Monday 25 August 2014


. . . Bank Holiday Monday too so, of course, it is raining.  It doesn't rain every Bank Holiday but it does rain enough times for it to be expected and not too much of a surprise.  When I was little it would have been the cue for a day trip somewhere - the coast, if possible, or visiting dear old relatives maybe.  Nowadays people tend to set out on the Friday for a weekend away and Monday is travelling home day.  Well, I hope the rain doesn't dampen too many spirits and that everyone drives carefully and safely.

As I anticipated, yesterday was a very good day.  I made my plum and apple chutney although the fruits all disintegrated into mush and I was a bit exercised as to when it was ready for bottling.  I hope I've got it right anyway.  I also made two loaves, using up the last bit of a bag of wholemeal so my bread will be of the healthy variety for a few days!

Lunch all cooked well and, after doing his gardening, Alex devoured everything as if there was no tomorrow.  All that was left was a small portion of runner beans which I can use today.

As for today - well, no school work, I have decided.  After all, it is bank holiday.  I have a kitchen to tidy after yesterday's efforts (before I mess it all up again with today's) and then I have a lot of plums to use up.  I think I might have a go at plum jelly as these plums do seem to mush into liquid rather easily and jelly is easy to make.  After that I will make some more onion marmalade.  The last lot ended up absolutely wonderful after a few months' maturing and I need, definitely need, some more!

Something my bloggy friend, Diane, said yesterday got me thinking.  Basically, she said she doesn't do much preserving as not may people in her home eat preserves.  Now, I'm in the same boat because there's only me and there's a limit to how much one person can manage.
However, at school there are always so many lovely people who work so hard to enable us teachers to do our jobs properly.  Office staff, cleaners, the caretaker, all the fantastic 'mummy and daddy helpers', not to mention a number of my colleagues with whom I work . . . and I do like to give a token gift at Christmas and at the end of the year.  And, of course, there is always family.

At present, these little jars of deliciousness make a wonderful gift and that's what most of them are used for.  I just keep a few apart for me and I thank my lucky stars that chutneys, at least, keep for many years, improving by the day!

But what shall I do when I retire?  I love making my preserves.  I love using food that would otherwise probably be chucked away - apples and plums that people give me, bless them.  What shall I do when I retire?  I shall have to think through that one!

In the meanwhile, there's breakfast to make and  lunch to think about!  I'd better go and check what's in the freezer!


  1. You are right to think about retirement it is difficult and I hate seeing things go to waste. Perhaps the solution is to make sure you have plenty of very small jars so what you make is used up in one hit rather than hanging around for ages. I must admit that I use my freezer much more for preserving stuff now than I used to. My mum used to make what she called freezer jam which was essentially just mashed fruit and sugar frozen in small quantities. It made good cake fillings or served on scones with cream.

  2. I've heard of freezer jam but I don't think I have ever made it. Maybe I will make more jellies which is not so economical as more of the fruit is discarded. :-)
    J x

  3. Retirement? Difficult? No, not at all difficult, just different. Above all there is the freedom which is priceless. No timetables, no structured 'must do's', just lots of freedom. I'm busier than I ever was when working, but by choice. Jx

  4. That side of things does bother me quite a lot but we meant from the preserving point of view. Will I have to cut down on what I make (or how much I make) when I don't have such a long list of people to thank twice a year?
    Maybe I could sell them at the kitchen door < grin >!
    J x