Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Busy Busy Day!

Seeing as I'm up to my eyes in fruit and insects I thought it was time to get my head down and have a marathon 'processing' session.

My first task was damson gin while the kids were in bed last night. I used this recipe from the website. All went well until this morning when I awoke to a small purple puddle in the kitchen - one of my demi johns had cracked and gin had been slowly leaking out all night. Fortunately the other one was fine so all was not lost.

Next up was cordial made from a mixture of blackberries and elderberries. I used the basic recipe given here but changed the fruit to roughly 2 parts blackberries and 1 part elderberries I also added a pinch of ground cloves and cinnamon to the juice before adding the sugar. I love the resulting cordial, the elderberries give the blackberries additional complexity and depth. Last year I made blackberry vodka but was rather disappointed with the result which I thought was a bit one dimensional and weedy. I'm now wondering how a mixture of blackberries and elderberries would be, I may have to give it a go before the season finishes.

Finally, pear and elderberry jam, from a Marguerite Patten recipe, naturally!

Pear and Elderberry Jam.

1lb each pears and elderberries (peeled, cored weight for the pears)
2lb sugar
3tbsp lemon juice

Chop the pears into small dice and put in a pan with about half a cup of water. Simmer for 10 mins. Add the elderberries and cook til soft. Add the lemon juice and sugar, cook on a low heat til the sugar dissolves then increase the heat and boil til setting point is reached.

Apples can be substituted for pears in this recipe.

So, once I've made my plum and marzipan tart for tea tonight the fruit in the house will be back under control, just a bowlful of pears and apples like any other normal household. So naturally tomorrow I'm off damson picking with friends, oh yes, and then there's the 3kg or so of cherry plums still in the freezer (sigh) I'll miss the fun once the fruit season ends though.


  1. tracey shuddering here a diabetic ...have u ever tried ( sugar free )added sugar of course would it work with a sugar substitute..could be another route u could go down mabee..i dont think jam will ever be good for diabetics tho ......unless u know a way!!!!!!!!

  2. well a busy girl you have been...I went foraging was great fun!!! I Would love to know if you decide to make the vodka!!!!

  3. It's tricky because it's the sugar which preserves the fruit. You can make it with less sugar but then the jam doesn't keep very long. Saying that though, there's a company down here who specialises in making diabetic jam, I'll keep an eye out for them.

  4. I just read your post re the blackberries - if the weather's ok this weekend we're going to pick some blackberries and elderberries and make the vodka.