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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gardening, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Elder Flower cordial

It’s been too long since I’ve posted and I do apologize. My only excuse is that we have been spending lots and lots of time outside and my inside free time is dedicated to making preserves and getting ready for the market tomorrow.

Lots of beautiful things coming up in the garden and I’m stating to get excited about summer produce!

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We had a very sad event a few weeks ago with the loss of the quails we were quite devastated as they had just started laying and I love the gorgeous spotted eggs. Originally we thought a fox had got into the cages they were flipped and holes dug but now we think it was more likely a dog. We will be looking into getting a dog next year for protection of the flock. We may get quails again one day but not for a while. The last eggs I have blown out for keepsakes.

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Last week we visited a friend on their stunning property and spent some time touring the garden and right at the end was the biggest Elder tree I have ever seen. We talked about the berries and I asked if she had ever made cordial from the flowers. We mentioned we had tried the cordial at BOOMTOWN festival when we were in the UK sold to us by a troupe of children pulling a cart. It was the most beautiful thing I had tasted and I have been wanting to make it ever since but alas before I got the chance our chickens devoured our free and I had been mourning the chance until now. We were gifted a nice big bag of flowers and I got to work.

This is my recipe for elderflower cordial I have made it up from my experience experimenting making lots of cordial syrups recently and this is the best method I have found that works for me.

ElderFlower Cordial Syrup

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  1. Wash your elderflowers to remove bugs and then pop in your bowl ( I use a 5 Litre food grade bucket but I like to make HUGE amounts) pour boiling water over the flowers and leave overnight.
  2. Using a muslin cloth over a colander strain the liquid to remove the flowers plus any bugs you might have missed washing.
  3. Measure the Liquid and place in a saucepan for very cup of liquid add a cup of sugar.
  4. Over medium heat stir to dissolve sugar and bring to boil
  5. Once boiling add 1 teaspoon Tantaric acid and boil for another 2 minutes.
  6. Bottle in sterilized bottles and can with preferred method or store in the fridge.

Easy!!

You can follow these instructions for basically any herb syrup so get out in the garden and get experimenting!!!

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 🙂

Homesteading, News

Spring is in the air!

I’m excited! Although it’s been raining heavily and the house is leaking in multiple places there is something in the air. It is the promise of spring!

Before the rains started we had a gorgeous sunny and WARM day. I’m really not someone who enjoys the heat but it’s been brutally cold this winter and I can’t wait to start doing more in the garden and for the flowers to come into bloom. We can see the buds of the blossoms starting to show on the fruit trees and Dart our Silky X one of the first chicks we hatched has become a mother to 3 beautiful little chicks!

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One of the chicks was actually hatched by Orpie our Black Brahma but she only hatched two and as she is so large managed to squish one so we rescued the other little baby and gave her to Dart who happily adopted her. The first time Orpie hatched when we moved here two years ago she had 18 babies and didn’t lose a single one. Orpie was the best mother we had had but last year she manged to lose 4 to hungry magpies and then her daughter stole the other 3 from her and she was confused for weeks!. We are hoping to give her another chance later in the year if she goes broody again.

As well as the watching nature unfold we have set the incubator with Araucana and Gold laced Wyandottes 20 of which are developing and due in 2 weeks! We also have 6 duck eggs set but only 3 have developed so we are keeping our fingers crossed and will be setting another incubator soon. I am desperately hoping the quail will start laying soon they all seem very content running around and hardly ever fight which I was told to expect so I definitely think they are happy enough so hopefully once the weather warms up I will find a nice spotty egg to incubate and we will have some teeny tiny chicks!

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We have decided this spring/summer to do the Market thing properly and do at least two a month this should balance out well with my other work doing Dreadlocks. I’ve been busy making up batches of preserves to sell so far we have Zucchini pickle,  Yellow Plum & Vanilla bean Jam(Taste like apricots), Spicy Rhubarb BBQ sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Cherry Plum Jam, Apple Paste, Mandarin Marmalade and I am tossing up if I should do a Cherry Plum cordial or Plum sweet and sour chilli sauce and Sweet chilli Sauce. We will also have a few baked goods as well and possibly offer our cordials by the cup when the weather is warmer. All the main ingredients in the preserves are sourced locally and I can’t wait for late spring when we can go foraging and picking around the area and local Orchards.

