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Fruit flies

Posted by --- on Friday 28 August, 2009

Yesterday I decided to try making relish’s with the fruit we’ve grown.  I had a couple of large cucumbers that weren’t going to get eaten. I scoured the web and came up with these:

Cucumber & Green Tomato

  • 2 lb (900 g) green tomatoes
  • 2 lb (900 g) cucumbers
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 6 oz (175 g) white sugar
  • 1 pint (570 ml) white vinegar


  1. Chop all the vegetables finely. Put in layers in a large bowl, sprinkling each layer with the salt. Leave to stand overnight. Tip into a colander and drain well.
  2. Put the vinegar, sugar and spices into a pan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and add the vegetables.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is fairly stiff but still moist.
  4. Pack the relish into hot, clean, sterilized jars, right to the top.
  5. Cover and seal immediately.
  6. Label when fully cool.

Makes 3 -4 lbs (1.4 kg – 1.8 kg) of Cucumber and Green Tomato Relish. Ready in about 4 weeks.

Cucumber and Pepper

  • 1 lb 8 oz (750 g) cucumber
  • 2 large red or yellow peppers
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 6 fl oz (175 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds


  • Cut the cucumbers in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Chop coarsely into a colander or sieve, sprinkle with the salt and leave for at least an hour.
  • Squeeze out the excess moisture.
  • Core, de-seed and thinly slice the peppers, put into a bowl with the lime juice and mix well.
  • Bring the vinegar to the boil and add the cucumber, peppers, lime juice and mustard seeds.
  • Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.

Makes about 1lb 12 oz (750 g) of relish.

I used all of the green tomatoes we had from two baskets and I had to buy another cucumber to make up the recipie. The recipes say to chop the veg but last time i made a relish, I left the pieces too big and I dont like it so I thought I’d chop it all small. It took ages, a good hour or more. The recipe then says to sprinkle with salt and leave. (Why is that? to remove the excess fluid? Why?) So I did and today it’s full of hundreds of fruit flies. And we have no more fruit to make more and this is just worm food. At least I’ve prepared it nicely for them…

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elderflower jelly

Posted by --- on Saturday 20 June, 2009

Elderflower Jelly Recipe

  • 2.5 kg cooking apples, washed and roughly chopped (you can also use 1kg crab apples)
  • 20 elderflower heads, roughly chopped
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 75g sugar per 100ml liquid
  1. Place the apples and the elderflower in a heavy-bottomed saucepan along with just enough water to cover.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until very soft.
  3. Pour into a jelly bag or a sieve lined with several layers of muslin and allow to drain into a bowl (do not be tempted to squeeze the bag as this will only make the jelly cloudy.)
  4. The following morning discard the fruit (I tend to freeze them to make pies later) then measure the volume of the liquid and add 75g sugar per 100ml of fluid.
  5. Place the fruit juice, lemon juice and the sugar in a saucepan and heat through, then add the sugar stirring until completely dissolved.
  6. Bring to a boil and cook rapidly for about 15 minutes.
  7. Test for setting by placing a plate in the fridge. Spoon a little of the jelly onto the plate, allow to cook then move it with your fingernail. If a crinkly skin forms then the jelly is ready. If not continue boiling for 5 minutes more and test again.
  8. Skim the surface then ladle into sterilized jars that have been warmed in an oven set to 100°C for 5 minutes. Allow 1cm of head space then secure the lid, allow to cool and store.

My method Changes.

To remove the flowers from the stems I used a fork and because I love the taste of elderflowers, I filled a medium bowl with flowers. The heads had wilted so it was difficult to tell if I was using large or small heads but it was way more than 20 – at least double that.

I put the fruit pulp into a mulsin lined seive but after 8 hours I wasn’t happy that all of the juice had drained out so I gathered the edges of the muslin, tied it with a shoelace and hung it from the cooker extracter overnight and quite a lot more juice drained out.

I used 4 tbsp of lemon concentrate becuase I had no more lemons.

I read that the temperature for jam setting is 220F so instead of testing with a cold plate, I used a thermometer. I did do a plate test which wasn’t crinkling but I put it in jars anyway.

I used the oven to sterilise the jars as it says here but I must have had it too hot (the problem with my oven) and when I put the jelly into the jars it boiled on contact. I put a spoon in the jar to try to stop it from cracking but still lost one jar. I also melted the rubber lining on the metal lids in the oven!

Early Results:

This tastes more of apple with hardly a trace of elderflower. I was really disappointed becuase I wanted it to taste like the cordial.

This recipe made far too much for us too and used up all of my remaining seven jars. I don’t think it will get eaten; DSK tried it and hates how sweet it is. They say that about all of my jams.

Update on the taste trials July 2009:

DFS and others love this jelly. I can now taste the much loved elderflowers. It will be on my list for next year!

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Pineapple Jam

Posted by --- on Monday 15 June, 2009

2 pineapples – peeled, cored and chopped finely
1lb sugar per lb of fruit ( I used a 1kg bag)
2 lemons.  Use all parts (zest, juice. Roughly chop reamins and place in muslin bag)

Place fruit in pan with sugar, the lemon  zest and juice and heat gently to disolve the sugar.

My attempt didn’t go to plan and ended up simmering for a few hours. I began rapid boiling for 5 minutes, testing and reboiling for a further 5 minutes if it didnt look as if it was going to set. I tested the setting point but I really haven’t got the hang of it and boiled it for ages.

Early results are that DDJ whom I made it for doesn’t like it. I dont mind it but woudln’t rave about it. It’s pretty much citrusy like marmalade.

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