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When am not doing the everyday stuff of life i am making things. Or thinking about making things....

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

mostly preserves

phew - i have made about 35 jars of jams and chutneys this year. mainly because there has been a bumper crop of damsons, apples, pears and even strawberries. also because i like free food. there i am not proud to say i am a forager. i love spotting some delicious goodies that can be turned into presents or gifts for friends. i have run out of jam jars now though... i will have to forage for those too!
 a round down of the pots of goodies
  • summer jam - a soft set strawberry, blackberry and small amount of blueberry jam. strawberries - about 2lb worth were from the school garden which we watered for a week - i felt we deserved it and we were told to harvest it all!
  • orchard chutney - a slightly made up chutney with plums from one of Stokie Bloke's clients, courgettes from our garden and apples from neighbours - windfalls so it's ok!
  • mango and marrow chutney - from the school secretary- it's quite sweet and made with our patty pans from the garden. not our mango's obviously!
  • damson and apple jelly - the damsons have been great this year bigger than last and better condition. i have several bags in the freezer for gin (the sloes look great too though!) but this jelly set really well and has a lovely colour
  • plum jam - from plums as above - we got a plastic carrier bag full!
  • lastly green tomato chutney as all my tomatoes have come down with blight and i had to pick the lot at the weekend with the help of mum. grrrrr another veggie disaster that I will learn from next year. as they are all slowly rotting i threw this one together using my new preserves book. the wi book of preserves is my other staple preserves book - i use it all the time. i have read the river cottage one from pam the jam corbin and would recommend that too if you need one
  • not made yet but aiming on checking out the crabapple tree either at school or next to my mums as crabapple jelly is my all time favourite. o's crabapple tree not really big enough to crop being planted for her birthday last year and Zola took hers down - sacrilege!
  • also i have made blackberry brandy - recommended by Vicky on the heath. my two bottles pale into insignificance compared to her 12 ( she has emptied our local tesco of cheap brandy!). i bought the spanish brand as i am a sucker for labels and will add some vodka when the berries come out as she said this tasted smoother. (that may have been alcohol induced of course..))
  • oh and i should mention my nasturium seed disaster! briefly and be thankful you couldn't smell them. poor man's capers they are meant to be - you'd have to be pretty hard up to eat them. i did as per recipe brined them and put them in vinegar but they smelled so foul i had to bin the small jar i did manage to do. capers for me every time thanks!
  • lastly, today i picked loads of hazelnuts, hoping they will ripen enough to coat in chocolate at xmas. there seems conflicting web advice on this so we will have to find out by trial and error. there was smug satisfaction on beating the squirrels to them though....i also saw a recipe for damson and hazelnut mincemeat - now where did put those empty jars!

    some photos below of the produce and the results
selection of preserves  2011 Greatrex Kitchen

o the onion queen - she picked and cleaned them all!

plums as big as baby's b...s!

giant courgette hiding children

foul poor man's capers - nasturium seeds!

this post wouldn't be complete without noting that for the past week we have been dog sitting for Rhoda. and the the dog's name?   Chutney!  She's a cutie! we had a great time having her.

1 comment:

  1. She had a wonderful time......and I can't believe it took me this long to comment!!!!