The last days of Preserving!

It’s a good feeling when you come to the last of the produce to preserve. Satisfaction , Elation , Relief! It’s a hard job and now I have two active little children I understand why in the days long gone people came together as a community to preserve the harvest. It’s a shame in our day we have lost that sense of community even in Rural areas. There are some who try to revive it so maybe in time things will change but it is hard to step out of that zone and ask for help.

All I have left in the freezer now is 8kg each of Blood plums and Greengage to preserve and 4 kg of Apple scraps that I will make some syrup and apple cider vinegar from. Honestly we don’t need anymore apple cider vinegar as the cupboards are bursting but it will never go off and is very useful to have. I had plans to sell it at the Market but If we don’t then it will not be wasted. You never know we might have a apple shortage and I will be relieved to have a never ending supply.
On the bench I have 1 box of sour apples which I plan to make into Hard Cider for Mr Hunter Gatherer and some sour pie filling. I might even do some more apple and fennel chutney as it’s delicious and I’m sure we will eat all of ours.

Yesterday wasn’t the best day in terms of our moods we were all cranky and once Mr HG went to work we stayed like that. I decided that I wasn’t going to let the moods take over and it was a day to get things done. We made Silvan Berry and Peach Jam and 10 big jars of Chinese plum sauce, Gingerbread men, Did lots of craft and painting and worked together to make a chicken and vegie pie for dinner. By the end of the day we were in a much better space and it goes to show how busy work can really up lift you.

Unfortunately we don’t have photos to show you as my phone is on the fritz but I wanted to update anyway before I forgot.

I trust everyone is happy and homesteading. Keeping warm if in our hemisphere and planting out in the other!

Until next time
Anne

Weekend Happenings – Apple and Fennel chutney recipe

Well as predicted I couldn’t keep up with daily blogs but I am happy because it got me back towards blogging regularly.

We had a lovely weekend with Mr HG home. He’s been working so much recently that we really appreciate that family time. Although work at the Apple orchards will likely slow down soon we have some exciting prospects on the horizon but I won’t go into that just yet in case I jinx us!

On Saturday we were blessed with lovely weather so we potted around the garden as a group and all clipped the ripe rose hips together. The children go to use sharp scissors and garden shears so they were thrilled about the job. As we have so many roses at this house we’ve decided to dry the hips on our air dryer in the laundry over ysing the dehydrator. It’s a slower process but I feel like there is more “goodness” in the end product.

This last week the children and I picked the majority of the apples. I was tired of parrots eating them and wasps being attracted to the munched fruit so we thought it best to get the bulk off. We did a shout out on social media for free apples and had the lot taken. I still have a big box and 20 litre bucket to process ourselves, some left on the tree for the birds and one tree left with sour cooking/cider Apples I’ll get to shortly.

We also picked the last of the green tomatoes and pulled the plants up. I still can’t get my head around tomatoes being a Autumn fruit but Tasmania is a crazy place and the climate here is one of the things I love about it.

I decided to make some Chutneys a spicy green tomato and apple chutney and a Apple and Fennel chutney. The Apple and fennel was so delicious I made a second batch. It would be perfect on a pork roast but we stirred it into a spice chickpea curry and it worked beautifully in there too. We always save our own fennel seeds and the flavour is indescribable in comparison to store bought. In all honesty I have never managed to grow a fennel bulb but I’m great at growing seeds!

I’m adding the recipe to the post today I’ve found the blog is a great way for me to find my favorite recipes each season when it’s time to go back to them!

Apple and Fennel Chutney

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg  Apples
  • 2 large Onions
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 50 g fresh Ginger
  • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar ( or white if that’s what you have)
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • Juice and Zest from 1/2 Lemon
  • 1-2 tsp Dried Chili Flakes
  • 2 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 Star Anise
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Peel and core the apples I use a slinky apple peeler then just check them in and bash them with the spoon as they cook
  2. Dice the onions
  3. Finely chop the garlic and ginger then wack everything into the pot
  4. Slowly bring to the boil stirring every now and then to make sure sugar dissolves and flavours mix
  5. Simmer until very thick but don’t let the apples dissolve into sauce.
  6. Pop into sterilised jars and process using your proffered method and store in a dark and cool place it should last 2 years if processed and stored correctly.

