Of Marmalade, Absences and Birthdays

My kitchen has turned into something of a preserve making factory.  My new maslin pan has finally recovered from its encounter with the gooseberries and has been churning out marmalade in vast quantities.  This is something that is slightly against the seasons and not entirely in keeping with my inner forager.  But then again, as an urbanite, surely it is acceptable now and again to do a spot of foraging in Tescos?  No?

Back to the marmalade.  The school my daughter attends is having its annual Open Day soon.  Having threatened to overwhelm not only my family, but our whole neighbourhood in preserves, it seemed a good opportunity to get rid of some.  Of course, I will brush up on my sales pitch before the day dawns.  I watch The Apprentice.  I know how it’s done.  If ‘You look pretty, let’s get you naked,’ works for selling fake tan, how difficult can shifting a few jars of preserves be?

So I have been hard at it.  Paddington would be proud.

In fact, Paddington would be in heaven.  I have made Orange Marmalade with Whisky, Lime Marmalade, Red Grapefruit Marmalade and Lemon & Lavender Marmalade.  The lavender I pinched from my neighbour though it is a little early in the season.  I have been experimenting with the recipe and have not got it quite right yet.  It is beautifully lemony but needs more lavender.  Next batch.  When I am satisfied, I will post the results.  Of course, I did not stop there.  There has also been Red Onion Marmalade, Strawberry & Rose Petal Syrup, Cassis (not for sale!) and Blueberry Vinegar.  Then there were the herb jellies: Lemon Thyme, Sage and Mint – all from my herb garden.  I think that qualifies as foraging.  At least it does in my book.  As a townie, an urbanite and someone to whom gardening has always been an anathema, I declare it so.  I have a feeling there has been more too but my memory has now short circuited.  And I have almost run out of jars.  This is a disaster.  It has curtailed my activity more than anything else.  The Captain is quite pleased.  He thinks I was becoming obsessed.  Can’t think what gave him that idea.  Fortunately, I still have plenty of bottles …

So, while no recipes in this post, I think you can see why I have been a little absent.  I have been collapsing in a heap at the end of the day wondering why my eyes have stopped working and I ache all over.  The eyes not working mystery was solved today when I cleaned my glasses.  Marvellous improvement.  Must do it more often.

It is also birthday season.  One of my park-walking friends became the victim of my foraging/preserving mania today.  I put together a mini-hamper for her of various bits and pieces and it ended up looking like this:

It had all sorts of stuff in it, including: Chilli Vodka, Red Onion Marmalade, Compost Heap Jelly, Raspberry Vinegar, Elderflower Cordial and Lemon & Lavender Marmalade.  More on birthdays tomorrow!

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13 thoughts on “Of Marmalade, Absences and Birthdays

    • She most definitely was! A most wonderful present – although I feel the chilli vodka may have been a bit much at 10 in the morning! It maybe should have a warning label on it!

      • Hoorah! Glad you liked it. I don’t recall saying you HAD to drink the chilli vodka at 10am … Perhaps you should try it in the Bloody Mary recipe I’m posting soon?

  1. So pretty! Am going to send you that recipe. It has been niggling me and I think I’ve found a away……

  2. I think that if doesn’t matter where you forage as long as you keep to the core concept of not paying for produce.

    This might be an issue at Tesco, best to have the Wandering Bark ready for a quick getaway 😉

  3. I ran out of ‘foraged’ jars last year (I made 350 pots of jam) but found that they weren’t too expensive to buy – http://www.jarsandbottles-store.co.uk/index.php/glass-jars-with-lids/12oz-hexagonal-jar.html

    This year I have more people collecting second-hand jars for me – I have over 400 in my office – wish you were closer – you could have some! Mind you, our first rhubarb crop has yielded 65 pots of jam/jelly so they’ll soon go!

    Keep the recipes coming – I’m always looking for inspiration…

    • Thanks Sue, I’m not surprised you ran out! I had no idea you were such an avid maker – I am such a novice. I was relying on my Mum’s rhubarb crop and have just discovered it died in this winter’s snow 😦 Thanks for the link. I’ve had to resort to the Jam Jar Shop and Wares of Knutsford, especially for bottles, but I’m hoping, like you, that I’ll have enough people collecting for me for next year.

  4. I feel like a novice too – even though I’ve been making jam for years! it’s more art than science and sometimes I have to resort to mystic chants by moonlight in order to get the stuff to set!

    “Food for Free” was one of my teenage favourites, when I still had time to wander the countryside and didnt spend all my time ferrying greyhounds to the vet!

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