weekend with friends picking blackberries and enjoying delicious food. Foraging is certainly more fun with friends and the bounty at the end of the day is far greater. We hauled two big buckets and saw lots of other pickers out and about too which was a pleasant surprise.

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Most of the berries from this haul I have frozen but I reserved 3kg for making BlackBerry cordial and I will include the recipe for this after my ramblings!

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This time I decided to can in the vacola jars using the pressure canner. Usually I just pop into sterilized bottles as we go through it so quickly but this means we drink 5 litres of one flavour which can get a bit boring so instead I want to be able to shuffle the flavors around depending on what we feel like.

Homemade cordials are really easy and inexpensive to make and contain none of the nasty artificial flavours , colours or preservatives.I must confess I’ve never been a huge water drinker. I go through phases where I drink it and I try to drink it more in front of the children but sometimes I really cringe when I drink it! Awful I know. I used to make lots of cold sugarless herbal teas which I’d have on hand in the fridge but I haven’t been doing it this summer.
The flavour in homemade cordial is so strong that you really only need the tiniest amount in a large glass of water. You can make cordials out of any fruit, herbs and edible flowers even out of pineapple skins which being frugal as I am is one of my favorites.
My last batch was pineapple and lime and there’s nothing more refreshing than a tropical flavour hit on a hot summer day!

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Recently I was reading a recipe for nasturtium cordials I’m certainly keen to try it but this is one I am skeptical on but we have had some delicious experiments with cherry plums and lilac flowers.

BlackBerry Cordial syrup

Ingredients
3kg blackberry
Sugar
Tartaric acid
Water

In a large pot simmer blackberries in water for 20 mins

Strain berriers and measure liquid by cups

For every cup of liquid add 1 cup of sugar

Bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 2 mins

Add 2tsp Tartaric acid simmer 20 more seconds. Take off heat and pour into warm sterilized bottles or can using your preffered method.

This will keep in the fridge for 3 months or you can store in a cool dark place.
Canned it should last a year.

Enjoy!

Foraging, Homesteading, Preserving, Uncategorized

Plum Cordial

It has been another busy week and we are finding ourselves crumbling into exhausted heaps all over the place. I wish we could tap into the kids energy supplies. They are bouncing around and we find ourselves playing with them over doing our chores as it’s more fun.

We have been social butterflys this week catching up with many friends before they go away. We were gifted yet another two huge boxes of Plums so more and more preserving and experimentation is waiting on the kitchen counter.

We also went foraging and got a huge bunch of Elderberries.

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We will be heading out for more tomorrow afternoon after our interview for community radio. This was a very unexpected request from a customer who bought some vinegar from us at the last market and is talking to different home bakers and cooks in the area. I will be sharing with her the same recipe I will share today for plum cordial.

This cordial truly is the essence of the saying “a season in a bottle”. The plum flavour is divine and the colour is vivid. While making it I thought it would make a wonderful natural dye and if I ever manage to find time to add learning the art of natural dye I will be experimenting with some plums (and Elderberries!).

Please read the entire recipe though particularly if you are like me and go for it then realize half way through you’ve done something wrong and have to back track!

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Plum Cordial

plumcordial

Ingredients

1kg Plums

3 Litres of water

Sugar

Tartaric acid

Method

Place plums and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer for 15 mins

Scoop out plums with a slotted spoon then strain liquid though a sieve or muslin cloth measuring as you go

For Every cup of liquid add 1 C of sugar bring to boil stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Reduce heat and simmer for 2 mins then add tartaric acid

Pour into warm sterilized bottles and seal.

If you like you can cook longer to reduce the liquid and make a thicker syrup suitable for Ice cream. You can also use it to flavour cakes, cookies , icing , fillings or in cocktails. Experiment and have some fun!