Weekend -turning 5 and family adventures

I’m combining my weekend post into two as yesterday was a busy day with me doing dreads and Mr HG kid wrangling.

image

Once I’d finished I needed to catch up on some jobs I started the day before  and first up was the stock. Usually I pressure can these as I like liquid stock on hand but today I was short on time so I popped some in the fridge and the rest in the chest freezer.
Next up was finishing the Apple sugar so I blitzed it up and popped it in a jar. I love the Apple sugar it taste like Apple toffee but we still have so many apples left that I think I’ll stick to doing rings. Our dehydrator will probably only last a few more months. It’s done well being the cheapest we could buy two years ago and with heavy use it’s done the distance but we will upgrade to a better quality one next year.

After the Apple sugar was done it was time to make Little Miss HG 5th birthday cake. She had requested the cake that Bessie from Enid blytons enchanted wood had amenities think we did ok from a rush job. It’s not the best birthday cake I’ve made but we all did it together and she was happy.

image

image

We decided to celebrate the 5th birthday on a day early Sunday (which is actually my dads birthday happy birthday Dad!) Mr HG is working on the birthday date so we wanted to do something special as a family.
We adventured to Richmond which is a lovely little town outside Hobart with lots of heritage buildings.

image

We were up at the crack of dawn so made it there in time for breakfast and a play.

image

After we went to Zoodoo. I’m not a fan of zoos and this didn’t really change that but it brought up some wonderful conversations about conservation and endangered animals plus watching the children feed the lions with a pair of tongs will be a life long memory for all of us.
It is really nice that you can get up close and personal with lots of animals but at the end of the day it’s a zoo and a private one.

We had thought of getting fish and chips for a late lunch at the warf in Hobart on the way home but decided we had spent enough money and would get home early and create something from what we had. It’s nice now we are debt free to be able to have days like this without the worry but we are also still conscious of our spending and still saving for our own patch of land.

image

image

image

At the end of the day we had a beautiful weekend and created lots memories.

Pegs!

I had a restless sleep last night with Little Miss HGF has creeping into our bed  and with 4 in the bed it’s a little squishy.
We already co sleep with Little B so I’ve been rethinking our sleeping arrangements. I feel mean leaving LMHGF alone in a big cold room while we all share in the other and she must wonder why she doesn’t get to join us. Sometimes I forget how little they still are so I’ll be weighing up some options for sleeping arrangements.

Today’s chores went by easily I prepped the frozen chook bones to replenish our stock supplies, got the animals done, watered the garden and hung out the washing.
The washing chore got me thinking about pegs. Pegs are something that have driven us crazy as having young children and cloth nappies means we wash a lot.
I’ve gone through cheap pegs, wooden pegs, expensive plastic pegs and I get so frustrated when they inevitably break and litter the ground with bits of plastic and metal. It’s such a waste and I since becoming more aware of my environmental footprint and loving frugally I’ve been investigating other peg options.
I remembered seeing a advertisement in a grassroots magazine ages ago for long living metal pegs. At the time I thought they sounded great but didn’t look into them again until the final piece of plastic crap crumbled to the ground. So I trawled through our magazine collection but could not find the ad. Eventually my Googling of ‘stainless steel pegs’ ‘metal pets’ and  ‘reusable peg’ had a hit and I found the same wire pegs I’d seen in grass roots mag.

image

So I ordered them and have been using them a few months now they are made from twisted stainless steel,hold up really well and are super strong. We just got the lowest grade at the cheapest option but I’ll definitely be buying more. I’d like to bring more ‘buy once’ products into our life as the cheaper items die. There’s definitely wisdom in our great grandparents and grandparents generation to save and buy the best quality rather than getting a lot of cheap shite!

  (You can find wire pegs at https://wirepegs.com/)

Daily blog #1 Its icy!

