By the time I had sorted out the photos for this post, autumn had arrived. Now it is just in time for berry season!
First there were the redcurrants and now the blackberries are in full swing. So, Blackberry Jam is now sitting in the cupboard, and if I thought the redcurrant jelly was good, well this jam is even better. Not too sweet, it still retains its flavour, and is delicious.
Place the blackberries in a large pot with a little water (for 4lbs of fruit I used 1/2 cup water). Bring to a boil and stir and crush the fruit until the fruit has broken up. The not-so-black blackberries can be blamed on my dad – a very over zealous picker!
Put the fruit through a strainer/seive. If you want a clear jam then do not push the fruit through. The juice will eventually drip through (although it could take a while). When the juice has collected, measure out the sugar. For every 1 litre of liquid put 750g of sugar into a pot. Over low heat stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the liquid up to a boil until the jam reaches a temperature of 105c. Put the jam into the sterlised jars and store for two weeks until the jam has set and matured.
The jam test – place a plate in the freezer for ten minutes. When the jam is ready, place a teaspoon on a plate and drawer your finger through (be careful – it is hot jam). If the jam parts then it is ready.
Delicious on toast, crumpets, anything you can lay your hands on really. We had some jam left over and had it still slightly warm over ice cream. A real winner.
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With all the rain that we have had in the last couple of weeks, I missed my chance to capture the peonies in the garden. I am heartbroken. This is the problem with peonies – you wait and wait and then they come along and go so quickly.
My plan now is to run into the garden whenever the rain stops and take photos. On Tuesday mum and I did a quick trip to the allotment to check that everything was okay after the bad rain. (All is okay, but the weeds are beginning to thrive).
Elderflowers galore at the allotment – thinking elderflower wine, elderflower syrup, elderflower cordial…
An explosion of chives at the allotment. I actually dislike chives, but love their flowers.
When its not soaking wet, this is a lovely place to sit with a cup of coffee. Herbs – lemon balm, chives, mint and lavender blossom in the vase.
Flowers into strawberries!
Do you find that you need to document everything to make it seem real rather than just looking and enjoying things?
I have a bit of a problem. Blogging. I take the photos, upload them and then stuff happens and I never get around to showing you the photos. I am also very, very behind on posting photos of Brette’s kitchen which I know you will love – this is coming this week. I promise.
Last Sunday I spent a couple of hours at the allotment. With the weather finally dry and quite warm it was the perfect time to assess and damage from the rain and to kneal on the ground humbly and weed.
The entrance to the allotments.
I was so pleased to find that apart from a lot of weeds, everything is growing really well and there are positive signs for the future.
Weeding around the broad (fava) beans completed, next time = the peas!
Flowers turning into strawberries.
And here are a couple of photos of other allotments in our section.
The grassy one:
The perfect one:
I live in hope of making our allotment a bit more perfect, but we need to wait until the end of the summer before making many changes to the layout. Oh, if only to start all over again…
It seems that everytime I go to the allotment I am armed with either the camera or the phone, but because a vegetable sprouting from the ground looks so much better in real life than through a camera that I haven’t been posting. This post is to keep my mum happy (eventually I will be happy too). We like having records of how we have done, the progress made and the life of the vegetables and fruit that we grow. Without further chat, photos!
The allotment at the beginning of March.
The allotment now.
Mum and I deal with the first bit of the allotment (at the far end in the photos). We are focusing on peas, beans (of many descriptions), spinach, lettuce and potatoes. Also, fruit (rhubarb, red currant, black currants, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries). We will do the tomatoes at home in the vegetable box.
Slowly but surely, broad (fava) beans.
Mum and I installed the posts this weekend to support the blackberry bushes. This year, the aim is to prune them and stop them from becoming a big mound of prickliness again!
Nothing better than shelling peas that you have grown yourself. Nothing better. So we are planting lots of peas and practicing the art of succession planting. We have this row in at the moment (planted on both sides) and another row was planted at the weekend and a third row will be planted in a few weeks. Last year we froze some of the peas and enjoyed them a couple of weeks ago, and you could tell the difference. I love these peas.
So, there you go. Things are starting to emerge from the ground and soon there will be flowers and buds and I will be plotting and planning with the cookery books.