Thursday, 8 October 2015

More Than Today: Crab Apples For Eating

Shared post from Lani K’s ‘More Than Today’ blog.

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I found this lovely blog post while researching a bit more for ideas to use all the crab apples we have growing at the Frugaldom Project. If anyone would like to join us in our frugal corner of Dumfries and Galloway in southwest Scotland for some crab apple picking, please get in contact as soon as possible.

Crab Apples For Eating

Naturally, I was curious about this.  There is such an abundance of these neglected tiny fruits.  I can't say that I blame people, what a pain in the keester to pick a bushel of marble-sized produce.  However, we pick cherries, and wild plums, and raspberries... really we don't want to bother with the lowly crab apple.

Still, they're generally ripe after the raspberries and before their larger and more noble relatives, the real apples.  There are a few inquisitive and determined souls out there like me that just may be enterprising enough to attempt a crab apple recipe.  I did this with rose hips last year and now it's a favorite!
I haven't tried any of these yet, but I'm excited to begin a new food journey.

Crab Apple Jam
yields 8-9 pints
4 cups apple pulp
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 packages powdered pectin
8 cups sugar
Put apple pulp and lemon juice into a large, nonreactive pot.
Bring to a boil.
Add pectin.
Return to a boil.
Slowly add sugar and stir, bringing to a boil.
Boil for 1 minute, or until jam sheets off the spoon.
Pour into hot, sterilized jars.
Cover and process 5 minutes.

Pickled Crab Apples
yeilds 2 pints
1 2-inch cinnamon stick, broken
1 teaspoon allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 pound crab apples, stems on
Tie the spices into a cheesecloth bag.
Put into a nonreactive pot with:
Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Remove the pot from heat and let syrup cool.
Pierce each crab apple through with a large needle, to keep from bursting.
Put them into the pan of cooled syrup and slowly bring to simmer.
Cook until tender and translucelt, about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Let rest 12 to 18 hours.
With a slotted spoon, remove the crab apples from the syrup.
Pack into hot, strerilized pint jars leaving 1/4-inch head space.
Remove the spice bag.
Boil syrup.
Pour over fruit.
Seal jars.

Crab Apple Liqueur
Recipe Secrets
4 quarts crabapples, washed, cored and quartered
4 cups sugar
3 cups vodka
Fill 1 (4-quart) mason jar with tight-fitting lid with prepared crabapples.
Add the 4 cups of sugar and three cups of vodka.
Store the jar on its side, turning once every day for 16 days to help the sugar to dissolve.
After 16 days, filter out the fruit bits and bottle.

Cedar Waxwing on the Crab Apple, Sandra Cointreau

Crab Apple Hot Pepper Jelly
Recipe Secrets
2 lbs crabapples
1 1/2 cups water
red wine vinegar
3 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sweet green bell peppers
1/3 cup hot peppers (mix and match hot peppers for color and preferred degree of heat)
In a Dutch oven, combine crabapples with water.
Cover and bring slowly to simmer.
Cook until crabapples are very soft.
Pour into a colander lined with a square of dampened cheesecloth and placed over a deep bowl.
Weight down with a saucer and heavy can.
Let stand until dripping stops.
Discard pulp.
Pour collected juice into a liquid measure.
Add enough vinegar to make 3 cups.
Combine in a saucepan with sugar.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Add peppers, then boil briskly for 8 to 10 minutes or until set.
Stir for 7 minutes to prevent floating peppers.
Pour jelly into hot, sterilized 8-ounce canning jars.
Seal with two-piece canning lids.
Let cool, then refrigerate.
For long-term unrefrigerated storage, process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes immediately after sealing jars.
NOTE: To test for set, remove pan from heat.
Dip a cold metal spoon into the liquid and hold well above the steam.
Turn spoon sideways and let liquid run off.
When it forms two drops that run together and drip from edge of spoon, jelling point has been reached.

