Fermenting, Homesteading, News, Preserving

This Week

This week I am focussing on preserving our harvest and abundance of local produce available. I’ll also be foraging lots as blackberries are everywhere and I’ve seen a few rouge Apple trees around. Kisses is going to calf any moment now (I know I know I’ve been saying this for ages) and I’d love to give her some buckets of Apple’s and molasses.

I’ve decided to empty out the freezer I’ve got so much fruit in there and as there will be even more available to freeze soon I feel it’s better to get it ready sooner rather than later.
My preserving list for this week is huge so tonight I’ve been making more Worcestershire sauce, elderflower cordial and dandelion syrup, plum bbq,mixed raspberry and blackberry jam and plain Blackberry jam .

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Earlier today we went and filled another two big buckets of blackberries and I started on 10litres of BlackBerry sparkling wine. I hope it’s as delicious as the raspberry wine was!

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I’m still drowning in squash so will pickle more of these and maybe experiment with some fermented vegetables.

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Dane has been enabling my chicken collection and brought me home these gorgeous salt and pepper shakers. Growing up I used to collect cows and they were always my favorite animal (still are!)but my cow collection disappeared in my late teens and early 20s. Perhaps if I’d paid more attention to my young selfs obsession with farm animals my path in life would have become apparent sooner. In any case now I’ve turned that obsession to rustic furniture and chicken paraphernalia.

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Now I must end my ramblings for today and get back to the task at hand!

*Edit * Everything is processed and canned now. I’ve cleaned up and cleaned down and am enjoying a relaxing drink before a shower and bed. We still need to be up at 6am to start the homestead chores.
I forgot to mention previously that this weekend is our regular market at Tarana. The following weekend we will be doing a new (for us) market in Bathurst called the riverside market. We’ve visited this market before and love it the only problem is it clashes with out local farmers market in Oberon. We weighed up the pros and cons and decided to try Bathurst. We don’t sell enough at the Oberon spending more than we made last market. The riverside market is shady and has play equipment we can take the kids too plus there is a amazing op shop (thrift store for my American followers) I do hope we sell more product there. Really I don’t care about the money although it’s all adding to our goal of buying our own farm but really I just love sharing my passion for food and preserving with people and I’m running out of storage space!!!!

Fermenting, Homesteading, Preserving, Uncategorized

Fermented Watermelon Soda

Last year before I started making Kombucha I started experimenting with fermented soft drinks. I loved making them but the recipes I used I found overly sweet as they called for about 10 cups of sugar! After some experimenting I mastered the recipe for Fermented Watermelon soda you can Lacto-ferment it if you want but I prefer using my Kombucha to get it started you could use cider vinegar or something else with the MOTHER.

I used a 5litre food grade bucket to make my batch as I make very large amounts at once but you could use a fermenting jar or whatever you have handy. I have given the recipe for the smaller quantity below.

The flavor of this yummy and healthy soda is sour and sweet at the same time and a beautiful pink colour that your kids will go mad for!

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Fermented Watermelon Soda 

4 Cups Watermelon pureed

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/4 C Kombucha , Keffir, Whey, Apple cider vinegar,or ginger bug

1 Litre of warm water

  1. Place sugar and water in your vessel and stir to dissolve
  2. Add pureed watermelon
  3. Add the Kombucha (or starter of choice) and stir
  4. Cover with a cheesecloth and let it sit on the counter for 2 to 10 days I did 4 days as it is hot and summer here in Australia but it will depend of your climate and taste buds. The longer you let it ferment the less sugar there will be as the bacteria will consume and convert the sugar during fermentation.  Swish the soda around once a day to prevent mold from forming on the surface.
  5. Strain the puree out and bottle leaving some head space for a second ferment to increase carbonation for a few days to a week and then pop in the  fridge.

Enjoy Ice cold 🙂

Fermenting, gardening, Preserving, Uncategorized

Fermented Horseradish Mustard

I am always on the hunt for new and exciting ways to preserve what we have growing in the garden and we had been talking a while about making mustard. Combine this with our new love of fermenting and voila we have Fermented Horseradish Mustard.