So although the rains have hit hard ( I’m not complaining just in case we don’t get any more!) it already feels warmer 🙂

gardening, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Piglets and Raspberry Jam

I haven’t been blogging as much as  I’d like my goal was 3 times a week but since starting the blog I’ve been diagnosed with carpal tunnel and this has slowed things down some.

This weekend was lovely we sold some chickens and had some lovely family time. Sunday afternoon we went to visit our landlords piglets in the back paddock. These piglets felt quite special as Flopsy the mother was a piglet we raised from two large whites we inherited when we moved in. It was such a joy to see her with her 4 babies and she is such a good mother too and seems very content.

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I also found some time to make some more preserves so I made up a batch of Raspberry Jam and Plum sauce to sell at the local swap meet on Sunday we are taking some preserves, produce, Brahma trios and Wyandottes to sell so hopefully it will be a good day we have promised ourselves we won’t buy anything so we will see how that goes.

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These following recipes comes from Sally Wise’s book a year on the farm. A friend bought this for me for Christmas and I am so grateful and it really got me into preserving. Not only does it have a great story but also wonderful recipes. If you go to Tasmania you can go to her classes on cooking, preserving colonial baking find her blog here

http://www.sallywise.com.au/

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Here is the recipe for Raspberry Jam I used. This is the BEST tasting jam I have ever made or tasted it probably helps that the raspberries are from our own garden. I made from frozen and I didn’t thaw when I made the jam so this allowed for extra cooking time than the recipe states bare that in mind if cooking from frozen yourself.  Also I accidentally added the sugar in the beginning due to toddler distractions I didn’t find this affected the flavour but probably lengthened my cooking time

Divine Raspberry Jam

  • 1.5kg raspberries
  • ¼ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1.5kg sugar
    • Place the raspberries, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil  .

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    • Cook for 10 minutes over a gentle heat. Add sugar and bring back to the boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.

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    • Boil briskly for 10 minutes. (15 if frozen raspberries and forgetting to add sugar later! )

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    • Stand for 5 minutes, then pour into warm sterilized jars and seal.

    • Makes approximately 2kg

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Plum Sauce

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I significantly reduced this recipe as we don’t often use plum sauce so I only wanted a jar or two for the household and a few to sell.

3kg plums
1.5kg sugar
6 cups cider vinegar
500g onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon grated green ginger
3 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 teaspoon mustard powder
Juice 1 lemon

Method

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is boiling.
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Continue to boil 2 hours or until the mixture is thick, stirring often.

Strain through a colander, food mill or coarse sieve.

Bring back to the boil, then pour into warm sterilised bottles and seal immediately.

Foraging, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Foraging and harvesting

We had a lovely weekend the weather was unexpectedly warm so we pottered around to the garden harvesting some of our spaghetti squashes and boy did we get a monster I am so impressed by this guy that I’m seriously contemplating entering him in the local show next weekend. Check the normal sized egg for scale. N really enjoyed helping pick the squash and it has been a lovely process watching them grow from seed with her.  We have over 20 growing which is way more than we need so my plans so far for them are some pickles , freezing and giving some away to friends. We might put any extras out the front out our roadside stall on the weekends and if there are any left if march we will take them to the local swap meet.

(forgive the sideways image of N for some reason I can not edit it)

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We spent Sunday foraging and fruit picking at a friends property where we got a huge bounty of plums and blackberries.

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I had planned to process them fresh as soon as possible but when we got home I had very little sugar left so I made some more Plum sparkling (a natural fermented soft drink). The rest of the plums bar the yellow ones I weighed out bagged and froze but I will be making Plum Jam, Ice cream, Chinese Plum sauce, worcestershire sauce and maybe some plum liqueur and cakes. I’m pondering going back to my friends for more before they all drop off the tree but as I only have a window of a few days we will wait and see.