January 31, 2010

Home Produce and the Pest

This summer we were so fortunate to harvest fruit from our trees. Some of the fruit trees came with the house when we moved in. I had a big fight on my hand to save them from the builders. They wanted to cut them down because it was easier than working around them. In the end I won and saved the fruit trees. We have an apricot, a plum and a lemon tree. Since then we planted a grape, fig and mandarin. Each year we get either abundant plums or apricots, but not together. We always have plenty of lemons all through the year.
Honestly, there were so many apricots this year that we decided we had to do something with them. I took buckets full to work for the second time this year and there is still a load to be picked.
DH and DIL spend one afternoon picking them before our DB (dear birds) get to them first. They picked 4 buckets that day. DIL spotted the bottle boiler with jars at an opportunity shop. She was determined to get it done before they left the next day.

DIL started the bottling process with DH and I as her assistants to cut the apricots in halves and remove the stones. It was fun and satisfying to see our home grown produce being preserved.

This is DIL mother's bottling process:

Fill the bottles with fruit and top up with water or sugary syrup then attach rubber seals, lids and clips. Stand the bottles in the sterilizer drum then fill it with cold water to half way up the side of the bottles. Slowly bring the water temperature up to 180'F over an hour then hold at 180'F for 30 mins. Next remove all bottles with tongs and stand to cool on an old towel and that is it. When cold, remove the clips - the vacuum will keep the lids sealed. Store in a dark cool place.

The end result is very pleasing. You can see some of the stones deliberately left in side to give it almony favors. We have already opened one bottle to try it out and it's delicious

Not only we bottled the apricots, but we had so much fruit on the tree that I even made two batches of jam as well. I still have another bucket at home and looking for more jars to make more jam in the weekend.

Next harvest will be the grapes, lettuce and rocket leaves. We have plenty of lemons all the year round. Luckily my Greek friend Sophia has lemon in her tea so I give them to her. Yes, you see it right. The pest possom! Sneaking in over the fence at night. This one was very tame so I got real close to take a picture of it.

I would like to hear your story of home produce too please. If you don't have anything from the garden you can tell us about your home brew, home baking or raising chickens for eggs etc.


Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Hi Nat...how beautiful...I used to do preserves back in Bx...Oh those lemons, I need some!!! Now if I could pop over and get some from you...wouldn't that be good. Have a beautiful Sunday...Love Dzintra♥x

PatchworkRose said...

Hi Nat
I have bought a Food Dryer. Ezi Dry and I make Apricot Leather. You bring the halved apricots just to the boil to stop the apricot from dicolouring. Turn off, cool and whizz. It is then a cup and a half per layer. This is the only way my 16 YO son will eat apricots! Not only that he barters with his mates! I am currently drying Oregano and Thyme. First for me so am waiting to see. Should be fine though. Have also dried Mango Nectarine (Have just planted a Tree so hopefully next year there will be lots) This year I have also been making tomato marinara. Found the recipe in a Pressure cooker cookbook. No fish in it but there is redwine. I freeze in batches ready for the winter and pasta sauce. The tomatoes were self sewn. Must have come from my worm compost and just beautiful. No I do not peel them first.
Have Fun

Unknown said...

Oh, Nat! This reminds me well of the days WHEN I used to can out the ying-yang!! Today I just started my tomatoes from seed ... we grow just tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon & a couple of pumpkins & cantaloupes for the kids to enjoy. No more canning ...

Your harvests look wonderful.

Have a wonderful week.
Hugs, sweet friend. TTFN ~ Marydon

Anonymous said...

What a fun post, Natima. What a bountiful harvest you had...

Astrid said...

OOOOH!!! That many yummy apricots!! How wonderful you preserves them! As far as I know apricot trees don't grow here. We have a few fruit trees in our garden; lemon trees and a grapefruit tree (haven't given any fruit yet), bananas, jackfruit, some green leaves, two tiny starfruit trees, coconut tree. Last year I made jam of ripe jack mixed with bananas - turned out yummy! I think I'll do it again when the few jacks on the tree are ripe, have to wait a few more weeks. Didn't have to add sugar, because the jack is so sweet. We had mango trees too, but cut them down, too old to give fruits. Oh, and I use to make starfruit pickles too.And yes - the birds! We use to joke when we hear the birds; the bananas are ready to be cut off the tree! :)

quiltmom anna said...

