The pressure is on!

We started very early yesterday morning with quite a mess to deal with, the residual washing up and bottling off from the Preserves class of Saturday.

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This was to be the day also, to pay homage to the splendiferous Moor Park apricots that a friend had acquired for us. Bottled in halves in a little sugar syrup, some stewed and bottled for pies and crumbles, plus the inevitable jam and chutney.

20170115_104416 Meanwhile, Robert set to work to pick the jostaberries and blackcurrants. Our wonderful neighbours came to help – the two bucketfuls in the photo were just the beginning. There were almost 5 buckets in the end.

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There were tomatoes to be dealt with – chopped and bottled in their own juice for later use in preserves or everyday cooking. Plums too were in the process of conversion into Worcestershire sauce.

MIxed berry jam, lemon cordial syrup, jostaberry syrup, chutneys, chilli sauce and more – so much to do.

Friends came for lunch and Robert conscripted them into helping fill Fowlers jars with crushed tomatoes.

Then there was a hiatus while I sought out bottles and jars. I sterilised every pre-used one I could find in the shed and still not enough!

My Nan used to say her forgettery worked well, and so indeed must mine. I’d forgotten I had a box of jars in the boot of my car, brand new ones I purchased last week. I must have wasted at least an hour sterilising those old ones.

Somehow amongst the piles of washing up, Robert managed to fit in time to start off a German lager – the one he makes from scratch.

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Then at dusk as I turned to go out the door of the cooking school, with “Complete Preserves” at the ready for the next day’s currant and berry blitzing, I’m not sure the mess looks like it’s much reduced when we started.
Well, it’s different – one mess has been cleaned up, and this one reflects a busy preserving day.

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I have to say, it’s very satisfying to see the benches full of season’s produce preserves. Incidentally, some of them have found their way out to the stall at our gate – I think I can spare a few!

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