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Pick of the Crop

21 September 2011 | Posted in Wildlife Garden

Author Kathy Green

Autumn Harvest / Kathy Green

Blackberry and apple jelly, marrow and ginger jam, plum chutney, potatoes in sacks, onions in strings, the delectably sweet raspberry eased gently from its hull, the fragrant crunch of a carrot just pulled from the soil, the mouth-watering flavour burst of a freshly picked tomato and much, much more. It is autumn: the time of outrageous plenty: the time to put down your tools and gather in natures abundance whether in the garden or from the hedgerows. Let nothing interfere with your harvest. Time, tide and ripe crops wait for no man.

This year in particular the fruit crop has been quite phenomenal but, probably because of the topsy-turvy weather, everything seems to have come at once and it has been a mad scramble to pick at least some of our fruit before the recent gales. Even so, a couple of heavily laden branches on the plum and pear tree have broken. I must admit this is really totally my fault as I find it very difficult to thin the embryo fruits early in the season as one should. Squirrels have also been helping us to pick the plums scattering stones to the far corners of the garden. They are now munching their way through the pears. Is it terrible of me to hope they get the colly-wobbles? No! Because earlier in the year they helped us pick the strawberries and we didnt have enough of them to share. Oh for a foolproof way of deterring them.

Blackberry and Apple Jam Recipe

A trebly enjoyable harvest can be had by gathering together a bucket, a flask of your favourite beverage, several pieces of home-made cake and a couple of like-minded friends. Head for the fields and have a lovely convivial afternoon chatting, wildlife watching and blackberry picking. Then, if you have no apples of your own buy, beg or borrow (you return the favour with a pot of produce) a quantity of cooking apples (windfalls are fine).

  1. Put half quantity of blackberries to roughly chopped apples (skins, pips and all) in a saucepan, barely cover with water and cook to a pulp.
  2. Strain through a sieve and for every pound of resulting liquid add a pound of granulated sugar.
  3. Boil rapidly until a blob of liquid dropped onto a cold plate holds its shape and wrinkles when pushed with a finger after a minute or so (about 15 to 20 minutes).
  4. Pot up in warm recycled jam jars.
  5. Consume on cold winter days spread liberally over hot buttered toast or crumpets and daydream of idyllic autumn afternoons.

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Blackberry and Apple Jam / Kathy Green

Autumnwatch in Sussex


  • Anonymous coward:

    21 Sep 2011 14:43:14

    Not sure it would count as a deterent, mind…

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