Tag Archives: Fruit

The Green Grocer

8 Jul

Shopping Day. Not the supermarket chore it used to be. Now it involves buying up bulk at the peaceful bulk food shop, then popping next door to the family-owned green grocer. The great thing about the green grocer, is that I know their eggs come from happy chickens near Mt Somers in Canterbury. They also give away big bags of fruit and vege scraps – ideal for chickens or to boost your compost. You get to chat about the state of the nation and the weather for free too.



New Fruit

30 May


Today was the day I’d been dreaming about for weeks. The chance to try my first ever homegrown lime. After careful consideration, I decided to have it in a vodka tonic. An excellent decision. It was divine. I slipped it into my drink about 1 minute after picking. We’ve had the shrub for a couple of years, but this year is the first time we’ve had any fruit from it. I’m sure nurturing the herb, bee and butterfly garden beds around it helped, as did the worm poo.

As I sipped on my fresh lime vodka tonic, I stewed some windfall apples with tamarillos that my friend Sarah had sent down all the way from Whangarei. They were such perfect specimens. Sarah and I have been buddies since primary school, and worked at a supermarket together when we were at high school – possibly a reason why we both love vege gardening. We’ve seen what supermarkets do to fresh produce. The outcome of the apple tamarillos tastes a bit odd in it’s pure form, but once sweetened and spiced up, it’ll be great as a pudding.


Free Food in the Christchurch Red Zone

24 May


Today’s sustainable adventure was a trip into one of Christchurch’s earthquake-devastated suburbs, Bexley, to forage for forgotten fruit and veges. I was in two minds about the project. I didn’t want to disrespect or offend previous residents, but I didn’t want good food to go to waste. Though this practice is increasingly common, there is no clear protocol around foraging in the red zones (areas that are no longer inhabited, or inhabited by very few due to the land and/or houses being so broken). I made up my own protocol:

  • Take bottled fruit in case an opportunity arose to barter or thank residents.
  • Completely avoid homes where people were still living.
  • Plan to make a swift and respectful retreat should I be asked to.
  • Pause and reflect (not difficult).
  • Not strip entire trees or gardens of fruit and veg.
  • Go with a friend to be safe (today I went with my friend Janine).

It turns out there wasn’t much to be worried about. There was nobody around. The only person who walked past gave us a thumbs up as we dug potatoes.

Pretty much everything we found was from empty sections where houses had been removed. Although nature is taking over the properties, you can still see the trees and shrubs people had planted. There are beautiful roses and climbers, an abundance of native gardens, garden ornaments and wheelbarrows. Some of the plants will have been birthday presents or grown painstakingly from seed. Most will have been grown with green thumb love. Mother’s will have buried their baby’s placenta under some of these plants. It’s impossible to separate the human element from gardens, no matter how wild they’ve become. But such was the chaos, mess, and frustration of living in the red zone, that you can see people just left their gardens without looking back.

I came home with a bag of lemons, apples, potatoes, and lots of rainbow silverbeet for the chickens. Which, it turns out, they don’t like.

On the way home Janine and I stopped off at Willows Cafe where the chef gave us some free berry brulee treat and we gave him some of our free lemons.

An interesting day.




Facebook Fruit

10 May

I came home from work today to find this on my doorstep:


I had arranged via Facebook, to swap Granny Smiths from a friend for a jar of my Feijoa Jam. I’ll stew and bottle them to stock my cupboards with winter vitamins.

Facebook and Twitter certainly have their icky, weird, and dangerous sides if not monitored properly. But I’ve used both the social media sites quite a bit this Autumn to barter. Last month I exchanged my last bag of homegrown tomatoes for a large bag of my favourite coffee via Twitter. As the trees have started dropping their fruit, I’ve sourced pears, quince, figs, apples, peaches, feijoas, lemons, and glass jars from friends via Facebook. Returning the favour with gifts of bottled fruit or jam is essential.

I’ve had great feedback from people who are enjoying the fruit-swaps. Normally their fruit would go to waste. I love how we can use modern technology to promote such an old-fashioned concept. Imagine if everyone with a vege garden purposefully grew a glut of something to swap, or even give away to people who need it. Neighbourly-love and all that.

Tonight we had a fruit crumble made with blackboy peaches, pears, and feijoa jam. All sourced from my street and the next street over. It tasted delicious. Now we just need to find a neighbourhood cow for the cream.

Feijoa Jam In-a-Doddle

3 May

Feijoa Jam In-a-Doddle.

Feijoa Jam In-a-Doddle

3 May

I love feijoas. When I was at high school, me and my friends knew of a secret feijoa tree by Back Field. While other brats were sneaking behind the trees for a cigarette, we would skip down to the feijoa tree to snaffle the tasty fruit. Waaaay better than smoking.

Today I made jam out of a couple of bags of feijoas a friend had given me. In typical Sustainable Wench fashion, I’m always asking around for free fruit. Nobody has ever been offended. The key reasons for making the jam were:

  • You can’t buy feijoa jam at The Supermarket.
  • I know exactly what’s in it.
  • It’s easy to make.
  • It costs about .30c per jar to make (with free feijoas).
  • I’ve run out of jam.

I tweaked a NZ Womens Weekly recipe for this, using less sugar, and scooping out the feijoa flesh instead of peeling and chopping the fruit. Didn’t bother warming the sugar either. Much easier with my method, and more time for coffee.

Chuck about 1kg of scooped-out feijoa into a big pot. Add about half a cup of water, and zest and juice of one lemon. Simmer for 15 minutes until soft. Mash up if required. Stir in about 3 cups sugar. Simmer for 20 mins or so. Put in jars.

Lazy Bread and feijoa jam for brekky tomorrow. Yum.