Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi everyone, 

I usually don't have much excess harvest.  What I sometimes do get, I have been known to be rather wasteful and either compost it or feed it to the chooks (go back to last years November blog and the peach debacle) because I've left it too long to do anything about.  But my beautiful Aunt, who I absolutely adore, is in to gardening and preserving local produce big time.  She's been through some really tough financial times (has now come through at the other end) and instead of it being a hobby for her, it is something she does now for her own piece of mind and so that she'll always be able to feed herself and her family.And talking to her about my garden, I realised that in a small, dark, quiet place of my mind, I partially garden because of that same reason.  So instead of just wasting the stuff this year, my goal is to try to make use of as much as possible. 
Case in point of leaving stuff too long is my sugar snap peas.  I know, I know, what a waste.  In my defense, I had about 1 kg in the fridge of them and I was really busy over the last week and a half and just didn't get out there to harvest.  They are still edible, (just) so I'm blanching them and freezing them so that they can go in chicken soups.  This is about 1.5 kg

I also have HEAPS of spinach at the moment.  I have two patches and new seedlings that need to go in.  This was just from my oldest patch that had started to go to seed.  Normally this would just go in the compost but I picked a bucket load today, blanched it and froze it into usable sized blocks that I could chuck into pasta, soups, stews. 

Mulberries are divine and we all love them fresh, gorging ourselves until the tree is bare. But there gets to a time in the season where you CANNOT eat all the mulberries (even on our young tree) so something must be done.  I make the mulberries into a sort of jam that I use as tartshell fillings.  Step 1: pick the mulberries.  Step 2: boil with sugar to taste, Step 3: make biscuit pastry tart shells, Step 4: fill

The other thing I do with them is freeze them and make mulberry smoothies in the summer months.

My banana's (which I don't have pictures of) are almost all ripe - All 40 of them.  Last time I dehydrated.  This time, I'm going to make banana spring rolls.  They are fantastic and my kids love them and I don't buy crappy deserts. 

I'm still pretty bad with the PawPaws.  If anyone has any idea what I can do to preserve them (other than drying) I'd be happy to hear. 

Well that's the extent of my efforts so far.  I'll update as I go.  Fruit that we are eating from the garden at the moment: Banana, Paw Paw, oranges, strawberries, mulberries.

I'll leave you with a picture of this arvo's harvest.  Quite chuffed with it.

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Comment by Lissa on September 21, 2015 at 6:09

Your aim to preserve your excess is a really good and admirable one. Considering you work full time, have a family and house to look after along with your gardening, it's a wonder you have time to even think about preserving crop but you're managing it.

Well done.

I found my problem was remembering what I had tucked away in the freezer for later consumption. Would find some mystery packets or containers - like the passionfruit pulp that was in there literally for years.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 20, 2015 at 23:07

I'd be chuffed, too! Great work Susan :-)

Comment by Phil on September 20, 2015 at 20:58

Yeah I wish I had your problem Susan. I don't grow any bigger fruit trees due to my soil so I can see that is probably the main situation where you would need to preserve. Have you thought of canning, pickling or making jams? The only produce, apart from herbs, I preserve are chili and Rosella - both dried. But the chili plants (Capsicum frutescens) are so productive that the amount in my pantry just keeps increasing.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on September 20, 2015 at 20:39

Nice work.  I think you've really turned a corner when you start preserving your produce.  I'm impressed.  

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