Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Waitati Edible Gardeners

Waitati Edible Gardeners
By Jason Ross

Waitati Open Orchards (WOO), a branch of Waitati Edible Gardeners, is
a group of folk on a mission to plant fruit trees in public spaces
around Waitati for all to enjoy.

We have had a great July with many people to thank for their efforts
and donations towards making our planting day and workshop a success.
We have had kind donations of hay and cartage of hay, and fruit trees.
Folks have been busy clearing grass and nasty weeds, stake making and
collecting compost and manure. Thanks also to Blueskin Nurseries for
great prices on a choice selection of fruit trees.

August is a good time for planting and pruning of fruit and nut trees
so contact us if you are keen to join in. Remember to wait a few days
after rain before pruning to avoid silverleaf disease, especially for
the susceptible plums, cherries, apricots and peaches.

We are still looking for 'patches' to plant, these may be mown street
verges where a few trees could be put in. Would you like some fruit
trees out the front of your house? Contact us, if the spot is
suitable, and we have enough trees, we may be able to supply the trees
and plant them. You could adopt the trees or just keep up the mowing
and we will care for the trees. All trees planted by WOO are for
anyone in Waitati to harvest from.

WOO Events
August 28 - Grafting Workshop. Rootstock and grafting wood for apples
and plums will be for sale on the day.
Location and time to be confirmed.

If you have a special apple or plum tree you would like to reproduce
then now's the time to collect cuttings. Make pencil thick 20cm
cuttings from the base of the new growth (last summer's growth) at the
tips of branches. Wrap in just damp newspaper, seal in a plastic bag
and refrigerate till the workshop. Watch for posters at the library
and shop, or please contact me for more details:

To join our mailing list email waitatiopenorchard@gmail.com.

Jason Ross, 482 2625.


Hilary's Apple Chilli Jelly

Our pantry has a large basket of apples in it, mostly picked from
roadside trees on Ramrock Rd near Waikouaiti (all the local apples had
disappeared into the WOO juicer!). These apples are wrinkly old
cookers and are keeping well, but as the last of the chillies are hot
for some action in our glasshouse, its time to make a batch of Apple
and Chilli Jelly.

This is lovely stuff, very sweet, and as hot as you want to make it.
It's great with cheese, meat, or as a sweet condiment with spicy food,
in the same way as you would use mango chutney.

Ingredients: Apples, sugar, red or green chillies, lime juice and
maybe a couple of teaspoons of citric acid.

Chop unpeeled apples and throw in a pot with enough water to cover.
Boil the apples for quite a while until well mushed up, but don't boil
away too much liquid. Pour the apple mixture into a jelly bag, a piece
of muslin, a pillowcase or clean tea towel. Hang it over a bowl to
drip. A broom handle over the bath tub is a good place, or over the
laundry tub. Leave for several hours or overnight but do not squeeze
or the jelly will be cloudy.

To make the jelly measure your liquid by the cupful into a big pot,
add sugar in equivalent numbers of cups e.g. 1.5 cups liquid = 1.5
cups of sugar.

For every 1-2 cups I use 4-6 deseeded chillies, chopped fairly finely,
but little rings is nice, add a squirt of lime juice for a bit of
tang, say 1 T (the stuff in the green plastic bottles is fine).

Boil until it reaches gelling point (when a drop on a plate is cool
and you push your finger through it. It should form wrinkles in front
of your finger, keep doing this until it gels). If this has not
happened after 10 minutes add a teaspoon of citric acid and test
again. This can be done twice, after that there is no point. You just
don't have enough pectin in that mixture! It usually works though.
Pour into warm, sterilised, small jars. Wait until it's nearly set
then give it a twirl with a knife to distribute the chillies evenly.
Cover and store.

A note on storing apples: Most modern houses are too warm to store
fruit for any length of time. Keep them in a cool room, or outbuilding
without a rat problem. Check over all apples for codlin moth holes,
usually at the blossom end and for any other signs of rot or holes.
These will have to be used first.

Wrap your sound apples in paper, to keep them separate from the
others. This way if you lose one to rot, it won't spread to all the
others. Place in a box or basket in a cool dry place. Check through
them periodically. You can keep cooking apples for most of the winter
like this.

From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media:
voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff,
Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public
domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished.
If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".

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