jamming lessons



jars of jam


I needed to empty my freezer of some of the spare fruit stashed in there.  This stash takes the form of brambles (blackberries), elderberries, damsons and plums so I decided to make more jam to add to my burgeoning supplies.

jam on toast

My stash is becoming hugely diverse in flavours be it jams or chutneys and comes in such mixes as melon and orange, marrow and ginger, plain old plum, damson, bramble and apple, apple and lavender jelly, beetroot chutney or apple and plum chutney but I am always on the scrounge for new ingredients that I can put in my maslin pan and I am always looking out for new recipes to pique a bit of pallet interest.

I love the concept of one pot cooking, be it casseroles, rissotttos, soups or anything else that effectively involves chucking (in an orderly and timely fashion of course) all your ingredients into a big cauldron (ah, there is something in that) so jam making is right up my street.

marrow and ginger jam

I only really started making Jams last year but since I am never more delighted than when receiving a culinary treat, it inspires me to make similar and I just love the personal touch a foody gift has especially when you present it to a generous host (along with the requisite gallons and gallons of wine!).

I read somewhere recently that the only thank you a guest should arrive with is an edible or quaffable one!!  I couldn’t agree more.

bramble and elderberry jam

Anyway today it was to be bramble and elderberry jam, damson jam and damson and plum jam.


The bramble and elderberry was a treat and tastes divine, not to mention the amazing colour.

Some of the damsons had been stoned in the vein hope that I might make a pudding (not something I do with any kind of regularity, I’m afraid, and probably to the disappointment of most people who sit around our table to be fed!).


sweet plums


I did learn a jamming lesson today though and that is:- the pectin from plum stones is invaluable and removing the stones before cooking makes the setting process a lot harder, especially if you are like me and prefer to use natural sources of pectin to adding it from a packet.


#3 even more free food

crab apples, haws & elderberries

crab apples, haws & elderberries

My polite gift of Damson jam has gained me access to the various other untapped seasonal fruit resources on the farm.  Today, I have gained a basket full of crab apples. Some of the apples will go into the freezer to be added to my recent stash of Brambles so that I can make my favourite fruit pudding; Bramble and Apple Crumble. I will set aside what I need for an apple and elderberry crumble (to be made as pudding for the farmer who is coming to dinner while the farmer’s wife is surfing in Cornwall!). The damson and Elderberry Pie will have to wait for another day (freezer permitting).

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#1 food For free

IMG_9885I’ve always liked the idea of food for free or making the most of the seasonal resources around us.  I don’t think I’ve missed many years when it comes to making the most of the brambles along our local (city) railway walk or around the hedgerows of the countryside.

The day before yesterday, though, I got permission from the farm to harvest the wild Damsons and Elderberries that grow among the trees of their spinney.


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