Category Archives: Farm & Garden

Bundy Special mangoes best tasting

Have We Forgotten The Taste Of Real Mangoes?

Ever wondered why the “yellow” mangoes on display at the supermarket have no aroma?Supermarket mangoes have been so processed that they have lost their true identity. Buy them long enough and it is easy to forget what real mangoes taste like. I did. I used to pick mangoes from the tree as a child and when I grew up, I bought mangoes from supermarkets and forgot what it was like to hold and smell a mango, freshly picked from the tree…that is until I acquired my own Bundy Special mangoes best tasting orchard.

Bundy Special mangoes
Our Bundy Special mangoes

Standing in the midst of a few hundred trees, their branches laden with Bundy Special mangoes best tasting, I basked in the aroma of the ripe, freshly picked mangoes in my basket.

One more Bundy Special mango for the basket
Real mangoes have blemishes. When a mango is too perfect that is when you start worrying

Jade, a young lady from China who lived with us during harvest season,  helped me pick mangoes off our tree and one day while picking together, she said to me, “Your mangoes are bad for me.”

Startled, I responded, “Why do you say that, Jade?”

Bundy Special mangoes best tasting
Jade likes to bury her face in the mango while eating

“Once I go back I will never be able to eat mangoes again because I have tasted the best and everything else will not match up,” she continued.

I laughed. Our mango picking routine involved taking breaks by eating plump, fleshy mangoes. These sort of breaks are unheard of at a typical commercial farm.

Fortunately for us, we can appreciate the precious gift that each and every mango is to us and while we do sell them, they are not treated as commodities but an important source of sustenance and a privilege to eat, when it is chemical-free and fresh.

Bundy Special Mangoes Best Tasting
Bundy Special Mangoes Best Tasting

I still recall juice pouring down our wrists and arms as Jade and I devoured our mangoes. Then we looked at each other and laughed because we had yellow pulp all over our cheeks and nose. Jade had this habit of burying her face in a ripe mango and slurping.

It is a feat to get to the mangoes because they are on top of the mountain. However, the breath-taking sight at the top makes it well worth the steep climb.

Once you’ve drunk in the view, turn around and you will see majestic mango trees amongst the forest backdrop.

It’s quite a sight to behold. Why? Because you won’t be looking at a monoculture crop [rows and rows of the same cultivar in one spot] but a crop that is grown amongst the natural forest. To the untrained eye, our farm might look wild and unkempt but therein lies its rich biomass which contributes towards a rich soil, leading to the most nutritious and delicious mangoes you will ever taste.

The Bundy Special mangoes best tasting, form a purple tinge as it ripens, and when the sun hits, they get a pink blush, which is so attractive.

Bundy Special mangoes best tasting
At the market

While selling mangoes at the market, a lady visited our mango stall and asked for a taste. We had slices laid out on a plate to sample.

“I am a mango farmer and I have ten thousand trees,” she told us. “We export our mangoes and the Japanese always pay top dollar for the mangoes with the pink blush.”

I asked if she sprays her mangoes and she said, “Of course. You have to spray if you want them to be commercially viable.”

Commercially viable! We’ve heard so much advice on how to make our mangoes commercially viable and we’re glad we rejected all of them, especially the need to spray chemicals. Now that we’ve had experience with our own mangoes, let me bust a few myths:

Myth 1 –  It’s impossible to get a good harvest of mangoes if you don’t spray your trees.

There are chemicals to induce flower production, chemicals to deter pests and the chemical applications don’t end when the mangoes are picked. After picking they are subjected to a chemical wash to prevent sap burn and even submerged in hot water to kill fruit fly larvae and prevent anthracnose disease [blackening of the skin of the mango]. All these destroy the quality of the mango, not to mention dangerous to eat because it has been exposed to chemicals.

While our mangoes were still green on the tree we did our housekeeping such as picking up all the mangoes that had fallen pre-maturely and protecting trees with fruit fly baits instead of spraying with chemicals. If the trees are healthy they are less susceptible to disease.

They stay healthy the same way we humans stay healthy – by eating right. Their nutrition comes from the rich, red soil on our property and what we feed the soil.

At harvest time, we had thousands of great mangoes – so good that retail shops were ordering from us. So this myth that you have to spray is just a short-cut to circumvent hard work.

