Apple and Rosemary Jelly

A good way to use up the plentiful autumn supply of apples or crabapples.  There are usually plenty of wilding apples out there for foraging as well.

About one kilo or 6 large cooking apples such as granny smith or the equivalent in crab apple. (or a mix of both)

2 ¼ cups water

1/3 cup fresh rosemary

2 ¼ cups cider vinegar

2 cups sugar.

  1. Wash and chop your apples – no need to peel or core.
  2. Mix together with the water and half of the rosemary in a preserving pan and gently bring to the boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the fruit has pulped down well.
  3. Add vinegar and then once cool let the mixture strain through a muslin jelly cloth overnight. If this is the first time you have made jelly then make sure you don’t squeeze the bag or force the juice in any way – that will make your jelly cloudy.
  4. Next day put the juice back into the pan and bring it up to heat. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then boil rapidly for 30 minutes or so until it has reached setting point.
  5. Pour into hot sterilized jars. Of course your rosemary sprigs are going to want to go to the top of the mixture so wait until the jelly has just started to set and push the remaining rosemary sprigs into the mixture. It’s a bit tricky determining that point but if it doesn’t look as beautiful as you want, don’t worry as it will still taste good. Seal as usual. Delicious with lamb or pork both hot or cold.

 

 

Garden Notes for the Family Vegetable Garden: March

March is a lovely month as we head towards the start of Autumn. It’s still warm and wet so plenty of growth still happening – as anyone with a lawn can tell you.  I am happy to report that we are picking sweetcorn and harvesting tomatoes. We had several plantings of potatoes over the growing season and so been enjoying different harvest times of different varieties. Mounding up continues of our main crop Agria potatoes which are still my favourite.   Over this month, the natural cycle of many of our vegetables will be coming to an end so you will be busy in the kitchen preserving and outside beginning the tidying up ready for winter. Keep an eye on the hedgerows for blackberries, hawthorn berries and apples for jellys and sauces.

Keep harvesting runner beans and once finished let the vines die back naturally to provide food for next season then use old vines as compost. It’s a good idea to have perennial runner beans in a permanent spot at the back of the garden somewhere as they will stay there for a few years. All other beans and peas can be cut back and dug into the soil to provide carbon and nitrogen for the leafy plants to follow in the Spring. Start sowing broad beans and peas that will also provide a green crop over winter for this bed.

Root crops will be growing well for winter eating.  Thin February sown carrots at night when there is less chance of carrot fly attack.  Thin beetroot seedlings. Feed and keep the water up to brassicas, celery and leeks. Keep an eye out for sources of animal manure and other compost materials to put on empty beds in preparation for the coming cold months. If you have a patch of ground that is not in use until spring then make that your compost bed and throw all your garden refuse on it, add some manure, blood and bone, a little lime, cover with straw and leave.

Jobs for this Month

Sow. Carrots, parsnips, radish, lettuce, beetroot, Swedes, leeks, onions, peas, Sow green crops in any bare patches.

Plant: Broccoli, cabbage, cauli, Kale, silverbeet and spinach, lettuce.

Cultivate: Keep up feed and water for leeks and celery. Mound up around them if growing well. Keep mounding up maincrop potatoes.

Harvest: Potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkin, corn, beans, cabbages, cauli, broccoli, silverbeet, parsnips, carrots, beetroot.

Prepare: Start preparing soil for winter and then the new season. Chop up old sunflower and corn stalks and bury in garden, collect manure and bean stalks for mulch