Saturday, 2 September 2006

Little grey rabbit time

It's harvest time and as it's been throwing it down and the outdoor tasks put on hold, the preserving pan has been gurgling away all day. The two small plum trees were stripped of their bounty and the fruit turned into goodies for immediate and long term pleasures. Plum tart will go into the oven for a late supper, but for the months ahead 2 different sorts of plum jam - same recipe, different plums (fruit, sugar, nothing else) - are now on the shelves. A tray of halved and stoned plums have been frozen and bagged up to make a couple of winter crumbles. Kate's chutney gets made every 2 or 3 years as it gets better with age so I make enough to last that long, and this year is the first time it's been made in Devon. The recipe comes from a great grandmother from Norfolk (I think) and has been adapted this year as there weren't enough dates, so dried apricots and figs made up the lack. The apples and plums for the chutney came from the orchard, the tomatoes from the polytunnel, and the carrots were blagged from next door from the sack used to feed their breeding water voles. Tomorrow it's time for tomato relish and if the rain holds off, there are heaps of sloes and blackberries to pick for cheese and conserve. The shelves are starting to fill again, my hands are discoloured from stoning the fruit and socks are being worn for the first time in months. It must be heading for autumn.

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