“Be prepared to lose 60% of your crop,” a manager of a farm that sprays chemicals warned me. “This is why organic produce costs more – more work involved and they need to recover their losses.”

Isn’t that part of nature, though? To share with the wildlife and they, in turn, propagate, pollinate, distribute and enrich the soil with their waste and distribute good bacteria with their saliva. When did we lose our sense of living in harmony with nature? I believe it’s when we made “profit” our number one goal and forgot our responsibility of being good stewards of the environment.

Genuine farmers care for their livestock, the land and care about the health of people consuming their produce. But most of the people who grow the food you eat are not farmers. They are large corporations that do not have an intimate connection with the land and the fruit it produces

Myth 2 – Organic produce enrich organic farmers

Retail shops want our mangoes at dirt cheap prices and at one time it looked like it simply was not worth the effort picking the mangoes to sell. However, if we sold them at the market ourselves, then it was worth it.

However, even at the market, the genuine farmers get a raw deal. Our spot was right at the back and the busy/popular section of the market was filled with distributors instead of farmers. These distributors simply buy the produce/fruit from Brisbane and bring them over to the markets to sell. These fruits and vegetables are not fresh. And they have been treated with all sorts of chemicals to keep them artificially fresh.

It is sad that consumers don’t know how to tell the difference or don’t care to know. Just because they buy from the market does not mean every stallholder is the farmer who grew that produce.

I would advise consumers to buy directly from organic farmers to ensure their bodies are receiving the highest quality food and farmers can concentrate on looking after their crops instead of competing with distributors at market stalls or forced to sell to retail shops at dirt cheap prices.

Myth 3 – Fruit and vegetables at every farmer’s market is fresh

It is fresh only if you buy the fruits and vegetables from the farmer who grew them. We picked our mangoes every few days which meant when we showed up at the markets they were as fresh as can be. We did the same for the shops. This also means that we allow the fruits to ripen on the tree. This results in much tastier fruits with a sweet aroma.

No crop matures at the same time, but commercial farms do not appreciate or take pride in growing/farming and do not care about the health of the consumers. They will harvest within a short period and gas their fruits

“All our mangoes have to be off the trees by harvest time. It simply isn’t cost effective for us to keep bringing workers back to the farm for harvest,” said a chemical-spraying farmer.

Myth 4 – You need to wash your mangoes in a chemical wash after picking to prevent sap burn.

A white sap gushes out when you break the stem of the mango. This sap can burn the skin of the mango and leave an ugly mark. So commercial farmers pick the mangoes with the stem attached and then wash them with chemicals before breaking the stem. This chemical leaves a wax on the mangoes and prevents the sap from sticking onto the skin of the mango and burning it.

We got around this by simply washing the mangoes in water mixed with organic detergent. Then we broke the stems and propped them up in an egg-shell like container, bottom down – only this container has the bottom cut out so that the mango can “bleed” it’s sap out. In this way we didn’t have to use chemical wash.

Personally, I prefer to skip even this procedure as the sap doesn’t bother me. Neither does the discolouration. Sap burn is not the only reason the mango gets discoloured. When a mango ripens at room temperature, it is normal for black spots to appear. It is just the normal process of ripening. Often these blemished fruits are the sweetest and tastiest.

Too much emphasis is placed on the appearance of fruits and not on the quality. Fortunately, those who bought from us understand that “real” fruits come in different sizes and do not have this uniform look. Neither do they look perfect but they taste perfect with their wholesome goodness intact and not destroyed by unnecessary processing.

In the name of uniformity of appearance hundreds of thousands of perfectly good fruit are discarded and not allowed to reach the supermarket aisles simply because they are smaller or larger or have some blemishes. So much wastage!

 

Myth 5 – Commercial mangoes have to be submerged in hot water to kill fruit fly larvae and prevent anthracnose disease [blackening of the skin]

 

Make your own mango chilli sauce

All these destroy the quality of the mango and when mangoes are treated to a hot water bath, to me, they are no longer raw but cooked mangoes. In the last decade, irradiation has replaced the hot water bath. Irradiation is subjecting the fruit to radiation. Not only is it dangerous to eat, but it changes the DNA of the fruit and kills the nutrition. This is also done to increase the shelf life of the fruit as it kills all pathogen, but it also kills the good bacteria and we’re basically eating “dead” food when we consume it.

