Having made our own dehydrator, we have successfully made some fruit leather. Started with blackcurrant as these ripened first. Not a difficult decision.
So took some fruit and added some lemon juice. This is to help keep the colour apparently. put that in a saucepan and simmer until soft. Blitz that with a stick blender removing any big lumps. Taste and add honey if you want to. Spread this out thinly on a parchment lined baking tray and whack it in the dehydrator in the sun.
Leave it until it is no longer tacky to touch then remove it. Take it off the parchment, cut it up, roll it into, well, rolls, and put in the fridge.
Great hill food to accompany a sandwich and the internet seems to suggest it will keep for up to a month.
Incidently, we measured the temperature inside the solar dehydrator to be 55 degrees centigrade. Not sure whether that is good or not but it seems to work well.
The last time we made gooseberry jam it came out more like some industrial adhesive suitable for use underwater for repairing oil rigs. Though there may have been a market for it we had insufficient sully to meet the probable demand.
This time we think we have a winner (on the edible front without removing teeth).
Gooseberries generally are high in pectin and come in two basic types. One is green and hard and generally stays that way and the other ripens later to a purple colour and sweetens and is great for tarts and fruit salads. For jam use the former and pick at the same time as the elderflowers are out.
6-8 heads of elderflowers
Clean, top and tail the gooseberries and put in a jam pan with the water. Bring to the boil and stir occasionally for about 20-30 minutes until softened. Meanwhile cut the stems off the flowers and place in a muslin bag. Once soft add the sugar and the muslin bag, boil the mix while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil hard until setting point is reached at 104 â€“ 105 degrees. It may have a tendency to burn as the fruit settles out so stir occasionally. Once ready pour into warmed jars and seal for storage.
Windfall apples make the best base, but you can experiment with quinces, crab apples, medlars and currants. Combinations such as crab apple n sage, apple n lavender flowers and redcurrant n rosemary are all great. You can add food colouring to make each combo distinctive.
Chop up 3lb/1.35kg of fruit and boil for 30 minutes until soft, add a few sprigs of sage, lavender, mint or rosemary
Strain through muslin resisting the urge to squeeze as it will make the jelly cloudy
Measure the volume of the juice and add 3/4lb or 350g sugar to every 20fl oz or 570ml juice
In a saucepan bring gently to boil dissolving the sugar, add finely chopped herbs or flowers
Boil for 10-15 minutes until setting point is reached (test a teaspoon full on a saucer of cold water – if it sets it is ready)
Bottle and label in jars
Another one from "Francine Raymond" in The English Garden.