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‘Apple Tasting’ is the new ‘Wine Tasting’

This week Kay held a tasting at afternoon tea for our Koanga Institute Staff. We compared some of the apples in our collection and learnt a bit about their cultural heritage too and how they came into the Koanga Collection. Next year we’ll incorporate it into some an open day so you call can discover your favorite apple variety before planting your fruit trees.
If you would like to know more about our fruit trees we send out full info on cultivars in our July Catalogue each year. To get the catalogue become a member here:

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Our elderflower cordial bottled and ready for the holiday season!
Our elderflower cordial bottled and ready for the holiday season!

Now is the time to be collecting Elderflower. The Elder tree is an important and revered tree in most European countries. It is known as the Queen of the forest, and has many beneficial medicinal properties. You can dry the flowers for use over winter as a tea to help ward off respiratory illnesses and reduce fevers, or you can make a lovely cordial from the delicate fresh sprays. We add it to sparkling water and lemon for a refreshing drink.


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Spring Greens Salad Recipe

It’s quite possible that your pumpkin stash has come to an end and you’re ready for some fresh salads as we come into spring (it’s almost here)! This is a simple recipe to maximise what you have both in and around your garden so you can create some delicious, fresh and very pretty salads! Edible flowers are the perfect garnish!

Continue reading Spring Greens Salad Recipe

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Feijoa Foraging Fun & Fermented Fresheners


Autumn is in full swing which means we are right in the middle of another Feijoa season which typically runs from late March until June. Today we made the most of it and went out foraging some and collected a huge box full for everyone to share. Although Feijoas are not actually native to New Zealand, as they originated from South America, they have become some what of a regular in peoples backyards. These green egg shaped fruits don’t look particularly exciting but when you cut them in half and see the pretty clover shaped pattern and jelly like seed pulp that runs through them then take a whiff of their distinctive sweet aroma things definitely start to look up.

After various sessions of stewing, bottling and just happily munching away on them straight from the box we decided to make some Feijoa Kefir Sodas. Here’s the recipe taken from the fermented drinks section of our book change of heart incase you have your own harvest that you’re looking for different ways to utiltise them.


Feijoa Kefir Soda

1 x 4 litre glass jar

Kefir Grains (Well washed)
The best place to source these is via this facebook group and they can give you lots of fermenting tips and tricks.

Good Quality Water

Sweetener (honey, rapadura or stevia)

3 slices of fresh ginger

Glass jars with screw on lids

Feijoas scooped out

  • Put all ingredients into the 4 litre jar, putting the lid on (but not tight). Leave in a warm place until you see bubbles around the top (in the summer I leave the jar on the kitchen bench, in the winter I put it into the hot water cupboard or beside the wood stove). Ideally it takes about 2-3 days to produce bubbles.
  • Once you have small bubbles, simply strain the liquid through a sieve into a fliptop bottle (eg 2 litre Grolsch bottles), and leave for 2 days before drinking (This will finish the process of turning the sugar into fizz and make it a delicious and super healthy drink, because of the range of bacteria and fungi the kefir grains impart into the drink – super good for our entire digestive system!)
  • Retrieve your kefir grains from the sieve and rinse them under the tap, to begin your next jar of soda. Just as it is with all of these ‘living’ foods, the air temperature and season will affect the way they work, so you have to ‘tune in’. Placing your bottled sodas in the fridge will slow down the process of fermentation, if that is what you need.


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Essene Bread/Sprouted Wheat Cakes

konini wheat_1
Konini wheat (barley tastes delicious too!)

Essene Bread/Sprouted Wheat Cakes

This is wonderful bread, so sweet and full of flavoursome texture, that you hardly need anything to spread on it. I love to eat it by the chunk with soup.


2 cups whole wheat or rye sprouts, or a mix of both (use within 48 hours of the first white root tips appearing). You can also make these using Konini Wheat, Essene Flaxseed or Barley.
1/2 tsp sea salt a little warm water 1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)


  1. Grind the sprouts in your corn grinder, or suitable electric alternative. I prefer to have some grains still almost whole and others finely ground. You’ll get your own idea of how you like to grind the sprouts with experience, all ways are good. At this point you have to decide if you need to add a little warm water. Sometimes the mixture after sprouting is a little too hard or stiff to work with easily, other times it seems fine. It needs to be feeling soft and springy, so if you need to add water to achieve this, add it here.
  2. Mix the sea salt and caraway seeds into the mixture, remove from bowl and form a round loaf with your hands. Place onto a floured oven tray and bake at 95-150°C for 4 hours, or if you have a hot dry climate you can bake the loaves in the sun, turning them once. I’ll try this in our solar drier.
  3. You can make small loaves as well, about 3cm high and 5cm wide, like little buns (which will cook far quicker). You can also flatten the mixture into an oiled cake tin and bake like a big flat biscuit – this can have grooves cut into it half way through cooking, to become break lines for the biscuits – or make small cakes and fry in a pan. All these smaller versions of the round loaf will cook faster, so keep an eye on them. Time to cook will obviously depend on the size you make them.
  4. Leave the loaf to cool completely before breaking to eat. Do not attempt to slice this bread with a bread knife!!!

