Friday, March 14, 2008

relish the relish!

Well, the BRANDYWINE tomato harvest has been good, DELICIOUS even, but not really prolific - although that could be because they are too delicious to let stock pile enough for preserving.

Which was turning out to be a bit of a shame, seems as next door neighbour Sue and I had lashed out and gone halves in a preserving kit during winter.

But then yesterday, as I was watering my carrot seeds en route to work at the community garden, fellow gardener Phil suggested that I might like to raid his patch of ROMA tomatoes as there were too many for him to eat and they were going to waste.

Well, ALRIGHTY!!!!

This whole preserving thing is very new to me. Luckily one thousand clever women have gone before, and I have drawn inspiration from my Nana, for her wondrous pantry lined with jar after jar of apples, peaches, pears and buttons, and instruction from the lovely and relentlessly wondrous Rhonda Jean from Down to Earth, as well as a couple of books on the subject.

So, above, is today's batch of RELISH, cooling after a little hot bath in our new vacola preserving kit. Sue (and probably my Nana) and her mum tut tut at the extravagance of bathing relish - believing very strongly that if the jars are hot then it is unnecessary. But I really wanted to practice using the preserving kit, and also, this is the second batch of relish this season - I would like these bottles to last through the winter if possible.

So if ANYONE around here dies of botulism over the next 6 months, it wasn't my relish ok!

AND later today, when it cools down a little, I will go back down to Phil's patch and steal a few more ROMAs, and then Sue and I will spend tomorrow drinking beer and bottling tomatoes.

In other news, I have learnt a little lesson in chook psychology and the perils of anthropomorpology. Remember the last red egg laying chook? Well, she SEEMED lonely - spending her time up on the back deck - gazing longingly at her reflection in the mirror and wandering off to bed alone every night - refusing to make friends (or stop attacking) the fluffy chickens. Well, we got her a friend - a little point of lay leghorn/new hampshire cross. And Charlotte - HATES her - is violent and TERRORISES her. She has been hiding in the nesting box for two days now.

sheesh. never a dull moment with feathered friends. I thought I was doing the right thing getting her a friend to shnuggle up to before winter, but alas, it seems she would rather be alone than make space in her life (and chook run) for a new friend.

Oh well.


rhonda jean said...

HI Duckie!

What a wonderful sight those bottled tomatoes are. Well done! I generally, though not always, plant a few different tomato varieties so I have enough for all my uses. This year I have pink brandywines, amish paste (a roma type) and moneymaker - a medium sized beauty with delicious flavour. If you're saving seeds, you have to plant them separately, but otherwise, plonk them all in together.

Now, drinking beer and bottling with a friend, what a lovely day that sounds. Is it home made beer?

rhonda jean said...

Oh, I meant to add that I've found chooks usually like other chooks that are the same colour.

The Duck Herder said...

Hi Rhonda Jean - Day two of bottling went very well indeed! Alas - not home made beer - We have just finished our 32nd bottle of home brew ginger beer and we are VERY sad! It is good and powerfull stuff! Perhaps if this weather holds we might be able to get another batch made before it gets too cold. My friend the "Big Fella" down the road makes it for me. It is like CHRISTMAS when he turns up with a whole crate of ginger beer just for me!

I love the Brandywines - they are a little past their best now but still good for cooking and relish. Usually I grow ROmas, but didnt get 'round to it this year. We do have a few little cherry tomatoes still happening too.

And re the chooks- yes - I have observed that too - and intended to get another red chook for Charlotte, but unfortunately there was only these creamy ones left.

Much love Rhonda and thanks for visiting xxxx