The past two weeks have seen me exercising my inner hedge women. I am priveledged to live in the countryside of the Garden of England, and so when it comes to autumn there is always a lot to harvest, and while my mother has been diligently getting it from our kitchen garden, I've been scouring the hedges.
The last year has been an excellent one for fruit, apart from blackberries as far as I can tell, they've been very wet, and so I've had tons of things to find uses for. Obviously it has been a week of many crumbles and fruity tea bread and traybakes.
But of course I've also been preserving. Last weekend it was crab apple Jelly time. Jelly is always a wee bit more effort to make than jam as there is the whole straining the fruit element, and the trying not to squeese the cloth to speed it along element. But at the end you get left with lovely jewel like clear beautiful jelly, which makes it worth it.
Look how pretty and rosy they are, I also used a few regular apples that I found in a tree on my dog walk, to bump up the quantity.
The other advantage of Jelly over Jam in this case is that you don't need to peel, and core the crab apples, which would be a complete faff, as they are so tiny. You just stew and then strain them. No one needs to see how inelegant that process was for me.
Then you add the sugar, and start boiling it. This is where my Jam pan comes really in handy as it is massive, and sugar loves to boil high and over.
Then it was just a matter of waiting until the sugar thermometer reach the Jam temp.
Then pouring them into jars. Crab apples (or apples in general) are great to make jam with as they are so high in pectin that they set beautifully.
I also found a ton of greengages, which I wanted to make into a plum tea bread. But I had nothing to make it for this week, and it would just end up being half wasted. So I decided that preserving them was in order, so I could use them at my leisure.
It's way too early to make mincemeat, I don't do that until about late Oct/ early Nov, but the preserving process was inspired by mincemeat.
I added sloe gin, and a ton of sugar. I also added some dried fruit, and left it to soak over night. I have now dubbed it my tea bread mix.
Then I put it in sterilised jars, and that is all I had to do. Now it will be ready for when I want to make my tea bread. I'll let you know how it works out.
Next I've got to do something with my elderberries and rose hips.
Love Eggs xxx