Archives for posts with tag: preserving

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The product of a weekend’s foraging in the sun, not to mention several bags of frozen brambles and elder berries.

Apparently a spoonful of rosehip syrup a day will keep us all free of colds for the winter. It is delicious stuff and likely to make its way into all sorts of cakes, ice cream desserts and warming drinks as the weather cools off.

The hedgerows are particularly abundant after our sunny summer, so a few more picking trips will be embarked upon to add to our haul with hedgerow jams and jellies.

Our Italian WWOOFers tell us that the equivalent activity in southern Italy is figging – gathering wild figs from the roadside. I suspect this activity is undertaken in warmer conditions but it was hard not to feel fortunate plucking a free harvest from the hedgerows while the sun glinted off the Solway and clouds glowered on the Galloway Hills.

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Just in case this all seems too idyllic – out of shot in this picture is a tray of comically scorched shortbread fingers!

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Bottles before

Bottles before

Making a lot of produce means we need to reuse jars and bottles whenever possible, the only problem is stubborn sticky labels that just won’t budge. I thought of investing in a gunk remover but they are expensive and made from goodness knows what. So I decided to make my own.

Mixing

Mixing

I combined equal quantities of bicarbonate of soda and coconut oil (2 tsps. of each) and mixed them to form a gritty paste. I then spread the paste on the labels and left it to work. Five minutes later I scrubbed the bottles in warm, soapy water and bob’s your uncle – no more sticky mess.

I jarred up the remainder in one of the now-gleaming bottles for use another time. Extra bonus – it left my hand super soft and clean.

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Bit more preserving this week at Plunton. Matt made bramble leather – a great success with the Rayburn and something we had always failed at with the regular cooker. Iris and Arthur are slightly addicted to it. He’s also got some bramble whisky steeping. The giant bucket of apples is from our neighbour, Janet. The red ones are good eaters but do not keep well, the green are sweet cookers and I suspect the apple press will be put to good use on them next week. They have already made lovely baked apples. Janet also brought a jar of damson jam and an invite to Sunday lunch with both sets of near neighbours next month. She’s also offered baby sitting services so we are in clover!

Much of the rest of the week has involved more work on the house. Dad is visiting again and has started rewiring upstairs, in fact he is finishing off the kids’ room as I type. We are off up north this weekend for great-grandpa’s birthday so he is going to do our room and the office while we are away.

I, on the other hand, have finally started stripping off the anaglypta wallpaper in the lounge. It was removed fairly readily and I am about halfway through now. Part of the reason for doing it now is that we are hoping to pick up a period fire at the salvage yard this weekend and I (correctly it turned out) guessed there would be an indication of the height of the original surround in the plasterwork behind. Not the best photo but you can see the walls are in OK condition and, as Matt pointed out, look just like the walls in one of his vintage house craft books!

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