Monday, 3 October 2011

Rosehip Jelly recipe

Wartime recipe for rosehip syrup

Pick 2 lbs rosehips. Wash and put them in a large pan whole.
For modern ease, you can whizz them up in a blender. Either way, cover them well with water, cover and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes. If whole, crush when soft. Strain and keep liquid. Put rosehips back in the pan, cover with fresh water, bring to boil and simmer for around 10 minutes again. Strain and keep liquid.

 Pour both lots of liquid through a jelly bag (or clean tights!) to remover any of the little irritating hairs. Place strained liquid into a clean pan and simmer until reduced to around 1.5 pints.

 Add 1lb 2oz sugar and slowly dissolve over a low heat. When completely dissolved, bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Pour into clean, hot bottles and seal.

A great source of vitamin C and good for preventing winter colds :~)

September's catchup ...

Toadstools in the woods
 (Belatedly) September saw everyone heading back to school and one to college and us getting used to a different, quieter routine with plenty of work in the day and family time squished into busy evenings.

We scrounged medlars from a friend which are now happily maturing on the driveway ...


Canned green beans and a token egg :~)
 I had another go at canning allotment produce, this time it was green french beans. I tried raw packing them and it was so easy! Basically, just heat the clean jars in the oven, wash and chop the beans straight into the hot jars. Fill with boiling water and process in the canner. Simples :~) I haven't tried them yet but they look wonderful ... every time I look at them I think of winter stew and dumplings.

I'm really pleased about the beans after the goldengage (not-quite-a) disaster because this was exactly what I bought the canner for ... to preserve our allotment gluts cheaply, easily and not worry about it taking up precious freezer space. Have you ever frozen homegrown beans? Bleugh ... the canned ones look far better!

Next year, I'll be growing about five times the amount at least!

September seedhead

Blue sky and autumn sun
 We've had plenty of woodland walks and foraged plenty ... one walk saw two buckets filled to the brim with crabapples! If you fancy trying out some crabapple jelly, look here.

So, far there have been about three lots of crabapple foragings and about 11 or 12 jars of jelly. The last lot was combined with rosehips in a beautiful autumnal mixture of goodness :~) The recipe was baed on the usual crabapple one (mentioned above) but just used part rosehips weight for weight.
Rosy crabapple

Crabapple nibbled by a grateful mouse ... so sweet!


 We've had some splendid autumn storms with rainbows, the tail end of a hurricane and torrential rain.
Rainbow after the storm

Stormy sky

Stormy sunset

Rain-drenched lane

Watercress soup
 I visited a local farmshop to buy ten bunches of watercress (yes, ten) and found that they sold raw cream ... wonderful, so buttery.

We've also been frantically seed saving ... peas, borlotti beans and wartime heirloom beans. There's something deeply satisfying and soul-pleasing about seed saving and generally squirreling the harvest away :~)

Wartime heirloom beans ... love the colour!
 We also scrounged a fair few damsons off a friend to make damson jam. It took many hours to make but was so worth it! Perfect in rice pudding ...
New young lettuce plants

August's catchup ...

Home-produced eggs
 (Belatedly!) August was so hectic! It was the Summer holidays so we had all five children at home which was wonderful ... the best time of the year :~) This year, were decided not to go away as such but to have lots of days out, spread out over the holidays which were interspersed by mornings of swimming and a few days at home and the allotment. We did our work in the evenings, sometimes stretching into the night and we all fell into an easy rhythm. I must admit, we were all pretty sad when school and college came along in September and broke our happy little routine!

Dragon cloud in a woodland lane

Golden wheat field

Eyebright ... note the allotment fingers!

We celebrated a special birthday :~)

Picnicky days out ...

Printing with inks

Creating a printed bag

Wild juniper berries
Allotmenty lizard :~) A rare find!

Allotment slow-worm ... a long one!

Allotment harvest

The heavens opened on a day out!
Wow! What a fantastic summer! It was the best ever :~) Thanks kids!

Harvests of golden and green ...

Beautiful goldengages
 (Belatedly!) July saw wonderful harvests of the goldengages and so, so many broad beans along with the usual seasonal crops.

I tried to can the goldengages by following the instructions for plums but I'm pretty disappointed to be honest. It's the first time I've tried canning any allotment produce so a bit of a learning curve! I chose to hot pack them because I read that the look of the fruit/veg is far less likely to deteriorate but based on this experience I'm inclined to disagree! Basically, the instructions said to par-boil the plums (goldengages) in the prepared syrup, then to put them in the jars, fill with the syrup and pressure can them. By the time I'd got them to the boil they were starting to disintigrate so you can imagine the mush by the time they'd been in the canner :~(

Honestly, they're not even worth a photo (unusually for me, I'm known for photographing everything!) but I've kept them with the plan to use them in crumbles with some chunky apple or something similar ... :~/
Broad bean feast