Thursday, 29 January 2015

Plum Sauce

We live in a nearly 80 year old house on the south side of Christchurch near the hills. We inherited a cherry tree, a plum tree and a huge walnut tree and have added a peach and an apple tree.

This summer the plum tree has been weighed down by fruit. I've made plum jam; I've made plum chutney; I've stewed and frozen plums and I've made plum sauce. I last made plum sauce four years ago. It was a good batch, but didn't last long - most of it flew out of the high cupboard it was stored in and onto the floor thanks to the February earthquake. It was just a small part of an unbelievable mess.

The plum sauce recipe I use is written on the back of an old envelope. I don't remember where is originally came from, but it is good and worth sharing.

Plum Sauce

1.5 kg red plums
1 large onion (chopped)
1 large clove of garlic (crushed) - you can use more or less as you prefer
750g sugar
3 cups malt vinegar
1 tablespoon slat
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon each ground ginger, ground black pepper, ground cloves

Simmer all the ingredients in a large heavy-based pot until plums and onions are well cooked and soft. Remove the plum stones from the pot. (It's a good idea to count how many plums go in so you know how many stones have to come out)

Take the pot off the heat and, using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Bring the sauce back to the boil. Pour into sterilized glass bottles and seal.

The sauce improves as it ages so try and leave it at least a month before you open the first bottle. Makes a little over 2 litres of sauce.

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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Kitchen Cupboard Weed Spray

This is really easy to make and does work.

In a spray bottle mix 1 litre of white vinegar, 1/4 cup of salt and (this is optional) a teaspoon of dish washing liquid. There's a note below about using dish washing liquid in the mix.

Give it a bit of a shake until the salt has dissolved, then it's ready to use. The weed spray works best on a sunny day.

I didn't take a "before" photo - but these photos give you an idea of the results.

This is 2 hours after spraying. It's leaves are already beginning to wilt.

Two days after spraying

Two weeks and it's brown, dry and dead.

Note: The dish washing liquid makes the spray "stick" to the weeds. I've tried it with and without, but there doesn't seem to be much difference in performance. If you do use dish washing liquid add it to the spray bottle last. The first time I made this put the liquid in before the vinegar - bubbles came up out of the spray bottle and ran down the sides - oops!