I turned some of these mangoes into condiments like mango chilli sauce, mango ice cream and mango smoothies topped with home-made granola. It is so much more rewarding and healthy to make your own sauces. Join our upcoming “Condiments” workshop to learn more about making essential sauces that will go complement many different meals.

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Sandpaper Figs Green Curry

I have been inspired by Aussie Bush Tucker lately since I have so many growing wild on my property. One such delight is Sandpaper Figs. They are smaller than normal figs and most people find them bland to eat on its own. When it’s very ripe it does have a mildly sweet flavour. So I used these in my Sandpaper Figs Green Curry.

I buy my fish directly from fisherman Ivan of Unreel Seafood. In this way, I can be assured my food is always fresh. For my Sandpaper Figs Green Curry, I used Rosey Job Fish. Another name for it is King Snapper.

I have several frangipani trees covered with pink flowers and so I decided to present my dish decorated with frangipani. This Sandpaper Figs Green Curry dish is easy to make. Did you know that frangipani flowers are edible?

 

Sandpaper Figs Green Curry
I preserve green chillies by blending them with garlic and vinegar and store in the fridge

 

 

Sandpaper Fig Green Curry
Rosey Job Fish From Unreel Seafood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandpaper Figs Green Curry
Sandpaper Figs Green Curry served with spinach and brinjal stirfry and lemon pickle

Sandpaper Figs Green Curry

Ingredients

1/2 cup coriander

1 small zucchini

1/2 cup green chillies blended with garlic and vinegar

1-inch piece galangal ginger 

1 400 ml can of  coconut milk

1/2 cup sandpaper figs 

1 cup pumpkin chopped into cubes

3 tablespoon fish sauce

Method

Blend together coriander, zucchini and blended green chillies. If you don’t keep preserved blended chillies like me in the fridge, just blend together three green chillies with three cloves garlic and two tablespoon vinegar.

A local chilli farmer gave me a lot of chilli peppers which were slightly blemished and not good for the commercial market. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them nutritionally. Only aesthetically they don’t fit commercial requirements.  As I could not use all of them fast enough,  I blended them with garlic and vinegar to preserve them. I use them as chilli sauce such as when I eat fries and I also use them in dishes such as this Green Curry Sandpaper Figs.

Sandpaper Figs In A Bowl
Sandpaper Figs In A Bowl

You can turn this dish into a vegetarian dish by leaving out the fish and using more sandpaper figs. Use one cup figs instead of half cup. As the fish sauce is salty, no need to use salt. The figs are delicious as they soak up the curry and taste like mushrooms in this curry except that they have a sweeter disposition.

This Green Curry Sandpaper Figs was served on brown rice, accompanied by a simple spinach brinjal stirfry. I also added a touch of lemon pickle on the side. To make lemon pickle, I preserve whole organic lemons in salt and when they are ready after several weeks, I use them in various ways. When I want to use them as a pickle I blend a piece of preserved lemon with red onion and chillies. 

An alternative to the spinach brinjal stirfry is spinach, kale and tempeh stirfry. We had this on the second day when we had finished eating all of the spinach brinjal stir-fry but still had some of the curry left. So I made this spinach, kale and tempeh stirfry fresh and ate it with the left-over curry on the second day.

Vegetarian sandpaper green curry figs with more figs and no fish served up with kale tempeh stirfry and a little lemon pickle on the side. The pickle looks pink because of the red onions I used.

 

                                        

Incidentally, on the same day I made this Green Curry Sandpaper Figs we found our friend this green frog in out outdoor toilet bowl.

 

We had “rescued” him out of there several times but he still finds his way back in there. We even close the lid and he still gets in.

 

So in keeping with our green theme, I will post this video if only to put a smile on your face. At the end of the video you will see the brinjal plant which supplied the brinjals for the stirfry.

 

 

 

 

Homegrown Water Chestnuts

I have mainly eaten water chestnuts in Chinese stir-fry. Most people in Australia don’t even know what water chestnuts are, although they would have eaten it at a Chinese restaurant. Next time you order a mixed vegetable dish at a Chinese restaurant, look for water chestnuts amongst the chunky cauliflower and floral-cut carrots and layers of snow peas. They are round, white and crunchy, easily mistaken for a nut. A water chestnut is actually an acquatic vegetable, a type of marshy grass which has an edible root. I prefer homegrown water chestnuts as they are tastier than the canned ones. The health benefits of water chestnuts include anti-oxidants similar to those found in chocolate, green tea and red wine.

