Last Sunday was the first day that we could really get cracking in the kitchen, making use of the produce we’d already collected. The first weekend we arrived, we picked a huge bowl of mulberries from the neighbour’s garden, but we had to freeze them because we didn’t have time to turn them into anything else.
So the agenda for Sunday’s kitchen session was:
1) Mulberry Jelly / Jam
2) Lavender Jelly (a big favourite from the existing Scrummy range)
3) Green Fig Preserve (we have at least 10 fig trees in the garden so we thought we’d get ahead of the game with a recipe I’d found for under-ripe figs)
Before we started, we thought we’d have a little meander round the garden to see how it had come on during the week. We’d had a nourishing mix of sunshine and rain which hadn’t gone un-appreciated by the salad and veg that we’d planted when we arrived! To see more of our latest garden photos, click here.
During this scouting mission in the garden, we checked out the plum trees that we knew about, only to discover they were about a week off being ready for picking. However, I happened to spot another plum tree tucked away behind our house, that already had a carpet of ripe fruit at its roots. Further investigation revealed a tree absolutely laden with tiny purple plums (maybe even damsons, I’m not sure)
So our plans for the day changed slightly as we set about harvesting the fruit from this tree. Leaving them another week would have been too late, it was now or never!
Fast forward 2 hours, and we have over 12lbs (6 kilos) of plums to de-stone and preserve!
I still had time (just) to make a small batch of Mulberry Jelly and Lavender Jelly, but the Green Fig Preserve was put on the back burner (excuse the pun) for another week, to make way for our first batch of Plum Jam!
The Mulberry Jelly was a total experiment as I’ve never even seen a mulberry before, let alone cooked with one, but I chose a jelly as I wanted a nice smooth texture similar to a redcurrant or cranberry jelly, that could be eaten with meats etc. (knowing that we were about to have enough plum jam to keep the breakfast tables of Montauroux supplied for the rest of the year) The result was quite sweet so I think next time I’ll use less sugar, but it was still well received by the official tasters!
The rest of the plum harvest has been bagged up and frozen, ready for future preserving sessions! I’m not even thinking about the fact that there’s at least 4 more plum trees due to shed their fruit in the next week or so…
Visit our YouTube channel for more videos from our day!
P.S. We later found out that the new tree we found in the garden (as mentioned in the video) isn’t apricot at all, our french neighbours are convinced it’s either almond or walnut. Anyone got other ideas? Here’s photos of the fruit and the leaves: