Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose, poetry, and music.

Archive for the category “Allotment”

#Home Produce 01: Redcurrant Jelly

Some of you will know that my attempt to make gooseberry jam a few weeks ago ended in disaster. I burned the sugar and ended up with dark-brown jam that smelled like a bonfire. Mister Potter was not pleased, as he’d picked the fruit and had numerous arguments with thorns in the process.

It was my job to pick the first batch of redcurrants. This involved doing battle with bindweed-imprisoned nets for two hours; no blood drawn and 2 lbs of fruit yielded. Since then, Mister has picked another batch, which I’ve put in the freezer to make some jelly for Christmas.

So here’s how to make redcurrant jelly without burning it, even if (like me) you don’t own a preserving pan but use a large stainless steel saucepan instead…

  1. Match the weight of sugar to the weight of redcurrants — 2lb (900g) of each is a manageable quantity. Unrefined golden caster sugar or soft brown sugar are best.
  2. Wash the fruit in a colander and leave the stalks on (my son will kill me if he reads this, as he spent an hour removing the stalks, only for me to discover afterwards that this wasn’t necessary).
  3. Put the sugar in a warm place.
  4. Slowly bring the fruit to the boil in the pan, continuously pressing down the fruit with a spoon to squeeze out the juice. I use a wooden spoon. This takes about 10 minutes. If you get bored, read a book while stirring but don’t set fire to the pages.
  5. Take pan off the stove temporarily and add warmed sugar, stirring until totally absorbed.
  6. Turn on the oven (Gas Mark 3/Electric 170 C) ready for heating jars. Boil the tops of the jars in a saucepan of water for 10 minutes.
  7. Bring mixture up to rapid boil. Boil for 8 minutes (no need to keep it at maximum heat — just bubbling nicely, like a witch’s cauldron). Important to keep stirring throughout. Read some more of your book!
  8. Tip the mixture into a large nylon sieve and press the mixture through into a large bowl. If you want a totally clear jelly, you’ll need to line the sieve with a double layer of gauze, so the jelly drips through, but obviously this takes longer.
  9. Put your jars into the oven on a tray for 5 minutes.
  10. Pour jelly into warmed jars (with them removed from the oven, of course!).
  11. Cover jars with waxed discs, or put a piece of baking parchment on top of the jar, screw on the lid, then trim the parchment to look tidy.
  12. When the jars have cooled, store them in a cupboard until required. Once you’ve opened a jar, keep it in the fridge.

Monday Morning #Haiku 164 — July Harvest

Bounty of Summer
Fresh fruit and vegetables
Await chef’s orders

September’s Allotment Beauties


Let the judging begin, from smallest squash to largest marrow!

I’m just taking a break from my preparations for tomorrow’s book launch of Noah Padgett and the Dog-People, to reflect upon other ways of being creative: that of growing your own food and using it to create yummy meals. In the case of the beauties in this picture, Mister was responsible for their planting and nurturing, and I’ll be responsible for their cooking.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love inventing recipes and hardly ever refer to cookery books, so maybe one day I’ll take a break from writing fiction to produce my own book of tasty and nutritious meals.

Sunny July’s Allotment Produce & Garden Flowers

Sunny July's Allotment Produce & Garden Flowers

Wordless Wednesday — Wholemeal Rhubarb & Cherry Jam Double Crust Pie

Rhubarb & Cherry Jam Pie with Goats Milk Ice Cream

Wordless Wednesday — Redcurrant Punnet or Jewellery Box?


First Week of Summer #Allotment Produce

Allotment Produce 24th June

Wednesday’s Pickings

Allotment Produce 27th June

Saturday’s Pickings

Wordless Wednesday — Allotment Harvest

September Harvest Allotment 2014

Wordless Wednesday — Salad Potatoes Discuss How to Avoid the Kitchen Knife

Mutant Potatoes


So they have a purpose after all!


After a long battle with snails this year, for once I caught them doing something useful.

Every year, an ancient apple tree drops inedible apples on my patio at the top of the garden. These apples are huge Bramleys that rot, even while they’re on the tree; a tree that’s gradually dying but I haven’t the heart to cut down.

When my dog was a puppy, she used to like playing with the apples and I dreaded her chomping on a lurking wasp by mistake. On countless occasions I’ve almost twisted my ankle on apples or skidded on their slushy remains in the rain. I can’t sit at the table on the patio in the wind without wearing a tin helmet. They jump like bouncing bombs across the lawn, requiring picking up before mowing the grass. And for all their sins, not a single apple pie to be had.

Hopefully, the baby apple tree at our allotment will produce its first yield of Cox’s this year. Meanwhile, perhaps I should transport a bag of rotten Bramleys there to keep the snails off our vegetable produce. On the other hand, perhaps every snail within a mile would head to our plot for the chance of a squidgy apple feast.

To check out my earlier posts involving snails and slugs, you’re welcome to follow the slime trail @~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~

Monday Morning Haiku #23

The Allotment into its Fifteenth Month

Wordless Wednesday: Mr Slow Worm, the Garden Hero that Eats Slugs

Wordless Wednesday: Garden Demolition Expert

tanka 13

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