An embarrassment of riches…

Aug 10th, 2014

An embarrassment of riches…

The cherries, raspberries and strawberries are all over now which is a shame because they were a very welcome addition to breakfast every day…

However the plums are now ripe and there is an embarrassingly large number of them considering they come from one small tree. I’ve had a bit of a battle picking them as the wasps are equally keen to have them. After experimenting with a number of techniques (some of which were going to give me either a broken ankle or some nasty stings or both..) – I put a midge jacket and a pair of gloves on and gently brushed the branches of the tree with a soft bristled yard brush. This knocked all the ripe fruit to the ground where I could pick it up – carefully avoiding the wasps, but left the green ones on the tree.

I reckon I have had about 20kg so far and there is still a fair number left. So today I made jam and a few plum crumbles. I have a load left to process tomorrow so I think I will make some chutney and incorporate the very last of the tomatoes which I had to pick green as the plants were in the last stages of dying off.

The recipe for the jam was super simple. Take 1.5kg of plums and cut them in half, removing the stones. Add 400ml water and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add 1.25kg of sugar, stir and bring to a rolling boil until the mixture reaches setting point. It said on the site I got this from that it would be 15 mins – but for me it was more like 20. I test for it by putting a plate in the fridge and then putting a teaspoon of the jam on to it and leaving it for a minute or two. When it sets (slightly) doing this and crinkles when you push it – it will set in a jar. This makes 8 standard jars of jam – I don’t do anything complicated to sterilize the jars, I just wash them in hot soapy water, rinse them and then fill them with nearly boiling water and leave them for five minutes before emptying and giving them a good shake. Fill them carefully using a ladle and don’t spill it on your hands because jam burns are very painful. Apparently this keeps for a year but it won’t in this house….

We have apples nearly ready and the brambles in the hedgerows will literally only be a day or two now. So shortly we should be able to have my all time favourite of bramble and apple pie.

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