The apricots look beautiful and that possum certainly looks pesky.
My mother is the canner and preserver in my family. I tried it once upon a time, but I was an abject failure at it- Gardens and canning are not my strengths- I guess we all have our own gifts and talents. LOL
Your tree looks beautiful and so bountiful- I am sure that you will enjoy the fruits of your labour all winter long.

QuiltSue said...

How wonderful to have all those apricots - they are my absolute favourite fruit in any form, but specially fresh. I am afraid our garden is too small to produce anything, so I just make quilts instead!

ria vogelzang said...

Hi Nat, you look just lovely with all those apicots!! It reminds me of being a child; my mother also preserved all kinds of fruit!!
I'm not such a kitchen-wonder....... So I can't tell you about any thing "kitchen"-special!! But I'm always in for a taste of something..... ;))
Have a good sunday! By the way: I LOVE the background of your blog! Looks real special!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great harvest!

We had a plum and an apricot tree at our old house. Our 2 dogs loved the fruit (one preferred the plums and one preferred the apricots). They used to jump up to pick the ripe fruit themselves! They did manage to leave some for us to eat, but nowhere near as much as you're getting.


Regards, Sue

kaiteM said...

hi Nat, you might have to learn to share with PP (pesky possum).
The apricots look wonderful, so many, you must have good, well draining soil. A lot of the fruit up here didn't set this year, even with the orchardists. No one quite knows why but we're thinking it's because we had a lot more wind than usual around late Spring.
Did you know there's another way now to bottle fruit, it's done in the m'wave. Marie, up on Panorama does her excess fruit that way. Seems it's very quick. She also makes jam later in the year from her bottled fruit.
cheers, Kaite

Lis Harwood said...

What a wonderful harvest Nat, I love your pictures - can smell those apricots, almost. Being in mid-winter your post has set the envy button off but we did harvest some parsnips yesterday and DH made a delicious soup! Forget to say earlier, I love your header photos, what lovely items and sewing, beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness!! you're so lucky!! wish I lived near you, I'd gladly take a bucket full off your hands.
You were one smart lady to make the builders leave the trees.

Nina Lise@Mrs Moen said...

Everything look so delicious, Nat! We don't have any fruit or veggies in our garden, but FIL have yummy plums which I used to make into jam. My parents make the most wonderful raspberry and redcurrant (not mixed together..)jam from their produce. It's still my favourite treat when I come home to visit:-)

dragonfly gypsy said...

Hi Natima, Well done. You are such a talented and interesting lady. Quilts, baskets, books, produce and much more.

Kelly@ Charming Chatter said...

How wonderful, Nat! It has been cold and snowy here - so it was such a treat to see your fruit trees, and to see you canning! Very fun!

Anonymous said...


I am just green with envy. I adore canning things from my own yard. Nothing better than when it comes from your own kitchen. Ever try spiced apricots? I have the recipe if you are interested. Just let me know. We grew some vegs this last year, though the sun ate most of my plants. Here's hoping, with fingers crossed, that we can be more productive this year. Though we did use our herb garden and such quite a bit. Hugs to you. Do your ship to Texas? Just kidding.


Janet said...

I love love apricots and I'm amazed by the huge crop. I had fruit trees in NZ and the most amazing plum tree. I made plum sauce, plum jam and preserves. I used to bottle and preserve when the kids were at home but not now.

Terry said...

Apricots. Yummmm I know what you mean about abundance. We had 2 trees in Deniliquin and even with all the farming wives taking what they wanted we had extra.

Your photos are great.

Little Lady Patchwork said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful trees! It puts me in the mood for Spring.

Enjoy the fruits of your harvest and watch out for those pests.

Sue-Anne said...

Early on in my married life I tried to make jam, tomato relish etc and each were failures. I have not tried since but maybe I should now because I am a lot older and hopefully a bit wiser! I do make homemade lemon cordial though and it is very popular with my kids. It doesn't last long at all - at least that is something.

I love the possum!

Lisa said...

Those perserves look so divine!!! Good work.. Lisa

Maggey and Jim said...

I have a small garden and 2 flower gardens, I grow and use my own herbs.We mostly grow tomatoes in the summer and used to can them until I got a flat top stove. Not good for canner.. We also grow red,purple and green peppers.. I love flowers best and both my daughters are gardeners.. I love your fruit trees and I buy peaches in late summer and freeze them.. Yum, they taste so good in the winter in pies or crisps..
Hugs and thanks for visiting my blog
That peach jam looks yummy!!!

Maggey and Jim said...

Sorry bout that,, I meant apricot jam..

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