In summer and early autumn, the fruit and vegetables from the garden are picked and the house fills with the sweet smell of jam-making and the all-pervading vinegary aroma of chutney making. Fruit compotes, crumbles and pies are frozen, cordials and liqueurs bottled and tomatoes roasted and pureed so that by the start of winter there are jars and bottles stacked on the pantry shelves and the freezer is filled to capacity.
In theory, we should work our way methodically through this bounty so that we’re ready to start again the next summer. In practice, we start off with good intentions but there’s often a favourite jam that’s quickly finished while others languish on the shelf and unlabelled frozen lumps fall to the bottom of the freezer to remain hidden for months. In late February, with the hope that spring is just around the corner, I start to empty the freezer in earnest because I want to have a good break between eating last year’s crop and the start of the new crop.
We’ve barely touched the frozen raspberries so we’ve had a little run on them recently. Somehow, eating them with the sun shining through the window (even if it is blowing an icy wind outside) seems more appropriate than eating them on dark December days. We’ve eaten raspberries with yoghurt for breakfast and a wobbly jelly made from Rose Syrup (and a little dash of Rose Gin) with raspberries suspended in the scented jelly.
For Sunday tea, a deliciously moist Raspberry Loaf Cake made up for the rather disappointing sourdough crumpets (I was sure the recipe book was wrong and wish I’d trusted my judgement).
This Raspberry Loaf Cake recipe works just as well with frozen or fresh raspberries and is a good way to use up the berries that get a bit broken up in the freezer. It’s also useful if you still have Seville oranges kicking around when you’ve finished making marmalade.
Next on the list to be used are two jars of 2009 Plum & Mulled Wine Jam. It seemed such a good idea when I made it.