Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Busy bumble bees

Just sharing a couple of photos of a bumble bee. It is feeding on the flower of our native Hibiscus, which grows like a weed and forms a ground cover out the front here - it seems to love the stone we had put down when our driveway was formed. As you can see the bee is totally covered in dark orange pollen!

Here is the flower without the bee on it:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rangpur lime marmalade

It's been a while since I've made any marmalade. In fact, it seems I last made up a batch of lime marmalade in 2009 according to this blog!

The Rangpur limes have by far been the hardiest and quickest growing of all of our citrus trees. They have handled drought, storms and a bit of neglect pretty well. They consistently have fruit on them. All this is much appreciated since the other citrus, especially the lemons, are growing quite slowly.

Recently I was giving the lower branches a prune so that G could mow underneath and in the process knocked/chopped off a few fruit. It seemed appropriate to turn them into marmalade!

This time around I used a recipe from a fantastic book I received as a gift from my dear Mother and Father, The Gentle Art of Preserving, by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi.

The recipe I chose for this batch of marmalade was the Vivien Lloyd's Lemon and Lime Marmalade.

And I'm very pleased with the result. To some of the jars I added a tablespoon of Cointreau or Rum as per the "Merry" marmalade recipe this one refers to. Will make some very nice gifts. I will do this one again for sure.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

More bottling!

As the stonefruit continues to ripen on the trees in the orchard, I've been busy with bottling for the last week. This time it's the small local peaches, known as Pahi River. This peach is small but tasty. I did have to use a peeler to remove the skin, but otherwise they weren't hard to prepare since I put them in whole. They are freestone however so for other purposes are easy to deal with.

The 'River' peach was 'discovered' locally in a farmer's paddock and saved by Kay Baxter, founder of the organisation known as Koanga Gardens which used to be in Kaiwaka. The River peach was the peach which started Kay on her journey to save NZ heirloom plants (for more on this see one of my earlier posts here). And it was Kay Baxter/Koanga that started us on our journey and for that we are very grateful.

I've put up 15 jars of the peaches so far and hoping to get a few more done as the last of the fruit ripens.

Not bad for a small tree that has only been in the ground for 4 years.