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A good old tidy up

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default A good old tidy up

Post by Daveswife on 22nd August 2011, 2:33 pm

Everyone is having a tidy-up in the garden and determined to get our garden as tidy as possible before our September hols, over the weekend we picked the last beans and the ripe tomatoes, some raspberries and blackberries, elderberries are ready now and this has kept me busy all weekend making chutney, soups and so on and there is still plenty of stuff to process.

However there is no space in the freezer.

So I had a sort out and found three tubs of redcurrants, one of red gooseberries, and a desire to make more redcurrant jelly. The gooseberries will be mixed with the best bits of fallen apples for jam.

A few months ago a kind friend acquired for me a steamer/juicer thingy from a car boot sale. Base is for the hot water, on that sits a vessel with a spout and a flat topped cone up the middle with holes in the top through which the steam passes into the third vessel with loads of holes into which one puts the fruit. The juicy drips down into the vessel with the spout. If I was clever I would remember the name of it. Makes good use of all fruits/veg! Anything remotely edible can be used to make a drink or the basis for wine or jellies.

As well as the usual stewed apple, apple sauce etc, falling apples and the ones with a suspicious hole in can be used to make wonderful tasty fresh apple juice.

I adore squirreling away garden and hedgerow produce to use through the winter. It is lovely to share with friends and swop jars.

Jars of jam/jelly/chutney sell well at produce sales. We have one at the natural history group AGM and make about £50 or more for club funds. I tart up my jars with a pretty fabric top using fabric leftovers from various sewing projects.

So this is what we have been doing in the garden lately and there is more to come over the next couple of weeks. I guess everyone is doing something VERY similar!

How are you using up your produce?

Posts : 27
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default Re: A good old tidy up

Post by Dandelion on 22nd August 2011, 4:59 pm

I popped round to see CW last week who was drying tomatoes - I can report that they were scrumptious!! I just tend to freeze stuff; DD1 makes jam for us (and made a spectacular plum cake to take to work - we tried some before it disappeared! It took 3lb of plum so was a good way to use up some of the harvest. I don't like to use the word 'glut' - it's a horrid sounding word for one thing, but also sounds ungrateful!!)
I freeze quite a lot of fruit puree for making fools - it makes a quick pud as long as you remember to defrost it

The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

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default Re: A good old tidy up

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 22nd August 2011, 7:55 pm

Get a pressure canner and you can bottle anything. Literally anything. Broad beans, beef, bolognaise, bunny rabbits etc etc etc.

We work on the principle that there is no point preserving things you wouldn't normally eat. Green tomato chutney is an inevitability of the late summer in this country, but seriously, how much of the stuff can you eat in a year?

We turn as much of our tomato harvest as possible into passata and 'ready-made pasta sauce' as poss, often incorporating courgette and other things we have a lot of, and bottle it. We bottle some 'sun-dried' tomatoes biut this works out expensive in olive oil and again we use a lot fewer SDTs than passata during the year.

We also bottle a lot of meats - minced and made up as basic bol mixture - so in winter we just chuck a jar of bol and a jar of passata together and presto a homecooked meal in minutes, or as stewing chunks - particularly venison etc and meats which will end up in casserole/goulash. Not only does it make it easier to store it reduces cooking time at the other end. A lot of meat ends up being cured as salami, hams, bacon etc that can be stored without refrigeration for several months. Currently experimenting with mutton ham

By bottling as much as we can we are able to keep our freezer space free for fish and non-bottleable meats (roasting joints, sausage, bacon etc - although I have seen a technique for bottled bacon on the Backwoods site that I am keen to try), and freezing leftover meals etc. We do have four freezers but space is always at a premium somehow.

The other great advantage of the bottled, dried and cured produce is that in the event of serious power outage/social disruption/EOTWAWKI etc we would still have a good year's worth of meals after the electricity went off, and as the pressure canner will work equally well on a solid fuel heatsource, could continue to preserve more .

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid

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default Brilliant

Post by Daveswife on 23rd August 2011, 10:14 am

Wilhelm, what a fantastic message. Thanks very much indeed.

Home made, bottled passata - great idea.

We get through a lot of chutney in a year and it is nice to have a few spare jars of something to pass on to friends who don't grow their own stuff.

In the event of EOTWAWKI whilst we could not last without some external food input (meat) for as long as you can but I reckon we could manage for six months as long as we have a water supply.

In the meantime I will definitely make more use of my pressure cooker and get bottling!

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default Re: A good old tidy up

Post by Chilli-head on 23rd August 2011, 10:20 am

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:
We turn as much of our tomato harvest as possible into passata and 'ready-made pasta sauce' as poss, often incorporating courgette and other things we have a lot of, and bottle it.

I tend to use up tomato surpluses by making passata for the freezer - I have one of those bright red plastic passata presses from Seeds of Italy to squish them with - do you have something more industrial Billy ?
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