Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Making ghost jam and other yummy stuff

My obsession with making preserves started probably about three years ago.

Living in Brockley then, right next to the Brockley & Ladywell Cemetary gave Kenn and me the inspiration, because we found out that one can forage for the most amazing and succulent blackberries there.

They grow on thick scratchy bushes, the kind, that one would imagine grew around Sleeping Beauty as she lay there sleeping for too many years.

When picking berries, I usually dive right in to reach for the biggest berries and of course, I come out badly scratched on my arms and legs. Somehow, I never seem to care too much about it at the time, although I do get quite annoyed when I want to wear a skirt, but look like I have been in a fight with a couple of wild cats.

I even destroyed Kenn's favourite Muji raincoat this year (in the vain attempt to protect my skin). I didn't mean to poke hundreds of holes into it, it kind of just happened :( I guess I am getting a bit carried away when foraging!
I still feel guilty about the raincoat, but the jam was amazing, especially the one where we added a bit of vanilla!

Unfortunately, it wasn't ghost jam this year, as we don't live in Brockley anymore, but the Danish blackberries were also pretty yummy!

Each time, I draw individual labels for the jars of jam, marmalade and jelly and of course for the bottles of syrup.
It is fun to do and once the cupboard is full, without a label, I would not be able to remember what delicious treasure is in where.

This year, Kenn and I tried to preserve lots of new things too. We made an apple jam with cardamom, which is one of my favourite spices. We foraged for elderberries and pears, here in Aarhus and made syrup. From the elderflowers,we made cordial, which is very aromatic and refreshing! And when we where on holiday this summer, we picked lots and lots of rosehips. But to be honest, I thought they were a bit of a pain to clean and deseed!

We also made hedgerow jelly (there is a great receipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall), which has a mix of apples and rosehips.

Recently, I experimented with making preserved lemons. The jury is still out on whether it is any good, as one is meant to leave it closed for at least four weeks. I am very curious!

A couple of weeks ago, we also tried our hands at making our very first batch of English orange marmalade.
The one where we added whiskey is now my absolute super-├╝ber favourite!
It is so good that I could eat it straight from the jar, although on a piece of fresh bread with butter, it is simply heaven!

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