Preserving Summer: The Benefits of Canning and Preserving Produce

FREE chapter of Canal House Cooking, Vol. 4 below!

The bursting flavors of summer fruits and vegetables can be made to last all year by canning and preserving them. Canning can brighten your pantry throughout the year, extending the life of perishable produce and utilizing those fruit and vege ‘gluts’ that can sometimes occur when growing food at home.

Quince Jelly Recipe, Apricot BBQ Sauce Recipe, Mandarin Marmalade Recipe

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Front Yard Vege Experiment

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Emerging Leafy Green Seedlings

Mizuna

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Indoor Gardening: Sprouting Alfalfa and Cress

I ordered some alfalfa seeds from eBay recently, along with some tomato and rockmelon seeds. The friendly seller gave us a bonus pack of cress seeds 🙂 Both alfalfa and cress can be sprouted in the same way – sprinkled on damp cotton wool, and kept moist for a day or so until they sprout. After this time you put them in the fridge and after around 6 days they are ready to be used in salads, etc.

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New Season News

We should find out tomorrow if we’ll get the lease renewed, and for how long. The landlord said he’s 90% sure we’d be able to get it till this time next year at the least, but said he’d get back to me. Got to phone him tomorrow to see.

Regardless, Spring is nearly here and my vege garden is completely unproductive! It has been so cold.

We are also planning to get an order of sheep manure and straw bales next week. We can’t really afford it, but we need to get something to give the garden a boost.

We went on to the Eden Seeds website recently and bought 19 packets of seed. It’s so exciting! We got some awesome varieties – I can’t wait to start. We have a big  productive compost pile, so I think some shovels of that into some seed trays and pots should help things get started. This year I will use plastic freezer bags to make mini greenhouses, and I’ve put in an order with relatives for recycled plastic containers and bottles!

Here’s what we got from ES:
Qty Item Description Price
1 1 Vegetables – Bean, Climbing – Lazy Wife
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
2 1 Vegetables – Cabbage – Michihli
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
3 1 Vegetables – Cabbage – Wong Bok
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
4 1 Vegetables – Carrot – Cosmic Purple
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
5 1 Vegetables – Celery – Golden Self Blanching
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
6 1 Vegetables – Cucumber – Crystal Apple
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
7 1 Vegetables – Kale – Chou Moellier
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
8 1 Vegetables – Kale – Nero Di Toscana
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
9 1 Vegetables – Kohl Rabi – White Vienna
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
10 1 Vegetables – Lettuce – Salad Bowl Green
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
11 1 Vegetables – Lettuce – Salad Bowl Red
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
12 1 Vegetables – Pea – Progress
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
13 1 Vegetables – Pea – Sugarsnap – Climbing Type
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
14 1 Vegetables – Radish – Early Scarlet Globe
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
15 1 Vegetables – Salad Greens – Mizuna
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
16 1 Vegetables – Silverbeet – Fordhook Giant
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
17 1 Vegetables – Squash, Button – Early White Bush Scalloped
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
18 1 Vegetables – Zucchini – Black Zucchini
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00
19 1 Vegetables – Zucchini – Golden
Packets: 1@$3.00 $3.00

Sub-total: $57.00

Postage & handling:
(for Australia) $5.00

Total amount: $62.00

For 19 packets of quality seed that is actually pretty good, seeing that some of those are rare and heirloom varieties. We’ve bought from them before and had great crops, so we decided to just get what we wanted to. Some of these varieties we’ve tried before, but most are new to us.

We didn’t get any seed for tomatoes, capsicums, or chillis, because we already have some saved. We have also found that saved seed from supermarket varieties is actually pretty good in the first season. We’ve always had much higher yeilds from these plants than from store bought seed or seedlings.

Mutton and Vegetable Stew Recipe

It has rained pretty much constantly since yesterday. If the dams aren’t full by now, then they need to rework the dam design, because it has been absolutely pissing down here in the hills and freezing cold!! It’s definitely stew weather, so today I made a chunky stewy dish for an early tea. One of those ‘put in the oven around 1pm and don’t take out until around 3-4pm’/slow cooked jobs. The meat went sooo melty, and the spuds and carrots were yummily tender. I think I’ll start making this kind of thing more often. You get a lot of flavour for minimal ingredients and practically no work.

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Baked Bean Brunch for the Vegetarian Soul – Recipe

It will probably come as a surprise to people out there who have noticed the heavy meat content on this blog, but once upon a time we were actually vegetarian. I was vegetarian for about 6+ years, while Canaan became vegetarian when he met me – for a couple of years or so. We even tried out being vegan for a year. When I was vego I used to eat stuff like this all the time. It’s simple but very yummy and healthy. Here’s what you’ll need to make it, and how. Serves one ravenous person, or two hungry people.

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Cheesy Three-Bean Bake Recipe

I felt like something cheesy today, but also something on the reasonably-healthy side. If you like simple dishes, this is the one for you. This served both of us well and was a filling early dinner. You can’t beat baked beans!

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Creamy Potato and Leek Soup Recipe

We bought some organic potatoes and 2 leeks from the supermarket the other day, and it was a chilly enough for something warm, so I decided on a dinner of potato and leek soup. It tasted pretty luxurious once topped with a slice of bread and cheese, and toasted under the grill. Filling and satisfying, potato and leek soup is a frugal classic that never fails to impress!

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Sometimes, All You Need Is Chunky Soup

If you smelled the aromas of the stocky broth, the melty vegetables, the perfectly squidgy dumplings, the tasty chunks of corned beef… and warmed up a few ladles after another pretty blah day at work, I’m sure you’d agree… It’s quite potentially heaven in a soup bowl.

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