Goldfinch in a Crab Apple Tree, Janet Zeh

Crabapple Schnapps
From Danish Schnapps recipes
Use freshly picked and fully ripe crabapples. They are fully ripe when the pits have become dark brown.
You can use almost any species - so start with your favourite one, then try some other species.
However, Siberian Crabapple (Malus baccata)and also Chinese Apple (Malas prunifolia) are two species that are highly recommended.

  • Wash 10-20 crabapples and cut them in halves. Leave the skin on.
  • Put them in a clean glass jar with tight-fitting lid.
  • Cover with clear, unflavoured vodka - 40% alcohol content (80 proof).
  • Let steep for 8-10 weeks or more - in a dark place at room temperature, 18-20°C (64-68°F).
  • Shake lightly and taste it from time to time.
  • Strain and filter your infusion into a clean glass bottle or jar with tight-fitting lid.
  • Store (age) for a couple of months in a dark place at room temperature before serving.

Note: If for some reason you are not satisfied with your infusion, there are ways to adjust both taste and flavours:

Too strong-flavoured: If your infusion is too strong-flavoured and overwhelming you can just dilute it with the same kind of spirit you used as base.
Allow to settle for a couple of days or more before serving. Taste it to find out.

Too weak-flavoured: If your infusion is too weak-flavoured you can enhance the flavours by adding a little, little bit of sugar.

True Danish flavoured schnapps should not contain more than 10-15 grams sugar per liter. But of course, you can add as much as you want to suit your own taste.
You can add the sugar directly, but because sugar is more soluble in water than in alcohol, it's usually better to make a simple sugar syrup...
...and add it to your infusion little by little.
Allow to settle for a couple of days. Taste it again, it might need some more.
Never use artificial sweeteners - NEVER! You will ruin the taste.
Remember to keep your schnapps bottle tightly closed and in a dark place before and between servings.

The Crab Apple Fairy, Cicily Mary Barker

Crabapple Butter
From Recipe Secrets
6 cups sieved crabapple pulp
Grated peel and juice of 1 orange
2 cups sugar, optional
1 tsp cinnamon, optional
½ tsp cloves, optional
¼ tsp nutmeg, optional
Combine pulp with orange peel and juice in a Dutch oven.
Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to medium and boil gently, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until mixture thickens to desired consistency.
Stir in sugar and spices, if desired, and return mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
Ladle into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles with a narrow rubber spatula or plastic knife.
Add additional crabapple butter, if necessary, to maintain headspace.
Wipe jar rims thoroughly with a clean damp cloth.
Seal and process in a boiling water bath. Process for 15 minutes.
Crabapple butter may also be cooled and frozen for up to one year.
Yields 6 half-pint jars.

More Than Today: Crab Apples For Eating

I am sharing this lovely blog post for the benefit of everyone on the Frugal Forums who have found themselves in the fortunate position of having access to these tiny crab apples. If you live within easy reach of Frugaldom then please consider joining us on one of our crab apple picking days this month. If you live further afield, why not book a short break and join us for some holiday foraging? (See and ask about our frugalers’ discounts.)

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Process of Frugalisation - part 1

By NYK Media for Frugaldom

Homegrown fruit and vegFrugalisation is the process of becoming truly frugal on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. It is about learning a new art form, possibly even a new way of life, and taking that forward so you can become a habitual frugal living aficionado. 

This is no frills, text only reading for the seriously wannabe frugal living expert.

It is is a fairly lengthy process, so requires several posts and an in-depth look at how the process of frugalisation can impact on so many lives. For some, it doesn't always paint a pretty picture so they give up too soon. Life isn't a bed of roses nor does money grown on trees - or does it?

For the benefit of doubt, being frugal does not necessarily mean you are poor, deprived, underprivileged or subjecting yourself to some form of self-imposed poverty, it simply means that you have chosen not to be wasteful. For many, frugality usually occurs for long enough to help get them back on track, correcting failing finances, but for some it is a life-altering experience from which there is no return. We love it here in Frugaldom - it provides us with the freedom to be frugal and to enjoy work and home life exactly as we choose!

