Food Preservation: Making Raspberry Fruit Leather

I miss the flavors of summer berries already. Around August this year, me and the Hubs picked a couple pounds of local raspberries. I turned them into fruit leather (berries + raw honey + flax seed >>> blitz into a paste) with aid of the dehydrator, no special preservatives added. It’s been at least 4 months since I made the leathers; their soft sweetness and tangy berries are still holding up fantastically. They make such a happy reminder of the greener seasons.

Career Options

Good and evil leads folk to take up the mantle of “hero” or “villain.” And while these work well for many, they certainly aren’t the only viable options.

Eldritch Lumberjack
Working with dryads and sylphs, you help keep the balance of nature within a territory of land, typically a forest. Part nature magic, part necromancy, you heal or reclaim the denizens of your assigned lands. You work with a wide spectrum of magical plants, beasts, minerals, fungi, and insects.

Fey Farmer
Plant, tend, harvest, preserve, distribute, rest as the land rests. Some farmers work open fields, others work swamps or orchards. The landscape if wildly varied, as are the crops. Your domain is all things that magically grow. It takes lifetimes to master, but the joy of work is immediate.

Occult Oceanographer
The deep ocean is your realm. You assist mermaids and study kraken, you swim with sea nymphs and help water elementals find their way home. Magic will help you breathe and survive the immense pressures of the Deep Dark, curiosity and currents show you where to go.

the signs as greek goddesses
  • Aries: Eris (goddess of strife, discord, contention and rivalry)
  • Taurus: Demeter (goddess of the harvest and to the growing, preserving and harvesting of grain, mother of persephone)
  • Gemini: Atalanta (a competitive warrior goddess, adventure and amazing runner, turned into a lion by aphrodite)
  • Cancer: Eirenne (goddess of peace)
  • Leo: Hera (queen of the olympian goddesses, goddess of marriage)
  • Virgo: Athena (goddess of wisdom, war, domestic crafts)
  • Libra: Maia (spring goddess)
  • Scorpio: Aphrodite (goddess of love and beauty)
  • Sagittarius: Nyx (goddess of nighttime and darkness)
  • Capricorn: Hestia (goddess of the hearth and home)
  • Aquarius: Dike (goddess of moral justice)
  • Pisces: Iris (goddess of the rainbow)

Cold Room/Root Cellar

We’ve retrofitted an already cold, north facing room of our cottage to act as a cold storage area for fruits, vegetables, preserves, ferments etc. A place to store our harvests.
Light is excluded, the room insulated, a cold air source is piped into the room from outside. The flooring is tiled and we have a marble countertop which stays super cool. The temperature stays around 0°C - 6°C with a humidity reading of between 80 - 95 %Cold Room/Root Cellar

Evaluating Local Wild Apples

I went out and had a look at (and taste of) some of fruits on the local wild seedling apple trees today.

These two were real standouts from the mere ten trees I looked at today: they are visually disease-free, beautiful, sweet, and crispy fruits, from beautiful trees that are growing well in my local biome. The one on the left tastes and looks kind of like a Gravenstein, and the one on the right tastes like a Honeycrisp.

I’m going to flag them with a strip of fabric so I can grab some scion wood from them when they go dormant in Winter, and graft them into one of my trees.

In the meantime, I’ll go out with my two best friends (the telescopic fruit picker, and my bike) and pick some fruit from the hundreds of seedling trees in the area. If they are terrible for eating, they’ll make fine juice, ciders, pies, dried snacks, preserves, and pectin!

I think it’s safe to say I’m one of the only people here who would bother harvesting the wild fruit. It’s just me (the weird Canadian) and the Thai ladies fishing for perch that are actually taking advantage of the local natural abundance every day. I don’t really feel that bad picking a few kilos of fruit, since it will be wasp food if I don’t!


Pickling Homegrown Ginger

Young ginger is not a common delicacy in the States, but if you can’t buy it from a supermarket, then try growing your own! I just harvested a small cluster from my container. Young gingers are light, crisp, and low in fibrous strands, which is ideal for making GARI…yup, that antiseptic palette cleanser that frequently accompanies sushi.

I gently scrap off the delicate skin. Then, the root is mandolined into thin slices - thickness is generally up to your liking. Blanch the slices in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. The goal is NOT to cook the ginger, but to reduce its pungency and soften the fibers so that it’s malleable and floppy. Squeeze out the access water before stuffing into a jar. Pour in a your solution of RICE VINEGAR, SUGAR, and a dash of SALT into the jar. (Again I defer to your preference of sweetness, though generally gari is pretty tart and sweet.) In 2 to 3+ hours, the pickling should be done and your gari is ready!

NOTE: I suspect some of the store bought gari has been dyed with artificial coloring to give it that extra intense pink, but if you include that hot pink part of the young ginger into the pickling process, it will impart a natural pink hue to the ginger.


Growing Ginger from store bought:

Container growing ginger in my apartment (back in the day):


Growing Food with Love and Integrity with @foxslane

For more of Kate’s photos at Daylesford Organics, follow @foxslane on Instagram.

Before Kate Ulman (@foxslane) began farming, she spent her time rallying at protests. “At one point I realized that I was exhausted from all the fighting and wanted to create something positive instead,” Kate says. “And what could be more positive than growing food with love and integrity?” That was 15 years ago. She learned on the job and now runs her small farm Daylesford Organics outside Melbourne, Australia, with her partner Bren. “Farming is definitely hard work, but I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Kate lives on the farm with Bren; their three daughters Indigo, Jarrah and Pepper; and two dogs Jo-Jo and Banjo. With this small crew, they manage to grow vegetables, raise chickens and maintain eight beehives, thousands of fruit and nut trees and a forest – and they work together as much as possible. “I love that our girls are growing up knowing about the seasons and how to preserve the harvest by living with them,” she says. “They understand that we don’t eat tomatoes in winter and they each have their own bee suit and tools.”

In the future, she hopes to host events and workshops on the farm. “I want to pass on our passions and our knowledge,” she says. “And I like to think that we’ll live here forever.”

Birds Of A Feather

Mina and Michael were in the kitchen, tag teaming to get a jump on the produce that was piling up in the kitchen. Hot salsa was bubbling away in one pot, corn relish in another. The ovens were busy baking zucchini bread, and the two of them were making jars of pickled veggies, stuffing cucumber spears, cauliflower florets, crinkle sliced carrots, tiny garlic bulbs, jalapeno slices, all kinds of things in there. The dishwasher was going, sterilizing all the jars for the stuff in the pots. Mina heard a noise, and looked up in time to see spoons in the doorway. “Hello! Come on in, we’re just preserving the summer harvest.”