Backyard Wild Yeast Plum Mead – Part I

THis post contains 3 photos. Click to enlarge them.

This is a bit of a risky kind of brew, but I will give it a go anyway.

Some fruits come with a natural coat of wild yeast on their skin. This can be beneficial to your brew, but dangerous, because wild yeast can infect your brew.

The way this mead was done was:

  1. Pick the healthier plums from your tree. In this case, I picked them from my own backyard;

  1. See the white coating? This is the wild yeast on the fruit. The aim of this brew is to use that yeast and that alone to kick start the fermentation. This mead is expected to be low in alcohol, so that the fermentation is quick and it gives less times for any infection to develop;

  1. After a quick rinse, the plums are deseeded and quickly hand pulped. This would make homebrewers cringe, but I did sanitize my hands well! Well, back in the day, wine juice was extracted by stepping on grapes, so why not use my hands? Then soak them on a solution of water, honey, lime and lime zest, which was boiled for one hour. Dump the boiling water onto the plums and close the fermenting bin. That’s it. Give it a bit of a mix for the next two days and leave it. A bit of natural selection, after the boiling water in dumped, only the strongest yeast will survive!

Ingredients

  1. 2.5kg of deseeded plums;
  2. 2.5kg of honey;
  3. 13L of water;
  4. Juice and zest of 2 limes;

Updates will follow.

Four Chilies, Basil and Olive Sauce

My chilies are almost gone now, unfortunately, so is the basil, and add a bit of olive and what do you get? A delicious sauce! This time, I didn’t remove the seeds just to see how hot I could make the sauce. Yes, it is extremely hot! I used four types of chilies, which I am still trying to find out the type, but I will let you know soon!

Yet again, I found another interesting looking chili. Before, it was the twisted chili pepper… not the joker hat chili? Ah well!

The sauce is quite pungent in taste. I overdid in the amount of olives, which I absolutely love. So far, I tried it in two different ways: First as pasta sauce and second as a burger sauce. Both worked really well. I want to try to marinade a steak to see if it would work… well, I hope so!

Wild Blackberry and Caviar Jam (No Pectin)

Caviar? Sorry, I meant elderberry! But now that I got your attention, might as well read the rest of the post! heehee

Promised my mum I’d make her a pot of jam, so on my way back from work, I stopped along my University’s lake and picked up a few fruits. The aim was to pick blackberries only, but the elderberries looked so yummy that I couldn’t pass the opportunity.

Well, this is not for the impatient person, because picking all the elderberries from the stem is a pain! But it makes a delicious dessert, to have along with a nice lemon cheesecake or something!

I make my jam with no pectin. It gives a lower yield, but it keeps for a lot longer, so I don’t have to worry too much about eating it quickly. Why that is? Please read this post.

Recipe? Here it is!

  • 240g of Wild Blackberry
  • 160g of Wild Elderberry
  • Zest of One Lime
  • Juice of Half a Lime
  • 215g of Honey

Instructions:

  • Deseed the fruits, if you prefer! I really couldn’t bother and I like the crunchiness of the seeds
  • Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and, in a low/medium heat, bring to boil. Remove any excess foam formed from the boil. Mix constantly
  • After the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes or so, mixing every 3 minutes or so.
  • Cool a plate in the freezer and place a teaspoon of jam on the cold plate. This will give you the set point. Too runny, leave it for another while; not too runny, turn off the stove and leave it to cool
  • Place the slightly cooled jam in a sterilized 500ml jar, close it and boil the jar for 10 minutes to seal it.
  • Place the jar on a wooden chopping board for 24hrs. After the 24 hours, place it in the fridge and enjoy it!

From experience, the recipe should yield approximately 500ml, maybe a bit less.

“Am I a thief?” – What Rights Do I Have Over the Food I Buy?

After a constructive comment discussion with Margaret, a fellow blogger, I decided to write about something that I have been thinking about for a long time.

I will be brief. There is one type of chili I really, REALLY like that comes on the pizza I buy at my local shop. I haven’t been able to find the seeds to sell, so I decided to buy a pizza, open a few of these seeds and see if they will germinate (probably not, as they probably have been cooked and all). This is not the point, really.

If these seeds I saved, from the pizza I bought at my local shop, actually germinate and I am able to produce my own, am I a thief? Legally speaking, that is.

