Apple cider fruit loaf

cider-fruit-loaf

This fruit loaf is made with apple cider, spices and dried fruits. It is perfect with marmalade. I think this could be nice with half a cup of dried apple added. I’ll try that next time I make it. I used the new James Squire Orchard Crush Apple Cider – which incidentally is a nice drop on its own.

I go through periods of having fruit loaf for breakfast, but I wonder how much sugar the store bought ones contain. This one doesn’t have any.

Apple cider fruit loaf recipe

1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup sultanas
335ml bottle of dry apple cider
3 1/2 cups of bread flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground allspice
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
7g dried yeast

  1. Soak the dried fruit in the apple cider while you measure out the other ingredients.
  2. Add the flour, spices and yeast to a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  3. Strain the cider from the fruit, reserving the fruit. Add the liquid to the dry mixture.
  4. Knead well for 15 to 20 minutes until the dough is stretchy. Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size – about 45 to 60 minutes.
  5. Knock back the dough and add the fruit. Knead until the fruit is evenly distributed.
  6. Shape into an oval loaf and place of a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a tea towel and prove a second time for 30 minutes or until doubled.
  7. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  8. Dust the loaf with flour and score it with a knife. Bake for 35 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Smooze fruit ice review

smooze

This weather is perfect for eating treats from the freezer. At the Mitchie markets the ice blocks were sold out by the time we got there. Fortunately, I had a few Smooze fruit ices back at home.

The good news is these little gems contain 100% natural ingredients and are dairy-free and gluten-free. They are the ideal size for an in-between meals snack.

Smooze fruit ices are available in four tropical flavours:

  • Coconut and pink guava,
  • Coconut and pineapple,
  • Coconut and mango, and
  • Simply coconut.

The mango one is currently my favourite flavour. The coconut one would be perfect to add to smoothies or fruit juices. I’m planning on trying the mango one blended with some fresh orange juice.

You can pick up a box of 10 from the dessert aisle and keep them in the freezer over Summer.

List of the best storing and preserving methods for fruit and vegetables

silverbeet-parents

Different produce responds to different treatments – and some things just need to be eaten.

The list below gives a summary of which fruit and vegetables store and preserve well. It may also help in planing your edible gardening year.

Stores well:

  • apples, pears (not early variety)
  • beetroot, cabbage, carrot, garlic, kohlrabi, onion, parsnip, potato, pumpkin, swede, turnip

Good for bottling:

  • all fruits
  • tomato

Makes delightful things:

  • all fruits
  • aubergine, cabbage, cauliflower, courgette, cucumber, onion, tomato

Can be dried:

  • apples, damsons, plums
  • beans, peas, tomato

Freezes well:

  • berry fruits, apples and pears (if pureed)
  • broad beans, broccoli, calabrese, French beans, peas, runner beans

Lasts well on the plant or in the ground:

  • rhubarb
  • artichoke (Jerusalem), beetroot, broccoli (sprouting), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeraic, celery, chard, chicory, kale, leeks, lettuce and salads, parsnip, swede, turnip

Eat when ready: few or no good storage preservation options

  • artichoke (globe), asparagus, cardoon, radish, sweetcorn

21st-Century Smallholder – by Paul Waddington

How to grow a lychee tree

lychee

Lychee – Litchi chinensis

Nearly two months ago we ate a bag of fresh lychees and I kept some of the seeds. I just rinsed them and then let them dry in a saucer (above), then planted them out in some soil – nothing fancy it was just some compost because that’s all I had at the time.

Out of a dozen seeds that I planted, four of them thrived and they were transplanted into a small pot each. Each little plant is now about 20 cm high and looking pretty healthy. One is straggling but I think they’ll all make it.

Lychees are self-pollinating, producing both male and female flowers on the same panicle, so only one tree is needed to get fruit. To become productive trees however, they need a week of cool night temperatures (below 20°C) before flowering.
ABC Gardening

The Essential List of Fruit Trees for Brisbane Backyards

fruit_trees

I decided to expand our selection of fruit trees in our backyard. Unfortunately, I didn’t own any useful gardening books on fruit trees, particularly ones that would help me decide which fruit trees are suitable for Brisbane’s climate and are less than 5 metres so that I can cram in a ton of different trees.

Fruit trees for Brisbane

Here’s my mega list of fruit trees suitable for Brisbane:

  • acerola cherry
  • apples, dwarf sub-tropical (Golden Dorsett , Tropical Anna, Tropical Sweet)
  • avocado, dwarf
  • banana
  • barbados cherry
  • blueberries (Sharp Blue – self-pollinating and low chill)
  • calamondin
  • crab apple
  • custard apple
  • dragon fruit
  • fig
  • grapes
  • grumichama
  • guava
  • jaboticaba
  • lemon
  • lime
  • longan (protected from birds and possums)
  • lychee
  • macadamia (pot)
  • mandarin, dwarf (freemont)
  • mango, dwarf
  • mulberry, dwarf (red shatoot)
  • native raspberry (scrambling bush)
  • nectarine (low chill)
  • orange – washington; Lanes late; Valencia and red ruby;
  • pawpaw
  • pepino
  • persimmon (but you’d need to prune it to under 5m)
  • pomegranate
  • plumcote
  • pomelo
  • sea grape tree
  • soursop
  • tamarillos
  • thai apple

Thank you to the knowledgeable people on the Brisbane Local Food ning who helped to compile this great list of small Brisbane suitable fruit trees.

