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Sustainable Living

About Asphyxia

Food and Nutrition

  • Traditional Foods
    My health has dramatically improved after changing my diet for a more traditional way of eating, as advised by Sally Fallon.
  • Food Flower Poster
    Forget the food pyramid! It was developed by the agricultural industry, not by nutritionists. Instead, print this Food Flower poster, which shows a visual guide to choosing nutritious and satisfying traditional foods.
  • Sourdough bread Recipes
    I make delicious sourdough bread in my bread machine - recipes and tips here.
  • Raw Food
    Should we be eating a diet of 100% raw food? Here's what I found by way of "scientific proof".
  • Raw garlic to cure colds & flu
    If you feel a cold or flu coming on, eat a whole clove of raw garlic, three times a day - it works miracles.

« My Eccentric Uncle | Main | On the cover of Grass Roots Magazine! »

17 February 2012


Hi Asphxsia, I have just been told about your blog,thanks for sharing so much. I make my soap, soap powder for laundry, knit dishcloths, and have done some jam making.I now would like to try preserving.we have grown tomatoes and I need to try and preserve them.I have frozen quite a few but freezer getting full of home produce. can you do an article on preserving tomatoes? I don't have fowler bottles but I do keep jars with metal lids so would like to use these. Thanking you Sharryn

Hi Sharryn,

Ooh, what ingredients do you use to make soap? I want to learn to make it using ashes from our fire and fat skimmed from our stock pot.. i.e. no bought ingredients. Do you know hot to do this?

I've just posted about how to preserve tomatoes.. let me know how you go!


Ive just found your blog (from grass roots mag) You are truly inspirational! I was wondering if you would be willing to share some of your recipes, Ive been wanting to b more self-sufficient for a long time but always thought I didn't have enough land to do it, I now know (thanks to you and your blog)that I don't :)
Thank you for inspiring me

Thanks Pamela. Yep you can find my recipes for tomatoes here:

You can find my bread recipes here:

For preserving fruit, I just preserve them as described here, no extra recipes needed.

How much land do you have? Are you sure you don't have enough land to do anything? I think so much of self-sufficiency is about lifestyle, about cooking from scratch and making consumer goods from raw materials rather than buying ready-made products. And you can do that in a flat. If I lived in a flat I'd work on making a deal with a neighbour who has a garden - I grow food in their garden in exchange for a) making their place beautiful and b) sharing some of the food. I reckon there are plenty of people out there who would go for that.

Happy inspiration to you!

Im so sorry its taken so long to reply, I didn't realize that you had posted a reply back, thought today id better check where id written :)
We have a 800 sq metre section by the beach in nz, and since reading your blog I now know and am working towards using more of it to grow our own food, Ive also just had a week of only spending $20 on groceries for my family of 5 and using up some of my huge supply of food and am now considering extending my challenge to $50 on food per week for the rest of this month

Do you know how to get foods such as saurcrout & kefir to keep without refridgeration? I know cellars in europe would have been cold storage, but they also used to take saurcrout on sailing ships in far from cool conditions. I find it a little frustrating when my use of healthfull traditional food preservation efforts lead to greater fridge dependance. Any sugestions? by the way I live in SE Qld so it is warm most of the year.

Hi Eliana, unfortunately I battle with the same problem, and despite years of trying I haven't found a good solution yet. In Europe I think they tended to harvest in autumn, then store it through their very cold winter and spring, and it would be pretty much gone by summer. I find even keeping them in the fridge for that long results in a kraut that's just too sour for me. I have resigned myself to regularly making small batches of these things, and going with the fridge. If you make a small enough batch, you don't need a fridge at all, but it's got to be a pretty small batch. Cheers, Asphyxia

What a great outline of how you do your food, thank you!

I was just reading your article on the Riot for Austerity in GR, and it's inspired me to try to get my family interested in making a group effort.

Food is the thing I chose to be my biggest focus this year, and I'd hoped to try preserving tomatoes, but didn't get to it. Next year... I was surprised you said to fill the pot to an inch below the lids, when preserving, I thought it was an inch above? That's what I've read for preserving fruit, which is all I've done so far.

Thanks again. I am going to spend time over the next few weeks reading through all your Riot archives. It's good to know of someone in Australia who has done it, and got Australian figures to work with.

