Green and Thrifty

I made our weekly loaf, and a friend who was going on holidays left me the remaining half of his homemade sourdough loaf and also some sourdough starter so I can have another go at it. Historically it has been amazing!

The fabulous Bron provided Paul and I with masses of gorgeous Cox's Orange Pippins. I have been processing these today in two borrowed Fowler's Vacola units. So many winter crumbles and breakfasts!

Sometimes the greengrocer has boxes of seconds tomatoes for sale for making sauce - he keeps a box under the tomato display and fills it with the not-perfect tomatoes. I bought a box this week and made another nine jars of passata. I have about twenty five now, which I think will be sufficient for a year. Phew, done!

I made hot cross buns on Friday. I have run out of sultanas and raisins, so I made chocolate chip and date buns instead. I received no complaints..

While I was at one of my gardening jobs this week I asked about a plant growing in a gravel path. "Is it Queen Anne's lace?" I asked. Maggie poked at it with her toe and said, "No, it's a terrible pest, it's a baby elderberry tree." Well, how exciting! I want one of those for my future forest garden that is currently a jungle of very large weeds. I brought home the terrible pest and potted it up for future elderflower wine and elderberry syrup.

Last week I brought home some lemongrass stems from a friend's garden and potted them up. I dried the long leaves that I cut off the top and chopped them into short lengths for lemongrass tea.

I ran out of my favourite rooibos tea, but in the spirit of using what I have I did not run out to buy more, but instead have been drinking some of the other teas in my rather large collection.

I collected more walnuts! It is a bumper year for roadside walnuts!

One of my lovely neighbours brought Benny-the-lucky-puppy a large venison bone with plenty of meat still on it. Benson has been happily gnawing on it, burying it and digging it up again for days. So much joy! Here in Tasmania deer are classed as feral animals. They are not native but have escaped from deer farms into the bush and are eating up pasture and bush. There is plenty of deer hunting here in the autumn months.

I have been pouring just-boiled water from the kettle into a thermos to make cups of tea later in the day. Soon we will start lighting the fire, then I can have a kettle on the stove all day. Nice!

This week we have eaten from the garden: zucchini, tomatoes, basil, potatoes, tarragon, bay leaves, Cape gooseberries, pineapple ground cherries, capsicums, cucumbers. Dried or preserved we have eaten passata, cherry plum and greengage jam, dried pears and plums, garlic, dried celery leaves, dried oregano. From other people's gardens we ate lemons, figs, kale, eggs, lemongrass.

Tell me about your green and thrifty adventures. I love your stories!


Anonymous said…
We visited a local orchard and picked 13 kg of deliciously crunchy apples for $13. A delightful job in the late summer sunshine, and something we will do again in a couple of weeks. I have cooked and frozen some, and the rest are being enjoyed straight from the fridge.

I'm envious of your walnut tree find, Jo. Apparently there is a tree somewhere in our district, but those in the know are not telling! I found a good crabapple tree near the CBD, though, and have made early Sunday-morning visits to harvest some for jelly.

Last year one of our apple trees (just the backyard "Ballerina"varieties) had a massive crop of very small apples, and I made apple cider vinegar. It was really simple and this year I have used it in all my pickles and relishes.

I am really enjoying your posts, now that you are back in blogging mode. Thank you for your wit and wisdom, Jo.

Linda in NZ
Jo said…
Linda, that apple orchard sounds brilliant! Being able to buy up apples at that price and preserve them makes such a lot of sense. And the crab apples, well done! I have never made crab apple jelly, but Paul's mum has a tree and has offered me some, so that is on my list of things to learn how to do.

Hmm, I wonder if I would share the location of my most prolific walnut tree? Well, actually I have. I tell everyone who asks that the tree I get my walnuts from is just up the end of my street, but none of my friends have ever gone up there to collect any. One of my friends does collect the occasional haul of walnuts from other trees she knows, but I think most people just don't forage in the suburbs.. it is not really on the radar of most people. All the better for us!

