To knit or not to knit… Jam is the question!

Aurelie's Jam

Aurelie’s First Ever Jam

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.

Mint cordial - Leaves

50g of Mint Leaves

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.

Mint cordial - Result

Two bottles of home-made Mint Cordial

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…

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