And to Jams & Chutneys…..

OK, so this year I decided I was going to make proper use of our fruit trees. In the past I have occasionally collected some plums and apples and made various cakes and tarts, but nothing more. This year I was determined to experiment and actually use as much as I could.

*Experiment is the key word here :) *

I was really happy this year because the green gage plum (Reine Claude plums as they call them in France (I think)) trees yielded some good fruit. We thought the gardener might have murdered their fruit producing abilities when he pruned them last because I’m pretty sure that we had very little or no fruit from them last year. Suffice to say this year I got more than enough! I actually love greengages more than the Victoria plum variety. They have this rich musky sweet flavour, but not sickly sweet. Also I love the golden coloured jam they produce (especially when it’s got tiny specks of vanilla in it too. Makes it look so pretty). It’s funny, when I was preparing the fruit for the jam- they were the last things that I expected would stain my hands. The reddy pink Victorias didn’t at all and I must have de-stoned about 8 kg of them. The greengages though- they turned my hands bright orange after about 6 kg! So bizzare considering that neither the skin or flesh are that colour.

Anyway I collected some last week when the weather was good-ish- as in the above picture. The picture below is when the horrible weather that more or less confirmed that we never actually had a summer struck. It made most of the good fruit (mostly the Victoria below and greengages) fall.

^ I was not happy. :(

Thankfully though, most of the apples have stayed where they are which means I have a little more time to collect them and make some of the chutney that I’ve planned. That is after I figure out what the different varieties are. I know one of the kinds of apple is Bramley- but the other green one and the red one I am not sure about. I would like to know because one of them doesn’t cook down into a mush and it would be handy to know what it’s called so I know to recommend that one for certain recipes!

I haven’t taken pics of the finished jams and chutney yet as I am still making some. When I have finished- tonight probably (for some of them) I shall take some pics. I am up to about 80 jars so far.

Today a friend brought me some of the last tomatoes from her garden. I am excited (sad, I know) because I have this tomato apple jam recipe that I really want to try out. I’m not sure how I’m going to flavour it yet though.

Anyway what I have made so far:

  • Victoria plum and vanilla jam with a hint of cinnamon.
  • Plain old Victoria jam because certain people requested to have it sans any messing about with.
  • Greengage and Vanilla jam (my fav)
  • Apple and bergamot jam with a hint of cardamom (idea courtesy of James <3)
  • Spiced plum and chilli chutney
  • Spiced fruit (basically a mix of all the fruits in the garden – apples, pears<– that were so annoyingly hard!, plums and greengages) chutney.

I added onion and garlic and stuff like that to both the chutney. My friend that brought over the tomatoes tried them both with some amazing mature cheddar I found on the weekend and loved them. Especially the second one. I think after about a month or so of maturing they will taste much better.

What I hope to make in the upcoming week or so

  • Quince and something jam (haven’t decided what yet, but I intend to get some quinces from my friend’s garden when they are ripe.)
  • Tomato and apple chutney
  • Apple chutney of some sort
  • And a jelly. I haven’t made a jelly ever and I really want to try. They look so pretty in the bottle. :)

Any other ideas for flavours and combinations I should try are more than welcome!