Sofia's favourite thing at the moment is picking fruit. Apples, pears, quinces, raspberries, lemons. Doesn't matter what - just pick it and eat it, bugs and all. A few days ago when she couldn't get a lemon off the tree she tried to eat it still attached to the tree.
While Ian has been industriously drying pears (another batch completed yesterday), I have also been looking for
Smitten Kitchen (one of my favourite cooking blogs) has a recipe for pear bread that looked up my alley. It was very easy and especially delicious served with some Saint Omer butter.
Oh, and when did they start calling cake "bread"?
We have a crusty old peach tree outside the kitchen window. The trunk has been chomped by termites or borers and it looks like it won't last the next decent wind but despite this it has a reasonable crop of peaches on it. We've probably had more than fifty peaches by now and they're still coming.
As with most things in our garden, a lot of the fruit has been at least partly munched by bugs but there has been plenty of good fruit left for us. Sofia has been loving them - she gets the big pieces and squishes them and ends up covered in mushed peach. A new technique discovered today is to chop the peach into bite size pieces before it reaches Sofia and then she actually eats most of it.
There are some lovely ripe ones at the moment and they are also less buggy. Another few peachy days to go yet. I love this garden.
|Rotten bark and termite riddled wood|
|Some peaches nearly ripe|
Among the many productive trees in our yard is a walnut tree. It's a pretty big tree and in quite good condition so it produces a lot of nuts.We have to share a few of them with the sulphur-crested cockatoos but they leave most for us.
If you've never had the pleasure of gathering walnuts before, this is what they look like on the tree. The husk starts out completely green and fleshy and then it starts to turn brown/black and break up like the one in the photo below is doing. You then have to either get them from the tree or pick them off the ground once they've fallen. The problem with getting them from the ground is that there are lots of old empty shells on the ground from previous years and they look pretty similar. Yes, we should have raked up the old shells before now but we haven't as the ground has not really been clear enough to rake.
Here are some walnuts waiting for the treatment on our beautiful orange laminex benchtop. Some fall to the ground still in their husks, some fall out of their husks.
I met Xenia in the market at Daylesford railway station a few years ago. It was love at first sight. I took her home and she has been with me ever since. And she's about to see some action.
A little bit of messing around to get rid of the shell and we have one beautiful walnut.
There are still lots more walnuts in the tree so even more to eat from our garden.
|Walnut in the middle, oak on right|
|Walnut in its husk|
|Some nuts waiting to be shelled|
|Xenia Onatopp - my weapon of choice|
|Brings a tear to my eye...|
|It was yummy|
|The pear harvest|
Unfortunately because the garden was neglected for a while, including while the fruit was forming on the trees, there is quite a codling moth problem in the apples, pears and quinces which we need to work on for next season. Apparently having chickens running around the garden is a good way to control codling moth - just another reason to get some chooks soon.
There's no way we were going to eat all of the pears so we decided to try drying some of them. That meant peeling them.
|No shortage of pears to peel and slice|
|Some were better than others|
|Sliced pears in water and lemon juice plus the scraps|
|In the dryer at the start. I love the way they look like chips|
|After nine hours in the dryer. Ready to go|
|The first jar|
|The berries from our garden thawing|
We also have a mulberry tree (yay!). Between the birds and the wind, not many ripe mulberries made it into human hands. The ones that did were huge and delicious and were gobbled immediately, thus not making it into the freezer for the jam.
Apart from the berries from our garden we also went picking blackberries near New Norfolk, and our neighbour Hilary gave us some blackberries she had picked too. It was around 3kg of very yummy fruit just waiting to be jammed.
1050g random berries from our garden
600g blackberries picked by our neighbour, Hilary, on her walk last week
1200g blackberries picked by us near New Norfolk on the weekend
bucket load of sugar (equal weight to the fruit)
plus lemon juice or crab apples (for pectin)
Then do the jam thing - boil, add sugar, boil some more until it is ready to set.
|After adding the sugar.|
7 x 300ml jars
8 x 230ml jars
|Some of the loot cooling down|