a busy domestic blog of knitting, sewing and all kinds of needlecrafts, cooking my garden produce and preserving it

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Pumpkin Marmalade

I've had a busy couple of days unexpectedly making marmalade. One of our homegrown pumpkins was turning soft, so I decided to use lots, though not all, of it up quickly.

OK, normally marmalade is made with oranges or other citrus fruit but I've made it before with different things such as apple or rhubarb to provide the bulk and some oranges or lemons to give the citrus taste.

So, I took 3lbs pumpkin chunks, rinds and flesh from a couple of squeezed out lemons (saved in the freezer) and 2oz crystallised ginger, and boiled them all in 2 1/2 pints water till the pumpkin was soft enough to mash up. Mashed the pumpkin, chopped up the lemon rind into thin strips. Let them all stand overnight - to soften the peel. In the morning added 3lb sugar and let it stand again till afternoon when I boiled it up to setting point.

It made a lovely lemony, ginger marmalade - which I also tested drizzled over roasting parsnips.

Friday, 21 January 2011

So far, so good

The knitting bit of this project is now finished. I'm intending using some old fake fur coat lining to make a collar for it. To make it trickier, I'd like the collar to be detachable.

So, instead of a plain button band I've made buttonholes the whole way round, up one side, round the neck and down the other, then I'm hoping to have buttons on the collar to attach it when needed.

I just hope I actually finish it. I haven't decided yet how it will fasten at the front but I've been wearing it already tied with a piece of ribbon and moved on to knitting some gloves - and this is how the fancy bits NEVER get done.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

More Preserving

We got rather a bumper haul of apples from our 'pippin' tree this year and not so blemished and grub-infested as normal. They're a strange apple - a rather tart desert apple but not ready to eat till mid-winter so they have to be stored carefully. Meanwhile they're in danger of rotting so I've been experimenting with drying them.

Most recipes suggest slicing in rings, threading them and hanging to dry. The ones I chose to start with were damaged in one way or another so wouldn't make nice rings. Instead I've chopped them into thin wedges, spread them on paper over the grill in the second oven

and left them there while the oven below is being used.
Strangely, they taste sweeter when dried
When they seem dry enough, not crunchy or leathery, I packed them into jars

I haven't managed to work out how long they will keep for though, as they're being eaten too quickly!