Some people have austerity thrust upon them by circumstances beyond their control (illness, sudden loss of income etc.) and some find that a bit of thriftiness helps them to make ends meet in the household budget. For others, the act of frugal living provides an escape from a seemingly endless downward spiral into unsustainable debt.

Most people who cut back a bit on spending, bin less or look for bargains will class themselves as being frugal, with some seeing it as a temporary measure until the financial problems have been resolved, but that isn't really what I would call true frugality. The process of frugalisation is a lengthy one and it eventually becomes an entire lifestyle from which few true frugalers leave - regardless of how wealthy they may become over time.

Should you find yourself in the unenviable position of being skint, having been struck down by poverty, homelessness, debilitating illness or even just spending more than you are earning, then urgent action is needed and that's where the first major choices need to be made: are you prepared to make personal sacrifices and have you got what it takes to make changes in the lives of those around you for whom you are responsible?

We all need to start somewhere and I well remember coming through the process of frugalisation myself. I'm glad I did it and have no intentions of returning to where I once was.

In the beginning, we all think we know what's best for us and how we spend our own money. We inadvertently fail to see the bigger picture where our actions and reactions impart on our fellow human beings - friends, family and hose around us. Our spending habits during our active lifetime are what make our futures secure or otherwise. Yes, luck can play its part - some win fortunes or land lucky deals but only the wise and the frugal hold onto their wealth and accumulate further financial security. As we all know, a fool and his money are soon parted.

A prime example of when (or why) to start the frugalisation process is as you first realise that bills are mounting and income is stretched to the limit just covering all the out-goings. By the end of the month there may be no money left and then something like Christmas comes along, or a birth, death or marriage that can bring about unexpected costs. Into overdraft, catch up next month! Only problem is that the next month of catch-up never comes and the chore of earning sufficient income to maintain current standards begins to take its toll - anxiety, stress and more worry. As is so often the case, the result can be a further increase in spending in a bid to feel better and more in control, or else the inevitable drop in income when it all goes pear-shaped and we can't bring ourselves to face another day of the same grind. This is normal for many. Battle on, perhaps develop other interests in a vain attempt to avert attention from a personal crisis, but it seldom resolves the problem of going broke or becoming ill in the process.

Frugal living - I need to make it sound like fun without the need for money. I wish I could, but during the initial stages of the process, it can become very difficult, upsetting and annoying. Everyone else seems to think they know better and suggests a million different ways of saving money. Yes, we get it, buying cheap brands costs less and growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs saves buying them but get a grip, people, we all can't just traipse out into a fertile garden, scatter some seeds and suddenly grow our own food without incurring costs. It takes time and preparation - buying compost, pots and gardening implements is NOT frugal while you are fighting debts. Nor is getting a couple of hens for 'free eggs' or rushing out to buy all the kitchen accoutrements essential for making your own pies, jams, pickles and preserves. This is a step-by-step, penny-by-penny process that takes time, patience and basic arithmetic. A budget isn't what you think you may need it is exactly what you have to work with in the first place and every spend has to work into that figure.

Learning the difference between needs and wants is paramount to success - NO LUXURIES ALLOWED - these are a waste of money while it's in short supply. Once you are fully solvent you can reappraise your budget and your priorities list. We all need to eat and drink but we don't need fast food, takeaways, prime beef, exotic fruit and vegetables, alcohol or tobacco products. We don't need crisps, chocolate, sweets, cakes or biscuits. We don't need sugar-frosted breakfast cereals when porridge oats are 75p per kilo and our clothes don't need designer labels. We all like to give gifts but we don't need to spend money on them - you can spend time and effort, see how much others appreciate that! If they don't, then it's their problem, not yours.

We can do this, it's easy... for as long as we stay away from the shops and cut ourselves off from civilisation! But that surely cannot be good, can it? No more nights out, no more entertaining, no more fripperies?

Save the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.

Waste not, want not.

A stitch in time saves nine.

There are any number of thrifty and money saving anecdotes and all are true, but there is always a 'but'.

