Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

My Neglected Garden

October 25, 2010

Well, my busy uni schedule this year has taken its toll on my garden (and this blog…), but I took a stroll around the garden today and spotted a few lovelies in amongst the weeds.

I’m really pleased with this little climbing rose “Lorraine Lee”. Its only two years old & has reached the deck railing already! Its a few metres off the ground too. Its got a nice sprinkling of fragrant pink blooms this year, and its bringing some much needed colour to my bare deck at the moment:

These tiny little Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra) are slowly colonising my shady area next to my workshop. I love their ferny foliage and the way the blooms tremble in the breeze:

This Moss Rose always fascinates me! I love watching it come to life each Spring. The branches are extremely prickly, but the leaves are structurally interesting, and then the buds are covered in this “moss” which has a pine fragrance when you rub it. It only flowers once a year but the blooms are deep red and very fragrant which makes it worth it. Here’s a photo in the morning sun, showing the moss & prickles in great detail:

And lastly, my Raspberry patch is bigger then ever this year (don’t I say that every year??) and the blossoms are just starting to open this week:

Can’t wait to be picking bowlfuls of these! They always feature somewhere in my Christmas desserts. And just for interests sake, here’s an “aerial view” of the bed the raspberries live in. I don’t think I’m going to be able to plant anything else in this bed this year, though there is some strawberry plants hidden in there somewhere:

Look at all that lush growth! Ignore my other veggie bed, its full of weeds, spent broccoli plants and stray potatoes.

I hope to be blogging much more this Summer, because I have absolutely no Summer School this year (first time since I started my degree!!) so should have a lot more free time for gardening and blogging 😀

Happy Spring!

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A Day in the Country

December 16, 2008

I have been waiting for the day I could go fruitpicking at Sorell Fruit Farm for weeks now. Today was the day!! I took my sister, an esky, sunscreen, the ute & we were off.

First we headed to the strawberry fields:

strawberry-field

There were so many strawberries!!!! We couldn’t stop picking, and eating:

strawberry-punnet

We ended up getting about 3 kilos of delicious sun-ripened strawberries. We dropped them into the farmhouse for safe-keeping while we picked some cherries:

cherries

Not black cherries but still juicy & delicious. We got about two kilos of these.

I tried to get some peaches but they were very few & too high up… But I did get some Tayberries, which I am told are a cross between blackberries & raspberries and grow on rather sprawling thorny vines.

$40 and 2 hours later, we decided to call it a day and set off back home, and I decided to make strawberry jam!

Any Berry Jam

You will need:

1.5 kilos of Berries, mixed or a single variety

1.5 kilos of white sugar

juice of 1 lemon

50 grams of Jamsetta  (actual ingredient listed is citric acid)

1/4 cup water (only if needed)

Method:

You will need a very large pot for cooking your jam in, as the volume of the liquid expands about 3-fold when boiling.  I had to use 2 pots when I realized it was going to boil over & make a mess!

Also, you will need about 6 sterilized glass jars, and a suitable method of sealing the jars (I know you can get sets with specially designed lids & seals, but I’ve never used them… I used some cellophane ones where you wet the underside & place it over the opening & secure with a rubber band). To sterilize the jars, I chose to be double-safe, and I boiled as well as baked them. Boil for ten minutes, and then (carefully!!) transfer them to the oven for as long as you want (I left mine in the oven while chopping up all my strawberries).

Wash & hull berries, and, depending on your preference, cut them in halves, quarters, or leave them whole (for some berries like raspberries, this isn’t necessary since they break up anyway).

cut-strawberries

In your pot put your fruit, lemon juice & water if needed. Cook over a low heat until fruit is tender. I got onto mine with the potato masher, because I don’t like large fruit pieces in my jam, but go with your preference here.

Add the sugar in the jamsetta/citric acid, and stir to disolve. This is where you have to turn the heat up & boil rapidly for 15-20 minutes. But be very careful of the large increase in volume! Also, bursting bubbles may splatter tiny drops of searing hot syrup, so be careful not to put your face & hands too close to the cooking jam (even if it does smell delicious!).

To test if jam has set, keep a few saucers in the freezer. Dribble a little syrup onto a cold plate after 15 minutes and put back into the freezer until it’s cold. Drag your finger across it – if it wrinkles on the surface it is set. If it doesn’t, keep boiling & test in another 5 minutes. Once your jam is set, turn off the heat & leave it until it’s completely stopped boiling (this can take up to ten minutes). Pouring the jam into the jars was the hardest part for me, first I transfered it into a large bowl with a spout:

red-bowl

But even then some of it spilled down the sides!! I just cleaned them up before I sealed them up.

I made my jam with 1 kilo of strawberries & the rest tayberries, since they were very soft & juicy & not really good for anything else:

tayberries

When I go fruitpicking next time, if I can get a couple of kilos of tayberries I will make tayberry jam aswell.

Here are the finished jars of jams, all different sizes because they are made with recycled jars:

finished-jam

I can’t wait to try some on my toast tomorrow morning!!

Now I am thinking up a recipe for the rest of the strawberries I have left (about 2 kilos). Any idea?