Tag Archives: cordial

Recap on the garden 2015

Share Button

Hi everybody, it has been a while since my last post on my balcony garden.

I did not get to do as many posts as I wanted last season. Sometimes everyday life just ticks on and you are caught up in doing everyday things and that is what happened to me last season. So I thought that I would give a recap on how the 2015 garden season went before starting the 2016 season.

I thought I would start where I left off with the tomatoes and peppers being ready for their final pots. They looked really good and ready to go out into the world or just on the balcony.

Tomatoes and peppers ready to go into the balcony garden
Tomatoes and peppers ready to go into the balcony garden

I waited until middle of May and I thought the weather was perfect for putting the plants on the balcony. It turns out I was very wrong. The very night I put out the plants a great storm with very strong winds and hail hit Copenhagen. That storm just beat and battered my plants and the next morning not much was left. I was devastated and a bit heartbroken.

Just after the storm
Just after the storm

After a couple of days I had to cut of most of the leaves as they had lost all structure from being battered and were crumpling.

All that was left of the garden
All that was left of the garden

There was so little left I did not know if I would have a garden season or not. I was contemplating sowing new tomatoes and peppers but it was so late in the season. Eventually I decided to put my faith in the plants recovering and see how it would turn out.

It took two months for them to recover but they came back strong and I did get a garden.

The garden in July
The garden in July

The tomatoes even produced quite decently given the circumstances. The peppers didn’t ever really recover and only gave a couple of small peppers toward the end of the season. My experiment with tomatillos also produced a good amount of fruit.

Tomatoes and tomatillos in the garden
Tomatoes and tomatillos in the garden

What else happened in the 2015 season

I made elderflower cordial as I always do in June. I have a park close to where I live away from the roads where I usually get my flowers and turn them into lovely cordial. If you want the recipe you can find it here: Elderflower cordial

Elderflower codial
Elderflower codial

I also made red currant jelly from berries I got from my mother in law. It is a favorite in our house both on bread but also in sauces especially for Christmas. Maybe I will do a post with recipe at a later date.

Red currant gele
Red currant jelly

I put most of my herbs on the walkway in front of my flat to share with my neighbors. We can’t use all the herbs our selves son why not share them. It is a very good way to meet your neighbors and have a little chat.

Herb garden in front
Herb garden in front
Herb garden in front
Herb garden in front

I made tomato sauce for the winter season of some of the tomatoes and I pickled tomatillos, tomatoes and the last of my apples.

2015-09-27 18.26.03

Pickled goodies
Pickled goodies

I ended the season with the annual seed saving. I decided to take seeds from this seasons tomatoes as they proved to be incredibly hardy. They kicked that storms a.. and produced great tomatoes anyway. A great quality in a plant – that is a keeper.

Making tomato sauce and savng seeds at the same time
Making tomato sauce and saving seeds at the same time
Tomato seeds from the garden put on coffee filters to dry
Tomato seeds from the garden put on coffee filters to dry

What happens now?

I have started my tomatoes, peppers, one chili and a cucumber and I was looking forward to getting started. I will show you in the next post.

Unfortunately we just got notice that our facade will be undergoing renovation from March until October and my balcony might be covered and occupied by workers for the entire summer. No, no, no… Not happy…

I am going to talk to the superintendant to hear more about the exact plans for the renovation. Best case scenario is if they start where we live or end where we live so I can still have somewhat of a garden season. Worst case scenario is me exploring how much you can grow indoors with a great big scaffolding blocking the windows and the light. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Happy growing season 2016 – Sara

 

 

Share Button

Cordial: Elderflower, Chocolate Mint and Lemon Balm

Share Button

I really enjoy making cordial and Elderflower cordial is my favorite. I use an old recipe from my grandmother and the flowers this year made for a fantastic cordial. But alas it is almost gone and the Elderflowers have turned to Elderberries. So what to do?

This is my cordial dispenser I keep in my fridge
This is my cordial dispenser I keep in my fridge

I found that I had quite a lot of Chocolate Mint and Lemon Balm and thought maybe I could make cordial from these lovely herbs. So that is what I did and this is the recipe. I have added the recipe for Elderflower cordial at the bottom as well.

Chocolate Mint and Lemon Balm cordial

The base of the cordial consists of water and sugar at a 1:1 scale, so you can upscale or downscale as needed. By using the 1:1 scale between sugar and water you also ensure that it will keep.

