We have had a very busy spring this year, though we think we say that every year!
Sometimes it is nice to just make the garden look nice! Yes, the mulch will help with water retention as the hot summer comes, but…… it just looks so good!
Here’s a couple of before and after shots:
Of course more than mulch spreading has been happening:
Looks like a good crop of olives this year!
We had a great harvest of perch to stock up the freezer!
And some yabbies too!
And of course now the weather is warming up, the trout are harvested, smoked and vacuum packed for the coming year!
This winter we have been blessed with great gardening weather, which enabled us to spend a lot of time in the orchard. Of course it is fabulous to pick fresh, delicious fruit straight from the tree- the flavour is always amazing! But to continue with this the trees need a bit of TLC. So, they have been pruned, fed with blood and bone, potash, trace elements and chicken manure (the citrus trees). The area around the trunks has been weeded, and the stone fruit sprayed with copper spray to reduce the leaf curl we are prone to get.
We have the most amazing orange tree- it fruits prolifically and the oranges are delicious. Only problem is, there are SO MANY oranges we can’t possibly eat them all so we need to preserve them.
One days picking
Another day’s picking, after giving loads away!
One of our favourite ways is to make Orange Brandy Liqueur. It uses up lots of oranges (and brandy!) and tastes divine, however we still had plenty left from last year so really didn’t need to make more with this year’s harvest.
Last year we also froze a load of whole oranges so we could juice them when we wanted- except we didn’t and they were still in the freezer! So out they went, and after a search of the recipe books we settled on:
- Litres and litres of orange juice- some to drink straight away and plenty for the freezer.
- We also cut heaps of orange wedges for the freezer- these are great to add to a drink instead of an ice block and are great to suck on on a hot summers day.
- Orange chutney (18 jars!) – this is delicious, and while it took ages to peel the oranges the result was worth it.
- Orange, coconut and apple crisps-we happened to have some apple sauce left over, so whizzed up some with oranges and coconut in the Thermomix to make a paste. This was then dehydrated and broken into pieces for a delicious snack!
Orange crisps and orange, coconut and apple crisps
- Orange crisps– we did this last year too, and is well worth maintaining a supply for quick snacks or to add flavour to cold drinks or tea. The oranges are sliced with a mandoline and then dehydrated.
- Orange infused vinegar and oil- the dehydrated orange slices give a great flavour to white wine vinegar or a light olive oil. Great for cooking with or for salad dressings.
Orange infused vinegar and orange infused oil
- Marmalade- it is hard to not make marmalade with a surplus of oranges, so 20 jars were made, which is more than enough for us and for gifts!
- Orange paste– by now we were wondering what else to do with so many oranges still. We kept giving them away, the last basket was starting to linger, and we love the fruit pastes that go with cheese so decided to try Orange Jelly (paste). It is quite a simple recipe and really delicious! We made 16 jars, so plenty to last a long time!
Orange jelly- a fabulous paste to have with cheese
And that, finally, saw the end of the baskets of oranges. Now we can enjoy the wonderful flavour in so many different ways for many months to come, and we have added to the shelves in the produce room!
The waiting was worth it- the pineapple growing in the aquaponics system was finally ready- at the end of July in a Perth winter! Who would believe it? But, all who have tasted it agree it is the most delicious pineapple!
Juicy and sweet!
The other pineapple growing in a pot (see the May post), should be ready in a couple of months or so, it will be interesting to see if there is a difference in the taste (aquaponics vs dirt). When this one is finished, the top will be prepared and planted ready to grow another pineapple!
We have been growing pineapples from the tops of bought pineapples, and finally have some fruit this year! The plants in the aquaponics system have grown much quicker than those in the garden, interestingly. This beauty is almost ready….
This is the one growing in a pot near the back of the house, not as big but growing!
Pineapple growing in a pot
Can’t wait for them to ripen!!