Friday, July 07, 2006

A day of the fruit harvest

It is 5pm and I have been on my feet almost all day, so am taking time out to type up my blog.

I was up and out at 9am to go and see the chickens – collect three nice brown speckled eggs all intact and strong.

I moved a struggling pumpkin to a new site and watered it will, and planted up another that I had at home and thought it was a hollyhock – well the leaves look the same when they are small – it was only when it flowered that I knew – so perhaps somewhere amongst the courgettes I will find a hollyhock growing.

A dash back home, posting another couple of Wanted Jam Jar posters through doors, then a visit to the bantams before my cooking marathon – well it seems like it at the moment.

Pat was off playing golf and I had all that produce that I picked yesterday to utilise.

I took it out of the fridge and cleaned and weighed it all.

7lb blackcurrants
2 ½ lb redcurrants
4oz wild strawberries
3 ½ lb raspberries
1lb 10 oz jostaberries
3lb loganberries

I decided to make a summer fruits jam as I couldn’t make hedgerow jam as the apples and blackberry season hasn’t started yet – and I want to make everything from my home grown fruits.

For the summer fruits jam I used blackcurrants, redcurrants, wild strawberries, raspberries and some loganberries, then made the recipe up and it worked a treat. It made 6 ½ jars full. These jars are all sizes the minimum about is 1lb in each jam jar, but I am also using coffee jars, tea jars, peanut butter jars, beetroot jars, and kilner jars – and they all vary in size some of which take almost 2lb of jam. Of course all have their labels removed, and I wash them, sterilise them in boiling water and then put them in the oven on 100c to dry out and keep sterile. Once they have pretty ‘hats’ it will disguise their lids and they will all have labels on them and look uniform. I had once again ran out of jam jars, I had even raided my cupboard and put any half used jars in smaller containers so that I could use those jars.

So with the rest of the fruit I made a lovely huge casserole mixture of summer fruits – this time to use in summer puddings in the winter or steamed sponges, pies, or crumbles. A mixture of all the above cooked but each fruit added a little while after the other variety so you get the whole juice of the currants, then some juice of all the berries but a lot of them retain their shape, so that you get a mouthful of mixed fruit. Not only does it look colourful – it tastes of hot summer days – just the ticket in December!

Pat came home and I made a salad of all our home grown stuff, and new potatoes etc etc.

He told me that there were a couple of jam jars left in the porch – so off I went again.

This time I used the jostaberries to make jam. They look like a cross between a gooseberry and a blackcurrant, and taste like blackcurrants with a bit of a gooseberry kick. Very refreshing and different. I included some green ones that hadn’t quite ripened as there were no recipes for jostaberry jam that I could find. Logically they must have lots of pectin in them as they are not very sweet so I would not eat them raw on their own. So I just added their own weight in sugar and cooked them the usual way you make jam.

Here they are at setting point. The colour of the juice changed from a wishy - washy green then pink, to a gorgeous deep and rich looking dark red when it had cooled and set. It made 3 jars of jam and looks great with some of the fruit remaining whole like translucent marbles of shades of green to black.

Having run out of jars yet again, the loganberries that were left, I placed on parchment paper, laid them out on trays to be frozen individually – that way I have a more diverse choice of what to use them for over the winter.

I now have a total of 40 jars in stock for gifts or for sale and I have made 55 ½ jars all together. I have a few in my cupboard that are just for us.

I have given it a lot of thought and have decided that if I can make 75 – 100 jars of jam, that I will have a stall at the ‘Good Causes’ Christmas Fair in the village and donate the money to a charity that is close to my heart. But it all depends if I can make enough to make it worth the while for paying for a stall and making a reasonable amount of money for the charity. If not I will donate them over the coming year to fundraising events in the village. Cakes and preserves are always a sell out.

At 12.37 today we had a shower of rain. Nothing to write home about, and it took an hour before there were enough drops to all meet up and make the paths wet. It then stopped, then started and gently rained for another half an hour, and since then we have had sunshine. At least it means that I need not go up the allotment at 9pm tonight to water my tomatoes and squashes. Hopefully the peas, beans, and other plants will have had a drink too. I have lot so mange tout I need to pick and freeze.

The loganberries should be frozen by now, so I need to pour them into a container for the freezer - then make some labels - and I wanted to do some baking to use up some eggs - but I feel rather tired and it has got very hot again, so I might take a rest once I have finished all the washing up.

One of the two trays of frozen loganberries. I can highly recommend frozen logaberries on a hot day - I have just eaten two - and they are like really juicy cold sweets and so refreshing.

I think I have earned it today - Pat has been asleep in front of the television 'watching' the mens semi finals. I expect that when he wakes up he will be flicking to text to check the results.


  1. hope you get to donate your jams if i was there i would buy.

  2. Just reading....................feeling jealous..............yet........
    when you coming up to Yorkshire?


  3. Good luck with the jam making target Lottie, it's lovely to see someone selling for a good cause.

    Reading your post makes me realise my "hedgerow" jam should actually be called summer fruit jam, lol never mind.

  4. Thank you Mrs Nesbitt and Leonie.

    Leonie, I just made the jam up but using a pound of all my fruits - so I named it Summer Fruits Jam as that is what it was. LOL

    Hedgerow jam sounds more 'countryfied though'

    I have a recipe for that in my book and hope to have a go at that if I get enough blackberries from my little bush - which was just a cutting.

  5. Hi allotment lady - I don't know if you remember me - I came to visit your eglu in april?

    I've been following your blog, and reading about all your girls. As you are such a jam maker - do you a recipe for redcurrant jam / jelly you could post - we did PYO today - so I need a recipe?

    I hope the girls are well - are Freckles and dilly still broody?


  6. Hello Posh Neighbour - is that me or you LOL

    Here is a link to The Potting Shed Forum where I have posted the recipe.

    I hope that it works, if not just register and away you go.

    Yes the Dilly and Freckles are still being broody, but some days they change their minds - like today when I got three eggs.

    Great to hear from you and I hope your bantams are doing well too.

    Best wishes


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