Sunday, 4 September 2011

How do you like them apples?

A real haul

What 3 kg raspberries looks like
 It's that time of year when cropping at the allotment has to be done with the aid of a wheelbarrow because 20 lbs of fruit and veg takes some carrying.
Given the revolting weather, I found myself picking fruit until the September rain had soaked right through to my knickers, but once at home and in a warm pair of PJs, Katie and I turned our attention to the fun job of working through our produce to preserve it.

Growing things to eat is really only the beginning of the story as everything you bring home has to be eaten quite quickly or preserved in some way. Having been away for a week I was chuffed to find a mountain of raspberries, 3 kilos in fact, but as they were picked in the rain they had to be eaten or made into jam within hours.

I was interested in Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's raspberry jam recipe which calls for half the normal amount of sugar, and so I thought I'd give it a try. I was a little concerned when he didn't mention scum removal, which is odd, and I can imagine folk getting into a pickle trying to pot up non-skimmed jam. And what with that and his estimate of seven minutes, which would be a miracle to achieve a set, I decided to wing it. So after a rolling boil of 22 minutes we had 6 lbs of yummy, delicious smelling jam, I'll let you know whether we got a good set.

Then Katie and I sliced the runner beans which, once sliced and bagged, can be frozen and used just like peas. Years ago I bought an antique bean slicer like the one my parents have which is ideal for the job. I picked mine up in a junk shop but I notice you can also get them from eBay. They attach to the table or a work surface and give you a perfect slice every time.

Finally we stewed the blackberries with my lovely Granny Smith apples for the perfect addition to cereal and yogurt. A lovely welcome home from our holiday, even if it is still raining.

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