The Fruit Preservation Society

Membership: 1

I’m sure I’ve already told you that our garden here is a veritable Garden of Eden, and now we’ve lived here for a year we’ve had the full cycle of apples, plums, strawberries, raspberries, hazelnuts and (a few rather sad) passionfruit. This time last year we were just moving in and the plums and apples had mainly fallen. This year, I was well and truly ready. I plucked the plums regularly so that if any fell, I knew that had only fallen that day and, subject to strict quality controls ;-), were good to go. As there are four plum trees, I have had hundreds of Victoria (?) plums. It took me two hours to halve and stone these that remained after giving bag after bag away to friends, family and anyone who paused long enough for me to hook a carrier bag on.

and it left my hands brown and revolting. They’re still stained despite bleach, nailbrush and a Lady Macbeth-esque frenzy.

This year’s apple crop wasn’t as good at last year’s (pictured below). They were on the whole smaller and there were a lot less of them. It could be because of the weather, but I think the apple tree may be dying. It’s not too happy-looking.

As we also live a short hop from the river (as in, a 20-second walk!) I’ve discovered that nearly on our doorstep we have mega loads of blackberry bushes! Knowing I wanted to make blackberry jam today I was up at 8 am to harvest about 2 kg of blackberries before everyone else decided that it would be a good way to spend Saturday afternoon … mwah ha ha ha.

So for the past few weeks we’ve been having (and I’ve been inviting people round for) lots of fruit with icecream and cream, a lot of apple and blackberry crumble, apple and plum crumble, plum pie and various other combinations. However, I’ve decided it’s time to STOP eating the glut of fruit and start to preserve it.

So today I went to town, got a whole load of jars (will need some more…) and various ingredients and set about making blackberry jam, apple and plum chutney, plum and ginger chutney, plum jam and Chinese plum sauce – alongside stewing plums and apples to freeze in portions.

Having never made jam before, I think the blackberry jam looks promising. It seems to thicken nicely as it cools. I was worried I’d stopped cooking it too soon while it was runny as I was scared of ruining my lovely stockpot.

I’ve run out of jars, I’m knackered and scalded, and the house smells of sugar and vinegar. Further reports will follow.

2 responses to “The Fruit Preservation Society

  1. Sweet_Tooth August 16, 2009 at 3:39 am

    Wow! All those beatiful pictures of delicious fresh fruit are making me quite hungry!!

    I adore fruit, especially in the summertime. I simply have to keep a variety of it around at all times.

    As I am a bit of a lazy cook I like to keep “minute jams” on hand for toast and such. I jut mash some berries in a dish with the back of a fork, sprinkle a tad of sugar (or sweetner now that I’ve quit sugar) and put it in a tiny jar in the fridge.

    Also Frozen cherries and grapes are my favorite snack when its hot outside. They are like chilled candies!

  2. Heavenly Housewife August 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Ha! more stuff we have in common :), I have a small garden but i do have 3 apple trees (dont think they are ready for picking yet though). And also have balcberrys growing. But they come on such horrid thorny vines. They make me all scratchy! Let us know how your blackberry jam turns out, maybe i should try it. Yours looks beautiful.
    What r u going to do with your apples? I can use some tips on that one 🙂

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