Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Bye-bye, September...

The surfaces should be cleared of apples and pears by lunchtime - I plan to juice some apples, cook some to freeze for crumble, and make some apple and pear jam. It's a dreich day here, so indoors will suit me perfectly - after a very quick visit to the Co-op for sugar and lemons, that is. Hopefully I won't do what I did last year when I cooked some apples for freezing... I either wasn't wearing my glasses, or they'd got steamed up (I refuse to accept that I just went a bit dozy) but instead of cinnamon, I reached into the black hole of the spice cupboard and pulled out cumin (or something similarly savoury), and sprinkled it liberally over the whole lot. Not a good combination.

I'm sure the garden will be happy to be rained on today, as it's been pretty dry for the last few weeks here. Monday was the last day of September and it was beautiful. Everything in the garden was looking so pretty, particularly the Californian poppies. They clearly didn't get the memo that October was looming!

The white Cosmos, grown from free seeds given away with a gardening magazine, has also been lovely - I put some in the back garden, sprinkled the rest all along the front garden fence, and hoped for the best, and they have been a real treat. I need to collect some seeds so that I can have more next year - but I'm assuming they'll self seed too, like the Californian poppies.

The bees were still happily buzzing around on Monday - but I imagine they're all hiding from the wind and rain this morning.

Time to bring the money plants (or jade plants) back indoors. I have several of these, all taken from a plant that one of my brothers grew and gave to me one Christmas, about 15 years ago. He was so tickled with himself when he handed over the box at the front door -  with a huge grin on his face as he told me that I had to open it right away. I was, of course, delighted - and I'm a little bit precious about the plants. I'd be pretty upset if I ever managed to kill them all off.

Oooh. Tears. I miss him. 


Meabh Warburton said...

Hi Else,
Thank you for your comment today!
Re. your apples and pears - I've been meaning to post a totally un-tapestry related post about compote. Everyone here makes fruit compote - ie gently cooked fruit (till soft or till the juices run), put into hot sterilised jars and then boiled in a water bath for 20 mins. No sugar, - just fresh tasting fruit and it keeps for a year! I've been making jams and chutneys and preserves for donkeys years but none of my (British) books refer to compote. This year I've made about 30 jars of plum and will be starting apple and then pear inbetween weaving this new tapestry! if you want any more info let me know!

Else said...

Ooh, I *still* have some apples and pears left, so I might just try that! So, no sugar when you cook them? It sounds good - I'm appalled at the amount of sugar you have to add to make jam, and even chutney... I'll have to try to find some empty jars first, as I seem to have used all of mine up. Thanks for that, Meabh!

Meabh Warburton said...

More info Else.
Peel, core and cook - I razz mine so it's completely smooth. While it's still hot, put into hot sterilized jars straight out of the oven and then into your biggest pan of warm to hot water (not cold - don't want thermal shock and broken jars). Make sure the jars are covered by at inch of water. Bring to boil and keep on the boil for 20 mins. Allow to cool a few mins. in the hot water (again - thermal shock) and then take them out. As they cool the safety buttons should depress - if not store in fridge and eat within a few days. All autumn fruit is sufficiently high in acid to be totally safe to store this way. You can add spice to the purée if you want - or make a mixture. It's delish and so welcome in the Winter.

Else said...

Now, if only I knew what 'razz' meant... Definitely have to get some more jars, methinks - might put out a call amongst friends and neighbours, with the promise of some compote in return! Bit scared by all the talk of thermal shocking, but I'll let you know how I get on! Thanks, Meabh!