Friday, September 6, 2013

My new Pet. More blackberries Jelly making,

Meet David.
Meet David, my new pet, found lurking in the potato patch, named after David Cameron who always looks like a misshapen potato, a bit insulting to this poor potato, that weighed in at two pounds,
                                              not all veg can be good looking.
The Blackberries we picked last weekend have now been processed. Two kg are fermenting away in a fermentation bucket, tomorrow this will be strained and then the liquid goes into the demijohn  for a few weeks before racking and then bottling. Depending on which web site you chose to believe the wine will be ready  for this Christmas or in a years time! We will test it in Dec and then decide.
With the Elderflower Champagne being such a hit with our friends I decided not to wait for next years blossoms and ordered some dried flowers from www. . This is a company based in Galway and sells a full range of wine and beer making equipment, I and a friend were  also short of wine yeasts and the Peapod wine had 'stuck' so I also got some restart, so I am now well set up to resume wine making in earnest. I am hopeful that the next lot of Elderflower Champagne will be ready at Christmas.
The rest of last weeks Blackberries have been made into Bramble Jelly, after straining we ended up with just over two pints of juice, this  made four pots of jelly which has set very well. As four pots wont last too long with us, Bramble jelly on freshly baked scones is even better than Strawberry jam, we decided that we would pick more, a quick trip out and we have gathered a further 5.5lbs which are now in the freezer until Sunday. This should give us another two and a half pints, enough for five more jars. There is no mystery to making jellies, but you cant hurry them, after the fruit has been cooked and well mashed,
the result has to be strained either through a Jelly Bag or muslin, this takes quite a long time, I left ours overnight. For every pint of juice you need one pound of sugar and the juice of one lemon. You add the sugar and lemon when the fluid is boiling, I found that setting point was reached in less than half an hour. The result is a delicate but strongly flavoured jelly. Lovely.
Our Strawberries are now giving us a second flush and better flavoured than the first ones, they will probably keep producing until the first frosts.
Despite the erratic watering in the tunnel the tomatoes are doing very well, we must get the irrigation sorted out for next year as the cucumbers have not fared so well, I will have enough to make Bread and Butter pickle, but none to spare.
We are also disappointed with a heritage variety of carrots that we have grown, there should have been a variety of colours, from purple, the original colour of carrots to white and yellow, we seem to have only yellow ones and although some of them are a foot long, they sadly lack flavour. Fortunately we have grown two other normal variety's so we wont be without flavour.
Whist out picking blackberries today Simon spotted a lovely plant growing in a hedge row, I had a vague idea as to what it was and one returning home looked in the RHS plant finder book. It was what I thought,
Tropaeolum Speciosom , common name Flame Flower, although we picked some seeds,  reading up on the plant it is very hard to propagate this way, so the search is on to find a nursery that has them, I love unusual plants, and this is one that should do very well in Ireland.


  1. I am SO SO SO hopeful that the elderflower wine will be ready at Christmas! hehe! Jason had a good laugh at David the potato. "Bramble jelly on freshly baked scones "....YUM!

  2. In that first pic that spud looks like a hairless newborn puppy. Lovely to be getting Strawberries again. I'm hopeful we may get some as our strawbs are flowering again.

  3. In that first pic that spud looks like a hairless newborn puppy. Lovely to be getting Strawberries again. I'm hopeful we may get some as our strawbs are flowering again.