Well the blackberry and apple jam has turned out alright despite me using eating apples. I prefer Bramleys or crab apples with this recipe as it gives it a spikier sharper flavour but for a free pick of blackberries and using up some eating apples on a thrifty perspective it has not come up too badly. The only thing with eating apples is that they really hold their shape where Bramleys go soft, so I just had to cut the apples up into tiny bits. But it is a wonderful colour and I have five jars out of this just for a little time and effort and being thrifty. The jam will be lovely on scones with fresh cream. Yum. I am hoping to get more though as a great favourite in this house is bramble jelly.
I also got five jars of Victoria plum jam as well. I made a last minute batch yesterday before going to bed so quite a bit of jam made yesterday.
This evening I have another batch of Victoria Plum jam to make and I also have Victoria plum jelly to start off - it is ideal as a base for stir fries. I also want to make some plum chutney. If you have time if you can make some chutney now it means it will be well matured in time for Christmas. I shall get more plums tomorrow off the market for bottling - when it came to it the plums I got were a little softer than I thought they were so they have been used in other ways.
Whilst blackberrying yesterday I came across some rosehips. They are not quite full colour yet but I have my eye on them to dry for rosehip powder and also for rosehip jelly and syrup.
That C word - no apologies - I am not using it on a commercial basis I am using it more for organisation and getting things squirrelled away. The prime idea behind the Christmas box and with the preserving is that primarily I aim the choice of foods towards Christmas but in reality the preserves will last a year; chutneys even longer. You have to use your common sense when it comes to food and best before dates. Or if a particular preserve has not shifted as quickly like a marmalade you can always use them up in muffins or the like or strain the peel out and use it as a base for an orange sauce to go with chicken or duck.
One of the things I really am not into is buying cake - I would rather just make a little here and there and the jams get used up in this, with puddings and with pies and tarts. Plum jelly is also a nice alternative to apple sauce with a piece of roast pork and can also be used as a sweetner in hot toddies as well as can crab apple jelly. Redcurrant jelly gets used up in gravies as does a little cranberry jelly. Plums can also be mixed with a few elderberries to give a slightly different version of the jam and also with apple - if you only have a few plums topping it up with apple makes it go that little further and gives a slightly different flavour.
Also when making jellies do not discard the waste that is left after draining the juice away. Pop it through a fine meshed sieve and pass it through you will end up with a thick paste consistency and this can be cooked on the top of the cooker in a pan with sugar to make either a thick membrillo style paste which can be chopped into squares and sugared and served as sweetmeats or turned into a cheese to be served with proper cheese and crackers. So this is what I will do with the leftovers from the jelly. You have to be ever so careful when doing this as things can catch ever so quickly because of the density and the sugar so you do have to hover over it and watch it like a hawk. Also if it spits keep out of the way as it is boiling hot sugar and it hurts. I know this from past experience.
One of the benefits of making your own preserves is that you have ready made presents to give to those non-cooking friends. All you have to do is pretty the jar up and label and probably give it with a nice bottle of wine or a jar of chutney as a Christmas present. So nothing need go to waste. There are always strategies for dealing with things.
Catch you later.