Archive for the ‘Fruit Bushes & Trees etc.’ Category

Compote is a French Delicacy and according to a French friend, it really depends on your own tastes in which you prefer to make it a sweet or more sharp / tartish taste. I made mine with a little honey, enough to make it so that guests are not given a dish which already is too sweet for some – this allows them to be able to add more if wanted…

For this recipe, you need about three plums per serving, I was using smaller plums I got for free from a neighbour, they have had this tree for over 10 years and they admit that they let them fall to the floor every year -they are organically grown (no chemicals are sprayed or artificial fertilisers used) and the variety are smaller than some Plums bought in-store, so I would advise perhaps 4-5 plums per recipe if your ones are smaller like these (I believe they may be Plum Victoria)

Ingredients:

  1. 3-5 Plums per serving,
  2. Cloves,
  3. Cinnamon powder or sticks,
  4. Vanilla Seeds or Essence,
  5. Orange, Lemon or Lime,
  6. Honey or any healthy sweetener

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Step 1: Cut your Plums into Quarters

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Step 2: Pour the Quartered Plums into a pre-warmed pot / pan,

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Step 3: Stir so that the Plums start breaking down and juicing a bit,

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Step 4: Pour in your Orange, Lemon or Lime Juice – ( I used Orange )

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Step 5: I used Cloves as well as Cinnamon Sticks, I needed Vanilla essence or Vanilla seeds which weren’t available at that time

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Step 6: Mash the Plums and squash from time to time with your spoon or stirring instrument

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Step 7: Grate in some Lemon Zest and cook until thcik enough where you can draw a spoon across the bottom of the pot, if drawing your spoon across and a line shows, then it is ready for putting aside for cooling or jarring

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Step 8: Let cool and add in your Honey to taste, I used 2 Tablespoons in order to sweeten it up enough to be tarty enough for those who prefer a tart taste, people with a sweet tooth will very likely add more Honey / Sweetener or even Banana slices into the actual served compote etc.

This recipe can be made and preserved, use the same preserving techniques as with preserving Jams ( Click here for one example ) I made enough to have in one jar which went straight into the fridge so I didn’t have to make the effort in sterilising the jar/s for dry storage.

 

So here it is, as stated in a recent post, I missed last year’s Blackberry picking season due to being very busy with projects in my free time and the sad realisation that I had also missed Sweet Chestnut season TWO YEARS in a row!!

There really is not much of an excuse for not foraging for Blackberries considering they are so widespread in the UK and the fact that you can freeze them until needed (this may not be suitable for some recipes however.)

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2 kg’s of Blackberries in a Large Saladmaster Pot

 

Ingredients and Equipment:

  • 2 kg ( ) Blackberries, freshly picked or from frozen
  • 1.450 kg ( ) Granulated Sugar
  • Juice of 1.5 Lemons
  • Large Pot
  • Cleaned Re-useable Jam / Honey or other Jars with Lids
  • Tongs if possible
  • Small Pot or Pan
  • Oven Gloves
  • Wooden Spoon and a Ladle
  • NOTE: this same recipe can be followed in a smaller amount ie: 1 kg of Blackberries with Juice of 1 Lemon and 750g of Granulated Sugar

Method:

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Step 1: Place your freshly washed and rinsed jars inside your oven and leave there until later

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Step 2: Place the jar lids inside a small pan or pot, covered in water ready to being to the boil (this is where you use the tongs, to take them out of the water one by one when needed)

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Step 3: Slowly heat the Blackberries until they give off some of the juice liquid, you can help them along by semi squashing with a spatula or potato masher, this should take maybe 5 minutes (expect more if your blackberries were frozen)
Note: If you want your jam to be lumpy thick, minimise how much you stir and squash the blackberries)

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Step 4: Now add in the Lemon Juice as well as the Sugar, mix well then bring it all to the boil, once boiling, simmer gently until it thickens and reaches 105 Degrees Celsius

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Step 5: When there is an obvious change in the density of the liquid (becomes runny / watery) you can start boiling the water in the small pot / pan and switch your oven on to a high temperature (150 Degrees Celsius) to start sanitizing your jars and their lids.
After your Jam-to-be has boiled nicely for around 30minutes to an hour since adding in the other ingredients, you are looking to have a temperature of around 105 Degrees Celsius before you switch off the heat and start filling your jars, there is a Simple Method to check if it is the right temperature without needing to obtain a Candy Thermometer, just do the Cold Plate Test.

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Step 6: Once happy with the thickness after testing on a plate, start ladling the Jam into the jars one by one (I keep the other jars in the oven and only take out one at a time)
As soon as a jar is fill, use a damp cloth or tissue to remove any bits on the rim of the jar then place a lid and give a good firm twist, place the jar on a cloth or tissues away from the reach of kids etc.and let sit until morning or a few hours later.
Note: Oven gloves and tongs will be needed at this stage

I managed to fill 6x small / medium, 2x medium to large and 1x Large Jar which was quite impressive, note that the jars are mostly different, I do re-use any jars that I can from my grocery shopping, it does work and jams / chutneys I preserved last year are still fine today – there is absolutely No Need to go out and buy expensive specialist ”preserving jars” in fact, the one time I had a failure is in a dedicated larny Kilner Preserving Jar!