 

homegrown water chestnuts and Lina
Corms are ready to be transplanted to the bathtub once they have green shoots like this that look like grass. That’s my dog Lina in the photo. This was the last harvest time I shared with her as she went to be with Jesus shortly after. I miss you baby girl!
homegrown water chestnuts in bathtub
After ten days

 

 

 

 

 

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Today the more adventurous foodies are using water chestnuts in Western dishes too. For example, dressing up the mundane pumpkin soup with water chestnuts gives a nice bite to it. If you’re making a vegetable wrap, throw water chestnuts into the filling. A famous Thai dessert, Tab Tim Grob uses water chestnuts as its main feature.

bathtub filled to the brim with homegrown water chestnuts
kangaroo relaxing in front of my bathtub where I was growing water chestnuts. By now the tub is filled to the brim with water chestnuts

 

The water chestnuts eaten at restaurants are usually out of a can. While the canned version is still crunchy, it is missing the sweet, nutty and tart flavour only found in fresh or homegrown water chestnuts. I used an old bathtub to grow mine. I started with just six corms I purchased online from a nursery selling organic and heirloom plants.

 

kangaroo in front of bathtub of homegrown water chestnuts
When I went to top up the water in the bathtub the kangaroo left. I was sorry to see him leave

 

It took about ten months from planting to harvest. Once you wash the mud off the chestnuts you can see their purplish-brown colour. Water chestnuts don’t last long once harvested.

A large crop of homegrown water chestnuts will have to be stored properly for long-term use. Some of the homegrown water chestnuts I harvested were peeled and then frozen in zip lock bags. But I prefer the second method I used with the rest of the chestnuts, which is fermenting them whole, complete with skin, in salt water. I just use them as and when I need them. They are tastier than the frozen chestnuts.

 

 

Leaves of home-grown water chestnuts turn brown
When the leaves turn brown they are ready to harvest

 

A large crop of homegrown water chestnuts will have to be stored properly for long-term use. Some of the homegrown water chestnuts I harvested were peeled and then frozen in zip lock bags. But I prefer the second method I used with the rest of the chestnuts, which is fermenting them whole, complete with skin, in salt water. I just use them as and when I need them. They are tastier than the frozen chestnuts.

 

picking through the roots to find homegrown water chestnuts
The chestnuts are formed at the end of the roots. So I had to break up the soil and dig through the roots to pick out the chestnuts.

 

The highlight of last year’s crop must surely be stumbling upon a kangaroo relaxing in front of my bathtub, now covered from end to end with the long, grassy tops of the water chestnuts. The kangaroo didn’t disturb the plant. He was just lying down in front of the bathtub. He wasn’t perturbed by me walking up to him either until I got a bit too close. Watch the video below to see him.

 

Eco-dyeing and Organic Lunch At 1896 Homestead

Susan, the artist and Gary, the Greenhand (after the hobbit in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings) live in a restored heritage homestead, first constructed in 1896. What could be more picturesque than than? Susan Curran works with clay to create pots and sculptures and holds eco-dying workshops while her husband, Gary Brill, grows organic fruits and vegetables.

Eco-dyeing and Organic Lunch At 1896 Homestead
Susan’s sculptures at The Bunyas

When the couple moved into their 3-acre property, in 2000, they enjoyed restoring the 1896 Burrill Lake Schoolmasters’ residence as their abode, christening the property, The Bunyas as it is surrounded by five huge Bunya pines.  They are both experts in heritage restoration and so the house still retains much of its ancient charm. They operated an antique shop, Bunyas Organics and Antiques, out of Milton New South Wales, for nearly 30 years and retired from it only in August this year.

Eco-dyeing and Organic Lunch At 1896 Homestead
Many fruit trees around the homestead

 

 

Eco-dyeing and Organic Lunch At 1896 Homestead
Traditional Salter Weighing Scale used by Gary when people come directly to the homestead to purchase organic fruits and vegetables

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gary and Susan have separate workshops at the Bunyas and to go from one to another you will pass many varieties of fruit trees and vegetables. The main vegetable patches are right at the back where Gary utilises permaculture methods to produce the most nutritious vegetables.

