I grow vegetables to feed us, make natural ingredient creams, lotion and shampoo, cook all meals from scratch and detest E numbers. I live in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand

Posts tagged ‘homemade’

Pickled Cucumbers Recipe

It’s Autumn here in New Zealand and I am harvesting my garden produce for storage. The last week has been mostly sunless and I am worried that my late veges may not ripen.

My tomatoes had to be grown outside after a very, very strong nor’wester tore my greenhouse off its frame and did irreparable damage. I manage to save most of my plants but many were too young to survive without cover. The ones planted outside are finally starting to ripen, although I might need to make a lot of green tomato preserves if we get an early frost.

My Cucumber/gherkins have been slow maturing, but when I get a half-dozen or so, I am bottling them. Instead of doing this lot whole, I decided to slice them and add peppers and onions and pickle them.

Here is how I did them. 050


Homemade Cucumber Pickles 

6 small pickling cucumbers or gherkins ( 500 gms)

1 1/2 Tbsp kosher or un-iodised salt

1 onion

1 large pepper

1 cup white sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar – well packed

1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds*

1/2 tsp celery seeds*

1/8 tsp turmeric powder*

3 clean sterilized hot jars and lids (I keep mine in a warm oven or hot water in the sink).

* Best place to buy these is Bin Inn.



Thinly slice the lengthwise (I did lengthwise)  using a sharp knife or mandolin. Transfer into a largish bowl and layer with salt and mix by hand. Put a cover over the bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hrs.

Slice onion and pepper thinly, cover and put aside.

Rinse the cucumbers well, under running water and drain well. Tip onto a clean cloth or layers of paper towels and pat to dry. Add onion and pepper


Mix the sugars, vinegar’s, seeds and turmeric in a pot and bring to the boil.


Carefully spoon the vegetables into the boiling vinegar mix and bring back to the boil and cook for 2 mins.

Using a slotted spoon, lift the veges out of the vinegar into a bowl and leave vinegar’s to simmer.

Using tongs, carefully fill the jars with veges. I tried to get a good mix of each in each jar.

Carefully pour the hot vinegar mix into a jug and pour into the jars. Using a knife or spoon handle release any trapped air then fill jar until it is overflowing the top. Screw on the hot lid and tighten. Repeat for other jars. Wipe down jars and leave to cool.


This method does not need to go thru a canning process, because of the vinegar and the cooking I give the veges in the vinegar mix means they are boiling  hot when put into the jars. They retain their crispness and crunch this way, but are safe to keep. I wash the jars when they have cooled and popped and label them and pop them in a cupboard and try to resist the temptation to open a jar too soon. These are best left a few month to mature – if you can, but they can be used immediately if you can not wait.

It is a simple process and easy to do in small amounts. The next batch I make might have some dwarf beans or runner beans in it too. I just use what veges I have on hand but make sure the cucumbers are the predominant ingredient. It’s a shame my yellow beetroot won’t be ready for a few months because I reckon it would be good cooked and sliced thinly and added to this as well.

I serve the pickle with cold meats, or in sandwiches with cheese.  Yum, no Mari, you must not open a jar yet. Sigh.


Homemade deodorant recipe

While I had the coconut oil out, I made more of my beeswax deodorant. This is the recipe I have been using for years.

Now one thing you need to realise is, this is a Deodorant, not an antiperspirant.  The difference is that you will still perspire, but this inhibits the bacteria that give you the sweat smell. This is a very natural product and does not have aluminium in it that commercial deodorants do. The use of aluminium is now being looked at seriously as there are believed to be a serious link to lymphatic and breast cancer.

Because of my age and also fibromyalgia, I have a real sweating problem. I know the common saying is that ‘horses sweat, gentlemen perspire and ladies ‘glow’ ‘. Believe me, I am well past glowing and there are prolonged times when I really ooze sweat. It is very unpleasant for me and anyone else near me, but because there is no way to prevent this. I also use this under my boobs and under all other bulges too. It prevents the awful sweat rash us bigger girls are susceptible to.

Because this is a solid deodorant, you need either a push up or screw up tube to keep it in. I am having difficulty finding a supplier of them here in New Zealand, but I have seen them on overseas sites. If anyone knows where I can buy them here, I would love to know. I have half a dozen that I recycle after a  trip through the dishwasher.

The oils I use have been chosen for their antiseptic and antibacterial qualities. I don’t use tea tree oil because it irritates me, but I love the fragrance combination  these oil make. This mix  is enough to fill 2 x 65 gm tubes shown.



My Homemade Deodorant


30 gm Beeswax

45 gm cocoa butter

45 gm coconut oil

15 gm maize or corn flour


5 gm oil*


10 drops white thyme essential oil (EO)

10 drops rosemary EO

10 drops clary sage EO

10 drops palmarosa EO

10 drops lavender EO

(* I use Hemp seed oil, safflower oil or macadamia oil as they are less likely to absorb into the skin.)


In a 1 cup glass jug, melt all of (1) in short bursts in microwave, or in a double boiler,  until melted.


Add (2) and stir.

Add (3) and stir to combine all oils

If you are using bottom fill  tubes like the ones I use, make sure you have all parts.



Put the little oval cover on the top of the tube, followed by the lid.


Turn the tube upside down and using a small funnel and another hand to hold it steady, start pouring in the waxy mix until about 1/3rd full.


Leave this for about 10 minutes to start to set. Usually there will be a hole form in the wax as it sets. Reheat the jug and repeat the pouring until 2/3rd full. Do not be tempted just fill the tube in one go as the wax will sink as it cools and the hole that forms, will prevent the wind up mechanism from working. Let this new layer set then repeat until it is just below the circle of the winder. Keep any left over wax until you know the tubes are full the next day. I pour it into a large spoon to let it set so it can either be melted again or stored for reuse.P1010517

Carefully move the still upside down tube to the refrigerator and leave over night. This is essential as the winder mechanism will have nothing to grip into if it does not set completely solid.

Next day, check to see if there is a melt hole in it and melt the saved wax and fill it again if there is. Chill again over night. If no need to refill, you are good to go.

Firstly take off  the lid and remove the oval cap that acted as an end cap inside the lid. Save this as you will need it next time you make more. Check to see if the wheel and winder will work. If  it doesn’t, then look at the wheel and thread and using a pointed knife, clear any wax overfill that is preventing it moving. A splash of hot water can be all that’s needed to free it up.

Now there should be a little circular disk that presses into the base wheel, but mine have long since gone. Once everything is working, push in the circle disk to the bottom.

There is no need to keep this in the refrigerator, but let common sense prevail and do not leave it sitting in the sun. Mine resides in the drawer of my bedside table or the bathroom cupboard and the other is usually in my handbag. I have never had it melt stored this way.