Somewhere down the line, as you subject yourself to the trauma of constantly saying no to yourself and anyone who even suggests unnecessary spending, you will find yourself in the position of having to justify your non-spending. It happens often - even your closest friends and family can make the allegations of your being mean and tight-fisted. They don't understand your predicament, they may not want to understand it and some are offended by it - on the whole, they are mystified as to how you can say no and spend so little appear happy with your lifestyle. Some may even be jealous of your contented outlook, ability to control your own spending, pay off debts and increase your own financial security! Whatever way you discover this, be warned - you will find yourself doubting your own ways and means at some stage and you will ask yourself why you can’t just make this one exception to the rule and treat yourself to a, b or c. Stay strong, this is where you have the backup of fellow frugalers in the likes of the Frugal Forums or chat room – help or support is never far away in the land of Frugaldom.

This fabulously frugal new lifestyle, especially when your income is self-generated through hard work and commitment, isn't for everyone. There will be times when you will look at the way you are living through the eyes of others and waiver on the brink of temptation to abort your mission and go on a spending spree. 'Why not?' you will ask yourself - you worked for it and everyone else seems to manage to have fun, so why shouldn't you? Why shouldn't you treat yourself to something 'nice' or why shouldn't you go and do whatever others have tempted you into doing? Do not be swayed! Do not be led into temptation to break your non-spending rule before it has even become an established pattern in your newly chosen lifestyle. Yes, you do have the choice - it is yours to make, but the process of frugalisation has been broken at the point that you break that promise to yourself to stand firm against previous financial transgressions and put right mistakes from the past - even if you haven't accepted responsibility or apportioned blame elsewhere.

Accepting that mistakes were made in the first place is definitely a sure fire sign that the frugalisation process is well underway. After such a trauma - come on, it's a bit of a shock actually looking at the bigger picture and realising what a fool you may have been with your money - the choice to proceed to habitualisation is yours and yours alone, otherwise you're just playing at being frugal until you get back on your feet and back onto the familiar old path of spending as you earn.

In part 2, we'll look at how frugal you think you already are - then show you how non-frugal that really is. In the meantime, please feel free to join us in the Frugal Forums where we enjoy one another's online company during our mundane, day-to-day routines of not over-spending or wasting time, effort and money.

Scottish Multimedia | The Process of Frugalisation - part 1

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Ecoart Sculptures and Last of the Galloways

Updates from our Facebook Page

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Latest Photos from Frugaldom

"Homegrown raspberries, apples and plums stewing to make mixed fruit jelly" "Homegrown raspberries, apples and plums being prepared for making mixed fruit jelly." "Finally managed to catch a glimpse of the Nut Hatch for long enough to grab a camera. Not the best photo but I've now been and cleaned outside and in to improve photo quality through the caravan window! :)" "The small corral by the barnyard, now marked out and ready for work to begin levelling it before planting a willow fedge around the outer circle. Difficult to photograph it to give it scale but it's being measured using the 20' lunge line method.""Spectacular views from what will become the small corral in the barnyard" "The small corral by the barnyard, now marked out and ready for work to begin levelling it before planting a willow fedge around the outer circle.""The small corral by the barnyard, now marked out and ready for work to begin levelling it before planting a willow fedge around the outer circle." "Spied today - one single cherry on a tree we rescued and propped up last year." "Preparations have begun to reclaim the bit land where 'Last of the Galloways', our @[259396667545761:274:Ecoarts] rearing horse sculpture, will be completed."

Frugaldom is a very interesting and exciting land development project combining agriculture with horticulture and the Arts. I can highly recommend the fabulously affordable and extremely comfortable accommodation as a rural getaway for anyone interested in the great outdoors, art, photography, writing and/or wildlife. Try one of Frugaldom's Frugal Breaks and sample the place for yourself.

Art in the making - the Frugaldom horse is really taking shape. As part of our Ecoarts project, this represents the 'Last of the Galloways' our native ponies that once grazed the hills and moors of Galloway and the surrounding areas before being spread throughout the British isles and bred out of existence.

Ecoarts's photo.

