Native Gooseberries & More New Spring Harvest.

Well the garden has finally kicked off as they say if it don’t rain it pours, lots of new crisp spring growth to harvest and I couldn’t ask for a nicer sunnier day to do it .
My native gooseberries (Physalis minima) have all ripened which is great because I wasn’t sure if they would I had to pick them pretty green as they got badly wind damaged in some bad storms we had here.
I decided to make a sauce out of them, I had some frozen night shade berries (Solanum nigrum) as well so I combined the two to make a yummy dipping sauce for my weed crackers, the recipe is below.

Native Gooseberry & Night Shade Berry Sauce

  • 2 cups Native goose berries
  • 2 cups Night shade berries
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon sea lettuce & Tassie pepper leaf salt (see other blogs)
  • 1 tablespoon chilly oil
  • 4 cloves
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup raw sugar

Ok so you boil the fruits with all the other ingredients except the vinegar & sugar until the fruit is cooked and the liquid is reduced slightly then you add the vinegar & sugar and hard boil until thick then bottle hot.

This turned out really well and the smell was amazing as it was cooking, it went really well with my weed cracker (see other blogs).

Also today I harvested the beautiful new spring growth of Dandelion leaves (Taraxacum officinale), Sow thistle (Sonchus sp.) and Californian poppy (Eschscholzia californica) I will use the dandelion leaves as a tonic tea and the sow thistles will be used in many different foods, the Californian poppies will be used in a herbal tea blend and smoked. Also in the picture below you will see some Hawthorn branches (Crataegus sp.) I want the dried leaves for a tea and figured it would be easier and less painful to picked the whole branch dry them and bash the leaves off they are nasty buggers…….

Earlier in the week I harvested my usual every second day Borage flowers (Borago officinalis) Pot marigold flowers (Calendula officinalis) I have to harvest the borage flowers before the sun comes up because the bees absolutely love them, oh and I do leave half for them each harvest, White clove leaves (Trifolium repens) and some Youngberry leaves (a hybrid from Rubus genus- Blackberry and Raspberry and Dewberries of the rose family).
The white clove tea is nice as is the youngberry leaf tea and as weird as it sound it does taste ever so slightly of the fruit….. the borage and calendula flowers just go into my herbal tea mix which is just what ever is around at the time.

Oh…. I also harvested a heap of nettles (Urtica sp.) too, it has been a busy couple weeks yah!! I hope your days have been as productive. 🙂

Medicinal Herbal Vinegar

So I decided alcohol was to expensive to buy to make tinctures for medicines and I like making everything from scratch anyway and I had made heaps of fruit vinegars so I looked in to using vinegar to make medicine, I soaked a heap of wild foraged & home grown herbs/weeds and I have now strained it all, in this picture you can see the difference in coloration and I can tell you it is powerful much stronger than I expected and so far no colds this winter not that I ever really get colds but a coupler times I started to get a sore throat and I added this to my drinks, this my herbal teas and my herbal honey did the trick. Plus it makes a great hair tonic too.

I put the below ingredients into a crock and covered it all with home made fruit vinegar (red berries) and then I weighed the herbs down with peddles and I let this sit for a few months in a dark cupboard, stirring and repacking every now and then.

  • 3 cups dried Mullein leaf (Verbascum thapsus)
  • 2 cup dried mullein root (Verbascum thapsus)
  • 1 cup dried Rosmary
  • 2 big knobs of Ginger
  • 2 cups Pinus radiatus needles
  • 1/2 cup white Willow (Salix alba) sticks
  • 1/2 cup dried Tasmanian Sassafras (Atherosperma moschatum) branches with leaves
  • 1/2 Hops
  • and a  few drops of eucalyptus & tea tree oil.

below is the result.

Left finished vinegar, right what I started with.

Purple Cabbage Fermenting Projects

Ok two projects leading up to my saukraut making, I planted cabbages in the hot house hoping they would be ready before I have to put my tomatoes, chillies, capsicums and egg plants in, it is the first year here I have grown things in a hot house so it is all new, unfortunately they aren’t ready yet the green ones have a medium sized heart but the purples have only just started to make their hearts hence thats why they are more expensive to buy I realize, it is a time thing.
Anyway there is enough hearts for me to get a decent amount of kraut happening and my ducks have been enjoying some of the leaves along the way and I decided to try fermenting some of the leaves for myself I normally ferment Kale to make juice but as they are in the same family I assume these will be good too, fingers crossed. I also trimmed out some of the purples leaf ribs to try fermenting them on their own too…… so it isn’t a loss at all, it has just taken a different path than expected hopefully a yummy one.