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This mustard is absolutely delicious! On it’s own it’s hot and healthy clearing those sinuses and loaded with all those gut helping probiotics not to mention all the great health benefits of the mustard and turmeric as well! When you put this on meat or in a salad dressing (Or even pasta sauce) you get a lovely little kick and it’s no longer overpowering.

Fermented Horseradish Mustard
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1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup shredded horseradish root
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup filtered water
2 Tbs Kombucha, Keffir or extra apple cider vinegar with the mother
1/2 Tbs sea salt
2 tsp turmeric powder
Pulse mustard seeds in blender or food processor until roughly ground. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Feel free to adjust texture if you like a thicker, grainy-er mustard.
Pour into glass jar and cover. Let sit at room temperature 3-4 days to ferment.
Refrigerate until ready to use this will keep in the fridge for around 4 months but I think you will use it up VERY quickly!
*Tip use a small or mini processor as the bigger ones don’t pulse up the seeds as well and your mustard ends up more watery.
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Foraging, gardening, Homesteading, Preserving

Kale catch up!

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Spring is such a busy and beautiful time! We’ve had lots of lovely visitors and have been so so busy in the garden. I recently had a friend say to me “Do you ever get bored at home with the kids?” I had to giggle to myself! We always have so much to do that some days I long to be having a rest. At the moment our Kale is starting to go to seed and we need to get our patch ready for the Spring/Summer Vegie crop. I’m only just going to start sowing these today as frost is still a risk here until November!

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So back to the Kale wow do we ever have a lot! I really didn’t want it to go to waste (not that it ever does as the animals get our “waste”) So I’ve been googling and experimenting to develop some more products for market. I’ve nearly sold out of last seasons preserves and the freezer is now empty of fruit but I want to still be able to sell products where the base ingredient is either home grown or sourced locally from friends and local farms. I think it’s important to show case the wonderful area we live and also show people the variety of things you can do with a simple base ingredient.

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This brings me to Experiment 1. Fermented Kale Pesto at first I was thinking of just making a regular kale Pesto and canning it but the information on Canning pesto is a little vague some say it’s safe while others warn against due to the garlic content so I thought to be safe bottling and refrigeration as the best option. I stumbled across a recipe for fermented kale pesto and then had a chat with my fermenting guru Zoe from Warinyan farm and off I went with my experiment. One 5L bucket of Processed kale, local apples,balsamic caramelized onions, vinegar,orange, lemon balm, garlic and rosemary infused olive oil plus 5 days and YUM the experiment was a success! We ate ours with home made pasta and bottled the rest for sale. I’ve now started another batch of Garden Pesto and added some brassica leaves for a different depth of flavor.

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The other thing I am experimenting with is Kale powder. The kale is dehydrated and then crushed to a powder which can be added to smoothies, sauces or whatever takes your fancy. I used a Dehydrator at  55 degrees but you could also do it in a oven at a low temperature. I added a teaspoon to our pasta sauce the other day and YUM intense kale flavor so I think this is how I will process the remaining plants (we still haven’t managed to harvest it all!) I’m not yet sure if I will sell this but through my research i have actually discovered you can buy kale powder from health food shops so It’s something I will definitely consider.

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In Other news Our lovely mother of the year Straighty One eighty (aptly named as she is a Wyandotte with a straight comb) has hatched our 9 beautiful French wheaten maran chicks I am especially happy about this as this is the 4th lot of eggs we have had posted and the ONLY lot we have ever had success with. These ones came all the way across country from W.A so I’m very happy indeed! We have another lovely mumma due next week with our own Araucana and have set another 17 Gold laced Wyandotte eggs under our Black Brahma so we will have lots of new additions soon.

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On Friday Miss Nyah, Mr Banjo, Myself and the cats went for a walk around our garden and paddocks and collected Dandelions. Since last year I have been wanting to make Dandelion Syrup and Jelly. We foraged a big basket of Dandelions and made the Syrup which I have included the recipe for below. It is a little tedious but the result was surprisingly delicious and tasted just like Honey!!! I’m eager to try some on Pancakes and can’t wait to see peoples reactions to trying it at the market.

