Friday, June 12, 2009


Rain and strawbs

I discovered that rain and strawberries don't necessarily mix. I went and picked a crop yesterday, after several days of heavy rain. Many of the strawberries were blemished and others were...well...chewed. I am guessing snails or maybe hungry birds? Last year big bird death rate in my nets put me off putting them on again this year so I guess I will have to just put up with it.
The lettuces are also bolting from the rain.
Still, can't complain, the onions seem to be getting massive and the late potato crop is looking very lush. I have had a terrific germination rate for the parsnips and beetroot too, so as I have learnt in 3 years of gardening, one thing that doesn't work is balanced out by something that does extra-well, like the 4 lovely artichokes I picked.
And I can't wait for the raspberries because they are chock full of tiny white berry buds. I am envisaging jars of raspberry sauce lined up in the cupboard... slurp slurp

RECIPE: Strawberry sauce
Just right for rain damaged strawbs!
Put 750g of strawberries in a saucepan, cover with 4 tabs of sugar and a little vanilla (essence or vanilla sugar) and wait for the juice to leak.
Bring to the boil then simmer gently for 10-15minutes to reduce the juice.
Puree it with a hand blender and use within 3 days (it's great on plain ice cream or cheesecake!)

Same goes for rasperries although I tend to mash them with a fork when cooked, as they are so much softer than strawberries. Ignore the pips, they are part of the charm. To can, bring it back to the boil, pour into sterile jars and boil the filled jars till you see the mixture inside bubbling (about a 15-minute boil). These will last for months.

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