Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Making jam from (stolen) plums

I was in charge of the shop all day on Friday!  The shop manager asked me to cover whilst she went to a music festival, so I had to open up, cash up and lock up all on my own.  It was fine and everything went well, we weren't that busy, but I got on with some jobs, including ordering lots of goodies from Shared Earth.  It made a change from my usual tidy-Friday routine.

I ordered a selection of winter veg and spring veg plug plants from DT Browns.  I could have sown my own, but I've been so busy on the plot that the idea of having a batch of plug plants arriving in the post was too tempting.  The winter veg plug plants arrived on Friday so I planted them out on Saturday morning.  I got 4 each of kale, cabbage, cauliflower and sprouting broccoli.  They came wrapped in white paper inside a cardboard box.  Chris had already prepared the beds, so all I had to do was plant them and water them in - you can't get easier than that!  The spring veg plants should arrive mid September.  It cost £11 + postage, so £14 altogether, which is a bit expensive, but not too bad if it provides us with veg all winter and spring.

I spotted this baby cauliflower.

Chris harvested all the onions on Saturday morning.  There was about 200 altogether, he washed them, then hung them up in the shed to dry out on some special shelves he's put up.

Me with the onions.

We harvested the pink fir apple potatoes which look weird but tasted very nice.

Picked some more toms.

In the afternoon we went for a mega bike ride, probably about 10 miles I reckon.  We saw a heron and a green wagtail and we stopped for an ice lolly.  We ended up on top of a hill and we got a bit lost so we had to turn back.  It started raining at one point and neither of us had taken any waterproofs - slightly unprepared but we'll know next time.  I was so tired and saddle sore when I got home, but I think the exercise must have done me good, we both enjoyed it.

On Saturday after the bike ride I made an allotment chilli with loads of veg off the plot.  It took a while to make (broad beans take ages to pod and then remove from their skins!), but it was worth it and I had it again for my lunch on Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday Chris cut the tops off the potatoes to allow the skins to thicken before we harvest them next week.

Our allotment neighbour's plum tree has snapped in half due to the weight of all the plums on it - it's such a shame, it's completely broken and will need to be chopped down.  The plums that were on it have started to ripen and they were just going to waste so I lent over the fence and took some home to make plum jam.  It was lots of fun making the jam and very easy too.  It didn't set as well as I would have liked, but it's fine for on toast.  It tastes delicious!  I think I may have got the jam making bug.  All I used was 1 pint of water, 4lb of plums and 4lb of sugar (it's quite sweet so maybe I could have got away with less sugar, it seemed like loads when I weighed it out).  I ended up with 8 jars, which was more than I thought.  I quite fancy making blackberry jam next.

The tomatoes are really starting to turn red now and we've already had a couple of good harvests.  They taste fantastic and I challenge any supermarket tomato to the taste test - I know the homegrown ones will win hands down!


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