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Storing Your Preserves

By Farm Gate StallNo Comments

Pickles, ferments, relishes…how do you store them?

I’m getting asked about this semi-regularly, so thought it was time to make a post so you know how to safely store your bottled goods.

Ferments: (ie. sauerkraut, lacto-fermented pickles, lacto-fermented beets, beet kvass). These are created using the vegetable, and then a macrobiotic salt brine. The product is left to lacto-ferment at room temperature for about three days, and then moved to the fridge. Even if unopened, the ferments need to remain refrigerated.

Relishes/Chutneys: (ie. the caramelised onion and beet relish, or corn relish). These are made using vinegar and sugar, which together do create an unfavourable environment for bacteria to grow…but this doesn’t last forever, unless the product has been pressure canned. I do have an use a pressure canner for some preserves, but not these. I prefer to use less processing for higher nutrient retention. Your relishes/chutneys are shelf or room temperature stable for about 3 months, if unopened. Once opened, they need to be refrigerated. I keep them all in the cold room regardless, because the summer heat here is more of a risk than I want to take with leaving preserves out. If you are keeping them on the shelf, choose a place free from excess heat or sunlight.

Pickles: (ie the bread and butter pickles). Again, these pickles are based on vinegar and sugar, so do have some shelf stability, about 3 months, like the relishes. But the fridge is definitely preferable, and ours are always stored in the cold room. And of course, once they are opened, they definitely need to be refrigerated.

Birdsong After the Rain

By Market GardenOne Comment
It’s a jungle out there!
In the 7.5 years since we bought this property, this is the first time this garden bed has flourished.
It’s taken about 2 years, but the greenhouse is finally planted out.
Retractable shade netting, instead of the poly-film we originally intended to use.
The citrus grove
Inside the stone fruit/apple orchard
Rick bought an array of unusual varieties of apple, that should thrive in our climate.
The trees are only a couple of years old, but fruiting heavily already.
Another apple tree
Looking back down at the market garden from the top paddock
Not willing to budge! The broody duck refuses to get out of the way for her friend, who also wants to lay in this nest.

We live in what is typically a drought zone. Excellent bore water, but very little rain to speak of. This last month of rain has really beautified our area, so I got outside to ‘take a picture, it’ll last longer’, as the saying goes.

Christmas/ New Year Trading Hours

By NutritionNo Comments

Christmas/ New Year Trading Hours:


Christmas Eve, 24th Dec: Open, last delivery run. Please place orders by Wednesday night.

Christmas Day: Closed

Boxing Day: Closed

Sunday 27th: Closed

Monday 28th: Closed 

Tuesday 29th: Closed

Wednesday 30th: Open from 11am, and I plan to do the Wednesday delivery run.

Thursday 31st: Open from 11am-6pm

Friday 1st Jan: Closed

Saturday 2nd Jan: Closed 

Sunday 3rd Jan: Open again as normal.

Have a safe and happy Christmas!

Beet Kvass

By NutritionNo Comments

https://eatingeuropean.com/how-to-make-beet-kvass/

I’ve tried beet kvass before, and found it really earthy and…not something I’d voluntarily want to drink on a regular basis.

Our recent beetroot surplus had me looking at a variety of ways to preserve or ferment beet, which led me back to beet kvass. The recipe at the above link surprised me. It’s not only beet, but garlic, bay leaves, allspice and pepper. And it actually is pleasant to drink. It’s even effervescent!

Just be warned that beet is a pretty potent detoxifier and if you drink more than your body can handle, you’ll know it. Start with a shot glass of kvass and work your way up to more if you desire.

You don’t really need any special equipment to make the kvass, a large non-metallic vessel will do the job of fermenting, and then use a basic sieve for straining the finished product.

If you try it, let me know what you think.

Gifts from Where Deep Calls to Deep

By NutritionNo Comments

With Christmas approaching, it’s always lovely to find local cottage/family industries to buy from. Elizabeth, at Where Deep Calls to Deep, is just such an example. Drawing from her own experience of spending years battling autoimmune disease, and then being healed, she has created calendars and journals which offer encouragement to others on their journey.