Now, apple cider vinegar - do you have a preferred recipe? It is something I would like to try. Do you think it would be possible to make it with crab apples?

Thank you for your encouragement - I am remembering how much I like to sit down and write and making it more of a priority:)
Linda said…
I love reading your posts, very inspiring. As we are away from home at present I haven't been thrifty. We did have two lots of green beans given to us and a big jar of bottled plums, all enjoyed and eaten. Also a kind Australian blogger friend sent me a packet of fabric scraps, some of which I have turned into 2 Premature baby quilts for the local hospital.
From another Linda, currently in NZ.
Jo said…
Linda, thriftiness while away from home is indeed tricky, but eating up gifted food and not wasting it is a Good Thing. Also, turning fabric scraps into baby quilts for premmies is actually a Thrifty Superpower! Your quilts are all so lovely, and how special for parents to have something beautiful and homey for their baby at such a difficult time..
My mum always carries around a knitting bag which she whips out whenever she is waiting for a few minutes somewhere, and continues knitting patchwork strips out of scraps of yarn for baby blankets for tiny bubs in Papua New Guinea. Also unbelievably small adorable beanies. I love it that such beautiful and useful things are being made out of scraps that would be thrown away, and going to places where they will make such a huge difference to tiny lives..
GretchenJoanna said…
I love YOUR green and thrifty tales, especially of the baskets and bags of food things that you and your friends trade around. Our household has been given so many lemons lately, I was able to give away a couple dozen myself, so someone who lives in a land too cold for lemons, but was passing through...

I made a new friend in the last year who about 50 years ago was a government hunter in New Zealand; his whole job was to shoot as many of those deer as he could, which evidently wasn't enough! In those days there was no arrangement for giving the meat to any humans (or pets) other than what the solitary hunters might consume while they were out on their own for a month at a time, but I imagine the carcasses were appreciated by some other wild animals...
Jo said…
Gretchen Joanna, one of my favourite things is passing on extras, either from my own garden or from the bounty that has been passed onto me. Keep the circle turning, I say.
I expect there are many Austrlalians and New Zealanders who 50 years ago would have got a great deal of their protein from hunting feral animals in the bush. It worked for everyone! Still does, in some places. NZ has feral deer, goats, horses and possums, so plenty of choice!
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

So many distractions - I'm meant to be writing! Hehe! We can't be good all of the time can we?!

Incidentally, I'm in the presence of greatness because whilst I bake a small loaf of bread most days and have done so for about a decade, mine are totally second rate compared to the presentation of yours. Top stuff.

Elderberry is very good, and it will take from hardwood cuttings pushed into the ground. The elderflower cordial or wine is excellent too.

Gotta bounce.

Jo said…
Chris, hmmm, hardwood cuttings, good to know. There is an elderberry tree on my dog walking route, conveniently leaning over the fence..
Bread - mine is much improved since I tried out a new kneading technique:

Just make your normal bread and follow kneading instructions. They are quite complicated to read but easy to do, and completely automatic for me now. Paul says technique is similar to making croissants, it is sort of folding rather than kneading for second knead, which makes it really light.
My fowlers vacola unit has been getting quite a workout lately too with tomatoes and foraged pears and apples. I've also been experimenting with fermented tomatoes and tomato salsa which I'm quite happy with.
What a great score on the 'terrible pest' tree - one day I hope to either acquire my own tree or a hook up to some flowers and berries for similar purposes.
I need to get myself to some local walnut trees to see if I can acquire some. Thanks for the reminder.
Thanks also for the etiko link on a previous comment. I've bookmarked that for when the time to purchase arrives.
Jo said…
Laura, ooh, fermented tomatoes, that sounds interesting. Is it like a pickle?
I know how you feel about foraging - so much fun. It makes me feel like a character in a Beatrix Potter book..

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