Well, there are precedents in some countries that if you buy seeds from a company, you have NO right to save them for future sowing (These companies shall remain nameless… Cough… MONSA.. Cough…)

I saved the seeds and will try to plant them. Does that make me a thief? In my opinion, NO! No one on Earth should be allowed to own any seeds or the intellectual property on them, regardless on how genetically modified to resist pesticides they have been.

Remember, these new seeds came from harvested seeds that belonged to no-one (or everyone). For a company to ruin people’s lives for something they shouldn’t own in the first place is horrible.

Seeds should belong to everyone and everyone should be allowed, without costs, to have access to whatever seeds they want.

But that is just me.

Twisted Pepper Sauce: Amongst Other Things

This post contains 5 photos.

Well, maybe it’s time to put some of that gardening products to good use, right?

My basil is grown, with a lot still in its adolescence, my chillies are doing very well, so I decided to make something “inventive”. I have three types of chillies here, but only two with fruits and not yet ripe: But I like green chillies! Anyway… I harvested a few of each and decided to make a sauce, which I will probably be used for my “Twisted Pepper Pasta”, but it will take a few weeks.

Here are the ingredients for this particular concoction:

Freshly picked basil leaves, around 30g of it;


This kind of pepper (help me identify it, please?);


And that pepper (that one too!);


Onion, garlic, honey and olive oil. I deseeded most of the peppers, blended half with the rest of the ingredients and the other half I sliced to mix with the blended paste;


Topped it up with extra virgin olive oil for conservation and flavour extraction and added the twisted pepper on top. As well as some aesthetics, the spices of the pepper will diffuse over the top layer. I will wait a couple of weeks before I use it, in order of the olive oil to extract the flavour of all ingredients.


The initial impression is that the sauce is quite mild and sweet, just the way I like it, but in time, I am expecting it to become spicier. Well, when you can taste the spicy air from chopping the chillies, you can expect something pungent!

Picking Wild Fruits: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

This post contains 5 photos.

Picking wild fruit is such a great thing to do. Just walking about the place and knowing that you don’t really need to buy everything you eat is just great! Well, at least I think it is!

Fortunately, I am just a short walk from my University, which offers a few of these wild treasures, but students and bypassers sometimes don’t respect this and abuse the privilege a little bit.

I decided to write this post because what I thought was common sense really is not.

So, before going picking some wild fruit, take some time to think….

  1. Why are you picking them?

What do you plan to do with them? It’s great to be able to go and pick as many as we can possibly fit in our backpack, right? Well, if this is how much you need to do whatever you are planning, good! But take the time to think how long they last for and if you are going to be able to use it all before it goes off. Wasting is bad and you will most likely throw it away in the bin, where it won’t get used up by nature. So, if you can’t use it, better let it fall on the ground and fertilize the tree to keep it alive for years to come.

  1. Pick only the ones that are ripe

Fruits are not hard to pick. If they are ready to be picked, they will just come off the branches with no effort whatsoever. Fruits don’t become ripe at the same time. If you pull it a little bit and they don’t come off, move on! They are not ready to be picked. Come back in a couple of weeks or so and they might be there waiting for you!

  1. If you can’t reach it, don’t pick it

Depending on what you pick, the branches can be full of thorns and can hurt you. We are humans and are extremely whinny. Anything that hurts us, we just complain. So, if you can’t reach the fruit, just leave it alone! Trying to reach can hurt you and, just as important, can hurt the trees on the way.

Photo below credit to @Symphlythebest.

  1. Pulling branches to pick fruits

This is related to the topic above. if you can’t reach the fruit, just leave it there. Get a ladder if it is too high, try a different path to try and get it, if you can’t reach it horizontally. Pulling branches can break them and that’s another branch that will never bear fruits again.

  1. Respect the Wildlife

Maybe near the trees, you will see some birds that won’t go away, even if you come really close to them, hissing geese and swans, bees etc, they are not doing these things for no reason! They are doing it because you are imposing into their territory, they have nests etc and would like you to stay away. Try invade their privacy… you will get a geese ass-whopping!

Volucella Pellucens

  1. Keep an eye out for scumbags

Yeah, scumbags! I said it! When going for a walk, a run or whatever, keep an eye out for people doing harm to plants or local wildlife. Sometimes an angry look does the job to make them aware that they are doing something wrong! Sometimes not, but ah well, we all have different approaches (Maybe I also think that geese are a bit scummy? They love hissing at me at any time for the year… so….).


Well, I think I said my peace! Respect nature and you will be rewarded! Given my container, you can guess what I will use my berries for!