I’ve not really ever been much of a gardener ( what an admission), I dabble a bit and definitely start the season with good intentions but as the year goes on I always seem to lose my way.
I also get those begrudging comments of encouragement from the wife, “why didn’t you read the instructions … really helpful!
This year the worm turned, everything I touched seemed to grow and flourish. My Runner beans, French beans, Courgettes, Beetroot, (see how possessive I’ve become), all burst into life, my carrots grew long and straight and my Tomato’s just took over the greenhouse. The Pak Choi was a revelation but I think I need to thin them out next year- any tips gratefully received.
However, my saving grace and salvation came from the humble Damson. Having just moved into our new house I can’t take credit for the planting or nurturing of the trees, they were just part of the fixtures and fittings when we arrived. However it was I who harvested the little beauties and it was I who paraded into the kitchen to announce that from now on, we were to become self-sufficient in Damson Jam!
In a flurry of excitement and activity, the recipe book was read, the saucepans were arranged and the sugar weighed. A peek in the cupboard and hey presto- six Burgon & Ball’s ‘Delicious Jam Jars’, these are great as they can transform a humble jar of jam into something stylish and presentable.
Everything went well- sort of! What on earth was a setting point? What did it look like, it tasted nice but I’m a 6ft rugby player and I was never prepared for this. A call to my mother and sanity was restored, eventually the point was reached and the jars filled with a wonderful luscious deep crimson molten goooooo. Labelled and with the lids screwed tight I not only have a wonderfully full larder but also the beginnings of a sustainable source of affordable Christmas presents. For peace of mind may I suggest you download Burgon & Ball’s Harvest Recipe Book before you begin?
At this point I think my wife finally understood why I persisted with the garden and why I wanted to ‘grow my own’. As the jam cooled we couldn’t resist it anymore, spoonful’s later we were busily planning the next kitchen garden adventure- Chutney seems to be the firm favourite – to be continued!
Finally, as a resident of Dorset I have come to love the local speciality- Dorset Apple Cake, I’m sure there are regional variation’s but whatever recipe you follow it’s a great way to use up the apples from the garden. Top Tip the NEW Apple Picker is superb, take a peek; it really helped me to safely reach the ones at the top of the trees.
I’ll let you know how I get on but if you have any recipes you can recommend then please post them back to me.
Happy Gardening and Good Luck in the kitchen.