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How to quickly fix a zip

It can be really annoying when a zip’s slider comes free of it’s rails. This problem is typically easy to fix if you can find the slider, if not another one can usually be purchased or removed from another zip.

For this fix, you will need a needle and some strong thread (top stitching thread is ideal)

Find the bottom of the zip, (you may need to break into some of the stitches). Line them up so that both ends are at the same level, then insert each end into the corresponding groove at the widest part of the slider at the same time. This may be tricky, but keep persevering, as it will work.
Slide the slider up, and the zip should close, if it doesn’t there is probably something wrong with the slider where it has warped out of shape or there is a kink in the zip.

Sew a large stopper that will stop the slider
Sew under and over the bottom of the zip

 Now you need to make a stopper for the zip so that it won’t slide off. This is where the needle and thread comes in. Make a thick stopper by sewing under and over the zip a number of times. Sew the ends of the zip back in to where they should be and replace any stitches that were undone in the process.

Trouser zips can be tackled in the same way

Dandelion coffee

Roots ready to be chopped

Let us be clear about one thing, dandelion root coffee will not give you the same kick as regular coffee, but it makes a pleasant, homemade substitute for decaf. It is also easy to make, and it transforms a weed into a pleasant beverage.


Dig up as much of the dandelion root as possible and as many as you can

  • Wash the roots as well as possible and chop into 3cm pieces
  • Chop them finely (food processor works well)
  • Spread them out onto a baking tray
  • Bake in a 100 degree C oven for till some of the pieces start to go dark brown (caramelly). (To be super efficient, bake and dry the dandelion and granola at the same time, to score extra green points, pop these into the oven after baking something else)
  • Reduce the heat and allow the roots to dry in the oven without burning much more
  • Once dry, cool the root pieces and store in an airtight container and use as you would coffee (I like to use it in the caffetier. Unlike coffee, the same “grounds” can be used 2 or 3 times,without it loosing too much flavour

You will never look at a dandelion in the same way again!

Getting the most out of windfall apples

I know that apple season is coming to an end, and that this post would have been more useful about 2 weeks ago, but anyway, I would like to share here how I got 4 (or 5) products out of apples that were not the best to start with.

You will need: 

  • Loads of apples
  • A good bit of time and a little patience
  • Something decent on the telly, radio or Netflix (I recommend Lillyhammer)
  • A sharp paring knife
  • A bucket
  • A slow cooker, or a large pot
  • Jars
  • Sugar and some crab apples if making apple jelly
  • A small amount of sugar for making vinegar
  • Nylon sieve or jelly bag
  • Colander

Step 1 (Apple peels and vinegar)
Peel your apples, core them and remove the nasty bits make vinegar out of these, see post about making apple vinegar http://rerootingthefuture.ie/2013/09/24/apple-vinegar/
Place the peeled apple pieces into the slow cooker with a little water and let it simmer down till pulpy (A pot on the stove will do, just be careful it does not burn!)

Step 2 (Stewed apple)
Once you have apple pulp, drain it through a colander to get much of the juice out (the obvious juice, don’t try to extract all of the juice as you don’t want dry stewed apples). Spoon the stewed apple into clean, scaled pickle jars. (Pickle jars should provide enough apple for making pies or for breakfasts for a family, smaller jars such as peanut butter jars would do two people for breakfast with yogurt and granola (yumm)) So now, you need to can the jars of stewed apple, see post about canning for more details, because the jars are fairly wide, heat it water to 77 degrees and keep it there for 40 mins to ensure that all of the jar’s contents are sterilised. http://rerootingthefuture.ie/2013/09/22/elderberry-cordialsyrup-and-elderberry-jam/ There is no added sugar in this, so once the jar is open, use immediately or refrigerate and use the following day.

Step 3 (Dealing with the juice)
Strain the juice through a jellybag, coffee filter or nylon sieve, retain what was filtered out and add that to any remaining stewed apple, place this in the freezer till you have enough of it to make apple cheese, (recipe will follow in a few weeks). You now have two choices, you can drink the apple juice or make it into jelly, follow link for a jelly recipe. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/10/apple-jelly-jam-recipe/, boil up a few crab apples in the juice and then remove their pulp before adding the sugar and making jelly, crab apples contain a lot of pectin and will help your jelly to set, especially as the first step removed the most pectin rich part of the apple. 
If you want to keep the juice for drinking later, you will need to sterilise it, this could be done by boiling the juice and immediately pouring it into a very clean, hot bottles, this should keep for a while, or you could can it.

Spiced apple jelly, plain apple jelly, elderberry jam, apple vinegar, stewed apple

So, five products from windfall apples
Vinegar, stewed apple, apple jelly or juice and apple cheese (paste to eat with cheese)