Ecoarts at Frugaldom

Reverse angle showing the sculpture still in the early stages. This sculpture is a life size portrayal of a native Galloway pony and will stand proud at Frugaldom one day soon.

Fruit, glorious fruit!

First of the plums and apples from the garden are simmering with some raspberries for the first of this year's mixed fruit jelly. What preserves are you planning this autumn?

"Homegrown raspberries, apples and plums being prepared for making mixed fruit jelly."

"Homegrown raspberries, apples and plums stewing to make mixed fruit jelly"

This assortment of fruit was simmered in a little water until soft then the resulting juices strained through a sieve and made up to half a litre. I added 500g of sugar and boiled it for approximately 10 minutes until it reached setting point, then decanted it into a large, sterilised jar. Nothing else is added as the apples provide all the natural pectin needed. Some people add a slither of butter to help clarify the resulting jelly but this is not necessary.

Please get in contact if you have any questions regarding Frugaldom, our frugal living and money challenges or our ecoarts project.

This is an experimental blog post to test out the compatibility of Facebook with the option to blog from there via Windows Live while also offering us the chance to spread the frugal news further afield by way of sharing on social media. Hopefully, readers will be able to see the photos and link back to our Facebook page, bringing a little bit more interactivity during the early stages of developing the Frugaldom Project.

Published by NYK Media on the Frugaldom blog as part of the Scottishmultimedia web project

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Scotland's Secret South: Galloway Pippin Apples

Adapted and reproduced from a blog by Phillip Bruce

Scotland's Secret South

There is a corner of Scotland that is ignored by the crowds rushing up to Edinburgh, Loch Lomond and the Highlands. Those of us who live in Galloway hope they continue to do so, but there's a warm welcome for the discerning traveller. Galloway is in the Southwest of Scotland and can be found by turning left at Gretna and following the A75 to Stranraer. (Frugaldom is next to Three Lochs Holiday Park, Kirkcowan, where we can now offer Frugal Breaks.)

Galloway's Gorgeous Apples

In 1267 a Dominican Friary was founded in Wigtown by the enormously wealthy Devorgilla, wife of John Balliol, after whom the Oxford college is named.

The monastery was situated near to where the current Church of Scotland church stands, see picture. The monastery was closed during the Reformation and it is thought that some of the stones from its buildings were used in nearby buildings. The friars used to fish in Wigtown Bay and were known for their skills in the orchards where a delicious pippin apple was cultivated.

There are few records of the monastery but the pilgrimage route to the ancient holy place of Whithorn passed close by and it is said that pilgrims were grateful to be given apples by the friars. Could some of the ancient rootstock be still hiding away somewhere around the former abbey's location?

In the middle of the 19th century, apple enthusiasts recorded the discovery of the Galloway Pippin, which is probably the tree that was cultivated at Wigtown. This is said to be an attractive apple and several people in Wigtown have trees flourishing in their gardens.

A good book to read is “Apples in Scotland,” by John Butterworth, Langford Press, ISBN 1-904078-00-1 There is a picture of The Galloway Pippin on page 33 with the caption: “Ancient long-keeping cooker from Wigtown, known locally as 'Croft an Righ' (garden of the King). He writes on page 56: “Galloway Pippin' is a late cooker, eaten by some, which has been associated with the area around Wigtown in Galloway 'since time immemorial.' The local name 'Croft-an-Righ, is the same as the same name given by the Romans to the locality, and means 'garden of the king.' There is still a property in Wigtown with this name, with a tree of the same name! Not surprisingly, there are a number of good reports from this area. My inclined cordon has been excellent, and my young standard made a very promising start to cropping. I attribute the latter's development of canker to the fact that its branches were broken the ground trampled by cattle.”


At Frugaldom, we have a fruit-growing project that is set to incorporate a small orchard of Galloway Pippins. If you would like to help support this project, you can do so by sponsoring a tree. Further details will be made available in the Frugal Shop and you can follow the progress either in our Frugal Forums or by clicking the ‘like’ buttom on our Frugaldom Facebook page

Published by NYK Media as part of the Frugaldom Project and Frugal Blog

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Frugal Breaks in Scotland

site_thumbnailWell, here’s what I have been doing during my somewhat lengthy absence from frugal blogging – taking the next step in providing our frugal friends, families and fellow money-saving challengers the opportunity to sample Frugaldom life for themselves.

