Monday, 8 October 2012

Rose hips in the steam extractor: an experiment

It's a gorgeous autumn day up here at Findhorn. The rose hips have been staring at me for over a week now. But they're such a hassle! I was taught to cut them and then remove their seeds, because the tiny hairs around the seeds can irritate. I did this last year, but it was just too much work. I'm all in for an experiment now!
I picked a bag full of rose hips. You want them firm, but not hard, and shiny. I use the fat ones from the Rosa rugosa. I took off their crowns, gave them a rinse and popped them in the steam extractor.
Steam extractor? Sure! It's a wonderful thing. It consists of three parts. You add water to the lower part. When you heat the water, steam will rise to the top part, where the fruit is. The steam breaks up the cells and allows the juice to come out. Through little holes - it looks like a colander - it drips in the middle part. This part has a little tube that allows you to pour the hot and sterilised juice in a clean bottle or jar or in a saucepan. It can be sweetened to make a jelly, used pure or turned into wine.
My experiment is that I want to find out if I can get rid of the little hairs by using the steam extractor. If I can, I will make a jelly out of the juice. If I don't, I'll turn it into a wine.

I'll tell you more about the result later!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Wilted dahlias still good as a dye

Isn't that amazing? First we can enjoy the flowers in the garden and when they wilt, they still make an excellent dye!

I simmered 400 grams of the flowers in water for about an hour. Then they cooled down overnight and I strained the liquid. That's important: last time I got slimy bits of the petals in my wool...

The next morning I put in 200 grams of soaked and washed white wool and added a heaped teaspoon of alum. That was slowly heated up to a gentle boil and simmered again for about an hour. After completely cooling down I rinsed the wool until the water was clear.

It's a lovely deep yellow now. I will add it to all my other yellows :p

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