Where we use and review products that nourish us and the planet
Review by Julie Bennett
If you are into homemade, then a fruit press – sometimes called a torchietto – is a great addition to your kit. As an amateur beekeeper, I purchased this as an alternative to a spinner as a way to extract honey.
The costs of conventional honey spinners are high and I only had a small amount of honey to extract. A press is better suited for honey extraction from a Warre or top-bar hive because you need to remove the comb from the bar regardless of whether you’re spinning or pressing.
Extracting honey from a Langstroth hive, however, which I have, you need to cut the honeycomb out of the frame and its wires in order to fit it into the twolitre pot for pressing. But when using a conventional spinner, your comb staysin tact and you can put the already-drawn-out frame back into the hive.
What I like about this press is it’s quite heavy and sturdy, which means it sits well on your bench and has very few moving parts, which makes it easy to clean. The base, frame, spindle and pressure plate are a single unit and come assembled in the box, along with two food-grade stainless-steel baskets. The inner basket is the perforated strainer basket while the larger outer pot has a small spout at the base for the liquid to drain out.
I’ve found it’s best to press the honey on a warm day which means it has lower viscosity and flows a lot quicker and easier through the basket and small spout. The colder it is, the more patience you’ll need.
Using a press to extract honey is probably better in theory than it is in practice. If you already own a press for fruit, nuts or to make cheese or wine, which it does really well, then it will absolutely work with honey.
But if you’re looking to buy one for the sole purpose of extracting honey, then there are probably more suitable options.
Name Vevor 2L Stainless-Steel Press
Burgon & Ball
PAPER POT MAKER
Review by Kel Buckley
When I first started using the paper pot maker, I loved it for lots of reasons. That I could create out of newspaper what I’d otherwise be buying in plastic, that I could make three different sized pots, that it’s made from FSCcertified timber and that it is innovative in its simplicity.
To use it, you cut a long rectangle of paper to the instructed size, then roll it around the timber cylinder making sure to leave some paper overhanging to form the base. You then fold the overhanging paper over the base, then, using the depression in next size up’s cylinder, press your base firmly between the two and twist gently to create the base of your pot.
There are a couple of compromises; having to measure and cut different sized strips of paper in order to make different sized pots gets a bit fiddly, but I tend to do a stack at a time. And they don’t always hold together as well as they should; maybe one in every half a dozen or so collapses before they’re ready to plant out. But the benefits of not using plastic and not disrupting the roots when planting outweighs any negatives for me.
It’s worth noting that a folded pot (see page 84) is both stronger and easier to stack into a tray, but it takes more time as the process itself is a bit more complex.
Name Paper Pot Maker
Catch the sun
Review by Kel Buckley
This is one of those items you don’t know how useful it is until you’ve owned one. Looking every bit a Mason-style preserving jar, the one-litre vessel’s lid houses a solar panel on the top and an LED lighting mechanism underneath.
Pip staff have found all sorts of handy uses for it, from a soft and moveable light to tend to babies in the middle of the night through to battery-free lamp to light your tent while camping. When it’s not being used elsewhere, one person stores it near the lizard hideout in the garden to attract insects and food for their reptile friends, while another fills it with shells and other found objects to create a unique lamp.
The jar needs to be placed in direct sunlight, either indoors behind glass or outside in full sun to charge, with one hour of sunlight equating to one hour of light once the sun goes down.
The jar can be switched off to preserve power, has a wire handle for carrying or hanging, but it does feel a little flimsy once there’s a bit of weight in the already quite heavy glass vessel.
Name Catch the Sunglass lantern