Soap nut laundry detergent

It’s laundry detergent time again and although I usually use my previous recipe shared on the blog I decided to try something different today using soap nuts.
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What is a soap nut?
Soap nuts or soap berries come from the Sapindus mukorossi tree which grows wild in the Hazara district of Pakistan.

The SoapNut Tree’s botanic family includes 2,000 species, with the mukorossi providing the largest fruit, containing a high content of saponin.   

This nut/berry synthesizes its own natural soapy lathers when mixed with water.
Once germinated, it takes nine years for the SoapNut tree to begin yielding fruit which can then be harvested for 90 odd years!

After you’ve made soap from your berries the remaining husks can be composted making this a really wonderful sustainable option for soaps and detergents!

There are a few options for using soap nuts.
You can pop them in a breathable drawstring bag straight in the washing machine drying after each use or Make hand soap, washing up liquid or laundry liquid.

So today I decided to use a recipe that includes washing soda. I opted for this over straight soap nuts because with Mr Hunter Gatherer working on farms and two little kids we have a lot of DIRTY laundry and I wanted the extra strength wash.

Soap nut laundry liquid recipe
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12 -15 whole soap nuts
4 litres water cups water
1 Table spoon Epson salt
1/4 cup washing soda
A few drops of essential oil if you want scent

In a large pot, add soap nuts and water. Bring to boil on medium heat and boil for 30 minutes.
Take off heat and allow to when it has cooled a bit, add the epsom salt and washing soda.
Stir to dissolve.
Remove the soap nuts and  compost then add essential oils
Pour into bottles of choice and remember to shake before use.
Use 1/2 cup liquid per regular size load of laundry.

Happy soaping!

Anne

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Fermented Kale Pesto

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A while ago I was asked on Instagram for my Fermented kale pesto recipe. I sent them to the blog only to realize I hadn’t actually shared this recipe yet! Well I apologize to that follower because it’s only now months later that I am sharing it.
Kale pesto is a favorite here and it was one of our most popular items when we sold at markets. I have mentioned before memories of my Oma telling me I needed to eat more Kale before it was ‘super food’ I had no idea what Kale was as it had never been in the supermarket so I usually ignored her. Years later when we first started growing vegetables and I was buying seeds I invested in loads of heirloom kale seeds and being in a cold climate they grew really well! So well in fact that we had to come up with lots of different ways to use them and one of these ways is the Fermented Pesto I’m sharing with you now.

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                                                              Fermented Kale Pesto
fills a 1kg yogurt bucket
1 big bunch of Kale
1 Onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 orange whole but peeled
4 tomatoes (or a tin of tomatoes)
1 Cup organic apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
Optional extras – Nuts (pine, walnuts), Basil, Other tasty garden greens like nasturtiums
In a food processor throw in all the ingredients except the olive oil and blitz to pesto consistency and add salt and pepper to taste.
Pop into your fermenting vessel of choice and ferment about 3-4 days you can go longer but this is my preferred acidity for the pesto. After this cover the surface in olive oil and store in the fridge. I have had this last 5 months in the fridge and still taste fine.
Serving suggestions
Eat as a straight pesto with pasta or as a dip, add cream for a creamy sauce, Add feta and cook in pies. It’s a great go to for busy days when you want a quick meal.

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

Mid February 2016 and summers over already!

I always do this. I start the preserving season off with so much enthusiasm, Accept fruit left right and centre, excitedly pick the cucumbers and zucchini bringing them in with grand plans then realize the actual preserving HAS to be done before things rot or there’s no room left in the freezer before the next crop is ready (which is right around the corner!!!)

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I’ve picked bags of sugar and blood plums from my neighbors house and I am quickly trying to pick the greengages off our tree in the chook pen. I’ve dried a bunch in the dehydrator, made plum bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce, vanilla plum jam , plum vanilla bean with pepperberry, sweet and sour plum sauce and have plans for greengage jam, spiced plum jam and plum chilli sauce. I might also bottle a few jars of whole and stewed plums for cakes and crumbles in the winter. Last season I made a plum chutney but I wasn’t a fan so decided not to make it this year.
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Greengage plums are the most amazing plum I’ve ever tasted completely unique in their flavour and if you ever get a chance to make the jam or eat one fresh I highly recommend it. I have included my recipe below for anyone who’d like to try.
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Soon our apples will be ready and the few fallen ones we’ve eaten have been absolutely delicious! I’ve invested in a cold press juicer and will be making and freezing our own juice. I was considering ‘canning’ it but I think the pressure canning would make the ‘cold pressing’ pointless so ill stick o freezing and fill the second fridge. I’ll also be making lots of country alcoholic cider as I did last year but I’ll be using the juiced apples over the food processor. The apple ‘waste’ will be used to make Apple cider vinegar and Apple scrap syrup or Apple stroop. Nothing will go to waste!

