Green and Thrifty

Apples from Bron's fabulously productive tree,
 now all nicely bottled for winter goodness

My lovely neighbours Bram and Lyn brought me two supermarket bags full of amazing local venison. Bram's friend Albert shot the deer. He is 84 and still living a very rich life full of all the things he loves to do. Bram and Albert butchered the deer early this week, and Benson is blissfully munching on a bone in the garden and the girls and I are experimenting with cooking venison according to Bram's recipes. I had to empty my very small freezer compartment to fit it all in, so have just now defrosted the sloes that Katherine and I picked last year and put them in a jar with some gin to make sloe gin. I may be slow with some projects, but I get there in the end.. now it is time to go and pick more sloes..

I took passata, lemons, and an orchid that a friend gave me to Bram and Lyn. Bram is also going to take my electric mulcher and whipper snipper, which is wonderful as they can now leave my shed so I have room to order firewood for the winter. Plus, if I ever need them, I can borrow them back :)

My friend Lillian took me out to lunch yesterday as a thank you for helping her clean and declutter when she moved house. She brought me a bag of feijoas from her tree (she doesn't like feijoas!) and I gave her pineapple ground cherries.

Yesterday on one of my gardening jobs I found myself up a ladder picking pears from a bountiful pear tree, and Maggie gave me some pears to take home. I am now drying pear slices in the dehydrator, and will add the feijoas when the pears are done. One day my poor dehydrator is going to give up the ghost through sheer hard work, so I am looking for recommendations for a bigger one. Anyone? My current one is a small secondhand Sunbeam one that I have been using for about ten years. I am very impressed at its longevity, but I know the motor will fail eventually, probably just when I have a load of fruit to dry..

While walking Benson the happy puppy in the park I found a reusable 'Stuffsack' bag on the ground. It was covered with acorns and leaves from an oak tree, so I judged it long abandoned and brought it home, washed it and added it to my collection.

My friend Sandra brought me a load of lemons when she came for Easter Sunday lunch. I gave her onions. At the greengrocer's local onions were 2kg/$3.64 or 10kg/$3.90. No brainer. So I bought the 10kg and have been giving them away ever since.

I bottled 13 jars of apples this week. So pretty!

I made a crock of sauerkraut, as Paul keeps eating it as fast as I can make it!

My baby lettuce plants looked like this two weeks ago:

and now they look like this:

Nearly time for our first meal of home grown lettuce in quite some time!

Planted this week: lettuce and snow peas.
Eaten from the garden this week: potatoes, tomatoes, capsicums, the last cucumber, one zucchini, Cape gooseberries, pineapple ground cherries, rhubarb, rosemary, tarragon, spring onions, wild rocket, basil.
Eaten from other people's gardens: lemons, feijoas, pears, apples, eggs.

Tell me about your thrifty adventures..


Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Picked the ripe cantaloupe and watermelon today. Both are small, but very tasty. A sad tale though. I left the cantaloupe on the vine for about two days too long and the Portuguese millipedes began chomping their way into the very tasty flesh. I gave those cantaloupes to the chickens! Plus saved the seed. They get better every year and this is my third year of saving the seed from those guys.

Incidentally, our Fowlers Vacola Ultimate 4000 dehydrator (it sounds like a car name for a particularly boring utility vehicle don't ya reckon?) looks exactly like your dehydrator, so I'm guessing your trays could be popped on top of a second hand unit? We got ours for about $40 including postage and about 4 trays. You might want to check the fit first before splashing the cash. But then you can still purchase the trays brand new for the Fowlers gear (2 to a box). The max trays we chuck on the unit is about 6 trays and I probably wouldn't try more.

PS: If I'd been left to think about it for 100 years, I never would have considered bottling apples - like the lids too!

