Hello from a newbie

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Stravaig
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Hello from a newbie

Postby Stravaig » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:20 am

Hi,

I was looking for some information on blanching and freezing and found this forum. I had a look around and liked what I saw so I decided to join up.

To be honest, I'm more keen on the cooking side of things than the growing. But needs must! I'm currently living overseas (because of my husband's employment). Thus we are living in a city centre flat in Eastern Europe. At least the flat has very thick walls and therefore has deep windowsills. That's the extent of my "garden", but I'm managing to grow some herbs, edible flowers, and a few salad leaves. I'm also buying lots of seasonal veggies from the local supermarkets and farms. I'm doing my best to harvest and freeze for the winter months when good veggies are scarce. Mostly you can only buy things here when they are in season. It's not like the UK where you can get everything all year round because of imports. Our climate isn't too unlike the UK although we have hotter summers and much colder winters.

I have had some success with a little hydroponic system but most of my other attempts at germinating, repotting and growing on have been dismal failures. I think it might be because the air is very dry here and I'm not watering enough from fear of drowning the plants.

I have lots of questions for you but will post later on the appropriate boards. Hopefully I can contribute something useful on the cooking discussions.
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Stephen
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby Stephen » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:50 pm

Welcome.
In terms of growing in confined spaces Elmigo is perhaps the leader, growing all sort of interesting things on a balcony in the Netherlands.
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oldherbaceous
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby oldherbaceous » Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:01 am

A very warm welcome to the forum....
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Shallot Man
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby Shallot Man » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:00 am

Welcome from me also.
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retropants
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby retropants » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:56 am

welcome to the forum!
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Diane
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby Diane » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:50 am

Hello and welcome from me too. Sounds like you are doing really well with your limited space. Look forward to hearing more.
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby Monika » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:07 pm

Welcome, Stravaig! It sounds as if you can buy some lovely seasonal vegetables and fruit. I grew up in Eastern Europe and, being before the time of domestic freezers, my mother used to conserve lots and lots of fresh produce in Kilner jars. Perhaps you could that as well as freeze things?
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby Westi » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:51 pm

Oh you so much need to PM Elmigo! He has taken patio gardening to a new level & growing all sorts in a tower block patio! Not all successful but he's a try, try & try again sort of guy & learning loads along the way & harvests things that I can't even get to germinate! Just pm him - don't tell him that his huge cucumber seeds he sent me are gonna stay at 3" tall & neither of us got a passion fruit - like him I will give it anther try.
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Stravaig
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby Stravaig » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:31 pm

Wow! Many thanks for all the lovely welcomes.

Thanks also for the heads up on looking out for Elmigo. With luck our paths will cross on here soon, otherwise I'll get settled in first rather than moving straight to contacting him privately.

Monika, thanks for your suggestion of conserving in jars (what Brits generally call "bottling" and North Americans call "canning"). They're certainly geared up for that here. There are loads of jars specifically for that purpose in our local supermarket here. I bought a dozen to get started, but then I researched a bit more. Apparently, the way we Brits have traditionally done it isn't considered to safe these days.
https://www.healthycanning.com/why-old- ... -is-unsafe

Well, I'm a beginner on the subject so I don't know enough to argue one way or t'other, but I feel duty bound to err on the safe side. Therefore I thought I'd buy a pH meter to solve my problem. But even that's not as simple as one might first think. My bottling plans are now on hold.

Meanwhile I've had to buy another freezer. LOL! We arrived here at the end of October last year and at times it was very slim pickings when it came to the choice of vegetables. For some strange reason broccoli always seems to be available. That's a perfectly good vegetable, but when you have it almost every day it can get a bit tedious. I might write a book, "1001 things to do with broccoli". Only kidding. But this coming winter will be different!

I also have a new dehydrator but haven't quite got into that yet.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm missing out on the summer by spending all my free time hoarding things for the winter. :-)
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby Westi » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:18 pm

I've spread black currant jam on my toast from an opened jar - 3 years ago! My jars are recycled so it was a lot of jam but it was all I had (coffee jar with a suction lid). It's not about what goes in but prepping the container to be sterile to take the jam or other pickles! I do the oven method, the contents are fine for years if the container is properly sterile!
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Primrose
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby Primrose » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:48 pm

welcome on board. Yes, you must definitely catch up with Elmigo. He is keeping us all greatly entertained and enthralled with his vegetable growing on his balcony. I think we take so much forgranted on vegetable supply here in the UK so it will be interesting to get your perspective from any country.
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retropants
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby retropants » Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:42 am

I also do the oven method for pickles etc. I dishwasher the jars, then heat them at 100 Deg C for at least 30 minutes, then add the hot pickle/chutney/jam and seal. Then (not for the jam) I pop them in a deep tray of water back in the oven for another 30 mins at 100. I have chutney that is several years old and is fine. Make sure you use the lids with the vacuum seal popping thing in the middle. I love hearing the jars pop as they cool down!
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Stephen
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Re: Hello from a newbie

Postby Stephen » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:56 pm

I could probably improve my technique for chutney and marmalade. I have never been taught in any structured way and usually find it is one o'clock in the morning as I am trying to get everything finished.
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