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We have 4 very large pumpkins ready for picking unfortunately not as many as I’d hoped for but we are still getting used to a new climate. The blackberries are ripening and the tomatoes are still not ripe which I think shows how topsy turvy this summer has been. I’ve noticed the smell of woodsmoke a lot on the crisp mornings and feel so out of tune with my suffering friends and relatives on the mainland who are dealing with heatwaves.
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Greengage Jam

2.5kg greengage plums
1 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
1.5kg sugar

As I freeze my plums whole before starting the jam I steam them in the cup of water in a saucepan with the lid on then cut the seed out with a fork.
After this I add the lemon juice and sugar then bring to boil over medium heat until setting point (about 20 mins) once set pop into warm sterilized jars and process using your preffered method. For small batches I just pop boiling jam in sterilized jars and turn the sealed jar over for 20 seconds for large batches I pressure can but waterbath canning is fine too.

Happy jamming!

Summer Days 2017

I can hardly believe it is almost February! We have finally had some hot days here and our tomato plants have started to set fruit. The cucumbers as well and taking off and I think we are doing pretty well considering we only have a dodgy $50 greenhouse purchased on arrival to the island. Sadly the greenhouse isnt doing as well as the vegetables it’s produced. Dane and I had been taking bets on how long it would last. I thought we would at least get two summers out of it but I was proven wrong in a wind storm when the door was ripped. We have repaired it with Gaff tape but we know it only has 1 more storm left in it so we have invested in a good quality poly green house which we will set up before winter.

 

We had the pleasure of lots of our old friends visiting over New years and it was lovely to spend time with old friends and feel our soul enriched by their company. The children are really thriving in this Tassie life and I know we have made the right choice for our family.

Dane has picked up some work picking cherries. Sadly all the rain has made it a short season so there is not much work to be had but he’s really enjoying the physical work and meeting people from all walks of life. What he doesn’t like is how much fruit goes on the ground due to imperfections and he is asking his manager if we can have some bulk lots of “waste” cherries to preserve and make cider.

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Although we are no longer doing markets I am still preserving lots of what we are growing and being gifted by friends. We are lucky to live in a community with abundant fruit and I’ve traded or been given Berries and plums. Our Squash plants are going crazy so I’ve invented a Zucchini Kimchi which has turned out to be a hit and and will certainly be making more of this! I’m hoping to have a little road side stall set up this year if I can to sell the excess and save for a drum carder to make my fiber prep easier.

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I am loving learning more about fiber crafts. I started on a drop spindle which I will hand down to Nyah when she’s older and then moved up to a spinning wheel when I saw one advertised for sale by a lovely local lady. I invested in hand carders and we now have one beautiful English Angora Rabbit called MR Dandy who is our very own fibre animal. I’m debating breeding them one day but for now we are just loving him. For other fibres I’ve been spinning Alpaca and sheeps wool that I have sourced from locals. I have been very busy trying to create enough to have on my Etsy store as a way to keep saving for our own farm while I start getting ready to start our trial year of homeschooling.

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Well I think that brings us up to date for now. I hope to start sharing more recipes again soon! If anyone is interested in the Zucchini Kimchi Recipe please let me know and I will post it in to comments.

 

 

Christmas in Tasmania

Well we have certainly settled in well to life in Tasmania. I can scarcely believe that we moved here only 4 months ago. The children love living closer to a town and have quickly made lots of friends. This has helped us make friends also as we are fortunate enough to absolutely adore all our children’s friends parents. Meeting like-minded people is certainly good for the soul and was such a big factor in coming down here.
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We do have times we miss farm life and now that we’ve gone from suburban living to farm and back to suburban living again we know for sure we want to go back to farm life eventually. For the meantime we’ll make the best of what we have and are starting to enjoy the gifts from the summer garden.
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We had a lovely relaxing morning on Christmas eating delicious food and enjoying the sunshine. The children missed their grandparents but in the afternoon we went to a friend’s Christmas party where we over indulged in more delicious food and the tribes of children played beautifully. It was a wonderful day.

We’ve had lots of old friends staying With us which has meant long hours talking into the night. We were nervous at first having so many people stay as we aren’t used to it anymore but it’s turned out we had nothing to worry about and it’s been truly a blessing to spend this time with friends.

The garden is flourishing and our choice to move in winter to be ready for a summer garden was a wise one. It’s taken some time getting used to the different climate but finally our garden is producing.

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I didn’t label the zucchini and squash so it’s been a mystery bag of what’s growing. They are doing well now but there’s been a bit of blossom end rot from all the uneven rain.
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The rain has also been terrible for the cherry orchards who have lost most of their crop. This has put a spanner in the works for us as Mr Hunter Gatherer was due to work there but it looks like there won’t be work after all. It’s the second time the rain has affected his working but we keep on trucking and are enjoying the family time. We certainly live in the best place for adventures.

Happy holidays everyone!