This past autumn I really got into jam and chutney making. I grew up rurally, with a huge garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and 10 acres of forest to play in.
My mum canned all the veggies and my dad made wine from wild elderberries and the dandelions that us kids picked. Many years have passed, and I still know how to do all that stuff, even though I haven’t practiced in a long time.
So, this year, I gathered blackberries from the park, got apples from Ray down the street, and oregon grapes from along the Goose, black elderberries from Freya’s, black currants from the Community Garden, and pears from Raynor Park. Everything came from within a 10 minute walk from my house.
I made blackberry/apple chutney, gingered pears, cinnamon apple sauce, blackberry port jam, curried oregon grape chutney, spicy elderberry jelly, brandied pear butter, plum jam with cointreau, and the sweetest and spiciest zucchini pickles you’ll ever eat. I experimented with recipes and developed my own. Freya and Deborah joined me for some sessions and we had a blast – chopping and peeling and listening to music, stirring in the sugar and filling the jars. I love opening the cupboard door and seeing the rows of jars in deep and rich colours – the delicious preserves of a joyful adventure.