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Tips and tricks - bottling, canning, preserving
Thu 6-Oct-11
8:53 pm
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Terrier
York

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Hi Aly, done that before with raspberries

Fri 7-Oct-11
9:37 am
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mauramac
Kent

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Bonjour Aly " how is Normandy today?

It's comforting isn't it to know that everyone has made a few mistakes along the way. I aways fret about the setting point and have underset and then overset with same batch 2 or 3 times. It's always those lovely soft fruits that catch you out. I don't like using jam sugar unless I have to but even the great Pam Corbin of River Cottage fame uses a proportion of jam sugar in her strawberry jam recipe (this is one I faithfully followed last week and it didn't set). I added just a little more (50g) jam sugar and reboiled for 3 mins and it set beautifully this time.

However " I had committed the fatal mistake of forgetting to check my saucer which was in the fridge, and something I have never done before. I blame my grandchildren for distracting me steam but I found the saucer later on that evening and the jam sample on it was still runny¦¦¦..so you see if I had looked at that I would have known it needed more cooking aargh

My next door neighbour has just been around to bring a couple of empty jars and I gave him some more jam. He told me they loved my cherry jam as it was so lovely to spread and better than any shop bought jam. I was really chuffed with this because that batch was a fairly 'soft set' but so scrummy I didn't reboil it. So you see in the end we all get there one way or another and like you I have used a couple of jars of runny jam for toppings and cakes. Never had any go to waste¦¦¦..it's just the pounds going on the waist that I now worry about frown

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Fri 7-Oct-11
10:08 am
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Terrier
York

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You can always tell anyone you give it to that it it's a conserve rather than a jam, which is supposed to have a runnier consistency. My Strawberry Jam is always like that, boiling for too hard or too long spoils some of the flavour with strawberries.

Fri 7-Oct-11
1:17 pm
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mauramac
Kent

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So true - the flavour of the jam that didn't set was truly mouthwatering and such a lovely bright red colour. But it was way too liquidy - I couldn't pass it off as a conserve even. It did darken up very slightly but still tastes good so I'm not complaining.

By the way the strawberries had finished in the garden and I was moaning that I would have liked one more batch to stock up the larder with this year. Hubby went into Lidl's and found 2 remaining punnets of English strawbs for £1.32 a 400 gram punnet. I added 200g of raspberries from the garden to make it up to a kilo and we got 6 x 8oz jars from it. So 3lbs jam for £2.64 plus the cost of a kilo of sugar (note how I chop and change from metric to imperial roll_eyes)!! oh and the juice of a lemon. Excellent value but it's the satisfaction and the taste you can't beat it.

I suppose there is some hope I might get it right all the time in the future (who am I kidding big_laugh)

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Fri 7-Oct-11
2:35 pm
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Aly
Normandy France

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I just love turning garden produce in to food! At the moment it is apples, there has been a bumper harvest in Normandy and everyone keeps giving me bags full. I have done apple and blackbery jelly, and copious amounts of apple puree on it's own, with raisins or with mixed spice and raisins for puds in the winter. We had a batch last Sunday of the apple and raisin, I buttered a 1 pint bowl, put about 2 inches of the puree in the bottom then made a 2 egg vanilla sponge mix and spooned it on top. Baked in the oven and served with custard it was yummy. We had it reheated with a blob of creme fraiche the next day. As you say not good for the waistline but I no longer care. I have given up diet food that is chemical laden and will now only eat the real stuff. Since making this decison I have gained a stone and gone up to a size 12 but have decided that is pretty good for a 54 year old mother of 3!Bit off subject here I know but I am like an ex smoker! steam

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Fri 7-Oct-11
2:47 pm
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mauramac
Kent

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Aly I've just gone right off you.....size 12 indeed yell

Must be 20 years since I last saw a label like that in my wardrobe.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Fri 7-Oct-11
3:27 pm
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Aly
Normandy France

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Sorry, I have been a member of a well known slimming company for 15 years and started at size 18, got down to 10 but since they completely changed the point system making redundant all the cook books, scales etc I had spent a fortune on over the years I threw a hissy fit and gave up! I have rediscovered food and am enjoying it! As I have been this size for some time I am hoping it is my natural one and I will stay there as I cannot afford any new clothes with my pitiful private pension and the governement won't let me have a full one until I am very old!steam

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Fri 7-Oct-11
4:28 pm
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mauramac
Kent

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OK skinny I forgive you - I'm just jealous. Totally my own fault being overweight but back problems have plagued me since my 40' s and I really struggle with exercise, even walking which I love is restricted.

I also retired in my 50's and love being at home. I don't miss work at all. I used to make a lot of clothes when I was a teenager and still make the occasional thing now and then. However I have noticed how expensive the materials and patterns are these days and how cheap clothes are to buy in places like Asda and Matalan. It hardly pays to make your own clothes any more.

Maybe you could make a few summer outfits for next year - they are easy to run up and you can often get the patterns for free in magazines like Prima or even online.

Good luck with the apple glut - they are lovely cooked with spices and made into cakes aren't they? Apple sponge is my No.1 choice every time.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Fri 7-Oct-11
5:10 pm
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Aly
Normandy France

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I have a load of clothes from the days when I had money that I am working through. I too used to make stuff but like you find the cost now too high. I still knit and crochet though and am keeping busy now as have 2 grandchildren on the way next May!My daughter-in-law  and youngest daughter are both due at roughly the same time amazingly. It remains to be seen who has the first grandchild

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Sat 8-Oct-11
11:31 am
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mauramac
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Well good luck for next year and having 2 baby grandchildren to run around after will keep you slim runaway

I picked up the old knitting needles again about 3 years ago and have really got into it. I only knit in the evenings while ignoring the poo they put on the TV these days. I have gone from metal needles to bamboo and now I use circular ones for everything. I knit all sorts of things these days but enjoy baby and childrens knits more as you get such a quick result and my 2 boys (grandchildren) love the beanie hats, fingerless mitts, scarves etc. I'm struggling to finish a cardigan for myself (being of the more fulsome size) it seems to have been on the go forever frown

 

By the way Boo to the French - they just knocked us out of the Rugby World Cup angry

But we were rubbish!

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Sat 8-Oct-11
6:21 pm
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Aly
Normandy France

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We watched the rugby and are glad we were at home as being in a French bar would have been difficultsteam

I also knit in the evenings as Oh likes all the poo on TV and as I have to take off my glasses to see my knitting I cannot see the rubbishsmile I sometimes plug in my ipod too and stay in a world of my ownlaugh

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Sat 22-Oct-11
1:17 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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We have a new member who has this website - you never know when you might need it.  I hope he'll introduce himself soon.

I'll try that again!

Tue 1-Nov-11
11:54 am
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lynseyb
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Hi, I'm new to preserving (did my first jams this year - very satisfying!). Now I want to do chutney with the apple glut we are left with.  Can I use old jars with rubber rings to store the chutney or would the vinegar dissolve the rubber?

 

On the US thing re botulism, as far as I can tell the risk comes from preserving garlic in oil (bacteria naturally present in the garlic thrives in the anaerobic atmosphere that the oil provides) but somehow this risk has been applied to everything put into bottles!  

Tue 1-Nov-11
7:15 pm
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JoannaS
Latvia

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I am beginning to think a lot of the fear instilled is to prevent home preservation and encourage the purchase of "safe" industrially produced produce - now I wonder who would sponsor that kind of research? whistle

Tue 1-Nov-11
7:19 pm
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Aly
Normandy France

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good point, makes you thinkchef

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