Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Fruit leathers

This is probably the most obscure thing I have ever made in the kitchen - fruit leathers. However, they are remarkably easy to make and taste delicious. They have the added bonus of containing no sugar. We don't have beens (yet) to make our own honey but when we do, I have another use for it.

fruit leather nov 09 no 2

In basic terms, you will need apples, soft fruit or berries and honey. The photos in this post were taken in late November when I made fruit leathers with hawberries, just about the last wild fruit I could find growing near out village. In the late summer I also made leathers with blackberries.

The quantities I used in November were:

1 kg apples (wild eating apples)
700g hawberries
250g honey

Chop the apples and add to the jam pan. No need to core or peel. Remove as many stalks as possible from the hawberries and add to the jam pan. So dryish berries like haws, add a couple of glasses of water. You are unlikely to need to add water if you are using soft fruit like blackberries as they contain plenty of moisture.

Heat the pan and leave to simmer until the fruit is a soft pulp. Press it through a sieve and then add the honey to the puree.

Then put some baking parchment on a couple of baking trays and spread the puree thinly over the paper. Put the trays into the oven at a very low temperature, 60C, and bake for about 10 - 12 hours (yes, that long!)

fruit leather nov 09 no 3

When they are done, you should be able to peel the leathers from the paper. They have the texture of leather and are translucent.

They can be stored by being rolled up in the baking parchment and stored in a cupboard or box. You can cut puts off of cut them into shape and hang them from the Xmas tree before eating them.

I don't have any of my own but I can imagine kids loving these. Parents concerned about cramming too much sugar into their children can hand these out guilt free!

fruit leather nov 09 no 5

All the fun of the fair

We had a table at a fair run by the Lib Dems in Whickham last week. The best seller was the hot marrow chutney which I had made the day before. That sold out (we had more at home and I regret not bringing more). Surprisingly, we also sold the three bottles of hawberry ketchup. Anyway, that's me below with some of our goodies for sale!

Whickham Fayre Dec 09 no 4

Monday, 14 December 2009


One of our most successful crops this year was garlic. It was also the first time we grew it. We planted in November last year a winter variety, and a spring variety early this year. In my absences over the past few weeks, David has planted another crop of winter garlic.

We have, admittedly, not been 100% successful with growing garlic. I planted some of the winter variety in pots on the wall in our garden in London. Though they grew, the bulbs they produced were tiny. I suspect the soil quality was poor. I therefore never bothered to harvest them and my plan was to pit all the contents of the pots onto the compost heap. I am now having second thoughts. I spotted this morning that all the garlic was growing. I'll leave them to continue growing but will add some compost to the pots.
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Been away

Sorry for the absence of posts recently. I have been away to Morocco for a couple of weeks in November and been to London twice since I got back. (I am there now.) I've also had some technology problems (one wrecked video camera and one wrecked external hard drive!) Fortunately the damaged equipment has been replaced with super dooper new stuff so videos will be appearing shortly in HD widescreen. However, please be patient! I need time to edit various cookery videos but coming up soon will be one on making fruit leathers, another on chutneys and a third on bottling fruit. These are all filmed. Not yet filmed is one on pickling red cabbage.

Having just set up a small business to do photography and make videos, I hope to get on with more of my self-sufficiency work shortly.

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