Monday, 9 June 2014

Three Fruits and Cordial.

While wandering in the supermarket the other day as I tend to do  while  here on the coast to fill in time while Brian is away at work, I noticed that pears and grapes were reasonably cheap, so decided to add a few pineapples  and can up a canner  load  of 3 fruits.
Firstly I top and tailed the pineapples and sliced them into rings, then peeled them( I decided about this time to reserve the peelings to attempt to make cordial/syrup) I then diced the pineapple after removing the cores.
Next I  pulled all the grapes off the bunches and set aside then peeled and quartered the pears and soaked in water with a good squeeze of lemon juice to keep them white , I later diced them.
I then added the fruit altogether into a big pot and mixed together.
I then filled all my jars with the mixed fruit,topped them  up with extra light syrup, released air bubbles with a plastic chopstick,adjusted the syrup levels, and wiped the rims with a paper towel soaked in white vinegar. I then placed on my lids that I had heated to simmer point,turned off and let sit in the hot water until ready, and screwed the bands on finger tight.
Next I placed all the jars into my electric water bath canner, Mine is the Fowlers Vacola type  (it holds 14 pint jars), covered them with water by an inch or two, and brought it up to boil point,which I maintained for 20 minutes. After the allotted time, I turned off the  canner,removed the lid and let the jars sit a further 5 minutes in the water before removing them onto a towel covered bench out of the draught.
While the 3 fruits were processing, I got on with making the cordial/Syrup. I had never made this before so I looked up a recipe that was on a Blog by Sally Wise for Pineapple cordial and adapted it slightly.I really had to double it all as I had  quite a bit of peelings ect.
Firstly I roughly chopped up the pineapple peels( smaller than in the photo below, as this didn't chop  the 1st time) ,cores and tops and tails along with the pear cores and peelings and placed them in a food processor and  processed until  fairly fine.
I then added this into a pot with about 4 cups of water, brought to the boil and simmered for about 15 minutes.
After this, I then strained it through a colander pressing down firm on the pulp to extract as much liquid as possible.,The pulp  is discarded.
I  Then poured  the   resulting liquid back through a much finer sieve. I then measured this liquid out and for every cup of liquid there was I added 1 cup of white sugar. I then placed this back on the heat and brought it back up to the boil and boiled for a minute or two only.Immediately on removal add the juice and grated rind of a large lemon( 2 for what I did) and 2 tspns of Tartaric acid( I had none and it was late, so I omitted it and added extra lemon juice and stirred  this in. Allow to cool, strain again through a fine sieve and bottle..

I then wiped rims clean and added my new caps for my 500 ml juice/sauce bottles and then placed these along with my remaining six  3 fruit jars that didn't fit in the first load,covered with water  and processed  for 20 minutes again in the electric preserver.. These really only required 10-15 minutes but it did them no harm to stay as long as the 3 fruits needed.
After the allotted time I observed the same routine as before and allowed the jars and Bottles to cool on the  bench.
The final product looks great and I have tasted it and is lovely. It is recommended to be mixed 1 part cordial/syrup to 4 parts water, soda water or sparkling mineral water, which is what I used. I will certainly use my peelings and other bits for this again. The amount of sugar is high, but if used in moderation I see no problem.
There was a fair quantity of pineapple and pear pulp   after I had strained the liquid off so I decided  that I would put it into the worm farms  so that they could have a treat and that nothing would really be going to waste., I'm sure they are enjoying it at this very moment.
The 3 fruit combination is something that I have canned a few times before, always popular and doesn't last very long in the pantry, and it is something that I will probably make over and over again. The cordial/syrup I will make again, but it will vary  according to what I am canning at the time as to what flavours I will do.
So until we meet up again,
take care everyone

Thursday, 5 June 2014

My 1st Blog Anniversary.

I cannot believe how fast time has gone. Exactly  1 year ago today I decided to begin a small blog about our setting up of our off grid property ,food  preserving and  other bits and pieces along the way.
I have always loved taking photographs and this was a way for me to show them to people  if they happened to have a look, and I also used it as a sort of journal for us and the children and grand children  to look back on in the future. I really hope they will enjoy what they read about our life.
I have had a great time  doing the posts, time and  decent   internet service haven't  always been on my side but we have managed. I  hope  to continue  posting and as we finally make the permanent relocation to the farm I should have more new and exciting projects to write about and share with  you all.
last weekend I traveled down to  Wollongong again by train to visit my daughter and her family, I went down to help her  sand and re-paint  a room that will be the new baby's  room.We are very  excited about the new imminent arrival in a  few moths time.
I have to change trains at central station in Sydney and  sometimes the changeover is speedy to say the least and i have to run like the wind dragging my pull along bag and sometimes I have an hours wait as i did the other day on my return.
I love central, I love to grab a coffee and sit and watch the constant parade of people coming and going about their business. As it is a big open area there are always pigeons flying around everywhere trying to scrounge whatever crumbs they can get.
We have finally finished removing all the good soil that we had in four raised beds, and bagged it up to take to the farm to re-establish those same four beds up there.We raked the area flat and have thrown grass seed all around to hopefully cover the area back in again.
We pulled  all the beetroot crop that we were growing in two other raised beds and I cooked them and  canned them up as sliced pickled beetroots. We eatslots of it and unfortunately this year we didn't grow nearly enough beetroots and they certainly won't  last the year.
I also found apples at 99 cents per kilo so brought  about 15 kgs and made  and canned pie apple for use in pies and crumbles later on when the need arises. They also had loose chick peas and Great Northern beans, so grabbed a few kilos of those as well to can up at the farm.
The last of the basil was also picked, and I decided to just blitz the leaves up  with a little olive oil in the food processor and then store in small amounts in zip bags in the freezer for later use in recipes that require basil.
Next on the agenda was  to dehydrate some more of the Habanero chillies that have   been so over productive this year, I have now picked the bush 6 times with still more to come.
I sliced them finely(wearing Gloves) and spread out evenly over the dehydrator racks and dried overnight(out in the laundry,learned this lesson from past experience)
I then  ground the dried habaneros up in my spice grinder into a powder and stored them away in jars  in the pantry.
The bees have been very active over the last few weeks, probably trying to get a good store away before winter finally sets in. I was able to get some nice pics of them going about their business, they never even paid the slightest attention despite
the fact I was right in their faces with the camera.They were mainly on the tree dahlia blooms(above) and the perennial basil and the yellow daisy bushes.
This week we planted Australian purple Garlic into the bathtub garden bed that we grow the Habaneros in and they were already sprouting well after only 6 days from being planted.
After we had removed all the beetroots, we worked the garden a bit, added some more cow manure and went and purchased some seed potatoes  and planted them into rows  in the corrugated  metal raised beds.

This was a type of potatoes we have never tried before so we are hoping they will be good growers and produce well.

It's been a busy few weeks, juggling Brian's work roster with family visits,visitors, jobs here and about and a nice bout of coughs and colds,but all is well now and the list of to do jobs contines to grow at a rapid pace.We will eventually start to cross a few of those jobs off the list I hope.
I  trust that every one is well and happy,
So until we meet again,