Here’s where you can check out the range.

Caramelised Onion and Beetroot Relish

By RecipesNo Comments


1/4C extra virgin olive oil

1kg onions, thinly sliced

1/2 C coconut sugar (or brown sugar, but I’ve been using coconut)

1/3C raw sugar

1/2 C Balsamic Vinegar

4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

1 bay leaf

1/2tsp ground cloves

450g tin of beetroot (we use home canned pickled beetroot)

salt and pepper to taste


1) Heat oil in a large heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 20 minutes, or until just softened. Stir in sugars, vinegar, thyme, bay leaf and ground cloves. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved.


2) Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring, for 20 minutes until relish is thick. (I don’t stand over the stove the whole time, but stay nearby and stir periodically)


3) Meanwhile, drain beetroot, reserving 1/2C of the liquid. Finely chop beets and add, along with the reserved liquid, to pan. Cook, stirring for a further 5 minutes until rich in colour. Season to taste.


4) Ladle into sterilised jars and seal tightly. Store in a cool place for 1 month. Once opened, keep chilled and consume within 2 weeks. (I don’t heat process them, but do put the jars in the cold room once they’ve cooled down, just to be careful. We also don’t usually consume a whole jar in two weeks, but have not had any go off yet!)

Bread and Butter Pickles

By RecipesNo Comments
3 different varieties, made on our organic produce

The Bread and Butter Pickles here at Birdsong have been so popular! Occasionally I’m asked if we share the recipes…yes, we do.

We’ve made B&B pickles on both zucchini and cucumber, it works both ways. Just be aware that the first step involves salting your veg overnight…it’s a 2 day process making these pickles.

You will need:

Approx. 6 Lebanese cucumbers, or 3 medium sized zucchini, sliced finely (food processors make short work of this)

2 Capsicum (optional, but adds a beautiful colour contrast), seeds removed and finely sliced

A large onion, sliced finely

50g macrobiotic sea salt (Himalayan pink salt is fine too)

400ml Apple Cider Vinegar

200g either raw sugar or coconut sugar. Coconut sugar will give you a darker pickle.

1tsp each of turmeric, mustard powder, fennel seed

  1. Slice your cucumber, onion and capsicum finely. I do it all in the food processor.
  2. Put all these vegetables in a casserole dish or bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Toss the salt through, then cover the dish with cloth/wrap and leave overnight. This step is important, as it reduces the water content of the finished product.
  3. In the morning, put your salted veg in a colander and rinse them under cold water, then place out on clean tea towels to drain.
  4. Take a large saucepan and combine the vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to the boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Now you can add in the sliced vegetables to the pot and let the mixture come to a boil for one minute. Then turn off the heat.
  6. Using sterilised jars with vinegar-proof lids (and a canning funnel if you have one, they save a lot of mess!), pack the mixture and then pour over remaining liquid to submerge the vegetables.
  7. Seal, label and store somewhere cool and dark (3 month shelf life stored like this), or store in the fridge for longer shelf life. And always store you opened jars in the fridge.

For Tash

By Market GardenOne Comment
Tash and some of the children at Bella’s fairy garden party

This is what I shared at Tash’s funeral. I want to post it here, for more people to get a glimpse of her life and how she shared it.

“I am so thankful God placed Tash in our family, and for the 34 years we were blessed to spend with her. 

It’s been said that children are an excellent judge of character. Some people are just magnets for them. Tash was one of them. I remember one day she joked about taking my 5 year old Archie, home to live with her. His eyes lit up and he exclaimed “Yeah! I wouldn’t miss my mummy.” 

