ABSOLUTELY SHOCKING!!

2015-02-26 - Sick Giraffe

Do yourself a favor and allocate 15 minutes of your time to read all three articles.

We are trying at all costs to stay away from purchased products.

http://www.sportsground.co.nz/Article.asp?SiteID=10563&ArticleID=3809

http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

http://www.eco.org.nz/news/43/15/Pesticide-residues-in-most-food-samples-shows-need-for-organics.html

 

Drunken Apricots

2015-01-26 - Dronk Appelkose

We had the good fortune to be invited to pick apricots near Dunback. The day was clear and sunny and this year the trees were laden with sweet, ripe, pink cheeked fruit. The orchard is organic and amazingly free of bugs, wasps, birds and the like and the taste of the fruit was the best we had ever eaten.

Sheep roam the orchard and once we had explained the difference between sheep poo (ok) and dog poo (not ok) to the city kids, everyone got stuck in, munching and chatting as they picked in the shade of the trees. The baby grazed on whatever fruit he found on the ground until he announced “I don’t NEED apricots!” . When I commented on the meagre contents on Mrs BYF’s bucket she claimed to have eaten at least one tree’s worth and that it should be factored in to her harvest.

We had a great day out in the peaceful countryside. We met lovely hospitable people, drank great coffee and beer, and came home happy and pleased with our haul.

Back in the kitchen, we made jam, dried some, froze some, preserved some, and, with the smallest fruit, bottled them in grappa. We will need some warmth when the Dunedin winter bites so hopefully we will be able to keep our hands off these bottles until then.

CRABAPPLES

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Crabapple is not a fruit I have had much experience with in the past, but my BIG crabapple tree at my new house in Dunedin has forced me to have a closer look at possibilities  regarding these beautiful little fruits. I have spoken with the experts, borrowed cook books from my neighbors, googled, took advice from bloggers and, after a lot of reading picked about 10 Kg of crabapples (still have about 30 Kg left on the tree). I have decided to start with crabapple jelly. Most references suggested throwing the pulp away after extracting the juice, but my “use all and throw nothing away” culture has compelled me to do something with it. So here is what I did

10 kg crabapples

10 liters Water

Boil for about 20 minutes

Separate the pulp and juice by filtering through cheesecloth and put the pulp aside

JELLY

Heat the juice to boiling point and add  1 Kg  Sugar for every kg of liquid.  Simmer the mixture until it reaches setting point. Quickly, while still hot and before it gelatinises, filter again through cheesecloth and bottle. Seal bottles and sterilise in a boiling bath for 20 minutes. The clear, pink jelly sets beautifully and is delicious. I also made a batch where I added chili and rosemary to the original fruit – a very interesting and  tasty jelly resulted and I would probably make some more.

JAM

I have taken the pulp and put it through my Italian tomato pasata machine, which separates the skin and pips from the fine pulp. Heat the pulp to boiling point and add  1 kg of Sugar for every kg of pulp. Simmer the mixture until it reaches setting point. Seal bottles and sterilise in a boiling bath for 20 minutes. Beautiful and absolutely delicious jam.

The skins and pips I am using to make alpple cider vinegar. I think it will be good, as I normally use the cores and skins of ordinary apples to make this. I make large quantities of vinegar every year, of which I use most as is, but convert some to a mosto cotto

ROASTED CRABAPPLES AND HONEY

I have dribbled some fresh crabapples with honey and roasted them in the oven until soft, then served with home made custard – I never thought crabapples could taste so good, even though it was on the sour side where the rest of the household was concerned.

This week I am going to try making crabapple chutney and a  cider. After all that I should  still have another 10 kg of fruit left on the tree.

I find it strange that the big kereru pigeons do not eat the fruit  since they stripped the cherry trees and had a good go at the plum tree.

 

Blueberry Picking Bliss

Photo 26-01-14 11 22 17 AM

We chose the perfect Dunedin day for blueberry picking.  Warm, sunny , light breeze, AND we had the orchard to ourselves! To pick the fattest, blackest berry one has to focus, there is no time to worry about anything else. The only rule for the little ones is ‘do not eat from the bucket before we have paid’ . We did suggest that the owners weigh the one year old  before and after to calculate how much he ate, knowing that he would park himself under a bush and stuff berries into his mouth as fast as he can. 

The address is: 133/B Martin Road, Fairfield. Price  $12 per kilo (bring your own bucket, hat, sunscreen and sturdy shoes).  Open Sat 1pm – 5pm and Sun 9am to 5pm or call 0272486166 to arrange other times during the week.

The entrance to the farm is from a suburban street, with a driveway entrance that looks like any  other driveway in the neighbourhood. One passes a  house in progress, past a lovely pond and garden to where the blueberry bushes are.