Herby Cheese Dip (p.192) or kefir cheese (p.57) is great on this bread, you will find these recipes in Kay & Bob’s recipe book – Change of Heart.



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Lactic Ferment Beetroot Pickle

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What are Vegetable Lactic Pickles?

Lactic Fermentation refers to Lactobacillus bacteria which are present on the surface of all plants. They convert sugars into lactic acid which is a natural preservative. If you’re living without a fridge to cut down on costs then this is quite important and you’ll love ferments once you get started! It’s essential food security and a great way to store food.

Almost all traditional cultures in the world ate their main meals with side dishes of lactic vegetable pickles in some form, and even today millions of people around the world still do. These lactic pickles are not not only a wonderful digestive aid, but also add much flavour to your meal, going together perfectly. It’s not only a digestive aid but the food becomes much more nutritious because the actions of the anaerobic microbes unlock more minerals than our digestive system with it’s aerobic microbes are able to do. So fermented cabbage is more nutritious than a raw cabbage and much easier to digest. If you are a person who has indigestion on a regular basis, then take a little sauerkraut juice before dinner every night, it is wonderful stuff!



1 Liter wide-mouthed jars
1 tsp sea salt per jar
1 tsp mustard seeds per jar
1 heaped tsp honey per jar
2-4 tsp whey per jar
brine (1 Tbsp of sea salt for each cup of filtered water)


  1. Cut the tops off your beetroot and scrub, ready to bake with the skin on. Bake until the flesh is soft but firm. Remove from the oven and when cooled slip the skins off the beetroot.
  2. Cut the beetroot into 1cm cubes and place into jars (Agee bottling jars etc.). Pound the cubes a little to make sure they are packed tightly into the jar and the juice is beginning to be released.
  3. Add salt, mustard seeds, honey, whey and enough brine to cover2cm over the top of the beetroot. Leave in a warm place for 3 days, then put into fridge for 4 weeks before eating.

If you like this recipe check out Change of Heart which is the book it’s published in. Plenty more lactic ferments to discover in there too!


Recommended_Seeds_Beetroot_Bulls_Blood Recommended_Seeds_Beetroot_Golden Recommended_Books_Change_Of_Heart

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Kirsten’s Creme Brûlée



2 1/2 cups raw organic heavy cream
1 teaspoon organic vanilla seeds or scrape 1 pod
6 large organic egg yolks
2 teaspoon fine ground dried organic stevia leaves
1 Tablespoons local single source honey

~2 teaspoons coconut palm sugar or organic raw sugar for brûlée topping

A Note about Stevia:

The stevia used in this recipe was grown in our herb garden, picked and dried in the solar dryer, then finely ground. If you don’t have any stevia we would recommend buying a stevia plant and put this recipe on hold until you have an abundance growing fresh in your garden. If you choose to buy it please do your own research to find something with minimal processing. Stevia powder should be green not white.



  1. Preheat oven to 150C. Make sure the is a rack at least 1/2 the way up from the bottom. Choose a roasting pan big enough to hold your 4 six-ounce ramekins and fill with enough hot water to go halfway up the cups. Place the pan in the oven, without the cups to keep water hot. Or use a slow cooker on high.
  2. Place cream, vanilla, stevia and honey in a saucepan and warm but do not boil.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks. Slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture while straining the larger particles of stevia out.  Pour mixture into cups and place them into the pan of water. Bake 30 – 40 minutes until custard is set and is no longer liquid when lightly touched in the centre. It may crackle under your finger but as long as your finger is not breaking through to liquid, it should be cooked. Remove from oven, and cool then place in fridge.
  4. When cool, Sprinkle a little (1/2 tsp each cup) coconut palm sugar or organic raw sugar on top of each ramekin. Flame tops till golden brown.
  5. Serve!
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Kay’s Eggplant, Oil, Tomato Pickle Recipe

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We can speak from vast experience that this is AMAZING!!! She makes it then just add’s it to her fresh baked beans and BAM! Amazingness! It’s also perfect with scrambled eggs for a quick and easy lunch!

Eggplant pepper tomato oil pickle

2kgs eggplants, any kind
1kg onions, any kind
1 kg peppers (any kind, if they are hot the sauce will be hot)
2 kgs fresh tomatoes
2 bulbs of fresh garlic
unrefined seasalt to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tbsp black mustard seeds
1 Tbsp turmeric powder
1/2 litre olive oil

Char eggplants, peppers, onions on the BBQ (ours is a rocket stove BBQ)until soft. Remove and when cool peel off charred skins. Chop into chunks, then ¼ tomatoes, removing hard cores. Finely chop garlic.

Add oil to wok, the garlic and soften, then add cumin, and mustard seeds, cook 2 minutes then then add all ingredients except tumeric, and gently simmer until all the runny liquid is gone and it is a thick consistency.. add turmeric stir while gently cooking 5 more minutes. .

Pour into small hot jars with hot lids ready and seal.



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Golden Beetroot Panir Salad


Golden Beetroot Panir Salad

Toss, cover generously with home made vinaigrette dressing then add grilled cubes of panir cheese.