Saturday, 14 September 2019

Food preservation ~ Simple Living Toowoomba

This morning we had another excellent workshop presented by Racheal from Birdsong Market Garden as well as Robyn who we roped into speaking as well. Sorry Robyn ;-) The topic was Food Preservation.

Firstly we chatted over morning tea while everyone arrived and Racheal brought along some delicious gluten free bliss balls.

She then explained the different ways to preserve food including using a huge pressure cooker similar to this one from the US which she uses for foods that aren't able to be put in a water bath due to the possibility of botulism causing a problem. We discussed  ways of dehydrating/drying, fermenting, salting, pickling, preserving in alcohol, preserving in oil and smoking food. She then demonstrated how easy it it to preserve lemons by chopping them up and adding salt.

Just chop up four or five lemons and add 2T salt. She uses Macrobiotic Sea Salt from Queensland's Great Barrier Reef. 

I didn't hear her say she added anything else but from looking at the photo I would say she has added a cinnamon stick. This is then put in a bottle and covered with lemon juice and put aside until it has fermented.

Then Robyn showed us her kombucha with the scoby floating on top which I always think is just so ugly. LOL! It is full of goodness though. Once it has fermented she pours the kombucha into smaller bottles and then adds different flavours such as ginger, strawberries etc. We had a taste test and it was delicious. She also brought along a bottle of Rhubarb Sparkling Wine which is based on the Sally Wise recipe for Sparkling Rhubarb Champagne (non alcoholic). Check out Sally's website for more great ideas.

Here are some of the preserves ...

...Racheal brought along for us to try. 

 We have a gifting table where we can bring our homemade or homegrown produce to swap with others and one of the ladies brought along a bottle of raspberry kombucha to share. It won't be ready to drink till Monday so we missed out on having a taste test but I am sure it has a lovely taste.

One of the benefits of having a group like ours is that those who attend contribute to the conversation and one of the ladies there today mentioned that she can't have sugar but honey is okay so she drinks Jun Tea - Green Tea Kombucha which I have never heard of before. Very interesting.

Racheal gave us some very informative notes and mentioned Jams and Churneys by Thane Prince, Roasted Tomato Pizza Sauce from Homespun Seasonal Living and her version of Matt Preston's Tomato Sauce recipe. Now if I can only get my tomatoes to grow :-)

On the 12th October Debbie from Optimise Learning. will be doing a workshop for us titled Keeping Backyard Chooks which should be another very interesting morning. I was just looking on her Facebook page where there are photos of workshops she has held lately and I would like to pick her brains about some of them which include making a rocket oven. Actually I just did an online search for the workshop presenter for the rocket oven and came up with this ebook which might interest some of my readers The Rocket Powered Oven.

Actually if you are interested I did a blog post a while back about a mini rocket stove which, from memory, was made by a cousin of Racheal. It looks really easy to make and I am not sure if he is selling them anymore. It was back in 2015 and the post was The Little Aussie Rustics Mini Rocket Stove. 

Well, that's it for now. I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend and the respite from the dreadful winds which were fanning the fires recently. I believe some of the bushfires in inaccessible land are still burning and it would be just wonderful if it would rain. Our local mayor has asked the local churches to pray for rain at church tomorrow as the drought has just gone on and on. 


  1. My grandma used to preserve limes. Preserved lime is very popular in Sri Lanka. The traditional method takes a while because salted limes have to be dried in the sun.
    Racheal’s method looks much easier.

    I hope you will soon get enough rain, Chel. Bushfires sound very scary.

  2. Yes Nil, it looked like a quick and easy method. I am not sure if I would use the lemons in any dishes though.

  3. Thank you for the links to the tomato recipes. They look like they are worth trying. The Churches in our town have been combining once a month for prayers for rain throughout the year, but our faith is being tested as crops that managed to grow are now slowly dying. However, there is always next year!

  4. Wendy, the drought just seems to go on and on here in Queensland. Hopefully the heavens will open soon.

  5. You are so blessed to be part of such a fun group. I'm the only person I know that ferments things let alone dehydrate and preserve. I enjoyed your photos ever so much!
    Have a lovely week!

  6. Thanks Toni. Our group started up after a visit to our library by Rhonda Hetzel from Down to Earth. Perhaps you could start up a similar group if you can find some like minded people.

  7. I am not keen on the flavours of fermented food etc so generally just settle for stewing and freezing my excess produce. The problem is that we are hurtling towards the next summer crop and I still have of lots left. I made mandarin jam and lemon butter last week ... a gift for my sister in law because I stayed over there while my husband had a night in hospital.


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