Date and label them if you wish, then store in a pantry or cupboard which is not too close to your cooking station.

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Hi everyone, check out my Recipe Here for a very nice Courgette Cake (We call Zucchinis ”Courgettes’ here in the UK) that anyone would love even people who claim to hate vegetables … Enjoy! 🙂

I unfortunately missed the blackberry season last year .. UGH! I just realised now whilst typing that, I also have missed the Sweet Chestnut season for the last TWO years running!! Not this time though … I have a great Blackberry Jam recipe to share so start stocking up on them if you can.
blackberries

We really only need 1kg (2.3 lb) for the recipe, but get more! I may include a few more recipes like Blackberry Tart and a Blackberry and Apple Pie, plus you’re bound to munch a few on the way! …

Keep an eye out, recipe to follow in the coming week or so! keep in mind also that you can freeze them until needed.

Here we have proof that the Forest Gardening method Does in fact work despite the skepticism that we Permies will inevitable experience from traditional ”Horticultural / Mono-cultural Society” types, in this 5 minute, well narrated and presented video, the land owner discusses his land and the project how it has come on since 1994.
This is a great video to watch to be able to understand the Forest Garden concept.


The main article where I came across this video is Here on the Permaculture News site, and below I have added a few images of the 7 basic layers of the Forest Garden concept:

7 layers

7 Layers of the Food Forest in Permaculture

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A Food Forest incorporating a Hugel / Swale combination

 

If you live in the UK, you may be aware that every year around November, the big shopping chain ASDA usually sells bare rooted fruit trees in store at a good low price (usually £5 each).

orchard

Create Your Own Inexpensive Mini Orchard

When you consider that a young (probably same age) fruit tree sells at the major garden centre stores like HomeBcase and B&Q for minimum £10 per tree, this is a great bargain! The only difference is that perhaps (although I’m not sure) the trees in B&Q or HomeBase might be slightly older and able to bare fruit the same year or season after purchasing (keep in mind, the trees in the latter are potted whilst in ASDA they are bare root).
Now, November is well gone and ASDA have sold off all of their stocks since around December, but at the moment, the Tesco Superstores have just received their stocks of bare rooted fruit trees and soft fruit such as blackberries, raspberries etc.
Although they are slightly more expensive per tree (£6), you can save by buying two trees for £10.

A friend of mine told me his Tesco Superstore also had Cherries (Cherry ‘Stella’) on sale, my local one only had the following in stock:

  • Two Pear varieties including the well known ‘Conference’ pear
  • Four Apples (Cox’s Orange Pippin, Jonagold, Discovery & Golden Delicious)
  • One Plum (Victoria)

This may mean that the stock has already been around for some weeks so I would advise anyone with a garden or allotment to get to one asap! The trees are grafted on dwarfing root stocks and therefore are set to grow to a maximum height of 3 – 3.5 meters (9ft 10in to 11ft 5in) which is ideal for home growing and harvesting.

I would advise you to visit the store a few times in one or two weeks to be able to catch the new stock replenishment.

One comparison note I would like to advise anyone interested between the ASDA trees and the Tesco ones is, The ASDA ones come with full information on the year on year pruning regime, the root stock info, what pollination partners the tree needs (if not self pollinating), where best to plant & when to expect fruit etc. whilst the Tesco ones only advise how to plant. One other point that seems to be a positive about the Tesco trees is that the stem thickness seems quite a bit larger and this likely means more mature plants that may develop fruit sooner!

If any readers here know whether the large Sainsburys also stock bare rooted fruit trees please do comment below and lets us know which part of the year they usually stock them!

As with other berry plants, blueberries require acidic soil and the most common way to ensure this is to obtain Ericaceous compost … but this is permaculture! We certainly do not need to go out and buy another product since we can create the same result (or even better) merely by recycling at home!

After following this method, my One plant increased yield incredibly and I am 100% certain that the bush had at least between 300 – 450 berries, No Jokes!

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Mulching a blueberry bush to increase yield

Following the above image, you simply keep all of your used tea until you think you have enough to mulch the plant / pot to about 25mm (2,5cm / 1 inch) deep (if you use tea bags, keep them aside to dry, then split open and discard the bags), if you have a plant in the same pot as it came from the nursery, there is a good chance that they gave the plant some kind of wood chip, scrape this off and put aside, then spread your tea leaves out (keep it away from the plant base though), once spread nicely, you cover again with the nursery chip and leave to do it’s thing!

This should be done around now but even autumn is okay, latest should be done in spring. Other methods to increase yield is to stuff Oak leaves with a small amount of other compost-able material such as grass clippings, couple hand fulls of soil, vegetable scraps etc. into a black bin bag, place this in the sun with some small air holes and after a few months this will be well composted and will be an acidic compost due to the oak leaves, place your plant into a newer bigger pot and use  a combination of this oak leaf compost as the pot soil and the tea leaves as a mulch … you will never regret doing this, the results are spectacular! Ensure you have lot’s of space in your freezer for the excess berries.