However right at the front is a stone wall encircling a watermelon and pumpkin patch that lay empty during my winter visit, but it has produced some winners. At the 2015 and 2016 Milton Show, Gary took the first prize for the biggest and heaviest watermelon grown in this very patch at the front of his house.

 

 

 

 

While Gary is the one with the green thumb Susan is the one with the “clay” thumb. Wandering into her workshop is a voyage of discovery as you find finished and unfinished pots and sculptures everywhere. I made the mistake of shaking her hand in greeting and found my hand all white from clay. We both looked at our hands, then looked up at each other and laughed.

I was actually there to speak to Susan about her other artistic passion – eco dyeing. Eco dyeing uses plants to create print on fabric. Susan uses no chemicals to obtain the colours on her fabric but relies solely on the colours extracted from plants through natural methods. Susan holds regular workshops to teach eco-dyeing.

She showed me a nuno-felted silk dress that had been dyed with onion skin and gum leaves.

“I like to take the students in my workshop for a walk around my property to familiarise themselves with the many different plants. We would pick up fallen leaves and talk about flowers and what colours we can expect to extract from them. Many of them didn’t know that even the lichen on the rocks can give out good colour,” said Susan.

“At the workshop just gone by I used persimmon leaves that were bright orange in colour. If you boil these leaves you will get a dye that turns out either yellow or olive green, depending on how many times you boil it. If you boil it for half-an-hour it is yellow. Boil it again and it turns green.”

The persimmon tree that contributed the leaves for her workshop is over a hundred years old as it was planted when the house was first built.

Eco-dyeing and Organic Lunch At 1896 Homestead
Susan displaying onion skin print billowy top

Susan discussed how she used onion skins to create patterns and give colour to her designs. “This takes time because you have to save all the skins from the onions as you use them in the kitchen. I have a paper bag full of onion skins that I have collected to use in eco-dyeing. I would arrange the skins on half the fabric and then place a stick at one end and roll the fabric up really tight around the stick and bind it with string or linen so it does not open up. Then I boil this stick.”

model wearing an onion skin print eco-dye design
model wearing an onion skin print eco-dye design

The fun part of eco-dyeing is not knowing what to expect when you unravel your cloth. To a degree you can control it but there is also an element of surprise as there always is when you work with nature. Other colour schemes used by Susan would be indigo which she obtains from indigo crystals  that are made from indigo plants. Interestingly, argyle apple leaves produce a bright red orange.

Model wearing an outfit printed with onion skin eco dye

 

 

 

 

 

A beautiful eco-dye blue design on a garment weaved by Susan
A beautiful eco-dye blue design on a garment weaved by Susan

“I like to use my hands and use what is around me for tools such as a stick, shell or stone. I rarely buy tools for my crafts.”

The great part about Susan’s workshops is that she is also an expert in felting and weaving and so she not only makes designs on fabric but has in-depth knowledge of them. “Although I love being a potter I have actually made a living out of textiles for 15 years and so when I hold eco-dyeing workshops, students are oftentimes dyeing on fabric I have created. As such I have the unique skill of being able to teach all three skills from weaving, felting and dying which are all related.”

Anyone can participate in all three workshops for weaving, felting and dyeing which are taught separately in each respective workshop. No prior experience is needed. It costs $100 for a 6-hour workshop that is held from 9:30 – 3:30 pm. All materials for the workshop are supplied as are morning tea and organic lunch too. Contact https://www.bunyasorganicsandantiques.com/workshops to find out more and sign-up for the next workshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottling Pure Wine

pure red wine
Beautiful red colour of the wine and so clear without any additives and chemicals
Contadino Farm wine-making workshop
Wine barrels for sale at the workshop

Healthy Country Life organised a wine-making workshop on 9th April, 2016 at Contadino Farm, Falls Creek, NSW, Australia. Twice we had to change the date because the grapes were not ready. As we were making “pure” wine with no additives or preservatives, we had no way of regulating it ( I call it interfering with nature). 

So we had to work with the elements to bring out the best in the grapes in terms of the best in taste and best in health value. So much control has gone into commercial wine-making to ensure the unique taste of a well-known brand remains the same from bottle to bottle to bottle.

