Category: Preserves & Chutneys

Fruit Leather

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Gooseberry and blackcurrant Leather ready for the fridge

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.

Gooseberry and Elderflower Jam


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.

  • 1.35kg gooseberries
  • 1.35kg sugar
  • 500ml water
  • 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 – 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.

Herb Jellies

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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.

Plum Chutney

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A surfeit of plums can be turned into a spicy chutney which is great with cold meats and cheese. Found in the English garden Magazine.

  • Chop 450g of stoned plums, an apple and an onion
  • Put in alatge pan and add a handful of raisins, 230g of muscovado sugar and a tbl spoon of salt
  • Add some chopped ginge, grated nutmeg, a cinnamon stick and a few star anise
  • Heat, stir and simmer 'til soft and remove the spice wood
  • Spoon into jars and label

 Job is a goodun!

Rhubarb Chutney

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As we have got a couple of rhubarb crowns to put in to the garden in the spring I decided that now would be a great time to expand the blog with some recipes.

Here's one I found in a gardening magazin.

  • Add 2lb of chopped rhubarb to a saucepan with 2 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1oz chopped root ginger, and half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • Add 1lb each of dark brown muscovado sugar and demerera sugar, 1 pint of red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and the grated rind of 2 oranges.
  • Bring it all to the boil and simmer for 2 hours stirring regularly until it thickens. It goes sticky if you over cook it.
  • Bottle in clean warm jars and cover with plastic tops.