A picklefest

A couple of weeks ago a tsunami of delicious fruit and veg came my way. Pottering round the supermarket I found that small hard pears were on special offer – perfect for making pickled pears or chutney. And a bit further along another offer on oranges. On my way home I called on my lovely friends John and Victoria who have a large old Bramley apple tree in their garden – could I use some? Usually Victoria cooks and freezes loads to use when they have visitors. Covid meant no entertaining so there was still a lot of apple in the freezer and, after a fall in the garden, she didn’t feel up to doing more just to stop them going to waste. I brought a huge box of them home. We had a few days of glorious autumn sunshine and each time I walked Roo (my Kelpie x Collie) I took a basket and picked blackberries from the hedgerows. Another friend, Lindy, had been given 2 red and 2 green cabbage plants by her Dad in the spring and they had grown to football size. Like me she lives alone so 4 huge cabbages were rather a lot! I suggested she make pickled red cabbage but it turned out that she had got it into her head that jams, pickles and the like were technically difficult and, if everything wasn’t sterilised to operating theater cleanliness, potentially dangerous.

So Lindy came over with her 2 red cabbages and we pickled them together. It is a 2 day process. Day 1 was to shred the cabbages and layer them with salt before leaving them overnight. We also spiced some vinegar and left it to cool. We had done that by lunchtime so in the afternoon we used some of the apples and the pears I had bought and made some chutney. After she had left to go to choir practice I boiled up the blackberries with some more apples for bramble jelly and left them to drain through muslin overnight.

The next day I was still boiling up the jelly when Lindy arrived so she got a quick impromptu lesson in ‘how to know when jam is at setting point’ and a reminder of ‘how to sterilise jars in the oven’. Then we packed the cabbage into jars and poured the vinegar on top. There was still time to make some pickled orange wedges using the fruit I had bought. A crash course in preserving! But she has some green tomatoes that she needs to use and feels confident enough to turn them into chutney (with some more of Victoria’s apples) without my help.

I turned some more of the blackberries into blackberry vinegar; I like it as a drink diluted with fizzy lemonade, use it in salad dressings and it is my secret ingredient in lots of savoury dishes.

I have been stewing and bottling more of the apples and now have nineteen 1lb jam jars on the shelf. And there are still a large bowlful left. I have plenty of jars but have run out of lids. I bought more but being a numpty I ordered the wrong size! They fit the smaller jars I have so will get used when I make more jam or things like onion marmalade but those jars are too small for bottling fruit. Maybe I will pick some sloes. Or rowan berries – I have never made rowanberry jelly. One thing is for sure – they will not go to waste.

For those of you who remember that I have 2 dogs and are wondering why I only mention one, Orchid, my lurcher, is getting on a bit (at least 11 years old) and has arthritis which is particularly bad at the moment so long walks are out of the question for her.

15 thoughts on “A picklefest

    • Going Batty in Wales September 27, 2021 / 9:24 am

      I love looking at shelves full of nice things to enjoy in the dark chilly days of winter. I think I am a bit of a squirrel really! Orchid has pain killers and as long as I let her decide when and where she walks she is fine for now. Thank you for the thought,

      Liked by 1 person

  1. claire93 September 26, 2021 / 6:02 pm

    sounds like a very productive 2 days of pickling and preserving ^^

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales September 27, 2021 / 9:25 am

      We both really enjoyed it and it was nice to do it together rather than alone.

      Like

  2. anne54 September 26, 2021 / 11:00 pm

    That is such a wonderful bounty. It is how I imagine Autumn in the Welsh countryside. Winter must be made a little cheerier with those memories of late Summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales September 27, 2021 / 9:26 am

      I love having treats to enjoy in winter that remind me of warmer days. Most come with a memory attached of when I picked or was given the produce.

      Like

  3. Laurie Graves September 27, 2021 / 1:24 pm

    I love pickles of all kinds, and this post had my mouth watering. Yes, opening a jar in the winter will remind you of warmer days. Bliss! On another subject…I can sympathize with Orchid. I, too, have arthritis, and my walking days are pretty much over. Fortunately, unlike dogs, humans can bike, and that helps a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales September 28, 2021 / 10:40 am

      I’m sorry to hear about your arthritis – not fun! If you lived nearer I would give you some pickles but I doubt they would be easy enough to post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie Graves September 28, 2021 / 1:31 pm

        Right you are about the pickles! Will enjoy them vicariously through your pictures.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The Snail of Happiness September 27, 2021 / 9:07 pm

    Lucky you with all that fruit and veg. We are going to collect apples on Friday from our friends with several trees, so I know what I’ll be doing over the weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales September 28, 2021 / 10:42 am

      I am indeed lucky. And when I open the jars in winter I will remember who gave me the ingredients and the pleasure of making them. So they will be extra special.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. onesmallstitch October 3, 2021 / 6:49 pm

    your pantry must be a visual delight! So nice that you could share your skills and fruit with a friend. Poor Orchid, I am feeling a bit creaky myself with the change of weather so can sympathize.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales October 5, 2021 / 9:28 am

      My pantry shelves and wood stacks give me great contentment at this time of year! And yes, working with a friend was much nicer than doing it alone. I hope your creaks subside soon.

      Like

  6. Ju-Lyn October 5, 2021 / 10:41 am

    Wow! This is such an enterprise! I pickle regularly but in very small batches – but with seasonal produce you have access to, one pickles when needs arise!

    Like

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