Our family is close and Tash especially, was a family girl. As an aunty, she was incredible. Working full-time, with a half hour drive to work each way, every day…and yet she still had the love and energy to pour out on cultivating friendships with my children. She would have them for sleepovers, build lego together and take them to lego exhibitions, at one stage was having nerf wars with them, would make crazy movie trailers with them, wrote a book for them and would play board games with them. It was beautiful how when my youngest would see Tash, he would run up to her and jump into her arms for what he called a ‘koala cuddle’. 

While so many of us grow old and boring, Tash never did. She was fun, and never seemed concerned about what other people thought of her, or like she was trying to prove anything.

Her last weekend spent in Toowoomba was just such an example of her love for family. We spent a good portion of Saturday playing board games together, then Tash took some of my children for a sleepover. I had Bella for Sunday, so she could spend the day running around with her cousins. 

Tash loved a party…a themed party in particular! Looking through the photos, I had to smile at her karaoke party, mafia party and her 80’s themed 30th. It wasn’t just her own birthday parties either. One year she organised a beautiful fairy garden themed party for Bella, where all her friends were able to make their own mini fairy garden to take home. Looking out at all of you who are joining us now to celebrate Tash’s life and seeing the beautiful floral themed outfits, reminds me of one of Tash’s parties.

Parting with Tash reminds me of a verse, Isaiah 40:6-8 All flesh is grass, and all it’s loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it. Surely the people are like grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of the Lord endures forever. None of us know how long we have on this earth, and our days pass by so quickly. What are we doing with the time we’ve been given? Tash is like a flower picked in her youth before she had the chance to fade.”

Losing Tash (Natasha Amy Thorpe)

By NutritionOne Comment
Mother’s Day 2020, Tash (with the beautiful smile) in the black leather jacket

You hear these tragic things on the news, but never expect it to hit so close to home, to someone you love. The “young mum from Toowoomba” on the news, who drowned at Coolum on Monday morning, is my sister Tash.

We’ve never lost someone so close to us before, so the grieving process is like unchartered waters. Tash was loved by so many. I’ve just got back from being with my family at Coolum and we were visited by waves of our beautiful extended family and friends. So much support and love.

For now we will keep Birdsong open, and I will keep you posted if/when we need to close or make adjustments to our usual routine, while we move through the next few weeks.

I’ll keep this brief today, but definitely want to write more of a tribute to Tash soon. I just needed to let you all know.

One of the last photos Tash sent me, the day before she passed.

Meringandan Deliveries?

By NutritionNo Comments

We’ve had a request for deliveries to Meringandan, along with the Highfields deliveries. Anyone interested? We’d need at least 3 orders going out there (on the Wednesday 3-4pm run) to make it worthwhile.

Like the Highfields run, it would be a $5 fee, and no minimum spend. The Highfields delivery run item would need to be added to your cart.

BUT, it’s not definite yet, we’re looking to see if enough people are interested first. You can either comment on this post or email me at racheal@birdsongmarketgarden.com.au to enquire.

Quick Baby Spinach Salad

By NutritionOne Comment

The beautiful mild weather we’ve been having means that salad is still on the menu here 🙂 Here’s a quick and tasty salad, based mainly on pantry ingredients…

Quick Baby Spinach Salad

200g baby spinach

1/4 C Sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 C toasted walnuts

1/4 C pitted kalamata olives

Sprinkle of Styrian pepitas

Sprinkle of parmesan or remano cheese

Salad dressing of choice (we often use a balsamic vinaigrette)

Directions:

Arrange spinach on a platter (we find using a salad bowl with baby spinach just causes all the smaller ingredients to get lost under the leaves).

Then sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the spinach and serve.

Australian Grown

By Farm Gate StallNo Comments

In light of recent events and more people stopping to think about where some of their produce is really coming from, I want to give you a quick highlight of the Australian grown dry goods that we have on offer at Birdsong.

First up is the Certified Organic Sunflower Kernals.

Our rolled oats are also Certified organic and both grown and milled in Australia.

The macrobiotic sea salt, harvested from the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Australian Bight.

Our raw almonds are also Certified Organic and Australian grown.

And the sultanas are also grown right here in Australia 🙂