Thursday, 21 April 2011

Potting, Planting and Pickling

Three of the most glorious and rewarding things to do on a lovely sunny afternoon.

Because we have been collecting all the seeds in the Daily Mail promotion we realised we had a lot of sewing to do. Some of the varieties such as the brassica seeds can wait for now but we were keen to get the tomato seeds planted so that we get a good tomato harvest. When we grew tomatoes last year our dog ate the lot the minute we had our back turned, you will see a picture of our greedy dog later when we get to the pickling section!

This was today's make shift potting table. You can see the pots with the tomato seeds in at the front and there are some strawberry plants at the back. Amy had to get a pink watering can too to feel the part.

Tomatoes are very easy to grow from seed and they are very easy to grow in small spaces as long as they get enough nutrition and water. No excuses for not growing your own in my opinion. I remember going to my grandparent's houses when I was younger and seeing the tomatoes they were growing. Home grown tomatoes are irresistible and are also like pringles. Once you've had one you will proably eat the lot.

At the back of the picture you can just make out the old chicken area, this is now mainly inhabited by weeds but I do have some good plans for this area in the coming weeks and months so watch this space!

The third 'p' of the day, pickling is always good fun and it is easy too. I absolutely love pickles. My favourite though has to be... Pickled Eggs! When you have two chickens laying daily you soon build up a mass of eggs. Sometime's you have just too many for you and the rest of your family so a good way of storing them is to pickle them.

20 medium sized Free Range eggs
1litre Pickling Vinegar (available from all good supermarkets)

To make the pickled eggs I hard boiled 20 eggs for 15 minutes before allowing them to cool in cold water (in the pan). Then when the eggs are cool just simply peel off all of the shells and you will have the eggs nice and ready. Take a sterilized kilner jar or any other air tight jar and add the eggs. A large kilner jar should comfortably accomodate 20 medium sized eggs or 15 large ones. Then pour over the pickling vinegar. You probably won't use the whole litre so you could make a medium sized jar of pickled onions or alliums with any that is left over.When the pickling vinegar covers the eggs up to the rim you then need to seal/close the jar and store them in a dark place. I normally leave the eggs for 2 days to 'mature' a bit but you can eat them after a couple of hours if you can't wait. The eggs should store for at least a month. If they last that long of course! Right who's making the chips?

Remember that I mentioned the greedy dog earlier who ate all the tomatoes? Well when I went to take a picture of the pickled eggs she could't resist a good look. Here is Jess showing off her pickled eggs...

Enjoy the rest of your day. Looks like it is going to be a pleasant evening.



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