Tuesday, 15 July 2014

preserving summer

As you are reading this, I am enjoying glorious sunshine in Cornwall. I have scheduled a few posts to be published during my holidays because I have just too much to share. Of course, the glorious sunshine is wishful thinking as I am writing this but I am optimistic.

A warm welcome to my new followers. It is good to see you here. Also, a big thank you for all your lovely comments on my recent posts. I would love to reply to every single one but alas, packing and preparations for James' Birthday are more important today (it is Thursday 10th July as I am writing this).

Anyway. Last week, I suddenly noticed that our redcurrants were ready to be picked. We have two bushes, great croppers. Usually there is a big fat wood pigeon that does a lot of the picking but it must have died because I have never seen quite that many redcurrants on two small bushes. I picked a grand total of 7. 1 kg of berries. It took a long time. It took another long while to decide what to do with the abundance of redcurrants. I froze 2.5 kg for the winter, produced a large bottle of cordial, made redcurrant jelly and a redcurrant tart (of sorts, I am never too sure about the correct naming of baked goods).
 

And because I just love to make preserves and cordials for "leaner" times, I decided to also make some other lovely things.

I was inspired by Elizabeth at Mrs Thomasina Tittlemouse to make lime flower cordial. Lime flowers have the most heavenly scent and I love to drink infusions made from dried lime flowers. Funny thing is, I always buy the stuff in Switzerland, it not once occurred to me that I could actually make my own. Well, I didn't. I don't have space or time for drying large amounts of flowers just now. But I did have enough time to make a few bottles of cordial. I used the same recipe that I use for elderflower cordial, which is super simple. I collected a small carrier bag full of lime flowers. This was not as easy as it sounds because the trees are very tall and it can be a bit of a challenge to find one with low hanging branches. I then placed them in a bowl and added water to just cover the flowers. I left the flowers steeping for a day. Then I drained the liquid through a muslin and measured the flower water. For one litre of flower water I added approximately one kg of sugar. Less is ok if you prefer it less sweet. I use less for berry cordials, about 60 g of sugar for 100 ml of juice. I let the sugar dissolve at a low temperature, then brought it to the boil and added 20g of citric acid. Personally, I prefer citric acid over lemon juice, it gives the cordial a tartness that cannot be achieved by adding lemon juice only, and it is a good preservative, too, allowing for storage in a cupboard.


I also made rose petal jelly, inspired by Anne at Life in Mudspattered Boots. Anne's recipe is for jam but I removed the petals because I tried one and I didn't like the chewiness. I actually made two batches. I first used our own roses, which are scented but not strongly so. I got three small jars and little leftover jelly in a plate. I loved the outcome but wondered what the jelly might taste like if made with a really fragrant rose. Unfortunately we don't own any such rose. We walked through the Botanic Garden however, home of a rose garden.... and we picked a few roses there, white ones, pink ones and really dark pink ones, too. I should probably not admit to this theft. We did however, only pick those that were just over their peak beauty and not many at all. The children are still freezing every time the door bell goes. I have two and a half jars of the most divinely fragrant rose petal jelly and I can't wait for winter. I suppose I could eat some now but as Anne says, it is summer in a jar and best enjoyed when summer is only a distant memory.
 
 
At the off chance that anyone might be thinking I am superwoman, I am not. Making things is my way to unwind after a long day. I also enjoy pottering around the kitchen before I get dressed and ready for the day. I didn't make all the good stuff above in one day! It took a good week of daily unwinding. Then, today, I had an unexpected day to myself because Richard and the kids went to Edinburgh Zoo, giving me 10 hours of freedom, some of which I used to write for my blog.

Have a lovely day, wherever you are.
Cx

26 comments:

  1. I hope you are enjoying plenty of sunshine Christina. I love the sound of your illicitly gained rose petal jelly.

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  2. That rose petal jelly looks fabulous! Hope you have a lovely holdiay there in Cornwall.

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  3. It all looks amazing, I really am impressed.

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  4. Rose petal jelly. I am definitely making that!!
    Leanne xx

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  5. What lovely things. I've been thinking about making blackcurrant cordial. The rose petal jelly looks wonderful. I hope you have a good time in Cornwall. CJ xx

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  6. Wow, I can't believe you got 7 kg of fruit from two small bushes! That's impressive. I've never made rose petal jelly but the glowing pink colour is so seductive, I really want to try it now. Summer in a jar, I like that.

    I hope you are having a wonderful holiday Christina! xx

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  7. We had loads of redcurrants too but the girls kept eating them, they love them. I like the fact that olny because I grow them do I know that they like them - that is what the allotment experience is all about for me. You have made some great stuff there. Jo x

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  8. I actually do think you are a bit of a superwoman, in a very good way. You have a lovely family that takes up so much of your time, you make delicious things and you are packing everyone up for a fantastic trip. Being superwoman is a good thing.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  9. That all looks just quite dee-licious! Hope you're having fun in sunny Cornwall :-)
    Xx

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  10. What lovely things you will have to enjoy later in the year from your storecupboard. I so admire people like yourself who take the time and effort to make preserves and so on. I didn't know that you could make rosepetal jelly! xx

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  11. Definitely shaping up to be superwoman material I think Christina. I seem to barely get dinner made most days of late! Hope you're enjoying a wonderful holiday.
    Would you mind telling me what software you use to create your lovely photo collages. They always look wonderful.

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    1. Hi Fiona. I use PicMonkey, which is an application that can be used online. It is easy to use and versatile but in my hands the application tends to freeze. This is probably because we have super slow broadband, not because of the application.

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  12. You are positIvely prolific, Christina. I am curious about the flavour of the rose petal jelly-not something you can buy in Morrison's. My last attempt at jam making was disastrous. I overboiled my strawberry jam and it's like glue.

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    1. The rose petal jelly tastes a little like Turkish Delight. It must depend on the roses used because my own roses resulted in a delicate flavour but the stolen and very fragrant ones gave a much stronger one.

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  13. What fabulous looking redcurrants. We got so fed up with the birds eating more than us that we replaced our redcurrants with blackcurrants, but I miss home-made redcurrant jelly and yours looks delicious. I'm glad your rose petal jelly worked. I know what you mean about the petals left in; I must admit that I didn't strain mine out mainly because I'm too lazy. Maybe next year. Hope Cornwall is good.

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  14. The rose petal jelly looks lovely. I make rose hip jelly and I wonder if the flavour is similar to the rose patal jelly. Hope you are enjoying Cornwall. We had a short holiday there a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

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    1. I have never made rose hip jelly but I imagine it tastes different because I think the flavour of the rose petal jelly seems to be mostly experienced with the nose (if I make any sense). I am going to collect rose hips this year to put this to the test.

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  15. Love all of this, I've never made my own jelly before xx

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  16. Everything you made sounds wonderful, Christina. I've only ever seen/eaten dried currants, I had no idea they were so bright and pretty when fresh.

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    1. I have a feeling that dried currants are made from a variety of grapes rather than redcurrants? I imagine dried redcurrants would be very sour.

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  17. That rose petal jelly looks delicious! You are super talented, I would love to do something like this but have never tried. I hope you are having a great time in Cornwall. :)

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  18. The preserves look super Christina. I tried making strawberry jam today, it might be a little runny.
    Hope you're having a fantastic holiday!

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    1. I rather like runny strawberry jam!

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  19. How wonderful looks like my kind of fun.

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  20. summer in a jar. I like that xxx

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  21. Rose petal jelly ... just the sound of the words is divine!

    I hope you are enjoying a fabulous holiday :)

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx