Posts Tagged ‘Preserving’

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere then some of you may still either be waiting for Dandelions to flower or may be seeing the last flowers become seed heads, for those lucky enough, you still have time to collect the flowers for the following Recipes.

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Once you start to see the flowers appearing, a good rule-of-thumb is to keep in mind that on average, you only have a 3 week window to pick and use for your recipes, so that means multiple trips if you want to follow more than one recipe.

This was the first time I have used Dandelion for culinary purposes and started first with the Jam Recipe:

What’s Needed:

  1. A grocery store shopping bag Half Full of Dandelion flowers,
  2. 3 x cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped,
  3. 3x squeezed lemons,
  4. 600ml boiling water,
  5. 725gm jam sugar.

Method:

  1. Put the Chopped apples and around 3/4ths of the flower heads into a pan with the hot water and simmer for 10 minutes,
  2. After 10 minutes, strain the remaining results through a sieve or similar and push as much pulp through as possible using a spoon,
  3. Add the strained liquid back into your pan together with the lemon juice and sugar,
  4. Dissolve the sugar by cooking on low heat and stirring regularly, add the rest of the dandelion heads (petals only, cut off the green parts with scissors),
  5. Boil on high heat until you reach the setting point (Click here to find out how to find your setting point in jam making),
  6. Ladle into your prepared jars, this recipe made me 3 standard honey jars and 2 smaller speciality hex jars I bought online.

I really, really like the end product! This jam is delish and makes the harvesting well worth it in my opinion, this is a plant that should not be killed off and considered a weed, every part of this plant is edible and it is a perennial!
– Jeff Permie

In the coming days, I will post a Dandelion Wine Recipe, I am currently fermenting my first ever batch of this wine and so cannot give you full information right through to the taste of the end product, I am halfway through the fermenting period and will be bottling the product up in another two weeks. I feel like sharing this recipe because of the fact that some readers may still be able to harvest the flower heads, this is a proven and common recipe and I feel that it will definitely be worth it …

So the remining Pumpkins and collectable fruits are finished picking and harvested, I will be puree’ing much of the pumpkin and placing it into the freezer, this should be good for smoothies as well as pumpkin soups in the upcoming months! Below are some pictures of the fruits as well as some tips on producing home made Liquid Plant Fertiliser further down …

My growing season is not yet over though! there are Carrots, Lettuces, Spinaches, Mustards, and Kales that were sown before the start of Autumn, these will grow on throughout Winter and there are more to sow soon including Garlic!

We are nearing the end of the best time to sow Garlic (November), Garlic is quite easy to grow and I suggest starting now as I find Spring sown don’t get as big. I shall post an article soon regarding Garlic and Succession planting with Garlic.

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9.7 Litres of Home Made Sustainable Liquid Plant Fertiliser

If you have a normal sized general purpose bucket, you can easily make just under 10 Litres of Liquid Plant Fertiliser per batch on an established mature (2+ year old) Comfrey Plant (Bocking 14 Variety).

Following these instructions but just increasing the ratio of Comfrey and water to fill the bucket to the rim, then all you need besides the bucket and a water supply etc. is a well established Bocking 14 Comfrey Plant! Do not underestimate these plants, they grow very well once established and will need annual controlling (Luckily they are bred to not set seed) yet are an absolutely invaluable addition to any Organic / Sustainable food garden or plot. They can be chopped 3 – 5 times a year without worry and come back to life in early Spring. Their deep rooting system is their secret, it harvests minerals not available to the shallower rooting plants nearby and deposits these minerals in their leaves, hence why you either chop ‘n drop or chop and make Liquid Fertiliser / Compost Tea.

I will be selling Comfrey Root Divisions from January onwards – my Comfrey is definitely the Bocking 14 variety and I have never had any Comfrey weeds growing as a result, if interested just comment on this post (Anyone can comment, not only WordPress users).

Make Comferey Compost Fertiliser once more when you do your final chop, this stash of fertiliser will last you the duration of Winter and will be the reserves for spring until the first new year batch will be ready …

I just have to make a post about this awesome Heriloom, (non Hybrid / GMO) Tomato Plant ( Tomato ‘Millefleur’ ) because I keep raving about it in previous posts and now, after harvesting 138 tomatoes from One Plant for the Second Time (I think the previous was 134 +- from the one in my Garden a few weeks ago) …

I highly reccommend this Tomato for a small space or balcony garden as it makes huge flower trusses which never seem to stop producing more and more flower! You eventually end up having to cut off any new growth especially when the season starts becoming a little unpredictable (quite common here in the UK).

