This weekend has been so busy.
I started by changing the covers on our three piece suite. The weather forecast said that this week will probably be unsettled so I decided to change the covers while the weather was good.
When we bought the suite I particularly wanted removeable covers, so I could wash them. We bought two sets of covers, a cream set and a brown set. Because of this, it’s like having a new suite every six months when I change the covers.
This weekend I picked my first sweetcorn and cooked it under the grill. It was definately worth waiting for, as it was absolutely delicious, with lashings of butter and lemon juice. Such a treat!
This is the time of year that I am preserving and freezing my allotment produce, ready for the winter.
I also did a lot of batch baking on Saturday. I started by making twenty bread rolls, which I sliced and froze ready for lunches during the week.
Then I made some fruit scones, ready for packed lunches. I sliced and buttered them and then I froze them too. I take one out each day and pop it straight into the lunch boxes and it is defrosted by lunch time.
I made a big pan full of Patty Pan soup for lunch on Saturday and I froze some of it in portions, ready for my daughters, when they come home from school really hungry. I figure that a mug of soup is much better for them than a ‘sweet’ snack in between meals. You can find the recipe for the soup here.
I also cooked a big pan full of pasta sauce for tea.
I managed to freeze a portion for another day and I froze various small portions which I use as pizza sauce.
I also made some more strawberry jam, using the strawberries from the freezer.
On Saturday I attended a ‘Seed Saving Workshop’ which was run by ‘Ryton Organic Gradens’. It was a really interesting afternoon.
Ryton Organic Gardens run various courses throughout the year and there is loads of interesting information on their website, which you can find here.
In May this year, one of my friends invited me to go on a ‘Dummy run’ for a Foragers Course they were going to be running from our local ‘Eco House’. It was absolutely fascinating. They took me around my local park and introduced me to loads of things that I didn’t know you could eat.
You can see the Eco House website here.
I decided to go foraging for Crab Apples and I wasn’t disappointed. I managed to find a whole bag full, so I could make Crab Apple Jelly. Unfortunately, I sort of made the recipe up and forgot to weigh the apples, but this is how I did it.
Crab Apple Jelly
Crab Apple (I used a carrier bag full)
2 tablespoons of Lemon juice
Muslin or tea towel
First wash and top and tail the apples.
Put them into a large pan with just enough water to cover the apples and add the lemon juice.
Boil for approximately 25 minutes until the apples are soft.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and put your muslin or tea towel in it and boil for 3 minutes. Take it out of the water and wring it out and then leave to cool.
Tip the fruit into the muslin and let it drip overnight or for approximately 8 hours. I find it easier to put the muslin over a colander that is already over a bowl, as it’s easier to pour the fruit into it.
The next day put some side plates or saucers in the freezer to check the setting point of your jelly.
Measure the juice. For every 1 pint of juice, measure 1lb of sugar. Put the juice and sugar back into a large pan and bring it to the boil slowly, over a low heat, until the sugar has dissolved.
When you can see no sugar crystals on the back of your wooden spoon, turn the heat up and boil hard until the setting point has been reached. The apples are high in pectin so this will not take long.
To check the setting point, put a small amount of jelly on a saucer from the freezer and wait for a few moments, push the jelly with your finger and if it wrinkles then the setting point has been reached, if not, just continue boiling for a further five minutes and then check again.
When the setting point has been reached, take the pan off the heat and leave it for fifteen minutes while you sterilise your jars.
If there is scum on your jelly, you can skim it off, but I just stir in a small knob of butter which does the same job.
Sterilise some jam jars (gas mark 4 for 5 minutes)
Pour the jelly into the jars and seal with lids.
I use the jars that have sealable lids (i.e. the jars that jam is sold in at the supermarket). This way you don’t need to worry about wax discs to create a seal. As the jam cools, the lids ‘pop down’ and make you jump.
I worked out that because I used apples that I foraged, my Apple Jelly was just 27p per jar to make. The cheapest jelly I have managed to find in the supermarket is Bramble Jelly which is 80p a jar. The supermarkets don’t seem to stock ‘Apple Jelly’ so I think you would need to buy it from specialist shops too.
It is really easy to make and tastes lovely. You can serve it with meat, or on top of a slice of homemade bread.
We finished the weekend with a lovely family picnic at Bosworth Country Park.
We played cricket, tennis and fed the ducks and we had lovely family time together.
We then went for a long walk. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.
Thank you for reading my blog today.