Here you can see the chopped leaves the cabbage leaf ribs and the brine, below are the two projects

Fermented Cabbage Leaf Ribs

You can see the ribs here in this picture

I chopped these and put them into this glass jar and poured a brine over them to cover them by about 1 inches, my normal brine mix 2 table spoons salt to 1 liter water with what ever spices you like, I then weighted down the bits with my river pebbles and covered with a cloth. You can use a whole bit of cabbage leaf to put between the bits and the rocks so you don’t get floaties if you like.

For the cabbage juice I put the chopped leaves into a crock covered with brine by about 3 inches weighted the leaves down, covered the lot with a cloth and put aside to ferment, I didn’t take a picture of the crock it is a bit boring and I have shown picture of my crock set up with a kale blog somewhere on here.
I will be making the Kraut in about a week and will share then, well I hope this help you to see the good old humble cabbage in a  new & healthier light 🙂

Carrot Fermenting Frenzy

A friend dropped off some carrots for me and I decided to ferment them here is what I did with them-

First recipe- a mixed veggie ferment

In this first picture are grated carrot, red beet, parsnip, salsify (Tragopogon sp), Burdock roots (Arctium sp.) , ginger and curry spices.

I tossed all the veggies together then I dry roasted the spices which were- curry powder, mustard & cress seeds, pepper corns a coupler cloves. I made a brine which is about 2 table spoons of salt to 1 liter of water. I put the veggies in a big glass jar I added the roast spices to the brine and poured it all over the veggies. I push the veggies down so they were all submerged and placed my washed river pebbles on top to hold everything under the brine and then cover the top with a cotton cloth to keep dust and insects out.

This is what it looked like when ready to put in cupboard to ferment, time depends on your tastes and weather. Mine will probably sit for a few weeks then I will move it to cooler cupboard.

Second recipe- Ginger, Chilly Fermented Carrot Sticks

So here in this picture I have four different types of dried chillies, sliced ginger, smashed garlic and a few small dried lemons then the carrot sticks and the brine again 2 table spoons to 1 liter water which has some pepper corns, mustard seeds and cress seeds in it.

I put the carrot sticks, chilly and ginger into the jar and poured the brine over the top I then weighed the veggies down with pebbles and cover with cloth. Again it depend on weather and tastes, these will probably sit for about three weeks and then I will try them and if they aren’t to my taste I will leave them for long before moving to cooler cupboard.

Well that’s it for today I hope you enjoy these recipes and I hope it motivates you to have a go yourself.

Rose Hip, Ginger, Chilly, Wallaby Stew

Todays recipe is Rose hip, ginger, chilly, wallaby stew, sorry my recipes aren’t exact I just don’t operate like that, I have tried but for the thing I eat every day that I make on the spot with what I have around I just cant do it, I am creating recipes for sauces etc but anyway here is my rough recipe

So to start I fried of some brown onions and garlic in olive oil until slightly caramelized and then I added some cress seeds or you could use mustard seeds (what ever you have), salt & pepper then I put this aside in a bowl. I then add more oil to the pan and browned the wallaby all over then add the onion mix back to the pan then add enough water to deglase the pan. I then add the Rose Hip, Ginger & Chilly Sauce that is in my recipes in my home page menus….. After this has simmered for about 30 minutes I added chopped spud, white beet roots and a bit more water then I simmered this for another hour or so keep adding water if needed and right at the end just before serving I tossed in some chopped shallot leaves and that was it for this stew, I just wanted it to be very simple. To accompaniment the dish I flash fried then steamed purple kale and green cabbage flower stalks and some red beet leaves, I served this one with a crispy brown rice dosa. This was amazing, the wallaby went really well with the Rose Hip Sauce a perfect match….

Wild Rabbit Stew with Weed Crackers

Just a quick one today, my dad got a rabbit from his property and bought it down for me to cook up, I skinned her and it is a gorgeous skin no bullet holes because dad spooked her and she got tangled in the fence so he broke her neck. I dried the skin to tan later I was going to brain tan it but poor bunny doesn’t  have much of a brain so I will do it with all my other skins in summer with wattle bark.

Here is my recipe- I browned the rabbit, liver, kidneys & heart then added brown onions & cooked until they were tender & browned in all the fats of the rabbit, then I added a bottle of elderflower beer to de glaze pan then I added frozen home grown peas, frozen Thistle root (Cirisum vulgare) & dried slipper jack’s (Suilus lutues) salt & pepper to taste & extra water then simmered this until all cooked & the meat just fell off the bones.

I had this with my feral weed crackers which include- local wheat & spelt flour then dried foraged plant- Sow thistle (Sonchus sp.) Nettle (Utica dioica) Tassie pepper tree leaves (Tasmannia lanceolate) Sea lettuce (Ulva sp.) grey sea salt, black pepper & to this add enough olive oil and water to form stiff dough roll out & bake in hot oven.

I really enjoyed this it’s the first fresh meat apart from sea food that I’ve had for awhile as I have been living out of my freezer for months….. Yummy 🙂