Saturday, 20 July 2013

Redcurrant delight

   Ive got a bumper crop of Redcurrants this year. The birds have already stared to feast upon them so I decided to start to harvest them before I have non left. The bush looks beautiful laden with red jewels.
   I harvested all these and there is still plenty left on the bush. The problem is trying to think of what to do with them all. Ive still got jars of redcurrant jelly left from last time so I decided to give redcurrant jam a go. It basically just a bit sweeter than redcurrant jelly (and because im not too keen on the seeds in redcurrants then I've turned it into a jelly as well!).
Redcurrant Jam:
1.2kg redcurrants
1kg caster sugar
Put the redcurrants in a pan with 500ml of water. bring to the boil and simmer till the berries are soft and have begun to release their juice.
Strain the redcurrants. ( I do this through a sieve lined with a jay cloth).
Then add the sugar to the juice and let the sugar dissolve. Then bring to a rolling boil. Try the jam test to know when its done.
Then put into sterilise jars. This made three and a half jars of jam for me But they were large jars so it should make about four jars depending on the size.


Soaking up the sun

    All the plants are thriving in the glorious sunshine. After having an almost non-existent summer the last two years, it has really made a change to have a decent spell of warm weather.

   My sweetcorn plants are looking strong and healthy. They are planted in a grid with a few squash plants at their bases and courgette plants around the edges. I cant wait till the super sweet cobs will be ready for harvesting.

   The tomato plants are looking good. The first trusses of fruits are appearing now. These are 'Ferline' and they are always a reliable variety for growing outdoors. 

   Ive planted out a row of Swiss Chard. I love the range of colours you can get from 'Bright Lights'. Ive never managed to get a real harvest from Chard plants before so Im hoping things will change this year.

   My broad bean plants are further behind than normal due to the cold spring. They are in flower at present with no sign of black fly.

   These are my 'Electric Daisy' plants from the home grown revolution by James Wong. The idea of a fizzy numbing sensation from the flowers fascinates me. They are ready to be planted out now and at the moment  small buds are just starting to form.

   I've got a mass of brassicas waiting for space to become available. I've just continued to pot them on to keep them healthy. Hopefully they will be able to follow on from my potatoes when they all get dug up.

  This is my edible hanging basket. Ive done this for the last two year but its looking at its best this year. It consists of three tomato plants - 'Fountain' and 'Rambling Gold Stripe', which were started off in a heated propagator towards the end of March. It then has nasturtium plants which provide edible flowers for salads.

   This is my first courgette harvest. I've grown 'Best of British', 'Safari' and 'Soleil'. I like to have a variety of colours as they look good in dishes. Courgettes are one of my favourite plants to grow so I say bring on the glut! I just hope the hot dry weather doesn't reduce their productivity. I've already had a few courgettes which have been withered at one end which I think may be due to a lack of water.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Hedgerow Bounty

I've not posted in a while. With starting a new job I've not got round to posting, but that doesn't mean things haven't been growing. Things have had a slow start this year due to the cold almost non-existent spring. However this week the sun seems to have finally made a late appearance and the plants are loving it. The hedgerow is also benefitting from the sun and the elderflowers are in full bloom. There's just masses of flowers which means time for a bit of creative cooking. Normally I make elderflower champagne but I've decided to try making a cordial this year and for the price of a few lemons and a kilo of sugar I've got a lovely drink to keep me refreshed. Its also great added to fruit dishes especially any gooseberry puddings.