This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How did it get to Thursday already? I seem to blink these days and half a week has sprinted past me.

We got the potatoes lifted at the weekend. We had a reasonable crop of good potatoes from the pack of Roosters from the £1 shop. Nice to have some reds for a change. We were given a handful of unnamed seed potatoes which our allotment neighbour had no room for and they have produced a small number of very nice, small, waxy potatoes which will be lovely as boiled potatoes. The Kestrel, which we have grown for several years, produced a bumper crop of large and lovely floury potatoes. Some of them willcertainly take us more than one meal to get through them. The Kestrel have definitely earned their keep!

Last night we had sausage and mash: the second half of the pack of 30p for 8 sausages from the reduced section in the supermarket with mashed potatoes (some of the ones the fork went through on lifting - thankfully there were not many of those) and onion (homegrown) gravy with stirfried overgrown courgette (homegrown), mushroom, and green tomato (homegrown). It was a lovely meal!

On Tuesday night, I spent the whole evening peeling windfall apples into 3 bowls - one for nice apple pieces, one for nice peel and cores and the largest for grotty bits. I stewed it up but it took until bedtime so I left it to cool overnight and then bagged it up for the freezer last night. I've got two boxes of windfalls left to deal with so I'd like to try Frugal Queen's method of storing apples but these ones were put into small packs in the freezer so that they could be used for apple sauce with pork or sausages. Some of the peel and cores went to the rabbits and the rest has now been boiled up and is dripping through my jelly bag.

The other thing I did last night was to tick one item off my list of Things I'd Like to Try: I made butter. When I went to the supermarket, I happened upon some pint pots of double cream reduced to 39p each so I brought home 3 pots. My husband promptly took half a pot to whip for eating with bread (preferably homemade) and jam (homemade, obviously) which he adores. So I used 2 1/2 pints and that produced just under 1 lb 10 ozs of butter. My husband has requested scones made with buttermilk asap before his cream goes off. The butter has been divided up into 4 oz portions and frozen unsalted as apparently the saltiness intensifies in the freezer. The remaining bit has had salt added for use now. Unsalted butter will keep for 3 months in the freezer.

So £1 worth of cream has produced much more butter than I thought. Next time I happen on reduced cream, I will be able to calculate whether it is worthwhile buying it to make butter because I will know that a pint of cream produces roughly 10 ozs of butter. Verdict on the homemade butter will have to come later because he was too asleep this morning to remember to use mine on his breakfast toast. Cheapo butter costs 98p here so it will be a question of weighing up the taste of the homemade versus the expense of the cream. I wouldn't buy cream at full price but it is not always reduced sufficiently to warrant buying it. I washed the butter over and over to get the buttermilk out of it. However, when I thought it was clean, I was not happy to spot some more buttermilk leaking out when I was making it into little blocks for the freezer. Leaving buttermilk in it shortens the life of the butter outside of the freezer so this is one reason I decided on the small 4 oz blocks. Next time I shall wash the butter a couple more times after I think it is clear of buttermilk.

Actually, I have made butter before but not in any quantity. When we were first married, we still had proper milk delivered by a milkman and I used to save the top of the milk and use it for cream and also to make a tiny bit of butter when there was too much month left at the end of the money. I don't really count that because when you use top of the milk or single cream, you only get a very little butter for all the effort you put in. With the double cream yesterday AND a food processor (not a jar shaken), there was a lot of butter made and packaged and in the freezer inside 30 minutes.


  • At 2:03 PM, Blogger BizzyDays said…

    I remember making butter from the tops of milk when I was little -a loonng time ago- I used to love the fact that I made it myself.
    I'm going to try the food processor and cream way when I see some on offer.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Kind regards,


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