It’s that time of year again when Mum has an abundance of medlar fruit hanging on the tree in the front garden. In years gone by she has let friends in the village come and take them away but this year she decided to make some medlar jelly with a little help from me. You can pick them hard and let them blet but we allowed them to blet on the tree before picking them and also collecting the ones that had dropped to the ground to. In all we had 14lbs of fruit to play with.
Firstly we washed, rinsed and quartered all the fruit and then placed into a preserving pan and added just enough water to cover (half a pint to each pound of fruit). We then simmered for 30 to 45 minutes until soft and pulpy.
Next was the fun part of straining. Mum only had a small jelly bag so we utilised some thick stockings too. The important thing here is not to squeeze or force the pulp through the nets as this will produce cloudy jelly. We allowed ours to drip through the night.
Once we were happy that all the juice had dripped through we measured the amount of juice and made a note of it. Then we poured it into a clean preserving pan and brought to boiling point. We then added 650g of sugar to every litre of juice we had. At this stage we added the juice of 3 lemons.
We continued stirring until all the sugar was dissolved (stirring in one direction only reduces foam). We boiled rapidly until setting point was reached. To test this we put a blob of jelly on a fridge-cold saucer. Once cooled we ran a finger through it to see if it cracked. Mum then carefully poured the jelly into some already sterilised jars and voila! I think we’ll try it with some roasted pheasant tomorrow.
On returning from our road trip we came back to a very different Patch. As we move through autumn our vegetable garden has started to die back although there are still a few bits and pieces to harvest. The trees have started to lose their leaves and the medlar has dropped some fruit. The green roof is looking great and we’re really keen to get this finished in the next couple of weeks. Other jobs in the coming weeks will be the planting and mulching of a new delivery of fruit and other interesting trees as well as soft fruit and nitrogen fixers for the food forest. We’ll be planting and then mulching and adding other support plants to create balanced guilds that will have a better chance of survival in our absence.
A visit to see Paul in Sheffield was also on the cards and it was a great place to start some ground work for my diploma pathway. I made full use of Paul’s flat whilst he was at Uni and we even managed a walk in the Peak District which looks amazing at this time of year. After a quick stop over for a party in London, I travelled down to Bradford-upon-Avon for my belated Diploma induction and a catch up with Richard, Michelle and Grace. It was great to also see some other Diploma students and old friends permablitzing their lives!!! Couldn’t help a little mushroom hunt when I got back to Norfolk. Goose common is right next door to The Patch and is a great foraging spot. Only poisonous fungi about today though… Diploma work to do…
Posted in Food, Permaculture, Travel
Tagged Autumn, Diploma, Food, Food Forest, Friends, Fungi, Green Roof, Guilds, Mulch, Mushrooms, Nitrogen Fixers, Norfolk, Patch, Peak DIstrict, Soft Fruit, Veg, Wild Food
The first week in July and already our vegetable garden is producing an abundance of tasty food. Nina’s medlar has settled in nicely. Everything is mulched to hold moisture and suppress those volunteer plants. We seem to have no pests eating anything as Nina carefully chose where to position plants to benefit one another and exploit those niches…
Posted in Food, Health, Permaculture
Tagged Abundance, Beneficial Insect Plants, Companion Planting, Food, Fruit, Medlar, Mulch, Norfolk, Patch, Veg
The middle of June saw The Patch host it’s first PDC with Richard Perkins coming to teach in his unique style. The yurt went up, the kitchen was built, the library installed and before we knew it there was more than 2o people pitched up for the next 3 weeks. It was an incredible learning experience and one I was very glad to be part of. Details of the internship to follow…
At the beginning of June we planted a medlar tree for our new niece – Nina Eve. We decided to put it in with our vegetable garden using the principle of the things that are closest to zone 1 get the most attention. The Patch is starting to look very nice and soon we’ll be welcoming our students for a Permaculture Design Course…
In May we picked the first food grown from our seeds. We were very happy indeed. Seedlings were doing well and we even had some guests for dinner! We mulched the new native edible hedge to suppress grass and weeds from outcompeting it and strimmed the food forest to provide mulch material. Another gorgeous sunset too!…