I wanted to use some lemons along with the herbs and decided on 4 different combinations. Mint with and without lemon and Lemon Balm with and without lemon. I always use organic citrus fruit as to avoid the pesticides in the skin of the fruit.

I found that the Lemon Balm without lemon didn’t taste of much so I mixed all of it with lemon. So I ended up with 3 combinations of cordial and I though the Mint would be my favorite but the Lemon Balm turned out surprisingly delicious.

My next experiment is to use Stevia as a sweetener and see how that turns out. There might be some issues about how it is going to keep without the high sugar content but it might be sorted by bringing the strained cordial to a boil just before pouring it in the bottles. We will see…

Chocolate Mint/Chocolate mint and lemon recipe

  • 1 liter of water
  • 1 kg of organic sugar
  • A good handlful of Mint stems – I use them with stems, flowers and everything
  • 1 organic lemon ( if you are making the lemon variety)

Lemon Balm with lemon recipe

  • 1 liter of water
  • 1 kg of organic sugar
  • A good handful of Lemon Balm stems – with flowers and everything
  • 2 organic lemons
  • a pack of either citric acid or vine acid for use in cordial and jams

I recycle these fantastic bottles that use to contain a really good French lemonade. You do need to use a bottle that can be closed securely. I prefer to use glass to plastic a plastic has a tendency to react to hot substances and some even leak nasty things into the content. So I use glass.

Recycled bottles
Recycled bottles – 0,75 liter

You need to clean your bottle well and I use preferable coarse salt for my initial cleaning. Salt is disinfectant and if you use coarse salt it has an abrasive quality that makes it easier to clean in the hard to reach areas of the bottle. It is really good for cleaning a thermos as well. After a good cleaning I scald them with boiling water.

Cleaning with salt
Cleaning with salt

I picked a good portion of my Chocolate Mint and Lemon balm to go in the cordial

Chocolate Mint and Lemon Balm
Chocolate Mint and Lemon Balm

I slice the lemons finely and add them to the water and herbs

Herbs, lemons and water
Herbs, lemons and water

The Mint looks so lovely with the flowers

Chocolate Mint
Chocolate Mint

There is a liter of water in each pot and 1 kg of sugar has been added to each.

Add sugar
Add sugar

Bring everything to a boil.

It looks pretty while you cook it
It looks pretty while you cook it

Leave to simmer for a good half hour.

Simmer away
Simmer away

Strain the herbs and lemons out of the cordial.

Strain the cordial
Strain the cordial

Fill your bottle with your liquid gold.

Fill bottles
Fill bottles

End result: 2 bottles of Chocolate Mint, 2 bottles of Chocolate Mint and lemon, 4 bottles of Lemon Balm and lemon

They will keep for at least a year if your bottles are clean.

End result
End result

Elderflower cordial

Recipe

  • 30 large Elderflowers in full Bloom – you can use a couple that are just before blooming to get the lovely stuff inside the flowers before the bees do
  • 3 organic lemons
  • 6 organic oranges
  • 2 kg of organic sugar – you can use brown sugar, but I prefer my cordial a bit lighter and fresher
  • 1 pack of citric acid for use in cordial and jams
  • 1,5 liter of water

Put the flowers in a big bowl large enough to contain all of the ingredients. Don’t wash the flowers as it will wash away all the good stuff. There will be bugs in the mix but you will sift them all out before bottling, so don’t worry.

Slice the lemons and oranges and add to the bowl with the citric acid. Boil the water and dissolve the sugar before pouring it into the bowl. Leave the bowl covered for 3 days. I usually use a plate and something to weigh it down. Both to keep the surface area exposed to the air to a minimum but also to keep the lemon and orange slices down.

Elderflower cordial
Elderflower cordial

Strain the cordial to remove all the flowers, slices and the occasional bug. I like to squeeze the lemons and orange slices adding the extra juice. You can make 3 different kinds from one batch by straining all the cordial and then take a liter of the cordial and add the lemon juices and another liter where you add the orange juices. That gives you Elderflower cordial, Elderflower cordial with lemon and Elderflower cordial with orange. That is maximizing your output 🙂

End result: 3 bottles of Elderflower cordial, 2 bottle of Elderflower cordial with lemon, 3 bottles of Elderflower cordial with orange

Elderflower cordial
Elderflower cordial

Enjoy – Sara

Share Button