Friday, 11 September 2009
I cannot explain why, but come late summer, early autumn, I am just possessed with the urge to squirrel away as much preserved food for the winter as I can. We don't eat much jam or chutney, but I HAVE to make it - it is so satisfying and it makes good presents or thank you gifts. I love to try out new preserving recipes, love to save home-grown fruit and vegetables in the freeze, love to make wine, and above all love to go out and gather the wild harvest of blackberries, elderberries, sloes, crab apples, wildings apples, and in the past hips, haws and nuts too. I know that my maternal grandmother used to make all her own preserves, wine, cook everything from scratch and loved to bake, and so I guess I definitely have lashings of her domestic genes (I fear they skipped a generation with my mum although she was interested in cooking, she wasn't much cop at it! She did, however, make very good plum wine though.)
This year the blackberries have been threatening to go over early, due to all that rain we had at the end of August, but I am hoping that they may rally now and give a few more berries. I was reduced to picking in the rain the other afternoon, and also picking first thing in the morning for fear they would grow blue beards after a cold and wet night.
I cannot resist yet another Preserves book, and love to try out new recipes. Being given a bag of empty jam jars is like being given a prize and looking at my larder shelves filled with different jams, jellies and chutneys fills me with great pleasure. What better than to taste bramble jelly on the darkest, greyest, wettest of winter days, or to have home-made mincemeat at Christmas, and what better smell than the very first blackberry and apple crumble of the season?