Bottling fever in full swing

Dear Diary,

Jesse:  This is a long weekend in New Zealand and the lads decided to make the most of the time to put up some of our early harvest.

Angelo:  I did the carrots and peas from the garden.  We bottled them with Rosemary, Thyme, Coriander and a pinch of salt.  They will taste delicious.  I'm just shifting them across the bench top to get them closer to the pantry for storage.

Armand:  I bottled the bread & butter pickles, using the gherkins and onions from the garden.  B&B pickles aren't well known in NZ but the people I serve them to all want seconds! Here, I'm putting the labels onto the jars.

Adam:  This year the cherry (which unfortunately don't come from our property) crop was about 2 weeks later than usual but it's also lasted later into the summer.  The cherries this year are beautiful: big and plump, dark and crisp and very sweet.  I bottled 14 quarts to eat this coming winter.  Right now, I'll eat the last of the cherries which wouldn't fit into the jars.  Lucky me!

Hans: My job was to make cordial from the black currents in the berry patch.  This makes a delicious drink when mixed with either water or a clear carbonated beverage just before serving.  Now that I've finished, I'm going to mix some up and serve it to celebrate the completion of our hard work.

Angelo:  As the sole Italian resident, it is my responsibility to monitor the supply of the salsa di Marinara (red tomato sauce) which Papa makes from scratch from his Italian mother's recipe.  Pasta is a staple in this house.  We just finished 24 quarts and there is still some left from 2015.  I've overheard Papa saying that he's going to bottle another 24 quarts next week.

"Yes, all accounted for!"
Jesse: You may notice the stretchy cord running from one end of the shelf to the other.  This is to keep the jars from crashing to the floor in case of an earthquake.  There are many negative effects of a major quake; we learned most of them when we lived through the Christchurch quake 5 years ago.  One of the worst is the awful mess and no water to clean it up.  The shelf also has a lip to keep the jars in place.


  1. Gosh, you boys have been busy. It all looks so very organised, everything perfectly in order. Enjoy the delicious delights over the coming months :-)

  2. What a bountiful harvest you have had ! And lucky to have so many helpful hands to help with all the preserving.
    It must be very fulfilling to see all those jars lined up and ready to see you through the winter.
    Earthquakes must be very worrying and yes a mess with no water to help clean up is best avoided if possible. I hope ,should anything happen,that the cord does its job!

  3. Always good to have a good store of produce from your own garden (and others) for the winter months and beyond. Glad to see the boys have been helping you out.

    A friend in NZ who does a lot of bottling, pickling and jam making discovered you can freeze cherries without them going all mushy, and whilst not quite as good as fresh ones, they are not too different, which is a nice treat to be able to eat them like this when they are not in season.

    I can well understand how much more prepared you must be after the dreadful Christchurch quakes (and of course the many other subsequent ones that have occurred).

  4. Your shelves look very tidy! I'm glad earthquakes are not an issue in South Germany. My Sashas would all tumble into a heap on the floor - where the dachshunds could reach them...

  5. Pete Dakota and I now want to come down under to NZ and try some black currant cordial. Sounds delicious! John

  6. What a productive, helpful lot of boys you have to assist with all that bottling. It reminds me of the large crop of guavas and plums we got every year in our South African garden when I was a child - one year we bottled 37 large jars of guavas (we had guava crumble a lot).

  7. How busy you've all been! I thought we had been busy with getting all the veg and herb beds ready! The greenhouse is pretty chockablock at the moment with seedlings waiting to go out. I have bottled jams and chutneys, pickled beetroot and courgettes and frozen veg, but not on such a scale as you have! We use a couple of books on self-sufficiency, but we are a long way off yet! We do a lot of 'swapping' with our neighbours so we all have a good variety going on. Last years swaps included several raspberry bushes! :)


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