Tag Archives: stuff steep store

More summer preserving

The harvest is continuing round our place.  One friend dropped a bag of figs and grapes on the front doorstep.  I took a bag of plums over to hers on a run!

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Then I went to visit another friend who is house-bound after surgery, taking a care pack of salads and mains.  She asked me to deal with her nectarine tree.  It was so heavily laden!  I collected a huge bucket of fallen spoiled fruit (things such as this are known at our house as ‘chicken happiness’).  Then I picked fruit for my friend and another visitor, and then two more buckets.  Then I cleared fruit out of her neighbour’s gutter!  The tree was still covered in unripe fruit.

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I shared nectarines with two other households and then put our share in jars, since we have a young nectarine tree which is bearing enough to keep us in fresh fruit.  Oh, and there were more plums. Just one jar this time.

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There was also a handover of a HUGE bag of frozen hibiscus flowers from a dedicated friend, bless her heart!  They had to wait a couple of days, and then I decided it was time to use the only dependable looking big jar I had for them.  I wasn’t sure they would all fit, but in the end, with defrosting and squeezing … they did.

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In went fermented citrus peel water and aluminium foil water (thank you to India Flint for yet another ingenious use of kitchen discards that are neither worm happiness nor chicken happiness)… fabric, threads, and so on… (last week’s batch are here for size comparison).

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I filled another, smaller jar with kino from an E Sideroxylon I had been saving, and another (slightly less) large jar, albeit with a rusty lid which might not seal, with my mother’s dried coreopsis flowers. That was all the dye pot would take for processing.

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Three more for the pantry shelf.  It is so interesting to see such a deep green already developing in the hibiscus flower jar…

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Dye Plants, Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures

Dyes from the freezer

It was a lovely weekend afternoon–my beloved in the shed with a friend, woodworking, and myself and another friend figuring out a few dyestuffs that had been saved in the freezer. I started out by cleaning up.  I regret to say this is a pattern!  Mohair locks had been steeping in a cold alum bath and it was into the cochineal exhaust with them!

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The remains of two bunches of lilies that had been at my friend’s Mother’s funeral had made it into our freezer for this occasion.  We consulted the dye manuals and found no really obvious approach to take for lilies.  We started conservatively and tried pouring over hot water and steeping.  Nothing magical.

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We put the second bunch into a saucepan and heated it.  Meanwhile, pansies from the parklands, deadheaded when I was support crew for a half marathon back in April or May, finally got their day in the dyepot.

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I tried India Flint’s iceflower method and the dye bath was quite extraordinary.

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Overnight, it deepened further still.

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Following a post on India’s blog, I tried the same method with the leftover Japanese Indigo from last summer, but no blue resulted this time.  These plants felt tired and sad when I harvested them for the next crop to go in, and perhaps they just were!

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After drying, here we have pansy on the left and JI on the right

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Even overnight steeping and being kept warm didn’t produce anything of great moment from those lilies, so I settled on Stuff, Steep and Store-ing them (India Flint’s preservation dyeing method).  I have a jar of daylily blooms that has dyed the silk embroidery thread that is also in it–so I have some confidence in daylilies, but these may be a different kind of lily, and the ratio of dyestuff to silk is different too.

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While I was preserving, I was curious as to what the pansies might produce after that luscious green, so popped them in a jar, and created two others with seed pods from a wattle (Acacia Baileyana) and a small native tree I haven’t been able to summon up a name for as yet.  Now, we watch and wait.

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Filed under Natural dyeing