Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wwoofers Are Wonderful

This is Shaina, who is our first ever WWOOFER.
She is working in our vegetable garden and sometimes with general house chores.  We are so pleased with her!  she is happy, easy to get along with and she is working hard on making a difference to our garden.

If you don't know WWOOF it, stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms.  Its a great way for the world to come to us, and a great way for visitors to experience a little bit of New Zealand life.  You can sign up to the website for a minimal charge, and then let the fun begin.  You can have as many or as few visitors as you want.  You need to give them board and food, and in return they will work for 3hrs or so to help you out.  The rest of the time they may want to visit friends, learn English or just hang out with your family.
Montana-Rose could help, rather than just watching!
Shaina is very interesting, has a double degree and is walking the Te Araroa Trail, from the north of New Zealand to the Southern Tip of New Zealand, only 3000kms of which she has walked 2,200kms so far.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Apple Juice and Lemon Muffins

I wouldn't be told....that my apple trees needed a second thinning or they would snap.  It'll be OK, I thought.  But no, today, with the help of a small Norwester apples and branches came tumbling off.

As this is my first apple crop I really couldn't bear throwing slightly under ripe apples to pigs.  So I have made apple juice and as I write this the jars are processing in a water bath.
Put the jars into the water, making sure they are submerged, then bring water back to the boil.  Start timing once boiling begins.  These jars are just coming to a simmer

Here's what I did.  Core and chop apples.  Cover with lots of water, and 1 t citric acid.  Boil till apples have pulped, about 20 minutes.  Strain through cheesecloth.  Return juice to 190F.  While juice is reheating, clean AGEE jars, put lids in boiling water to soften the rubber, and wash the screw tops.  Bring a large saucepan to the boil with enough water to cover jars by an inch when they  are standing in it.

Taste Juice, add sugar if necessary.  I added 1 cup.  Fill jars with juice up to 1 inch from the top.  Put on lids and bands.  Submerse in water bath.  When boiling again start timing.  30 mins.  Take jars out carefully and stand on a cloth or wooden board (if put on bench they might crack with the temperature difference).  Leave 24hrs to cool.  Check seals, label and store.

When you want apple juice put jar in fridge overnight.  Open in morning.  Mmm.  I do feel that this is more a "Apple Drink" than actual juice, but there you go.

The final product is pasteurised I guess, is not brown (a big bonus from freshly squeezed apple juice) and looks great.

I also rustled up a batch of lemon crusted lemon muffins.

2c Plain Flour
1c sugar
1t salt
Grated zest of 2 lemons

Put the above in a bowl.

Add: 1 c fresh lemon juice, strained
2 eggs
100g melted butter

Stir only till just combined.

Put into patty tins and bake 30 mins till just browned.

When cool enough to handle dip in 3 ingredients separately in this order:  melted butter, then lemon juice then sugar.  Leave to cool completely.