Up until recently, fruit picking was one of those things that I never really thought I'd get to do while I lived in London, just something that other people, who lived in the countryside got to do and that I'd probably never get a chance to do. Until I found Parkside Farm, its local, its easy to get to, and it was voted best PYO Farm 2011. We went last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, and on Friday I got to go again. Luckily the weather was gorgeous, and we spent a good couple of hours picking.
I picked a huge amount of strawberries because I wanted to make jam - some for us and some for gifts - I'm thinking ahead to that 'C' word! We also picked a smaller amount of raspberries, sweet corn and runner beans which have all been eaten and were delicious.
It took three batches in my largest pot to make about eleven jars of jam. I'd say the last batch made was the best, because jam making really is something that takes a lot of practice to master. Not that I am in any way a 'master' but I think I got my timings better with the third batch.
I bought a set of IKEA spice jars ages ago thinking that they would make great sized gift jars for jam, and they worked really well. They are cute, but not stupidly small, and you can get a nice amount in the jar too. I covered the tops with red gingham to match the Bonne Maman jars I used for the rest of the jam. There is just something so lovely about the Bonne Maman jars, there is no way you can throw them away is there? They are just too nice!
I used my ever handy Cath Kidston labels to pretty up the jars and have also labeled them with the batch number so I know which ones are from the best batches- just have to decide whether to give those ones away or to keep them for us! Is that bad of me?
I also filled the little china jam jar with the remaining jam for us to use straight away and have popped it in the fridge. The last little bowl of strawberries got eaten but I thought they looked so cute in this tiny rose pyrex dish I almost didn't want to eat them!
A couple of jars have already been pinched as you can see, but I have a nice little stash to share out...
Or maybe just eat all by myself!
I see a Victoria Sponge on the horizon!