Sunday, October 27, 2013

Testing out my new toy...... 27 October 2013

After much deliberation and some recent issues with waxed cheeses I decided to treat myself to a new toy- a vacuum sealing machine! I noticed recently a cheddar cheese I had been carefully ageing for more than 12 months had some mould under the wax.  I have had the problem from time to time but persisted with wax, removing the wax, scraping off the mould and rewaxing. However this time, for some reason half of the cheese felt spongy and so I decided to throw it out. Also when cutting open a new wheel, I have to rewax all the bits we are not likely to eat in the near future. Sometimes the cut surface of a cheese is not so smooth so waxing takes many dips to get all the little holes covered again. So after researching a bit online and finding a Sunbeam Foodsaver at Target for almost half the price of the same at Harvey Norman, I was convinced.
First job.....time to cut open the Caerphilly and Wensleydale with Mustard seeds which I had made in recent months. After a little tasting session, it was into the purpose made bags, out with the air and sealed up.
I had also read on a bushwalking forum site that vacuum sealing was great for hiking food too so that made it doubly appealing. Of course I had to try it out so did a test run with some of my kiwi fruit leather and dehydrated hummus. The machine could come in very handy when preparing meals in advance of a multi day hike.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Cleaning out the freezer" Jam. October 21 2013

Two days of lovely sunshine after all this incessant we have had in the past few months and suddenly the garden has burst into life. The raspberries have all sprouted leaves ready for another productive season. Time to check what is left in the freezer from last summer and do something with it.
Yesterday out came a couple of bags of frozen raspberries and into the pot they went with some sugar. A little while later, 9 pots of jam. Ideal for Christmas presents!
Unfortunately with the gale force winds we have had recently, one on my Japanese plum trees, a Santa Rosa was blown over. We staked it up the first time with 5 plastic cables holding it in place and it looked like it might survive at least one summer. It was laden with tiny fruit so worth a try. Unfortunately while we were away last weekend, we had even stronger winds which blew it over again, snapping 4 of the plastic cables! This time there was no hope of survival.   I will have to get another next winter as it is a cross pollinator for my favourite Satsuma Japanese blood plum but at least this years crop for that tree is already fertilised!