Cupboard love by June McInnes
All too soon the leaves are falling from the trees and my potted deck plants are dying off one by one. The flowers are frosted, my lettuce has wilted, summer’s over. That’s ok, I had the best of them just before the snow hit last week, myself and one of our sons, Simon picked as much of the goodies we could because we’d been told there was snow in the forecast. We ended up with tomatoes, and some green beans, chives, mint, basil and a few potatoes, from the pots by the front door, not bad, for just recreational gardening.
I set to work as soon as I could to process what we had and turn it into winter supplies, I ended up with a small batch of green tomatoes chutney, very happy with that. The beans we ate with our Sunday dinner and I dried the herbs and put into jars for later use. The potatoes were good with butter and parsley on another night with some pan-fried fish.
As I said before in a previous article I’ve been given a huge container of apples from our daughter and son-in-law and I never have I been happier, it was so wonderful, I’m almost at the end of them now and I’ve made jams and chutney’s (pickle) I’m looking forward to sharing it all with members of the family and enjoying the chutney on some cheese and crackers to liven it up.
The boys will single handedly and manfully eat their way through the jam, but that’s ok, that’s what it’s for, as they never waste any, I’m happy they enjoy it.
The next thing I’m making will be apple and orange chutney and that will go well with curries as well as cheeses or cold meats over Christmas. The mustard pickle or as I call it piccalilli is done and so are the pickled eggs, I’m getting there, finally.
Last year was a bust for me canning things, we’d just moved, our belongings were miles away and I had no jars at all, so it was hopeless and if left me feeling sad that I couldn’t do any for the family. Not this year.
Next week will be time for me to make some lemon curd, that’s used in a lemon meringue pie or on cakes as a filling or doughnuts filling or even on hot buttered toast, I know I loved it when my mum used to make it, my dad would slather it on a big doorstep of toast and devour it with a hot drink, it was tasty and very good.
I absolutely love to put away things for the winter it gives me a sense of accomplishment and I feel like it matters, like a lot of people today I don’t trust the big factories and what they put in foods, whether it’s legal or not, so if I made it, I know what’s in it and if it was done properly, I’m a bit of a fuss pants when it comes to doing it right so it will be.
It’s lovely to go to the cupboard and choose what you want, jams and jellies are like bottled sunshine, all that sweet goodness, just waiting to be spread in a thick slice of homemade bread, toasted or otherwise and there’s always scones or crumpets to enjoy them on or the traditional cup of tea and jam sandwich, mmmmm lovely, childhood revisited.
I don’t make huge batches, just small penny numbers but that’s good it means I can add variety because the batches are so small. They all look good on the shelf and I feel I earnt my keep so to speak. My hubby always rolls his eyes when I say that and goes on about how I always earn my keep and that I shouldn’t say that, but it’s how I feel inside. It gives me immense joy to create things whether it be a hot chilli sauce, jam, or a knitted or crochet or sewn garment, all of it has the same ingredient running through it, they are all “made with love”.
This had always been my secret ingredient for whatever I make,” There’s no job done so easy as with a good heart “my gran used to say, and you know what’ she was so right.