Controlled fermentation is needed in commercial winemaking to attain a consistent result so that every bottle of wine will taste the same. To achieve this the commercial wine industry is known to use at least 19 additives and 37 different processing aids which include sulphur dioxide, potassium metabisulphite, egg and milk products, gelatin (a meat product), commercial yeast and other food chemicals. Our wine from the workshop had none of these contaminants. Now a year after the workshop I am bottling pure wine.

Mouvedre grapes tasting
Bunches of mouvedre grapes being passed around for tasting

Bruno Morabito, 62, the owner of Contadino Farm demonstrated how the machine discards the stems and crushes the grapes. As the crates of grapes passed the participants, Bruno and his assistants grabbed a few bunches and passed them around, sparking off the workshops glorious tasting sessions that began with grapes and moved on to free flow of wines, cheese, salami, olives, olive oil and bread.

During the year our grape juice has been fermenting, I have been in touch with the participants to see how they were doing with their fermentation and here are some of their comments:

Dennis O’ Reilly bottled his wine a month after fermenting. But he only drank his wine six months after bottling and had this to say, ” It was very drinkable.  Good fruit, although only medium bodied and I usually drink full bodied shiraz. A little tang on the palate as it goes down and I think it benefitted from decanting and a half hour of breathing.

“With Christmas arriving, I now have a plentiful supply of day to day drinking red. That should save me a few dollars when I go to Dan Murphy’s for my Christmas shopping. “

 

grape juice at the back of a Harley Davidson
Ninette Prospero who rode her Harley Davidson to the workshop geared up to ride off with her container of grape juice to ferment into wine at home

Ninette Prospero, who unfortunately did not have much luck with her fermentation. ” Very disappointed. I got the bottom of the barrel and after filtering many times sediment was half. And unfortunately mine was very bitter. However I thoroughly enjoyed the day.” It is good to know she at least had fun at the workshop.

Amanda Peek started drinking and sharing the wine with family and friends just four months after fermentation. She divided her wine into two batches though and kept the second batch in a cold area. This is what she discovered between the two batches.

siphoning finished wine
Siphoning finished wine with help from Kathy

“My first batch was lovely and thoroughly enjoyed by family and friends since August 2016. It had a slight fruity taste and was very pleasant. The second batch that I left in the cold after racking took on a more Shiraz taste. I prefer the taste of the first batch. But I have now bottled this and intend to leave it alone for a few years to see what sort of outcome I get.

“The workshop was a lovely experience and I would thoroughly enjoy another workshop on how to grow and brine olives and other fruit and vegetables. Thanks again for a once in a lifetime opportunity. I loved it.”

Bottling wine after a year and two months of fermentation
Bottling wine after a year and two months of fermentation

As for me at Healthy Country Life I racked my wine six months from the start of the fermentation and after ditching the sediment, I poured the wine back into the carbuoy to ferment for a further eight months. It was thoroughly dry by the time I bottled it and I was so glad to be bottling pure wine.

Throughout the duration of the fermentation, Kevin and I have been tasting a little every few months and it was exciting to see how the flavours changed as the fermentation progressed. It was extremely high in alcohol at six months old and had a very strong bite to the taste. By the time I bottled it which was one year and two months since fermentation started, the wine had mellowed and now in July 2017, it tastes incredible and alcohol level lower. I could just sit next to a glass and drink in the aroma alone without having any sip of it – such is the strength and sweetness of the aroma. Amazing!

When I collected the wine at the workshop I made sure I had an airlock and that airlock did not run out of water. Except for racking it once after six months, that is all I did during the course of fermentation. It is that easy. Initially I needed to add water often because the grape juice was very bubbly and the water in the airlock ran out often due to so much yeast activity. But the yeast eventually died out for lack of oxygen and then the bacteria went to work because they thrive in anaerobic conditions.

Even if you buy a kit to make wine it will almost certainly include Campden tablets to add to the grape juice and also commercial yeast. I didn’t resort to using any of these for my wine. I didn’t even sterilize my carbuoy with potassium metabisulphite but simply washed with soap and water and then air dried it before I filled it with the grape juice to turn into wine.

When bottling pure wine, I got about twenty seven 750 ml bottles out of 25 litres of wine. I lost some litres naturally due to discarding the sediment and racking.

