No matter how hard we try to reorganise our days in order to be more efficient and, ultimately, to knit faster than our stashes grow, we come to the same conclusion: we need more than 24 hours in a day. These past few weeks, this has become even more obvious as the “berry season” is upon us, and Janice and I have been busy making jam and the likes. To be honest, Janice is doing 99% of the work as I am: a) a complete newbie at “jamming”; and b) I don’t have a garden, so my input of berries is somewhat limited. But not to worry, I have been busy berry-picking in a berry farm near-by, and also in Janice’s lovely garden (which resulted in more work for Janice of course, as she then had to process a mountain of raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrant…)
One or two weeks ago, I have made my first jam. I was about as proud as a peacock, and took this picture of my 6 jars of strawberry/raspberry/with a bit of blackcurrant for the pectin input. Yes, I got lucky (beginner’s luck me thinks…) and the thing set.
A week or so before that, I got very adventurous, and tried to find a way to process my ever-growing mint plant. I can’t drink teapots of mint tea as fast as this thing grows. The problem lies mostly in the fact that I am not so much of a tea-person than a coffee addict. Anyway, I figured I should try something new, and so I tried a very basic “recipe” of mint cordial. I am not sure how legitimate it is, as I am (too) a complete newbie at cordial-making. But I definitely got something rather tasty in the end. Enough so that I thought I could share my finding with you.
I started with a large bowl of mint leaves, which weighted 50g. This thing is almost as bad as wool fibre: looking at the large thing and at the figure on the scale make you think that your scale is off by about 500g. Yes, all this bowl weights a smashing 50g. Fifty.
I boiled 500ml of water (give or take), and poured it over the (washed) leaves. Then I let it sit in a covered bowl (a large jar would have been better perhaps, but I didn’t have any) for 24 hours. After this time, I passed the liquid through a thingy to get the liquid only (sieve?), poured it into a pan, and added 500g of sugar, and boiled it for 10 min or so, stirring often. Then I poured it into bottles, and voila! I put the bottles in the fridge when they had cooled down a little, as I figured we would probably drink them sooner than later.
Now here is my finding: the more we waited, the better it tasted! The first bottle we drank had more of a mint infusion taste. But the second, which remained bottled for longer, tasted a lot more of mint cordial and a lot less of infusion. We have been drinking the thing diluted1 volume of cordial for 3-5 volumes of water. Needless to say that there is very little left at this point.
What about knitting then, you may ask? Well, I have a few things on the needles, and a few things off the needles, which I hope to show you very soon. I have a self-imposed deadline of 15th August (you may notice that I didn’t mention the year though).
On a side note, I would like to say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who kindly donated money for our splash-athon in memory of our Little Star. Thanks to all of you, we raised an amazing £1673.04 which has been generously matched by the company I work for, leading to an impressive £3346.08 (£3717.84 with Gift Aid!) for Tommy’s, a charity which aims at funding research into stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage (you can read about the splash-athon in this previous post).
At the end of the swimming session, we sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…