With the festive period well and truly upon us (i.e. it is December), it’s time to
foist lovingly bestow gifts of homemade preserves upon friends and family. After my jam– and chutney-making exploits of the late summer, I had a LOT of jars to shift.
In order to jazz up my random assortment of recycled jars, I made some labels.
I was inspired to do the cute faces by one of my favourite instagram accounts, @parade.made, who did an adorable challenge called #100daysofkawaii I recommend checking it out!
I considered making rubber stamps but thought it would be easier just to hand-draw each label.
I had to check the timestamps on my photos to remember when I made the jam and chutney. They should be nice and mature for consumption in the new year.
These look pretty different to the last jars of jam I bothered to label. Aww, past me.
When I first started looking for courgette recipes at the beginning of the summer, this one for jam stood out immediately. I cut up and froze any parts of courgettes that I didn’t use in my other recipes, and eventually I had nearly 2kg ready to use. I managed to get eight jars of varying sizes from 2kg of courgette.
I haven’t made jam since I attended a workshop with Anna many years ago- before I’d even started this blog. I must say that making the jam was more labour intensive than I’d imagined/remembered.
The courgette released an enormous amount of water. I’m not sure if this was a side-effect of freezing, but also there was a lot of the watery middle bit of courgettes included in what I used. All the water took a very long time to boil off, and I struggled to be patient with it. I tested whether it was set a few times and found the results a little inconclusive. Because I had seen wrinkles on my saucer once, I decided to go ahead and pot.
According to the recipe, this jam will take a few months to mature in flavour, which should mean that it will be well timed to give away for Xmas.
I froze some grated courgette because I wanted to have another go at making the chocolate courgette cake that I baked a few years ago. It’s based on a BBC Good Food recipe. I think I made a few errors when I was plagiarising it (slap on the wrist to past me), so maybe go from the original! Here’s a picture of the second attempt.
Something that’s really nice about having this blog is the ability to look back on my previous makes, and my thoughts about them. So interesting to see me describing myself as a ‘lifelong loather of the courgette’ when just over three years later, I am eating it on a daily basis.
I felt that the cake turned out a little bit dry this time- I think I shouldn’t have squeezed the courgette. I also think I over-baked the cake slightly. However, my colleagues seemed to enjoy it and one even asked for the recipe, so it can’t have been that bad.
Mini update as I’m so pleasantly surprised by how well my pumpkin plants are doing. Eagle-eyed readers of my Watermelon Elephant post may have noticed that the photoshoot took place in my pumpkin patch. Watermellie was a project for the HPKCHC, for a challenge with a loose garden theme. I believe that watermelons and pumpkins are from similar families, so I thought it would be cute to tell a silly story about her emerging from one of my pumpkin flowers. I was doing some weeding today and that prompted me to write a separate post.
Here’s a reminder of how the plants first looked when I transferred them to the garden.
So fragile! A few weeks later, on 16th July, they looked like this.
I weeded afterward I took the pic, don’t worry!
Flowers soon started to appear.
Some of which hatched elephants.
And here is how my plants looked on 3rd August.
Looks like I planted them a bit close together. Oops. But look at my babies!
Also, the plant that I thought was dead totally was a Jesus plant as it’s now flourishing. I think pumpkins must be pretty hardy as I nearly killed another plant through overzealous weeding and that recovered too.