Please excuse the low quality shots below of the plant …

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Tomato ‘Millefleur’ – a New breed known as Centiflor Tomatoes

Okay, now unfortunately I cannot say any true estimate of how many Tomatoes I have harvested in total so far from the two plants I have, but I can give a rough estimate of around 350 / 370 Tomatoes harvested to date between Both Plants combined, with perhaps another 100 – 150 to come depending on weather conditions, the Tom’s are there alrerady but we are not sure whether they will ripen as it’s almost October and usually by this time of the year, Tomatoes are dead or covered in Blight!

Okay so you aren’t keen on having such an abundant supply of one fruit? Sure, but remember, there is Always the backup of Preservation or even giving to your community! In the coming days I will post an article on Drying and Jarring / Canning your Tomatoes to be able to last into Winter and easily into the following year!

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Tomato ‘Millefleur’ a definite ”Permaculture Plant” in my books, so versatile and fruit can be Preserved to supply well into the next year

 

Please keep an eye out on this Blog, I may just open a shop option whereby I may sell limited amounts of seed packs here of Plants / Annuals which I highly recommend.

Growing these Tomato plants in pots on a Balcony or small space is a good possibility under the following conditions:

  1. Planted in a Large Pot with lots of Organic Material mixed into the soil / compost,
  2. Watered everyday when very hot and dry, but every 3rd day or so during normal summer weather (keep a tray saucer beneath pot if possible),
  3. Fed with a liquid feed once a week after maybe one month after potting into the large pot,
  4. Top of the compost / soil layer covered in some kind of dry mulch such as straw, well composted woodchip etc.
  5. Pot preferrably placed in the shade whilst the plant itself sits in sun as much as possible, you can slice old thick bags like the ones compost come in from the shops, wrap these around the sides only of the plant pot (if the bag is White) to reflect sun and prevent evaporation,
  6. Nip off all new flowers between 15th August and beginning of September as these will hardly get a chance to form and ripen, nipping them off will divert the energy / nutrients into the existing Tomatoes

Do you have / want to grow on your Balcony or very confined space? Then You Need To watch This Video – this will show you just how much can be added into a small space if designed properly!

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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This month as you may have noted in previous posts, I will be posting instructions on various jam, jellies and chutney recipes especially for those of us who either have some fruit trees etc. or if you know someone who does/ or you are a food forager!

Some of you may be new to Jam / Jelly Making,  so here is an important question we will all have:

How do I know if the Jam / Jelly is ready for jarring? I don’t have a candy thermometer!

There is a very simple method and you certainly do not need a candy thermometer!! simply take a teaspoon full of your produce once you have completed all of the steps in the recipe, drip it onto a cool plate and let stand for 2-3 minutes, then tilt the plate and if the result is not runny and you can draw your finger through the little puddle, well you will feel the consistency and weather it resembles how you know jam to be in thickness. See Below:

How To Test Jam / Jelly if it is ready / Se

How To Test Jam / Jelly if it is ready / Set

See the previous post (Click Here) on making Wild Damson Jam from foraged fruit !

Hi everyone, I know  I haven’t been on in a while, can you guess why? …

Home Grown Organic Apples using Permaculture Methods

Home Grown Organic Apples using Permaculture Methods

Well, we are now in the season (Northern Hemisphere) where Apples, Plums, wild fruits like Wild Damson and Blackberries start falling and ripening. Tomatoes are slowing down with the ripening and I have, for the first time, now started preserving some of my produce as well as going food foraging and asking relatives, colleagues and neighbours for their unwanted fruit (by offering to go pick it and clean what is already rotting on the ground). The result is bottles and bottles of Tomato Sauces, Green (Unripened) Tomato Chutney, Damson Jam, Plum Chutney and even Apple Cider / Cider Vinegar! There are still more recipes to be made and I will be posting articles on these including instructions as time goes on … so keep tuned and follow the blog!

Tomato Gardeners Delight, Organically Grown using Permaculture Methods

Tomato Gardeners Delight, Organically Grown using Permaculture Methods

I have specifically chosen easy to follow / simple recipes to keep within the Permie way of using less effort and energy to produce a yield.