I’d love to hear if you are successfully growing any other fruit trees in the Brisbane area?

If you live outside of Brisbane, you may like the list of trees for a suburban food forest.

Dr Greg Emerson’s daily juice recipe

dr-emerson-juice

This super deep purple juice is alkalizing, anti-fungal and anti-cancer.

It’s a great combination of healthy raw vegetables and fruits.

Beetroot not only detoxifies the liver and helps with methylation but also reduces blood pressure by helping the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is one of the chemicals the body produces to soften it’s arteries. Remember we want sort arteries and hard bones.
Dr Greg Emerson

  • Carrots provide beta-carotene and antioxidants. Recent studies have identified polyacetylenes as phytonutrients in carrots that can help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.
  • Celery is is a very good source of vitamin C and potassium and a good source of calcium and magnesium, which may help to reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol.
  • Apples contain phytonutrients which help you regulate your blood sugar. They help to reduce your risk of lung cancer risk and asthma.
  • Pomegranates are an excellent source of vitamin C. Research has shown that they help prevent an impressive array of diseases, such as prostate cancer, diabetes, lymphoma, common cold, atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease.
  • Limes are an excellent source of vitamin C and their flavonoid compounds that have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
  • Ginger is an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). It has very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which help to reduce pain levels of arthritis. Research has shown ginger induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells. Ginger has been proven effective for motion sickness, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Dr Greg Emerson’s daily juice recipe

1 small beetroot
1 carrot
2 celery
1 green apple
1/2 a pomegranate (or 50mls organic pomegranate juice)
a slice of lime (with skin if organic)
1cm piece of ginger

  1. Place all the ingredients in a juicer and mix. Add water to fill up the glass, if desired.
  2. Drink straight away to gain the most benefit from the nutrients.

 

Review: Farm Fresh Organics delivery

I’ve been keen to trial organic box delivery, but when I did my research awhile ago our suburb wasn’t included in the drop-off zone. I’ve since found Farm Fresh Organics and we’ve had two deliveries so far.

The first week we ordered a mixed medium box of organic fruit and vegetables on the Tuesday. A Styrofoam box with ice packs was delivered a few days later containing: 1 leek, 1 cos lettuce, 3 zucchini, 1kg carrots, 4 onions, 8 mushrooms, 1/4 kent pumpkin, 1/2 cauliflower, 1 1/2 broccoli, 1/4 cabbage, 1 corn cob, 4 apples, 4 bananas, 3 sweet mandarins and 8 oranges. Phew.

Matt was concerned that he liked to feel, smell and select what he wanted to buy, but we were more then happy with the quality of the produce. One night Mattt steamed some grocery carrots mixed with organic carrots. He then asked me which where the organic ones! I selected the wrong ones based on colour. The grocery ones were bright orange and quite hard. The organic ones were duller but softer and tasted nicer.

Another concern was the cost. Organics can quickly add up, but we found that we could keep the price down by selecting produce in season and sticking to a spending limit. We also found that some things had a similar price to non-organic produce in the supermarkets. We ate everything, except the lettuce and some onions. I like to think of it as an investment in our health, and the mixed box is a good deal.

This week we decided to select individual items for our order. This time we got a bigger box, so it wan’t as packed. Matt got the scales out, but everything ended up being a little over what we were charged. A rare occurrence these days.

We also ordered some organic lamb chops, which were more gamey, with visible marbled fat. Matt said he’d order a different cut next time. I ordered my usual gluten-free loaf of bread and was impressed by how fresh it was!

The only draw back is now that we are eating more fruit and vegetables, we are probably making it harder on ourselves to become self sufficient!

Highly recommended.

How to pot a tree

We repotted a number of fruit trees that I’d bought recently. I swapped their small seedling pots to big plastic pots so they could spread out their roots and grow. The basic steps I follow when repotting a fruit tree are as follows:

  1. Add a thick layer of sugar cane mulch or hay at the bottom to allow any excess water to drain out. You could use stones (although it’ll be heavy to lift) or broken Styrofoam.
  2. Add some homemade compost to half way. If you don’t have any compost ready use a middle of the range bag of organic fruit and vegetable mix. Be careful the cheaper bags of compost tend to be filled with stones and sticks.
  3. Mix in a handful of blood and bone, chicken manure, and a spoonful of trace elements. This is to ensure your plant has a good mix of different minerals so it will develop healthy fruit.
  4. Add a handful of water crystals (or cat litter) – If you have time pre-soak them in water and seaweed solutions (optional).
  5. Add the plant making sure it’s straight and back fill to the rim with more compost.
  6. Gently press the soil down and water well.
  7. Add some more sugar cane on top to act as a mulch.