Hi Kirsten,,
I'm rapt to hear you are inspired by the Riot for Austerity - its a project very dear to my heart. Food as a focus I think is the best of all, because we eat so much of it so it's a great way to make a big difference. I was just told to fill the pots to an inch below - I assumed it was so that water wouldn't go into the jars before the seal was made. But to be honest I don't know more than that. Keep me posted on your Riot progress!

Hi Asphyxia,

I've been drooling over your preserves - they look delicious! We've been making our own sourdough bread on a regular basis for about 6 months and the next step for us is to buy a grain mill so we can grind wheat for flour. I noticed that you buy wheat, so I assume you have a grinder. If so, any tips on what type to buy, and how to source organic wheat?

Thanks for a great blog.

Hi Ange,

Glad you like the look of the preserves! I used a Thermomix to grind my wheat - it's noisy and you can only do 2 cups at a time, but it does make a VERY fine flour which doesn't have that heavy wholemeal texture. I'm afraid I don't know much about other grinders, and the Thermomix is expensive - at the time I bought it I also needed a blender, a set of scales, and a grinder, and this was all in one so was worthwhile, price-wise. I buy my organic wheat in sacks from Naturally On High, in High St, Thornbury, Vic. I also sometimes buy things in bulk from Santos, which has an online shop and ships to anywhere in Australia. But it would be good to find local wheat if possible. Ask around at local farmer's markets and organic shops/coops?


Hi Asphyxia,
Lovely morning her in North East Victoria, just been and watered all the vegie seedlings, should be able to plant next few weeks when Im sure all the frosts have gone. I have been preserving, pickling, saucing, soap and candlemaking for close to 40 years now and being as self sufficient as we can. Our property has no mains power only stand alone system, and I feel very refreshed reading your posts each time Grass Roots arrives in the mailbox. I enjoy that so many younger people are now realising that this is a cheaper, healthier way of life for their families. Well done, and may u have a great day...Karyn

Thank you Karyn! It's lovely to get your encouragement.. and wow - 40 years of near self-sufficiency is very impressive! Nice to meet you... Asphyxia

Hi Asphyxia,
I love your blog, thanks for sharing with us.
Would you mind sharing your sources of bulk foods? I am particularly interested in the olive oil and honey although all information would be gratefully received.

Hi Louise,

I buy grains and coconut oil and many other bulk items from Naturally On High in High St Thornbury, honey from the Collingwood Children's Farm Farmer's Market, olive oil in drums directly from the supplier, which I think is Mt Zero olives...

Hope that helps! It's all Melb based tho..

Hi Asphyxia,
I live in Melbourne so that info. is very relevant to me.

Hi Asphyxia,
I'm back with another supply question.
Where do you buy bulk sea salt?
Thanks for your help.

I get my salt in bulk from: They have lots of bulk organic foods so would be a good source for other items too...

Hi Asphyxia,
Do you know if these bottling methods would be a safe way of preserving complete cooked meals that contain meat? My partner and I both have special dietary needs (diferent but we both eat meat and veg) and it is both dificult and expensive to buy anything that is ready to eat that does not require refridgeration or freezing. A few complete meals in the cupboard would be so convenient for unexpected trips etc. Do you know of any resources that discuss the home preservation of cooked meals particulary those that contian meat? Also, how long do grains store in your bucket system? I can sometimes get 20kg organic rice at a good price but it could well take me over a year to use it.
Thanks, El

Hi El,

No, these bottling methods are not safe for meat - they only work for food that is sufficiently acidic - fruit. To preserve meat you need a pressure canner. Have a look into these on google and you should find plenty of info about preserving meat and stock.

In my bucket system, how long the grains keep seems to be dependent on what weavils came with the grain. I have had buckets infested with weavils after a year. But I do have one bucket I just opened after a year and a half and there are no weavils - that bucket had such an amazing seal we could barely get it open. So I'm guessing the seal is very important. White rice would easily keep for over a year, but brown rice has a shelf life of only three months before it goes rancid so is not a great one for long term storage.

Hope that helps..

Thanks for the info. I had never heard of home pressure canning before. I find the recomendations to reboil the food a bit frustrating when I am trying to create my own 'convenience food'. Still, it would be one way to achieve the goal of a couple of weeks non perishable food supply (my partner has such scary cardiovascular reactions to many preservatives that I run shy of comercial tinned foods for him) I am starting to lean towards dehydrating though I don't like mixing plastic heat and food. Hopefully someone will start selling completely stainless steel ones in Australia soon.
BTW if can find the room to freeze your dry goods for a few days you can kill any weavil eggs before the bucket storage.

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