Planning for next year’s harvest


Today is the 25th November, exactly one month till Christmas Day. The weak sun is shining and the sky is blue, but it is only 4 degrees and the wind has a bite to it.

It’s a great morning to be in the garden, as I tend to avoid doing anything outside in drizzle!

My plants arrived on Saturday and it is time to get them in the ground. I have 3 gooseberry bushes (two green and one pink/red), a cranberry bush and 3 crowns of rhubarb.

It is good to be putting new plant life back in the veg beds which have been somewhat abandoned since the last of the courgettes and beans were harvested 6 weeks ago.

As with most plants that arrive bare- root, they aren’t much to look at. The gooseberries are short, and thorny and look a bit pathetic. But, I have high hopes for them! I am excited to think that next year I will be adding new lines to my range from my own garden. Perhaps I am expecting too much too soon from them, but I reckon they might just be up to the job!

How about Gooseberry & Elderflower Jam, Rhubarb, Strawberry & Vanilla Jam and next Christmas’s cranberry jelly? My mouth is watering just writing the names down!

Although I am planning for next years spring and summer harvest I do enjoy the pre- Christmas build up and excitement. It is made all the more special with young children around, and this year Teddy is 1 the week before Christmas, so we have lots to celebrate!



Gooseberry & Elderflower Preserve


Gooseberries, glorious gooseberries!

After experimenting with a combination of strawberries, I have moved towards elderflower as a good pairing with the goosegog. Not that the strawberry combo was not tasty…it was.
BUT, this is better!

The next great flavour to add to the repertoire is Gooseberry & Elderflower Preserve.

And what could be more of a taste sensation than using my own home-made elderflower cordial to mix in? The home-made cordial has a sweet yet tart taste, is made with wild elderflower – picked from my garden.

It has a slightly citrussy, zesty taste and the jars are attractively flecked with little seeds. Most importantly it has passed Phil’s “breakfast test” on a hunk of baguette. ..Phew!

Perfect with a croissant and a coffee. Glorious.


The next great jam flavour


The next batch is on the go. At the moment I am taking inspiration from what other fruit and vegetables are currently in season, namely redcurrants, gooseberries and rhubarb.

The gooseberries are little green gems, that give a gutsy flavour. Perfect for off- setting the sweet strawberry. The addition of the “goosegog” brings a lovely fresh tartness which tingles the taste buds!

The pretty, scarlet redcurrant berry also adds a bit of oomph to the strawberries – but my favourite has to be the rhubarb.
Although dubious before trialling, I am converted. The combination creates a wonderfully rich, rounded flavour. This one is a keeper for my range I think!

I should probably get a bigger trug for these giants!