I use the same basic method for repotting a native tree – leaving out the extra nutrients at step 3, and using a decent quality native soil mix in place of the compost. Although these days I have started planting out native seedlings straight into the ground. Natives can be touchy and do not like being transplanted.

An alternative to using a pot is a planter bag. These are lightweight bags made from tough plastic with handles. They are easy to move and allow good aeration.

Any other hints?

Edible plants for shady areas

The majority of vegetables love the sun, so you’ll need to position your main vegetable beds where there’ll get over 6 hours of sun a day. The following plants may like the shade or part-shade. Don’t forget to check to see if they are suitable for your climate and space before planting.

Fruit Trees

  • Acerola Cherry
  • Babaco
  • Beach Cherry
  • Bilberry
  • Blackberry
  • Blueberry
  • Capulin Cherry
  • Cherimoya – Custard Apple
  • Cherries
  • Chilean Guava
  • Cranberry
  • Dragonfruit
  • Goji Berry
  • Golden Fruit of the Andes
  • Gooseberries
  • Logan berry
  • Marionberry
  • Miracle fruit
  • Monstera
  • Morella cherry
  • Naranjilla
  • Pawpaws
  • Pepino
  • Pineapple Guava
  • Raspberry
  • Raisin Tree
  • Red currant
  • Rhubarb
  • Rose apple
  • Sea grape
  • Strawberry
  • Strawberry Guava
  • Tamarillo
  • Teaberry (Wintergreen)
  • White Sapote
  • Yellow Guava

Nuts

  • Macadamia
  • Walnut
Vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Beetroot
  • Calabrese
  • Chard
  • Cress
  • Dandelion
  • Globe Artichoke
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Lettuce
  • Mitzuba
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions: welsh and tree
  • Radish
  • Rocket
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach
  • Spring Onion
  • Three cornered leek
  • Yacon
  • Water Chestnut
  • Wild garlic

Herbs etc

  • Bay
  • Chives
  • Coffee
  • Golden Pineapple Sage
  • Horseradish
  • Japanese Pepper
  • Juniper
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Verbana
  • Lemongrass
  • Mints
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Stevia
  • Tarragon
  • Tea
  • Watercress
  • Wormwood

Trees for a suburban food forest

I haven’t mentioned that we have about 10 dwarf fruit trees in pots, that we purchased at various times in 2008.

To decide which ones to plant, I made a list of all the trees that were under 3-4metres high, could be grown in a pot and trimmed to size and/or available as a dwarf. I was surprised at the variety available. When purchasing trees also consider their suitability to your climate, water requirements and whether or not you like the fruit they produce. If you eat lots of apple (say), you may like to consider getting a few different varieties – one that fruits early, one middle and one late season.

Here’s a list of suitable trees for suburban backyards:

  • Acerola Cherry
  • Apple (d)
  • Atherton Raspberry
  • Australian Round Lime
  • Avocado (d)
  • Babaco
  • Bananas
  • Black sapote
  • Blackberry
  • Blueberry
  • Boysenberry
  • Calamondin
  • Cape Gooseberry
  • Casana
  • Cassava
  • Ceylon Hill Gooseberry
  • Cherry
  • Chilli
  • Chinese Water Chestnut
  • Choko (v)
  • Cocona
  • Coffee
  • Comfrey
  • Currant (Red or Black)
  • Davidson’s Plum (p)
  • Fig (d)
  • Finger lime
  • Ginger
  • Goji Berry
  • Gooseberry
  • Governer’s Plum
  • Grape (v)
  • Grapefruit (d)
  • Grumichama Cherry
  • Guava
  • Jaboticaba
  • Japanese raisin
  • Jelly Palm / Wine Palm
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Kakadu Plum
  • Kei Apple
  • Keriberry
  • Kiwifruit (v)
  • Kumquat (d)
  • Lemon (d)
  • Lemonade (d)
  • Lillypilly
  • Lime (d)
  • Loganberry
  • Loquat (d)
  • Macadamia (d)
  • Madrono
  • Mandarin (d)
  • Mango (d)
  • Medlar
  • Midyim
  • Miracle Fruit
  • Monstera
  • Mulberry (d)
  • Naranjilla
  • Natal Plum
  • Olive (d)
  • Orange (d)
  • Passionfruit (v)
  • Paw paw
  • Peach (d)
  • Pepino
  • Persimmon (d)
  • Pineapple
  • Plum
  • Plumcott
  • Plummelo
  • Pomegranate (d)
  • Raspberry
  • Rhubarb
  • Sea Grape
  • Strawberry
  • Tamarillo
  • Tangelo
  • Taro
  • Tea
  • Ugni
  • Yacon
  • Youngberry

Legend: (d) – dwarf available; (v) – vine; (p) – pot.

These edible trees, vines and others may be available in Australia from:

Please let us know if you have any other recommendations.

Update – I have more recently compiled a list of fruit trees for Brisbane backyards.