Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Green Tomato Pickles & Green Tea

I wake, it's still dark outside. I lay wondering what havoc the crazy wind we had last night has left for me to clean up this morning. I can't help but think about my garden, but still I nuzzle into the thick pillow and quickly drift back to sleep. It's there to take the space of hubby when he is away at work....I can't sleep in an empty bed and this helps.When I wake again, my attention is drawn to the food prep I have in the kitchen. I've almost used up the 10kg bag of onions I bought at the markets on Saturday, and I need to track down more jars.

When I need good tomatoes or cucumbers I go to the one 'shop' I know best. Each Saturday our local markets are held at Warrawong on the lake; and if you don't catch your regulars there, you can drop in on Sunday at the Dapto markets. I visited both this weekend past to get the finest organic produce I know to make some preserves for Christmas gifts this year. When you first park your car on the lawn in Warrawong, as you enter the rows of stalls, they are right there on the right hand side. You can't miss this stall. They confidently advertise that they are 100% organic and the sweetest in Australia.

I've been going there for years now, and have just began sharing my preserves with Mama. She's the boss on the stall, Mama sits at the scales and the cash-tin and everyone pays her; but her hubby and two boys work the stall and help out the hoards of customers. They sell out every week, so I know their produce is very fresh, and they are only up the road in Picton as well. Brilliant! Yesterday I took them a jar of my Plum Sauce and a small basket of Mini Black Russian tomatoes from my garden, and much to my amazement Mama was blown away by my generosity. She kept popping more cucumbers in my bag while we talked, even though I had already paid. I can't wait to find out what she thinks of my Tomato Relish and Choko Pickles.
Last weekend I ordered another box of Green Tomatoes off Mama, which I picked up on Saturday.

They have introduced a new cucumber variety (I'll tell you about it tomorrow) to their stall and I've decided to try them out on my Bread and Butter Pickled Cucumber recipe, but that will be tomorrow's post, as I only salted them last night.
Not all the produce here is from the markets,
but I had already made some purchases elsewhere.
I'm a bit late in the making of these gifts, and the preserves stockpile is a bit bare like Old Mother Hubbard's  cupboard, and nothing like my stockpile here.....but I still have some time left in the kitchen before heading off to Cousin M's in Bundanoon for the big day. I like to share my preserves with family and always take a box of goodies with us.

I've blogged about Green Tomato Pickles before but I was lazy and used the whizzer to chop them up...It made the final product far to runny for my liking. I chopped them all by hand this time; producing a much better consistency.....

Enough chatter Narelle!! Get on with it!!
Green Tomato Pickles
5 1/2 kg green tomatoes
2 to 2 1/2 kg of onions
140 grams salt
1 1/2 to 2 kg sugar
1 bottle of Ezy Sauce (Shake well before opening)
1 level tablespoon of mustard powder
1 level tablespoon of curry powder
1 level tablespoon of cornflour
2 level teaspoons of turmeric powder

Slice or chop into a large dish the green tomatoes and onions. Mix in the salt, then cover and leave to stand for 12 to 24 hours.

After that time,add mustard, curry, cornflour and turmeric to a small mixing bowl and add a little water to make a runny paste. (I used Apple Cider Vinegar). Set this aside for later. 

Empty the onion and tomato mix into a large boiler and bring to the boil before adding the sugar and Well shaken bottle of Ezy Sauce. Boil until thick (at least an hour). 

Add the runny spice mix and cook for a further half hour stirring all the time. Check for setting on a cold plate placed in the fridge. 
Once set remove from heat and bottle in clean sterilized glass jars.

  • I can't stress enough on how organized you need to be at this bottling time. It's important that you have enough bottles ready.
  • When decanting into glass jars, I use a jug with a handle like this....If I need to put down the jug, I just hang it over the inside of the boiler like so. The only time I put the messy jug on the bench is when I scrape down the sides of the boiler for the last 1 or 2 jars.

  • After scooping up a jug of hot pickles, scrape the outside of the jug onto the inside of the boiler. This helps to prevent any drips on the jars, and makes for a lot quicker cleanup.

Ensure lids and jar rims are clean by wiping with a lint-free cloth as hot as you can bare; then place lids on while hot. Any that don't have the lids pop down with a good seal can be placed in a moderate oven for 20 minutes, then removed to cool. This should seal the rest of the jars. If not,  use those jars first by storing in the fridge.

Green Tomato Pickles
5 1/2 kg of Green Tomatoes AND 2 1/2 kg of Onions
Green TeaCamellia sinensis

Did you know that Green Tea can be grown in your own garden? I never knew that a Camellia variety (Camellia Sinensis) was in fact Green Tea that tea-drinkers enjoy. There are many health benefits to be had by drinking Green Tea.
My mate Richard gave me a few small branches, actually I pinched them out of the back of his ute....lol It's easy to propagate too, but I dried this lot, as we have done them in class.

Green Tea - Camellia Senensis

While my taste-buds are still learning that tea is a good thing, I might try adding my home-grown Stevia powder to it to have a ready sweetened tea to just add boiling water to. 

Do you grow your own Green Tea? Is it something you would consider?


  1. wow you have been a busy bee, nothing like home made preserves I love them

    1. Thanks Angela: I'm flat out in the kitchen at the moment, but I spent most of today taking photos for a new blog I'm designing for a friend. Off to tackle those cucumbers now.

  2. Narelle I haven't been to either of those markets, are they open the weekends after Christmas? Your preserves look great -- as always. :)

    1. Rose; I'm pretty sure the only weekend they wouldn't be open is if Christmas Day fell on the weekends. Dapto Markets has a small parking area near McDonalds, people also park in the Ribbonwood center and walk into the showgrounds. There is also parking at the back entrance of the showgrounds, where the office is for the greyhounds etc. Warrawong on Saturdays and Dapto on Sundays. Wear a hat!

  3. Thank you for posting up the recipe for the green tomato preserves. I always mean to check out recipes to have on hand, but still hadn't done so. They look so yummy!!

    I haven't ever considered growing my own green tea, either, but glad to see it's not too difficult to do. I've always wanted some camellia plants, so now have a really good excuse to get some. :)

  4. I'm so glad to see you are "back", Narelle! And busy as ever :) You are an inspiration to me!

  5. I love those pickles, how many pickled tomato can you make a day? Is it possible to grow tulsi herb than a green tea even on a hot weather country?

  6. You have discussed an interesting topic that everybody should know. Very well explained with examples. i have found a similar websitehomeopathic medicine treatment visit the site to know more about herbsonlineshop


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