Abundance of plums

The other day H emails about an abundance of plums in his garden and would I like some. Of course I would! Not that I’ve any space to store jam, enough empty jars nor do Beloved and I have the capacity to eat so much jam (considering there’s still a bit of marmalade left and quite a bit of strawberry and gooseberry jams I made over summer). Anyway, a rather large bag of ripe Victoria plums awaited me at work on Monday morning and I’ve now managed to use it all up, which I’m super happy with. Here are some of the results:



The dark colour of the jam comes from dark brown sugar – as the plums were ripe and I didn’t have time to go shopping for sugar, I just used what I had at home, which ended up being a mix of jam sugar and dark brown sugar. Also added blanched kernels from plum stones as per River Cottage Preserves handbook. Tastes great.

I then roasted half a kilo, drizzled with honey to use for ice cream, which I’ll hopefully make over the weekend. This left me with just over a kilo of plums, which, combined with a few apples in the fruit bowl, made a plum-bena or a cordial/ squash type thing, recipe from River Cottage again. This is just delicious and should keep for a few months.

Have really enjoyed making preserves this year, I’ve never made any before so it’s been a good learning experience. I wish I had more time and space to do savoury stuff, pickles, passata, chutneys… perhaps next year.


Sweet cucumber pickle



My mum used to pickle cucumbers when I was little. Everyone did in those days, spending weeks every summer preserving anything and everything to eat over long winter months. I’m glad pickling and preserving are making a bit of a comeback – easy to do, you end up with delicious food and recycle old jars. This Sweet cucumber pickle is seriously good, I made it yesterday, using recipe from River Cottage Preserves Handbook, which I’d highly recommend to anyone as it’s inexpensive and full of really good recipes to do all year round. Unlike most of the preserves in the book, this is a perishable pickle and needs to be used up within a couple of weeks. Don’t think that will be difficult – we tried it out on white crusty bread with some good cheddar and it was very good indeed. We’re off to stay in Wales for a few days with Beloved’s family and his brother said how much he liked pickled cucumbers, so I’ve made it as a gift but the recipe makes two 540g jars, which is just perfect. The preserving book has quite a few more recipes I’d like to try but have now totally run out of both jars and space. I will try the family ribena – that sounds quite fun as you can make it with any red/ dark fruit by the sounds of it.

Strawberry picking and jam

I have my very own strawberry jam! Very excited! As it’s the first time I’ve ever made it, thought it would be nice to go to a pick your own farm for strawberries. Took a day off work and set off early to Parkside Farm near Enfield. Glorious weather and I’m glad I was there early before it got too hot. Glorious strawberries too.parkside farm strawberries close up


I only needed a kilo for the jam, recipe from River Cottage Preserves Handbook, but could not stop myself from picking way more than needed.

parkside farm strawberries


I also got very overexcited at broad beans, so yes, picked way more than needed…

parkside farm broad beans


I’d completely forgotten that the walk back to bus stop was up a hill. Total fruit & veg weight (including green onions and gooseberries) was 7+kg…



Strawberry jam, made, bottled, cooling. I feel this will go very quickly but the girl at the farm shop said they’ll have strawberries right up until October so I can go back for more if needed.

Having picked a lot more strawberries than needed, am also making a cheesecake for Beloved’s family get together this weekend and strawberry ice cream. Should still have some left over too. Marvellous.