The village fruit and veg show is only 2 weeks away, so I need to get my skates on. Last year I managed a 3rd prize for my crab apple jelly and a second prize for my damson chutney and I would love to do better this time round. As my book came out earlier this year, I now feel I have my reputation as well as fruit to preserve.
The blackberries round here are particularly plump and abundant this year. Last year I did manage to gather some but each berry was small with not a lot of juice. This year it is a very different matter. Yesterday evening I went out to pick some, along with my cat Beau. He wasn’t any help but did bring a certain cute factor to the proceedings. I managed to harvest a large plastic box full in a very short time and as it is still early in the season, I know there will be lots more fruit to come over the next few weeks.
The plan, to make blackberry and nectarine jam, as I picked up some nectarines in the supermarket this week, reduced with yellow labels! (I have become the yellow label queen). I made this preserve for the book and it was a great success. In the recipe it does have added spices in the form of star anise, cloves and cinnamon, but I’m going to forgo the spiced approach and hope the fruit flavours are tasty enough to stand alone. I do love using nectarines in jams as they have a lovely acidic flavour.
There are elderberries almost ready to pick here, so blackberry and elderberry jam is the next jam I’m planning. I love the idea of using two foraged-for-free fruits together.
Plum and elderberry, again there are lots of plums up for grabs on the trees a mere hop skip and a jump from my front door so it seems a shame not to use them up pronto.
Rhubarb and apricot jam, another real star from the book and fast becoming my signature jam, if you can have such a thing. My neighbours rhubarb keeps on coming and I’ve bought some French apricots, as I don’t grow them myself or know anyone with some to spare. So that’s it for starters. Next week is going to be a busy week.
CRAB APPLE JELLY AT LAST YEARS VILLAGE SHOW
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