As you know I've been really busy in the kitchen lately, preserving lots of lovely peaches and tomatoes. I've done several bottles of peaches now, which I know we will enjoy in the coming winter. The tomato sauces, both Italian and spicy Indian versions, are lined up in the pantry at the ready for future pasta dinners and curries, both of which are a big favourite here at CTF.
However, this past week I've been picking bunches and bunches of juicy ripe red table grapes. Now there are only so many grapes we can actually eat 'au natural' - I say 'we' but the truth is I don't actually like them much! So there was only really one other alternative - grape juice!
It's easy to make, just a little time consuming. Here is a quick guide to making:
1. Pick your grapes
2. Wash your grapes and remove stalks, insects, leaves..
3. Put into clean stock pan
4. Mash with potato masher
5. Bring to boil and simmer for about 10 mins.
6. Cool for about 10 mins
7. Pour into 'jelly bag' aka old clean pillow case.
8. Suspend 'jelly bag' over another big pot to catch juice, leave to drip for a while. N.B. Juice will stain so use newspaper on floor
9. Squeeze out any extra juice you can
10. Bottle up and sterilise in water bath as per preserving fruit.
11. Drink - we dilute with water but I'm thinking soda water would be lovely.
Note - no sugar was added and the juice is sweet enough for us. It's delicious!
Friday, February 28, 2014
|Bottled Golden Queen and Black Boy peaches|
Just sharing a couple of photos following on from my last post where I mentioned preserving some of our peach harvest. I've only recently started preserving fruit so this is all quite exciting!
The yellow ones are Golden Queen and the purple is Black Boy. I could have done another jar of the Black Boy, but we want to eat the ones we have picked fresh! :-) There is more fruit on the tree, just waiting for it to ripen.
I used a light sugar syrup (1 cup sugar to 4 cups water), and my trusty Fowler's Vacola for the water bath process. It seems to have been successful, as all the seals are good. I guess if you are doing quite a few jars that would be the test. One thing though, as G pointed out, I could have put less fruit and more syrup in the jars as once opened obviously there is a limited time to eat all that fruit..! I will do this next time, plus will also try to obtain more of the smaller sized preserving jars (1pint/600mls). This time round I used them all up for the tomato sauce and relish.
|Preparing fruit for bottling|
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
|Madeleines aka 'airships'|
Our citrus orchard is yet to be performing well, so I don't often have my own lemons on hand. Limes yes, and lemonades, but not lemons. Sometimes we receive a lovely big boxful of Meyer lemons from my husband's dear aunty (thanks L :-)!) as she has an established tree. Our citrus orchard is still very exposed to the elements and the little lemon trees are struggling to grow. In a couple of years the feijoa hedging will make all the difference I'm sure, and with better wind protection, they'll be away.
On the other hand, we have had a fantastic year for stonefruit, with peaches and nectarines galore. I've made loads of chutney and jam, and have also bottled some of the fruit, giving the Fowler's Vacola a good workout and filling up my pantry shelves tout de suite! We are now picking our lovely purple 'Black Boy' peaches, which are just delicious! Will post photos soon.
Unfortunately after a great harvest, the tomatoes were getting badly attacked by plague of green shield bugs. They were also going quite 'mealy', so I decided to rip them all out, salvaging the last of the fruit including any unripe ones, just in case I feel the urge to make some more chutney...! The last lot of ripe tomatoes have gone into a delicious Indian spicy relish which I have made this morning. It will go very nicely with a curry. I found the recipe on Pinterest - here's the link.
|Spicy tomato relish|