Escape to the country and enjoy a frugal holiday.

Rural retreats in Scotland

Get back to nature in the Scottish countryside with a short break to sample rural living at a price you can afford. Try our budget self-catering accommodation in a holiday caravan at Three Lochs in the beautiful Dumfries and Galloway region of southwest Scotland. Relax and unwind, bring your walking boots, swimming costume, fishing rods and/or golf clubs and avail yourself of some Scottish hospitality, safe in the knowledge that your Frugal Break won't break the bank!

Frugal holidays in Scotland

Followers of Frugaldom (Facebook, Twitter, Website, Forums or Blog) will know that our main aim is to make a good life affordable to all and that should include a break from the norm. Our answer to this is to give you the opportunity to find out about Frugaldom for yourself, right here next to the project.

We are now offering this comfortable, 3-bedroom static caravan, which is fully equipped with all the basics you will need for sampling our frugal lifestyle, for short breaks and frugal holidays. For added luxury, the following are all available FREE to our guests:

  • WiFi
  • Satellite television (free channels only)
  • DVD player
  • Indoor heated swimming pool
  • 9-hole golf course
  • Fishing loch
  • Nature walks
  • Squirrel hide
  • Wet weather family games supplied (cards, board games, dominoes etc.)

Views from the caravans

We enjoy an elevated position here with views of nearby Loch Heron and the surrounding countryside and wildlife. There is easy access parking by the caravans and you are guaranteed to have frugal neighbours who can show you the sites and give you a tour of Frugaldom, which is less than a mile's walk, cycle or drive from the holiday park. (For the more adventurous, there are tent pitches available.)

Wooden wraparound decking, drystone wall and sycamore trees

The caravan is accessed by 4 steps leading up onto the 40' wooden decking, which provides adequate outdoor seating for enjoying lazy afternoons and evenings in the sunshine. A container garden provides fresh herbs for cooking and freshly picked sweet gale, grown nearby at the Frugaldom project, helps deter our Scottish midges. The location is adjacent to a small woodland where we have our bird feeding stations, which can be viewed from the caravans.

Caravan kitchen

The open plan kitchen is fully equipped with gas cooker, microwave, toaster, fridge freezer, electric kettle and slow cooker plus everything you need for an enjoyable self catering holiday. There is a small shop on site for any additional items you may need, but we can include basics like tea, coffee and sugar.

Spacious living room and dining area

The main living and dining areas are spacious, light and comfortable with adequate seating for friends and family. The caravan has 1 double room, one twin room, one single room with space for travel cot, which can be provided, and a foldaway double bed in the living room.

Bring your camera to catch a shot of the resident woodpeckers or watch for the red squirrels. The area has an abundance of wildlife and a good population of owls. If you are lucky you may spot a red kite or white tailed sea eagle soaring overhead between here and Frugaldom.

Prices start from £50 per night plus £5 per person for linen pack. You can, of course, choose to bring your own bedding and towels to save a few pounds extra.

We accept PayPal and all bookings must be paid in full a minimum of one week prior to arrival. Optional extras are available, like grocery packs and outdoor activities such as pony trekking, bike hire, air rifle shooting, archery, clay pigeon shooting, boat hire and fly fishing.

There is a small shop and laundry facilities on site, plus the indoor heated swimming pool, children's activity play area, BBQ hut and small skate park for use by residents and holiday makers. A woodland walk takes you around Loch Heron.

We should be able to start taking bookings from next week and I have already made a start on putting together a few photos and details for the webpage, which can be found at

NB: Frugal Breaks will offer booking concessions to 'Friends of Frugaldom' for any crafting, artwork, fitness, equestrian, tree planting, wild food foraging or other outdoor workshops we may organise.

Published by NYK Media as part of the Frugal Blog – helping make the good things in life affordable.