I’m going to see how I go with a daily blog. I feel it might be simpler than my sporadic posts and as I move away from Facebook and social media a bit I’d like to keep documenting our happenings.
Every day we do a little something what with homesteading, preserving and starting to homeschool so the daily blog I hope will also serve as a record come homeschool inspection time.
We shall see how I go as I always set out with good intentions then get distracted and forget!

This morning we rose VERY early just before 6am. We are early rises most days but today Mr Hunter Gatherer was working a orchard further south and needed to leave earlier than usual. It was quite icy last night so I wasn’t surprised when Mr HG came in to get water to defrost the wind screen. I popped another log on the fire to keep us warm until the sun came up.
image

I had prepped English muffin dough last night to cook on the griddle. It was well worth the little bit of effort as it meant we were fed and happy early on.
After breakfast the children played and I cleaned up the breakfast stuff.

Now It was time for chores. First up our English angora rabbit needed checking. His cage had been cleaned yesterday so he just needed some fresh food and water. His grooming came later in the day and needs to be done daily now as his new coat is coming in.

Next was outside to feed the chickens and water the garden. The broadbeans are popping up now and lots of the winter veg starting to look good. Little miss HG has been looking after a pet caterpillar which we’ve identified as a grass anthelid. It’s big and fuzzy and after reading up on it she decided the habitat she’s made made needed some more soil and fresh grass so we collected it and brought it in. The caterpillar seemed happy and was extremely active after this. Little miss HG set him up on the table and drew pictures of him.

After this I needed to process another bucket of Apple’s. I’m getting pretty tired of Apple’s to be honest but my desire to avoid food waste is great so we got on with it using a slinky Apple machine to peel and slice. Then I popped them in the food processor to blitz before putting them in the dehydrator to turn into Apple sugar. The kids lost interest as they’ve helped with many Apple jobs this year so I set up a painting craft for them while I got the job finished.
image

After this we hit a afternoon slump everyone was exhausted so we stuck to folding washing and story time, lots of games together and then dinner prep. We had meaty baked beans which was mince, bacon, beans mixed with homemade plum bbq sauce and roasted home grown potatoes. Simple and delicious!

The cold has arrived

Autumn officially hit a few weeks ago but we didn’t feel it until last Thursday when the air got a sudden bite to it and we were hit with the first frost.
We persevered a few nights but now have the fire going in the nights and morning.

image

Although the remaining green tomatoes survived the frost I decided to bring them in to ripen on the window or sit until I have time to make green tomato ketchup. The summer squashes gave us the signal to get them out by promptly dyeing once the frost hit. I’d been dragging out their production to the last minute not that we were sad to see them go I think everyone has had quite enough zucchini dishes!

image

I’ve been trying to train the kids to pick the green cabbage moth caterpillars off the plants to feed to the chickens. Unfortunately they keep wanting to keep them as pets. While I love their fascination with nature I would prefer they used them as protein for our feathered friends and didn’t release them back into the veggie patch.

image

My crocheting continues to evolve and we will certainly be in no short supply of warm winter woollies. I’ve been trying to get more ready for the etsy store and spinning spinning spinning but with all the preserving I’ve been doing in preparation for winter and starting to focus more on homeschooling prep there’s not been as much time as I’d like to dedicate to it.

image

It’s been nearly 8 months since we moved to Tasmania and we are settling in and feel very at home. Time has flown and I’m constantly blown away by the kindness and generosity of people down here from locals and ‘blow ins’ a like. Today’s example of this was a lovely couple I follow on instagram had seen my post mentioning how I’d had to give away the majority of my fowlers jars before moving to the mainland. They not only offered me some replacements but also delivered them too me throwing in a big bag of carpet wool from the sheep they milk for cheese. I’m really looking forward to spinning and dyeing it and making us a crocheted rug! I will hold myself back from my desire to learn to weave as my fibre hobby is already out of control!

image

Although we are not on our dream forever farm. Every day I feel we are closer to our dream and we are constantly studying, growing and fine tuning our skills so I know when we do make it we will be well prepared.

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