Making squash

I purchased a second hand saft maja (squash maker) and decided to try it out last week.  I have drunk Birch leaf squash recently which was really nice and so I gave it a try.

I collected Birch leaves and put in the maja

The base of the maja you fill with water and put on the cooker to boil. The part to the right of the picture which collects the squash is then placed on top

The next part to go on, is the sieve that holds the Birch leaves & sugar and finally the lid goes on

As the water heats up and boils, the water vapour rises through; in this case birch leaves, but I used Lingon berries also and as they steam, the juices drop down and eventually the juice runs out of the rubber pipe into a bottle.

Here are bottles of Lingon and Birch squash, with Teres’ Sill Torte or Herring cake which is traditionally eaten at mid-summer.

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17th March 2010

I kept the fire burning all night and kept the cabin reasonably warm.  After melting more snow for drinking water

I went to Anki and Ingvar’s cabin to cook coffee and grill sausage

A bird that is usually around when you cook food outside is Siberian Jay

During the day I also saw Willow Tit, Siberian Tit, Hazel Grouse, Bullfinch, Jay and Great Tit.

The boots I am wearing, not just for skiing but most of the time are these Karrimor Snowboots

They have a lip at the back of the boot that allows the ski to be attached over, while held in position.  I bought them for £29.99 from TK Max (reduced from £99.99) and they are so warm that I do not wear any socks the majority of the time.  The lining in the boots is Thinsulate.

Lifeventure titanium cup

I have recently made some new purchases and will be reviewing them during the next couple of posts.

Kevin Warrington - new equipment (Small)

I find that for day-to-day living in the UK my crusader cup is rather large for my needs so I recently purchased a Lifeventure titanium mug.  In order to boil water in the cup I wanted to make a lid so firstly I cut out an aluminium disk.

aluminium disk (Medium)

I drew around the cup of the cup and using a piece of half round post

half post (Medium)

and a small hammer, gradually bent the edge of the disk to create a lip for the lid to keep it on the cup

shaping lid (Large)

The aluminium must be shaped gradually otherwise it will crack.  I cut a strip of aluminium and shaped around a pencil, riveted it to the lid, added a keyring ring and clip to finish it

completed lid (Large)

I made a reindeer leather pouch for the cup and when the draw-string is closed on the top of the bag, the whole thing can be clipped on a belt-loop to carry around

reindeer pouch for cup (Small)

I wanted to design a cooking stand for the cup similar to the one I designed for my Crusader mug

I carved several pieces of Hazel to achieve a satisfactory design but I was unsuccessful and so decided to just hold the cup over the fire to boil water, but having discarded the pieces of wood I noticed two pieces had landed in a crossed position and it was seeing that, that gave me the solution to my problem.  Two pieces of wood pushed into the ground at an angle to form a cross which supports the two parts of the handle.

cup stand-1 (Small)

A cup of water was boiled in 6 minutes

cup stand-3 (Small) (Medium)

Crusader cup cooking stand update

I have been experimenting and adapting the design of the cup stand over the last couple of days but as Boomer said in his comment “the simplest ones are often the best” and I have decided to stop and just keep it simple, but thought I would show you where I progressed to.

This design fits snugly between the gap in the cup handles and is notched in the front to allow the height of the cup to be adjusted over the fire for boiling and simmering
crusader stand-9 (Medium)

The front of the handle just sites in the groove as you can see here

crusader stand-10 (Small)

The problem with this design is that because the stand fits snugly, when you grip the handles to remove the cup from the stand, they compress on the stand and prevent you lifting the cup away!  So I shall stick with my basic design.

Crusader cup cooking stand

An idea I worked at developing in Lapland was a cooking stand for my Crusader cup.  It needed to be a simple design and quick to construct from natural materials.  This was my simplest design but works very well.

I cut a piece of Hazel with a branch coming from it, pointed the bottom of the Hazel to push it in the ground and cut the branch down to a short stub.

crusader stand-1 (Small)

I had to reduce the thickness of the stem (the exact shape of this turned out to be quite important, but more about that later)

crusader stand-2 (Small)

so that it fits between the gap in the cup handles as you can see here.

crusader stand-3 (Small)

and the base of the cup sits on the branch stub

crusader stand-4 (Small)

Here are I am cooking with Sterno gel (does anyone else find this this stuff will not bring water to the boil?)

crusader stand-5 (Small)

and here I have a small fire

crusader stand-6 (Small)

Now when cooking for a longer period of time the stub can burn through, but during the making of this tutorial I discovered that if you shape the stem like this

crusader stand-2 (Small)

the bottom of the cup handle sits on the wider base of the stem and removes the need for the branch stub.  So this is my improved design

crusader stand-8 (Small)

I used it today while at our green woodworking group meeting.  I set it up and gathered some embers from the main fire to make a brew

D (Large)

and later used a slightly different designto cook my lunch

A (Large)

Thanks to Edd for these pictures

Why not experiment with my design yourself!