Sunday 16 October 2011


Autumn is without doubt my favourite season. There's so much to love:

:: hedgerows abundant with berries
:: cooler, crisper air
:: light fading at the end of the day
:: snuggling up in warmer clothes
:: thinking about the endless possibilities for winter knitting
:: filling the store cupboard with jams and jellies
:: the lingering smell of woodsmoke from autumn bonfires
:: a generally slower pace as the days shorten
:: going to bed early with a good book

It hasn't been very cold yet here in the far south west, and I'm confident I shall hold out until November before I put the heating on. Mostly I'm still getting by with no socks, though I'm looking forward to pulling my boots on!

The leaves are falling off the trees, crunching underfoot as Walter and I go about our daily walks.

I've been raiding the hedgerows for several weeks, supplementing the rich pickings with crab apples from my local WI market and offerings from friends. I recently acquired a fruit steamer (actually, 'invested in' would be more appropriate) and have been making jellies and fruit butters. Nothing goes to waste - and with the fruit steamer you cut out the overnight drip drip through a jelly bag, so you save a little time. My first batch of crab apple jelly was a little sweet for my taste (a ratio of 1:1 so 600ml of juice to 600g of sugar), so my subsequent batches have followed the guidelines in this wonderful preserving book (a ratio of 600ml of juice to 450g of sugar).

I love the jewel-like colours of the jellies. Pink from the crab apples, and pale gold from the pears. In fact, the pear and cardamon jelly is my current favourite, along with its corresponding fruit butter, which is sublime. Rock-hard conference pears have been transformed into something quite delicious and fragrant. However, I still have more jams and jellies to make before I catch up with Sue. I picked the last of the blackberries today - a slow, meditative picking in the warm autumn sunshine. Plenty more sloes too, for another bottle of gin.

What have you been making?


willow said...

I haven't made my crab apple jelly yet though I have the juice in the freezer ready. I am very old fashioned so I use the traditional ratio of 1lb of sugar to 1 pint of juice which always seems to come out about right.

Thrifty Household said...

Pear & cardamon? Oh, that does sound so good. Please can I have the recipe?
I'm also a fan of autumn & winter & reading your list of things to love about the season has only reminded me of yet more reasons to embrace it. Good Luck with the sloe gin!

dragonfly said...

You've made me wish we ate more jams and jellies!
I will be making some mincemeat from that book though--highly recommended!

driftwood said...

oooh looks lovely. I've made crab apple jelly, blackberry jelly and this weekend I made HFW's glutney chutney. haven't tried fruit butters yet, (although I did fling the pulp from the blackberry jelly in the freezer as it seemed such a waste, so maybe I can do something with it....)

kristina said...

So impressed with all your preserving! The pear and cardamom jelly sounds divine. I so love cardamom!

Could you please tell me more about the fruit steamer?

K x

Fiona said...

I've got some lovely sloe gin maturing on the shelf.

sue said...

Crab apple jelly is a firm favourite in our house and I love the sound of the Pear and cardamon and the fruit steamer, very intriguing!

harmony and rosie said...

I'm all set to do some preserving when I get down to Dorset. I'm taking quinces with me (I know I won't find them down there) and also some massive pears and apples for chutney. I made some green tomato chutney the other day which is good but rather sweet to be called perfection.
Autumn is my favourite month too .. so long as it's dry.
So great to have you blogging again Diana!
Kate xxx

josie crafter @ Homemade and Happy said...

Oh the jelly looks SO good!
I made a batch of Apple and Plum butter last week which is very nice indeed. I've also got my eye on some crab apples along the footpath ...
And your gorgeous Walter turned five!! Happy Birthday handsome boy - sending a cuddle from me :-)

Purrfect Haven said...

you have beaten us on the heating... we gave in for 3 days, but its off now and we even ate supper outside after work tonight ..partially in the dark. LOVE the smell of wood fires.. which are all around us now. We haven't stoked ours yet. Love Helen, Darcy and Bingley xx

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Fruit steamer? Sounds fascinating. Must investigate.

Unknown said...

Just found your lovely blog via Silver Pebble and so glad I did - can see that you love cosiness and nature and the seasons as I do! Scolling through your last few posts I see you appreciate big open skies too, aren't they the best?!

Pears and cardamon sounds like a marriage made in foodie heaven. x

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