Morellos and such

We were able to pick some exquisite Morello cherries at a friend’s orchard on Monday, red currants also. Morellos always look like beautiful glistening jewels in the bucket as they are plucked from the tree.

They keep their colour when preserved too (bottled the water bath/Fowlers way).

20170112_07553720170113_132658Then Morello cherry cordial is very hard to beat – its colour too is absolutely amazing.

In the strainer in the photo is the pulp – you can see it has given its colour (and flavour) over to the cordial liquid.  Our chickens like the pulp though, or if there’s too much even for them, it can go the way of the compost heap.

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I will use this Morello syrup not just as a cordial, but also as a ready-made coulis, or to flavour ice cream (or drizzle over it), or yoghurt or add a little splash to a gravy or jus ….. and so on.

The red currants have been made into a jelly – best use for them I think. This will be used to glaze little fruit tarts as the year progresses, with a little kept aside for scones, toast and lovely, fresh baked bread.

While I was at it, I preserved some stewed nectarines and apricots. These are very handy to make fruit crumbles and pies. If you bottle it unsweetened, you can use it to make jam and chutney during the year as well.

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In the background of the photo below you can see the pressure canner.

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Hmmm – I have been a little apprehensive about using this, remembering from my childhood a neighbour’s issues of a pressure cooker gone wrong.

Their dinner ended up on the ceiling on more than one occasion, with her, the mother, left weeping over the sink as the dinner she had prepared for her family of six was wasted in a most horrible way.

However, daughter Stephanie assured me that this pressure canner (an entirely different beast) is fine, so with some trepidation and watching her pressure can stock, pea and ham soup and chick peas, I now have made some of my own. I am sure I will preserve by this method more often in the future.

Do you know what I think will be the best to preserve this way?

Gravy. Whenever I prepare a roast, making the gravy is that last minute chore that throws things out of kilter. So the stock with appropriate flavourings and maybe a little wine, then pressure canned and therefore shelf stable, would be wonderful to have at the ready. Pour it into the roasting pan and reduce or maybe thicken just a smidgeon with cornflour paste. What a time saver it will be.

Interesting isn’t it, that although it’s called canning (an American term I am told), it is actually done in Ball Mason glass jars (or similar) that are especially made strong enough for the task.

Now with all that done, I am pretty pleased with the look of it all sitting prettily on the benches in the cooking school. Only thing is….. I need to clear the benches for a Preserves class here tomorrow morning. It’s a tough one, but will find a solution somehow.

Meanwhile, standing at the ready are the preserving outfits, 2 Fowlers and one OzFarmer, ready to get back to the bottling tomorrow after the class.

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I think, yet hardly dare hope, that 30 kilos of Moor Park (!!) apricots are coming my way this afternoon. A little jam, several jars of chutney … summer produce is well and truly on its way.

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