The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Day off making jelly and a few secret jelly and jam making tips to create your own great recipes

Posted in Jam Jelly and Preserves, Kitchen equipment | 14 comments

Day off making jelly and a few secret jelly and jam making tips to create your own great recipes

  “We’re making crab apple chilli jelly. It’s a deep ruby red. I’ll send you the photos later. Now what are you eating tonight. Sardines. Hum. How about sardines on toast. What about vegetables – do you remember them?” The Chicken Lady was on the phone to Rollo who has just started Uni. Back at base we were on a jelly making marathon. TCL has access to a large crab apple tree (secret location) and she had gone out early in the morning to pick the fruit. My role was to demonstrate the fruit steamer in action, bring some hot dried...

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Easy strawberry jam recipe

Posted in Jam Jelly and Preserves | 13 comments

Easy strawberry jam recipe

  “Wow. This jam is amazing. It’s so fruity and not too sweet.” Jean examined the jar of strawberry jam. “Would it be OK if I helped myself to a bit more?” We were sitting at the kitchen table indulging in a jam tasting session. I’d discovered that Jean eats toast and jam for breakfast. So we thought that she might like some homemade jam as a present. Precious stuff, just for family and best friends. Once you’ve tasted homemade jam there’s no going back to the shop stuff. Unless you are a genuine hair shirter. So when Jean...

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What is the setting point for jam and jelly?

Posted in Featured, Jam Jelly and Preserves, Kitchen equipment, Preserving, Reviews | 46 comments

What is the setting point for jam and jelly?

Earlier this summer I decided to use my jam thermometer to help me find the setting point of jam. To my delight I noticed that it was marked ‘JAM’ at 105°c/220°f. “This is going to be so easy.” I thought. “No more trailing back and forth to the fridge waiting for a tardy batch to set.” Danny had bought me a 9 litre Maslin pan and this was the day it was christened. Up until then I had been using a very large non stick saucepan. So I clipped the thermometer to the side of the pan and feeling like a pro started to boil...

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Apricot and peach jam recipe

Posted in Jam Jelly and Preserves | 16 comments

Apricot and peach jam recipe

  “Would you like wild plum, greengage, Victoria plum or apricot and peach?” “Greengage I think. Well actually I’d like to try the peachy one. Can I have both?” For years Danny and I weren’t jam sort of people. Until we started foraging, found wild cherry plums and decided to make our own. I can still remember the shock of the taste of the jam, the intense flavour with a slightly bitter sweet twist. This year we have been making jam in earnest. It’s easy to make jam and a good jam is real comfort food of the first order. For...

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Green bullace jam recipe

Posted in Jam Jelly and Preserves, Preserving | 16 comments

Green bullace jam recipe

  If you missed the greengages a few weeks ago don’t panic. The wild greengages (green bullaces) are ready to pick now. These are not green cherry plums, which will now be yellow through to deep red when ripe. Green bullaces are green, fall into your hands when you touch them and taste just like a a mini version of our modern greengage. They are the tiny ancient ancestors of our cultivated greengages. I like to imagine cave families going out to forage for them. Now, as way back then, they are free. For years I’ve visited a small stretch...

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Greengage jam recipe

Posted in Jam Jelly and Preserves | 26 comments

Greengage jam recipe

  Photograph courtesy of ilco “Do you think that my greengage jam has set enough?” The chicken lady passed me a teaspoon filled with greengage loveliness. It was excellent, not too runny. And the taste was superb. “I used less sugar than the recipe as we don’t like jam to be too sweet.” “I heard once that if you include some kernels it helps it to set.” “Funny that you should say that. My grandmother always included almonds in her greengage jam.” “Perhaps they were kernels?” TCL had given me a haul of greengages and...

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Homemade Christmas marmalade with whisky

Posted in Christmas, Jam Jelly and Preserves | 8 comments

Homemade Christmas marmalade with whisky

  Last year I happened to meet someone who supplies citrus fruits to one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK. “How come their fruit and vegetables don’t last as long as those from Waitrose and M&S?” “Ah,” he said, “it’s all a matter of storage temperature. They keep the produce in vast stores with the temperature set very, very low. This means that they can store perishables for a considerable time. Once they come to room temperature they will fade far more quickly.” Fascinating stuff. The temperature in our barn...

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Simple Seville orange, ruby grapefruit and lemon marmalade recipe

Posted in Jam Jelly and Preserves | 20 comments

Simple Seville orange, ruby grapefruit and lemon marmalade recipe

  When I was a decorator I’d often dream about decorating as it was an integral part of my life. I’d often wake exhausted in the morning having been ‘decorating’ all night. Decorating was the backbone to all these dreams overlaid with the classic dramas. Anxiety dreams – would I finish painting the room in the allotted time? Adventure dreams – scaling roofs and walls with a pot of paint and a brush. Travel dreams – decorating around the world. Even frightening dreams – decorating alone in a haunted house. The decorating...

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