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Dandelion Syrup 

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Ingredients
  • As many dandelion flowers as you can pick (I had 3 cups)
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 – 3 cups sugar (or stevia or anything you prefer)
  • juice of half a lemon
Instructions
  1. Wash flowers then cup green bits off with scissors, cut off as close to the base as you can.
  2. Boil the kettle and pour all the water over the petals leave over night then strain with a muslin cloth
  3. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep overnight in a cool place. A cool counter or the fridge is ideal. Use the back of a spoon to squeeze out and extract as much liquid as possible.
  4. Return water to pot (or save in fridge/freezer until you get time for the next step), add sugar and lemon, and simmer on low heat for 1-1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Check for desired consistency by dipping spoon into syrup, letting it cool a bit, then testing it with your finger.
  6. Bottle and store as desired -Canned in jars, pressure, waterbath or in plastic containers (3 months for plastic)

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Now I’m off outside to start our vegie seedlings and convert our old chook dome into a extra green house. I hope everyone enjoys their weekend and gets a chance to get out into the garden 🙂

Fermenting, Homesteading, Perserving

Kombucha

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Recently I’ve been researching the wonders of Kombucha and decided to try it for myself I ordered a Scoby off a lovely lady on Ebay and started my first batch. I must say I’m hooked! I like it much more than milk Keffir (which I won’t make again until we re-start milking) it’s delicious and very easy to make. We will be selling it by the cup at the Tarana markets on the 27th for anyone interested in trying it.

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I first heard about Kombucha from my friends on the NSW north coast who run Warinyan farm (https://www.facebook.com/warinyanfarmproduce?fref=ts) they sell bottled Kombucha and other delicious ferments at markets for check them out!

Kombucha is a ancient chinese femented tea beverage called “the immortal health elixer” it is made from a sweetened combination of green and black tea that’s been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (a SCOBY, a.k.a. “mother” because of its ability to reproduce, or “mushroom” because of its appearance) the scoby eats the sugar so by the time it comes to drinking the sugar content is very low. Kombucha contains vinegar, b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic), which are tied with the following effects:

  • Improved Digestion
  • Weight Loss
  • Reduced joint pain
  • Increased Energy
  • Cleansing and Detox
  • Immune Support
  • Cancer Prevention

We use a continuous brew method because I like keeping things simple!

Ingredients
  • One kombucha SCOBY (I bought mine off Ebay for $12)
  • 1 black tea back 1 green tea bag (I use loose leaf green tea with mango and mandarin in a homemade tea bag)
  • 1/4 C white Sugar
  • Starter tea from a previous batch of Kombucha or vinegar (this came with my scoby)
  • Filtered water (preferably free of chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride- we use rain water so don’t filter ourselves)
Instructions
  1. Prepare the sweet tea. I use 1 tablespoons of loose tea, 1 tea bag and 1litre boiling water plus 1/4C sugar
  2. Let tea cool to room temperature and make sure it is really cool! This step is very important as too hot of tea can kill your SCOBY.
  3. Once tea is cool, pour into glass jar, leaving about 20% of the room at the top. Pour in the correct amount of liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha plus your scoby
  4. With very clean hands, gently place the SCOBY at the top of the jar of tea. Some float some don’t Mine didn’t so i left it to do its thing.
  5. Cover the jar with a muslin cloth and rubber band tightly so no bugs get in.
  6. Put the jar in a warm corner of the kitchen but not in direct sunlight
  7. Let sit to ferment for around 7 days, though the length of time may vary depending on your temperature. You can taste test the Kombucha to see if it is done. It should taste tart but still very slightly sweet also I like day 4 at the moment but maybe that will change in the summer
  8. At this point, Kombucha is ready for a second ferment. If you aren’t doing the second ferment, just pour the kombucha into another jar or jars with airtight lids and seal until ready to drink.
  9. For continuous brew, we dispense in to plastic soft drink bottles (no metal) leaving about 20% of the room on top.

So what are you waiting get fermenting!!!