Bottling Pure Wine
Sharing a glass of wine with Kathy. Cleo our horse was wanted a smell due to the fragrant aroma. She came close for a sniff

When bottling pure wine I used the simple method of siphoning out of the main carbuoy into individual bottles. In the video what Kathy is doing to help me is making sure the other end of the siphoning hose is just beneath the surface. Too deep and we will pick up sediment that will flow through the hose into the bottle (which we don’t want). If the hose is too high up, close to the surface, it could accidentally slip out and stop the flow. So she has to make sure the hose sits just right so as not to disrupt the smooth flow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danish Pastries Made With Hundred Percent Whole Wheat Flour

It takes me about three days to make these Danish pastries made with 100% whole wheat flour – two if my sourdough starter is already bubbling strongly. I normally start preparing the dough for these pastries at the same time I bake bread because then my sourdough starter is highly active and thriving and I can kill two birds with one stone – prepare bread and pastries.

Danish pastries made with hundred percent whole wheat flour

Danish Pastries Made With Hundred Percent Whole Wheat Flour

My Danish pastries made with hundred percent whole wheat flour are that they are made with wild yeast (sourdough starter). I grind the wheat grains myself before they are fermented in sourdough starter and turned into pastry dough. I have no white flour in my kitchen. White flour is devoid of nutrition. Wheat grains are loaded with nutrition but to access them you need to ferment them and that is why I need about two days to make my Danish pastries.

It is a myth that you can’t use hundred percent whole wheat flour to make them. I make them this way time and time again and they are perfect.Danish pastries made with hundred percent whole wheat flour

When Kevin and I stay at hotels we usually take the breakfast buffet that comes with our stay. A well stocked breakfast buffet must have Danish pastries. I cringe at the Danish pastries at these places. They are just airy, empty shells made out of starchy white flour, probably bleached and mixed with commercial yeast.

White flour pastry is devoid of the richness of flavour that only sourdough pastry can give. Let the wild yeast work its way through wholesome, freshly ground wheat flour with no additives whatsoever and you will have some of the finest Danish pastries.  I don’t think you will find them in the hotels, though because it takes time to create not only the best tasting Danish pastries but also the healthiest. Commercial establishments don’t spend this much time to create the best food. If you can’t grind your own flour, get them at health food stores. If you need softer flour for buns for eg just buy sifted, stone ground whole wheat flour

It was a delight to make this batch last Sunday morning. They sat on the rack to cool down before I packed them in the car and took them to church. Danish pastries made with hundred percent whole wheat flour and fermented by wild yeast/sourdough starter lasts longer. Those made with white flour and commercial yeast go stale in just one day.

 

Make Your Own Filling And Use Whole Berries

I know there are many different fillings for Danish pastries, but thus far I have been making them with creme patissiere which I make with kefir and eggs from my hens. Maybe one day I will try a different filling. On top of the creme patissiere I have put loganberries and blackberries from the garden and store bought organic blueberries. I was pretty excited to use these home-grown berries as they have been in my freezer for about four months.

The lovely thing about baking your own Danish pastries is that you can add a lot of creme patissiere and berries. Hotels and bakeries only give you a swab of both and the rest of it are all just flaky crust of the pastry. I like the pastry but only with a generous helping of the filling and berries.

With these Danish pastries, I piled them on as much as I could without them dripping. There must be enough to ooze into your mouth with every bite, unlike commercial ones where you chew on flaky crust all through and get only a trickle of the filling and maybe only the flavour of berries and hardly any whole berries.

 

Shaping Danish Pastries Made With Hundred Percent Whole Wheat Flour

I made them in three different shapes – the pinwheel, vol-au-vent and the cinnamon rolls which you can also call the snail shape. I always have a bottle of cinnamon sugar handy for my baking needs. I grind sugar with pure Cinnamon quills which is Ceylon Cinnamon and not the Cassia variety. That is all there is to it to making cinnamon sugar. This way the sugar too becomes very fine, like castor sugar.

Cinnamon Rolls Among The Danish Pastries Made With Hundred Percent Whole Wheat Flour

The cinnamon rolls have a thick layer of creme patissiere sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and raisins within its spiralling layers. In this sense it is slightly different from the other Danishes and lends a lovely contrast of flavours in a delightful breakfast basket.