Hazel said…
Foraging this week- everything is finally big enough to pick after our extended winter.
Wild garlic (scones in the oven for picnic lunch tomorrow), hedge mustard/Jack by the Hedge and ground elder (ate with dinner in the week) and nettles (nettle pizza for tea tonight once oven preheated by the scones) and lots of goosegrass, cow parsley and some dandelions for the chickens and ducks much to their delight! I gave some wild garlic to a friend who leaves me cabbage and lettuce trimmings for the chickens.
I also used up some speckledy bananas in an oaty banana slice- again for picnic lunch tomorrow- and baked that before the scones, making use of increasing oven heat!
Treaders said…
Would love your sauerkraut recipe if you get a chance!
Jo said…
Chris, it is rather disheartening to be growing cantaloupe for the chickens!
Thanks for the dehydrator recommendation - I will look that up. Hope to see bottled apples turning up at your place soon!

Hazel, I am taking notes here on your foraging adventures! We don't have wild garlic here in Oz, which is amazing as we managed to import all the rest of Britain's weeds! We do have an abundance of what we call onion weed, and in the UK is apparently called three-cornered leek. It is in the allium family and can be used like garlic chives. Brilliant idea to put them in scones! Nettle pizza? Tell me more! Do you put the fresh nettles on the pizza base and leave them to wilt in the oven? I am encouraging a nettle patch to make iron-rich tea, but am open to further nettle culinary adventures..

Hedge mustard - yes, I have that growing in my garden.. do you eat it raw or cook it like spinach? Jack by the hedge I have never seen. Perhaps it somehow stayed in the UK as well. Ground elder, again, doesn't look familiar. Sounds like you have been having a marvellous time in the hedgerows:)

Anna, will do :)
Hazel said…
Hi Jo, I meant hedge garlic, sorry. It's also called Jack by the Hedge and garlic mustard. Maybe you don't have it either. We do have 3 cornered leek but I've never found any in the wild here. I'd chop it up and put it in mayonnaise as a dip I think.
Ground elder is really invasive so probably just as well you don't have that.

Nettles I use a lot. This time I did just put the leaves on the pizza base which I liked, but I think the family preferred them blanched and chopped first. I did one pizza with a tomato sauce base and another with a garlic cream base which was delicious- some garlic, cream and a bit of white wine simmered until thick enough to spread. I seasoned both with nutmeg- it goes well with nettles.
I use them anywhere you might use spinach, nearly always blanched and chopped. Quiche, dips, pasta sauce, in gnocchi and in my daughters favourite childhood meal, mixed with cheese sauce and layered with baked beans and then mashed potato on top then baked until hot and bubbling. Sometimes I cheat and put the cheesey saucey nettles and beans on top of a jacket potato. One day I'll make nettle spanokopita but I haven't got round to it yet...
Unknown said…
It's lovely to see you writing regularly again, Jo. I love reading your posts. Thanks! Nicola
Meg said…
A fellow gardener down the road gifted to me a big bag full of limes from his tree. I gave him a cardamon ginger plant as a thank you. A great trade! I've juiced some of the limes, frozen juice in ice-cube trays for days ahead when I have no limes again. I made a lime and yoghurt cake to use up the yoghurt in the fridge and a couple of pots of lime curd too. All zingy and lovely! Your bottles of apples look great. If I ever get a good bargain on apples, I stew them up with cinnamon and freeze them for winter apple crumbles. I have planted out some lettuce and chard too, looking forward to the end of our homegrown lettuce drought too. Meg
Jo said…
Hazel, there is a thing on the internet called hedge mustard! We call it wild mustard greens here, and you eat it blanched like mustard greens! But no Jack by the hedge. That is a fabulous name, isn't it? I love the common names of weeds - fat hen - adorable. Thank you for those absolutely delicious-sounding nettle recipes - yum! I have nettles coming up prolifically around my baby cabbages. Now I shall go out and start snipping them for dinner. Brilliant plan for the onion weed too - it is one of those British escapees that has naturalised everywhere in the cooler districts of Australia along the east coast.

Nicola, lovely to hear from you, glad you are enjoying, I am enjoying the writing!

Meg, I don't even know what a cardamon ginger plant is but it sounds delicious. I also have a friend with a lime tree. Isn't it a marvellous treat! I loves the many ways you found to save every last drop of limeness:) All the best for your lettuce and chard. i also have chard on the go. Soon it will be ready to eat. I love that autumn flush when everything puts on one last spurt of growth before the cold weather.

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